FORT WORTH, Texas, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2002 -- Quotes from selected Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series drivers about the BG Products 100 Infiniti Pro Series event Saturday, Sept. 14 at Texas Motor Speedway (quotes listed in alphabetical order): MATT...
FORT WORTH, Texas, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2002 -- Quotes from selected Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series drivers about the BG Products 100 Infiniti Pro Series event Saturday, Sept. 14 at Texas Motor Speedway (quotes listed in alphabetical order):
MATT BEARDSLEY (No. 12 Alpine Bank Old-Republic Land Title Dallara/ Infiniti/Firestone): "I never realized how much I enjoyed the Infiniti Pro Series until I had to sit out the race in Chicagoland. The budget has been race-to-race for the last couple of events, and St. Louis' DNF made it really difficult to go to Joliet. We could have done the last two events with the bare minimum or taken our best shot in Texas. We decided on trying to be as strong as possible for the final race, but it was really tough being in Arizona and not in Illinois. It got so bad around race time that I went and flew a school plane for an hour just to get my mind off missing the race. So, all eyes and money are on Texas. I feel really good about the track. It is where I earned my IRL license last year at 210 mph with Galles. I have a feel for the circuit, and that should help with moving toward the correct setup. What's that old line, 'You're only as good as your last race?' The entire team will have to live with this result all winter, so I hope things go our way."
ED CARPENTER (No. 2 Menards/Jack K. Elrod Co./Futaba/Delphi Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I would have to say that my season up to this point, well, I haven't really met my goals of winning races and winning a championship. The championship is pretty much out of reach after last weekend's race, but I still have a chance to win a race and make that goal. I just have to go to Texas and salvage something for myself to feel good going into next year. We haven't had a bad season. We've only finished one race out of the top five. We've been in the hunt for a win virtually every race, but I race to win, and it's been frustrating to be so close so many times and not get there. We have this one last race to hopefully pull one out for our sponsors Menards, Johns Manville, Futaba and Jack Elrod Co. and also for our team morale. Texas should be similar to Chicago in one big pack going two-wide all the way around the track. We'll have the same wing package, so we now know a little bit more about dealing with that, too."
AARON FIKE (No. 91 Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I've never turned laps at Texas, but it should be the fastest track we run on all year. It has a lot of banking, and we'll rely heavily on the draft. Any of the lead pack drivers can get shuffled to the back of the field in a matter of a lap. Hopefully, we'll have as good a car as we did in Chicago, and we'll find ourselves right out in front."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I'm really looking forward to going to Texas since it's my home track. It's a real important race for me to try to win the championship. Since I screwed up last week, I'm looking to redeem myself. It would mean a lot to me to win this title. I want to move up to Indy cars, and the only way to do that is to prove that I'm ready. To prove that, I have to win races and win championships, so that's what I'm trying to do. I'm not nervous. I know what I have to do, and I'm going to try my hardest to have a good race."
RYAN HAMPTON (No. 34 Conti-Genoa-Frost Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I am looking forward to running at TMS. I haven't driven there since my IRL rookie test with A.J. Foyt back in 1999. It is a fast track, so hopefully we can find that horsepower to run up front and hopefully the engine gods will be smiling on us this week." (About the Infiniti Pro Series): "It has been an exciting year for CGF Racing, especially with our dominant performance and win at St. Louis. Next year is still up in the air, but I hope to be behind the wheel of an Infiniti Dallara again."
RONNIE JOHNCOX (No. 8 REV 1 Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "Texas is where I made my IRL debut (in 1999). I've actually run two races there. I'm looking forward to it. It should be a fast track for us. It should be real competitive. The draft will be important once again. I haven't been on the track since they repaved it and fixed some of the bumps. The last time I was there, there were some pretty healthy bumps in it, and from what I've been told, they've addressed those issues and smoothed the track out quite a bit." (About Texas race fans): "The fan support in Texas is excellent. It's been growing each and every year. The IRL has been there for a few years now, and the fans never go away from that place disappointed. Hopefully, the Pro Series can put on the same kind of show that the IRL cars have had a history of." (About the Infiniti Pro Series): "For me, I'm kind of disappointed that the season's come and gone so quickly. I'm really having a good time racing in this series, and if we could have eight or 10 more races before the end of the year, that would be just fine with me."
ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 5 Luyendyk Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "My mindset is that I have to go all out. It is either all or nothing. I need to win the race, and A.J. (Foyt IV) needs to have a bad race. I'm going to drive the wheels off the thing. Beating A.J. is obviously the goal. I'm just going to drive hard and be smooth." (Will drafting with your teammates be the key?): "Definitely. Tom (Wood) and I worked well together at Chicago, and if we can get a three-car line together in front with G.J (Mennen), it will be hard to pass us. That's our strategy."
G.J. MENNEN (No. 99 Greased Lightning Automotive Cleaning Products Dallara/ Infiniti/Firestone): "I raced in the Speedvision World Challenge at Texas (Motor Speedway) last year. Anytime I get to race in Texas is great because I lived there for a bunch of years. Basically, it's a home race for me, so I'm really excited about it. We have a lot of friends, family and sponsors coming out. We're just really looking forward to it. I can't wait. I just hope someone will go with me on the outside this time. I think it's going to be a great race. I'm very excited for it. This past weekend in Chicago, I think we put on a great show. We showed that the Infiniti Pro Series drivers can run nose to tail for 100 miles and be quite professional about it. I think we probably put on as good of a show as anyone there, and I think we're going to do the exact same thing at Texas. The series should take some credit for that as well as the other drivers because something like that doesn't happen without everyone paying attention and playing with a level head."
ROLANDO QUINTANILLA (No. 11 Roquin Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): (About the BG Products 100 at Texas Motor Speedway): "I think it's going to be pretty much like Michigan and Chicago. It's going to be a drafting race. We were unlucky at Chicago. We got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. We're going to try to make the best of this weekend and close out the year on a positive note." (About the close racing at the Chicagoland 100): "In general, I think the majority of people did a good job. It's just a matter of experience, and after Chicago, people learn and know what to expect going into Texas. It's going to be the same thing there."
MARTY ROTH (No. 3 Castek/Marty Roth/Brian Stewart Racing Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone): "After Chicagoland, we're really excited. We've finally got everything running right. We had a great race in Chicagoland, and we've got a car that we think we can win a race with. We're going into Texas with high hopes. I can't wait. It's a track that sounds fairly similar to Chicagoland." (About the close racing at the Chicagoland 100): "It was a struggle going through the field. It was a very tight pack. It's a different type of racing than I'm used to, but it was a lot of fun. My hat's off to all the drivers. Everybody did a great job of keeping it clean. I don't think it could have been tighter. Hopefully in Texas we'll be able to qualify a little better, and it should be less of a struggle." (About racing in Texas): "This will be the first time in the great state of Texas for me. I'm looking forward to it. It should be a great race. I think the Infiniti Pro Series, the way that it's come together and the way that the drivers and the teams are performing, we should do that fan base justice. We're going to provide them with a real exciting race, hopefully. If it's anything like Chicagoland, it's going to be another spectacular weekend."
CORY WITHERILL (No. 92 WSA Healthcare Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It will definitely be a fast track and a good race. The tremendous amount of banking makes it easy to be flat out, and the racing will be tight, close racing. It should be another interesting race. It would be nice to end the season with a one-two finish."
TOM WOOD (No. 9 Super 8 Motels/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): (About Texas Motor Speedway): "It's a beautiful facility. I tested there in a F2000 car three years ago. The banking is great. It's going to be a really neat track for these cars. At Chicago, if you could hold the inside line, it seemed to give you a little more of an advantage. With this track, with the banking, I think you may be able to run the higher line a little better. It's probably going to be at least as intense as the Chicago race." (About the close competition): "We learned a lot from racing at Chicago. There are a few things that we're going to try to get a little more speed out of the car. The cars are going to be matched so closely. It's going to be team strategies, I think, and qualifying is going to be extremely important again. Working together in the draft, it's extremely important that you perform properly or you're going to be in big trouble. We saw guys in that last race who could come up from seventh or eighth position and get to the front, but if you couldn't get in, you were moving backward. We had a game plan at the beginning, and we just stuck with it all the way through. Overall, the Sam Schmidt Motorsports guys have a fair bit of experience with this, and they really helped us a lot with the strategy. We'll probably stick with a similar game plan, with a few tweaks to it, at Texas." (About the Chicagoland 100 on Sept. 8): "I was really impressed with the way that everybody gave everybody else room to race. That was one of the most fun races I've ever been in. So long as everybody gives each other room and nobody makes a mistake, it's great for everybody. I think it was fun for the drivers, it was fun for the people watching it -- what more could you ask for?"