Lazier preps for Indy qualifying Saturday
We’ve had an active week. We knew ahead of time that there would be a lot of give-and-take on the weather. There would be times that the weather would break, there would be openings when we could run, and there would be times when it would rain and we’d have to sit it out. The weather really doesn’t bother me because the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has set aside so much time for practice that any weather-related delays give you time to sit down with your engineer and crew chief and work on the set-up of the race car.
My week has really gone smoothly and been business as usual. Everyone is always uptight on Opening Day. It kind of reminds me of a guitar that’s been strung too tight. Then, after that first day, things kind of fall into the normal month of May time trial rhythm. Everything slows down and you get to work as usual.
The first week of practice has gone pretty smooth for us in that each day we progressed and learned things about the race car from a driver and engineering point of view. The car and myself are becoming more and more comfortable together and the speeds are following.
Looking toward qualifying Saturday, it]s kind of like a triangle. All week long, we’ve been building the foundation and you’re building toward this peak. That peak has got to be the ultimate from the driver, the ultimate from the race car set-up and the ultimate from our engine.
We expect big things from our Chevy engine. It’s an awesome powerplant and I believe it gives us a chance to be on the front row and it gives us a chance to win the race. We get great, great motors from Chevy and we have always found a way to get the Delta Faucet/Coors Light car up front. It’s been a great race car.
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The whole thing you are really building for is to be at the peak of performance from your driver-car-engine combination come race day. There are so many cars here trying to start the race, I think it’s something like 180-some driver-car combinations from really strong teams. You really have to be paying attention in qualifying. You can’t take something that’s just a good run, you can only take something that’s a fantastic run in qualifying.
We’ve been practicing at over 220 miles per hour, and that’s real fast. Hopefully, we can qualify closer to the 230 range.
I’m really looking forward to performing well for all my hometown and home state fans. Getting to carry the Coors Light colors is a thrill, since they are a Colorado-based company, and that means a lot to me. I’m very proud to be carrying the Colorado flag at Indianapolis. It was such and honor to be able to bring the Borg-Warner Trophy home after winning the 500 in 1996, and I so much want to bring the second one home!