MADISON, Ill., Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2002 -- Quotes from selected Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series drivers about the Gateway 100 Infiniti Pro Series event Sunday, Aug. 25 at Gateway International Raceway (quotes listed in alphabetical order): MATT ...
MADISON, Ill., Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2002 -- Quotes from selected Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series drivers about the Gateway 100 Infiniti Pro Series event Sunday, Aug. 25 at Gateway International Raceway (quotes listed in alphabetical order):
MATT BEARDSLEY (No. 12 Alpine Bank Old-Republic Land Title Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "To come fifth our third time running the car (at Kentucky) was a great boost for the team. The people ahead of me are finding more speed somewhere, and we must find out where. Testing would be the greatest help, but we are on a very limited budget that just won't allow for any extra running. We must hit the right combination early in the race weekend and fine-tune it so I can qualify in the top five and make a strong run for the podium. Along with concentrating on St. Louis, many thoughts have been about Jason Priestley and his recovery. Everyone on the team sends him our very best for a full and speedy recovery."
ED CARPENTER (No. 2 Menards/Jack K. Elrod Co./Futaba/Delphi Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): (About the championship): "I think we're running well this far into the season. We've definitely gotten better each event, and we've been a good championship contender. We're pretty far behind (A.J.) Foyt (IV), and he needs to drop out of some of these races for us to really have a shot at the title, but we've been steady. Foyt has just done a better job at winning races. If you look at the stats, we've finished in the top five every race and run all but one lap. I'm happy with where we are at this point. I'd just like to win one or more of these last few races and make Foyt sweat a little bit." (About Gateway International Raceway): "St. Louis is going to be a very good race. I'm happy we tested there because I think the teams that didn't get a chance to test are going to be behind. Gateway will definitely be the most challenging of all the races. We all thought Nashville and Gateway would be the toughest, and after going there to test, by far it's Gateway that's the most difficult. I truly think the best driver and team will win because it's not a horsepower race, and there will be lots of braking and downshifting. Most likely we'll have big variations in speeds between drivers, probably four or five guys up front and some others off the pace, which will mean guys will have to deal with lapped traffic. Given all that, we'll need the car to handle well in that situation. It's hard enough to run this track fast as it is, much less negotiate a pass. No place is easy I guess, but this place is exceptionally hard." (About going back to college): "College starts up again August 28. I'm headed back to Butler for senior year. Hopefully this year goes by pretty quickly. I'm looking forward to graduating and then focusing on my career in racing. It's been good. College has given me a better overall understanding of the business world and will help as I go through my racing career. It's already helped me deal with different situations in racing." (About attending the Cardinals' game Aug. 23): "I was born in Illinois, and I used to go to Cards' games all the time as a kid. I haven't been to one in a long time, but I'm still a Cardinals fan, so nobody had to twist my arm to go the game. I'm going with my spotter, who's a big baseball fan, and some of the guys from the team."
AARON FIKE (No. 91 Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "St. Louis is one of the few tracks a driver actually has to drive the track. Gateway is by far the toughest track we run on. The corners are tight with minimal banking, and the straightaways are long and narrow, like a paperclip. It will definitely require a driver working side by side with his engineer to be fast and competitive. I've run my Silver Crown car at Gateway but have never run anything with so much downforce. The Infiniti Pro Series should put on a good race for the fans."
A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): (What do you think is the reason for your success?): "My grandfather and (crew chief) Jack Starne worked together for many years in the Indy cars and now they are working together again in the Infiniti Pro Series. They know how to set up race cars. Plus the guys from the Harrah's Indy-car team help work on my car too, so it's not like we have a brand-new team. We have a veteran team. Everyone has worked together, and they know how each other works. Most of the other drivers have brand new teams, so they are learning how to work together and work with their drivers." (Has working with your grandfather changed your relationship in any way?): "No, I don't think so. We have always been very close. I have seen him with other drivers when things start clicking, he starts liking it more and it builds from there, but with me, we're family. He still sees me as a kid. We'll always be close, no matter what I do on the track." (How well do you work with your grandfather?): "We're still learning each other. This is the first time that we have worked together on a regular basis. I listen to him talking to his Indy-car drivers on the radio, so I have a pretty good idea of what he wants to hear, which is basically what the car is doing. I try to make that as clear as I can to him and try not to confuse him because when he gets confused, he gets frustrated."
MATTHEW HALLIDAY (No. 37 Bowes Seal Fast/Hoosier Wholesale Automotive Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): (About returning to Infiniti Pro Series competition after missing three events due to injury): "I feel pretty good, it's just that my (left) wrist is a bit sore. I'm going to be driving with a cast on, so I don't know how it's going to feel. I'm not going to really know until I get in the car if it's going to be strong enough to drive on the weekend. We'll just take it bit by bit and see what it feels like. We've just got to be a bit careful that it keeps healing properly. Obviously, I've had really good medical attention from Dr. (Henry) Bock (Director of Medical Services for the Indy Racing League) and Dr. (Kevin) Scheid, and I just don't want to undo any of the hard work that was done. If it means missing Gateway, we'll do that, so we can concentrate on the last two races." (About Gateway International Raceway): "I think Gateway is a good track. It's very important to have the car really well sorted before you go there. It's a different kind of oval, and I definitely prefer the smaller oval tracks to the bigger, flat-out ones." (About his accident at Kansas Speedway on July 7): "The car did a very good job, for sure. I was also really impressed by all the medical people that took car of me for that week and a half (after the crash), even up until now. All the IRL medical people have done an excellent job. Without them, for sure I'd still be struggling to get myself back to walking around and just doing normal things, let alone thinking of getting back in a race car. The way all the people at the IRL looked after me, I didn't have to worry about anything. They organized everything, and that side of it made it so much easier for me just to concentrate on recovering. The crash was bad, but if you're going to get good care and have people look after you, it takes a lot of the worry away."
RYAN HAMPTON (No. 34 Conti-Genoa-Frost Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "First, let me extend my wishes to Jason (Priestley) for a fast and speedy recovery. We have kept in touch with Kelley Racing over the last week, and I know everyone at CGF Racing is pulling for him." (About Gateway International Raceway): "I am looking forward to running here because this track suits my driving style. St. Louis is a driver's track. It's tight with long straights, changing-radius corners, and it demands the highest levels of concentration and focus. This track is also about setup. We spent some time testing here last wee, and we were pleased with the results. Dave (Conti) got the car right where it needs to be, up front. We posted consistent, competitive times in testing, which definitely put some wind back in our sails."
RONNIE JOHNCOX (No. 8 REV 1 Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): (About Gateway International Raceway): "It's a great racetrack. It's a driver's track and a setup track. It will demand the most out of your chassis, and it will demand the most out of your driver. That's what I like about it. Testing went real well. We were fairly conservative with our approach to the test, just trying to familiarize myself with the racetrack and how the car would respond to certain changes using the different wing configurations from the superspeedway tracks. We did a fair amount of work, and we gathered a nice amount of data to be able to go back and feel like we'll be fairly competitive. We're concerned with going to the races and having a finishing result that reflects our performance throughout the weekend. We've been very good at several of the racetracks, but we just haven't been able to get the finish for whatever reason. Hopefully, our luck will change these last three races. We haven't had the greatest of luck for the first four. Hopefully, the last three will turn our season around for us."
ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 5 Luyendyk Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): (About Gateway International Raceway): "It's definitely a demanding track. It's extremely fun to drive. I've always enjoyed challenging tracks, so I'm looking forward to the weekend. I think it's going to be a very good track to separate the drivers as far as talent goes. It's a very difficult track. I think it's the hardest track we're going to go to this year and possibly next year, too, just because of how much you have to slow down the car in Turn 1. At this track you'll be having to change gears, as well. You may be able to run side by side in (Turns) 3 and 4 but definitely not in (Turn) 1. I think that it's basically a one-groove racetrack. I think there'll be a lot of overtaking before the corners, and I know that there will be groups of cars racing together, but as far as side-by-side racing, that might not be the case at St. Louis just because of the tight radius." (About testing at Gateway last week): "We had a successful test. Of course, I only did 27 laps or so total because of the big crash we had. As far as speed-wise goes, I think I'm the quickest of anyone that's ever been there thus far, so I'm looking forward to setting a good qualifying time and hopefully winning this race. I'm getting kind of anxious after finishing second so many times this season."
G.J. MENNEN (No. 99 Greased Lightning Automotive Cleaning Products Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "Gateway is definitely a unique place. It's two totally different corners. It's the only track that we'll go to that we'll actually be downshifting and upshifting. Certainly, it can be more complex that other circuits that we go to. We tested there last week, and we got off to a kind of rocky start because it rained a bunch. The second day, we were able to get some good running in in the afternoon, and we got a lot of information. Hopefully, we'll be able to translate some of that information into speed for the race. Whenever you come back from a test and gather information, you always hope it's the right stuff. You hope that your interpretations lead to results on the racetrack. We're hoping that it's going to go well, that we'll unload and be fast right off the bat."
ROLANDO QUINTANILLA (No. 11 Roquin Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone): (About Gateway International Raceway): "I think it's going to be a good venue for these cars. It's really going to show a team effort. It's not just going to be a horsepower track. For us, it's going to be a bit difficult because although we've run two races, we still need a full day of testing to actually get sorted out more with the car. It will be a bit difficult because we didn't have a chance to test there. But we're just going to go like we do at every other venue. Every time the car rolls out of the trailer, we learn more and more. We learn from our mistakes the same way we learn from the positives. For me, driving-wise, I think it will be good for me to learn more about the car in a different atmosphere, different track. It's a 1.25-mile oval rather than a 1.5-mile oval like we had before, so it will be a lot more tricky. There's going to be a lot more driver and team effort than car effort. It's going to be pretty interesting to see how everything turns out."
CORY WITHERILL (No. 92 WSA Healthcare Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I've raced St. Louis in Indy Lights competition during the past few years. Of all the tracks we run on this season, Gateway is the one I've been waiting for because it is challenging, and a driver really has to work to set up the car. It will be critical to find the perfect setup because the layout of the track will not allow for most drivers to go flat out. I think my experience should pay off at this track much like it did in Nashville. It would be nice to have a good weekend and pull within a few points of (A.J.) Foyt (IV)."