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Infiniti Pro Series: California 100

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  California 100

Infiniti Pro Series: California 100

James Chesson
PJ Chesson
Phil Giebler
October 2, 2004


FONTANA, CALIFORNIA

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started. We are joined by first, second and third place finishers today. Finishing third, Phil Giebler, his fourth top-five finish of the season; PJ Chesson, his fourth top-five finish of the season; and James Chesson, the winner of today's Menards Infiniti California 100, his first victory of the year, his second start. This is the first brother-brother combo to finish 1-2 in Indy Racing League history. Phil, let's start with you, and talk about your run today, your view of that backstretch on that final lap.

PHIL GIEBLER: It was a wild race all the way through. I'm definitely surprised to be running up front. I didn't have the car to win the race, I don't think. But started eighth and made a good start. I stayed out of trouble, that was the main thing. Everybody was running real tight, not giving each other room. That's why we had a lot of problems today. On the back straight, it was one of those things that everybody was fighting for room. They touched a couple times, Jeff and Thiago. Jeff lost control of his car because he bent his front left wheel. Over Thiago went. I went over as far as I could to the inside, just tried to stay out of the trouble. Luckily I did. Didn't get collected in it.

THE MODERATOR: PJ, can we get your thoughts? Similar watch to Pikes Peak. You were very patient and you made a very strong run the final couple laps. Your thoughts on today's race?

P.J. CHESSON: Pretty crazy race. Phil just pretty much summed it up. Where do you start? The beginning of the race, again, it's one of those races where you pack the cars up. They run so close, you can't give guys much room because you need the draft. If you don't get the draft, you go to the back. Everyone racing is trying to win the race. It makes it difficult when you're trying to stay out front. On the backstretch, it happened, Arie, Thiago and I, I was in the middle between the two, everyone is moving around, you go over bumps. I think I might have touched Arie, cut his tire down. That's just how close you race here. You're only a matter of inches at 195 miles per hour. It's tough, you know, with the wind blowing the way it is, the bumps on the track. Just right there you just can't be that close. The last lap, James went hosing by me on the outside on the (inaudible), made it three-wide, got the pass made by the center of the corner. I followed him for a little bit, then went down. I had to pull up behind Thiago because Thiago pulled up behind James. And Simmons was on the outside of Thiago. I was right up to Thiago. Simmons and Thiago just touched a little bit. I just moved to the inside, and they touched again. Around they went. I just saw Thiago's car lift up a little bit. I already had my hand in the air like, "Yeah, baby," because James was gone, the checkered was flying. I pushed little bro over. That was awesome.

THE MODERATOR: James, your thoughts. Similar to your brother, didn't take long to figure things out. You went to the front in a hurry, victory second time out. Your thoughts today?

JAMES CHESSON: Well, honestly, today started out sort of slow for me. I lost the main pack of the draft. It set me back. I was kind of running not by myself, but I think with Leo Maia. We were running back there trying to catch up. It was taking a lot longer. Then the caution came out. After the caution, there was a restart. I picked up two positions I think on that next restart. Then another caution. That's where it kind the put me right in the hunt, right where I wanted to be. It was probably nine or ten to go, I think. I guess I got in the right spot, right position at the right time. I saw Thiago and Simmons battling pretty hard. I tried a couple times on the outside. It was tough to make it go. I think coming out of four, maybe with a couple laps to go or a lap to go, they touched a little bit. I had a good tow. I got by Simmons a little bit and I just kind of kept coming down a little bit to get down and cover my butt. Worked out well.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations also on some successful donuts on the frontstretch. Was that scripted beforehand? Did you say, If you win this thing, you have to do it like I did?

P.J. CHESSON: No, he freaked out like I do. It just worked out (laughter). They said, "Go join your brother." I said, "All right. Nice invitation."

JAMES CHESSON: Hope it was good. I haven't practiced.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for those three guys.

Q. Phil, you must have had a heck of a view on that last lap. Can you describe that a little bit?

PHIL GIEBLER: Yeah, the last lap was as close as any lap I've had in the Pro Series car. Every time you go into a last lap like that, you always have to make sure you make the right decision. I went to the low side, hoping that we would just come out in front, or at least even, and everybody would try to fight it back in the draft. My car was understeering a little bit, so I had to be a little cautious going in the middle of one and two. That lifting off the gas there kind of gave the group a little bit of a gap. But it was tight. I think the low side was definitely the place to be in a pack because the high side, just couldn't make a run on the outside. But this guy that won the race proved us all wrong going around everybody else. Was good to see these guys running up front.

Q. PJ, you mentioned the bumps. Watching it in the back straight, there was a lot of bumps there when you guys were running in a pack. Did that cause you, give you any close calls, any concern?

P.J. CHESSON: I know the speedway did the best they could. I think they reduced them by half overnight last night, which is really cool. They're definitely much better. I just think any kind of bump on the track, if they're consistent, it's kind of like chatter bumps. It kind of bounces the back of the car off the ground. You guys had the same problem. I don't know if they did or not. I know this guy did. It bounced the car. The revv limiter would come on. You could see the other cars. Every now and then when you'd run up right behind them, you'd catch them right there. So I know it was definitely doing stuff to other guys' cars. When you're running that close, and you get a bump, and it bounces you just a little bit, when you're only two inches, you bounce an inch, or maybe three inches, you're going to, you know, do the math, you're going to be in into the side of the guy. I think that could have contributed to a couple things today, incidents - but maybe I'm wrong.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you. James, congratulations.

JAMES CHESSON: Thank you.



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