Justin looking for a top finish down under This weekend sees Justin and the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team take to the streets of Surfers Paradise in Queensland, Australia, for the Nikon Indy 300, the final race on the 2008 IndyCar calendar....
Justin looking for a top finish down under
This weekend sees Justin and the Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing team take to the streets of Surfers Paradise in Queensland, Australia, for the Nikon Indy 300, the final race on the 2008 IndyCar calendar. With the championship having been concluded in Chicago, this event is a non-points, exhibition race, but amongst the drivers the desire to win is as strong as ever.
"There's not a championship on the line, but that doesn't mean that the drivers don't still want to win really bad," said Justin. "It means so much to win at this track - to have a win here on your resume means you've overcome a lot of odds."
"It's a very physical and demanding track," he added. "Your concentration level needs to be at its highest point because you have to be able to commit to all of the high speed corners on a street circuit where you don't have any runoff or leeway. The smallest mistake can lead to a big accident so it's very psychological. There are a lot of kerbs you have to jump and a lot of cambered and crowned corners which are very tricky."
In last year's race Justin was runner-up for RuSPORT in Champ Car and he hopes to go one better in his first IndyCar Series outing at the track.
"Last year I finished second after a good race with Sebastien (Bourdais)," said Justin. "We were trading positions on the pit stops and I passed him on track and he passed me back on the last pit stop. It was a good, fun battle! This year we're riding high after winning the previous two street races between myself (Detroit) and Graham (St. Petersburg) and that will give us a lot of confidence. The track is so different that it doesn't guarantee that our setup is going to work, but we're hopeful that we have a good understanding of what it's going to take to tune it in even if it's not good straight away."
While the team is excited to get back to racing action after a six week break, they will do so with heavy hearts after the passing of team co-owner Paul Newman on 26th September. The same love and appreciation of competition that brought Newman and fellow team co-founder Carl Haas together to form Newman/Haas Racing in the winter of 1982 will continue to propel the team in their quest to honour Paul the best way they know how - with continued success.
"It will be the first race without Paul which is obviously going to be difficult," said Justin. "We all miss Paul and it will mean a lot for either myself or Graham to go out there and try and get a win for him. We'll just do our best and give it everything we can and try to come out on top."