“What They’re Saying” from Iowa Corn 300 qualifying

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“What They’re Saying” from Iowa Corn 300 qualifying

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 DeVilbiss Team Penske Chevrolet): “During qualifying there was too much understeer in the car and we were a little bit loose, but it’s okay. We did a lot of work today and we prepared really well for the race. So, we feel pretty confident. The DeVilbiss Chevy should do well in tomorrow’s race.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “The Hitachi Chevrolet is really good. We’re talking about a few hundredths of a second and when you have incredible teammates and we’re all going out right in a row, whoever goes last is probably going to get the best end of it. Simon did a good job. The 500th pole for Team Penske. I’m proud to be part of this team. I’m happy for him getting the pole position. Now tomorrow I’m going to go for the race win.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “It was definitely a less-than-ideal day at the office in the Arrow Electronics car. We had some sort of issue in qualifying and I’m not entirely sure what caused it but for the gap in pace that we saw, there’s definitely a major issue. We’ll take a look at it and try to diagnose the problem. It’s just unfortunate to start from the back here, especially during a day race, and another bad pit selection for my home race in Toronto. With that said, we can bounce back, it’s something we’ve done before. It’s just going to be about being smart tomorrowand staying out of trouble.”

MIKHAEL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Honda): “I think we had a decent qualifying run and I’m happy to be the fastest Honda. Top ten is a good position to start tomorrow in the SMP Racing car and the race is very long. It’s going to be very difficult and it’s hard to say what to expect but I think we’ll be okay.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “The Gallagher car was really strong today. It was loose, probably too loose, but when I qualified here last year on the pole in Indy Lights I was too loose. I think that’s the just the way it is around here. You have to be on the limit, especially in qualifying. I think in the race you need a car that you’re confident with, but in qualifying you just have to go for it.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “Going to the green flag lap I had a bit of a moment and nearly lost it. I had to downshift and that really hurt our momentum. I was a little bit timid after that, but we have a good Target car and will be ready for the race come tomorrow here at Iowa.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet): “It’s safe to say that I left everything I had out on the track for that qualifying run. The car felt really loose and honestly it felt like I was close to crashing a few times, but we’ll take a sixth-place starting spot for the race tomorrow. This track really suits me and I came from much further back when I won here in 2010. The No. 10 NTT DATA Chevrolet’s race setup is really strong and I’m feeling confident in the race car.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Hydroxycut – KVSH Racing Chevrolet): “We were too optimistic with the downforce level given the track conditions with the track temp going up. I was sliding all over the place. The balance was good on the Hydroxycut Chevy machine. I just had no grip. We trimmed a little more than where we were this morning, we went for it, but it was not a smart move. It is what it is.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “For qualifying, we wanted to be a little conservative and the goal was to just be up in the front.  We didn’t qualify quite where we would have liked.  The track can be quite slippery here and that can have an effect. But I’m feeling good about the Verizon Chevy and we’ll just work on what we need for tomorrow’s race to finish out strong.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “Iowa qualifying is always exciting especially the bumps in Turn 3. We didn’t have a good practice session today but the testing we had last week helped us to understand where the car needs to be for qualifying. At the time when I had attacked we were fifth out-it felt pretty good. I was happy with the balance and the speed and it all looked pretty strong at the time. In the end, the field is pretty tight and I’m not super happy with our position but we have a better car in race trim so we’ll see in the final warmup.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Mi-Jack/RLL Honda): “This Mi-Jack team is going to continue to work hard. We wanted to be the fastest Honda but ended up second fastest. For whatever reason we struggled in a little in Turns 3 and 4 but overall that was a decent qualifying run. We got a little conservative maybe on downforce. I told our guys that I thought if we were a little more trim (on aerodynamic setup) and the balance was right, we could go quicker. We didn’t have a good practice this morning and didn’t get a good read on our qualifying simulation. It’s hard as a single car team; we’re kind of guessing. Race day is a whole different animal. We’re going to do our best to get this car to the front.”

CONOR DALY (No. 18 Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality Honda): “For us we were just taking a big swing at it to be honest. We had a lot of downforce in practice but for qualifying we trimmed it out. We definitely took a chance. I think we were a little bit forward on the front grip so it was a little sketchy on the way in which was keeping us from being flat. That said, overall I think we’re much better than when we tested here and that was our goal in the end.”

GABBY CHAVES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): “I think we had a really good balance at the end of our run in practice. Obviously, we had a little too much drag on the car so we took that off for qualifying and the balance was a little different and I think that’s what kept us from being higher up. We had pretty good pace, if we were just able to keep the car flat all around the lap, I think we would have been right up there with the fastest of Hondas. That’s how we learn I guess. It’s definitely encouraging for tomorrow. We took some big steps here.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “I’m a little disappointed, to be honest! I thought we were going to be a little bit better than that. We had a little too much balance in there. I was hoping for a top-five starting spot, but we’ve just had a rough year. We had a great car this morning in our long runs, which is really good. I just came out here thinking we were going to be a little better than 7th.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka/ECR Chevrolet): “You always wish you had a little more when you’re sitting second! That’s the beauty of hindsight. We did everything we could with our information. It was tough because I didn’t get to test, but J.R.(Hildebrand) did such a great job for us last week at the test. He got the car in an awesome place, we just missed it by a whisker there. We have a great racecar and we really have an opportunity to make something happen. We’ve had two good races here over the past couple of years, I think we’ve got another shot to get a win this time.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “That’s pretty cool isn’t it. 500 [poles for Penske Racing]- how cool is that.  It is just qualifying and we still have a lot of work to do this weekend but it certainly is a great stamp on the work the No. 22 team has been doing, as well as the whole Penske organization. We work, all four of us together, with Helio (Castroneves), Juan (Pablo Montoya) and Will (Power) makes it really nice to go to work in the morning. We manage to make the car better together and it shows on the race track.  Super proud of everyone with the Menards team. It is fantastic to accomplish success this year. But again, this is qualifying and the big prize is tomorrowwhen the points come. It is such a gamble for the engineers in this situation. You only get two laps. Conditions from this morning to the afternoon changed. It is fun. When you get the car right like this on an oval. This Menards car is beautiful. It has been super close all weekend. Super proud of the No. 22 team. Chevy has been incredible giving us so much power and such a good aero kit it’s been comfortable and a lot more to my driving style. The biggest statement we want to show is we are strong on ovals as well and want to win. I’m super happy about that. I’m super happy we can show some speed. We were fast at Indy as well, but a mechanical took us out of that.  It’s great to be here. It is great to show so much strength. I’m the lucky one who got to win the 500th pole for Team Penske; a Frenchman and on an oval.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda): “That was a really hard qualifying for sure. We’re missing a little bit of balance in general. We have to work hard tonight. That wasn’t the qualifying we were hoping for. We were hoping for a little bit better. You know, last year we started similar to this place and we finished fifth, so we will see where it goes tomorrow.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): “I think if I would’ve turned down in the bumps in (Turns) 3 and 4 during qualifying, it would’ve been a repeat of this morning (when the No. 27 car spun). We can’t get a handle on the back end right now, we’re just so loose. It has definitely been a trying few days here – both the test and today.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “This morning we were doing a simulation run for qualifying, and had a car come out in front of me in the middle of the corner. I just lost it, the rear end came around and we couldn’t keep it off the wall. Luckily the DHL crew got us back out before the end of the session, but we lost a little time. We were hoping for more in qualifying. The car just got loose on me out there, a big push, everything. I was doing everything I could to keep off the wall. It’s something we just have to keep working hard at.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda): “Interesting qualifying. I thought we were ok this afternoon compared to this morning when we were a bit weak in qualifying trim. They changed some bits and pieces and it was where we were at the test in terms of feeling which I liked. We had too much understeer in the car and too much scrub in our run, which probably hurt us a little bit but the good thing is we got the feeling back with the rear which I had at the test. Hopefully we can put that into the race car and do some more work tonight.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet): “It was reasonably slippery out there. I was surprised at how low grip it actually was, but the No. 83 Tresiba Chevrolet felt pretty good regardless. The first couple of laps it was pretty free and I was sliding a lot, but I made some adjustments to my tools and took a really big swing at it and had to pedal it a bit. The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing guys started this morning with a good car after learning a lot from Max after his test here last week and Scott’s tire test early in the year. I haven’t seen this place since last year, but it’s probably a good thing with how the bumps have changed. We’re happy with the fifth-place starting spot and ready to do some work on the race car in tonight’s practice.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 Castrol Edge/Curb Honda): “That was tough. The track warmed up quite a bit from practice where I was happy with the car and that penalized us. We need to go back and make sure that’s the reason because tomorrow afternoon will be just as hot. We have some thinking to do.”