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Infiniti Pro Series: dreamerscandles.com 100

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  dreamerscandles.com 100

Infiniti Pro Series: dreamerscandles.com 100

Jeff Simmons
Mark Taylor
Cory Witherill
October 11, 2003


FORT WORTH, TEXAS

MODERATOR: Congratulations, Mark. Mark, quite an incident over in the corner, go ahead and describe what it was you saw happening and just the thought that was going through your mind while it was all playing out.

MARK TAYLOR: It was just a right close race. When you've got that many cars, that close together, you have to be very careful of each other. So it's very important to try and get the position when you can, not lose position when you can stop it. So at the restart the problem is getting past people. Aaron got past Arie quite quickly on the restart. So I was hoping to just follow him through and got along on a side him down the back stretch. And he says that he didn't realize I was there, so I'll take his word on that. We just touched, I spun him into the front of me and I'm not sure exactly what happened from that point. I ended up going back into his car and there was somebody on my car. I don't think I want to repeat that.

MODERATOR: Tremendous year, 7 wins, the championship, is it everything you were hoping for out of the Menards Infiniti Pro Series?

MARK TAYLOR: I was hoping for 8 wins today. It was a bit disappointing the way it finished. But the car that Panther Racing has given me deserves the championship. And it's been great the way we have done it. We have had a great year. And it's been a joy to be involved in it. It's great to be racing against these guys. It's good, fair, clean racing, and that's what I enjoy.

MODERATOR: We'll be joined by the runner-up in the dreamerscandles.com 100, Jeff Simmons, who was second and Cory Witherill who was in third place. Great race for both of you, Cory, third place finish in the race. We have got media also up in our press box listening, so talk about the race and it was changing moment by moment out there.

CORY WITHERILL: Yeah, it was a pretty exciting race. We're just kind of going hard, every one wants to win the last race. So I was going hard, trying to pace myself. Last year I finished second here. And this place, it puts out an exciting race for us, the fans and everything. I was trying to get up to the front and win. My teammate was up there and it was just a matter of trying to hook up with him. Somehow he lost the lead and I got up around him.

MODERATOR: Talk about the last lap, there was a lot going on there, Jeff.

JEFF SIMMONS: Yeah, basically I couldn't really hold the run. I had to run a bit taller gear than I would have wanted to, when I was in the draft behind Thiago the last couple laps. And so as soon as I pulled out, my run just died. But the whole race was kind of exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. We were trying to find places to put the car in and everybody was trying to fit into the smallest hole, me included. I was trying to fit into a small hole and kind of make the other guy give up a little bit. I was really happy we held on to second place in the points and had a good strong run today. I'm glad that Mark and Arie are all right. I was right behind that when that happened. And the first thing I said when we came around a couple times is are they both out of the car and all right. So I'm glad everybody is okay and that we had a good race for the fans.

MODERATOR: Go ahead and get an answer from each one of you on this question, and we'll start with Cory , but the IndyCar Series is just really noted for it's exciting racing here in Texas and we call this our second home here in Texas. The Menards Infiniti Pro Series racing here, do you feel like that's going to totally prepare you to step up and be ready for racing like the IndyCar Series provides here? Cory ?

CORY WITHERILL: I think it gives you a good feel to drive in traffic. As far as the technical side, I think that we need to be on smaller tracks so the drivers can learn how to drive like they do and get a better feel for like the handling of a car. We have raced Indy Lights and everything and the three of us here have road racing experience. So we know how to set up a car. Where I think a lot of the guys that come from other series don't. It's a whole different feel. But as far as the whole racing environment and as far as racing wheel to wheel, yeah, it definitely gets you familiar with what to expect when you get in a bigger car. Obviously you're going about 35, 40 miles an hour faster.

MODERATOR: Mark. Get your comments. And also you did test an Indy car last week here at Texas.

MARK TAYLOR: Yeah, it's like he said, for me it was good to get used to the car, but I wouldn't say that it helps a great deal with trying to set the car up. It makes you very comfortable and confident in the car. But the cars, the Indy cars are still the only cars out there. It's a lot different when there's only 20 cars out there.

MODERATOR: Jeff, talk about the series this year.

JEFF SIMMONS: Well like they said, it's great wheel to wheel racing and it prepares us to run races like the guys in the Indy cars have been running, three wide, four wide occasionally. Coming down to the last lap and trying to have a good strategy for that sort of thing. I think that the Indy car guys have a little bit of what we deal with in terms of setting up for these tracks where we're flat out all the way around. I think that they go through that a little bit as well. And they're trying to gear the car up and some of the tracks are fairly easy for the guys in the Indy cars to run, but I think that this year certainly I've improved in terms of my race draft and in terms of setting up the car and getting used to these tracks. So I think that it's a great preparation for Indy cars.

MODERATOR: Do we have any questions for anybody here on our panel right now? If not one last it looks like one last round. 2004. Plans that are set, plans that would you like to see happen? Cory?

CORY WITHERILL: Nothing set yet. But I got a couple things in the works. I got to thank ron and his family for the whole year and everything and other great people who drive for us. Other than that, we'll see for next year.

MODERATOR: Mark, talk about 2004.

MARK TAYLOR: Well, nothing set at the moment. Just hopefully we'll get on the team with Panther Racing. They make a great car in the Indy series and the Infiniti Pro Series. Of course I would like love to stay with them. Nothing set at the moment, but hopefully we'll get something in the pipeline and wheel wait and see. Hopefully I'll get to move up to the Indy cars. But there's a long way to go before that can happen. It's the end of the season now so I'm trying to enjoy this a bit. I'll work on next year in a couple weeks.

MODERATOR: Jeff?

JEFF SIMMONS: Nothing set yet, hopefully I'm kind of waiting on what they want to do for next year. It's been a great company for me and to have sponsor like that for me, I wouldn't have been able to race if we didn't have them. So I'm hoping -- I would like to continue with them. Of course I would like to move up to the Indy cars. It's looking like a bit of a long shot right now. But I would happily return to the Infiniti Pro Series and try to hook up with the Indy cars the year after.

MODERATOR: Well great season for all of you and congratulations, Mark, congratulations on the championship.

MARK TAYLOR: Thank you.



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