IPS: Test in the West Phoenix quotes 2003-02-06

ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 5 Sinden Racing Service Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "Obviously, I'm pleased with today. We got a lot of miles in. We came quite far from where the car was yesterday to where it is now. I always love running at Phoenix...

ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 5 Sinden Racing Service Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "Obviously, I'm pleased with today. We got a lot of miles in. We came quite far from where the car was yesterday to where it is now. I always love running at Phoenix because it is my home track. So I was looking forward to the Test in the West. It was a flawless day. We ran some different setups on the car, and we are totally prepared for the race coming up. I think a number of guys will be strong. I think 10 people could win a race. I think we will expect some close racing. I don't count anybody out. The engine is much stronger than last year. You can feel it coming off of the corners. It has a lot more power and seems to be more reliable, as well. I'm excited to run the new Infiniti engine. We won't have to worry about the reliability as an issue."

PAUL DANA (No. 24 Team Ethanol/ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): (About the test): "It was awesome. Fontana was my first time in these cars ever, and it was pretty easy because it's a superspeedway. Here, you really have to drive the car at both ends of the track. Kenn Hardley Racing is staffed with experienced people, and that allows me to have the confidence in them and just be patient with what I was doing, so I just nibbled away at it all day. Every time we went out, we went a little bit quicker, and that's exactly how you want it to go. I couldn't be happier." (About Phoenix International Raceway): "It's small for the speed you're going. When you first go out, you look into Turn 3 and you can't believe that you're going to go through there flat. You're like, 'There's no way.' But then you just chip away at it, and the car stays underneath you, and the faster you go. Here, you're flat in that end of the track, and you are not bored at all. You're well aware of the wall, the car's moving around underneath you, and you're just trying to be really, really smooth. It's satisfying to be quick here as a rookie, for sure. I've always had confidence in myself. It's a package. You have to have faith in your engineer. Dave Conti is awesome. Our crew chief, Mark Olson, is awesome. With this series, you have access to guys like Rick Mears. He came over and talked to me for about 20 minutes at one point and gave me some pointers. It just makes your head spin that you have access to guys like that. It's awesome."

CORY WITHERILL (No. 92 WSA Healthcare Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "It was quite productive for us. We didn't get that much time in Fontana, which there were some things we wanted to try with drafting and trying to free up the car. We didn't get much time there, but today was great. We got to learn a lot about the car and working with a new engineer. We learned about what the car likes on a track where you have to set it up to go fast. We were able to accomplish a lot of that. We tried to get a baseline for when we come back here in March."

MARTY ROTH (No. 3 Brian Stewart Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "Today was a good day in that we learned a lot. It was the first time we have ran the high-downforce setup on the car. I'm happy with the way the day ended because we were in the hunt."

JONATHAN URLIN (No. 33 Brian Stewart Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "This (Phoenix International Raceway) is quite a different experience than what I had at California. It's all about the setup here. I was fighting an understeering car all day, but right at the end of the day I think we got it figured out. We worked on the mechanical grip at the start of the day, and right at the very end we started playing with the wings a bit. That really made the car handle well. I was also able to perfect my left-foot braking through Turns 3 and 4. Then we had to stop because we ran out of tires. But we were able to work on everything we needed to do before we had to stop. Everything we needed to accomplish got accomplished. We just didn't get to run a lot of laps."

ED CARPENTER (No. 14 Futaba/Delphi/Zippo/Jack K. Elrod Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "This is my first time back in an Infiniti Pro Series car since Texas (2002), so it was a good day. It was good to work with the (A.J.) Foyt guys. I'm getting to know everyone, and they got to know me. We definitely weren't the fastest car here today, but we learned a lot about the car and each other. We have a good idea of what we need to do to get faster here. We weren't really coming out to set the world on fire, anyway. We just wanted to set a good baseline, and I think we accomplished that. I'm looking forward to going to Miami." (What are some of the challenges of this track?): "Just two completely different corners. In a way, it's similar to St. Louis, because you have a flatter, real long corner and then a more banked, tighter corner. With two different corners, it's kind of hard to get the car working perfectly on both ends. It keeps you on your toes." (Is there added pressure running for the 2002 series champions?): "I don't know. There's a little extra pressure because they were so dominant last year, but with the pressure there's a lot of confidence because these guys won a lot of races last year and qualified on the pole a lot. It's a new season, and there's a lot of new competition. I think this test showed that it's going to be a real competitive year. There's a lot of good cars."

TOM WOOD (No. 9 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We got a lot accomplished and were trying a lot of things out. We're not really on pace yet, but we learned a lot about the mechanical grip on the car. I didn't log very many miles today because I brushed the wall yesterday and we had to sort out some crash-related gremlins. But I think we're going to be pretty quick once we get things squared away."

AARON FIKE (No. 91 Hemelgarn 91/Johnson Motorsports Dallara/ Infiniti/Firestone): "We tested here yesterday and went pretty decent, and then we ran this morning with old tires. That last time we went out, we slapped some new tires on. We just kept getting better and better as the day went on. I think the new tires definitely helped us." (About Phoenix International Raceway): "This is more of a driver's track. This is one of my favorite tracks that we run at, especially for the Midgets and the Silver Crown cars. I'd never run here in the Infiniti Pro Series cars, but these cars are really stable here. The cars worked great, and the Infiniti motors ran really good. We learned a lot today. We tried tons of different stuff -- the springs, aerodynamics, we went everywhere from having a full fuel load to having no fuel load. We learned a lot, and we got fast, but you come here on race weekend, and everything is going to change. I think what we learned today is definitely going to help us. We got a good test in, so I'm happy with it."

MOSES SMITH (No. 99 Sam Schmidt Motorsports Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): "We got in the car just after lunch, so we spent about half the day in the car. We did about 100 laps. Basically the intent today was just to get some seat time and start working with the car and start working in some different changes and things. I think it went really well. I was starting to get pretty comfortable in the car toward the end of the run. It was a success today. Being on the ovals and having that much horsepower, it's more than I've had before. It's a neat car. It takes a little while to get used to, but it's a real fun car to drive."

ROGER BAILEY (Executive Director, IRL Infiniti Pro Series): "It was an ultra-successful test. The goal was to leave with the same cars with the same engines in them, and everyone had the same engine in that he came with. We've now got almost 3,000 collective miles over two days on the cars and engines, and that's what we came here to do. I'm delighted. We had no hiccups. By and large, we had an excellent day. I couldn't ask for anything more."


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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt