SIMMONS DOMINATES PIKES PEAK 100
FOUNTAIN, Colo. (Sunday, Aug. 21, 2005) -- In the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series Pikes Peak 100, Jeff Simmons led the final 99 laps to record his second win of the season.
Simmons passed pole sitter Travis Gregg on Lap 2 and pulled out to as much as an eight-second lead in the 100-mile sprint. Nick Bussell, who started ninth, finished second.
Gregg finished third while series points leader Wade Cunningham recorded his series-record 10th consecutive top-five finish with a fifth.
PIKES PEAK 100 POST-RACE QUOTES:
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 24 Team ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished first): "It was great, one of the best cars I've ever had. Everybody at Kenn Hardley Racing and Team ISI did a great job. Tom Wood, my teammate, had an awesome car at the end. He was closing in on me. I didn't want to push too hard. I wish we could have given him that car earlier in the weekend, because we could have had the top two. I'm so excited for Kenn Hardley Racing and Team ISI. It's been a storybook weekend, except for missing the pole position. I was able to get out there, get through traffic pretty well."
NICK BUSSELL (No. 9 Vision Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished second): "We struggled since we got here. All three of us struggled in the first session. The second session we made some changes, and I wasn't comfortable with the car. In qualifying, I didn't want to risk the car. So we qualified ninth, way off the pace. Basically it was a two-lap practice run. We found some things last night that weren't quite right, like the shocks. We made some changes this morning. We fixed a bad shock and went out this morning and it was 10 times better. For thinking it would be our worst race of the year and now having my best finish, I'm pretty happy with that. I think Jeff (Simmons) toned it down a little bit. He didn't have to push the car. Besides him, I think we had everybody covered, which was surprising considering I didn't sleep last night."
TRAVIS GREGG (No. 7 Lucas Oil Products/Sam Schmidt Mspt Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished third): "At the start of the race, we had a big push. I couldn't hold it down, and Jeff got around me. Then the car just went away a little bit, got a little loose. We'll take a third. We finished ahead of Wade (Cunningham), so we picked up some points. A caution probably wouldn't have helped. I'm happy to be in the top three."
TOM WOOD (No. 42 Team ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished fourth): "I'm happy with that. I just wish the race was a little longer. I'm not that young anymore, and it takes me a little bit longer to get going. It was good though. I got my lap back from Jeff (Simmons) and we ran good. It was great."
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 33 Motorsport New Zealand Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished fifth): "I got a good run at the start. I thought I could get to second, and then I played it a bit conservative. I didn't feel like I wanted to go three wide for a whole lap so I fell back to fifth quite comfortably and then I chose to run behind Jeff (Simmons) for 10, 15 or 20 laps or so. Jeff was slightly quicker, and then Jeff was a bit better through traffic than Travis (Gregg) was. And being in third at that point, I just have to do what he does. Once we got behind Tom Wood, we followed him for 20, 30, maybe 40 odd laps and then we developed this huge vibration in the rear-end. I thought a tire was de-laminating or something or maybe it had blistered. I was trying to drive as slow as I could, but race it at the same time. It was a hard trade-off. I think we were a bit quicker at the start of the race, but then we had quite a bit of a gap towards the end. So I had to come home fifth, but there isn't much I could do about it."