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96th Indianapolis 500 Race Day Quotes - May 27, 2012

96th INDIANAPOLIS 500 RACE DAY QUOTES – May 27, 2012


JEAN ALESI (No. 64 Lotus-FP Journe-Fan Force United Lotus): “Frustration is a part of my job. We worked hard. It’s a shame we cannot be out there. This regulation is fair. I want to come back next year. Well, you know, everything was new for me. From the first day that I arrived, saw the car and met my team, I understood that we had to work hard, and we did. There is a part of the job that can be fixed on the track, but we had an engine that was not competitive straightaway, and we had to deal with it. We tried many things to avoid a lack of performance, but it could not be overcome. So it is difficult to be out of the race. However, I’ve learned a lot about this new racing discipline, and I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve had fantastic people around me, and I’ve really loved being a part of this great event, meeting lots of friendly and passionate fans, and spending time here in Indiana. I leave with a lot of respect for the Indy 500, an event I’ve followed from afar for many years, and I hope to return next year. I will start to prepare now.”

BRYAN CLAUSON (No. 39 Sarah Fisher Hartman/Curb Agajanian Honda): “It wasn’t good (after spin). We were struggling with the handling and not getting any speed out of it.”

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus HVM Racing Lotus): “I’m disappointed, but we didn’t have speed from the beginning. I understand the call. We have to have more horsepower to be competitive. The guys really worked hard. We’ll see what happens next year. I’m pretty disappointed to get black-flagged after only a few laps. We were trying to keep up pace, but unfortunately right now we don’t have the pace, so now we have to work hard to get to the pace that we need to. It’s a disappointment because the team worked so hard all month, and when you can’t fit for anything, it’s really, really tough. So we just have to kind of be patient with it and we have to work even harder to kind of mask a little bit the lack of speed we have right now.”

WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 41 ECat/ABC Supply Honda): “At about 30 laps, the motor started winding down, and I could no longer run sixth gear. We made our first pit stop early, which indicated we had a problem in the engine. The engine never really ran after that. It’s heartbreaking. I’ve worked seven months to put this together to find the sponsorship to make a contract with Larry (Foyt) that would work for everyone, with our sponsor ECat and ABC. We were going forward on the start and on the one restart we had. The car was solid, but we had a mechanical problem with the engine or an electrical issue, and the engine wouldn’t go over 11,000 rpm, so rather than get in the way and potentially ruin someone else’s race, we pulled it back here to the garage.”

MIKE CONWAY (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “My mistake coming into the pits. Came in a bit too hard and collected some of my guys, and that screwed up the front wing and we didn’t realize it till I got out . Through Turns 3 and 4, it felt a little wiggly, and I thought it was just tire temperatures. But down the front straight when I went down into turn 1, I could see one of the endplates sticking up in the air. I knew it wouldn’t be right turning in, so I tried to back out just going in. But I knew Will was close behind me so I didn’t want to back out too much, and the car got very loose, which I was able to correct it once. But it broke loose again, and I couldn’t catch it the second time and then I was just a passenger onboard. I’m very sorry for my guys; I’m glad that they are OK. I’m sorry for our sponsor ABC Supply as the car was really good, and we were moving up through the field.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “(Conway) said the team sent him out with a broken wing. I don’t understand why they would do that. I’m fine, but I’m just disappointed for the Verizon guys. All the work they put in this month, and to be just taken out that. Obviously, both of us are OK. We’ll move on.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “It was pretty close and (Dario Franchitti and Takuma Sato) got a run on me into (Turn) 1 there. Sato was definitely a guy throwing it in there all day, and he tried to do the same thing to Dario. I thought we were going to get really lucky because they touched, and I thought they were both going to end up in the fence. Credit to Dario. He had a bad start to the day and came through the field. It’s a 1-2 finish for Target on their 50th anniversary. You couldn’t have it a better way. I just wish the No. 9 was first. He drove a hell of a race and definitely deserved it.” (Where did Honda’s performance come from?): “I think (Honda) have been working hard, and mileage to start the month was pretty high. They worked hard on the race engine and fuel mileage, and I think fuel mileage was the biggest part today. We definitely had the Chevys covered. Real happy for Honda. What a way to win their first race of the year. They can forget about the other four. To come out and win Indy in their first attempt against Chevy is pretty cool.” (About the podium and the relationship to Dan Wheldon): “It’s pretty crazy how it all lines up. Dan still owes me one, I think. Dario did a fantastic job. All of us wish Dan was still here racing with us. He’s a hell of a guy and left a big void and hole in all of our lives. I hope we put on a good race for the fans, and I’m sure he’s smiling down on us.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team RC Cola Chevrolet): “(Oriol) Servia decided to run two-wide at Indianapolis for two consecutive laps and makes me turn in from the white line. I had no hope of making that corner because not only am I turning in from the white line, he just crossed my bow, so I was completely out of it. Nothing I can do. I’m disappointed. I definitely rang my bell. I’m disappointed for the RC Cola guys; they deserved it. It wasn’t over by any means at that point.”

RUBENS BARRICHELLO (No. 8 BMC/Embrase KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): “It was a great achievement today. The first oval experience; it was very different than anything I've done. We carried too much downforce all the way. That kept me safe. It kept me racy. I mean, I could race sometimes, but it was very hard to follow people and to keep it running fast. You could see that people were in a much lower level of downforce that were in front of us. I'm still very proud of what the team has achieved. It's a pity that we didn't finish top 10, just outside. But I can be proud of that for my first time out. We had some problems with fuel pressure, so that was, sometimes I was having some lift from the engine, the engine would die on me. Apart from that, I think we were carrying a little bit too much downforce to be racy right at the end. But having said that, I had a wonderful afternoon. You learn who races a little bit harder, who races a little bit more friendly. But the last 20 laps, I tell you, they are completely different from the whole other 180. It’s just, people are just really, really going for it, as I did, but like I said I was flat out all the way through, but I had a bit too much push.” (How was your first “500” experience compared to your expectations?): "I didn't have much to expect, to be honest with you. People were racing hard. At 220, 225 (mph), it's just madness out there sometimes. But sometimes people are good. Some of them have more respect than others, but all in all, I had a positive afternoon.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): “What an incredible weekend. Not only the weekend, but also the month of May. I was going for the win. On the last restart, we jumped from seventh to fifth, then taking fourth, third, second. I kept pushing and overtaking. On the very last lap, I had a good tow from Dario. I thought I had the job done. But he kept pushing and didn’t give me enough room, so that I was well below the white line. But an outstanding job by the team. It was a very exciting race.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): “It was a lot of learning for me today. It was pretty exciting in the first two stints. It took me a while to get it, but by the end I was being pretty aggressive on the restarts and picked up some positions. I’m pretty happy with that. We need to find some speed, as well. We probably could have had some different gears. We passed people in the pits because the guys were incredible in the pit stops, like usual. I’m glad to bring my HP car home in one piece, as well. It’s good because we’re testing in Milwaukee on Tuesday. I’m going to keep learning on the ovals, and I’m going to win one before the season’s over. A top-10 would have been a good result, but we came home 16th. But that’s OK for my first one. The car is in one piece and in good shape.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman/Dollar General Honda): "We were struggling from the start. We had a couple of issues trying to get gears in the pits, which put us back in a bad position. We kept fighting, though. We did a great job of staying in the hunt. We got really lucky when we got our lap back. We just kept pounding on the laps and finally got it back. Then it seems like we lost a bank. It was just unfortunate that we didn’t get to finish the race. There were drivers who were crazy at the beginning, and others were taking it easy. It was similar to what I thought it would be. I was really focused on racing and the car. I could see that the place was more crowded, but I was so focused on the cars in front of me that I wasn’t really paying attention to the crowd for those first few corners.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 38 Service Central Honda): “Tough day for the Service Central guys. We worked our way up there in the start, and the car felt pretty good, initially. Then it started to get really loose. I feel bad for the Service Central guys. They worked really hard, but we just didn’t have it today. We just didn’t have quite enough. I feel bad for the NTB/Service Central guys. The guys worked hard. We worked hard all month. If you had asked me coming into today that our car would handle the way it did, I would have never said, 'Yes.' But it did. It was a handful. I'm just glad it's in one piece. It was very loose all day. I just didn't expect it. That's not at all what I thought we would have had going into it. I haven't had that at all, yet, this month. Unfortunately, we just didn't have enough straight-line speed, either. I don't know what else to say. It was a frustrating day. We really had high expectations, high hopes to run up there with our teammates. It just didn't work out.”

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet): “I had a pretty good car. I was driving a lot in traffic. We were probably running a bit less downforce than the Ganassi cars. But man, they were fast. They were fast. It was good. I had a good race car that second-to-the-last one (pit stop.) I made a few positions and certainly got ourselves back in the game. It was a long and hot day. It was pretty tiring out there. I’m a bit upset. I really wanted to win this, and we had a good shot at it. Hopefully, we can come back next year and try again.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Shell V-Power/Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was a very good car – a comfortable car. But, unfortunately, going to the next phase, I couldn’t do it, especially on the restarts. First we chose the wrong lane, or second, it would never get the draft. It was very weird. We tried high downforce. We tried low downforce. Certainly it was not what I was expecting. I knew I had a good car but not on that pace. It was a pace that I wasn’t very happy with. The team did a great job. It was another top-10. Hopefully, in the points, it didn’t hurt us much. Congrats to Ganassi – one and two. Dario is a three-time winner now, so he joined the club. I’m happy for them.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 Team AFS Chevrolet): “We were running a pretty strong race. We had an amazing car. We made very little adjustments in the early stops. From then on, we tried to push leaders. We got a drive-through penalty and tried to stay positive. It was an amazing job by the AFS crew, but in the end we had a mechanical failure. We tried to fix it, but we couldn’t find the problem. So we called it a day.”

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 18 Sonny’s BBQ Honda): “I think it was a good day. The No. 18 car was fantastic! I was really enjoying driving it. We had some great stops and some great restarts. I just seemed to get jumped on the green on that last one and got shuffled around. It’s disappointing but it’s just racing, We’ll keep trying and try to be in the right position for the next one.”

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 22 Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Chevrolet): “We got a flat spot on our first stint and I was like, ‘Wow, a lap down already’. Usually, you get a chance to get your lap back and it didn’t happen until the last pit stop. We were last, but on the lead lap. I knew it was our chance. Every restart, we moved forward. It was like non-stop. If there was one more restart, I think we would have had something for the win. But, I’m not complaining. Basically last to fourth. I’m super happy. We never gave up. We had a couple of issues. We knew we could do it together. We finished second in the pit stop competition and showed that we have nothing to fear from the big teams. We showed that again on the restarts. I’m extremely proud of all of us.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 GEICO/Mouser Electronics KVRT Chevrolet): “To lose the race this way, battling until the end … it’s not a loss. I had a lot of fun. I mean, the first thing I did when I passed the five cars on the restart, I looked at the grandstands because I wanted to see the people. They were all up and cheering for me. During the yellow flag, I can see it. People were screaming. It’s awesome. I love this place. I can’t thank enough the Hulman-George family and everybody. What a great way, what a great race to honor Dan Wheldon today.” (About friends of Dan Wheldon finishing in top three. It’s not ironic.): “Not at all. I think that shows what friendship is all about. We separated the men from the kids today in this race. Like I said, it was an awesome way.” (About last lap): “On the last lap, I was trying to set up Scott. I knew I was a sitting duck on that restart, and then I see Taku going on the inside of Dario, and I know Dario. I said, ‘Either they’re both going to crash, and I’m going to have to pass Dixon for the win, or Dario’s going to win.’ And Dario won.” (About message to Franchitti when passing him for the lead): “Tell my teammate – I call Dario teammate – we’ll do it like old times. He knew exactly what I was doing. We’ll play it really well, and we’ll play it on the last lap. And that’s what we did.” (About tributes to Dan Wheldon): “We’ve got to thank the fans. What a hot day, and the stands were packed. I can’t thank then enough. I made sure to look up on Lap 26 and 77 to see all of those people in white glasses. It was awesome. It was a great day. I think it was a great day.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): “All day long, we had fun. There was dicing. A lot of times this race, you ride around for 100 laps. Not today. Everybody was on it. It felt like I had just done 200 qualifying laps. It’s brilliant. I give a lot of credit to the Novo-Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew. The car was rock-solid all day. I could save fuel in the draft while running 217 (mph) behind guys. It gave us that shot. When the yellow came out, we didn’t have to get a wave around. We were up front. We stayed up front. The car delivered when I needed it. I didn’t quite deliver. I need another year or two to work on the restarts, but I’ve learned the lessons. Next year will be even better.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 Team DHL/Sun Drop Citrus Soda Chevrolet): “We had a good car. We were just taking our time, saving fuel. We were behind the Ganassi cars and ready to do battle later on. We had a really bad vibration with one of the tires earlier. And then, something happened with the CV joint on the back. It came off. All the grease came out. We’re lucky we didn’t crash.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “It was a weird day for us. Rubens blocked me one time, and I hit him and bent our front wing. We had to change the wing, and then we had to go back to the original wing at the end. The front wing failed all day for us. We kept trimming out rear wing because we weren’t able to adjust the front wing. I had nearly spun out a couple of times before I finally do it. It was fun to go from 11th to third there. But I was racing for a win, and I just spun out. I feel badly for our Fuzzy’s crew, but they worked hard last week to get a car prepared in a day for qualifying. If the Dallara part had worked, I think had a real chance to win the race. The washer on the wing failed early in the race, and we just get it to work. I felt like I was in the battle to win the race. It was where I thought I should be late in the race. We had a great team effort from the team all month. They rallied to get us back in the race after the qualifying crash, and they had great stops today. It was nice to get the car upfront for Fuzzy’s and everyone involved in the car. I thought we had a real chance today. When I got to the front, I just my foot in it to try to win the ‘500.’ But it just wasn’t meant to be.”

ANA BEATRIZ (No. 25 Team Ipiranga Chevrolet): “It was challenging. We came to this race really not knowing what the setup felt like. I had to trust in my teammates, so it was difficult. But the car felt good, a little bit stuck. We took some downforce off, and right about then I got together with Ed (Carpenter). He didn't give me any space. I don't think I had much angle, and I lost the rear exiting Turn 1. It was very fast, very sudden. It was very unfortunate. But in a positive way, I was lucky I could go back on track. We lost some laps, but we were able to finish the race, and that's the most important thing. I'd like to thank Andretti Autosport for their effort today.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 Team GoDaddy.com Chevrolet): “With so few laps heading down to the end of the Indy 500, everybody gets a bit nuts. The restarts were the big issue. Guys were falling back and doing these big running restarts. It’s really not in the spirit of the rules. It’s not what we’re supposed to do. It created some massive closing rates, and it really made it a mess on those first couple of laps after a restart. I was trying to drive with some dignity out there, and I guess some other people decided not to do that when there were only 30 to go in the ‘500.’ I’m a bit disappointed with sixth. We had a good car. I had a bad pit stop early that we fought back from. That was my fault. I think we had a third or fourth finish in us today. You know, I’m getting sick of this number six. Every time we finish sixth, we’ve had more than that on the table, and for one reason or another we haven’t put it together. So I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if sixth is a bad day for us, we’re doing something right. The car was pretty good early on. We fought the balance a little bit and were a little bit loose early. We worked on the car and had on bad pit stop, which put us to the back, and we spent the middle part (of the race) trying to get back up. Then we were running up there in fourth and fifth and were the top running Chevy for a while. On that last stop, I overshot the (pit) box by a mile and really put us back there, and I feel terrible for it. I think we had the pace for third or fourth place, but with these restarts and the way these (other drivers) are falling back and getting these big runs, it’s not in the spirit of competition, and I try to drive with some dignity out there. I guess when it’s 30 (laps) to go in the Indy 500, that goes out the window for everybody else. But it’s another sixth place finish, and it’s good for points. Big thanks to all of the Andretti Autosport crews for the entire month, and I’m just happy to bring the GoDaddy car home and in a reasonable position.”

TOWNSEND BELL (No. 99 BraunAbility-Schmidt Pelfrey Motorsports Honda): “I think this car punches a pretty good hole in the air. When you get a run on somebody, you can really accelerate into that hole and pop out. Everyone seemed pretty racy today. I had a lot of fun. I hope everyone’s OK from the crashes. It was a heck of an Indy 500. It’s amazing Dario pulls it off again. We’re thrilled with a top-10 finish. We’re a small team. I didn’t quite have the straightaway speed we thought we should have today, but we’re proud to finish in the top 10.” (About race progress): “Smooth and steady. We had a big start and got out to the outside. Then we just got settled in and began to work with the car. The guys made good changes on the stops. We didn’t make any mistakes, which was our theme today – no mistakes. And we did that.” (About another top-10 finish for Bell at Indianapolis): “This year my theme was, ‘Take what you get and don’t take any more.’ And I felt like I did that all day, and it paid off. I got a little greedy there at the start and picked off six cars. I almost got in trouble there in the exit of Turn 2 up against the wall. But other than that, we made smart decisions. And I’m just really proud to give Sam a solid finish with no drama after three years. I hope to come back do it all over again next year.”

MICHEL JOURDAIN JR. (No. 30 Office Depot/RLL Racing Honda): “I was very happy to finish the race. I made a few mistakes on pit lane. We came in the pits with full speed, and we got penalized. We were running excellent with Oriol (Servia), and he did fantastic. I feel like we could have finished 10th or 11th, so it is what it is.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): "Not by anybody's doing in particular, but it just kind of ended up being a long day for us. We got caught up in somebody's pit lane incident early that put us back. Then we kept climbing our way back up through the field but then ended up continuing to run into problems. It's disappointing for the National Guard boys. We felt like we had a good shot at running up at the front today and at points during the race had that going. We'll just keep working through the season and get ready for Indy next year." (On racing the new car at Indianapolis for the first time): "The cars definitely stay closer together. But in the big scheme of things, because they're going slower, it's not too much harder to deal with. I think the conditions probably were more a factor in the guys that ended up getting up into the wall and that kind of stuff than the cars themselves.”

E.J. VISO (No. 5 CITGO/PDVSA KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): “I had a lot of good thoughts and a strong belief that we would finish in a great position today. It didn’t happen because of some issue that occurred with the car during the race. The biggest problem was a big vibration that we believed was coming from the dampers. The vibrations then caused a whole series of other problems. I feel lucky I did not put the car in the wall. I want to give a lot of credit to the team. We had a pretty smooth month of May. We learned some things and grew as a team. I didn’t have the best car out there today. However, the entire crew put in a lot of effort, and we did finish the race. I want to congratulate my teammate Tony Kanaan. He almost won this race and ended up finishing third. I believe we are getting better every race, and some good results are coming.

JAMES JAKES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): “We had quite a bit of misbalance in tires. One time, one side would be very good, and the other side isn’t so good. But you know it was my first ‘500,’ and we were the second (highest finishing) rookie. I was trying to get Rubens there at the end, but he just had a bit too much straight-line speed for us. I finished the race on the lead lap. I put myself in the position that I wanted to be in; we just didn’t have the pace to get there. I’m happy with 15th in my first Indy. I’ll just learn from this, take the points and move on to next year.”

ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 98 Team Barracuda-BHA Honda): “It was unfortunate because I think we had a car to win. Obviously, the Honda power did fantastic. We were good on fuel; mileage was amazing with our car. The balance was good. Unfortunately, we had a problem with the steering wheel, and it happened in qualifying where the weight jacker didn't work. So I lost a lot of the command (in the car). I had problems finding neutral in the pit. I couldn't really find the pit limiter. I got caught once, so I had to reset it all the time. Then the drink didn't work, so I didn't drink all race. That's pretty tough. But the weight jacker was mainly our big issue. Without being able to balance the car in traffic, out of traffic, on your own, with the turbulence and the track changing, it was pretty hard. It was tough at the end to try to make the pass. It was a lot easier at the beginning to make passes for us because we had the perfect balance. We could play with the jacker and get the thing done. At the end, we just had the sway bar. We had that electronic problem happen earlier in the week, and we have to figure out what it is. But the team did good. For one race with Honda, I think we proved to everyone we belong with Honda, and there's more to come with this team.”

KATHERINE LEGGE (No. 6 TrueCar-Dragon Racing Chevrolet): “It was 500 miles, so we really learned a lot. I’m pleased in a lot of ways but also disappointed, as it just didn’t go the way we hoped. We went a lap down early, and then you’re kind of moving backward through the field. I think we had a car to finish better than 22nd, and I hate that we didn’t finish higher because the entire TrueCar crew has worked so hard. I’m glad we finished the race, and I really thought I’d be in a lot worse shape when I got out of the car, but I feel pretty good. The Indy 500 is definitely an experience.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 7 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): “It was a very tough day. We just tried to bring it home. We kept working on the car trying to make it better. It did get a touch better, but it was just never really where we needed it to be to be able to challenge people in traffic. It's just been a long day, a long month. If we couldn't get it to the front, then the target was to bring it home with four wheels on it, and that's what we did. That's, I guess, all we could do today.”


 

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96th Indianapolis 500 Race Day Quotes - May 27, 2012
 
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