Justin Wilson on his first Indy 500

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 02 McDonald’s Racing Team): “Just going through ROP was a lot of fun. Just getting up to speed and getting a feel for the track, and obviously the McDonald's car was working very well because we progressed through that very quickly and I felt very comfortable. I was just enjoying my time out on the track and could hear everyone else who told me stuff about the circuit, I could hear their voices as I was driving around, and it was exactly like what they had been saying. This place is a lot of fun to drive.”

(About his first Indy 500): “We're only a few days into it. I guess I'll find out in a few days time, whether we're going crazy or not. So far, on track, it's been a lot of fun. I still, each time I go out, I feel like I get more acclimatized to the track and the environment out there. I know it's going to be completely different on Race Day when th e grandstands fill up. That changes your sight picture enormously. That's another thing I've been warned about is how overwhelming it can seem on Race Day, so I'm just trying to take it all in and keep working on the car, and I think yesterday we ended up pretty quick. Hopefully we can make some more progress and get up there and ideally qualify the first weekend.”

(About how the rain effects preparation): “Obviously, we've had three days running as compared with the more experienced guys having only one day, but I think if the conditions are not ideal, the more experienced guys know how to deal with that quicker than we do. They can change their car and find a setup and go out there and run four laps of qualifying and be really close, whereas we might be a way off and have to change it, come back for a second attempt, come back for a third attempt, and it just makes life a little bit harder when you don't have the data to fall back on.”

(About perspective of Indy): “The main thing is when I came in and ran th! e track in the right direction. I've been here for the Grand Prix before and that never seemed quite right, to be in a place like this and not really getting to experience the track. Now I've got to experience going the right direction and have fun out there. It is just enjoyment. The corners are so fast. The car releases out of the corners onto the straights and you just enjoy sitting on the straights and looking down on to either Turn 1 or Turn 3 and remembering some of those images I've seen and just replaying the '93 race. That is the first time I remember seeing the race, when Nigel Mansell came over and raced. We actually got the ‘500’ televised in the UK, and those are my first memories. Watching those cars go down the straights and trying to overtake, and it's pretty cool to finally get to drive on that track. It's not an easy place. We started off in ROP with more downforce and got comfortable and learned the track, and as we go on, we start to trim the car out, and that's when it gets difficult. When the car starts to move around, each time you come down the straights, I mentioned how long they are, but that's a good thing and also a bad thing because you have plenty of time to start to think about the next corner, and you can psych yourself up or you can psych yourself out. It depends on what happens. You get there, and your foot is either planted to the floor or it starts to quiver and you lift off, so there's a lot of time to think.”

(About qualifying): “I wouldn't say I'm nervous yet. It will be a few more days before we get to that stage, but the only thing I've learned so far is that usually starts off a little bit on the oversteer side and it will generally go to an understeer. That's what I've experienced throughout the tire life. The first few laps, the car is neutral, and after a few laps it starts to understeer. Obviously, for qualifying, we need to tip the balance and start a little bit on the loose so it's best right in the middle of your run. We'll tackle that when! we get there, I guess. We've had that type of qualifying already this year, which has been helpful, at Homestead and Kansas. Doing the four laps is quite nerve wracking. You know you're out there on your own and everybody is watching, and you've got to perform. It's going to be fun to see how it feels, and I guess the better your car feels, the more comfort you're going to have and the more you're going to want to go out and improve yourself.”

(About Graham Rahal): “I actually like Graham a lot. When he first came into the Atlantic series, when I was in Champ Car, we sat next to each other during a couple of autograph sessions, and we got on really well. He's incredibly intelligent and mature for his age, and it's quite interesting to listen to him because he talks like a 30-year-old would, and it's quite impressive to know how far in advance he's thinking and how mature he's thinking, whether it's the car or racing or just any part of his life. I think he's got a lot of potential and obviously he's got a win already, and I think we're going to see him more often in the winner's circle. I get on well with him as a teammate. I was actually very pleased and very happy when he won at St. Petersburg. I thought that was great. I had a difficult race myself. I was running in the front and was hoping to have a chance to have won, but as soon as I saw it was Graham doing the doughnuts, it cheered me up.”