James Chesson Wins Race as Medeiros Claims Series Title FONTANA, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 2, 2004 -- James Chesson claimed his first IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series race victory, winning the California 100. Chesson took the lead as the white...
James Chesson Wins Race as Medeiros Claims Series Title
FONTANA, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 2, 2004 -- James Chesson claimed his first IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series race victory, winning the California 100.
Chesson took the lead as the white flag was displayed and won the race when Thiago Medeiros and Jeff Simmons were involved in a spectacular crash on the final lap. P.J. Chesson finished second, while Phil Giebler was third.
Medeiros, who has earned five wins and seven pole positions this season, clinched the series title despite his ninth-place finish.
CALIFORNIA 100 POST-RACE QUOTES:
JAMES CHESSON (No. 67 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "Unbelievable. Traveled all this way, 3,000 miles from Jersey. I'm happy to be here. Kathryn Nunn, a great job to her. Applause to her and my brother, and my dad. My dad, man my dad, he's been real instrumental in this whole deal. I've got to thank him, my girlfriend, everybody, my whole team. It was intense and it got pretty dicey at the end there. I saw Thiago (Medeiros) and (Jeff) Simmons really battling. They got pretty close and they might have lifted a little bit, and I got a good run on the outside. I was just trying to hold them down, so I could get in front of them and clear them, and it worked out well."
P.J. CHESSON (No. 76 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I tell you what, it was a crazy race. I don't know where we were going to be. I went back to fifth, to second, to fifth, sixth, and then he comes smoking on the outside and stuck it on the pond. It was just unbelievable. I'm so proud of him."
PHIL GIEBLER (No. 2 Western Union Speed Team Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "That was a wild race. You had to be in the right place at the right time, and depending on how your car was working, you had to be really strategic and figure out where you could run. Everybody was running real tight, so if you had a problem with understeer or were loose, you really had to watch yourself because there was a car right there. But man, I'm really happy to be out there this weekend, and to come home in third is a good finish, starting in eighth. I'm just happy to be out there. I hope to be in the next one and get another win out there."
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 24 Team ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I think it was my fault really. We touched out coming out of (Turn) 4, and I don't know if it might have bent something a little bit, because I was having to hold it a little bit right. We got on the backstraightaway there, and we were running really close. I was trying to stay close to (Thiago Medeiros). My car got sucked left, and soon as I touched him, it really must have bent the left-front right in, because I was all the way to the right and I just kept going left right into him. I bounced right into him again and it flipped him over. I had no control over my car and I went straight into the wall. I'm sorry for everybody for Team ISI, Kenn Hardley and for Thiago (Medeiros) as well. Nobody likes to damage a race car, especially on the last lap like that.
THIAGO MEDEIROS (No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It was sad the race ended the way that it did, but I'm happy to get the championship. I think the job that I did this season got the attention of IndyCar Series owners, so hopefully, I'll get a ride next year. We'll see. I think I'm ready. If you want to go two-wide, three-wide, let's go. Let's go three-wide. Let's go from the outside, from the inside, everywhere. I just need a little bit more seat time in the IndyCar Series car." (About the accident): "I think (Jeff) Simmons and I touched wheels about two laps before that happened. I was running down the backstraight, and I got hit twice on my back wheel. Then I just lost downforce, and some air got under the car and flew us into the fence. I flipped over a few times and went into the grass. I'm happy. I did my best today. I'm glad I wasn't injured in the accident."