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Pole Day Qualifying Quotes (11 a.m.-4 p.m. Segment)

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): “We were slow. It’s impossible to get a clear lap in the morning. You get tows and so on. I don’t know why, but we were a little bit slower (in qualifying). Today is the day that you need a good car. I haven’t seen the data to see what happened on that first lap, but I made a mistake. I accidently hit the paddle while adjusting the roll bar on the first lap. I’ll see what that cost me. We’ll go back and look at it and make a few adjustments and maybe come out again. The first sector does count because that’s the pit selection. You want that pit out, so we’ll work closer on it. It didn’t feel as clean as my previous runs. I made a couple of mistakes in the cockpit.”

DAVEY HAMILTON (No. 21 HP de Ferran Dragon Racing): “It’s a fun month, but about 30 minutes ago I wasn’t having that much fun getting the car ready for qualifying. It’s the toughest thing we do. It’s tougher than any race. This will be my 10th time here, and it’s crazy. It’s not easy. We ran into a few problems this morning and didn’t get out for the early practice, and the guys did what is normally a two-hour change in about 40 minutes just to get me out to do some practice. We were hoping to get in the 225 range, and we’re 224.8. We’re close. I don’t know if it’s going to be worth it to go back out. I want to see where we are. We’re good, actually. The car was very balanced and probably almost too stuck.”

ANA BEATRIZ (No. 25 Ipiranga/DRR): “If I listen to some people about qualifying, I wouldn’t do it because it would be scary. I was nervous a little bit about it. In all, I was very comfortable, relaxed in the car. I knew the car could do it. This was the biggest race to qualify. I’m very happy for the team. I think we can keep 224 average, so let’s sit and wait and see what the guys can do. The practice, practice, practice and wait to qualify and wait for the race is all the same for everybody. It was a long week getting up to speed. I’m happy we finished qualifying at a pretty good speed.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): (On the waiting game on Pole Day): “It’s a long day, especially when you’re so close to the pole. We had Tagliani on our radar because we knew he was fast, and we tried to get all we could out of the car. Now we have to decide, ‘Do we go out and try to get the first pit or do we wait for the Fast Nine?’” (On importance of pit selection versus having the pole position): “We forget about the pay day that comes with the pole. The pay day is on Race Day and having the first pit certainly helps with that. I’ve already won without the first pit, so starting in the front of the mass and staying out of trouble is more important.” (On Alex Tagliani’s speed): “It just shows that every little bit counts. Tagliani is on a new team, doing well in the season, and now comes to the Indianapolis 500 and is just a hair better than Team Penske or Team Ganassi. Everybody in the race has a chance. That’s the beauty of racing against the best and having the level of competition get higher and higher.” (On having a fast warm-up lap and ending up in the second position): “I got a little excited. I thought I was lifting and it’s just one of those things where the car is pretty good, and you’re thinking, ‘Man, this is going to be fast.’ When I saw the times in the dash, I was like, ‘No, no, no…why?’ I tried to get into a good rhythm, and the car’s speed didn’t fall too much. I did have to work quite a lot in the car. When they told me where I was, I thought, ‘No, no, I shouldn’t have done that first lap.’ The front row is a great place to be, and now we have to decide what to do. I think we’ll have a car that can certainly go in the Fast Nine.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): “That was a pathetic first attempt, especially if you're trying to get into the top nine, but it' s hard to wave off a mid-224 (mph lap). But it's always good to bank (a qualification attempt). We're definitely going out again later. I was really loose the whole run, really scrubbing the tires. There is lap time in grip right now. If we can pick up grip and slide less, I think we'll go quicker. It's supposed to get hotter this afternoon, but you can't blame your run on the weather. We're a mile and a half off right now.”

JAY HOWARD (No. 66 Service Central/Sarah Fisher Racing): “I sat there in line and I saw the sun coming out, and I thought, ‘Oh, no.’ It had been overcast and cold all week. I had understeer, oversteer and sliding all over the place, hanging on for dear life. I had never experienced a car moving around like that. I was more anxious to get going. I just went out and did my thing. My heart rate was up a little bit, and not many things get my rate up. We had 15 minutes of sunshine on the track to feel that much different. I can just imagine how much it will deteriorate (speeds). This was a very special time. The experience you gain here is phenomenal. You learn to hang on, no matter, and keep your foot down. I would like to think we’re in the show.”

MILKA DUNO (No. 18 CITGO): “It was OK. I think we’ll have to try again because we had some big, big understeer in the exit of the corners. It was a good lap at the beginning, but after that, the understeer was increasing and increasing. It was not good enough like we want. I enjoy Indianapolis so much. It’s a magic place. It’s a special event. It’s just great to see everybody – all of the fans here with so much enthusiasm. It’s just fantastic. It’s big in Venezuela. Everybody knows the Indy 500. Everybody in the world follows this big race.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD) (After first attempt): “We don’t really have a qualifying car right now. We have a race car, and that’s what I’d rather have. We’re good in traffic, and the Andretti team always puts together great race cars. I mean, in Kansas we were in the back and ended up comfortably in the top five. We’ll go back and change some things and try to get some more speed out of it, but I’m just looking forward to getting through this.” (On handling the new format): “It’s been tough with the shortened week. When you lose a day or even half of a day to the weather, it puts you into race trim and qualifying trim back to back all the time. You have to cram everything into four or five days. I think this race is the best race in the world. It’s the biggest race in the world, and it should be a month long, so maybe we’ll go back there.” (On the effect of the Pole Day weather): “It has a big effect. The track is a darker surface, so it heats up really quick and it gets a little greasy. We haven’t been practicing in the sun, and we’ll have to adjust for it. These teams are good enough to do it.”

RAPHAEL MATOS (No. 2 HP de Ferran Dragon Racing): “We didn’t make the top nine, but I thought it was a consistent, good run for the team. As we planned, it was a good run for the amount of wing we carried today. And the conditions were getting so difficult. I don’t think it is worthwhile to try again. So it was a decent run. We’ll take that. I don’t think the track is going to get any better. It’s just getting greasier, and the temperature is rising really quickly. It was a consistent run, especially that first lap – it was pretty good. It’s pretty difficult with light downforce. It’s pretty risky to go out the

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