FONTANA, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 16, 2005 -- Wade Cunningham clinched the Menards Infiniti Pro Series championship in style, nipping championship rival Jeff Simmons for victory in the California 100.
It was the first career victory for Cunningham, who had finished second a series-record seven times. It was also the first victory for car owner Brian Stewart in the Menards Infinti Pro Series.
CALIFORNIA 100 POST-RACE QUOTES:
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 33 Motorsport New Zealand Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, winner California 100 and 2005 Menards Infiniti Pro Series championship): "No matter what happened we could keep going straight to the front. The car was just so strong all day. The gears were just right. The car was just on the edge of being a little bit too loose. I'm just super proud of the guys. We hung with it all season and finally got the win we deserved."
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 24 Team ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished second): "We had a tough first half of the year but came back strong with Team ISI. The guys at Kenn Hardley Racing did a great job. We had a good car. We had another race winning car today. Hopefully we've impressed (the IndyCar Series) team owners enough to have them take a real serious look at me. Hopefully they see I can race on every kind of track, and I can race clean."
TRAVIS GREGG (No. 7 Lucas Oil Products/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished third): "We started good, but ended up a little short. It was fun to battle with Wade (Cunningham) and Jeff (Simmons) during the race. I thought we had it on that last restart, but I just couldn't keep up with their momentum when they went by together. I didn't really feel alone out there until the last eight laps, but the first 42 laps I was pretty busy. It was pretty fun."
CHRIS FESTA (No. 19 SpacePak/CareCentric/SSM Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished fourth): "We're disappointed we dropped to fourth after starting third, but it was a hard race the entire time. We're happy to maintain fourth with the battle we were in the entire time. The car was understeering a little, which made it unable to keep up with the front three. That's the way it goes, sometimes you just don't have a car that's fast enough, but we were able to end the year better than we started. It was a good hard race."
NICK BUSSELL (No. 9 Vision Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished fifth): "It was interesting. It was not the outcome we wanted. We finished fifth again. It was a little bit crazy. The car was good for the most part. We just were a little off, and it was pretty competitive. We got separated from the pack in the middle of the race and a couple of guys got together, and I didn't really have a chance to catch up. The restart wasn't so good."