SPARTA, Ky., Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2003 -- Quotes from selected IRL Infiniti Pro Series drivers about the Kentucky 100 Infiniti Pro Series event Saturday, Aug. 16 at Kentucky Speedway: ED CARPENTER (No. 14 Futaba/Delphi/A.J. Foyt Racing ...
SPARTA, Ky., Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2003 -- Quotes from selected IRL Infiniti Pro Series drivers about the Kentucky 100 Infiniti Pro Series event Saturday, Aug. 16 at Kentucky Speedway:
ED CARPENTER (No. 14 Futaba/Delphi/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone):
"I tested an (IRL) IndyCar (Series car) at Kentucky last month, so I'm familiar with some of the recent changes they made at the track, like grinding down some of bumps. Hopefully, that will help me in the Futaba/Delphi car. Last year at Kentucky, I finished second to A.J. (Foyt) IV. We worked together in the race, running nose to tail until the final laps when we got to racing. He ended up winning, but I think it was one of the closest finishes in the Infiniti Pro Series last year."
PAUL DANA (No. 33 Ethanol Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"It's been a crazy couple of weeks with switching teams. We struggled at Gateway, but long-term, I'm psyched to be driving for Brian Stewart. I think we'll be able to do really well. A few weeks ago, I wasn't sure I'd be able to finish the season, but then Brian called, and here I am. I couldn't be happier. From here on out, we're into the dyno-pull tracks where you're flat out all the way around. It will be good to get the drafting experience, but I wish we could go to Nazareth (Speedway) and have a few more tight, technical tracks on the schedule."
ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 5 Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"I'm excited to go to Kentucky. The track is really great for passing because it's so wide. Last year, I did my IRL (IndyCar Series) rookie test at Kentucky, so it kind of holds a special place for me. I'm looking forward to going there. Hopefully, we'll do better than we did last year, when we had a pretty bad handling problem. We're hoping to improve on that this year and get another top-five finish."
THIAGO MEDEIROS (No. 36 Genoa Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"We are trying to fix the problem that I have had in Michigan and Gateway. We have to change all of the systems that we had, the electronic systems, the fuel-pump system, everything, to find out what the problem is, exactly. I hope the rest of the season is going to be good. These types of things happen. I don't have to be upset. I was running a very good race (at Gateway). I'm happy. (IRL IndyCar Series driver) Scott Dixon had the same thing. He had a gearbox problem. He was leading the race, and he is fourth in the championship like I am. We have to look forward to the next race and just keep doing the best that we can."
G.J. MENNEN (No. 25 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"Kentucky is a great track and a good facility. I'm looking forward to going there this year with AFS Racing. We tested there (two weeks ago), and it was a good test. We're optimistic. It's just a little bit different. It's a little tighter coming off of (Turn) 2, and there's a lot more room coming out of (Turn) 4. Each track, even though they may be similar shapes, they're all different in their own way. Some have bumps, different radiuses, and they all have to be addressed separately."
GARY PETERSON (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"I think we'll do very well at Kentucky. At the test (two weeks ago), we learned quite a bit. We've gained a lot of experience. We've had personnel changes. Now we have a data guy and an engineer on board, and hopefully, things will continue to improve."
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 20 Western Union Speed Team/Duesenberg Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone):
"I cannot wait to get to Kentucky after winning our first race. I tested at Kentucky a while back, but I've heard that they resurfaced the track since then, so I'm not sure how different it will be. The Western Union Speed Team has been upfront all year long, and we will continue to try to put ourselves in a position to win. In some ways, that's more difficult at tracks like the ones we are on for the last four races, because the big, flat-out tracks allow everybody to fight in the lead pack. A good strategy and understanding of the draft are important because they allow you to be proactive rather than reactive, and at the speed things happen on these tracks, that makes all the difference in the world."
MARK TAYLOR (No. 4 Fulmar Panther Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"We were able to test at Kentucky recently, so I feel confident that the car will be good straight away. It could cause some difficulties with the tight schedule on the Friday. Kentucky has worked very hard on the track recently smoothing out bumps, and this should mean we will be able to run very close together in the race. I am looking forward to the race and hopefully securing the championship even further after a disappointing finish to the Gateway race."
TOM WOOD (No. 9 Super 8 Motels/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone):
"My first race in the Infiniti Pro Series was last year at Kentucky. It is a fun track to drive. I am sure this is going to be another close race. We will be somewhere near the front. After my crash in the warm-up at Gateway, I am still in awe at the Sam Schmidt Motorsports team. They took a car that was two-thirds destroyed and rebuilt it into a car we managed a fifth-place finish with in less than four hours. I don't know of another team in the (Infiniti Pro Series) paddock that could have accomplished that feat. This team never quits. I can't thank them enough. With this team behind me, I know we are due for a win. With a little luck, Kentucky will be the track."