Kansas Indy 300, July 6, Kansas Speedway
KANSAS CITY, Kan., Monday, June 30, 2003 -- Quotes from selected IRL
IndyCarTM Series drivers about the Kansas Indy 300 on Sunday, July 6 at
Kansas Speedway. Practice starts July 4, with practice and MBNA Pole
Qualifying on July 5 (quotes listed in alphabetical order):
KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone, 1998 IndyCar Series champion, 1999 Indianapolis 500 winner): "We are on a series of races that are new to myself and Team Rahal -- Richmond, Kansas and Nashville. Luckily, we were able to test at Kansas, and it is a great track, all new and very smooth. I think the racing will be good this week. We now have a little bit of knowledge of the Kansas track."
ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Kansas Speedway is definitely a first-class facility. It's an important race for the team because Aventis has a big manufacturing facility there, and they're also sponsoring the Aventis Racing For Kids 100 for the Infiniti Pro Series. For us in the IndyCar Series, it will be a tough weekend, so we'll have to do everything we can with the things we can control."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, 2001 and 2002 Indianapolis 500 winner): "We had a good result in Kansas last year, so I'm looking forward to coming back this season. Kansas Speedway is an oval where the car's handling is very important, so we'll spend our practice time focusing on our race setup. We might not be fast in qualifying, but hopefully the Marlboro Team Penske car will be fast and consistent on race day. I didn't get a chance to test at Kansas this year. However, my teammate, Gil (de Ferran), tested here a few weeks ago, so we should have some helpful information going into this weekend's race."
GIL de FERRAN (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner): "Historically, Marlboro Team Penske hasn't done well at the 1.5-mile tracks, but we're putting a lot of effort into improving our performance. We completed a two-day test at Kansas Speedway a couple of weeks ago, and I think we've got a good baseline setup. Kansas is a real slipstream race. Last year, we had a good car but not the ultimate speed. Hopefully, this year we have what it takes to be in contention for the win."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "We've been on quite a roll over the last few races. Team Target has given me great cars, so it's made my job a lot easier. Not that it's been easy, don't get me wrong. There's such great competition in the series; you have to be on top of your game week in and week out. Luckily, our team has been focused, and things have come together for us. We had a really good test in Kansas two weeks ago, so I'm e***d about coming there to race. It's a great facility, and the fans really get out there to support us."
SARAH FISHER (No. 23 GMAC/AOL/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "Kansas is definitely going to be more of an endurance race because of the heat. The temperatures last year were way over 100 degrees. The people at the track were great last year helping the fans cool off in the stands with water-spraying fans. After Colorado and Richmond, this is the start of many races to come on the 1.5-mile ovals. With these races ahead, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and the GMAC/AOL team are looking forward to a fresh start for this style of racetrack."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "I left Richmond with a lot of confidence even though we have a wrecked car. The Conseco car was working good. I was able to run with those guys, and it was a lot of fun. Going into Kansas, I'm e***d because it's where I won my first race in the Infiniti Pro Series and where Airton Dare won his first IndyCar Series race driving for Foyt Racing. I don't see any reason why I can't keep this trend going and win my first IndyCar Series race there. I told my grandfather that, and he said, 'Just aim to have a good finish.' Hopefully, we'll do well."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone, 2001 Bombardier Rookie of the Year): "I'm hoping we are ready to have our breakthrough race for the season. We started the season pretty well, but then we got into a bit of a slump for a few races. Finally, we got a satisfying result at Richmond, even though it was a pretty weird kind of night. A lot of important people from my sponsor, Hollywood, are making the trip to Kansas from Brazil, so I can't think of a better situation for us to have a great result. I think we are ready. I like the track at Kansas a lot. It will be a good chance to go out there and stretch our legs a little bit after the short tracks at Pikes Peak and Richmond."
BRYAN HERTA (No. 27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "The Archipelago/Motorola crew tested at Kansas, so we have some data to work with, and we should be in good shape right off the truck. I'm glad the Kansas event is a three-day weekend. That will help me because I haven't been there yet, and the more track time I can get, the better. Racing at Richmond helped me a lot for Kansas. It helped to get me used to this type of car again. The other drivers in the series are in the heart of their season, and it is hard to just jump in, finish well and race with them."
SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 4 Pennzoil Panther Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone, 2001 and 2002 IndyCar Series champion): "I'm e***d about going to Kansas to race. It's a beautiful track, and the Panther team has run really well there, with two seconds in the last two years. Being a 1.5-mile track, it tends to be more of a horsepower track, but it is flatter than most of the 1.5-mile configurations. Normally, it is quite hot there, which makes it a bit slicker, so you have to have a car that will handle really well. The guys will give me a great car, I'm sure, and we'll be in the hunt. The Panther team doesn't ever quit. We're looking for a top-five finish."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, IndyCar Series points leader): "It's an amazing racetrack. It's a beautiful place. I like it, but it's very narrow. It's probably the narrowest superspeedway we're going to be on, so it will probably be a little bit more challenging in terms of the line around there. It could be a bit tough. It may be a one-line race. I don't think we'll be side-by-side a lot, so you're going to need to have your car well set up for that and then wait on traffic. Obviously, horsepower is going to be important there, and fortunately we have that, so we'll see what is going to happen. To pass there, you'll just really have to pick your spot in traffic or wait for a guy's handling to get a little bit off. It will be challenging, for sure."
JAQUES LAZIER (No. 5 Conseco/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Toyota/Firestone): "I am very e***d about racing at Kansas for Foyt Racing. We learned a lot at the Open Test in Kentucky that will help us with our setups at Kansas. With A.J.'s past experience and the overall package we have with the Dallara and the Toyota, I think we'll be competitive right out of the box. I really like Kansas Speedway, which is very similar to Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet where I won my first Indy Car Series race. I think we have a good shot at repeating the trip Foyt Racing made to victory lane last year."
GREG RAY (No. 13 TrimSpa Racing Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone): "Kansas is always a great race. Every race we've had there has been sold out, and it takes place on a very special weekend for our country. It's a very hot race, very demanding and very fast. I've always had a good feel for the track and am looking for a good result based on my performance to this point this year."
BUDDY RICE (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone): "We're going into Kansas this weekend, which is a 1.5-mile track. I think we're going to be in our same position with being a little bit down on power, but we know that GM and everybody, including ourselves, are working hard to make improvements. We're going to work on our chassis and use that as our focus point. We're going to make sure we have a good strong car so we can keep up in the draft and make strides forward to continue finishing in the top 10. We know if we keep working *** our chassis, we can make it there and keep chasing the championship."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone): "It's a new week for us, so we need to focus on this weekend in Kansas. We've had so much bad luck over the last few races, but you can't dwell on that. We have to keep looking ahead to the next race. We've had fast cars all year, but one thing or another has kept us out of victory lane. Last year in Kansas, I won the pole and led the most laps, and it's a track that suits my style. We had a very fast car in Texas this year, and Kansas is similar in design. I can't wait to get out there. The Target car should be pretty strong this weekend."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, 1996 IndyCar Series co-champion): "The nice thing about back-to-back races is when you come off of a bad race you have another race right away, and it doesn't leave you too much time to think about the bad race. It's great for the Delphi team that we're going to a big track. We've been performing well on the longer ovals, and based on how we ran at Texas, we should be able to show up at Kansas and be very competitive. Certainly, we have the right engine for this track in the Toyota, and I'm looking forward to this weekend."
TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone): "I think our Pioneer car will be very well suited to the track at Kansas. The Toyota motor and the Panoz G Force chassis should be a good package there, just like it was at Texas for our team. It will be another 1.5-mile track like Texas. We will work very hard to put together a very successful weekend from the very first practice session until the checkered flag on Sunday."
AL UNSER JR. (No. 31 Corteco Dallara/Toyota/Firestone, 1992 and 1994 Indianapolis 500 winner): "I am looking forward to the race in Kansas. The Corteco car ran really well there last year, and I was actually running with the lead group when we had a mechanical failure. We had a good shot at winning that race. This season, the team did a great job at Texas on the 1.5-mile oval, and we had a good setup when we rolled off the truck, so I think we'll be in good shape in Kansas. I remember from last year that the heat was definitely a factor, and I'm sure it will be again this year. So we will just have to drink plenty of fluids and go and just deal with the heat as best we can."
DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I think the Klein Tools/Jim Beam car is going to be strong at Kansas. It is good to be going to a track that I've been to before and actually raced on (Wheldon finished third in the Indy Lights race in 2001). Most of the tracks we go to, I've never been to or I've only tested on them, which is a lot different from racing conditions. I was a part of the closest three-way finish in the series history, and I hope we can have the Klein Tools/Jim Beam car up at the front in Kansas."
ROGER YASUKAWA (No. 55 Panasonic ARTA Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "It is going to be my first time to race in Kansas, and I'm looking forward to going there. It's a 1.5-mile oval, and I think it's similar to Kentucky and Texas with probably less banking than Texas, but the track should be fun. We should have a good setup there and hope to have a great finish."
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