The car is ready to go
It’s a real pleasure to be a part of the Sam Schmidt team.
Sam is a former driver and veteran team owner who has had success here with these cars and the Indy Pro Series. He has put together a real good group of guys. We have a bunch of good-attitude guys who put their heads down and work.
Sam acquired this Dallara chassis and Honda engine just days before practice began, and I was driving the car three days later without a problem on the track Tuesday.
I know of few, if any, teams this size that could obtain a race car and prepare it within three days. That tells you how professional they are. This team is confident they can surprise some people this month.
Our team engineer, Sam Neff, is very talented, and we are starting to communicate the way a driver and engineer need to. When you do a one-of race, you have to gel quickly because that’s the nature of racing in the 500.
We are realistic about our expectations. Right now, we are going to focus with a little bit of emphasis on qualifying this weekend and 100 percent on the race. Basically, you trim out the race car a little for qualifying.
You have to bear in mind what this team’s strengths are. When you are more focused on the car for the race, which is what we are doing this month, qualifying can be more challenging.
We don’t expect to go out and sit on the front row this year, but we’ll be comfortable among the top 22 qualifiers.
We do have the expectation to be up front and in the money at the end of this year’s Indianapolis 500.
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