By Amy Konrath
INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, May 20, 2010) – Tony Kanaan topped the speed chart as rain cut short preparations for the 2010 Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Kanaan recorded a lap of 39.6870 seconds (226.775 mph) in the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car for Andretti Autosport while Paul Tracy, driving the No. 15 GEICO-KV Racing Technology car, bolted to second quick (226.322 mph). Hideki Mutoh was third (226.230), his second consecutive appearance in the top five in the No. 06 Formula Dream/Panasonic car for Newman/Haas Racing.
Marco Andretti (226.108) and 2005 race winner Dan Wheldon (226.106) also were in the top five, fourth and fifth, respectively. Helio Castroneves (226.080), the 2009 pole sitter, was followed by Team Penske teammate Will Power (226.836), Alex Tagliani (225.609), Graham Rahal (225.559) and Davey Hamilton (225.431).
2002 Indianapolis 500 polesitter Bruno Junqueira made his first appearance of the week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Junqueira turned 14 laps on the 2.5-mile oval to shake down the No. 29 William Rast/Bryan Herta Autosport car for rookie Sebastian Saavedra at the request of team co-owner Bryan Herta.
Twenty-seven cars were within .5796 of a second of the top. Eight different teams were represented in the top 10.
DAY 6 NOTEBOOK:
PGA Tour legend Fuzzy Zoeller visited the Speedway on Thursday as a guest of Panther Racing. Zoeller’s vodka brand, Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka, is serving as a sponsor of the No. 20 Panther/Vision/Fuzzy’s Vodka entry driven this month by veteran Ed Carpenter.
Zoeller, a native of New Albany, Ind., has won 10 PGA Tour events, including The Masters as a rookie in 1979 and the U.S. Open in 1984. He plays now on the Champions Tour.
FUZZY ZOELLER: (Have you been to the Speedway before?): “Yes, I was here last year, and I have been here for time trials. I’m blessed: I was born and raised in Indiana, so I have had the opportunity to come up here, and it is something to see. It’s like the Kentucky Derby of thoroughbred racing; it’s the Derby of sports cars.” (About wearing a team headset and looking at car telemetry): “I didn’t know what the hell I was looking at, but they were explaining it to me, you know what I mean. But at least I could hear, which was great. It’s amazing the technology today that goes behind auto racing. I never knew all this stuff was going on. I thought these guys were just gas pumpers, tire changers. But the littlest twitch of a nut here or there can mean that much of a difference.” (That’s like golf?): “Well, it is. Eddie (Carpenter) was telling them he was fine through Turn 3, and Turn 2 he felt a push. I mean, that’s major stuff. To me, if I got a push, oh, man, I would be excited. But for these guys, that’s not good. They’re trying to fine-tune it. That’s what they are trying to do.”
The Indiana Section of SAE International will announce the winner of the 44th annual Louis Schwitzer Award sponsored by BorgWarner at a press conference at 9:30 a.m. Friday in the Economaki Press Conference Room.
The Louis Schwitzer Award, presented by engineers to engineers, recognizes individuals with the courage and conviction to explore and develop new concepts in motorsports technology for use in the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. The award has been presented annually since 1967 by the Indiana Section of SAE International in honor of early racing pioneer and past Indiana Section Chairman Louis Schwitzer.
Award sponsor BorgWarner provides a $10,000 cash prize to the winner. SAE International also provides a $1,000 scholarship to the engineering school of the winner’s choice and doubles the scholarship amount if the winner was a past Formula SAE participant. In addition, the winner’s name is added to the permanent trophy on display in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.
The 33-driver starting field for the Indianapolis 500 will spend Monday, May 24, on the ESPN campus in Bristol, Conn., as the drivers will appear on multiple ESPN platforms and programs both domestic and international.
ESPN’s production of the Indianapolis 500 airs on ABC on Sunday, May 30, beginning at noon (ET). The race is on ABC for the 46th consecutive year, one of five IZOD IndyCar Series events on ABC this season.
On American television, drivers will appear on ESPN “SportsCenter” as well as ESPN2’s “First Take,” “Mike and Mike in the Morning” (simulcast on ESPN Radio) and “SportsNation.” ESPNEWS, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN Mobile, SportsCenter.com, ESPN Deportes Radio and ESPNDeportes.com are other U.S. platforms that drivers will appear on, including “RPM Semanal” (in Spanish) on ESPNDeportes.com.
Drivers also will appear on various ESPN International platforms, including segments on “SportsCenter” Australia version, on “Limite,” ESPN Brasil’s autosports news and information program, and on ESPN360.com, ESPN’s localized broadband platforms in Brazil, Chile and Mexico.
International drivers also will appear in their native languages on the ESPN networks in Australia, the UK, Africa, and Latin America and on regional networks ESPN Dos (Mexico) and ESPN Mas (Southern Cone South America).
ESPN International’s networks and syndication of the Indianapolis 500 will reach more than 252 million households. In addition, U.S. troops serving overseas and on Navy vessels around the world will watch via a broadcast agreement between ESPN and the American Forces Network, bringing the total to 213 countries and territories.
The Honda Indy Edmonton has entered into promotional relationships with Alex Tagliani and FAZZT Race Team and with Paul Tracy and KV Racing Technology to form “Team Oh Canada” for the Indianapolis 500.
The promotion includes prominent Honda Indy Edmonton logo placement on both cars for the 500 Mile Race. Tagliani’s No. 77 FAZZT Race Team car also will display the logo for the IZOD IndyCar Series races in Texas, Watkins Glen, Toronto and Edmonton.
The Honda Indy Edmonton will carry out promotional opportunities with Team Oh Canada in other markets, including event promotions at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
KEN KNOWLES (President, Northlands, promoter of Honda Indy Edmonton): “Northlands and the Honda Indy Edmonton are absolutely delighted to partner with Canada’s two best IZOD IndyCar Series drivers. Our promotional support for Alex and Paul provides us with an incredible opportunity to place our event, and the city of Edmonton, in the international spotlight while reaching a huge international audience.”
Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation (NYSE: PVH) announced today that the Indianapolis 500, the flagship race of the IZOD IndyCar Series, will take center stage at Macy’s this month via “In Pursuit of Fast,” a series of exhibits sponsored by its IZOD brand in partnership with Macy’s and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to celebrate the 2010 Indianapolis 500.
The focus of the exhibits — speed, stars and cars, and iconic design fashioned throughout a century of American racing — will be showcased at Macy’s stores in New York, Indianapolis and Chicago. Complementing the exhibit is a collection of limited-edition IZOD IndyCar Series apparel available exclusively at Macy’s stores nationwide.
The second annual “In Pursuit of Fast” exhibit comes to life through original photo collections, graphic designs and priceless race cars and memorabilia from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum’s collection. The exhibit tells the story of IZOD IndyCar Series racing and the Indianapolis 500. Each store will feature one of a kind priceless cars and custom-built installations showcasing the race’s legendary past as it connects to the next generation of high-speed superstars — along with the limited-edition collection of IZOD/INDY clothing inspired by the museum’s archives.
Starting on May 20, Macy’s Herald Square, New York’s most iconic department store, will host “In Pursuit of Fast” on its floors and in its famous Broadway and 34th Street windows. The exhibited items will feature past Indy 500-winning cars, including the 1964 Sheraton-Thompson Watson/Offy, 1968 Rislone Eagle/Offy, 1972 Sunoco McLaren/Offy, and 1996 Bryant in the Broadway windows, as well as the 1979 Norton Spirit, 1961 Cooper Climax, 1953 Dean Van Lines Special, 1925 Miller Junior 8, and 1960 Kelso Auto Dynamics Special in the Main Aisle and Men’s Shop.
At 1 p.m. May 25, just five days before the Indianapolis 500, Macy’s and IZOD will welcome the top drivers of the 2010 Indianapolis 500 to Herald Square for interviews and an autograph session. The drivers, who will be dressed in their Race Day uniforms, hail from a multitude of countries — including three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves of Brazil, 2009 IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti of Scotland, current IZOD IndyCar Series points leader Will Power of Australia, two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon of New Zealand. From the United States, Danica Patrick, the first woman to win an IndyCar race and 2008 Rookie of the Year Ryan Hunter-Reay, who is sponsored by IZOD, will also appear. Additionally, 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti will attend.
Macy’s stores in Indianapolis and its flagship in Chicago will also feature the “In Pursuit of Fast” exhibit and several opportunities for fans to meet their favorite drivers — both past and present, including legendary Indy 500 winners Al Unser Jr., Rick Mears, Johnny Rutherford and Arie Luyendyk, who have a total of 13 combined Indy 500 wins.
Macy’s is also featuring the partnership among these three American icons — Macy’s, IZOD and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – – on a micro-site, www.macys.com/IZOD.
With access to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum’s rich archive of original art and design, the IZOD designers have created a track- inspired clothing line to mark this historic celebration and have partnered with Macy’s as the exclusive retailer for the collection. The new “Winning Car Series” apparel collection, including vintage-style tees that celebrate the first Indianapolis 500 winner, the 1911 Marmon Wasp, along with the 1939-40 Maserati and the 1948 Novi, is available only at select Macy’s nationwide and on macys.com. Additional Indy-inspired graphic tees by IZOD will be available at all Macy’s stores and on macys.com. The IZOD IndyCar Series apparel collection is available now with prices ranging from $14.98 to $65 for the graphic tees, vintage tees and golf polos.
Integrated Electrical Services (www.ies-co.com , NASDAQ: IESC) and Andretti Autosport announced today that IZOD IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter-Reay will appear at the WINDPOWER 2010 Conference and Exposition as part of the sponsorship agreement between the two companies. IES is an associate sponsor and the official electrical contractor sponsor for Andretti Autosport.
Hunter-Reay will appear at the IES Booth, #1605 at the Dallas Convention Center, from noon-2 p.m. (CT) Tuesday, May 25.
IES, headquartered in Houston, will showcase its work on renewable energy solutions at the show in Dallas.
An IZOD IndyCar Series Fan Forum featuring Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage will take place at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 29 at North Chalet 6B at IMS.
Gossage will seek fan opinion about the next chassis and engine platform for the IZOD IndyCar Series. He is a member of the ICONIC (Innovative, Competitive, Open-Wheel, New, Industry-Relevant, Cost-Effective) IZOD IndyCar Series Advisory Committee, which is tasked with reviewing, researching and recommending a future IZOD IndyCar Series chassis and engine platform to the Indy Racing League.
Only 250 seats are available for this event. Fans wishing to participate must RSVP to the Indy Racing League by e-mailing Neale Hood at firstname.lastname@example.org. Refreshments will be available at the forum.
Martha C. (Marti) Rompf, 67, a public relations professional in auto racing for more than 25 years, died May 15 at her home in Traverse City, Mich., after a long illness.
Born and raised in Lansing, Mich., Rompf served as director of public relations at Michigan International Speedway (1982-86) and Atlanta Motor Speedway (1986-92) before joining Dearborn, Mich.-based communications agency PCGCampbell in 1992. While with PCGCampbell, she represented Ford Motor Company’s race teams in NASCAR, including the Wood Brothers, Bud Moore Engineering and Robert Yates Racing, and drivers that included Bill Elliott, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd, Elliott Sadler, Lake Speed and Dick Trickle.
She also worked as Ford Motor Company’s public relations manager in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series for several years, promoting future NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standouts Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and the late Kenny Irwin.
In 2006, Rompf joined Wood Brothers Racing, from which she retired at the end of the 2007 NASCAR season.
Prior to entering the public relations profession, Rompf worked as a journalist covering local news for both the Albion (Mich.) Evening Recorder and the Coldwater (Mich.) Daily Reporter during the 1970s.
A 1961 graduate of Lansing Eastern High School, she is survived by her daughter, Kathie; her sons, Michael and Mark; and four grandsons.
At her request, no services are planned. Memorials can be made to Munson Hospice MHRF at 210 Beaumont Place, Traverse City, MI 49684 or Victory Junction Gang 4500 Adams Way, Randleman, NC 27317.
Drivers representing four different teams posted the top five speeds of the day today: Andretti Autosport (Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti), Paul Tracy (KV Racing Technology), Newman/Haas Racing (Hideki Mutoh) and Panther Racing (Dan Wheldon).
A total of 44 cars are currently at the Speedway, and 44 have passed technical inspection. Thirty-seven drivers have been on the track to date and turned 1,445 laps today and 7,289 laps this month. Alex Lloyd turned 81 laps today, more than any other driver. There were two cautions for a total of two hours, 35 minutes.
No driver has been in the top five on the speed charts more than four of the five days of on-track activity so far this month. A rundown:
•Four days: #9 Dixon (May 15, 16, 18, 19)
•Three days: #10 Franchitti (May 15, 16, 19); #11/#43 Kanaan (May 15, 16, 20), #4 Wheldon (May 15, 18, 20)
•Two days: #3 Castroneves (May 15, 16); #77 Tagliani (May 18, 19), #26 M. Andretti (May 18, 20), #06 Mutoh (May 19, 20)
Townsend Bell sent a tweet this morning on his Twitter account, www.twitter.com/TownsendBell99, challenging fans to name the Indy Lights team for which he drove. He said he would carry on his helmet the Twitter account of the first person to answer correctly.
Twitter fan @WCPE answered correctly first (Dorricott Racing), and Bell carried @WCPE on his helmet in most of practice today.
Herbalife Ganassi/Schmidt Racing Team engineer Andy Brown talked today about how he and driver Townsend Bell are dealing with the numerous weather setbacks this week.
ANDY BROWN: “It does help having known Townsend from a few years ago in our time together at Panther (Racing). Also, I’ve been a race engineer now for 28 years, so in that time you learn it doesn’t help to get flustered and raising your voice, as it just puts everyone on edge. Things just go downhill very rapidly from there. So I try to keep things calm and level. Things are going to go wrong. They are bound to go wrong, but it’s how you react when they do. If you keep things calm, you’ll get through the bad times more quickly. It’s been a pleasure to work with him (Townsend) again, and I’m really enjoying this month.”
As much as Townsend Bell loves the Indianapolis 500 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he is a little eager to get home to Santa Monica, Calif., where a new BMW S 1000 RR motorcycle is waiting for him. Bell, an avid motorcyclist, received the keys to his new motorcycle today at BMW Motorcycles of Indianapolis.
Bell also took delivery today of a new Schuberth racing helmet. He walked the helmet through IZOD IndyCar Series tech himself, where it quickly passed, and wore it in an afternoon practice run. Rookie Bertrand Baguette is the only other driver wearing the German-made Schuberth so far this Month of May at Indy.
Another client of Schuberth is F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher. The Schuberth company prides itself on the aerodynamics and aeroacoustics of its helmets.
Indianapolis 500 veteran PJ Jones was in Gasoline Alley today. Jones, son of 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones, started in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in 2004 and 2006.
PJ JONES: (Are you looking for a ride?): “No, I really didn’t work on it too much during the winter, and I think now with the format you really have to work on it out front and be ready to go in January, February or March. To try to put something together with the two weeks, or one-week deal now, I think it is pretty much virtually impossible. If you are a current guy, or a guy who is running consistently, you might be able to stir something up. But a guy for someone like me who doesn’t race every weekend with these guys and in these kind of cars anymore, then it would take a proper program to do it. I wouldn’t rule that out in the future, but with some of the other things I have going, I just didn’t try to put it together.” (Do you have your helmet?): “I know Bill Simpson real well.”
INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE QUOTES:
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): “We worked on race simulations for the majority of the day. It looked like weather would come upon us at any moment, but we logged a pretty decent amount of laps. The weather finally came into the area and cut everything short today.”
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): “We continue to make progress with the No. 10 Target car. We didn’t get a chance to work on qualifying stuff because of the weather. Hopefully we get that chance tomorrow.”
DAVEY HAMILTON (No. 21 HP de Ferran Dragon Racing): “Today was another good day. We worked on qualifying only and are pretty confident with the speed and downforce level. We still have some trimming out to do, but that may not translate to more speed. Our goal is still to be in the top 24 on Saturday, but the top nine would be a nice bonus.”
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Panasonic Formula Dream): “We worked on qualifying setup all day. We wanted to run more, but two separate times we went to the pits it started sprinkling, so we came back to the garage. We had good speed for qualifying, but balance-wise I struggled. We need to work on a better setup for Pole Day. It was very windy, and sometimes the wind wasn’t very consistent. It was changing directions and sometimes stronger than others. It was very inconsistent, so it was hard to keep the same line, especially after we trimmed the car a little. It was tough to attack consistently for four laps. Weather-wise, it was the most difficult day for a qualifying simulation. It looks like qualifying day will be much calmer and warmer. It will be easier to push right away. The Formula Dream/Panasonic team has good speed, though.”
RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP de Ferran Dragon Racing): “Today was another productive day considering the conditions were difficult. We were able to go through the test plan and trim the car out to where we wanted it. We have a good idea of how much we can push. We wanted to take progressive steps but not be too aggressive because it was a windy day. There was a headwind in Turn 1 early in the day, and then it started shifting and then Turn 3 started to get difficult. We just had to be smart, and I had to be very precise with the information I was giving to the engineers so that we could make the proper changes.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): “Team Penske continued working on the car today. We tried to take advantage of the traffic out there and the warmer temperatures. We started working on our qualifying setup, and we were making some good progress before the rain came. I think we are going in the right direction. Hopefully tomorrow we’ll have a chance to continue and improve even more.”
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske): “We actually continued doing some work on our race car today, and we transferred over to working on our qualifying setup. We were able to do some runs in the different track conditions. This place is so big that the wind direction and the weather changes the track from corner to corner. We were able to get a good read on a few different conditions today and increase our overall knowledge moving toward qualifying and the race.”
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing): “All we did were qualifying simulations today, and for whatever reason, we weren’t as fast as we were expecting to be. For that matter, I don’t think we were as fast as we were some days before, so we’re going through everything. Today served us very well in getting the car to where we thought we needed to be downforce-wise, but the speed didn’t translate for the amount of downforce and drag we had, so we’re checking everything to find out why. We have to improve a little bit, there’s something not quite right.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 30 The Quick Trim/RLR Special): “I can’t say enough about the guys on this Quick Trim/Rahal Letterman Racing team and their level of commitment to making this car as good as it can be. We feel we have a pretty good car. We are running quick times when we are out there by ourselves, and we still haven’t fully trimmed our car out in qualifying mode, so we feel there is more to be gained. I really don’t think we are too far off with this car. I’ve had cars here that have been fast in the last couple of years, but never one that is as fast as this one that feels as good as this car does. I am very excited about our chances as qualifying and the race gets nearer.”
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 41 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing): “We haven’t really messed with the rear wing yet. We took a little bit of downforce off, starting to lean more toward a qualifying setup, and we did find some more speed. The car’s still good and comfortable, so when we take more downforce off we’ll find more speed and our balance should still be good. The rain hurt us because we pretty much baselined what we ended with yesterday, and we came back to make some changes and then it started raining, so we didn’t get to see what our changes were going to do.”
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Team Window World): “Fortunately, we did get some track time early. Today was all about qualifying. We took the Window World Dallara out and did some qualifying runs. We tried to stay outside of traffic as much as we could and tried to get clean runs, which we did. We still need to find a little bit more speed, so we’re going to make some changes to the car. Fast Friday leading into qualifying day is going to be important, so hopefully we do get some track time tomorrow.”
TOWNSEND BELL (No. 99 Herbalife Ganassi/Schmidt Racing): “It rained again today, but it didn’t prevent us from getting lots of laps in before it came. We think we have a very good race setup on the car. Now, we’re ready to go qualifying.”
MARIO ROMANCINI (No. 34 Conquest Racing): “It was another productive day for us. We were able to work a bit more on the race setup, and are definitely improving the car. On the second part of the session, we tried to do some qualifying simulations, but the rain came before we could do too much. We still have a few more things that we would like to try on the car tomorrow, but will have to wait and see what the weather does. If we can’t get the track time that we need, then we will have to do our best to try everything during the two our practice session before qualifications on Saturday.”
BERTRAND BAGUETTE (No. 36 Conquest Racing RACB): “Today was a bit too short, unfortunately. We had a good first part of the day working on our race trim. We were able to try a lot of things on the car, and now have a better idea of what we want. Toward the end of the session, we went out to work on our qualifying trim, but we were only out for one lap when the rain started. The lap we were able to get in was quite quick, so we are confident in the direction that we are moving for this weekend.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): “We finally got the chance to run in the sunshine today, at least for a little while. We made some changes to the Verizon car ahead of practice this morning, and we had some really good, steady laps out there preparing for qualifying this weekend. We obviously want to be in the fast nine cars Saturday so we have a chance at the pole, and we focused quite a bit on that today. Hopefully tomorrow won’t be a washout, but Team Penske will do everything we can to be prepared on Saturday, either way.”
JAY HOWARD (No. 66 Service Central/Sarah Fisher Racing): “I am pretty happy about how today went for the Service Central car. We gained speed throughout practice and finished the day strong. During the rain delay, I decided to decorate my helmet by having fans sign it. I even had my No. 1 fan, Bailey Ebaugh from the Alley Cats, sign and leave a note on my helmet. I really hope the weather cooperates tomorrow so we can continue to improve the car, leading into qualifying.”
SARAH FISHER (No. 67 Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing): “The 67 Dollar General car had a different strategy today with the weather looking ominous for tomorrow. We decided to split strategies with the 66 car to tackle more than one area. I’m pretty confident in the changes we made afternoon, but I just wish we had more track time today. I’m hoping the weather works in our favor for our last full day of practice tomorrow.”
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com): “It’s disappointing that the rain came and cut the final hours of practice short. The GoDaddy car started the day off with a few challenges but was getting better as the day went on, so it’s frustrating that we didn’t get a chance to finish the day and see where we really stand. If we can get the grip we need to be able to trim the car out, then I think we’ll be fast.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): “It wasn’t a bad day for the Venom team. We know how finicky this place can be, so you begin to build confidence when you can replicate a good setup from day to day. Hopefully tomorrow we can start off just as good as we were today – if that happens we know we’ll be in good shape. I wasn’t as concerned about speeds today because we know that the speed is going to come with taking off downforce, but in order to take downforce off you have to have the grip. So we’re really working now on the feel of the car and getting ready for Saturday.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD): “We ran the IZOD car in qualifying trim today, same as our teammates, but unfortunately we still just can’t seem to find the speed they have. The car’s balance is good, so we’ll just keep chipping away at things and try our best to be ready in time for Saturday. Hopefully the weather will hold off, so we can get some good track time in tomorrow.”
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 FAZZT Race Team): “It was just another super day. The car has just been fantastic. We did some running by ourselves today, and we saw that the car is quick. We definitely have a shot this weekend during qualifying, so we just have to baby this thing around and make sure we keep it all together. The B&W crew is just doing a great job and giving me an outstanding car. It is one of the fastest cars here, so far so everyone is very excited. We have one more day to wait until we put it on the track and try to make it all happen for qualifying.” (About qualifying): “I think we will get out whenever we draw for Saturday because our car seems to be good anytime of the day, so whatever we draw, we go out and put a lap on the board and see what everyone else does.”
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (No. 29 William Rast/Bryan Herta Autosport): “I think today’s practice was good, and I have to thank Bryan Herta and Sebastian (Saavedra) for giving me the opportunity to get in their No. 29 car today. It was a nice little test. After driving trucks in Brazil the last few months, the first few laps here felt like I was in a rocket ship. It took me only two laps to go flat all the way around above 220 mph, so I still know how to do it. I think I could improve the car a little bit for them and I ran a 222.278 mph by myself, so I think they will be able to qualify this car, and I hope I will have my car to qualify, as well.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 29 William Rast/Bryan Herta Autosport): “With the weather, we didn’t get to do as much as we were expecting today but there were positive things. One was Bruno (Junqueira) actually getting into the car. Not having a teammate, we wanted someone who had experience and who knows his way around here to bring this knowledge not only to me but to the team, as well. What we learned is that we are going in the right direction. He felt that the setup of the car is what you want to have here and that we are in a good position to keep working for the speed as we have been doing.”
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 22 Team Z-Line Designs/DRR): “We mainly worked on the race setup today. It started out a little tricky, but we made some changes and suddenly it came back into line and felt really good, and was the most comfortable I’ve ever felt it. I sat right behind a couple of guys, and the car was good and that was nice. I feel confident about it now. When we went back out, we changed to the qualifying setup, and it rained. We didn’t get to do any quick running today. We just sat in traffic to make sure that the car felt good. I think we made some improvements. I would have liked to get some more runs in the qualifying setup, but that’s how it goes.”
ANA BEATRIZ (No. 25 Ipiranga/DRR): “We continued to progress today and kept trying new things, especially the ones that we tried yesterday. Some of the things that I liked really helped the car. I was able to get out there and do some fast laps by myself. At the end, I really felt comfortable and happy that I could run well out there by myself. I was hoping to get out there with some traffic, but we will see for tomorrow.”
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 23 Mona Vie/DRR): “We did two long race runs. We went out there with Justin and a couple of other cars. The second run was a little bit better. I wanted to get back out there and work on our qualifying car, but unfortunately it started to rain again. Hopefully tomorrow we will get a break in the weather. Overall, the car was good.”
MIKE CONWAY (No. 24 Dad’s Root Beer/DRR): “Today was pretty good. The goal for the day was to try things for qualifying. Unfortunately, we didn’t get through the things that we wanted to try. We have a good idea of where we are going to end up on Saturday, and I think we are looking OK. I think we have some good speed, and all of our cars seem very similar. Justin, Ana, Tomas and myself will have a pretty close call between all of us, and hopefully it will be enough to keep us in the top 24.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology): “It was another good day for the Lotus – KV Racing Technology team despite the weather turning unstable. We ran most of the day in traffic to evaluate race setup. I now feel more comfortable and have a greater understanding, which is nice. I was able to do one run in qualifying setup, which was a great feeling to be going fast. I think it was a productive day, and I hope we can do some more runs in traffic and qualifying simulation before Saturday.”
E.J. VISO (No. 8 PDVSA-Jet Aviation-KV Racing Technology): “I want to thank the PDVSA – KV Racing Technology team for working so hard to get my backup car ready for today. After having such a big shunt a couple of days ago and having a day off to recover, I’m still not a 100 percent, but was able to put a few runs together. Unfortunately it wasn’t as many as we would have liked. We decided to have a very conservative downforce level, so I could get comfortable again, and every time we tried to trim, the rain would come. I am looking forward to qualifying. Every little detail is worth a lot, so hopefully tomorrow we can run more laps and improve the car for Saturday.”
MARIO MORAES (No. 32 KV Racing Technology): “I think today was a good day for the KV Racing Technology team. We made some progress running without traffic and focusing on our qualifying setup, but we still need to work on finding some more speed. We will see how the next couple of days go, but I think we have a good chance in qualifying.”
PAUL TRACY (No. 15 GEICO – KV Racing Technology): (On handling grudges between drivers): “I’ve had my grudges with people, and there’s certain people that I haven’t gotten along with, but I get along with everybody, for the most part. I guess the most famous grudge of mine would be with (Sebastien) Bourdais; we were like oil and water.” (About today): “I had a great day today. Tony (Kanaan) gave me a big tow today and gave me a quick lap. It feels good to be back in the paddock and part of something. It’s frustrating to sit out.” (On the Pole Day format): “I haven’t been out here as much and gotten used to the downforce levels being trimmed way off and doing the four-lap qualifying runs with the car being super trimmed out. So asking the driver to go and stick his neck out on the line once is hard enough because the car is free and sliding and dancing to get the speed. To do that multiple times and sticking your neck out, I can predict that someone is going to step over that line.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): “I think everybody knows how we pulled those speeds up. Everybody has been doing it all week. The car felt good, and although it was in the draft; you have to have a good car to get those kinds of speeds. We worked on qualifying today along with a lot of people. It’s going to be very interesting on Saturday if it rains tomorrow. It’s a very tight field. I’m happy, and we’re working in the right direction.” (On the pole): “Right now, I don’t see anybody else besides the three Penske and the two Ganassi guys to be on the pole, to be honest with you. Unless somebody finds something between now and Saturday; I think we’re going to see that they’re going to play between themselves.” (On strategy for the Pole Day format): “If I’m ninth and I think I have a shot to be sixth, which would mean moving up a row, then I’m going to do it. But if I’m moving up to seventh; what’s the point? I’m only moving from the outside to the inside. It’s tough to say. I mean, if you think can improve, then you’re going to go out again but if not, why take the risk?” (Opinion on the Pole Day format): “Qualifying-wise, I think it’s great. I think it adds to it. Qualifying is the most stressful day of the month for all of us, and you used to be stressed out the whole time and only a couple guys would be stressed out at the end of the day. You’re wondering, ‘Am I going to beat him or is he going to beat me?’ It happened to me three times with Helio. I beat him once, and he beat me twice at six o’clock. Now we’ll have nine guys stressed out. It’s going to make our days a lot longer because you’ll have to go out again at 4:30.” (On the mental side of Pole Day): “Mentally, it requires a lot more. I was playing out a couple scenarios and trying to figure out the new format. I pretty much said, “You used to go out and do the four laps while hanging on for your life, and you put it in the field sixth and think: ‘That’s it. I’m happy. I’m going to go home.’ Now I have the risk to actually lose that spot and start ninth. The people that are going to suffer are the guys at the edge, which you’re going to have plenty of because of the tight field, they’re going to wonder, ‘Can I do it again?'” (On handling grudges between drivers): “At the track, you’re always going to have a problem with somebody. I think that the fast guys, we try to sort it out, but there’s some people that are just stupid. I’m not going to waste my energy if I don’t respect that person. I would get mad at PT (Paul Tracy) or Helio; we get mad at each other each weekend, and we fly home together, but some people do stupid stuff just to do it or prove a point. I don’t hold anything against them, but normally it’s the people that you don’t race against every weekend. You have to understand that people have different pressures. You’re always going to have somebody that doesn’t like you and somebody that does. That’s just the way it is.”
FRIDAY’S SCHEDULE (all times local):
Indianapolis 500 practice
The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues May 30 with the 2010 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at noon (ET) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway The race will air live on VERSUS.