FUTABA FREEDOM 100 PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT Friday, May 27, 2005 Jaime Camara, Wade Cunningham, Al Unser Note: The finish was changed to show that Jay Drake finished third after the post-race ceremonies and press conference PAT SULLIVAN: ...
FUTABA FREEDOM 100 PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
Friday, May 27, 2005
Jaime Camara, Wade Cunningham, Al Unser
Note: The finish was changed to show that Jay Drake finished third after the post-race ceremonies and press conference
PAT SULLIVAN: Two guys that have worked very hard, obviously. On the podium and, in fact, Al started in the seventh position, Wade started fifth. Moved forward and some rain, you stopped, you started, and there were some crashes and hard to get a rhythm in that situation, I would take, or was it OK?
AL UNSER: You know, once the green flag flew in the beginning, I was a little hesitant because of the rain. I didn't want to get on it right away, and I lost a few positions Then we came in for the red flag. And then, when we went back out there, we got one pace lap. And I noticed it was nice and dry, and I noticed once that restart started, I went ahead and started picking them off and it's a great day for Brian Stewart Racing.
It's Brian's birthday today, and we bring him home a two-three finish. I'm happy for him.
SULLIVAN: Wade, how about your day? Talk about it.
WADE CUNNINGHAM: The plan today was to try and split the two Sam Schmidt cars, for sure. They're obviously the fastest here this weekend. If they had the chance to work together in that race, there would have been no way anyone could have stuck with him. So my goal at the start wasn't to get to the leader, it was to get near the front; and when an opportunity comes up, you just take it, so I went to the lead pretty easy, and then it was pretty short-lived with the yellows and the rain.
The restart I got killed. I wasn't fast enough to be out front, and it showed. So I went well down in the order. Then coming through passing Jon Herb, you know, we crashed going into (Turn) 3 together, and I was right down under the white line. I'm pretty sure I bent the pushrod with the steering arm. The car was pretty loose after that and it was pretty hard to drive. And then slowly worked my way forward picking them off, and then Jaime and I sort of worked together for a bit and pulled away. And then when race closed up for that last restart, I'm pretty sure that where everyone started that restart, they finished it.
SULLIVAN: Very good. Questions from the group.
Q: Wade, congratulations on your second place finish. There in the second half of the race, couple times coming down the front straightaway, you and Camara were running side by side. You weren't able to get past him in Turn Two, but what would your strategy have been for the end of the race if the yellow had not come out on about Lap 35?
CUNNINGHAM: When I was running behind Jaime, I was pretty much beside him at the start/finish line. I was backing out of the throttle trying to work, keep him down low a little bit and work him a little bit harder and set something up for going into (Turn) 3 because that's where I was quick. I was generally quite quick on the exit of (Turn) 2 going to (Turn) 3. That's where I was planning on trying to pass him and then obviously didn't get the shot because of the yellows.
Q: Wade, were you aware there was going to be a green and a checkered flag? Which to me, coming from New Zealand and probably you, too, seems a little bit unusual.
CUNNINGHAM: I think they just wanted to finish the race under some kind of green-flag situation. It's definitely better to do that than to drive around at 80 miles an hour and finish under the yellow. It gave the opportunity to pass and, a small one, and there just wasn't enough time, and that was it.
Q: Did they tell you on the radio?
CUNNINGHAM: Yes, we knew when it was coming out.
Q: Al, now that you have driven your first race here at Indianapolis, what's your reaction? It's only been over for a few minutes but what kind of thrill did you get out of this?
UNSER: I definitely feel the tension with this place. It's not a normal oval. It's like we were talking before the race: It's not an oval; it's a road course with four slightly similar turns. But I had a great day out there. I've got to thank my sponsors and Brian Stewart Racing for giving me the race car to go out there and do it. We really showed we could perform.
Q: Any thoughts about when you'll be in a race like Sunday's race?
UNSER: Whenever I could get the money together and get the sponsorship acquisition and hopefully end up with a good team. And, you know, I'd like to see myself out here next year or possibly the year after.
Q: Wade, same for you.
CUNNINGHAM: That's definitely the plan, coming to America. This is the first year in the series, and it might be a two-year deal. It wouldn't hurt, but obviously if any opportunity came along, I'd be crazy not to take it. My goal is to get to the IndyCar Series. Racing here in this series is obviously the best way to get here.
Q: I'm curious from both of you, when was the green in effect on the last, was there a certain point on the back stretch or north chute from there on out? What were you told on the radio?
CUNNINGHAM: There are two orange cones between (Turns) 3 and 4, and that's the acceleration zone for restarts. If the leader hasn't gone by the last orange cone, the green flag is waved. Jaime did a little bit of brake checking, obviously, to try and hold his lead, which I knew he would. He went quite early, but he tried to slow the field up just before he accelerated. That was that.
SULLIVAN: Would you have done it?
CUNNINGHAM: Oh, absolutely. (Laughter)
Q: Did you surprise him at the very start?
CUNNINGHAM: I have no idea what was going on.
Q: It seemed like he took a little slower, you and a couple others popped out wide to try to get position.
CUNNINGHAM: I don't know, they were going awfully slow. It was obvious the green was going to come out no matter what. Third time by we were told it was going to be green, time it best you can and get the full throttle, and I think I timed it pretty good.
Q: Do you know what the point situation in the series is after this race?
CUNNINGHAM: I was three points behind coming in and one point in front of third. So I'd say I'm in the lead now, for sure.
SULLIVAN: I think Jaime may be in front, we'll double-check that for you.
Q: Al, have you talked to your family yet, do they have any comments on your performance today?
UNSER: My dad is back at home with my sister, Cody, who graduated. My mom is sitting in the back of the room. She already gave me a big hug. She said I scared her a few times, but that's probably what I do to most mothers and what most race car drivers do to their moms My grandfather did come up and give me a hug and told me good job, you know.
SULLIVAN: Other questions?
Q: At the end there it looks like you guys got pretty close. I know you probably would love to have another lap or two to duke it out but tell me both of your opinions what happened there in the last little stretch.
CUNNINGHAM: You know, obviously we had just a few thousand feet to accelerate and, you know, by the time you come out of Turn 4, there was no way there was going to be any passing. Al looked like he was coming up, but I knew that he couldn't get it, and he probably knew it and Jaime knew that he had won it. So I don't think it really gave anyone the opportunity to make any positions unless someone was terrible on the start.
Q: Al, before the race, either just before or in the last few days, what sort of family guidance from either from your grandfather or father did you receive?
UNSER: You know, just to, my grandfather was with me right before I went out. And he said just, you know, be calm, take it easy. It's a long race. And it showed that I kind of listened to him at the start. I was a little hesitant. But then we started picking them off and, you know, came up here at the end.
Q: I'm just wondering, when you were running with the leader into (Turn) 1, and is it seemed like a lot of people wanted to pass in (Turn) 1, which seemed odd. Also, it seemed like in the main straight guys wanted to duck down low inside the retaining wall and zip around there. Was there something about that spot? It looked like the lead was changing back and forth there.
CUNNINGHAM: I think people run the low line just to make it difficult to pass. Jaime was definitely going down the inside of the main straight so you could never get on the inside of him there unless you were right behind him on the exit of (Turn) 4. You know, I was trying to always set up my passing down into (Turn) 3 because I think it's easier to take a worser line through (Turn) 3, it's not as critical as (Turn) 1 is. So you know, I was just playing with him a little going on the outside into (Turn) 1 just keeping him down low. Just never got the opportunity to set that pass up later in the race.
Continued in part 2