Kansas Lottery 100 post-race transcript April 26, 2009 An interview with Sebastian Saavedra, Wade Cunningham and Mario Romancini THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our second-place finisher, Wade Cunningham, and our...
Kansas Lottery 100 post-race transcript
April 26, 2009
An interview with Sebastian Saavedra, Wade Cunningham and Mario Romancini
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our second-place finisher, Wade Cunningham, and our third-place finisher Mario Romancini.
Wade, you started on the pole position today. Tell us about your race, staying up front.
WADE CUNNINGHAM: The car felt pretty good off the bat. It was pretty difficult with the gearing, with the headwind especially to start with, with the full fuel. We were right in between gears. I felt like we could stay there for a while. On the first restart, might have been the second one, Sebastian got me. It was pretty clear he had a shorter second and third gear than I did. With the headwind, it made his car go that little bit better. He was able to get me. On the three or four subsequent restarts I just couldn't get the same kind of run on him. That was tough.
I tried my best. We ran side-by-side a lot most of the time. A yellow came out. There were a lot of yellows today. But really we weren't fast enough to pass him. And the way the wind was blowing, it definitely made it difficult for third place to really get some air on the car. When Bia (Ana Beatriz) was behind me, she really wasn't much help as a teammate to push me past. It was the same when I was in third.
It was a good result. Disappointed not to come away with the win. But really Sebastian has had the fastest car and he deserved to win.
Q: You talked about yesterday after qualifying you thought Sebastian's car was going to be one of the strongest ones. Did that become evident on the one long run, he was able to create a little bit of space?
WADE CUNNINGHAM: Yeah. We saw from practice yesterday that when people were running more race trim in their cars, he was the fastest car both sessions. Definitely in that long run with the swing sort of for second place, I thought myself and Mario, we had pretty similar cars in terms of outright speed. We were holding onto Sebastian's draft, punching a bit of a hole in there. That allowed the third place to battle with second. It was quite difficult to hold onto second. You were battling the understeer with the tailwind into (Turn) 3. That allowed the car behind to take advantage of that on corner exit.
So it was just a tough race. I don't think if we had stayed green for the checkered flag it really would have changed the result.
Q: Wade, the fact that the track was now clean, did that have a lot of effect? Was it slippery? Was it mainly the wind?
WADE CUNNINGHAM: The overall grip of the track was quite good. Wasn't a lot of side-by-side running in practice. As the race progressed, we were able to run two-wide quite easily through (Turns) 1 and 2. It was a little bit more difficult in (Turns) 3 and 4 just because of the tailwinds. It was difficult to get the car set on entry. So, no, that wasn't really a factor. The tailwind was probably the biggest factor of the race.
Q: For you today, Mario, was the wind your biggest problem? You seemed obviously to handle it quite well. Did you find that was really your biggest obstacle, trying to control the car in the wind?
MARIO ROMANCINI: Yeah, like Wade said, especially Turns 3 and 4 was really difficult because we had the wind on our back, and she was running pretty much all the laps on the low line, so I had to go really high. We had a problem last week in Long Beach, so I really needed to finish this race. It was especially hard to handle the car on Turn 3 on the high line because there's not much grip there.
I'm pretty happy with the race. Was just my first oval race. Never been to an oval before to race, just testing. I'm glad that we could score important points for the championship.
Q: You and Wade ran side-by-side quite a lot. For a driver on his first oval, how was that for you? You were running quite close, but you seemed to handle it quite well.
MARIO ROMANCINI: Yeah, it was pretty good. I was feeling comfortable. I was talking to my spotter because I was telling him, 'I can't pass him, I can't pass him.' I couldn't lift and try to be on the lowest line, just lifting a little bit behind him, because (Ana) Beatriz was really close. I couldn't actually slow down a little bit to try to do the low line and save the tires because Beatriz was really quick.
It was challenging. Every lap I'm still learning, learning. I think for the first time, first race, was really good. I want to thank Firestone Indy Lights, my team, they did a fantastic job. Now let's think about Indy.
THE MODERATOR: Please welcome Sebastian Saavedra, our first-place finisher. Sebastian, tell us a little bit about your race today.
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA: I think it was unbelievable. Cannot be better. I think the car was great since the first time we touched this track. Very happy for AFS/AGR Racing. I think the guys did an awesome job. I think the Firestone Firehawks were unbelievable during the whole race. Just happy, not only for me, but for my whole team.
It's important points for the championship, which for us is the most important thing right now. Looking forward to the next races.
This race, I would say the restarts were the main topic. I think in the restarts, everything could happen. Well, I was able to have a good timing behind Wade. I think pull a little bit faster in the shift, get a little bit of slipstream. Very happy trying to keep it up for the complete season.
Q: You have had very little, if any, experience on ovals, but you and Wade ran side-by-side. They had in-car cameras on the two of you and neither of you wobbled. What was it like having Wade running right alongside you, tires almost touching?
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA: It's an incredible feeling. I already know that Wade's an intelligent guy, all the experience he has, all the experience I still don't have. Just trying to trust each other, and I trusted Wade during the whole race. I knew that he wanted the points, I wanted the points. The best will get them.
So it was a great experience. Now I know what the feeling of being so near another car and the feeling of having slipstream during the first part of the race. Now I'm going to take all this experience and still put it in play for the next tracks and keep in mind that it's not hopefully the last one.
Q: On the long runs, it seemed like you were able to create some distance. Did having a caution-ruled race at the beginning and end create problems for you guys?
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA: Yes. Well, as we all know, there were quite a number of yellows during the whole race. But for us, it was a little bit better because I think not wearing the tires was going to be the key for the last laps. Having a little bit of cooling down laps for the tires was going to be great. So I don't look at it as a disadvantage, but as an advantage for AGR.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, guys.