TEAM HISTORY: Racing Professionals was formed in 2002 by driver Jon Herb. The team fielded cars in six IRL IndyCar Series races in 2002. In 2003, Racing Professionals took a hiatus from racing as Herb helped form AERCON Industries, a company that manufactures a lightweight concrete construction product for commercial and residential projects. In 2004, Racing Professionals, sponsored by AERCON Industries, returned to racing and joined the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. Herb, whose hometown is Chicago, recently moved to Orlando, Fla., where he is head of AERCON's residential marketing group. Since 1997 Herb has raced in the U.S. F2000, Menards Infiniti Pro Series and the IndyCar Series. In 2001, Herb qualified on the outside of the sixth row of the Indianapolis 500 and ran in the top 10 until an accident on Lap 104 forced him out. Herb is looking forward to competing in the full Menards Infiniti Pro series in 2005 with an eventual return to the IndyCar Series.
Jon Herb - Driver/Owner
Larry Curry - Team Manager/Engineer
Joe Barlum -- Chief Mechanic
Kevin Miller - Mechanic
Bobbi Curry -- Office Manager
Janie Vogel -- Public Relations/Marketing
PREVIOUS HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY EXPERIENCE: The 2005 IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway is the first time Herb has raced at that track.
RACE: "Phoenix 100" at Phoenix (AZ) International Raceway, Saturday, March 19. "Phoenix 100" televised on March 24 at 3:00 pm ET on ESPN2.
JON HERB PRE-RACE QUOTES:
How have off-season preparations gone for you and your Racing Professionals team as you get ready for the 2005 season?
"Very well. I am more prepared going into this season than I have been at any point in my racing career. In terms of the crew and our equipment and the testing we've done, we are set up for a really good season."
How did your recent road course testing go?
"It went about as well as we expected. Because I had never tested on a road course, we spent the first day learning "shift without lift" and also how to downshift with a sequential gearbox. The second day we worked on the setup, getting up to speed and just getting comfortable with the car -- we learned a lot. I'm looking forward to another test prior to the first road course race at Indy in order to get the setup worked out and find more speed and consistency."
Since this is a "home race" for you because you live in Orlando, do you have friends, family or supporters that will attend the race weekend?
"Yeah, I'll have family there. My parents, a few friends and other relatives, and a group of AERCON (sponsor) personnel and customers will all be there to support me for this first race."
Are you planning on running any IndyCar races in 2005?
"I'd like to run the Indy 500, and I'm looking forward to that. I have some hopes of making that happen this year. Of course, I'm open to run any other IndyCar races if the right situation could be put into place."
Describe how your Racing Professionals team relates to the new Vision Racing team as far as sharing shop space, personnel, information, etc.
"I've had a great opportunity to merge with Vision Racing and share shop space and equipment, and that came about through Larry Curry (Vision Racing Team Manager) and my relationship with him as my Engineer and Team Manager. After Larry and I had worked out an agreement for 2005, Tony George approached Larry and was interested in him operating and running his Vision Racing IndyCar and Pro Series operation. Larry had already made a commitment to me prior to being approached by Tony to take care of Vision and, thankfully for me, Tony was gracious enough to allow Larry to maintain that commitment to my team and has accommodated working out all of the details for all of us to work together for the mutual benefit of all parties."
Will you share information with Jay Drake as a Pro Series teammate?
"Absolutely. I look forward to being in a situation with a teammate because I've not been in that situation before at this level. I really learned how beneficial it could be to have a teammate when I was running Midgets and Brian Gerster was on the same team - he had more knowledge of setups than I did, which benefited me greatly. I believe having a teammate at this level is crucial to running up front, and I expect that both Jay and I will be helping each other out throughout the year, which will hopefully benefit both of us."