Iowa: Post-race press conference

Miller Lite 100 Post-Race Transcript June 20, 2009 An Interview with Ana Beatriz, Wade Cunningham and James Hinchcliffe THE MODERATOR: Wade Cunningham, driving the No. 11 car tonight, Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Wade, you had a pretty good run...

Miller Lite 100 Post-Race Transcript
June 20, 2009

An Interview with Ana Beatriz, Wade Cunningham and James Hinchcliffe

THE MODERATOR: Wade Cunningham, driving the No. 11 car tonight, Sam Schmidt Motorsports. Wade, you had a pretty good run going. You led 103 laps, and this is, I guess, your fourth consecutive top six finish. But you must be disappointed the way it ended?

WADE CUNNINGHAM: Absolutely. The two lead pack cars had misfortune today and I dominated the whole race. Pulled away from the field at will, really, and just manage that second half gap. (Sebastien) Saavedra was 25 laps down and trying to prove a point that he had the quickest car today. So I thought I did the sportsmanlike thing and let him go. But that's what he was there to do - just out to ruin my race, so he deliberately slowed down in front of me. That's how the pack caught back up.

Because at that stage with the lead we had, no one was going to catch us. So I'm just extremely disappointed with the way the day ended out, and I don't have many positives to say.

Q: There must be some positives in the sense that you did have a pretty good run going for most of the race. The car ran well, apparently on the track.

WADE CUNNINGHAM: Of course, the car was great. We took the lead, I'm not sure we were leading at the line. We took the lead at the first corner, running on the high line. And we had a great balanced car, and I was able to conserve tires.

When (Daniel) Harrington got in second place, he was quicker than J.R.(Hildebrand), and I pulled away from him twice and just managed the whole race.

So I've got good equipment, but in a tight championship like this you have to capitalize. And today should have been my win. I did get most laps led. But it would have been a good day to get 25 points on J.R., and that was stolen from us. So extremely disappointed. And that's all I'm going to say.

THE MODERATOR: Let's open it up to questions.

Q: (No microphone)?

WADE CUNNINGHAM: No, the track was in great condition. I had a lost down force, and that's probably why we had good racing this year as opposed to last year. I was only a spectator. But you saw J.R. and I running side by side. Bia (Anna Beatriz) and I, James (Hinchcliffe) and I. I don't know what happened behind me, but I'm sure there was a lot of good racing.

I actually think the conditions played into a better race, because the cars developed more gripping and a bit of consistency.

Q: (No Microphone)?

WADE CUNNINGHAM: He knew he was out of the race, and I think he was 25 points from the championship ahead of me in second place. And he knew that if he could take points away from me it would help him in the long run.

It would have been quite easy for him to pass Pippa Mann who was a half lap down, and five seconds off the pace. He managed to pass me and I was the quickest car on the track past him.

So it was a conscious decision by him. I hope they do something because it's very unsportsmanlike, and I'd hate for them to let it go and leave it for the drivers to sort out.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much for coming tonight, we appreciate it.

With us now is James Hinchcliffe, driving the No. 7 car tonight, third place finisher, running for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. James, congratulations, tell us about your run tonight, and how it went out there?

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: Yeah, thanks very much. It was an interesting evening. First off with the delays it sort of made everything tough. And it was mentally tough for us to stay in the right mindset when everything got delayed like that.

When we did get going, we weren't sure if there was still water on the track, so it was a little bit tough. So the beginning of the race went quite well. We had a pretty quick car up in the lead four there.

At one point Bia got a run on me. And as soon as I went off the line and out of the groove, my car was not that good. So side-by-side traffic I was really struggling. So she got by, and Mario (Romancini) got by.

I was flicking knobs and turning switches and doing all sorts of stuff inside the car to try to make it better. We got it a little bit better. So we were able to keep with that pack. And just sort of capitalize on other people's mistakes and stayed out of trouble, because at a place like this, it's really tough.

So it was great to finish third, and move up, and Sam Schmidt Motorsports, 1, 2, 3, 5, and it's tough to do better than that. So thanks to the whole team. And thanks to the fans for sticking around, they waited a long time, too.

Q: You mentioned the delay. Did you see any water on the track? That was the question some of the folks had in the media center?

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: No, I didn't see any. But like I said before, I'm sure if there was our Firestone dry tires are good enough in the rain, too. It would have been fine, we would have stuck right there no problem.

Q: How important is third place for you?

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: I think it's really important. With guys like J.R. having a bit of trouble and finishing ahead of Mario and Sebastien as well it's good for us in the points. It's always good to be up on the podium.

One of those restarts I got around Bia and the yellow came out just as I got past her and they didn't give me the position.

You sort of do the would have, should have, could have, if I had been where she was on that play on the restart, and things had played out.

But anyway, congrats to her, and Wade and Gus as well coming up from 11th to finish 5th is great. It was a great day for the whole team.

Q: This is your best finish on an oval, isn't it?

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: It is indeed.

Q: How does that work?

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: We've been getting steadily better. The first two were tough for us. We had mechanical problems in qualifying and then in Indy again in the race. So Milwaukee was pretty much my first proper full event. And then to come here and get this podium, it means a lot.

It just proves it's not over until it's over. It looked like Wade had this thing wrapped up, and he just got in the wrong place at the wrong time, and we were able to capitalize on that. So it was a heck of a race.

It's going to be good to watch on TV, for sure. A lot of side-by-side racing. I nearly touched both Wade and Bia at one point, and I did touch Harrington at one point. I think everybody got into somebody out there, so on a track like this you're going to get that sort of racing, and that's what the fans like.

Q: (No Microphone)?

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: It takes a little bit, I won't lie. But I'm comfortable now. I know the limits of the car. I know how hard I can push. I know when to push and when not to push. But it's a completely different skill set coming from a road course racing background.

It was definitely a baptism by fire. I had a great team to sort of teach me and help my education move along pretty quick. I mean, now I love the racing. I really enjoy it. How can you not? When you look at that, that was a pretty thrilling thing.

To think, the big cars tomorrow are going to go do that for twice as long. It's going to be pretty cool.

Q: (No Microphone).

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: I think the Firehawk is a bit of a good luck charm. I absolutely think that's what's going to have to happen. I'm going to have to track him down before every single race, steal his gun again, and let it rip.

Q: James, thank you, and congratulations. Appreciate you being with us.

THE MODERATOR: Most of us know, we want to congratulate Ana on your victory, Ana Beatriz driving for sham Schmidt Motorsports and car No. 20 tonight.

Ana, that was quite a race. Tell us about it. That was quite a finish and what does it mean for you to win here at Iowa Speedway?

ANA BEATRIZ: Oh, I'm speechless. That was amazing. Maybe the best one ever just because of the situation that I am right now. I was at Milwaukee, we came back did amazing work on some sponsorships down in Brazil. I lost Milwaukee and we came here and won this race. It's such an amazing thing. I'm speechless, really.

The race was great, actually. The beginning, all the cars were really competitive. I didn't really think -- I thought really it would be really hard to on pass. But after a while some people started to have some trouble here and there. And then we start to get traffic, and that was the moment that I think I was able to get positions and win this race.

I'm so thankful for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Healthy Choice, my manager, an amazing person for putting me here today. So, yeah, it's a great day.

Q: You won last year at Nashville, and this is your first win this year. Might add, and I know you're a race car driver first, but you're also the first woman that's ever won a race at Iowa speedway. Could you share your thoughts?

ANA BEATRIZ: Thank you, thank you. That's an amazing feeling, too. When I'm inside I never think that I'm woman, but it's definitely very good to make history. So I'm very proud to be the first woman to win at Iowa.

Q: How tough was it with Wade toward the end there? What was the critical moment for you?

ANA BEATRIZ: Actually, I thought he had a solid win. I thought it would be really tough to pass him, but he got in trouble with Saavedra. And I got him at the right time. My car felt great on the outside of the track, so he stayed on the inside. And I just got the run on him on the outside.

After that I was just making sure that I would pass well, and he was really fast behind me. But it was like one lap to go, and then they had an accident. I hope the driver of the Panther car, the driver of the Panther car is good. But, well, it's just, it's great. I was just saying inside the car and saying thank you to everybody.

Q: (No microphone)?

ANA BEATRIZ: Yeah, it's a new car. We had a problem with the engine in the morning, and we lost the first session. So it was a bad thing for us, especially in the new car. I had a new seat. I was just getting used to everything again, and we were improving.

Hopefully, my teammates helped me a lot today, because I was just kind of copying. They sat up to see if I could go up with them. They were really, really fast all day. And we qualified sixth. It wasn't bad, but we decided that it would be really hard to win this race today. I was maybe taking the podium. Or actually I was just thinking finishing this race, and getting rhythm again. And the win just came like amazing. I can't believe it, really.

Q: (No Microphone)?

ANA BEATRIZ: Yeah, it's really being the right time, maybe. The guy that we passed, he got stuck behind with being in the wrong position and choosing the wrong side. And it's just like racing. I got the perfect momentum to win this race.

Maybe his car was a little bit better, I don't know. He had a solid win. He was fast all weekend. He was coming off a win in Indianapolis, so he was really confident. Just like I think for sure it was about momentum.

Q: (No Microphone)?

ANA BEATRIZ: I cut my chin a little bit. I probably got a little scar from it.I just say that I'd rather get a mark from a ring in Indianapolis than a scar, but I hope I have chances in the future to make it happen.

My knee hurts a little bit from the crash, and still, I'm still working on it to get it better. But nothing that would make me not race or anything like that.

Q: (No Microphone)?

ANA BEATRIZ: Well, I got last lap flag, and then I got yellow flag. And I said, it must be, like I can't lose this win, no way. So I slowed it down a little bit. But the Panther car was in the middle of the track, and people were spinning around still. So with my fault, I think I was too fast, maybe. But my mind was just like I wanted to win this race, and I didn't want to lose it.

So hopefully I got all four wheels of the car perfect to the winner's circle. So it was great.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations. We hope you remember Iowa Speedway.

ANA BEATRIZ: Thank you. Thanks, Sam. Hope you are not too wet from the champagne.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , Pippa Mann , Wade Cunningham , James Hinchcliffe , Ana Beatriz