IRL Teleconference Townsend Bell and Thiago Medeiros July 20, 2004 THE MODERATOR: Welcome, everyone, to the Indy Racing League's weekly teleconference. Today's teleconference features driver Thiago Medeiros from the Menards Infiniti Pro Series...
Townsend Bell and Thiago Medeiros
July 20, 2004
THE MODERATOR: Welcome, everyone, to the Indy Racing League's weekly teleconference. Today's teleconference features driver Thiago Medeiros from the Menards Infiniti Pro Series and driver Townsend Bell from the IndyCar Series. Thiago joins us on the call first.
Thiago, thank you for joining us.
THIAGO MEDEIROS: Thank you. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.
MODERATOR: Thiago has dominated the Menards Infiniti Pro Series this year. He has led 316 out of 349 laps. Most importantly, he's translated that into four wins out of the five races, and has built a 96-point lead in the standings. And his four wins have come consecutively in the last four races, making him the first driver at any level in the IRL to accomplish such a feat.
Thiago, you moved to the United States last year, raced in the Pro Series with some very good results, including a win in the season finale. As you came into this season, did you think you'd be able to dominate the field the way you have so far?
THIAGO MEDEIROS: No. It really wasn't part of what we were expecting. But I know when I moved to Sam Schmidt Motorsports, I could be a lot more competitive, and we could fight for a lot of wins and fight for the championship. That was our goal in the beginning of the season and still is our goal. We want to get a championship pretty soon and then think about a move up to the IRL (IndyCar Series) next year.
Q: You've done well, obviously, in all types of tracks that you've raced at. You got your first win at Phoenix, which is relatively short, one mile and flat. Indianapolis, of course, has the long straightaways, and sharp turns. Kansas is more highly banked. Nashville has the concrete surface. Is there a type of track that you think is easiest for you to drive on?
THIAGO MEDEIROS: I like short tracks and tricky tracks. Nashville was one of those. I like some big tracks like Miami and Kansas. But, I mean, it just makes me more nervous because none of the tracks are only about me. I mean it's a completely different race because there are a lot of setups and everything. I'm confident in my crew and everything because they gave me a great car at all those race tracks. But it's hard to say. You know, you never know who is going to win that race until the last lap.
Q: So a racetrack like Milwaukee, being another track that's fairly short and not really steeply banked, it ought to be a pretty difficult place to race?
THIAGO MEDEIROS: Yeah, for sure the banking, there's not a lot of banking. So we need a good baseline setup for a great car for the weekend because it is a pretty flat track, and the bank doesn't help the car turn. But I know that we tested there before. We were quickest. I think we will have a great car at the start of the weekend, so I'm looking forward to it.
Q: Saturday is your 22nd birthday. You're going to be going for your fifth straight pole position. That would be a pretty good way to celebrate your birthday, wouldn't it?
THIAGO MEDEIROS: Oh, for sure. That's one of my strong goals in the weekend, you know, to give me a gift. And the biggest one would be if I could get the fifth win. So we're just looking forward to Milwaukee because I want to give not only a present, but I want to keep winning. So that's our goal.
Q: Any other big plans this weekend or next away from the racetrack for your birthday?
THIAGO MEDEIROS: No. Maybe I'm going to call some friends and hang out on Saturday night to have dinner somewhere. But, you know, nothing too late because we have a race the next day. We have to be focused on the race and not have many distractions around.
Q: Your stretch of wins, the four in a row, is unprecedented in the IRL. Mark Taylor and Kenny Brack had won three in a row. What are your overall thoughts about being the first person to put four in a row together?
THIAGO MEDEIROS: My goal is doing the fifth. I mean, there is no secret. I think we put everything together this year. You know, we have a great engineer, a great crew, and I'm a good driver. If I can say, I'm a great driver, as well. But everything depends not only about me, but the team and the engineers. You have a really good communication and harmony inside the team that make everything go so well. That's the results we got, some excellent results in the last couple race.
Q: The Menards Infiniti Pro Series is designed to help young drivers move on to the IndyCar Series. I know that's definitely a goal of yours. What is the latest news on that front for you as you're looking for an opportunity to move up and run with the big cars?
THIAGO MEDEIROS: I think it will be easier when you get the championship because that's what happened with A.J. Foyt IV and Mark Taylor. I think those guys were ready to move up and they're doing a good job in the IRL (IndyCar Series). I want to be the next one. I mean, when I came here, I saw many other Brazilian drivers come here and they were successful. Today they are here in America. I just want to be the next one and do the thing that I really like to do - racing.
THE MODERATOR: Thiago, thank you so much for joining us and good luck this weekend.
THIAGO MEDEIROS: Thank you. Thanks everybody on the conference call for giving me this opportunity. Looking forward to Milwaukee and have a nice day, guys.