IPS: IRL: Fontana notebook afternoon edition

Taylor clinches championship with victory; Brack leads final practice session. FONTANA, Calif., Saturay, Sept. 20, 2003 -- Mark Taylor led all 50 laps en route to a victory in the California 100. CALIFORNIA 100 POST-RACE NOTES: With his ...

Taylor clinches championship with victory; Brack leads final practice session.

FONTANA, Calif., Saturay, Sept. 20, 2003 -- Mark Taylor led all 50 laps en route to a victory in the California 100.

CALIFORNIA 100 POST-RACE NOTES:

With his victory today, Mark Taylor has clinched the Menards Infiniti Pro Series Championship.

Mark Taylor won his seventh Menards Infiniti Pro Series race of the season and the seventh of his career. Both are records for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series.

Ed Carpenter finished second. He now has 13 top-five finishes in his career and 15 top-10 finishes.

Panther Racing has won seven Menards Infiniti Pro Series races, more than any other team. The previous record was five by A.J. Foyt Racing.

G.J. Mennen finished a fourth today, tying a career-best. He finished fourth in 2002 at Gateway.

Mark Taylor led all 50 laps en route to a victory in the California 100. Taylor also led every lap en route to victories at Phoenix and Nashville. This was the fifth time in the history of the series that a driver has led all laps in a race. Ryan Hampton did it in 2002 at Gateway and Jeff Simmons did it at Kentucky in August.

JEFF SIMMONS (No. 20 Western Union Speed Team Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"It was awful. It was terrible. The motor wasn't pulling at all. We couldn't pull anywhere near the gears that some of these guys are pulling. That made us change our whole setup last night, because we thought we just had the setup wrong with the things that we had done to make the car work better this weekend. So, we ended up with a bad car in the race. We had a lot of understeer in Turns 1 and 2, and I tried to fix that, but that gave me a lot of oversteer in Turns 3 and 4. It's a shame for everyone in the Western Union Speed Team. Now were really going to have to fight to keep second place in the points. "

BRAD POLLARD (No. 99 Natural Golf/Sam Schmidt Mtrspts. Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"It was great. That was my first race in the Infiniti Pro Series cars. I learned a lot. I learned not to let that front pack get away. It was good tight racing and next time we'll come back and maybe take a little more downforce out of the car. All in all, it was a great time."

THIAGO MEDEIROS (No. 36 Genoa Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"The race was good. There was a lot of wind. It makes a lot of difference here. I was trying to keep the pace like the leaders, but I couldn't keep the pace with them. I was shifting every lap in the front and the back straightaway because the winds here make a lot of difference. I was just trying to find the best place to run. I did a lot of consistent laps. I thought we had a good result. I'm happy. Third place is a good result for the championship. We'll just keep working hard for the next race at Texas."

ED CARPENTER (No. 14 Futaba/Delphi/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"There wasn't much side-by-side racing here today. The wind really made it hard. Mark (Taylor) was pushing in Turns 1 and 2. I was pushing. I think everyone behind me was pushing. Being in second place was a disadvantage because he was able to take a little bit more air off my wing, and we were already having problems pushing. If I ever could have gotten in front of him I think he would have had the same problem I did. That is the nature of the race. I'll take second place. Mark did a good job. He has locked up the championship."

MATT BEARDSLEY (No. 12 Land Tile Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"The race went real well considering we started last. When that yellow hit, I thought we might be able to go all the way to the front. We just started picking up a big push and in the draft, I'd hit the rev-limiter in the front straightaway for about the last third of the straightaway. Then I got a huge push coming off of Turn 2. On the last couple of laps, I really had to lift. Other than that, it was a great, great race."

G.J. MENNEN (No. 25 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"It was a good race for us. We've struggled a little bit all year, but now we've turned things around. A top-five finish is quite a step for us, so we're hoping to roll into Texas and come out with a good result there."

MARK TAYLOR (No. 4 Fulmar Panther Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"We were hoping today would be the day we would have a result to clinch the championship. We weren't really thinking about that, we just wanted to win the race. It was just a great car. Panther Racing has given me a great car every time I've gone out on the track all year. I was just able to take advantage of it."

Menards Infiniti Pro Series driver Arie Luyendyk Jr. will be giving pace car rides at 9 a.m. Sunday to actors Chris Masterson (Francis on "Malcolm in the Middle") and Danny Masterson (Hyde, "That 70's Show"). Actress Laura Prepon (Donna on "That 70's Show) also will take a ride with Luyendyk.

Kenny Brack led the final IndyCar Series practice session with a lap of 32.2711 seconds, 223.110 mph in the No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Scott Dixon, driver of the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone, was second 32.4597, 221.814. Bryan Herta, driver of the No. 27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/Firestone, was third at 32.4750, 221.709.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Indy Lights
Drivers Mark Taylor , Scott Dixon , Bryan Herta , Kenny Brack , Sam Schmidt , Ryan Hampton , G.J. Mennen , Jeff Simmons , A.J. Foyt , Ed Carpenter , Arie Luyendyk Jr.
Teams Panther Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing