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Michael Jourdain Jr., Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing - Q&A

When qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 was all over, the odd man out without a grid spot was veteran racer Michel Jourdain Jr.
Inevitably 34 drivers into 33 grid spots simply don't go, so from the moment that Katherine Legge was confirmed in a third Schmidt-Peterson car on Saturday is was just a matter of who the unlucky driver missing out on the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 was going to be. (See separate story.)

After 36-year-old Michel Jourdain Jr. from Mexico City drew the short straw, he joined the press in the media centre at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for an understandably downbeat review of what had gone wrong for Jourdain and the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team this weekend ...


Q:
Well, Michel, doggone. It's a tough day, obviously, and it looks like a lot of different things you were trying to find some speed and just couldn't get it.

Michel Jourdain Jr.:
Yeah. It was going to be very hard. All week we struggled. Right away, I didn't feel the car very well, you know, but when you're only driving once a year, it's just so hard to know.

It's just a feel thing, and some days it feels really well and getting a little better every day and it was just a low point, and, you know, we just - try this morning, James' setup. He was the fastest of the three cars, and coming out of Turn 4 first lap I almost spun, and I felt this car isn't drivable. And I felt - we put Graham in the car with his exact same setup and everything, steering wheel is in, everything, you know.

It was impossible for him to feel a difference. Just couldn't drive it. He couldn't go - he came in, got the 204 and he said, "I'm not going any faster." He said - you try to go flat out and come in Turn 4. It's impossible.

So we went back and we changed it, changed the whole - the things we had time to change which was the floor - front ring, we tried but as soon as I came in, the car was the same.

I thought, well, we changed so many things, it was Graham's setup. The setup we had yesterday, we worked on it for a week and the car was really well. But for some reason we ended up there so the car was just, I mean couldn't go flat out - with more force and - it was, just, you know, the only thing, keep trying was do something stupid and put the car in the wall, you know. Not make the race anyway, so there's no point in that.

Q:
The things you're talking about, you're making big changes, and you start making big changes all the time, then it gets very hard to sort it out. I think people understand if you change this, that's going to make it one way, you change another thing, that affects the car, and before you know it you're pretty much searching desperately.

Michel Jourdain Jr.:



Related Pictures

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Michel Jourdain Jr. on the third day of practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Monday May 13, 2013. (Picture Credit: Walter Kuhn for IndyCar Media)
Michel Jourdain Jr. gets ready on the fourth day of practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Tuesday May 14, 2013. (Picture Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Michel Jourdain Jr. on the fourth day of practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Tuesday May 14, 2013. (Picture Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
A special message for James Hinchcliffe during the Indianapolis 500 Victory Banquet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates with team owner Roger Penske after winning the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Accident for Sage Karam on the first lap of the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Mike Young for IndyCar Media)
Oriol Servia accident during the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Mike Young for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson at the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Eric Anderson for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates after the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates after the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates after the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Eric Anderson for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, and his team perform the traditional kissing of the bricks after racing to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, drinks the traditional bottle of milk while celebrating his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates his victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Scott R. LePage/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the #2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, crosses the finish line as he races to victory Sunday, May 24, 2015, winning the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Montoya went from near-last to first, winning the Indy 500 for the second time in his career. Will Power (left), driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, finishes second. Chevrolet powered the top four cars in the race. (Photo by Andy Frame/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Juan Pablo Montoya is congratulated by his Penske team mate Helio Castroneves after clinching victory in the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates victory in the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates victory in the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday May 24 2015. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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