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Indy Pro Series: Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Indy Pro Series: Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Wade Cunningham
Alex Lloyd
Bobby Wilson
April 1, 2007


ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with our second- and third-place finisher. Second-place finisher, Wade Cunningham, 2005 series champ, and Wade's best finish of the season. Wade, if you would, tell us about your day out there.
WADE CUNNINGHAM: Well, you know we've had a rubbish weekend to put it lightly, just struggled since we got here, the lack of track time, because of the bumped field, and just the amount of check yellows that hit me and a lot of people. So we really just didn't have any direction to go. So we just had to stick with what we had for race one. And we were fighting for sixth, which is pole for race two, and I'd done that pretty well. We were sitting pretty on last corner of the last lap, and there was a fight for sixth and I ended up getting spun around.
So, you know, unfortunately, we had to start race two through nine, and it was just a case of minimizing mistakes and maximizing opportunities. On a race course like this, the only way to do that is on the restart.
I'm pretty pleased with my effort today, and you know, I doubt we could have won realistically.
THE MODERATOR: Bobby, third-place finish, why don't you walk us through your day.
BOBBY WILSON: Third place. Really, I have nothing to say. A little upset by some of the actions out on the practice. Other than that, there's, you know, I guess some disparity in calling certain things that happen on the track, and you get some good drivers up there that will race you hard and then you get other ones that will be pretty dirty.
So I guess I tried to race clean with everybody, but you get taken advantage of when you're in that position, too.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for either driver.

Q. Was there any one incident that sticks in your mind out there, one or two incidents that through you off or got you angry? Wade?
BOBBY WILSON: Yeah, not going to get into it. It just seems like there's certain favoritism and I don't -- I don't know. In regards to how the rule is of conduct apply. I just see it as it's not consistent and it's a problem.
Certain things came up. The lights were flashing on corner ten, which indicated a full-course yellow. That's where my race with Wade was over, and I let off and Mutoh was on me and I turned one more corner and it was green.
I guess I'm really not pleased with my performance today at all.

Q. Bobby, it looked like your car on that last lap restart was quite loose; did it progressively get worse as the race went on?
BOBBY WILSON: I think that it was loose because I was a little bit more greedy with the throttle. It was driver-induced for sure.
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by race winner Alex LLOYD, his third straight win to open the 2007 season. He has won four of the last five Indy Pro races, dating back to last season. His three straight wins is one shy of the Indy Pro Series record of four straight wins recorded by Thiago Medeiros in 2004. Pretty impressive start to your season.
ALEX LLOYD: Oh, yeah, it's been unbelievable. I have to say I really didn't think that it was going to be possible to get all three before the two weeks; the main reason for that was the reverse grip for the top six. I thought we could get two, and yesterday I was thinking, okay, mission accomplished if I can just come home with a good solid result for the championship, that's going to be the key.
And you know, it all went to plan. I had to be so patient and that was the key: Get a good start which we did, be aggressive on the first lap and then be patient. Because there's a lot of guys in front of me that don't have a championship to fight for that, they are here race by race, so they have got nothing to lose, where I've got to also be thinking of the championship.
So I was patient and that's all I did. I sat there and worked, and when I got my opportunity, I made sure that I took it, and that was the key; not doing anything stupid, be good on restarts, which we were, and bring it home.
It's just been an unbelievable two weeks, it really has. I mean, three wins in a row, four of the last five, it's kind of -- it's unbelievable, really.
But I think a lot of it is just being with Sam Schmidt Motorsports, the Lucas Oil car; it won last year. The team was so successful in the series, and they where I wanted to be at the end of last year and I got involved with them and it's such a great team, great experience and that helps me and we really work well together. That's a credit to their hard work over the winter, these three wins so far.
THE MODERATOR: With a couple of weeks off you get to enjoy this whole streak now, too. Questions for Alex.

Q. Is it as easy as you're making it look?
ALEX LLOYD: No. That was one of the hardest races that I've ever done. And the reason behind that is not just because I was starting sixth. You know, we made some -- we weren't that happy with the car yesterday surprisingly, considering that we were very quick. With the braking, we struggled with really all weekend. So I really wanted to fix the brakes to get the car to stop properly for the race starting sixth. I needed to get down on the inside. We did that, but at the same time, I don't think we -- that kind of affected the general balance of the car. So I was struggling.
At some points I found it really difficult toward the end. I think we had enough, especially when Wade got through to second, because I think Bobby was quicker than us today, but I think we were quicker than Wade. I had a couple of laps where I had to go park on the back markers and they put me on the marbles a little bit, and that messed up my tires and the next lap was really tricky.
But I think we had enough for Wade. But it was difficult because it's been a long two weeks and this weekend is very long. Yesterday obviously with two 30-minute qualifying, a 40-lap race, and obviously we were on track at ten past 8:00, so there's not been much sleep going on. There's been early mornings,.
But, you know, we got it together for the day. And I think experience from my part paid off. I think experience from the team paid off today, just keeping out of trouble where others didn't; be quick where we need to be and take our time. I think that's really helped us for these three races.

Q. Your view of the penalty that Jonathan Klein got?
ALEX LLOYD: Well, I didn't really know too much about it. I didn't know he was the number two car. I saw a black flag but I wasn't sure who it was for.
I mean, there was a lot of people blocking out there yesterday and today. That's just kind of been the way of it and we were told in the briefing to be very careful of that. You know, I didn't -- from my side of the car, you know, there was a little bit of blocking going on; I don't know how much. I don't know whether it was worthy of a black flag. The stewards are in a much better position to see than I am because I'm concentrating on my mirrors on people behind me, on stopping the car, on turning the car, and also with Jonathan in front.
So I really was not paying that much attention. In Europe, blocking is allowed, so I'm used to seeing cars sort of swerving around the racetrack so to speak.
So I didn't really pay any attention to it. I just tried to keep out of the way of anybody that might be cutting across my front wing. So it's unfortunate for him because he was running good. I think we had to pace him, I was quite comfortable behind him, and I think our car got better at the end, so we would have had a good chance of getting past him.
Like I said, the tricky bit was Bobby behind me, because he was very quick and he pushing very hard, so I was glad to see him drop back a place. I still think we could have held him off but it would have been a tougher run to the finish than it was for us.

Q. You have a test at the end of the month and your next race is not until the third week of May, I believe, with this momentum you've had, is it frustrating that you're not getting right back on the track or are you going to enjoy the time off and enjoy the streak?
ALEX LLOYD: Well, I'm going to enjoy it. I've got to. I mean, four of the last five races that I've competed in winning, I've got to enjoy them. It doesn't happen all the time.
But for sure, it's not going to be relaxing. The next two months I'm going to be training harder than ever, working with the team harder than ever at the factory to make sure that we have the best car we can going into Indy, because that -- for the team, I know it's is the No. 1 race they want to win, and mine, too. I won on Indy on the F1 weekend last year. I really want to win on cart day (ph) of the Indy 500.
So we'll be using this time to utilize it to the best we can and working really hard to make sure that we continue with this, build on this momentum, use these strengths that we've got and make the car and myself that little bit better.
THE MODERATOR: Alex, we appreciate your time. Congratulations.



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