1. Servia, Simmons, Rust guests on teleconference 2. IndyCar Series rookie class distinguishes itself 1. IndyCar Series driver Oriol Servia, Firestone Indy Lights driver Jeff Simmons and Watkins Glen International president Craig Rust were ...
1. Servia, Simmons, Rust guests on teleconference
2. IndyCar Series rookie class distinguishes itself
1. IndyCar Series driver Oriol Servia, Firestone Indy Lights driver Jeff Simmons and Watkins Glen International president Craig Rust were guests on today's Indy Racing League teleconference in advance of the weekend races at Watkins Glen International.
Oriol Servia: In first season competing in the IndyCar Series, driving for KV Racing Technology. He finished a season-high fifth at Richmond International Raceway on June 28 - his fourth top 10. He turns 34 on July 13.
Jeff Simmons: Has posted five top-10 finishes, with a best of second at The Milwaukee Mile, and four top-five starts in six Firestone Indy Lights races with Team Moore Racing. He competed in the 92nd Indianapolis 500 for A.J. Foyt Racing. He won at Watkins Glen International in Firestone Indy Lights in 2005.
They said what...? Listed below are select quotes from today's teleconference.
Q: Did The Glen remind you of -- I know you didn't get a lot of seat time during the (June 24) test -- but did The Glen remind you of any circuits you raced on before?
ORIOL SERVIA: I would say it's very special. I really liked it. To me, it has a little bit the taste of an older or more historic racetrack like in Europe. At first I thought it was going to be a little bit like between Mid-Ohio and Elkhart Lake. But, to be honest, the racetrack that it reminded me of most is the old Nurburgring. The way the fast corners are, the asphalt, concrete patches here and there, and even the mountains around it. It reminded me of the old Nurburgring racetrack.
Q: Talk about the development of the team, KV Racing Technology.
ORIOL SERVIA: I'm not going to get tired of saying how good of a job I believe the team is doing, from engineers to the crew to management, because, honestly, it's really tough. We got the cars two weeks before the first race. You know, if that wasn't big enough for any team on any championship, at the end of the day we were fighting other teams that have big budgets and they had this car for four years. … I think really we're showing that we are extremely competitive and that we're going to be contenders as soon as we have time to learn and prepare for the full season the way we should.
Q. Jeff, you've turned a lot of laps at Watkins Glen throughout your career. You know how to win at this track in a Firestone Indy Lights car. What will it take for you to give Team Moore Racing its first victory this year?
JEFF SIMMONS: I love Watkins Glen. I love the whole area. It brings a big smile to my face every time I drive into the front gate there. It's going to be difficult. There's some strong competition for sure. It's also going to be quite a day when we have the doubleheader there on Saturday because we don't have a whole lot of time in between races. It's really going to be physically and mentally taxing because we're not going to have much time to recover after the first race, so you got to make sure you get through that pretty clean and hope your fitness is good enough to do a 200-mile race instead of just 100 miles as we usually do.
Q: Give us your thoughts about that doubleheader format as far as how does that play into strategy.
JEFF SIMMONS: You are going to have to be very careful in that first race, because if you have any sort of damage to your car it's going to be difficult to fix that and get back out there for the second one. We've done the doubleheaders before, but usually it's kind of one race on Saturday, one on Sunday, or a lot more time in between. It's going to be very important to take care of your car in the first race.
2. IndyCar Series rookie class distinguishes itself: At the halfway point of the IndyCar Series season, the largest class of rookies in the series in years is making its mark, including Graham Rahal's historic victory on the streets of St. Petersburg and 11 rookies qualifying for the 92nd Indianapolis 500.
Ten full-time drivers are in the race for the Bombardier Learjet Rookie of the Year award.
Hideki Mutoh, currently fifth overall in IndyCar Series points, leads the charge. The driver of the No. 27 Formula Dream entry for Andretti Green Racing has five top-10 finishes in nine races, including a second place at the Iowa Speedway.
"Hideki Mutoh is coming out strong as a rookie, but he's with a great team," Vision Racing's Ed Carpenter said.
Australian Will Power closed the books on the Champ Car World Series with a victory on Long Beach's winding streets and is 11th in IndyCar Series points. Power is second in the rookie title search, sitting 37 points behind Mutoh.
"This year, our strengths are on the road courses, but we're catching up on the ovals now and we seem to be running more competitively," said Power, driver of the No. 8 Aussie Vineyards - Team Australia car for KV Racing Technology. "I think the second half of the season will be good for us."
Justin Wilson, driver of the No. 2 McDonald's car for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, is competing in his first year as an IndyCar Series driver, but he is no stranger to the sport. Wilson was a two-time Champ Car title runner-up. He is fourth in the rookie standings.
"It's great that unification has taken place. We've got everyone back together and we've got everyone working in the same direction," said Wilson, who has posted four top-10 finishes.
Rahal, son of racing champion Bobby Rahal, made history as the youngest IndyCar Series winner at 19 years old in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Rahal has two top-10 finishes and a career-best starting position of second at The Milwaukee Mile. In his first IndyCar Series oval start at Kansas, he moved from 20th to 12th place in the No. 06 Hole in the Wall Camps car for Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. He is fifth in the standings.
The 2008 IndyCar Series season continues with the Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen July 6 at Watkins Glen International. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network. A Spanish-language telecast of the race will be carried by ESPNDeportes. The IMS Radio Network broadcast also is carried on XM Satellite Radio and www.indycar.com. The 2008 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Corning Duels same-day doubleheader on July 5 at Watkins Glen International. The races will be telecast at 2 p.m. (EDT) July 10 on ESPN2 and live on www.indycar.com.