IPS: Michigan: Pre-race quotes

BROOKLYN, Mich., Tuesday, July 22, 2003 -- Quotes from selected IRL Infiniti Pro Series drivers about the Michigan 100 Infiniti Pro Series event Sunday, July 28 at Michigan International Raceway (quotes listed in alphabetical order): MATT ...

BROOKLYN, Mich., Tuesday, July 22, 2003 -- Quotes from selected IRL Infiniti Pro Series drivers about the Michigan 100 Infiniti Pro Series event Sunday, July 28 at Michigan International Raceway (quotes listed in alphabetical order):

MATT BEARDSLEY (No. 12 Alpine Bank/Old Republic Land Title Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone):

"I like Michigan International Speedway a lot. We had a little bit of bad luck there last year. We got hit before the actual start, the actual green flag. We ended up having a flat rear tire, and we had to come in and change it after the green, so that put us a lap down. After the start, we ended up running one of the fastest laps of the race. We are definitely excited about this year. We have a little bit of momentum after last weekend (at Nashville Superspeedway). I learned a lot. We are really looking forward to Michigan."

ED CARPENTER (No. 14 Futaba/Delphi/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"I am looking forward to returning to Michigan International Speedway. Last year, I finished third in the rain-shortened race, and I feel like we should be strong, returning with the team that won the race last year. My main objective of the weekend is to win the race and beat Mark Taylor and the Panther Racing team. They have established such a large points lead. It will be hard to beat them in the championship without gaining some points back on them soon. I still feel that we can win the championship. It will be an uphill battle for the rest of the season, but I feel we can come through and win the championship."

PAUL DANA (No. 24 Ethanol/Team ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"I'm psyched about going to Michigan. I think we've been down on power for the last several races, but we should be on par by next week, which will be critical because the superspeedways are just one big dyno-pull. I had a lot of fun last week at Nashville, and I think with the drafting at Michigan, it should be even better. We will have some guests from Michigan Ethanol on hand, so we look forward to putting on a good show."

BRANDON ERWIN (No. 99 Natural Golf/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/ Infiniti/Firestone):

"I am motivated and excited about this race after running so well at Nashville. It was a little disappointing, but we learned a lot and found some limits on the car. I am ready for a win. We now know we have what it takes to get to the front. We anticipate doing well in Michigan. This will be a drafting track, and I love the drafting races. We are excited about this race and looking forward to moving ahead."

AARON FIKE (No. 91 RFMS/Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"Michigan should be a racy track. It is one of my favorite tracks on the Pro Series circuit. I imagine that there will be eight or more cars running together, since drafting is going to be a big deal at a track as large as Michigan. We ran well last year and probably would have been a race contender if it had not been red-flagged for rain."

ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 5 Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"I am very excited to come back to Michigan after such a strong showing last year. After sitting on the pole and leading many laps there, my hopes are set high. Drafting will play an important role at Michigan, and if we have a car as good as last year, we will be in contention for the win."

THIAGO MEDEIROS (No. 36 Genoa Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"I am going to have a lot of family with me this weekend. My brother and my parents are here from Brazil for a week, and having family with me gives me more energy. Now we are right in the middle of the championship, and we have a lot of things to do. The last three races, I couldn't set up the car very well. It was pretty hard. We will see what is going to happen this weekend. I'm ready for it."

JEFF SIMMONS (No. 20 Western Union Speed Team/Duesenberg Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone):

"We caught a break at Nashville when, after being pushed down onto the apron and knocking my front wing off, the caution came out just before we were going to get lapped. The Western Union Speed Team crew did a great job changing the nose and keeping us on the lead lap. Maybe it's a sign that things are going to start going our way a little. Ironically, when I raced Indy Lights at Michigan in 2000, I was forced to pit and come from the rear of the field when someone drifted up in Turn 4 and cut my left-rear tire. So, I know how to use the draft well at Michigan, and I know the best ways to pass. The Western Union Speed Team has our car set to run as free as possible, so if we have the horsepower, we'll have a great shot at the pole and the win."

MARK TAYLOR (No. 4 Fulmar Panther Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"We haven't been able to test at Michigan, but I think it will be like Fontana (California Speedway), where we had a really good test. After Kansas, where we were also able to run flat out, I think the race will be really exciting and close. It will be interesting to see who is quick there, as we haven't raced on a 2-mile oval yet this season. I'm sure we will have a good car. The Fulmar Panther crew has done a great job thus far, and we hope to be able to continue the momentum from the previous wins."

CORY WITHERILL (No. 92 WSA Healthcare Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"Michigan will be a good race. It is a different type of track than we normally run because it is a superspeedway. Hopefully, we'll post fast times out there to start up front. I would like to get a better result than last year. I didn't really get to start the race last year because of a little accident right at the start. I've been to Michigan many times before, and I know the track quite well. We just need a fast car to get a win."

TOM WOOD (No. 9 Super 8 Motels/Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

"I haven't raced or tested at Michigan. We have been on a bit of a roll with the Trailblazer Drilling/Savanna Energy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car the last two races, with two podium finishes. We have great chemistry working right now. The last race, the team had two cars on the podium. Sam Schmidt Motorsports has given me a car that I could have won the last two races with, and I came up short. I am confident we will be good at Michigan. Mark Taylor has pulled out a big lead in the points, and everyone else in the series will be fighting over the scraps if we don't start beating him. On these drafting tracks, we will all need a little help from our friends. I just hope everyone else is getting as tired of seeing that No.4 car in the winner's circle as I am."

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About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Mark Taylor , Sam Schmidt , A.J. Foyt
Teams Panther Racing