Canadian Menards Infiniti Pro Series team owner Brian Stewart has always had an eye for talented drivers. This year his rookie New Zealand pilot Wade Cunningham lies atop the point standings with two races left to run, leading Travis Gregg 431 to...
Canadian Menards Infiniti Pro Series team owner Brian Stewart has always had an eye for talented drivers. This year his rookie New Zealand pilot Wade Cunningham lies atop the point standings with two races left to run, leading Travis Gregg 431 to 408.
To help Cunningham attain the Pro Series title, Stewart signed another rookie, Bobby Wilson to partner the Kiwi for the final four races of the 2005 14-event campaign. The Wisconsin native, who currently resides in Ocala, FL will celebrate his 24th birthday on October 6th but is really hoping to give himself a gift this weekend at Watkins Glen International.
Wilson has had two outings thus far and started on the front row in his first contest on the 2.26-mile Infineon Raceway Sears Point road course yet had contact with polesitter Marco Andretti on the first lap. He was eliminated in last weekend's Chicagoland Raceway contest in another incident.
From the age of 11, Wilson has met success in karts and won the Stars of Karting presented by the Indy Racing League in 2003. Last season, as teammate to Cunningham he was the Cooper Tires Formula Ford Zetec champion and hopes to parlay his current experience into a full-season ride in 2006.
"The Pro Series car is a blast to drive because it's got a lot of power. It's great on the road courses but I need more experience on the ovals to make it right. It's a great way to learn" all the tracks visited by the IRL's premier IndyCar Series.
Although he's never completed on the Watkins Glen International 3.37-mile road circuit, Wilson is looking forward to racing in the Finger Lakes region of New York.
"I hear it's a great course so we're hoping to get through the practice sessions and learn each time out. We'll work with the engineers to get a great setup for the car. There's no pressure on me," Wilson accented. "I just have to see what I can do."
Bobby has always set high expectations for himself: "I've always been that way. This weekend I just need to finish and won't worry about what my teammate is doing. It's cool to be racing with him again because we like the same stuff on our cars and we're capable of getting the same stuff out of the car," he explained. "After a year working together, we're learning how to make our cars faster."
Wilson first met his new team owner at Infineon. "I only knew what Wade said about him," he said of Stewart. "I am just trying to fit the team's mold, go slowly and come up. Brian is a great guy," Wilson remarked. "All of the guys on the team are great. They know just what to look for."
Bobby wasn't terribly pleased with his finish in that first effort because the "car was good out of the box. We were up to speed quickly and the team was easy to work with. It's a good environment," particularly for a newcomer to the Pro Series.
"I was impressed with their effort and where I ended up in qualifying (P2). Chicagoland," on the other hand, "was the bigger challenge with how much the track changes and what happens with the tire temperatures. It's subtle how different the car is with changes and caught me off-guard a bit."
Wilson has always had a passion for open wheel racing "since I was young," making his choice to run the Menards Infiniti Pro Series a natural. "Karts were the first step and I've always been a big fan of Indy. I had some interaction with Bobby Rahal at Stars of Karting and he's given me some advice. I'd love to race at Indy someday."