Day Three Of Qualifying For The 2007 Indy 500

Ten cars made qualifying runs for the 91st running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Saturday May 19th leaving one spot available as we move to Bump Day, Sunday. With rookie Phil Giebler hitting the wall late on Saturday, the crew will work overtime Saturday night to repair the Panoz-Honda of Playa Del Racing?s second entry. P.J. Jones in the Team Leader #40 and Richie Hearn in the Hemelgarn #91 look like they will try to squeeze in the field Sunday.

Roger Yasakawa easily qualified fastest for third-day qualifying in the third Dreyer-Reinbold #24 car. ?Everything is going great. The Wellman Corbier car is running really fast out of the box. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing did a very good job preparing all of the cars. They?re all identical, and we?re sharing data now. Luckily I had the qualifying data from last week. I think that played a lot. I was a bit surprised. I was expecting maybe a 222.1 or maybe the 221s but to do a 222.6 average, the car is running really well, and now we can work on the race setup.? (About being comfortable in the car): ?Last year I got thrown into the deep end, and this year has been much easier because we have that much track time. Last year it was like in and qualifying. That?s been great, but the whole chemistry made a lot of sense when I got this deal. I ran for the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team in 2005, and most of the crew I have I worked with last year and the engineers I worked with in 2003. All the surroundings, the people in the radio?it all sounds familiar. For me, it?s back in the office.? (About being in the Indy 500): ?This is the race I need to be in every single year. Hopefully I can do more. It?s just so special to me that I just can?t miss it. This is my fifth consecutive race hopefully and I?m really looking forward to it. Even after four or five times you still get nervous before qualifying, you still get nervous before the race. This is just an excellent race and to be a part of the history, I?m really grateful for that.?

NASCAR refugee John Andretti also looked impressive in the Camping World Panther racing Dallara-Honda #33. (How has this lived up to the expectations you had going in?): ?I think my experience played a part in it since I have been here a few times. The line is a little bit different, so I had to relearn some things. It has been three years since I have around this racetrack, anyway, so I had a lot to re-learn.” (Is this still the hardest qualifying experience you have?): “You have to remember I came from NEXTEL Cup, and every weekend it is like qualifying for the Indianapolis 500; you have to go and try to stand your head to make it work, but I didn’t have to do that today. The car was really fast and really comfortable and tried to do four consistent laps.”( What is the biggest difference between 1994 and 2007?): “Probably going to be in race traffic more than anything else, and in qualifying the cars kind of do the same thing and maybe a little more forgiving at times because we certainly didn’t have it on the ragged edge to do the time. It was good. It was solid, and I couldn?t be more happier with the car and Panther Racing. Vitor (Meira) set it up, and all I had to do was go out and drive it.? (About qualifying run): “The team deserves all the credit. The setup has been something has hasn’t changed a whole lot; we have trimmed it out some. Really just being able to talk to people and learned a lot about the differences and driving a little bit, yesterday we just tried to do qualifying runs and not try to get ahead of ourselves, so you didn’t see us a lot. You didn’t see us this morning, and we knew we had a fast enough car in the Camping World Dallara to make the race. We just put together four solid laps, and we have a plan and we stuck to it. It?s a little bit different plan than most people, like the Michael Andretti plan last weekend, and it seems to work for us because we just didn’t need to do a lot of running. It would have been nice to be the quickest on the day, but the bigger picture is more important.” (About qualifying goals): ?Yeah, I dreamed a good number, and Helio (Castroneves) would have been disappointed, but that didn’t come true.? (Where does this rank in a career achievement for you?): “It’s funny: Some people pick a career path and stick to it, and my path is kind of goes where the wind blows. I am just glad the wind got strong enough to blow me back to Indianapolis. It is a great opportunity for me. I can’t thank Camping World and Panther Racing and the guys on the team and teammates for letting me be a part of this. It’s one thing to say you want to do it and getting all the pieces together to do it. The Indianapolis 500 is huge. To get another (starters?) ring is awful nice, even if you can’t wear them all. It would be nice to get one of those with the checkered flag on it. Maybe of one those other Andretti’s ? we are going to give it our best shot. It is a very tough crowd to race against, so we have a lot of work ahead of us next Sunday.?

Two-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser, Jr. qualified the second ABC Supply / A.J. Foyt Racing #50 third fastest of the day at 220.876mph. ?Well, the run was pretty good. I?m what, a tenth slower than what I ran last Sunday for the four-lap average. You know, the conditions were a little bit worse today. Turn 1?s a little bit loose. Then, Turn 2, the way the wind?s blowing, it?s washing the front end out over there. So, it took the run to get my bars set, and really, the last lap, we let it loose and opened it up and it ran a good lap. So I was happy. We were getting faster every lap. At least we?re going the right direction. We?re not going the other direction. It was good; it was a good run. I?m glad it?s in. I was a little bit careful with it.? (Would you have liked this opportunity in ?95 to re-bump your way back into the race?): ?In ?95, we were out of the (field of) 33 in the garage, and that?s the difference. I think it was?87 I was a second-weekend qualifier. My rookie year, I was a second-weekend qualifier, but it was because the first weekend got rained out, and so I qualified fifth, but it was still the second weekend. With the way qualifying is set up, we barely missed being in the top 22 last weekend, but we knew in the garage that we were one of the fastest 33.? (Regarding Uncle Bobby Unser?s comment that with Al Unser Jr.?s experience, every lap brings it back and by the time the race gets going, he?ll be ready to go): ?Definitely, we?re ready to go right now. Uncle Bobby, he has his theories about drivers. He told me a long time ago, ?The thing about your dad ? and I see it in you ? is the longer the race, the better you?re gonna do.? That?s why my dad?s won so many 500-mile races versus 200-mile races. He compared me a lot to my father. The more laps there are and the longer the race, the quicker I end up going and so on. But again, that?s Uncle Bobby, who fell out of a lot of races by driving really super-hard. In my opinion, I think he?s right. Something my dad kept telling me as I was growing up and learning this business is there?s only one lap you want to lead, and that?s the last one. I?ve tried to apply that, and if we can do that, we?ll go home a winner.? (How much does it help to have those two victories under your belt and all of this time at the track when you just get back in?): ?It helps a little bit, the experience. The victories don?t help at all. That was then, and this is now. There?s a lot of similarities, but there?s a lot of differences. We just enjoy racing. I love the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I love the Indy 500, and this year has been really special because of who I?m driving for. You, know, ?The King? is working on my car, and I?m getting to talk to him, and we?re having a lot of fun. That?s what racing?s about is having a good time, having fun and enjoying yourself. With A.J. Foyt working on my car, that?s exactly what it is.? (Regarding John Andretti being away from the Indy 500 for 13 years): ?I think he?s going to enjoy it. I think John Andretti is going to enjoy the formula of the cars we?re running. They do handle better in traffic than the cars that he ran back in the early ?90s. For John, he?s going to have a good time out there and enjoy himself. You can feel these cars. You can feel when they?re going off. There are no real surprises to you. They?re safer in every aspect. If the conditions are anywhere mediocre to nice, then John?s going to have a good time.?

Alex Barron surprised a few people on Saturday when he showed some additional speed from the Beck Motorsports entry. Barron qualified the Curb Records #98 at a four-lap average of 220.471mph. ?Yeah, it?s been a long two days. We had a hiccup yesterday with

the data, and this morning we came out and had a pretty big imbalance in the car. We made some big adjustments, came out this afternoon, then the next thing you know, 3 or 4 o?clock comes around, and we only got two hours in the car. We did two runs, fine-tuned it and then just put it in line. The next thing you know, 6 o?clock is going to be here. I?m really excited to be back here.? Barron remarked in post-qualifying.

Jon Herb qualified the #19 Racing Professionals Dallara-Honda entry with a four-lap average of 220.108mph. Jaques Lazier qualified the Indiana Ice Playa Del Racing #21 Panoz-Honda at an average of 219.409.

Media darling and rookie, Milka Duno qualifed her Citgo SAMAX Racing Dallara-Honda at a four-lap average of 219.228mph. ?I am so happy. Remember when I was here before my rookie orientation test? It?s so fast. It?s a so, so difficult track. But my team, the CITGO SAMAX team, did a fantastic job. After what happened last week (crash), we recovered. We have a very good car. Good run. The team did something fantastic with the car. I have such a good car for qualifying. We lost last week because they (the team) were fixing the car, but they did something amazing. I am so pleased with my engineers. (All the guys on my team), they are super, super guys.?

Marty Roth qualifed his own #25 Dallara-Honda at 218.922mph, Roberto Moreno who replace injured driver Stephan Gregoire qualifed his #77 Chastain Motorsports Panoz-Honda at a four-lap average of 216.229. Jimmy Kite is the slowest in the field currently when he qualified his #18 Royal Spa PDM Racing Panoz-Honda at 214.528. Kite remarked, ?Obviously, that?s not the best time we?ve run today. We really missed the gearing in qualifying. It was the first time we went into sixth (gear) all day today. The car was good in fourth (gear), really good in fifth, and as soon as I went into sixth, it just fell on its face. It didn?t want to pull the sixth gear we had. We know tomorrow. Obviously, we?re more than likely going to have to qualify again tomorrow. I mean, I?d be shocked if we didn?t. At least we got a number on the board. Now we know tomorrow we can go out, practice and just keep working at it.?

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