Day 3 -- Sunday, March 2, 2003 IRL Infiniti Pro Series Post-Race Quotes AARON FIKE (No. 91 RFMS/Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "The car was evil. I was fighting loose conditions most of the race. As the race went on, I got looser...
Day 3 -- Sunday, March 2, 2003
IRL Infiniti Pro Series Post-Race Quotes
AARON FIKE (No. 91 RFMS/Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "The car was evil. I was fighting loose conditions most of the race. As the race went on, I got looser and looser, especially in Turn 4. I played with the weight-jacker, but nothing seemed to help. We had a push in the morning session. By race time, it was a totally different car."
MATT BEARDSLEY (No. 12 Alpine Bank/Old Republic Land Title Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone): "Starting 15th and finishing seventh has to be considered a successful day. We're so happy to be associated with Billy Boat and his crew that we can hardly wait to get to Phoenix. We worked through the problems, and the car got faster all weekend long, but we're a bit behind because it was the first time I was in the car since last year. The entire weekend was basically a test session, and we hope to be better prepared in Phoenix. The race itself was great. I got held up in a couple of restarts. The other competitors were very fast, but everyone was using their head. It was one of my most enjoyable weekends ever."
PAUL DANA (No. 24 Ethanol/Team ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It was a different gearbox from yesterday because of what happened. It was gearbox failure of some sort."
CORY WITHERILL (No. 92 WSA Healthcare Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We had a good start, but then the rear end broke loose and spun around on me. I was really surprised. I almost thought I had it saved. Luckily, I kept it off the wall by punching the accelerator. We attempted a wing adjustment during a yellow, but it didn't make a difference."
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 20 Western Union Speed Team/Duesenberg Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone): "The lap before going into (Turns) 1 and 2, I picked up a little bit of understeer behind, I believe, the No. 24 (Paul Dana). I was hoping he was going to make way because we were about to lap him. He didn't in (Turns) 3 and 4. Then I picked up a big understeer again. My car was better in (Turns) 1 and 2, so the next time through there, I tried to time a pass so I could get him through there. For some reason that time I picked up an oversteer. I thought I was about to save it."
ED CARPENTER (No. 14 Futaba/Delphi/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone): "The brakes were working during the warm-up lap, but the nut on the brake line must have vibrated loose, and it pumped the fluid out. The pedal went to the floor. It's not the way we wanted to get started, but it's a long season."
JONATHAN URLIN (No. 33 Budget Rent A Car Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It was actually really good for the first showing. Tons of fun. We are progressing every time we get on the track. We are running faster laps, more consistent. The main thing for us is battling the push we had, the understeer in Turn 4. That is where Arie (Luyendyk Jr.) got by me. That is the one thing we were fighting with the car. All in all, a great day for Budget Rent A Car and Brian Stewart Racing. Everybody around here worked really hard. My friends and family are down here. A great weekend, an awesome way to start the year. This series met and exceeded my expectations. I had the highest expectations coming in, and it raised the bar even further. There is no better place for someone in my position to be than here. This is beyond my dreams. This is awesome."
ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 5 Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "The race started off pretty good. We had a strong car, but after the restart for when Jeff Simmons hit the wall, the car went extremely loose. It did that on both the first 10 laps of the race and the first 10 laps of the restart. I dropped from second to sixth, and after that it was all catch up. The car got back together after I'd toyed with the weight-jacker a bit, and we were the fastest car out there over the last 15 laps. I was sixth, worked my way up to fourth and would have had third if I would have had some more time. I definitely had a strong car. It was just extremely loose on the restart. I'm excited for the season. Last year I didn't really start out the way I would have liked. At least this season we picked up some points. It's definitely more competitive, and you see a lot of guys using their head out there."
GARY PETERSON (No. 27 AFS Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I'm happy with our finish. We worked hard all weekend trying to get the car to work. This track's tough, and the setup kept changing with wind and track conditions. The team did a great job. We finished the race in one piece, and we're ready to go to Phoenix."
TOM WOOD (No. 9 Super 8 Motels/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We're not real happy. We came in sixth. We crashed in qualifying yesterday, and we didn't get the car quite back to the way we wanted it. I had a loose car all week, and it was actually pretty fast around here. We got into the race, and it was the first time we had push all week and we were fighting that the whole race. But we got what we got. We got some points out of it, and we'll be good in Phoenix."
ROGER BAILEY (Executive Director, Infiniti Pro Series): "The whole weekend was extremely successful. The most significant thing for me was the engine performance. We went through the entire weekend with not one engine issue. The Firestone tires were just beautiful, as we've grown to expect. That was never going to be an issue. The level of competition has gone up a notch, and I think it will only grow from here. The performance from some of the young guys and the rookies was very heartening. Down the line, we are going to have a tremendous crop of young drivers. I think the series will just get stronger from here. This a great start to a new year, and I think it's the beginning of a new era."
RONNIE JOHNCOX (No. 8 REV 1 Racing Special Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I guess to sum it up, it wasn't our day. It was one of those deals where our car was loose at one end and tight at the other. I would make adjustments and compensations for it at one end, and it would make it worse at the other. We just fought it all day long. This is a track that we didn't test at and I've never raced at. We have a whole new group of people working together. The positive side is we have a car in one piece that we can take out to Phoenix. We did gather some good information here that we'll be able to use next year, but for this weekend, it wasn't our time. Fortunately, all of the tracks left on the schedule I've raced at, so I'll have some experience. We're just looking forward to the rest of the season. It's not a bad way for us to start. We certainly would like to be up further and be up front, but when it's not your day, it's not your day."