Medeiros Closes in on Pro Series Title. JOLIET, Ill., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2004 -- Thiago Medeiros moved a step closer to his first Menards Infiniti Pro Series championship by winning the Chicagoland 100. Medeiros, who started from the pole ...
Medeiros Closes in on Pro Series Title.
JOLIET, Ill., Saturday, Sept. 11, 2004 -- Thiago Medeiros moved a step closer to his first Menards Infiniti Pro Series championship by winning the Chicagoland 100.
Medeiros, who started from the pole position, led all 67 laps and beat Jeff Simmons by .0586 of a second. Rookie Al Unser finished third for the fourth time in seven starts.
CHICAGOLAND 100 POST-RACE QUOTES:
THIAGO MEDEIROS (No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It's really good (to be back in victory lane). We've had some tough weekends, and it was a little bit hard to get a good setup for the whole race. I'm really proud be here and the Sam Schmidt team did a great job. We had a really quick car, and I think after we won the pole, we had the fastest car. I was really confident. I took my Brazilian flag with me. I kept on the bottom of the track. The other guys tried to get around me and they couldn't. I was just taking my time and waiting for the last lap." (How hard was it to hold off the pack?): "It was really hard. I was trying to find the best line so no one could get around me. I knew my car was quick enough to do that. I was just taking my time and had to be smart enough to take advantage of the opportunity." (About closing in on championship): "I got 52 important points for the championship after winning this race. I think the plan is to keep winning and keep leading the most laps. Hopefully, we can get the championship at the next race. At the same time, I have to be smart enough to get the maximum points that I can."
AL UNSER (No. 2 Western Union Speed Team Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "On that last restart, Jeff Simmons was able to get under us, but we definitely had the car today. We were right there. We were working on Thiago (Medeiros), but just didn't get a good restart. I'm happy with the third-place finish. It was definitely one of the toughest thirds I've ever earned. I'm really happy."
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 24 Team ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We had a good race car, we're just lacking that top speed when we pull out. We lose all our speed, and the guys pull away from us. That's why I didn't even try to make a move on that last restart because I knew if I was all alone, guys were just going to drive right by me. I thought I'd just try and make a move on that last lap in (Turn) 3 and 4. Thiago (Medeiros) got a little loose because I got so close to him. We started eighth and finished second, so it was a good run."
P.J. CHESSON (No. 76 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It was a good jump, but I'm not real fond of this kind of racing -- follow the leader around the bottom. No one pulled out once to try to go for the lead except for me, and I was taking a run from third because (Jeff) Simmons wouldn't get off (Thiago) Medeiros' bumper. That's just the way it goes. There's nothing you can do about it. It was a smart race driven by both of them. It's just not fun for the guys trying to go to the front. That was one of the more frustrating races I've ever run. I tried to work with James (Chesson) on the high line, and he was a big help. He provided me with opportunity after opportunity, but I was just never able to make a run for the lead. I'm looking forward to racing on the 2-mile superspeedway in Fontana, Calif. in a couple of weeks. We obviously had a lot of success at Michigan, and they are pretty identical."
JAMES CHESSON (No. 67 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We had a very good car today, one that was probably better than our sixth-place finish. I can't thank (brother) P.J. (Chesson) and the crew enough for all of their help. The Pioneer car was very stable out there in traffic. Overall, I'm really pleased with the weekend. It was a great experience, and I continue to learn more and more with each lap. We kept it clean and completed every lap. I only wished we could've made a charge at the end. We were able to make up some ground during the longer runs, but the cautions hurt us."
ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 25 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Inc. Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "Towards the end, we had the strategy of going nose-to-tail and saving it for the last lap. We were able to break away from . field because everyone really worked well together. I had a little bit of an advantage on Al (Unser) coming off of (Turn) 4, but I wanted to save it for the last lap. I did, but the two guys ahead of (Unser) didn't stay low, and I couldn't get the pass pulled off, so we're fourth again. We've finished fourth, fifth and fourth, so we have good consistency. Every weekend we're getting stronger."
CORY WITHERILL (No. 92 Hemelgarn 91 Johnson Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): (About accident): "I guess we kind of just touched tires with the 27 car going into (Turn) 1. I guess he just tapped the rear tire, and it went flat."