DAY 1 - Friday, Aug. 31, 2001
JAQUES LAZIER (#2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We tried some new things. We just tried to free the car up a little bit for qualifying. We got the car a little bit too free. We were kind of hanging on the first session or the first couple of laps. Then we just went out there, and we think we might have overheated it just a little bit too much. I think we lost a piston, but we got the car back to a pretty neutral position. I think we had a 219 (mph) something by ourself. So I'm still happy."
CHRIS MENNINGA (#92 Hemelgarn/Metro Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We had too much push. We're going to need to free up the car. I'm not happy right now, but we'll keep working on it. This is the first time in these cars, and I'm faster than I was in testing but not fast enough."
LAURENT REDON (#34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I had no tow. I waited too long. The yellow came out. I did 217 (mph) with no tow, but tomorrow traffic will be tougher."
JEFF WARD (#35 Heritage Motorsports Firestone Menards G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The car feels really good. We ran with full tanks this afternoon, and I'm happy with our results. There are four or five extremely fast guys out there, and we're right behind them. I think we can qualify in the first three rows tomorrow. I'll be really happy with that, because I know we have a strong race car."
BILLY BOAT (#98 CURB Records Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The CURB Records crew certainly made an improvement in our overall aero package and our drag. It's not one big thing, it's three or four little things that all add up. You might only gain one-tenth, but if you gain one-tenth a couple times it makes a really big difference where you sit on the speed chart. The surface really has a lot of grip. It seems like you can't get enough grip out of the car. No matter what, you still don't seem to change the characteristics of the car. So they've done a great job with the racetrack as far as giving us something with a lot to hold on to. We'll continue to work at it, although qualifying is going to be a little tricky as far as finding the right gear, but so far we've done a good job, and we'll just continue to work hard."
EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (#51 Cheever Indy Racing Infiniti Dallara/Firestone): "We did a lot of full tank running this afternoon and figured out a few things. We were almost as fast on full tanks as we were this morning with qualifying fuel. The wind is making the gearing very difficult. If you get the gears wrong and you have the wind in your face, you'll lose a lot of time."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (#21 Hollywood G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The track is pretty smooth, probably the smoothest one on the circuit. I'm still looking for the second groove. As the race goes on, the second groove should show up. It's going to be an exciting race, just like Kansas City. Since we have the Rookie of the Year locked up and we already have a second, we want to win a race in the last two races. That's our plan just like everyone else. We've improved quite a bit. We had a good car last race but had a problem with a bearing. So we'll see this weekend."
AL UNSER JR. (#3 Galles Racing Starz SuperPak G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Overall, I think we have a good car this weekend. We are working on different things right now to gain some more speed. I like the track, and the facilities are truly fantastic. I think the fans are going to have a blast on race day. We are coming off of a win in St. Louis, so we have good momentum going with the team. But as much fun as last weekend was, now we are focusing on Chicago and having a strong car for this race."
RICHIE HEARN (#99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We ran full tanks, and we ran in traffic. We were just mileaging out the motor. We were trimmed out. We went as fast as we could. We're going to put in the race motor tonight, and hopefully this will give us a little more because here a little more is a lot."
SAM HORNISH JR. (#4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We've got a really good race car. We've been working on a setup that lets me run strong anywhere I want to go on the track with good grip. We'll be able to find some more speed; Andy's (Brown, engineer) good at that. We're hooked up anywhere we choose to run on the track. Jim Harbaugh was nicknamed 'Captain Comeback' for his great fourth-quarter play. This is the fourth quarter. We're ready."
RICK TREADWAY (#5 Meijer G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "I'm getting up to speed quicker this weekend. Every time I get in the car, I learn something. Until my first race, I never knew what the Meijer car was like in traffic. I experienced that in Kentucky. So now I know how the car feels and how to handle it differently. I also experienced how the tires go from cold to hot. When I was running in the minor leagues, I did better on bigger tracks. I've always been a smooth kind of driver, so this track fits my driving style a bit better."
JON HERB (#18 Star Registry G Force/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We all worked real hard on the car. We worked real hard getting here. Unfortunately, we're not quite as fast as we'd like to be. We're looking for reasons for that right now, but we know we're running a pretty decent setup. We're running pretty free. I know I'm flat in the gas, so we've got to find something somewhere. The good news is we've got a new motor in the trailer, which we're going to put in the car sometime tomorrow, either before or after qualifying. We're not sure yet. It's a new team. It's a new situation. I'm really proud of these guys. They've worked real hard to get here. We picked up the car Tuesday and started working on the car Tuesday midday. We managed to get here, get the car out and not miss any time. I'm proud of that. We've got a few little kinks to work out with things. We're working on going fast, but that will come with time." (About running in hometown): "I grew up here since I was 12, until three years ago when I moved to Indy. All my friends and family are here. It's great to be here. I've got a lot of guys who support me really hard, especially now that I'm running Indy cars, they support me a lot harder. They make it to the races a little more often. Back when I was running other things, they didn't show up quite as often. So it's nice to be in their backyard. They have no excuses but to come out and see me."
BUDDY LAZIER (#91 Tae-Bo/Coors Light/Delta Faucet Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "It went really good. We made big gains from this morning to this afternoon. This afternoon we learned a lot. We found a lot of speed in about three different areas. Hopefully it will go well for tomorrow and Sunday. As far as pure speed goes, we had a real good day."
ROBBIE BUHL (#24 Team Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G Force/Infiniti/Firestone): "This is a first-class facility, there is no question about that. It is smooth out there, and there is going to be some great racing. I think it is no secret, the hard work the Infiniti Motorsports guys have done to improve this motor. Ever since we got it in March, it has only gotten better and better. We saw what Eddie did with that motor in Kansas City, and it has been capable of doing a lot more this season. Myself, with the Dreyer & Reinbold Team Purex guys, we haven't had the black-and-white results to show how fast we've been, I think. The motor is there, and it's always good to be at the top of the charts. Our team, we need to convert that to be that case on Sunday."
ROBBY McGEHEE (#10 Cahill Racing Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "We're working on some things, and there at the end of the session we figured something out. We've been working on trying to free the car up. I'm flat out here. It's one of those deals that we have to figure out how to get the drag out of the car. We were working by ourselves most of the session, but there at the end we got a tow for a little while. It's a beautiful facility; it's great. Comparing it with other tracks, it's a lot like Kansas City."
SHIGEAKI HATTORI (#55 EPSON Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "The No. 55 EPSON feels much better than it did in the first practice, and even then it felt like a good race car. The engine feels stronger, and we made adjustments to the ride that took out that roll I had in the rear. Tomorrow, we'll use the first practice to prepare for qualifying for the Delphi Indy 300."
EDDIE CHEEVER JR. (#51 Cheever Indy Racing Infiniti Dallara/Firestone): "Well, we sat down and worked with Infiniti on the type of engine we wanted the 35A to be. We just looked at the map and all of the races and a large percentage of the races we're going to be on mile-and-a-half ovals and obviously, the Indianapolis 500. We traded off some drivability at places like St. Louis and Richmond for a little bit of peak power between 10-4 and 10-7 (RPM). And that's a strategy that has worked very well, and we're very happy with it. And I would say, we've just really taken advantage of that. It works well at places like this, but there's a lot more to it than just an engine. I think good pit stops and good strategy and make sure you stop under yellows to get fuel, stuff like that."
SCOTT SHARP (#8 Delphi Automotive Systems Dallara/Oldsmobile/Firestone): "Well, we're happy with the progress the Delphi team has made. Obviously, compared to last year, we're running much more consistently towards the front of the field week in and week out. There was some good action out there, big-pack running, which helped us maybe post our time a little bit. But certainly, we're hanging in there. Both Robbie and Eddie sort of have been at the top of the charts both sessions. So we'll have to see tomorrow if we got the pace for that or not. I don't know if we do, but certainly it's nice to be towards the front, and hopefully we'll have a really good race car, which is more important than anything."