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Latest IRL News and Commentary

Quotes from day 2 at Indy

May 6, 2002

TONY KANAAN "We definitely learned a lot today, even though we didn't go as fast as we did on Sunday. We headed off in a different direction with our setup than Felipe and learned that his was the way to go today. I was pushing just a little too much today, but we will go to work to fix the problem based on what we learned from Felipe's car. I'm not worried ... yet. It's a long month. Although this weather is costing us practice time that is very, very important ... especially for the teams that have never been here before. But we are in capable hands."

FELIPE GIAFFONE "For sure, the car was good today. We are definitely going in the right direction and we are getting more and more into a groove. But, at this place, you can't get too excited when you have a good day because there is a very long way to go. We definitely have room to trim out the car even more. We just have to do a little bit every day and hopefully we will find another mile an hour or two by the end of the week. "

JIMMY VASSER "We ran the backup car again today and got in 25 laps. We had few problems Sunday and we resolved them today. The car felt good and we quit a little early since we learned what we wanted to with the chassis changes. We are keeping our eye on the ball. Everybody tends to get excited here at Indy. There are a lot of tows (drafts) out there and those guys won't have that in qualifying. The big speeds always come right after a yellow flag and all of the cars go out together. They can get a tow very easily. We just have to concentrate on our program and work hard to get the car ready. This is a veteran team and they are very business-like. I think they understand how Indy works. It's a long month." PAUL TRACY “The rain today really put us behind. By the time we were able to get on the track we had just about an hour of running. The car still had a lot of understeer and the Team Green 7-Eleven guys were trying some things to free the car up. We were making some progress on it but we ran out of time. There is still a long way to go and hopefully the weather will work with us so we can get more laps in tomorrow."

DARIO FRANCHITTI “We made some progress today, we made some pretty big changes overnight but we're getting there. We only did 22 laps and we still have a lot of work to do. I am still getting comfortable with the track. This afternoon it was quite different, it was very windy so that took a bit of getting used to. I didn't think we were going run this afternoon but apparently Indianapolis is a lot like Scotland and the weather changed rather quickly. I was working out in the gym and my phone rang and Kyle Moyer, my team manager, said I needed to be in the car in 30 minutes.”

MICHAEL ANDRETTI "It was a better day. We improved the car a lot and we're getting in the ballpark now. We didn't get much running in with the weather today, but nobody did so we're not playing catch up. We're starting to improve so at least I can sleep a little better tonight knowing that we're closer to where we need to be for qualifying. I spent the rain delay talking with my engineer Eddie Jones, so you can imagine how exciting that was--it was good to see blue skies."

EDDIE CHEEVER The weather in Indianapolis is always unpredictable. For most of the day it was cloudy and raining, so I didn't think there was a chance that we would run today. I was pleasantly surprised when the sun came out and we got to practice for the final hour or so. It was a valuable session for us; we gathered some important data. We tried some different things on the handling that should have worked and they didn't. So we will go back to yesterday's setup and work from there."

MAX PAPIS "I was really glad, after waiting all day, that we got to take the Red Bull Cheever Racing Infiniti on track. I have made progress from yesterday. I am getting more familiar with everyone on the team. I think we are reaching our goals. We are quicker today, but not as quick as we want. It's not necessary to be quick until Saturday. Now, I feel very confident that we are going in the right direction to find the feeling I am trying to get out of the car. I think we are making a lot of progress. During the rain, I finished off my seat fitting and went training. It was a good time today."

ANTHONY LAZZARO (No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/ Chevrolet/ Firestone): “We made some progress today. The changes we made were definitely good. I was surprised by the big effect the wind has on the car. I had a bit of a moment in Turn 2 where I didn’t have control of the front of the car. We’re putting together a plan to take advantage of the power we have at our disposal. We’re hoping the weather cooperates.”

PJ JONES (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “Car’s good – so good. It’s still ahead of me, honestly. Every lap I gain more confidence and get more experience. This car is capable of so much and should definitely get up into the 227’s (mph). Right now we’re still running in race trim and being pretty conservative.” (About running 224 mph yesterday versus 225 mph today): “You definitely notice the difference, even though it’s 1 mile per hour. It’s fast out here, and you know what? I like it.”

BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (No. 33 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): “I’m happy that we were able to run today. The weather did not look good for a while, but then the sun came out. It turned into a beautiful day. It was also good that we ran well again. Two days in a row now we have been near the top of the speed charts. The Target car is very good, and I am getting more confident out there each day. When I put new tires on, we were P1 for a while. Hopefully, we can be P1 on Saturday.”

KENNY BRACK (No. 22 Target Chip Ganassi Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): “I finally got to turn a few laps out there today. We weren’t able to get many in yesterday with the problems that we had on the car. We made some changes, and it really seemed to help us out. We are slowly getting better, and I think that by the weekend our car should be pretty solid.”

GREG RAY (No. 11 A.J. Foyt Racing/Harrah’s Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): (About not practicing on Opening Day): “The trucks were late getting in from Houston, and A.J. was still in Richmond, so it was beautiful weather, but we didn’t get to play yesterday. I knew that was part of the schedule going in to it. I knew that was A.J.’s call. I know a lot of times he doesn’t go out on the first day. It’s different because we have so many days here, but there’s some potential bad weather, so we’re just playing it by ear.” (About the limited track time today due to rain): “Just a shakedown today, me getting acclimated to the team and re-acclimated to the racetrack and some of their setup information. I have five years experience here, and A.J. has got 40, so we are probably doing things a little bit differently, and we’re trying to get on the same page. I feel pretty good. The track is very different from the last time I ran here. There are no bumps. It’s very smooth. There used to be some bumps in Turn 1 that separa
AIRTON DARE (No. 14 Harrah’s/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): (About not practicing on Opening Day): “It doesn’t do us any good to run the first day. The track will change a lot, conditions will change a lot, and A.J. wasn’t here also, so we just decided to stay and wait and see what’s happening. We tested here before, and we got a good package for the month. One day won’t make a difference.” (On limited track time today): “We were not counting on the rain. If we knew it was going to rain today or tomorrow, we probably would have gone out yesterday. We were just shaking down today. The front of the car was gripping too good, so A.J. made some changes, which improved it. Then he added more downforce, and we were able to run in the 222’s (mph), which was a decent speed. It was better than I thought.”

JOHN DE VRIES (No. 37 Pit Bull Energy Drink/Rhino Cleaning Products Dallara/ Chevrolet/Firestone): "Going into this afternoon's practice, there was a noticeable push in the car. The crew made a couple of wing adjustments, and I was able to pick up several miles per hour. The motor feels good and has yet to reach its potential. Every time I get on this track, I gain experience needed to be competitive here. If the weather stays like this afternoon, we should get in some good laps tomorrow."

BILLY BOAT (No. 98 CURB Records Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "For a day that looked like it was going to be a complete washout, it was a fairly productive day for the CURB Records team. We still had a number of things we wanted to try, and we got through most of those. We picked up a
little more speed, so we feel good about that. Like I’ve said before, this place takes patience. We have to inch up on it. We’re at 225 (mph) today, and we know we still have a little more to go to move up even further, but we feel we’ve got a car that’s competitive. We’re going to continue to work hard and inch our way up."

ALEX BARRON (No. 44 Rayovac Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "The track was green from the rain today. Due to the fact that the track was recently shaved to smooth the bumps out, and the added fact that the track was green, there were a lot of dust particles that were pulled out of the track. These particles washed across the track surface. This caused the car to have a lot less grip than yesterday and extreme wear on tires. We adjusted the car for the changing conditions throughout the session. We feel we came to a good balance at the end, but got held up in traffic in Turns 3 and 4. We were not able to complete a fast rolling lap before the end of Happy Hour. We feel we have a handle on the car, and we should be able to improve our speed tomorrow."

GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):
"Today we had a very good day. We worked on the balance of the Marlboro Team Penske car, and it definitely improved quite a bit. That last hour was very useful for us, and I’m glad we were able to get it in."

LAURENT REDON (No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): “(Today) was very good. The Mi-Jack/Conquest team is working together very well. I really enjoy working with Craig, my engineer. I think we are doing a good job, and we just have to keep concentrating. This race is a long race, so to do well we have to increase our speeds. We just have to keep going, but it’s always good to have a top speed at the end of the day. We learned some things even though we didn’t have that much time. It always helps to run since I am a rookie. The wind was different, the conditions were different, so it’s good that we can adjust the car very quickly. We will have to do that for the race and the qualifying. We are very happy that our Dallara/Infiniti car is running so well. I appreciate the hard work of the Mi-Jack/Conquest team.”

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “We are not as fast as we want to be, but we are still learning. But, we’re pretty happy with how things are going. We’ll get back at it tomorrow. We are trying to get a push out of the car, but I would rather have a push than to be loose.”

MARK DISMORE (No. 20 Grill 2 Go Sam Schmidt Motorsports Indy Car Dallara/ Chevrolet/Firestone): "We learned a lot today. We're making good headway. I'm real happy. We ran a handful of laps, got up to 224 (mph). Today was important. There were small things we wanted to try, and it did what we expected. I felt rusty yesterday, but today I was on the gas. So we're cautiously optimistic."

GEORGE MACK (No. 30 310 Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone): (About not practicing on Opening Day): “We got our motor late. As everybody knows, we qualified really well at Nazareth and ended that day with crashing that car, so we had to throw two more together, and we kind of ran out of time. We got the motor in yesterday late and just elected not to do it instead of throwing things against the wall.” (Do you feel any pressure?): “No, not really. The only pressure I feel is pressure that I apply to myself. Just start with the baseline I ended up with at rookie orientation, and just kind of work it from there. Just go out and try to feel the track out and work it up to speed kind of slow.”(About today’s practice): "I got on (the track) today at the tail end and crept up on it a little bit. We made a couple more changes. We ran a 221 (mph) pretty comfortably. I was just cruising around. It was really comfortable, really solid right there, so I ran a handful of laps at 221 (mph) no sweat. We'll come out smoking.

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): (Will we see a difference in speeds once the drivers can run on a track that is not “green?”): “I think the track doesn’t make much of a difference right now if it’s raining, I felt. It’s more of a factor of wind going into the turns, so today was a little different than yesterday. Obviously, as you have more cars running, as you put more rubber on the track, the cars run a little faster. Just an hour to go in the practice today, people put enough rubber to go a little faster. But obviously from the times yesterday, I think the track and the wind changed in that particular area, that’s why we’re still not going as fast as yesterday. It’s the second day of practice of the qualifying week, and people are still being conservative and not (showing) what they have with the qualifying engine. They want to make sure that everything is working fine. I think the real deal is going to come more toward Thursday and Friday. To be honest, I was liifferent types of weather to prepare yourself for Saturday?): “It is, because at least you know where to go. In this type of track, Indianapolis – what I’m still learning, but what I learned a little bit from last year – qualifying not only is one lap, but it’s four laps, and on your last lap sometimes you have to fix your car in terms of going a little low in the corner, on the line, trying to look at the flags to see what direction the wind is going. Basically, it is important to learn what the track is doing, the wind is doing. That’s why any time on the track is important.”  

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