BUDDY RICE (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Racing Pioneer/Argent Panoz G Force/
Honda/Firestone): "Our car has been quite good for qualifying at all
the tracks. We were just waiting to see what the weather was going to
do. Every time the cars went out, it got better. One of the things
that probably helped all the cars was that we didn't have, other than
the (Menards) Infiniti Pro (Series) cars, cars in the middle of (the
groove). It made it not nearly a factor to be going out first vs.
last at this place where it has at some other places. They made some
adjustments right before qualifying, and it seemed to work. The team's
been doing an excellent job." (About the performance of Honda): "I think
there's been some tracks, obviously, that the other engine manufacturers
have done well at. Honda's done their homework over the off-season and
come out with the best engine right now, and it's the one to have.
Last year, you could have looked at it, and it was another engine
manufacturer that was stronger. Halfway, three-quarters of the way
through, another engine manufacturer made an adjustment, and they were
actually the engine to have at that time. Honda's done their homework.
They've come out, and they've been super strong. That's the way it
is right now, but you can't think that the other manufacturers won't
be working hard to catch up. But at the rate Honda is making their
gains, it's going to be difficult to catch up." (About the possibility
of (teammate) Vitor Meira winning the race): "I don't think it would
surprise me. He's been strong since he hopped in the car. The package
was put together for Motegi, and now with Centrix on board, inking a
full-time deal, I wouldn't be shocked. He's been very strong. With all
of the development that we've done, we have the same exact equipment,
so he should be just as competitive. I wouldn't be shocked at all. He's
been doing an excellent job with us. It's another Honda-powered car, so
it's excellent to put more Hondas up front if we can."
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