Here’s What Drivers Said after Friday’s Carb Day final practice for the Indy 500

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Many of the drivers that took part in Friday’s Carb Day, the final day of practice for Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500, weren’t very talkative afterward.

But we still have more than half the field who did have something to say afterward.

Check out What Drivers Said (courtesy IndyCar PR):

ROBERT WICKENS (No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda): “We were just running through the program. We had to do an install first lap, then we did some pit stops. Then we got into our test program trying different things. There wasn’t anything wrong. We have some work to do, for sure. Today was pretty good for track conditions compared to where we have been. We have to make some adjustments. By no means are we in no-man’s land.” (About James Hinchcliffe being in his pit box): “He was just listening, nothing crazy. It’s not like he’s coaching me from in there. He was giving his opinion and talking with the engineers, just trying to lend a hand in any way he can.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I don’t really know if today told us too much about what the race will bring in the PNC Bank car. It’s really warm today and we think it could be even warmer on race day. The track temp was way up there today as well. I’m not really sure what you can learn from the times today. There were a lot of people throwing tires at it out there. Overall, the car felt good and we were comfortable. You just never know exactly what you’re going to have until you get into the race.”

ED JONES (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I think we had a very positive end to practice here at Indianapolis. The NTT DATA car felt really good and I was very happy with the direction and changes we made. I was also pretty happy with how the car handled in traffic, which is important for the race.”

DANICA PATRICK (No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet): “Today we had a little bit of an electrical issue, but our team was able to get me back out there before practice was over. At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done. I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 United Rentals Honda): “At the end of the session, the United Rentals Honda was pretty good. We definitely, at the very tail end of the session, got it into a decent window. We just ran used tires from the start and I know a lot of guys were running stickers (new tires), but we wanted to save a lot of stickers for the race and I think we just ran them too long, initially, and probably made our lives a little tough, but for sure we got the car much better in the end. We’ll be OK (in traffic). We don’t have the quickest outright pace, which has kind of been the case all month, but at the end of the session in heavy traffic I felt pretty good. Obviously, tire life and stuff plays a role, so we’ll have to see how we are on Sunday.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda): “The month has been great. It speaks volumes about the Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Team. They really gave me a great car, a fast car, which showed what it was capable of on Saturday and Sunday in qualifying. We have worked very hard in traffic scenarios and race conditions and we definitely made some improvements on Monday, so I’m looking forward to a great race.”


ZACHARY CLAMAN DE MELO (No. 19 Paysafe Honda): “It was a tough session today. The Paysafe car wasn’t exactly how we wanted and it didn’t feel like Monday. But, I’m still feeling confident going into the race. I’m sure we’ll figure out the problem and that we’ll be really strong going into Sunday. You can’t count anyone out here, so it should be interesting on race day. The build up to this race is huge, it feels like we’ve been here a long time but it’s been fun. I can’t wait for race day.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet, 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 pole winner): “We ran through a couple of things we wanted to try after looking at the data from Monday’s practice. Carb Days are hard, though. It’s only one hour, then you have a couple more days to agonize over exactly how we start the race. The conditions are pretty similar right now to what we’ll have come race time, so the session was good for that. I wouldn’t say today was our best day by any means, but for me, we can rely on the work we have done over the previous week and a half. I’ve felt calm all week and I feel good going into the race. We’ll look through the data from today and the rest of practice, see what we like the best and go from there.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Preferred Freezer Service Chevrolet): “Today was a good day. We made some solid progress throughout the session since we came in knowing what we needed from the car based on Monday. We needed to accomplish some of that, so I’m feeling happy with our Preferred Freezer Services Chevy, and I’m excited about the race.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Fiasp Chevrolet): “It was a ready good final practice. The hour on Carb Day is all about checking the boxes and making sure we are ready to go for Sunday. Reliability in the car has been rock solid all month. That didn’t change today. The speed is really good in the car. If we get clean air and get out front, we’re going to be pretty solid. The guys did a lot of pit stop practice this week and we’re pretty happy with that. Overall, we tuned on it, and right at the end of the session when the track was the hottest and probably the slickest, we felt like we had the best car of the week. That’s the right time to peak heading into the race on Sunday. Excited to show off what this Carlin team has done this whole month of May and this year so far. Everyone from Novo Nordisk to Chevy and Firestone are great partners. It’s been a great month. We’ve done an incredible job as a team and it’s been fun to watch this team enjoy the Indy 500 experience. I can’t wait to see their faces on race day.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda): “It was a relatively short session today for Carb Day. We went through a run plan and checked various things. In traffic, I was reasonably happy. We still need to work on it, but now race day is approaching and I think we are ready.”

KYLE KAISER (No. 32 NFP / Juncos Racing Chevrolet): “Our last day of practice went very well. We got to improve the car a little bit and get a better idea of the conditions for race day on Sunday. I think we ended with a pretty good car. I still think we have a few more changes to make before the race. I am really happy with the team. We brought the car back clean for the end of the day and I am ready to go racing now. I am looking forward to the start of the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet): “It might not have shown on the overall speeds, but the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet had really good race pace. This final practice always goes by so fast trying to work through everything before race day, but we are really happy with where we ended the day. We’re feeling good heading into the race on Sunday.”

GABBY CHAVES (No. 88 Harding Group Chevrolet): “We got through Carb Day cleanly. There are some things we’d like to change and hopefully improve on. So, we’ll take a look at our data and make a decision on what’s the best way to move forward for the race and hopefully have a great race car.”

INDYCAR: What Drivers Said after qualifying for the KOHLER Grand Prix

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Here’s what the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers had to say, courtesy of IndyCar Media Relations, after Saturday qualifying for the KOHLER Grand Prix (Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN):

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It’s nice when you have the car to do it. We had the speed on Friday, so to finish it off today is nice. It’s only goal one. Two races; one for pole, one for the race. We need to close it out. Verizon has been very good to us, and Team Chevy as well. Engine package has been phenomenal to get the most out of it. You see how well we work together with Team Penske and Team Chevy. We just have to be smart and get through the first couple laps. Save the tires, save some fuel and be smart if a caution comes out in the middle of the race. We’ll see what we have for tomorrow.”

MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Tough qualifying today. We’ve been struggling a little bit finding the best setup for the car. We need to concentrate for tomorrow so that we have a great car for the race. It’s a long race and you never know what can happen. We will keep working, improving and doing our best and will try to have a top 10 tomorrow.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Electronics SPM Honda): “We’re struggling a little bit with the reds (Firestone alternate tires) – we just didn’t find the gain like everybody else did. I’m not entirely sure, honestly. Obviously, Robbie (Wickens) is doing well, so it’s a bit of a mystery for us. We went more towards his (Wickens’) setup and the balance kind of went out the window for me. It’s weird because we’ve been able to copy and paste setups all year long between the two of us and it just didn’t work here. I feel bad for the Arrow Electronics boys – obviously, the car’s capable of more. We just didn’t get it today.”

ROBERT WICKENS (No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda): “Overall, it’s been a good weekend – we’ve still never been out of the top five in every session. Hopefully, me and the Lucas Oil boys can keep chipping away and come up with a slightly better car for the race tomorrow.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): 
“I just didn’t think we had great space to work in out there on the track. There were about five other guys before us and they are all trying to get their spacing right, as well. It’s nobody’s fault, it’s just there’s a tight window for everything. Maybe we should have waved off a third lap on the black (Firestone primary) tires and got ourselves better time on the reds (Firestone alternate tires). It is what it is, though, and we only really had one lap to try and get something going. Then, we had people starting to back up in front of us and never got to show our speed. I think the PNC Bank car had enough for the Firestone Fast Six, but we’ll have to show that speed tomorrow in the race.”

ED JONES (No. 10 First Data Chip Ganassi Racing Honda):
 “The guys on the First Data car made some great changes today after we struggled a little bit early on in the weekend here at Road America. That was the most confident I’ve felt with the car so far this weekend and I felt we were going in the right direction. We were capable of being in the Firestone Fast Six today, but we got held up a bit. On the upside, we have a really fast First Data car and something we can use to improve on up the grid for tomorrow.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “That was close. We were off the whole time. I gave it everything the last lap. A surprise front row. I keep getting front rows every weekend. Not the pole, but yeah, I’m pretty happy. But only five hundredths off, come on. I think I did a really neat lap. Josef (Newgarden) did a great lap. That was all I had.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): 
“I got traffic on my fast lap, but it would have just put us in the top 13, not enough to advance. The car is understeering all weekend. We tried something overnight that didn’t work, so it put us behind a session and we’re back to the car we had yesterday. It was the same car, so we were going to do the same lap time as yesterday when we tried the reds (Firestone alternate tires), but getting traffic didn’t help. But it wasn’t going to change a lot – maybe a few positions, which always helps, but we’ve got a little bit of work to do.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 GEHL Honda): “We wanted to be further up and get the GEHL Honda in the top six. We’ve started in the top six every year, but there was nothing more in the car today. For maybe the first time this year, I’m confident saying that; there was nothing more. We only lacked one-tenth (of a second) over four miles from fourth (place), but that’s what Indy car racing is now. Yeah, we qualified ninth, but when you think that a tenth of a second over four-plus miles can move you five spots, it’s crazy, but that’s the reality of Indy car. We’ve just got to try to find a little more improvement for tomorrow, make the car a little more consistent for the race, and hopefully, we can go out there and attack. I think a lot of people have a lot of questions for the race. There is no warmup this year, so we’ll see how it goes.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda): (About if he feels he’s in a good position to win tomorrow): “Yeah, I don’t know. I’d like to say so, but I’m not sure I believe it myself. It’s been a bit of a tough day. I thought after yesterday we thought we had everything under control, and things were looking good, and this morning we rolled out and struggled with grip and then we went into qualify and really struggled for good. I think I only did one good lap to be honest with you in Q2 on that new set of option tires. Everything was really scrappy and really difficult to put anything together. In (the Firestone Fast Six), I really didn’t get anything done properly. We tried one lap on both sets, but I’m not convinced it was the right thing to do – hindsight 20/20. Just one of those where you come out of the car and you’re not quite sure what else you should or would have done, but not super happy with the way things have gone. The guys did a really good job, but I just — yeah, I’m struggling to read anything that’s happening out there, it’s up and down, making a lot of mistakes, so don’t really feel great about it.

ZACHARY CLAMAN DE MELO (No. 19 Paysafe Honda): “It’s so competitive out there. I thought we had a really good chance at doing better in qualifying, but we ended up on the wrong end of the timing sheet. We just missed making it to the second round by a few tenths, so that’s a bit disappointing. That said, tomorrow is a long race and a lot can happen. I’m confident we can move up the field and get that good result we’ve been chasing the last few races.”

JORDAN KING (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “We’ve been making progress throughout the weekend, little steps at a time and qualifying was our best session yet. The car is now performing within that half-second window of the front of the field. There’s always that last hundredth of time left to get, so I’m a bit annoyed that we didn’t get it, but it was still a pretty good lap. I got as much as I could out of the car. There was just a little bit of oversteer out of Turn 12 and that’s probably the half a tenth that we needed to transfer. I would have liked to have got through to the next round, but it was still a decent effort considering how much progress we’ve made.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Direct Supply Chevrolet): “Qualifying was definitely a solid improvement. It’s nice to have the Direct Supply car in the top 10 to start the race tomorrow. We’ve been making pretty big changes every session and we hadn’t really found anything that worked until qualifying. We were struggling with the front of the car in some places and the rear of the car in other places, we just had to try and tack it down a little bit. Obviously, it helped being on new tires and the reds (Firestone alternate tires), but the car has come alive – certainly a step in the right direction. To only be a tenth or so off the Firestone Fast Six, compared to where we were in practice, is a really good improvement. I’m happy with that, but we want to be higher up and we’ll try for that tomorrow.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet): “That’s not the result that we’re all here for, obviously, and I think everyone here at Carlin is disappointed with that qualifying result, but at the same time I know Max (Chilton) and I both have a lot of confidence in this team and our engineering staff. We’ll look at all of the data tonight and learn from each other and try to come up with a plan for tomorrow’s race. The nice thing is that we’re still learning and we’re still constantly making progress, so it’s not like we’re out of options. We still have a lot left to try and a lot left to learn, so we’ll just keep moving forward.”

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Relay Group 1001 Honda): “This weekend so far has been really good for us just confidence-wise. To show the speed that we have, I think we deserve to be in the top six – the car definitely does. I just made a mistake and just overdrove the reds (Firestone alternate tires) in the top 12 trying to make into the Firestone Fast Six. I calmed myself down and gathered it up, but I could only get us up to 11th. We have a great race car and I’m excited to see what we can do on race day.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): “We can do a lot from fourth. It’s always disappointing when you lead your two groups and miss out on the pole, but it’s so close. It’s amazing that around a four-mile track, it’s so tight. It’s just a testament to get to the championship, but huge hats off to the whole NAPA Know How team. We really struggled yesterday afternoon and made some good decisions overnight that paid off.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We didn’t test here, so we were a bit behind the 8-ball, but we made the right changes and I think we put a good effort out today. I was hoping to go one better at practice and be P2, but starting third is somewhere we can work from tomorrow in the race. It’s going to be interesting with no warmup tomorrow and trying to get the right setup on the race car, but it’s the same for everybody. We have an idea with where we are with older tires, so we’ll try and estimate where we need to be with the setup and put our best effort out there. To fight at it from third is a good thing, so we can do it from there.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): “It was definitely a good day. The entire team worked extremely well. The No. 30 boys always have, but it is great to give them back a nice position in qualifying. We were just four hundredths (of a second) off from the top six (in Round 2) and that shows how competitive the field is. I’m extremely happy to start seventh, which is the best position here so far. It’s a long race. We believe we have a strong car for the race, so I’m looking forward to having a strong result.”

ALFONSO CELIS JR. (No. 32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet): “Today we had no issues, which was important. Yesterday was for sure a setback, as we needed to run the whole day so that we could experiment with the red (alternate) Firestone tires and the softer compound. So not being able to run on the red tires yesterday really did not help our qualifying effort today. It is what it is at this point, so we will come back tomorrow and be ready to run a good race.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet): “Even though the results might not have shown it, I think we made a lot of progress here today at Road America. We definitely closed the gap from the beginning of the weekend and I really felt like I got everything out of the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet that I could. With us starting where we are tomorrow, we’ll have the freedom to try a completely different strategy, and hopefully, we can come away from a track I love with a decent result.”

GABBY CHAVES (No. 88 Harding Group Chevrolet): “Yet another tough qualifying session for us as we search to find the speed we need to get. We’re going to take a look overnight, and hopefully, we can figure something out for the race. Hopefully, we set ourselves up for a fun race and get to pass a lot of cars.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda): “We’ve been slipping backward ever since Practice 1 on the time sheets and just missed it. We’re a little bit loose there. I don’t think I got the most out of Lap 1 and we’re outside looking in by three tenths (of a second), so it’s not like we were that close. Hopefully, we’re better with (tire degradation) than we were with new tires. The race is obviously a different pace, but you still want to start further up than 15th.”

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