Post Race Quotes
JAQUES LAZIER (No. 5 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): “I don’t know if we had a fuel pressure problem or what. The bottom line is I was just out there kind of biding my time and waiting. I could have gotten by the two cars in front of us, but we had a little too tall of a gear. So when I did, it was pretty easy for them to get back unless I was in the tow. We were kind of biding our time because as a threesome running in a line, we were catching the leaders. There was still a lot left in the car, too; that’s the part that hurts now. The bottom line is I came here with nothing, and I learned so much today. I’m very grateful that A.J. Foyt called me, again that’s not the circumstances that I like to get the ride under. It’s an honor to have been a part of A.J. Foyt Racing. The Toyota powerplant was unbelievable. We had more left in it, too. The good news is very optimistic, and I think everyone knows we can run up there if we want to, and we’ll look forward to the future.”
ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “I heard something popping in the back, and it felt like something just broke. It looks like we lost oil pressure in the gearbox, for whatever reason. So there’s no way to cool the oil, and the gearbox just seized up. It fried the gearbox, and that was it. Our goal was to be around at the end, and it just didn’t happen.” (About the season) “Frustration doesn’t begin to cover it. Our guys have been working nonstop since the beginning of May, and the results can’t begin to how much effort they’ve all put in. We know we’ve got to move on and stay focused on what’s ahead of us, but that doesn’t make the pain go away.”
FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): “I didn’t know what happened on the track, but when I watched it on TV, I think Tora (Takagi) tried to make a move below Sharp. Not a nice move, and there was nothing I could do. I am a little sore, but I will be OK in the morning.”
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “My goal for today was to finish on the lead lap, but we didn’t do that. We came pretty close, and we did the best that we could do. These races are long and tough, and you never know what it’s going to be like until the end. We will keep working away until we can get a little bit better.”
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone): “I was fairly happy, it was a fun race, actually. You were always with someone. When you are in the draft, you get to play around with a lot of cars and see who is good and who is not racing against each other. It was a lot of fun. It was my first time here, side-by-side racing. There was a little bit of drama coming in to the pits. I came in a little hot and got sideways and nearly spun myself there. Everything is about experience, and this was my first time here.”
BUDDY LAZIER (No. 91 Victory Brand/Delta Faucet/Life Fitness Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): (What did you think of your finish? It seemed like you were hooking up with certain cars.): “We were just trying to do whatever we can. There weren’t too many cars that we could draft with, but the ones that we could draft with stuck together for the most part. I tried to push some cars, and some cars tried to push me. Pretty much everyone that had the same engine and car combinations were running together. We tried to work together some. That is about all we could do. We would have done better, but we pitted right before a caution came out. That cost us a lap. Other than that, it was a good race. It just would have been nice to not have lost that lap. Other than that, it went about as good as it will go right now.”
GREG RAY (No. 13 TrimSpa Racing Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): “We had a good car, but some people didn’t play by the rules. I’m really angry. There are some people who needed to be black-flagged.” (About radio problems): “I could hear my guys some of the time, but my thing would not work at all. They couldn’t hear me the whole race. I had to look at the pit board or listen to the spotter, and the spotter radio didn’t work the first 100 laps. We just had some issues out there. We had good pit stops and good solid preparation. All the guys did a great job. We were a lot better than that. But that’s our one and only car, and you have to trust the guys you racing with, but that guy proved time and time again that I couldn’t do something without taking me out.”
DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): “I was shifting into second gear after I left the pits, and the throttle stuck wide open, and I had to ride the brakes to slow the car down on the yellow. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam crew did a good job for me today. I’m just sorry we couldn’t have run more. I think we were in a strong position today, and we we’re just seeing how the race would unfold.”
BRYAN HERTA (No. 27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone): “Our run was good today. I’m the fifth-happiest guy tonight. The side-by-side racing is exciting to watch and exciting to drive. I saw some of the best racing I’ve seen and some of the stupidest moves I’ve seen. I’m thankful to the Archipelago/Motorola team for the opportunity, and I’m glad I was able to get a good finish for them.”
BUDDY RICE (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “Basically, it was just good the we finished. We just have to take that for what it is worth right now. I hope that when we go on to Colorado, which is more handling track, we’ll be able to keep up better. We’ll just have to see when we get there. It’s another finish for Red Bull Cheever Racing, and some more points for the team.”
VITOR MEIRA (No. 2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): “The balance of the car was perfect. Team Menard/Johns Manville did a perfect job with the setup. For us, here at Texas, we have to improve in the area of horsepower. We did the best we could. We finished the race and learned a lot tonight. After my second pit stop I had the best run. I was able to find a good pack. We were all running the same speeds. It was a lot of fun drafting with this group. We finished the way we started, with the car in one piece. I just have to thank everybody at Team Menard, especially John Menard, for giving me the opportunity.”
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): “I’m obviously depressed but a great job for the Delphi team tonight. We worked hard on the car all night and made the car better, so it was a disappointment. I tried to make a pass on Tony (Kanaan) and couldn’t do it, so I’d settled in and was planning on riding out a third-place finish unless something happened in front of me. Felipe got on the outside of me, and we had a good battle going side by side. Tora (Takagi) dove down on the inside, and I was thinking, ‘This is not good,’ because I knew how much room was there, and you get on the apron here, and it just shoots you up the track. He shot up into my sidepod, and I tried to squeeze it somehow. But there was nowhere to go, and Tora hit me, and I got into Felipe. It was really disappointing.”
KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone): “Well, at least we rolled the car back on all four wheels tonight. I can't say that for some cars. There was some pretty dangerous stuff (driving) out there. I don't know what (Tora) Takagi was thinking in Turn 3. I just barely missed everything. He tried to go from the apron to the banking and inside of (Scott) Sharp. That was stupid. You can't make that move, and you saw what happened. Our crew did a fantastic job tonight. We picked up four spots on the second pit stop and two more on the third stop. They were great. I lost three or four positions on the next to last restart because of the cold tires. The car took a while to get up to speed for some reason. After about 10 laps, our Pioneer/Miller Lite car was as fast as anyone's, but we lost ground early each time. We had a fast car, and I think we had one of the fastest laps in the race. We just couldn't get the restarts that we needed. All in all, we moved up a position in the points, and we can go to Pikes Peak with a strong car. I have run well there in the past. I won there in 1998. So we have a good chance to get in the points race.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "It was a long race, and it's just a shame that we couldn't finish higher, but that's the way it goes sometimes. Unfortunately, the #27 car (Bryan Herta) and I made contact late in the race, which damaged my left rear tire so I had to come in for a pit stop (Lap 198). It was the smart thing to do, and we only lost one spot. It's always better to be safe than sorry. We were patient all day, and Marlboro Team Penske did a great job bringing home a top-10 finish. Now we need to focus on Pikes Peak next weekend."
GIL DE FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "It was really a 'finish and collect points' day for us. I had a good start, and the Marlboro Team Penske car was handling OK early in the first stint. Then all of the sudden the car developed a big push. I nearly hit the fence in Turn 2 a couple of times -- one time I almost took Helio (Castroneves) with me. It kept getting worse so I came in early (Lap 29). Nothing was wrong with the car, but we figured better safe than sorry. We made changes toward the end of the race, and the car improved a bit, but was not handling well in traffic. Tonight was an exercise in patience, but we were able to finish in the top 10 and put some points on the board."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): “We struggled a little bit tonight. We couldn’t find the perfect balance on the car. The car was loose on restarts, and then as the run went on, the car began to push. But, it’s not a bad finish for us. We got some championship points. It just wasn’t our night.”
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): “I want to thank Team Target for giving me such a good car. I am sick of dominating races; I want to win. We will keep at it and be ready for Pikes Peak.” (About accident): “I don’t know what happened. Something broke on the car. I saw sparks, and then I hit the wall. We had such a great car out there tonight. I have to thank Team Target for giving me such an awesome race car.” (On the pit fire): “I think that the vent hose got stuck on the car. Luckily, Andy’s (Natalie, ventman) OK, and that’s good. We had a dominating car tonight, but I’m sick of dominating. I want to win one of these races that we lead laps and have the car to beat.”
KIM GREEN (President, Andretti Green Racing): "Tony (Kanaan) drove a real heads-up race all day. I think we did a good job on strategy and had great pit stops. Track position is a big advantage at this place. All the cars are very, very equal. Tony made a hell of a run on several restarts and made some great passes, so I'm really proud of him. I thought he was going to get it done. The outside has won a lot of races at this place. But, it was a great job by Al (Unser) Jr. He drove really clean. Al did a great job all day. We'll take second and, obviously, a lot of points in the championship."
MICHAEL ANDRETTI (Co-owner, Andretti Green Racing): (How did it feel sitting on the sideline tonight and watching your drivers run second and fifth?) "I'm proud of him (Tony Kanaan). I told him that those are the drives that win championships. He did a hell of a job, and I'm proud of him. I'm proud of Bryan (Herta), as well -- never driving one of these cars, bringing it home fifth -- that's beautiful. He did exactly what we wanted. We took points away from a few guys. It was perfect." (You looked very active tonight in the pits… you comfortable with your new role yet?) "No, not yet. I'm a little bit of a fish out of water. But I'm working on it."