IPS: Homestead: Hemelgarn/Johnson Motorsports preview

Witherill and Fike eye season opener and championship. Indianapolis, IN -- Infiniti Pro Series veterans Cory Witherill and Aaron Fike are revved up for the season-opening Miami 100 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 2. Having logged several...

Witherill and Fike eye season opener and championship.

Indianapolis, IN -- Infiniti Pro Series veterans Cory Witherill and Aaron Fike are revved up for the season-opening Miami 100 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 2.

Having logged several hundred test miles in Miami during the off season, both Hemelgarn/Johnson Motorsports drivers are prepared to take on the tricky, 1.5-mile oval and the 2003 Infiniti Pro Series championship.

"I've competed at Miami-Homestead Speedway as well as the off season testing so I feel very comfortable on the track," said Witherill, driver of the No. 92 WSA Healthcare/Dallara/Infiniti entry. "I've had good experiences at Homestead. I raced there a few years ago, and it's going to be a tough race."

Not only is the track a difficult one but the level of competition has increased with several returning veterans and a few experienced newcomers joining the Infiniti Pro Series. Witherill, a Navajo and only full-blooded Native American in professional open-wheel racing, welcomes the challenge.

"Our plan for the season is to go out and win the championship. It is going to be more competitive this year. It is going to be a tough battle for the championship, but it's good for me because I love the challenge."

Among the stiff competition is teammate Fike, who has plans of his own to win the championship. Witherill and Fike each scored a victory during the inaugural 2002 season and finished fourth and fifth, respectively in the points standings.

"We need to finish every race in the top five," said Fike. "Everything has got to come together. I think we have the right stuff. It's just whether it's all going to fall in place."

To start the season off on the right foot, the 20-year-old USAC standout spent a little more than half a day of testing at Miami, getting comfortable with the track and various setups. He posted more than 150 laps in his No. 91 RFMS/Hemelgarn Racing Infiniti-powered Dallara chassis.

Fike commented on the track, "It's probably one of the more difficult tracks that we run on. It has really sweeping corners. We were one of the fastest cars down there and learned quite a bit from the test. Homestead is a demanding track; you have to pay close attention and really concentrate in the corners."

The Miami 100 Infiniti Pro Series race starts at 10:10 am (EST) March 2. Pole qualifying starts at noon March 1. Practice sessions start at 9 am and 1:15 pm February 28, 8:15 am March 1 and 8:30 am March 2. Highlights from the Miami 100 Infiniti Pro Series race will be televised at 3:30 pm (EST) March 7 on ESPN2.

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Cory Witherill