You have to hand it to the folks at IndyCar PR - they certainly know how to wring a quote out of their drivers.
What follows is a quote from virtually everyone in today's starting field for the 94th Indy 500 (excepting Mike Conway, who we will excuse on account of the fact that he is facing surgery on his broken left leg... get well soon, Mike). Some of them are pretty juicy, too (see: Hamilton, Davey).
Quote goodness after the jump...
DAVEY HAMILTON (No. 21 HP de Ferran Dragon Racing): “Tomas Scheckter thinks he can lead the first lap, you know. He's an idiot. And he does it all the time. He just came out of nowhere, and we have no spotters in Turn 2. We were just coming up the racetrack and there he was, and I just went to avoid him and we got caught up.” (What will you say to him?): “Well, I’ll just tell him what I think. What do you say to him? He knows better. It’s very disappointing when you don’t even get to race.”
BRUNO JUNQUEIRA (No. 33 Bowers & Wilkins/TorcUP): “I’m very disappointed. I was being very conservative, and I think I came a little bit too high. I don’t know. I just lost the car. It’s very disappointing because me, Vitor (Meira) and Tony (Kanaan) were going (through) the field pretty fast. And the a few guys were going slower. I thought we were going to get a little gap, and I just lost the car.”
VITOR MEIRA (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing): “The car was good. I was always passing cars. I went to the inside of Simona, and she saw me and minded me and she even got into the marbles on the outside a little bit because she knew I was coming to pass her. She didn’t do anything wrong. She got loose, she lifted, I went to the inside where there were a lot of marbles and as soon as I went to turn in at Turn 2, I had no grip and slid up to the wall and pancaked the right side. I should have known better. It was a shame for the ABC guys; everybody was here. I really appreciated everybody being here. It was not the ending we were hoping for.”
SARAH FISHER (No. 67 Dollar General/Sarah Fisher Racing): “We got shoved up high in Turn 4. When you get shoved up high, there’s no place to go here. There’s no room. I white-walled the tires of the Dollar General car, and our day is done. We think it’s a broken suspension, and we’re going to check on it. We were having really good restarts. The boys were flawless, which is key here, and the Dollar General car was on the ball gear-wise, but there’s just no room. It’s disappointing, but it’s racing. I’m ready to put this month in the past and move on to Texas next weekend.”
HIDEKI MUTOH (No. 06 Panasonic Formula Dream): “I’m very, very disappointed because I know the guys have been working very hard over the winter and for the whole month. We had a very good car before, but today it wasn’t the same. I couldn’t find the right balance or get up to speed. I don’t think the problem was entirely the heat; there was something else, as well, but I think the heat made it worse. We tried to fix it but couldn’t find the exact problem. I felt a problem immediately, but I didn’t think it was big enough to retire from the race. Lap by lap, the handling was getting worse and worse, and I was losing grip. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hold it. It was a very free, very light car. The team worked hard to improve it, but nothing made a difference. I couldn’t maintain a high speed, and I didn’t want to damage the car or hurt someone’s race. Unfortunately this is just part of the Indy 500.”
JOHN ANDRETTI (No. 43 Team Window World): “We had a good car so it’s unfortunate that we’re out of the race. I want to thank Andretti Autosport for giving me a great opportunity and of course Window World for making it all happen. The King (Richard Petty) is here and the King will probably be gone by the time I get up there. A disappointing day but overall I think it started out good. We were moving up, making up spots and then another driver gets in the side of us and helps ruin our day.
BERTRAND BAGUETTE (No. 36 Conquest Racing RACB): “The car was quick, and I was comfortable with the car all day. I could pass a lot of guys, and I could stay in traffic confidently without any problem. Unfortunately, we lost a mirror during the race and had to replace it, which cost us something like 25 laps. It was really a shame because we had a car capable of doing something great. It’s just a real shame.”
DANICA PATRICK (No. 7 Team GoDaddy.com): “I’m very happy with the result, and the reasons we got it were that our pit stops rocked and we had a perfect strategy. We did struggle a little in the early goings. We almost went a lap down. But we were able to get the GoDaddy.com car into the position it should have been in. I focused on making sure I lifted and got a tow from other cars to save fuel as the laps were winding down. I’m really glad that yellow came out at the end because we were cutting it real close on fuel. That’s the roll of the dice, and the team did a perfect job.”
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing): “For me, it was not much of an exciting race. I was kind of sitting in the back of the pack when we had the pit stop problem. We just never really regained. I slowly picked off cars as I went along. If it was a 600- or 700-mile race, we would have been looking decent. It was a huge day for the team. It was a fantastic job by Dario. He got lucky on the yellow, but you’ve got to give the guy a lot of credit: He led a lot of laps and definitely worked on it.”
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): “First of all, the Verizon car was very quick today. We could have hung with Dario (Franchitti) no problem, I think. You just can’t make mistakes at Indy and win, and we just made too many mistakes today. I hope Mike Conway is all right, because I just hate to see an accident like that any time. We still have a championship to compete for, so we’ll move on from here and keep pushing for that.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Team Penske): “It was a very hot day. Congrats to Dario. What an awesome car he had. Ganassi did an incredible job to put him up there. It was the car to beat today. We tried. Unfortunately, silly mistakes put us in the back. I’m very disappointed. I’m more disappointed with the mistake. Certainly, I am very upset for my guys. They did an incredible job the whole month long. They should walk out of here with their heads high.”
TOWNSEND BELL (No. 99 Herbalife Ganassi/Schmidt Racing): “The car was great. I mean, the guys did an awesome job. We just kept notching it up, getting to fifth with 50 to go. You know, we got called for blocking, and I never had a warning. I still left room for guys to go low. I let a guy by on the backstretch, and then I got black flagged for that. I guess I’m confused. It’s a heartbreak. I thought I was well within the protocol of the racetrack today. But you know, we gave it our all doing everything we could today. On the last stop, we tried to take just fuel and it got us a few positions. But then we were just a sitting duck. The vibration got so bad in the car. I’m not sure what happened with our tires. The vibration was so bad, I couldn’t see. I was about to crash. My vision was getting blurrier and blurrier. I thought the car was going to snap in half, it was vibrating so badly. At that point, we were hosed, so we just brought it in and put new skins on it. Of course, it felt magic then. We were passing a bunch of cars, and then there was that horrible accident. I understand that is Mike Conway. I hope he is OK. It’s just a terrible way to end the race. I hope he is all right.”
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 30 The Quick Trim/RLR Special): “Really, it was disappointing for us. You know, they penalized me for blocking. Danica put me in the grass on the back straightaway. So they penalized me after all that kind of stuff. You go forwards. You go backwards. We struggled a little bit on the initial start. We moved all the way back. We got back in it. That was our day. The car ran great, especially there at the end. That 30 laps we were in front of Dario, the car absolutely flew. At the end, the car was pretty good. For sure, we were as quick as Helio. It just didn't work out. The strategy was good today. We just had to recover from too many mistakes. The QuickTrim boys worked really hard. It was great to come here and have the support that we've had. I promise that if we come back together in the future the performance will be even better.”
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 6 Team Penske): “We were having a good run in the Team Penske car, so it was definitely a disappointing result. It was really slick out there, and we just added some downforce to the car. But we were on cold tires and just got up into the marbles, and it was the point of no return, so we hit the wall. I feel really bad for my guys. The car had been so good all month, and everyone worked really hard. We'll keep working away at it and go for the win next week in Texas.”
ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Panther/Vision/Fuzzy’s Vodka): "Definitely, 17th isn't what we should have had. It's one of those days. That's how it goes sometimes. We were looking good early the first half of the race. I'm not really sure what is going on or happening, but for whatever reason, our stints were shorter than everyone else. It looked like we were getting full fill on the fuel tank. But when the one yellow came out, I was getting ready to pit. I couldn't make it until the pits opened. We lost all of our track position. We battled back some spots, then ran out of fuel with two laps to go and lost back some more we gained. It's just unfortunate because it's one of those days where when someone looks at the record books, it's going to look like I had a bad run. But at the end of the day, my teammate was second, which is awesome. We could have had two in the top three easily.” (Was it easier to pass in the race this year than last year?): "I don't really think so in the race. You could pass for a few laps after restarts. But everyone kind of struggled. I know when I was running up front, Dario followed Graham for about 15 laps. That says it all right there when the leader can't pass someone he's driving up to lap. I don't know what the answer is. I don't think it's the cars, I'll just say that."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske): “As a team, we made too many mistakes today. We had our first stop go wrong. I went long, and then we had a wheel problem in another. You can’t win this race when you keep dropping to the back. We had a bloody fast car. The Verizon car was chopping through the field. It was one of those days. I really hope Mike Conway is OK. I hate to see that happen on the last lap of the race. It was a nasty crash. It was right in front of me. I really hope that he’s OK. We had a fast car. I think we could have hung with Dario no problem. It’s the lesson of this place. You can’t make mistakes. You have to nail everything on a day like today, and that’s how you win this thing. I was exhausted. Honestly, even halfway, I was like, ‘Man, this race is tough.” I couldn’t wait to get out. I was drained. I was just glad to get out of the car at the end there.”
E.J. VISO (No. 8 PDVSA-Jet Aviation-KV Racing Technology): “Well, pretty much from the beginning of the race, it was a handful to drive that car. It was very, very unstable, especially in traffic. I brushed the wall a couple of times. It was Lap 139 when I got more of a hit than a brush. We just basically decided to call the race and just go on the safer side. Definitely anything we did from (Miller Lite) Carb Day to today regarding changes to the car was not a good idea. This is racing. This is the way it goes. We're here to work together. Hopefully in Texas it's going to be a good performance.”
ALEX LLOYD (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America): “The boys did a great job in the pits. We said beforehand we know that we’ve got a good car. We know that where we qualified wasn’t where we deserved to be based on speed. So we figured we’ll keep digging, we’ll keep working, we’ll be patient and the race will come to us, and it did. Everybody did a perfect job. Nobody made any mistakes, and the Boy Scouts guys are here in third place. That’s amazing. We knew it was possible, but this is maybe even better than we could have dreamed of. We’re very happy.”
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven): “I hope I made it exciting out there. I promised them a good start, and I think I did that. I have been in many positions for this race, and I don’t think the fastest car wins all the time. I think we had a shot for a win. This whole team for the work they did today deserved a top-three today. I had to come in and get fuel and go out and go as fast as I could. The strategies could have worked both ways. We took a gamble. When it comes to a fuel strategy race, I’m not a big fan of it. It could have gone the other way. We could have gotten the lead and won the race, and we could brag about it for the rest of my life. I support my guys all the way. Let’s learn from it. I think this team is more together than ever.”
MARIO ROMANCINI (No. 34 Conquest Racing): “When I took the checkered flag, I was in front of Simona. Then the crash happened, and she went by me. But it’s OK because we worked it all out. I’m very, very happy, I knew this race gives me good memories and good emotions. I want to thank my guys and my crew my engineer, my team owner, sponsors, all of them. I’m just very, very happy to finish as the fastest rookie.”
ANA BEATRIZ (No. 25 Ipiranga/DRR): “It was a great run. I was relaxed, and I was glad I finished the race. The car had different attitudes over the run. It was kind of stable sometimes. I’m sure we finished the race in a good position. We missed a lot of time in the pits, and then we had that accident (caution) at the end. It was a pretty steady run. At the end, was kind of fun, because I was staying with Dixon and Power, and we were staying pace. There are a lot of small things I learned, like setup of the car, what to do mechanically to get the car better, faster. It was a great month, and I gained a lot of experience.”
ALEX TAGLIANI (No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins/Honda Edmonton Indy): “The one restart where Saavedra was in the way – I’m very disappointed. It’s about courtesy. Brian Barnhart mentioned it many times. You know, give some room out there. The guys are racing, and it is so difficult to pass. When you’re trying to make some room and you’re trying to stay in front, when you’re running aggressively, with the downforce there is no chance if you fall back. We saw it with Dario last year. We’ve seen it with us this year. The car was fast enough to run up front, and unfortunately we couldn’t keep it there. I’m very disappointed about that particular incident but very happy with the car and the team all month long. For our first effort as a group, I take my hat off to this group and I am very proud of the team.”
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 23 Mona Vie/DRR): “It was a good run. We couldn’t close it off. We had to play fuel mileage at the end, which is not exactly what we wanted to do. Sometimes it happens that way. Our radios weren’t working. I started running out of fuel on that last lap. It’s better to be 15th than last.”
JUSTIN WILSON (No. 22 Team Z-Line Designs/DRR): “The car was great, but we knew we were 10 laps short on fuel. The key was to push as hard as we could and try and stretch the field out, so when we did our stop we would come out in a good position. Everybody else was saving fuel and trying to make it to the end, so I think without that yellow maybe we would have passed another three or four cars.” (On how it felt to lead at Indy): “It felt really good. It’s nice to have a taste of that. I want more. The guys on the Z-Line Designs car did a great job. I’m really happy for that. We’re just thinking about the next one now.”
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Team Venom Energy): “I guess people decided to drive by me before the checkered. It’s as simple as that. We’ve been (on the podium) here before, but the top five is in the money. I’d be frustrated if they scored me for sixth. I wouldn’t rest for that one. They clearly passed me under yellow.” (Will you protest?): “Darn right. It’s a lot of money.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 37 Team IZOD): “I’m fine. It became a fuel race toward the end, and I had no idea how much I had left in the tank. And it came down into Turn 3, and it just died. The car died, and that’s when Mike latched over me. I have to have surgery on Tuesday on my thumb. It’s a bummer, long day. That’s probably one of the toughest races I’ve ever had.” (Did you see the replay?): “ Yeah, I did, I can’t believe it didn’t hit my head. That’s one of the down sides of these cars having the driver’s heads exposed. That car should have come down on my head; I don’t know how it didn’t. When I looked at the replay, I guess it came down on the camera, right on top, and at 230 mph that’s as close as it gets. I hope Mike is all right. It was such a good day for the IZOD car. We were having a great run.”
TAKUMA SATO (No. 5 Lotus-KV Racing Technology): “This was definitely some experience for me today. We moved up to close to the top 10 in the middle of the race. Then we had a problem on a pit stop, and we received a penalty. Due to that penalty, we got behind a lap and we could not make it up. The race was very long, and there were a lot difficult situations. I do feel good about finishing the entire race, and I learned a lot. The Indy 500 is just a spectacular event. The Lotus – KV Racing Technology team worked very hard all month, and we had a great experience racing here.”
MARIO MORAES (No. 32 GEICO-CURB Records-KV Racing Technology): “Unfortunately, we had the same problem in the race that we had on Carb Day. It is a shame for me and our KV Racing Technology team. We worked so hard this month. We had a great car up until Carb Day, and then something happened with the car. Our team tried to fix it in the garage, but it was best to park the car than have the problem continue. We will plan to run better at Texas.”