IPS: Nashville: Pre-race quotes

LEBANON, Tenn., Monday, July 15, 2002 -- Quotes from selected Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series drivers about the Firestone Indy 200 Infiniti Pro Series event Saturday, July 20 at Nashville Superspeedway (quotes listed in alphabetical order): MATT...

LEBANON, Tenn., Monday, July 15, 2002 -- Quotes from selected Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series drivers about the Firestone Indy 200 Infiniti Pro Series event Saturday, July 20 at Nashville Superspeedway (quotes listed in alphabetical order):

MATT BEARDSLEY (No. 12 Alpine Bank Old-Republic Land Title Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone): (About goals for his Infiniti Pro Series debut): "Of course, I'd like to stand on the (podium) steps, but I would come away extremely happy with a top five. Anything above that would be pretty much a big bonus. I'm confident in myself, the engineer and the people we have on the car. I'm used to getting thrown into something that I've never done. I was on the U.S Ski Team for six years. I retired from the ski team in August of last year. I think I get a huge advantage out of that because in ski racing you get an inspection of the course to see what it looks like, and that's it. You don't get to know what it's like at speed or anything. You have to interpret what it's going to be like and go for it." (About past experience racing on concrete): "The concrete track I drove at was just a little cereal bowl, just a little three-eights of a mile oval out in California that we ran the Mazdas (Formula Mazda Series) on one time. I think I can use the feeling that I got from the concrete, the subtle differences that come out of the concrete rather than asphalt."

ED CARPENTER (No. 2 Menards/Jack K. Elrod Co./Futaba/Delphi Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I haven't run at Nashville, so I'm not exactly sure what to expect. Wednesday I'll be in the two-seater giving rides, so I'll get a chance to run it a little bit there. I've heard it's bumpy, rough and more difficult from a driving perspective. I still think the racing will be really good like it was at Kansas, but we're all going to be working harder whether we're in traffic as a group or not. I don't know, but I've heard we probably won't be able to go flat all the way around Nashville. Either way, I'm excited to get back out there. We had a team meeting after Kansas to go through some of the things we felt we could improve on, and now that that first event is done, we all have a better idea of what to expect."

AARON FIKE (No. 91 Hemelgarn Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I've never raced at Nashville and definitely not on a concrete track. I've seen video footage of the track from an in-car cam. The track appears to be narrow, but the car should handle good." (About his goals for the race): "I just want to finish in the top three. We should have done it last weekend (at Kansas), but I got caught up in an accident while running up front. If we stay out of trouble and not run into mechanical problems, we should be at the head of the pack."

A.J. FOYT IV (No. 14 Harrah's/A.J. Foyt Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I'm not expecting to win, but I know we have a chance to win with the Harrah's car. But I also know there won't be anything given to me, and I just have to do the best I can." (About racing on concrete at Nashville Superspeedway): "I'm not too worried about running a track that is so different from Kansas because I've run a lot of different surfaces in go-karts. I haven't run the kind of speeds that I'll be running at Nashville, but it's just something I'll have to get used to." (About the Infiniti Pro Series debut at Kansas): "The things that surprised me the most about these cars were the speeds and running side-by-side. I had to be real careful with every move I made, where in the karts, you can slip up and the consequences aren't as punishing as they can be in these cars."

RONNIE JOHNCOX (No. 8 Rev. 1 Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I've never raced at Nashville, but I have raced at Dover. The only thing you really have to pay attention to with a concrete surface is to keep an eye on the tires and the racing grooves. Typically on a concrete surface if you get out of the groove, it can present some problems. We just need to get out there and feel our way through. Concrete tracks are typically rough or a little bit bumpy, but I have no idea about Nashville." (About the Kansas event): "I'm really proud of our racing team. We got started late with getting our car and gearboxes and engines and things. The Rev. 1 Racing team did a remarkable job of preparing everything. The race ended in a fashion we really didn't like, but I'm still pretty proud of what we accomplished through the race weekend."

ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 5 Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "I'm looking forward to Nashville just because I think it might be more technical than Kansas because of the concrete and the shorter track. I think it may be a track where it's not as easy to go flat. We'll have to work a lot harder to get the cars trimmed out." (About the Infiniti Pro Series debut at Kansas Speedway): "I think it ran very well. We had a lot of support from everybody. I had a really great time. It was very competitive, and it was nice to see a lot of people in the stands." (About the Kansas event): "I wasn't really happy with my qualifying time, and I had to go into the race aggressively to work my way up to the front. The race as a whole, as far as the car and the setup and my team, they did an awesome job. I just think that the end result wasn't great. But I think we definitely had a car that was able to win. I'm a little disappointed for the team, but I'm sure I'll repay them sometime this season."

G.J. MENNEN (No. 99 Greased Lightning Automotive Cleaning Products Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We were definitely happy with our performance in the race (at Kansas). Qualifying didn't necessarily go our way, but after making some adjustments and changing our Infiniti engine, the race went well. We are looking forward to the next race. We are excited for Nashville. With a race under our belt, we know what to expect. We know a little more about the car and how it operates. We are definitely optimistic. We are mindful of the surface. The concrete is certainly more abrasive on the tires. We will take that into account. Our engineer has been getting ready for this race, so we should be all set." (About the Infiniti Pro Series debut at Kansas): "I think it was a great event. The race provided close-quarter racing. It was competitive. Any one of six guys could have won that race. I think the job we did in the Greased Lighting car was great. I'm very happy with the team. The series has great potential. It's going places."

JASON PRIESTLEY (No. 7 HomeMed Pharmacy Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We just tested for two days at Nashville, and I learned a ton. Even had my first spin. It is part of the learning curve and helped me in knowing where the edge is located, being that Nashville Superspeedway is concrete, and this is my first oval experience on a non-asphalt racetrack. The feedback to the car is significantly different, meaning I have a new learning experience thrown into the mix. I am very glad we did have the opportunity to get on the track and sort out the car prior to race weekend. Having Tony Renna as my driving coach helps significantly because he facilitates the setup time significantly, and I have a much better opportunity to get valuable track time in a well set-up car. Since I have my schedule cleared so I can almost totally focus on my racing this summer, I am really doing everything I can to get seat time and learn as much as I can as quickly as possible. We were thrilled for HomeMed and everyone at Kelley Racing with our second-place finish at Kansas. It was a great feeling for everyone on our team. But now it is time to focus on Nashville. We want to develop a consistent rhythm every race to get consistent finishes and continue to build the program."

ROLANDO QUINTANILLA (No. 11 Roquin Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone): (About making his Infiniti Pro Series debut at Nashville Superspeedway): "We're planning on shaking the car down before we go to Nashville. As of now, we're planning on going on Tuesday to Kentucky (Speedway) to test. But I don't expect anything different from any other car I've ever been in on an oval. The good thing is that I have a good relationship with the guys and with my engineer, so I'm pretty confident about what to expect when I first get in the car. We'll just take little bites out of it and try to walk before we run, make sure everything is done the right way and just go forward. Realistically, I think the best and most professional decision we've made as a team up to now is having sat out the first race (at Kansas Speedway). It's better to be prepared than not be prepared and just be there loafing around. I would have wanted to be there, and I tried to push the guys, but you can only push them to a certain limit. I'm pretty sure that we'll be all right."

MARTY ROTH (No. 3 No. 3 Marty Roth/Brian Stewart Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We still had a lot to work out on the car after Kansas. Earlier on in testing at Nashville we had a great time down there. The people are fantastic, the track's great, and I love the concrete surface. It's very sticky and gives you a lot of confidence to fly around on a roller-coaster like that. I'm really looking forward to Nashville, and hopefully we'll be able to have sorted a few of the problems out. We went down there earlier for a test and got rained out of one of our sessions. But, I think we're on the right track, and I'm positive about it. I'm really looking forward to it, and it should be a great race. We're a quick study, and the team is a quick study, as well. We're really looking forward to heading down to Nashville and hopefully not to repeat of few of the instances that happened in Kansas City."

CORY WITHERILL (No. 92 WSA Healthcare Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "This is the only venue on the seven-race schedule that I've never raced at. My outlook on the Nashville track is just to get out there and get a feel since I've never raced on concrete. From what I can tell, the biggest difference in a concrete track is the bumps. I tested on (July 10), and it was very bumpy. Although we only ran a few laps, we did get a good handle on the track. We got a good baseline and know what work has to be done, especially with the shocks. Nashville is definitely a setup track, and I think this is where my experience will pay off. Horsepower isn't as important at this track as with the inaugural race in Kansas. It will take just the right setup to go flat out. We're going to be experimenting with the setups, like all the other teams."

-irl/ips-

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Tony Renna , Marty Roth , A.J. Foyt