INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, May 20, 2004 - The Menards Infiniti Pro Series made its first appearance this month at the Speedway, as 17 cars participated in the initial practice for the Futaba Freedom 100, scheduled May 22 at the historic 2.5-mile oval.
INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, May 20, 2004 - The Menards Infiniti Pro Series made its first appearance this month at the Speedway, as 17 cars participated in the initial practice for the Futaba Freedom 100, scheduled May 22 at the historic 2.5-mile oval. Seven drivers, led by Marty Roth's lap of 190.340 mph, were faster than Ed Carpenter's pole speed of 188.348 mph in the inaugural Freedom 100 in 2003. <pre> FASTEST DRIVERS OF FUTABA FREEDOM 100 PRACTICE Pos. Car Name C/E/T Speed 1 4 Marty Roth D/I/F 190.340 mph 2 91 Paul Dana D/I/F 190.338 mph 3 11 Thiago Medeiros D/I/F 190.153 mph 4 25 Jay Drake D/I/F 189.335 mph 5 2 Phil Giebler D/I/F 189.313 mph
</pre> Futaba Freedom 100 Post-Practice Quotes:
PHIL GIEBLER (No. 2 Western Union Speed Team Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We're just making little steps to try to figure out how to get more speed down these straights, and we really haven't found it. We've got to look at the data and make some smart moves to make the most of the next session."
MARTY ROTH (No. 4 Roth Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It was a little strange getting into that car. It took a few laps to get used to it. We delved right in. I cleaned up a few bad habits that I had in the IndyCar Series car over the last week or two, and it gave me a good chance to make some changes to this car and keep it fast. We've got a great IPS car. We'll just try and keep it on top of the charts."
THIAGO MEDEIROS. (No. 11 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We're trying to set the car up for the race. We ran some laps with other drivers to see how the car feels in the draft. We'll make some changes and see what will happen. For sure, the engines are better this year, and we made some improvements to the car to find some more speed. We've had one year of working with the car, and a lot of the cars are quicker than last year."
MATT BEARDSLEY (No. 12 Jugular/Landtitle Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "Not doing terrible, it's not great, either. I think we need to find about half a second or 3 miles per hour. We just have to take it back and look over the data we got and see where we go from there. I got loose a couple of times, but I think we just went the wrong way with the setup. Other than that, I feel real comfortable here.
ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 5 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "The session was really disappointing for me. The car is actually not good at all. It's a lot different than it was at the (Open) test. It's very loose right now in traffic, and it has a big push when I'm by myself. Hopefully we can fix it in tomorrow's practice session. Our plan today was to run the race setup, but I couldn't even get five to 10 car lengths before the car started handling badly. The best we could do was go out on our own and try and baseline the car and get our setup straight. We really even ran out of time in that hour and a half, because the car right now is very uncomfortable to drive. Hopefully we'll figure it out and be ready for qualifying."
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "The Delphi Futaba car is not bad. I think we still need to pick up a bit for qualifying. We have a decent race car right now, but we're going to need to work on it a bit tomorrow. We didn't feel like it was really worth beating on it today though because tomorrow's supposed to be a little bit different conditions. It looks like the weather will be OK so we weren't too worried about setting a good time. It looks like we should be able to get qualifying in."
LEONARDO MAIA (No. 33 Skip Barber Racing School Dallara/Infiniti Firestone): "It started off great after about 10 laps, then we got an oil temperature alarm, gearbox temperature alarm, and when I was pulling in, it was stuck in fifth gear, and I couldn't downshift. We were about this close to seizing up the entire gearbox. Just another lap, and it might've been a gearbox. We pulled it behind the garage, changed what we needed to change, the oil in the gearbox,and it was great for the last few laps I was out there."
JAY DRAKE (No. 25 AFS Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It was fun, but then it would be fun if I was going 149 (mph) out there. To actually come out here, as I have said before, to just to drive a lap around this place is a dream come true for me and then to actually be competitive with these guys -- that's a big thrill for me." (How does this compare to a USAC Silver Crown car?): "There's really no comparison. It's a completely different machine. I couldn't say there were any similarities whatsoever. I just think having thousands and thousands of laps in the numerous types of race cars I have run is a big help. It helps me adapt when I get in another new race car as opposed to a guy who really hasn't raced that many different types of cars. If I take anything from the USAC cars I have ran, it's just the number of laps I have run." (About having Larry Curry around, who manages the short-track operation for Tony Stewart Racing): "That's a big deal because we can say we have already had success together, but here it all falls on Larry Curry. He knows how to mastermind these cars, especially at this racetrack. He knows how to get these cars comfortable, and he has been a big help getting me comfortable." (Are you nervous?): "Not anymore. This morning, I was extremely nervous, but now that I have got out there and have seen that I can run some competitive lap speeds, it takes all the nerves away."
PAUL DANA (No. 91 Ethanol/Hemelgarn Johnson Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We tested well here a month ago, so we knew we were close. We had a real productive session. It was long enough that we did some full fuel stops, some qualifying simulations and got to run in the draft. I mean, I am real happy. It will be interesting to see what people run in qualifying. I just hope the weather holds off and we have a dry weekend."
CORY WITHERILL (No. 92 Hemelgarn 91 Johnson Motorsports): "For the most part, I just went out there to get comfortable with the car. Started out a little loose and everything. We just made some changes and made it better. It was just a matter of getting back and running with the pack of cars. I mean, the whole session I stayed by myself, I really wasn't looking for jockeying speed. Just trying to get comfortable and trying to see what the car can do by itself."