An interview with Richard Antinucci Indy Racing League Teleconference Transcript September 2, 2008 THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us for today's Indy Racing League teleconference. We have several guests joining...
An interview with Richard Antinucci
Indy Racing League Teleconference Transcript
September 2, 2008
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us for today's Indy Racing League teleconference. We have several guests joining us this afternoon. In a few minutes, we'll be joined by our Firestone Indy Lights championship contenders Raphael Matos and Richard Antinucci. Joining us to start the call is our IndyCar Series points leader Scott Dixon, as well as 2007 IndyCar Series champion, Dario Franchitti. Just an update, Helio Castroneves is unable to join us today. The entire No. 3 Penske team is focused on a run at the championship, and Helio will be available when he gets to the track at Chicagoland Speedway.
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we're joined now by Firestone Indy Lights championship contender Richard Antinucci. Richard is second in points, three behind Raphael Matos, as the series heads to Chicagoland for the series finale. Richard has victories at St. Petersburg and Watkins Glen as well as six other podium finishes. He leads the series with nine top five finishes in three races on one-and-a-half-mile ovals this year. He has a second at Homestead-Miami and a fourth at Kentucky.
Richard, this has been your first year racing on ovals. Obviously you've had some success there with the second and the fourth, but no victories yet. With the championship coming down to a mile-and-a-half oval, tell us a little bit about your approach to the weekend, what you expect in the race.
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: Well, I'm really looking forward to this last race because we've brought ourselves to this point and we have a chance, you know. We're almost going in even, as if the championship race started this race. It's almost a fair crack at it.
We've done pretty well on our last superspeedway, which is also very important. We're coming in there with momentum. We know we're very good at least in the race, which it counts. I think we can pull out a good result this weekend, hopefully good enough to put two cars between us and our main contender Matos.
THE MODERATOR: What would a championship mean to you career-wise?
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: Oh, I don't know. You know, you have to see how many rewards you reap in the winter. But I think as a result of a good year, hopefully we're going to get good attention and graduate to the IndyCars. That's what I want to do. That's my dream.
THE MODERATOR: Of course, you're the nephew to Eddie Cheever, a former competitor in the IndyCar Series, Formula One, and Indianapolis 500 winner. Has he given you much advice here down the stretch to approach the championship?
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: Well, you know, he's busy also doing his Grand-Am activities. I don't get to see him much. We've spoken. We actually got to say hi to each other at Infineon. He helped me out at Homestead and Indy. He's been good to me and always been someone that's watchful of my career and my whereabouts. He's definitely important to go and speak to. That's been going on this year, so that's been good.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Richard.
Q: Richard, question about your plans for next year. Do you anticipate your uncle might get back into the IndyCar game, you might have a ride with him? What other options would you consider as viable for continuing your career if something in the IndyCar Series didn't come open immediately?
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: That's a very difficult second part of the question. The first is I hope Eddie and the whole Team Cheever manage to pull something together to do part-time, full-time, or just Indy in the IndyCar Series, because that's where I really want to be. That's where I think his heart is, too, as well. Being an ex-driver, having won the 500, that is his favorite race, I can tell you that for sure. We'd both like to work together. We did really well last year in the few races we did. We ended on a very positive note. We've also done a Grand-Am race together and it went really well. The results were good, fastest lap, all that.
I think hopefully something with him would be nice. But there are a lot of professional teams that have really impressed me out there since I moved back to America last year. I think many things are viable. ALMS looks interesting. Grand-Am is very interesting. But for sure IndyCars is where I'd like to be.
Q: Has your performance on the ovals been kind of what you expected this year? Do you think you left something on the table that you'd like to have some races back? Are you satisfied with what you've been able to accomplish on the ovals?
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: Absolutely I'd love to go back and improve on some of the results. I've had some of the poorest results on my career, in contrast to the good ones, like the first one I almost won, got second place. Indy Freedom 100 was second. Then we got a 16th and a 13th. These are results that none of us on the team, nor myself, were expecting or working for. We've had good ones and we've had bad ones. We would rather be more consistent with top results all the time. So we're going to try to make this last one good as well.
THE MODERATOR: Looking back at this whole season going into the championship, whether you win it or not, what's been the highlight so far for you?
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: It's been a really emotional season. Really nice. Both contenders, Matos and I, expected to race against each other at the beginning of the year. We kept our heads down. 16 races later, we're almost scratch. So it's really exciting. It's been a fantastic year.
I've had some great moments. You know, I was really, really happy during the first race of the season. I was leading throughout. We looked like we were on course for the win. We still finished second, although it was a bitter taste. So I'd say that kind of took the big surprise out of the first win right away.
Indy Freedom 100, we caught up from seventh on the grid and had a great race. Finished second. I think that was almost worth a win in terms of the feeling because we ended on a positive note. It was a very, very important oval. Probably the coolest superspeedway you're ever going to race on. That was a big highlight. I wish I could have won that one.
Also winning at Watkins Glen would be up there, as well.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for your time, Richard. We appreciate that. We wish you the best of luck this weekend.
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: Thank you very much.