FORT WORTH, Texas, Monday, Oct. 6, 2003 -- Quotes from selected Menards Infiniti Pro Series drivers about the dreamerscandles.com 100 Menards Infiniti Pro Series event Saturday, Oct. 11 at Texas Motor Speedway: DANE CARTER (No. 41 Panther Racing...
FORT WORTH, Texas, Monday, Oct. 6, 2003 -- Quotes from selected Menards Infiniti Pro Series drivers about the dreamerscandles.com 100 Menards Infiniti Pro Series event Saturday, Oct. 11 at Texas Motor Speedway:
DANE CARTER (No. 41 Panther Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"I am very excited about the opportunity to race at Texas. I am confident that the Panther crew will have just as good a car prepared as they had for my test. I am amazed at how 'stuck' the car is. I am really looking forward to racing in the Pro Series car."
TAYLOR FLETCHER (No. 9 Olive Crest Foundation/SSM Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"I am really looking forward to the final race of the season at Texas Motor Speedway. The Sam Schmidt Motorsports team and I have made great strides since Chicago as I get accustomed to the car and the team. I tested here last year in an IRL (Panoz) G Force car, but the test was cut short when we lost an engine. I was, however, able to get a taste of what an awesome track this is. After running this track at over 215 mph in an IRL (IndyCar Series) car, I am sure that the Menards Infiniti Pro Series race will be a real barnburner. There is going to be a lot of side-by-side racing and battling for the lead the whole time. I know Sam (Schmidt), Michael (Crawford), Blair (Perschbacher) and Albert (Gray) will give me a great car, so we will be looking for a strong finish in Saturday's race."
ARIE LUYENDYK JR. (No. 5 Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"I like running at Texas a lot. The racing is close, and it produces racing two- and three-wide the whole time we are out there. I'm excited for the opportunity to go back this year and hopefully pull out a win. We are going with the same setup as we had for Chicago, and that was a good weekend for us, so the car should be equally as good. Texas is typically like the other 1.5-mile ovals, but the front straight has two corners. You have to be careful not to get into the grass when you are racing side by side. It goes from pretty low banking to really high banking around the track, which produces a lot of g-forces in the corners." (About Arie Luyendyk Sr. competing in the Firestone Legends of Indy event at TMS): "It will also be exciting to run the same weekend with my dad. We had that opportunity last year at Michigan. He's not racing the big cars this time, but it will be fun watching him drive around the track."
THIAGO MEDEIROS (No. 36 Genoa Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"I've been to Texas before. I was at the last race last year, watching the race. It's a very nice track and very high-banked. I've never driven on that type of track before, but hopefully it will be good for us. I want to win the last race of the year. I'm going to need to use the draft and be there on the last lap."
G.J. MENNEN (No. 25 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"On a personal level, Texas is a huge race for me. My wife is a Texan. My dogs are Texans. We lived in Austin for years. I consider this a home race. Lots of my family and friends are in the area. As far as the race goes, we have made tremendous progress in the last two races. Hopefully, we can carry that momentum in to the weekend and have both AFS Racing cars finish in the top five. That would be a great way to finish the season."
GARY PETERSON (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"As a team, we are looking forward to Texas. With G.J. Mennen's fourth-place finish at the California Speedway and my fourth-place finish last year at the Texas (Motor) Speedway, I believe we are both ready for a strong finish in Texas next week. It's been a rough year for our team, so we would really enjoy a good finale."
BRAD POLLARD (No. 99 Arrow Karts/Motorsport Ranch/SSM Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"I'm excited going into Texas after successfully completing my first Infiniti Pro Series race in California. Now that I'm a little more familiar with the car, I should be able to perform more solidly for the team and sponsors. Sam Schmidt's crew always prepares a great car, and I am feeling positive about my opportunity in Texas. The Lone Star State is where I won the Southwest Formula Mazda Series and National Division championships in 2002. I have competed at Texas Motor Speedway on several occasions. I look forward to seeing all my friends and sponsors there."
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 20 Western Union Speed Team/Duesenberg Dallara/Infiniti/ Firestone):
"The championship is decided, so now we have to focus on holding second. The Western Union Speed Team is determined to do its best in Texas. We have to put an older motor in until we can figure out why our California one wouldn't pull. The explanations I've been given so far simply don't add up, but it won't distract me from what I have to do."
MARK TAYLOR (No. 4 Fulmar Panther Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"I am looking forward to having a teammate at Texas, and hopefully, we can end the season with a win. The test at Texas with the Pro Series car went well, and I feel it helped me prepare and feel fairly comfortable getting into the IndyCar (Series car). It was a great experience to test the IndyCar (Series car), but my focus will be on completing the Pro Series season with another Panther win."
CORY WITHERILL (No. 92 WSA Healthcare Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):
"We're coming to the last race of the year, and hopefully, we can pull off a first-place finish in Texas. Last year, we almost won the race but couldn't get by A.J. Foyt IV on the final lap. We had a good car last year, so I'm confident in my team that we'll have another good one. Like any other race, we're just going to get out there, go fast and try to win our first race of the season."