IPS: Phoenix: John Herb preview

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...

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 IRL 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, IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series, IRL IndyCar Series, ARCA, Star Mazda, Silver Crown and Midget 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 of the race. Herb is looking forward to competing in the full Menards Infiniti Pro series in 2005 with an eventual return to the IndyCar Series.

PREVIOUS PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY EXPERIENCE: Jon Herb participated in a recent test for the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series cars on the Phoenix International Raceway oval, in preparation for this weekend's "Phoenix 100" IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series race.

JON HERB PHOENIX PRE-RACE QUOTES:

About racing at Phoenix International Raceway:

"We're really looking forward to Phoenix. We tested there a few weeks ago and it went very well. Our fastest lap came right at the end of the test, so we're looking forward to picking up from where we left off because we definitely had some more left in the car. We'll come back and optimize the shocks a bit better and work with the setup and I'm sure we'll be faster. I'll be able to drive the car a bit harder. I really like Phoenix. It's challenging because of the different banking and geometry in the turns. It's a driver's track."

Looking forward to the first street circuit race in St. Petersburg in a few weeks, 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."

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 believe having a teammate 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."

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Jon Herb , Jay Drake