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Firestone 550 at Texas – Drivers’ Post-Qualifying Notes & Quotes


·         This is Will Power’s second Verizon P1 Award of 2013. He also won the Verizon P1 Award at St. Petersburg It is 31st pole of his Indy car career, tying him with Dario Franchitti and Sebastien Bourdais for seventh on the all-time list.

·         Marco Andretti qualified second. It is his best qualifying effort of 2013 and his second front row start of 2013. He qualified third at Indianapolis.

·         Ryan Hunter-Reay qualified third, his career best start at Texas Motor Speedway.  His previous best start at the track was fifth in 2011-Race 2. His best qualifying effort was 10th in 2008.

·         Dario Franchitti qualified fourth, his sixth top-five start in nine races at Texas Motor Speedway.

·         E.J. Viso qualified fifth, his fifth-straight top-five start


WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “The race car has been pretty good.  We were wide open, trimmed out enough, the gears were right. Last year we thought we should have been on the pole but we got it right this time.” (Do you have the car to win): “I do, actually. It’s going to be an interesting race, I think the down force level I’ve got is about right for good racing, because I think some cars are a lot more than others, and if you happen to put new tires on the last restart and no one else does, you can go in the front. So it creates some interesting situations, and hopefully we’re at the front of all that.” (About the style of racing at TMS): “Before you were just a passenger, now you actually have to drive the thing, before you were just wide open and hope for the best and hopefully your car is fast, but now you have to drive it. So, it’s how it should be. It should be about talent.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet): “The car was pretty good. I’m pleased with our front row (start).  Good job by the guys because our focus wasn’t even on qualifying. I’m pleased just like I was at Indy because it was the same focus at Indy.   The first lap, I think we had an overboost, so we lost a mile-per-hour, which I was hoping it wasn’t going to cost me more than it did. Will (Power) went for it, and he got benefited for it so good job to him.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): “I’m reasonably happy with qualifying today.  We spent the whole hour and a half of practice working on the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car for the race tomorrow night, when it really counts.  So, we kind of knew what we had but weren’t exactly sure.  Overall, I’m pretty happy with that.   We can continue to work on the race car tonight and be in good shape for tomorrow.”

LARRY FOYT (Managing Director, A.J. Foyt Racing): “We had a pretty big problem in the gearbox which took quite a bit of time to repair. We actually quit practice early to get back to the garage and start on it. We got it completed but I guess we were two minutes too late trying to get over to the tech line. The guys worked hard and did the best they could but INDYCAR said we couldn’t qualify because we missed our tech time. It’s a shame because qualifying hadn’t started and I was hoping we could get out there. They tried to fix it as fast as possible but it with qualifying so close to practice, we weren’t able to fix it in time.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): “We had a decent qualifying run, we got a good starting spot and we’ll be ready for the race. It’s honestly not as important here because it’s such a long race, but it is important in that it can hopefully keep you out of some trouble in the beginning of the race. I think that was our smoothest qualifying session. We actually didn’t have anything go wrong, we didn’t have any inncidents, nothing funny happened like a lot of the time it does, so it was definitely one of our better ones and I think we’ll be good to go for tomorrow night.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): “We have a faster car than we showed in qualifying, but we had a mis-shift which cost us a lot. It didn’t go our way today but we have a long race tomorrow. The nature of the racing here is to have low downforce for good racing. It will be very important to have a stable car set-up so that we can be consistent in the race.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “It’s strange.  It seems that this track changes every year.  And since we have been with the new DW 12 chassis, the track is completely different.  I had a good car here last year but we had just one bad stint that set us back in the field.  The Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevy was good at the start since we went from 18th to second.  We were just too loose (oversteer) today in qualifying.  So we have some work to do for the race.  We’ll work on it in the night practice tonight.  Everyone seems to think this track produces pack racing.  But we haven’t had a pack race here since 2004.  This is about the hardest oval we go to now.  There is not much grip.  This track is tougher than Fontana for grip and have less downforce than Fontana.  None of us want to see pack racing anymore, but I think have gone too far in the downforce level here to produce a good show for the fans.  I hope that isn’t true for Saturday’s Firestone 550.”

TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 55 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “We have an engine change to do and our qualifying would have been compromised because of that, so we just decided it was best not to go out. We’re short on tires too so it just made more sense for us today. The car is very tricky to drive here, but it’s the same way for everyone with the new tire. There’s very little downforce which makes things very difficult and showcases driver talent. I know I have a lot of work to do because I’m not used to driving these high speeds on the edge.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 1 DHL Chevrolet): “At Texas (Motor Speedway) qualifying doesn’t mean a whole lot, but it will help us out to start up front. The guys did a great job getting the car ready for qualifying after the cut tire — we had to end the last session about half-way through. We need to get some major work done tonight, as a team we need to really develop the race car. With as little grip as we have around this place, I think it’s going to be – it’s anybody’s race. It will be interesting to see what we have tonight (in practice), we’re really going to have to work and make the Andretti Autosport cars better. But, overall, happy with the No. 1 DHL Chevy and looking to represent well for our hometown sponsors Dr Pepper Snapple and Sun Drop this weekend.”

E.J. VISO (No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA Citgo Chevrolet): “Back in Texas! Qualifying fifth, I definitely think it’s a good position to start this race. For tomorrow we are expecting a lot of action. With the new downforce levels regulated by IndyCar, it’s definitely going to be a very interesting race. There’s very little grip…as always, the weather being very hot here makes it tough for everyone. Anyways, I believe we have a good combination of factors in our team that are going to make us fast and stay in the leader pack.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet): “It’s (this year) obviously not gone totally the way we wanted. Our good days have been good, our bad days have been bad. I think we kind of just need to find that sort of middle ground a little bit better on days when we don’t have a car to win. A lot of it’s been out of our control, some bad luck…we’ve been competitive, just haven’t been able to get all the results we wanted with the GoDaddy car. Hopefully we can turn that around here in Texas.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I don’t think the race track owes me one after last year.  We had a good car and the balance was great.  We should have pitted and maybe taken tires but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.  Texas has had some great races in the past and it’s a great place to come and race at every year.  The new package and the new car we have has produced some great racing and it’s a lot of fun.  You really have to hold on to these cars and stay on top of it.”

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Belkin Honda): “It’s great to have the Belkin colors on the car this weekend, I think it looks really great.  The race is going to be a lot different than qualifying out there today.  I was pleasantly surprised that we got there in the top four as it was a great effort by the Target crew.  With the lack of downforce we run here it’s going to be a lot different.  The race is down to be more aggressive and a lot quicker in my opinion.  People will be looking for grip out there anywhere they can find it.  We’ll start from the front few rowstomorrow and see what we can do.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Midas/Big O Tires Honda): “The balance in the Midas / Big O Tires car was really good for our qualifying run but we were slow. The guys did a great job because I was pretty happy with the way the car felt in quals. I’m not sure where we find four or five miles an hour from but we’ll go racing. Last year I wasn’t sure I had the best car going into the race and I almost won it.”

JAMES JAKES (No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Honda): “We have to be reasonably happy with our qualifying performance. We didn’t go too aggressive on the setup and we managed to stay in the top-10.  It looks exciting. We’ll do a lot of work tonight, or as much work as we can do in 30 minutes and get the Acorn Stairlifts car ready for the race. It’s going to be a long race, 225 laps. We will just be patient, make sure we are there at the end and hopefully we will have a good position. Preserving the tires is going to be huge. In the practice session it wasn’t great and we are going to scratch our heads a little bit to try and improve the car so it doesn’t work the tires as hard and we can go longer on the stints and maintain the speed.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet): “Pretty good day, we feel like the AAA Chevrolet is going to be a good car this weekend. Since the race starts in the day we have to make sure we stay conservative and patient as the downforce changes through the night but our plan is to be right there at the end. We are definitely excited for tomorrow.”

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): “Qualifying was fine for us, and I was easy flat. When you have new tires, it masks everything and you can be flat no problem. But it’s when you’re running in traffic I think everybody needs a little more downforce. I think the race will be too spread out and we may not have much racing going on, so I hope they let us put in a little more downforce. But apart from that I’m really happy to be back in the car with Panther and with Chevy, and this is my first time ever with the National Guard, which is so much more than a sponsor. So I’m very honored to be driving their car, so hopefully I can give them a race tomorrow that will make them proud too.”

SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 78 Nuclear Entergy Areva KVRT Chevrolet): “I think we’re pretty happy with where we are. We fell off a little bit on the second lap; maybe I should have utilized the tools I have in the car a little bit more, but I think we should be fine. This is my best qualifying here, so I want to thank Chevy for that. We have a 10 grid penalty for tomorrow so we’ll end up a little bit further back, but the important thing is that we have to focus on the race car; getting to where we’re able to run on different lines out there; that’s going to be really, really important. Hopefully we’ll get everything where it needs to be and bring the Nuclear Clean Air Energy car home to a good finish.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Sunoco “Turbo” KVRT-SH Racing Chevrolet): “We missed a bit on the gears for qualifying and that hurt the speed on our run, putting us back in the 14th spot for tomorrow’s start. The good thing is that we run warmup at night here at TMS, which gives us a chance to get the car closer to what we need for the actual race conditions. I think we’ll be strong for the race tomorrow.”

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Posted by on June 8, 2013. Filed under Breaking News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

One Response to Firestone 550 at Texas – Drivers’ Post-Qualifying Notes & Quotes

  1. seriousracingfan

    June 8, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    Why does the motor racing press persist in writing pulp fiction articles on Ryan Hunter Reay? Instead why don’t they write an article exploring the potential relationship between his father, Nick Hunter Reay’s widely reported drug money connections and his career advancements? Did the drug money connections of Nick Hunter Reay have or not have any influence on RHR’s career? Just do a simple internet search on Nick Hunter Reay to get started.

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