Inaugural Freedom 100 Top-Three Finishers Press Conference May 18, 2003, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ed Carpenter, Cory Witherill, Mark Taylor Part 2 of 2 Q: Ed, do you have any major plans for IRL series, to accelerate them faster than maybe...
Inaugural Freedom 100 Top-Three Finishers Press Conference May 18, 2003, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Ed Carpenter, Cory Witherill, Mark Taylor
Part 2 of 2
Q: Ed, do you have any major plans for IRL series, to accelerate them faster than maybe you planned?
CARPENTER: I mean, I would like to do some testing this season. But right now I'm just focusing on the Pro Series. I cut a lot of racing out of my schedule compared to what I had last year just to focus on this series. One race and one pole; it's a thing I didn't do last year. I didn't feel like I'd be able to move to the next level until I started winning where I'm at right now. I'm just going to focus on where I'm at right now. This is one race. We still have nine more to go. I'm just going to do the best I can the rest of this season and see where I am next year.
MODERATOR: Cory and Mark, talk about how important doing well at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is.
TAYLOR: It's an important race. It was good fun. It was important to put on a good show. I felt as long as we all finished and showed how competitive the series is, then we can all gain from that. What happened yesterday was unfortunate, but I think we redeemed ourselves today and were able to put in some decent laps and some decent, close racing, show some respect to each other. I mean, hopefully (inaudible) win the championship, but I'm not sure at the moment.
WITHERILL: Everyone wants to win this race, so it's just a matter of, you know, keeping your momentum going to the end. Still got like another nine more races or so. It's early to say what can happen. Thiago (Medeiros) was running second in points, and look what happened to him. Anything can happen, and things can change.
CARPENTER: I was 15th in points coming into this race, so it's a long season.
Q: Mark, you were disappointed yesterday. Are you much more satisfied today and did that make you drive a little bit more aggressive today than you might have yesterday?
TAYLOR: Well, I feel that it's important for the series to look good. I want to go into the Indy cars next year as much as anyone else does. For that to happen, we need to have good races, and we need to have close and competitive racing to show we're able to move up. Unfortunately, that didn't happen yesterday. I was very disappointed because we were second on the grid, we had a good chance to have a very good race with Ed. On the bulk of the restarts, I felt we got away fairly cleanly. Unfortunately, we weren't able to finish the lap. It's always disappointing when you get the rain, as well. It was good to be able to run 23 laps, I think it was, under green. We got some very close racing in, and I think we showed what the series is able to do.
Q: Mark, Ed, can you describe the lap where you took the lead from him, then he got it back from you? That was pivotal.
TAYLOR: On the restart, I just had a little bit better gearing from that slow a speed and was just able to get through the acceleration a bit better. And the slight tow that you have at that speed, I was just able to go past him down the inside into (Turn) 1. You can probably answer the rest of that.
CARPENTER: I mean, he definitely had me a little worried. I hadn't really raced with many people since we've been here. I ran by myself in most of the practice sessions. I knew the gear change we made last night was going to help if I got behind someone. We had the tall gear in the final practice, and it made it difficult to pass. I just tried to tuck in as quick as I could behind him and started to set up for a pass. I knew we were close to the 20-lap mark, and the car was still (inaudible), and I think there was a chance of rain. I just wanted to get back by him as quick as I could. I didn't want to wait around until it did start raining again. Like I said, the car was just so good, I was able to get a good run at Mark down the backstretch and get by him.
Q: Ed, could you talk about giving your team owner something positive in what has been a dismal month?
CARPENTER: A.J. Foyt Racing, I've done my share of things to put him in a bad mood. I've been trying to make up for that here (laughter). I mean, this is Indy. It's such a long month, you're going to have ups and downs. Doesn't matter what team you are. You've seen Roger Penske come in, miss the show. I mean, everyone has bad times. I think we're going through a growing pain in our team. Anthony, he did a very good job. He's got a lot to learn. He's 18 years old. I mean, I would have a hard time if I was 18 being in his shoes, and I think he's doing a good job of dealing with everything. See what happens. It's a 500-mile race. I think there's a lot he can learn in the race. I'm happy to give the team a shot in the arm with this win today. Hopefully it can carry over to the IndyCar (Series) side.
Q: Mark, what was your thinking when you started to see Ed pull away from you?
TAYLOR: I don't think I can repeat what I was thinking (laughter). I was desperate to try and keep the tow. I thought I had it, but he was just able to get far enough away for me not to get a tow and drop back into the hands of the pack. From that point, I knew that he had the win there. If he didn't make a mistake, if he ran cleanly, we weren't going to catch him. It was just a case of trying to fight for second. All I have to say is I'm sorry to the Panther guys. They gave me a car that was able to win, and I wasn't able to do it today. Two out of three: It's a good result for anybody. Maybe in a couple of months I'll look back on it and it will just be a little mark on the score sheet, as it were, I can forget how big this race really was.
Q: Mark, when you and Cory were going at it and Cory dropped down low in the chutes, it appeared you never tried that line. Would your car just not handle that way?
TAYLOR: You tend to lose the front end if you sit right behind someone. What I was trying to do was get a decent run down the back straight and be able to carry the speed through the corner. I didn't need the tow, and I didn't need to sit straight behind him through Turns 3 and 4 to be able to keep the run going. The thought was to get the tow through (Turn) 4 and pull out and pull alongside and get it out of line. Unfortunately, nothing like that happened. It's a learning thing. I knew it would be tough to do it. That's not the way to do it. I'll go back, think about it some more, maybe try it again at some point.
Q: Ed, is this kind of like your backyard? How much of a home away from home is this place? How many years have you been hanging out around here?
CARPENTER: I've been here since I was 8. I'm on the grounds pretty much a couple times a week, I'd say. My house is about a block and a half down 25th Street. I at least see this place every day when I was going to school. I drive right past here. There isn't a day go by that this track isn't in my sight or in my mind. It's nice to finally be racing here, to get a win, have the kind of weekend we had. It's just great.
Q: Do you think you're going to have to fight your mom for this trophy, considering what it means to everybody involved?
CARPENTER: I don't think it will be much of a fight. She'll have it (laughter).
Q: Ed, at the kickoff lunch in the beginning of May, you talked about the challenges of an economics final that you were preparing for. What was more difficult, that final or the 40 laps around here?
CARPENTER: By far, the international economics. That was hanging over my head. That was a tough final. I'm glad to have all that school stuff behind me. Now I can just focus on racing. It's what I love. It's what I want to keep doing. It's nice.
MODERATOR: Congratulations. Great race today. Thank you.