The Racing Capital
of the World
May 19, 2013 | By Paul Kelly
CONOR DALY (No. 41 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “It's nice to get it all done for once, and it's exciting to get it done early. It will be nerve-wracking the rest of the day, I'm sure. But if we have to go out again, that's fine. I know exactly where we can find some more speed. We'll just see what happens. If we're solidly in, I don't think there is any point in going again. But I think there is a little bit if we have to. We'll just have to see how it all plays out. I have to thank the crew for all they've done. I think they had the car apart at least 15 times after the crash and the problems we had (Saturday). We got the engine back about 8:30 last night, and they worked late getting it back in.”
BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Lazier Partners Chevrolet): “I was disappointed that we slowed down from this morning. We ran 225s this morning. The track has changed a little bit. We kind of knew that, but I think the track was a little hotter than we had anticipated. It is nice to know that we have more speed in the car, if and when we need it.” (What are the biggest challenges of this track?) “It’s always about race car setup, pace and finding a rhythm as a driver. At this place, you really have to concentrate really well, but it really is about driver and setup. The combination of the two is so important here.” (How do you compare the year you won the Indy 500 to your experience so far this year?) “I think they are both fantastic because they are both testing me as a person. I like that. I enjoy the process very much.”
KATHERINE LEGGE (No. 81 Angie’s List Schmidt Peterson Pelfrey Honda): “We wanted to go out and get one in the books. We had less than 20 laps of practice. Just wanted to get one in the books and feel comfortable in what we were doing, then start trimming in practice for another attempt maybe later in the day. I'm so fortunate that the team has been amazing, massively grateful for the opportunity. Would it be great to have a week's preparation? Yes. But I know by the end of the day, we will have this beat, so I'm not worried.”
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Sarah Fisher Hartman/Century 21 Honda): “It was a tough deal yesterday. We didn’t even think we would have to go out for a second attempt. We knew it was going to be close. We had a rough run. We had a couple of issues. But even with that, we thought we would be just fine. I was disappointed for the guys because it wasn’t representative of the speed that we had in our car. That’s OK. It happens around this place. Indy is a tough place to figure out.
Sometimes it bites you. Honestly, if it is going to bite us in qualifying, I am OK with that. Hopefully, we can just get the race right. That is what it is all about.” (What is your mindset on starting further back in the field on Race Day?): “It is different starting in the middle or the back compared to the front. But, in the essence of things, it is still 200 laps. You have a long race ahead of you, and you have to figure out exactly what you have to do to maintain the whole race. Anything can happen at any point. Whether you start in the front, the back, or in the middle – bad things can happen during the Indy 500 to anybody. You just have to minimize that. I think it is a little bit harder to start from the back but definitely not impossible. You can start anywhere in the race with a fast car and win this thing.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Midas/Big O Tires Honda): “I have been in this spot before, so I knew this would be the way it would be. I thought yesterday we would be quicker – fought some small uphill battles and couldn't get through it. Right away this morning, the car was back up in the 226's, so I just knew the car had plenty of speed in it to get four laps and move on. It was far more on edge today than it was yesterday. When you start to get the temperatures like this, it starts to slide around significantly more. I could feel the wind gusts, so it was pretty on edge a couple of times. You just get your four laps done holding your breath, and I'm really proud of the Midas boys. This hasn't been the easiest of weeks, but now it’s time to work on some race prep.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 6 Dragon Racing Chevrolet): “It’s something that we’re still not very satisfied, knowing that we had a lot more speed in the beginning of the week. But this is how this place works. We’ve just got to continue to focus. It’s hard to be in Bump Day. Psychologically, it really affects everybody. But, for sure, we just need to make it in the show. It doesn’t matter where you start here at the end. It’s just having a good race car and going from there” (Is the run better when the paint stays on the car?): “That’s one of the theories that we have. Unfortunately, the white color doesn’t seem to be the quickest. But it’s something where we just got to continue going. We did a pretty decent run out there, but we’re still missing that mile an hour that went.” (Any idea where the speed went?): “I think the heat is, for sure, a big factor. You know, you’re sliding a lot more out there.
But at the end, everyone’s got the same situation. We’re seeing some big numbers out there. We’ve just got to keep it safe. I think now we need to focus on the race setup. It’s the last real practice with everybody out there. We just need to cross our fingers that we are already in the show and just focus on having a good race car.”
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 55 Lucas Oil/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “It’s very stressful. Someone’s going to be very sad tonight. I don’t want to be that guy. I think we have the car to do it. We just have to put it together. It was a good run. It was sketchier than yesterday with the hot temps. It’s too bad we had a limiter issue. We hit the rev limiter a few times, which kind of killed our average.
The car was very fast. I was very happy with it. But hopefully we won’t have to go back out.” (You said you hit the rev limiter): “Yeah, the hard limiter, about three times I think. It really kind of killed us.” (Is that a gearing issue?): “Uh, it’s tough. We’re supposed to have a soft limiter. Sometimes it just goes straight to the hard limiter. It’s kind of out of our control. If we go to longer gears, then we’re not fast getting out of the turns. It’s a tough one.” (On his first experience at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in an Indy car): “I raced in (Firestone) Indy Lights last year here, which was easier, obviously. I never expected it to be easy. It’s very hard, especially in qualifying trim. The car is on the edge. You have to hit your line perfectly to keep it, first off, on track then, second, to go fast. It’s hard. I was expecting it. It was very stressful, this Bump Day. But it’s what makes Indy what it is. So I’m very happy to be here. I’ve been looking forward to it for so many years. It’s pretty amazing.”
ANA BEATRIZ (No. 18 Ipiranga Honda): “It was OK but a little different than yesterday. We were a mile slower than we were yesterday, so that broke my heart a little bit, watching the dash. It’s a bit warmer out there. We had some difference in the attitude in the car, and that hurt us on the first lap. It hurt our momentum. We can go faster. I would love to be up to 225 like we were yesterday. It’s always a struggle when it gets hot because you need grip to go fast. This is my second time for Bump Day, and it is very stressful.”
PIPPA MANN (No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “I’m much happier than I was this time yesterday (Saturday). This was a nice, clean run. We almost had four really nice clean laps. The wind must have picked up. On my last lap, I got rammed hard into the rev limiter, and we lost a lot of speed. When that happened, it cost us a mile per hour. We could get a little more (speed) if we needed to.
Overall, I’m pleased with the run. We have gotten a lot done. I cannot thank Dale Coyne and Cyclops Gear enough for this opportunity. But I’m happy right now, much less stressed than I was yesterday.”
MICHEL JOURDAIN JR. (No. 17 Office Depot Honda): “It was hard all week; we struggled. Right away, I thought the car to be very good, but when you only drive once a year, it’s just so hard. Some days the car was getting better; some days not. Yesterday was the lowest point. So we tried James (Jakes) setup, as he was the fastest of the three cars. In Turn 4 of the first lap, I almost spun. I thought this car was undriveable. Then we put Graham (Rahal) in the car. His same setup, even his steering wheel. It was impossible for him to make a difference; he just couldn't drive it. He got to 204 and said, ‘I can't go any faster.’ The only thing we could do was something stupid and put the car into the wall and not make the race anyway, so there's no point in that. We know, for sure, that there is something wrong with the car, for sure. Something bent, broken, loose, bending. Something is broken in the middle of the car we have not seen. Mike Conway drove this car in Long Beach, and it was OK. But there is something wrong; we don't know. Earlier in the week, I hadn't driven these cars in a year and was running in traffic. First day I was having so much fun. The car was easy to drive and so much fun to drive. Today it was just impossible.”