INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, March 17, 2004 -- Phil Giebler hopes to make it two-for-two. The 24-year-old, who won his IRL Menards Infiniti Pro SeriesTM debut on Feb. 29, is aiming for another trip to Victory Circle when the series continues at...
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, March 17, 2004 -- Phil Giebler hopes to make it two-for-two. The 24-year-old, who won his IRL Menards Infiniti Pro SeriesTM debut on Feb. 29, is aiming for another trip to Victory Circle when the series continues at Phoenix International Raceway on March 20 with the Phoenix 100 at 4:45 p.m. EST.
Giebler, driving the No. 2 Western Union Speed Team Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone for Keith Duesenberg Racing, started sixth in the Homestead-Miami 100 but fell to the rear of the field when his car didn't fire on the pace lap.
He moved up through the field and orchestrated a pass of leader Thiago Medeiros with five laps to go to earn the victory.
The Oxnard, Calif., native hopes that history is on his side as he prepares for the Phoenix 100. Last year, Mark Taylor won his oval-racing debut at the Homestead-Miami 100, followed it with a win in Phoenix and eventually won the series title. This year, Taylor is racing in the IRL IndyCar® Series.
"We had a successful test in Phoenix a few weeks before the race in Homestead," Giebler said. "Coming off the win, we are feeling confident about this race. Our goal is to run up front every weekend. We'll do our best to get the car running good and I'll drive it to the best of my abilities."
The Phoenix 100 is also important to Giebler for another reason. It will be the first time that his mother will watch him drive a race car. Giebler spent the last five years racing in Europe.
"It's going to be a great experience to have family and friends there," Giebler said. "I've told everyone that I have a job to do and I need to be focused before the race. After the race and on Friday it will be enjoyable to have everyone around, especially my mom who has never seen me race in a car before."
The competition promises to be tough for Giebler. Medeiros, one of two entries for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, has eight top-five finishes in 13 career Menards Infiniti Pro Series starts. At an Open Test on the 1-mile Phoenix International Raceway in February, Medeiros turned in a fast lap of 156.718 mph, more than 2 miles per hour faster than anyone else.
Medeiros' teammate, Arie Luyendyk Jr., and Homestead-Miami 100 pole-sitter Paul Dana hope to make a strong showing after an accident shortened their opening race.
"I've gotten past thinking about the crash in Homestead," said Luyendyk, a Scottsdale, Ariz., resident. "If I continue to be frustrated about it, I've already put myself at a disadvantage. I won't change how I approach the weekend as far as doing anything to avoid another situation like that."
Also racing with a new focus is owner/driver Marty Roth. He recently submitted an entry for the Indianapolis 500, and will become the first driver to compete in two races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the same month. Roth finished seventh at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Brian Stewart Racing's two-car effort adds Leo Maia to the fold. Maia, 23, was the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series champion winning six of 10 races. Stewart's other entry is 19-year-old Jesse Mason who finished third in his debut at Homestead-Miami.
Returning to Menards Infiniti Pro Series action is owner-driver Gary Peterson. Peterson has made 16 series starts, including 10 of the 12 races in 2003. He will drive the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers entry.
The Phoenix 100 will be broadcast on ESPN2 on March 25 at 3:30 p.m. EST.