Post race quotes from many of the Indy Racing League drivers following the opening round of the 2002 IRL Championship at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

GIL DE FERRAN No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara-Chevrolet - finished 2nd: "It was a good day for us. I love to come out of here with a second place finish and a lot of points in our first IRL race of the season. It's very good for us.

"My race was kind of up and down. I had a good start. I was running strong, then I messed up on one of the restarts. From then on we were OK, but about halfway through the race I got a little loose. We kept working on the car at every stop, and it got increasingly better. Every time I came into the pits, the guys did a great job. We always came out ahead of where we were or the same place. So that was very important for our overall result. Also, Roger's call at the end there to stay out and keep us on the lead lap was very, very smart. So it was a good day for us, even though we didn't have the race Hornish had.

"I tried to challenge him [Hornish] halfway through the race, but he was running very, very strong. We were happy with second place, and on to the next one."

About car balance: "I would start the stint so well and the wind conditions in (Turns) 3 and 4 were very difficult. My car was generally good for the first half of each tank, and I kept making it better. So at the end of the race it was more consistent."

HELIO CASTRONEVES No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara-Chevrolet - finished 3rd: "It was a good day for Team Penske. It's a new championship, new series, and new equipment. Everything is new. So to finish in the top three, that was my goal and I'm satisfied. I worked very hard at the beginning. The car was running at a good pace and towards the end, unfortunately, the car was running out the right rear tire. I just couldn't keep going on. My lap times were increasing extremely high. I was just trying to control the car. My car got really worse, and I only had one turn between (Turns) 1 and 2 that was good for me. Between (Turns) 3 and 4, I was struggling a lot.

"In that stint I lost a lot of time. In fact, I lost even a lap, but we tried to work a little bit on the car. I talked to the team and couldn't understand very well. I couldn't hear, but with all this situation we kept working very hard and got a good performance."

About car balance: "In the beginning my car was very good. In fact, I was keeping up with the Pennzoil team. On one of the restarts I was able to pass, but not for a long time. I was having a lot of trouble in (Turns) 3 and 4. That was my only trouble - I think everybody's trouble. I couldn't keep the speed, and my car was really light on entry, sometimes understeer, sometimes oversteer. It was a nightmare in (Turns) 3 and 4. We just tried to hold on. It's the first race of the championship when we're trying to score points, so I make sure I bring it home."

ROBBIE BUHL No. 24 Team Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing G
Force-Infiniti - finished 12th:
"We definitely had what we wanted. We were looking at a top-five finish today. Obviously we came up short of that. Everything was good with the car. We didn't have what Hornish had with his car. We just wanted to be running at the end of this thing, and we didn't quite do that. We'll stick with our plan for Phoenix. We tested well there. The goal is obviously to win, but we first need to be running at the end."

JAQUES LAZIER No. 2 Johns Manville/Menards Dallara-Chevrolet - finished 18th: "A long day in the office, I tell you. I feel bad for the crew. They worked so hard. I don't know what happened. We just went loose from the beginning and were fighting it all race. When I spun, it was one of those things where I thought I had it about five times and then it just hooked around. Seemed like about ten seconds of trying to save it before it finally let go. What can I say? Ouch.

"Today was basically a points race. Right now, Phoenix can't come sooner."

SCOTT SHARP No. 8 Delphi Dallara-Chevrolet - finished 20th: "I'm so disappointed. The Delphi Kelley team worked so hard this weekend to give me a car that would run well in these winds. We were actually running pretty well at the beginning, but after our third pit stop, we tried to conserve fuel, which slowed us down a little. Unfortunately, the fuel drive broke towards the end of the race, and our day was done."

AIRTON DARE No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara-Chevrolet - finished 10th: "Now I know that all of these new guys coming into our series doesn't threaten us. We can run with them. I wish I had more time in the car to learn and get to know how the team works. The blocking was bad today. That is one of the reasons of my accident. I feel good. I'm back in shape again. I'll know more about the season after this race. I think it helped me today."

ELISEO SALAZAR No. 11 Foyt Racing/Banco Chile Dallara-Chevrolet - finished 5th: "The car was really good at the beginning, but then we got a vibration with two sets of tires, and it got loose. It came back at the end and was racy again, so I made up a couple of positions. It's the third year in a row we finished in the top five for A.J. in the first race of the year."

AL UNSER JR. No. 7 Corteco/Bryant Dallara-Chevrolet - finished 19th: "The car just didn't feel good all day. We had electronic problems early in the race that put us a few laps down. I knew we wouldn't be able to make up the laps, so we just went out and tried to get the best finish we could. It's not how we wanted to start the season, but it's just the first race. There's 14 more to go, and we've got some testing coming up, so we'll be OK."

TYCE CARLSON No. 18 Immke Auto Group Dallara-Chevrolet - finished 11th: "I really believe we accomplished what we came here for, and we're ready for the Phoenix race. As the race went on, the track came to us. We kept making the correct changes on the car, and that's what we need to do to be a competitive racing team. Our goals coming into Homestead were to get me comfortable with the car and finish the race. As a team, we accomplished both goals."

LAURENT REDON No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara-Infiniti - finished 15th: "The beginning was pretty good. The car felt okay. Then for some reason we got a big push, a very big push. So we lost our advantage from the beginning of the race when we were in the top seven. The car was better for the last part of the race. We need to understand the car better for the race. The plan for Phoenix will be to look more at the race set-up than the qualifying. That's for sure."

BILLY BOAT No. 98 CURB Records Dallara-Chevrolet - finished 16th: "It was a frustrating day for the CURB Records team. We didn't have a bad race car, but we got hit in the left rear by another car trying to go three wide. We spun and lost five or six laps. It really put an end to our day. It's disappointing because everyone's worked really hard, and we may not have had a great race car, but we had, easily, a top-10 race car. It's a frustrating way to start the season, but we'll work hard, we'll recover and we'll go on. We'll try to make it up in Phoenix."

ANTHONY LAZZARO No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Racing Special Dallara-Chevrolet - finished 9th: "I kind of lucked into the top-10. Our goal was a top-10. But I'm just kind of disappointed in myself. I made a mistake getting into the pits the first time. I had a really good car in the beginning. Actually, every stint was good except one. We got too loose, and when we had to pit under the green, the car had too much oversteer. We had to kind of rebound from that, and of course, the guys put it back to where it was. It was good after that."

ALEX BARRON No. 44 Blair Racing Dallara-Chevrolet - finished 8th: "I was hoping for more today. The team did a really smart race today, and that is why we ended up running and finishing where we did. The team, Blair Racing is what got us the eighth-place finish today. We had a strong car, handling wise, and no mechanical failures. We just have to put the final pieces in the puzzle and we'll be right there. We ran strong today but you always want more. This team has it; the crew, the set-ups and pit stops. That's what it's all about. We have to continue to build on that."

TOMAS SCHECKTER - No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara-Infiniti - finished 6th: "First of all, I need to apologize to Eddie about our coming together at the beginning of the race. At the start of the race, there were cars everywhere around me on the straights. I was behind Eddie, and one of the Penske cars made a move on him. It created a gap for me. I tried to follow the Penske car. I went over the white line to try to avoid Eddie. We just made a little bit of contact, and I got a bit sideways. Unfortunately, he went into the wall and I carried on. We had some damage to the car that dropped us back, and from there on I just pushed as hard as I could.

"The Red Bull Cheever Racing crew gave me a good car. They worked very hard this weekend. I was glad we were able to finish sixth in my first race. Everything worked well with the Infiniti engine. It lasted and that's what we want."

About IRL racing: "It was crazy. Especially with the restarts when so many cars are packed together. You're braking sideways into the first corner, and you have cars left and right of you. It was so exciting. It was really good racing."
JEFF WARD No. 9 Chip Ganassi G Force-Chevrolet - finished 4th: "It was brutal. I mean, the track was really tough and slippery. Everybody had to be on their toes. You saw how many mistakes were made out there. The middle stint there where I got my lap back as we came under green, I got behind some slower guys that just were right in my line. I tried going high, but there were some bumps, and with full tanks the car would skate up the track. I went into the grey one time and that's when Sam had a clear track to come around and get by me. But it's a good start for the Chip Ganassi team."

FELIPE GIAFFONE No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing G Force-Chevrolet - finished 7th: "I think the race was pretty hard for everybody. We made some big changes for the race. My car was pushing for the whole race, and the wind upset the rear. But it was a really tough weekend for us. Fortunately, we got to the end of the race. After the really hard weekend we had, I'm kind of happy that I could finish the race, but I think we could improve a lot."

GEORGE MACK No. 31 310 Racing G Force-Chevrolet - finished 13th: "It went really well. We improvised in our first race attempt. I have only been in the car four times now, and we made up a considerable amount of positions in the course of the race. It's tough. A lot of cars, not knowing what's going on, tires going away, wind blowing - just a lot going on. I had a great time. I'm just looking forward to doing better in the next race and the race after that. It's still a learning experience for us."

ROBBY McGEHEE No. 10 Cahill Racing Dallara-Chevrolet - finished 14th: "It was a long day at the office for the Cahill Racing team today. The track and the weather conditions were constantly changing, and we were chasing the set-up all day on the Scottrade/Dollar-Rent-a-Car Chevy. First it was loose, then it was pushing. I adjusted the weight jacker and the sway bars all day. Turn 4 was the worst - it was really slippery and the wind was gusting a lot there. It seemed like everything happened in Turn 4. I'm glad we brought it home in one piece, but there once with about 20 laps to go, it got really loose, and I almost lost it big time in Turn 4 all by myself. This track is very challenging, that's for sure. I started to lose some gears at the end, so actually, it was good it ended under yellow for us."

JOHN DE VRIES No. 37 Pit Bull Energy Drink/Rhino Cleaning Products Dallara-Chevrolet - finished 17th: "It was great. I felt comfortable. Unfortunately, things happened with the motor. Otherwise we might have had a top 10 finish. We had a lot of power. We just hung in there."



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