Dana Point, Ca., March 30, 2001: Two weeks ago at the season opener in Phoenix, Dick Simon Racing and Stephan Gregoire in their third racing season together, had their best race weekend ever. Gregoire qualified fourth in his new...
Dana Point, Ca., March 30, 2001: Two weeks ago at the season opener in Phoenix, Dick Simon Racing and Stephan Gregoire in their third racing season together, had their best race weekend ever. Gregoire qualified fourth in his new Dallara/Oldsmobile Roush/Firestone, his best qualifying position since he started his INDY Racing League career in 1996 and the best for the tandem Gregoire/Simon. Gregoire led 9 laps and was on his way to his first top-three finish of the year before getting bumped from behind and finishing the race on the wall instead of the podium!
"We were very unlucky at Phoenix" declared Stephan. "I really had the car to win the race. We proved the potential of our team and now need to demonstrate at Homestead that we can react and be competitive throughout the weekend again. We have not tested at Homestead before this race and that might be a small disadvantage because all the top teams have several times. For us it is inconvenient to test at Homestead Florida because our team is based in Southern California and if you want to test there you need to spend six to seven days minimum (5,800 miles) driving the truck back and forth. I don't know the Miami track but I'm convinced that we will have a good car there like we had in Phoenix two weeks ago" announced Stephan Gregoire.
"Our team did a very good job in Phoenix but the accident created a lot of work for the crew and expenses for our budget. We had to replace many broken parts on the racecar, including the gearbox that suffered in the crash. This is unfortunate because we have a limited budget right now but we are going to Homestead with a winning spirit and with one goal; to finish on the podium. There is a large French community in Miami and I understand that the Hispanic one is larger but I know there will be a lot of French supporting me there" declared a very motivated Stephan. The Frenchman from Vittel France, who now lives in Indianapolis with his wife Virginie and daughter Eliza, is one of the most experienced IRL drivers. Next week in Miami Stephan will start his 43rd IRL race, and his IRL career includes 19 top-ten finishes in 42 races!
"Our crew is very pumped about this second IRL round and we wish to repeat our Phoenix performance in Miami and ultimately offer our first win to our dedicated associate sponsors, Tokheim; Jack K. Elrod Company; Nada Guides and Mooney Aircraft," declared Dick Simon.
Simon is also very excited about going to Miami. "I love Miami! I go there all the time for our boat business" said Dick. "We have been very busy since Phoenix. First we had to concentrate on repairing the damages of the accident and we also concentrated on looking for additional sponsors. We are getting some good leads but right now we still have not signed a new major sponsor. In an effort to increase awareness of our driver Stephan Gregoire, we will remove the famous question mark from our car side pods, which brought us a lot of contacts and encouragement after the ABC telecast of the last race, and we'll replace it with Stephan's name. I believe it is good to promote our driver's name. Potential sponsor executives need to know who drives our car. INDY Racing drivers are the best in the business and their names need to be promoted to be recognized" said the 67-year-old IRL team owner Dick Simon who celebrates 40 years in racing this season.
Simon has been involved in the INDY Racing League since its inception. He also owns and manages with his son Mark one of the largest and most successful boat dealerships on the west coast. Based in a 60,000 sq. ft. Dana Point, California marine racing facility, Dick Simon Marine employs 40 people, has annual sales of over $15 million, and carries such prestigious brands as Formula, Cigarette, Skater, World Cat, Albemarle, Baja, Cabo Rico Sailboats, Mustang, and Nautica.