Madison, Ill., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2003 -- Quotes from selected IRL Infiniti Pro Series drivers about the Gateway 100 Infiniti Pro Series event Saturday, Aug. 9 at Gateway International Raceway (quotes listed in alphabetical order):
ED CARPENTER (No. 14 Futaba/Delphi/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone):
"Going from Michigan to Gateway, pretty much everything is different. You go from a place where you are flat out and never touching the brakes or shifting to a place where you are on the brake at least on one end, and you are downshifting and upshifting quite a bit. I'm looking forward to it. I finished third there last year and challenged for second, so I am looking for a good run. I just have to start beating Mark Taylor. Right now, that is the only thing that we aren't doing right. Once we get that figured out, we will be all right. I'm doing everything I can. It is just a matter of him getting a bad break, and me getting the breaks I need to get."
BRANDON ERWIN (No. 99 Natural Golf/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/ Infiniti/Firestone):
"I am really looking forward to the St. Louis race. I am still really sore from the crash in Michigan, but I am working out the soreness every day. It was unfortunate that I got caught up in that, but the only thing you can do is just look forward and keep moving ahead. You just have to get back up on the horse after it bucks you off, and it surely bucked me pretty hard. The reality is this may be my last race. We don't have the funding to cover a total loss like Michigan. We'll just have to see what happens. When we tested at Gateway, I was turning the fastest laps. That testing will definitely give us an advantage at this driver's track. Sam Schmidt, my team owner, has been incredibly supportive. I would love to get a win for him. After our great run in Michigan, I am excited and ready to get back out there."
AARON FIKE (No. 91 RFMS/Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"We were one of the top three fastest when we tested at Gateway, so I think we'll have a good weekend if everything stays together, and we don't have any accidents. We're only six points out of fifth (place). We could easily be in the top three if we wouldn't have missed Phoenix, but it is what it is now. I think we could still work our way into the top three in points."
ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 5 Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"St. Louis is going to be a lot different from Michigan. We are going to be one of the few drivers that haven't tested there this year. It is going to be pretty difficult, and we are going to be one step behind. Hopefully, we can use what we learned last year and get a good baseline to start off the bat. I am confident that we can figure it out. I don't know that we can do that before qualifying. We only have two quick sessions of practice, then the qualifying right away. The schedule is a bit difficult. It is a bit compact. If we do roll off the trailer a little slow, we won't have enough time to rebound from it. Michigan and St. Louis are so different that we will have a completely different setup. We can't really use anything that we used from Michigan to take to St. Louis."
THIAGO MEDEIROS (No. 36 Genoa Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"I tried to test at Gateway on Monday of last week. I couldn't test too much. I just did 10 laps, but 10 laps are better than nothing. We tried to set up the car, but the track is very hard. The car would hit the ground very hard. We are going to see what happens this weekend. I feel very comfortable. Michigan was a completely different track. It was a very big two-mile track. All of the cars, three or four cars, were all side-by-side. Gateway is a very different track, a very tight, short track, and I think it is going to be a race like a road course. I came from road circuits, and all the time we had to upshift and downshift in the corners. I felt very confident in those corners. I think it is going to be a very good track for me. It is going to be very good for the drivers. You have to improve a lot to move up any positions. We'll see. I'm very happy with staying in second place in the point standings."
G.J. MENNEN (No. 25 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"I am very excited to get back to Gateway. I enjoy the layout of the track. With both corners completely different, you really have to hustle the car through the corners. Gateway is a driver's racetrack. Last year, I finished fourth. Hopefully, this year, I can improve on that result."
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 20 Western Union Speed Team/Duesenberg Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone):
"Gateway is one of the more difficult tracks we go to during the season, so I am looking forward to the challenge. The Western Union Speed Team had a successful test there in June with several other teams and ended up with the quickest time, so we know if we prepare and execute well, we have a good chance at winning. I am looking forward to having a large number of people from Western Union and First Data Corporation there to support us, as well. Hopefully, we can give them a win and move the Western Union Speed Team into second place in the championship standings."
MOSES SMITH (No. 24 Ethanol/Team ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"I have a new car and a new track to learn in two sessions. You can bet I will be listening to any and all advice that the team will be giving me. My intentions for the weekend are: first, to go out and learn the track and car; second, to finish the race; and third, to do well. Kenn Hardley is really going out on a limb to give me this opportunity, and I want to make the best of it."
MARK TAYLOR (No. 4 Fulmar Panther Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"We had a good test there. The car felt really good. I hear they are making some changes to the track since we have been there, but hopefully that won't affect us too much. We hope to continue our success."
TOM WOOD (No. 9 Super 8 Motels/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone):
"We were able to test at Gateway a few weeks ago and had a pretty good session. From what we learned, I think the Sam Schmidt Motorsport cars will be running up front again. I never have raced at St. Louis, but I have tested several different types of cars on this track. The championship is turning into a race for second place. The Fulmar Panther team has just got that little extra on the rest of the field right now. They are racing with a lot of confidence, but they can be beaten. We need to pick it up a notch right now."