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Infiniti Pro Series: Bluegrass 100

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Bluegrass 100

Infiniti Pro Series: Bluegrass 100

Marco Andretti
Wade Cunningham
Travis Gregg
August 13, 2005


SPARTA, KENTUCKY

MODERATOR: Talk about the battle really after the restart about midway through the race you were well back in the pack. You charged up with Marco Andretti. First talk about anything different on that restart; then a little bit about that battle to the finish. It was a great battle.

WADE CUNNINGHAM: Well, we opened strong on the restart. We just didn't have the speed today. We just missed it somehow along the way. We struggled all weekend. The car was good. But it just wasn't fast. Once we lost that first pack, I was sitting a duck, and just the way the gears switch worked, sitting out front in 6th gear, you can't really downshift, the slip isn't really there. Struggled once you are in front when you are by yourself. I knew I had to go for it at the restart. I saw Marco from two cars back. He was going a lot quicker than I was. By the time the green flag dropped, I fell to the outside, then followed him through and ended up second and third respectively. He was second to start with. That was a tough battle. I think Marco lost the second when he downshifted on the last lap and that's what gave me second place.

MODERATOR: Marco is second third today. Your first or best finish on an oval here in the series. Talk about the transition from the road courses, you have the two wins, of course, on the road courses. It's your third Top 2 of the season and fourth start here. The two wins at Saint Petersburg and on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. A little bit different for you today.

MARCO ANDRETTI: I think the main thing I learn in these places is patience. I learned in Indy, big-time, that it just may be the car isn't working but all we needed was a restart. That's what I was hoping for. We went for it. But Wade played it perfectly. I was inside of him. He just didn't leave me that much room, just perfect, because made me have to get out of it because I had big understeer. Anyway, so he played that perfect. But the lap before I was just ahead of him so that's what I was hoping for. Crouching down in the cockpit, everything, like that, played it perfect. It was a lot of fun actually. These kind of places you just need to get your car in the window and just tune and tune and tune and if you are a little off, you're way off and we were battling with big understeer to start. And tried everything I can to tune it in the cockpit. All it did was make it loose mid-corner. So I was just praying for a restart and we got it.

MODERATOR: What was different after the restart; any kind of adjustment you made? What did you notice?

MARCO ANDRETTI: Nothing. I guess I was just the quickest to get up to speed and that my momentum held me. Everybody else just started battling. We got just got lucky, I guess.

Q. (Inaudible)

MARCO ANDRETTI: To be honest, when you are side-by-side most of the time there is nobody in front of you and when there is somebody in front of you is when you lose the air and so you get dirty air and it's actually more comfortable two or three wide, to be honest.

Q. (Inaudible)

WADE CUNNINGHAM: We were really struggling, I had pretty bad oversteer once the tires got a lot of heat in them. I was doing the opposite to Marco, trying to tune it out. Just couldn't get better. When people were pinching me light, I had a couple of times where I was lucky to hold on to it. So I just -- I tried to sit up high as much as I could but when you are up front, you can't afford to do that. You got to sit low and try and make the other guy go around the long way. Once I hit the front, I went backwards quite quickly. I always seem to be able to pass easily as well. So it is a double edge sword and it paid off today.

Q Marco, right now you are racing part-time in the pro series and (inaudible) if you could compare what it is like to go from and all-road series to this when you are racing side-by-side...

MARCO ANDRETTI: It's just an experience deal. Right now I have only had two races -- well, three if you count my one oval at Mazda at Pikes Peak. What I wanted to do is just beat these guys at their own game because these guys are oval racers. It's getting better and better each time out. We still have a lot of work to do because if that wouldn't have got a full course yellow, we would have been right back where we started. So we got lucky with the restart.

Q. Obviously beginning of the race you fell back a little bit. Was any of that because of tires or ....

MARCO ANDRETTI: It was good right off the bat, you know, I had a good start too. I was in second; then I was just flat and I -- but I just -- it was -- in the long run I was holding on for dear life.

Q. (Inaudible)

WADE CUNNINGHAM: You come into a series wanting to be consistent and those sort of things but you can't count on it. You know, we have been lucky this year with a couple of finishes, but we have been working hard and we have done the maximum number of test days you are allowed. The whole team is really trying to improve. So it's a combination of hard work and going back to the original bit about expectation, you always want to do well, but I wouldn't have been surprised at the start of the year if I struggled more than I did so I am just happy to be up front.

Q. (Inaudible)

WADE CUNNINGHAM: My car had a lot of oversteer so I could just run high. Generally if you got understeer you have got to run a little bit lower, that sort of thing, to get the car to turn. I was just running high and with the way the draft works and the way our gears are set there is quite a big split between our two top gears, and once you hit the front, you needed to have like a half gear in between 5th and 6th. The guy in front, the car was completely trimmed out, really struggled to stay there. That's I think why passing around the outside was easy for me today. I'd like to be racing IndyCars in a few years, so I am happy to be here and keep going forward.

MODERATOR: We now have Travis Gregg, the Bluegrass 100 Champion. Third win of the year. All three of those have come from the pole. You climb into second place in the standings, 27 behind Wade Cunningham. First talk about the run. Had a pretty strong car all the way. Made a little contact with the wall out there about lap -- about 32 or so. Talk about getting off to a good start and getting through that when you tapped the wall.

TRAVIS GREGG: We got a good start. We were able to stay out front and were challenged a little bit by Jay Drake, but this track was a lot different than the track it was last year, you could run low around the track, that was pretty much the fast way around. Struggled with doing that. I knew I had to run the high side. It proved quick in qualifying. Jay tried to pass me on the inside a little bit; couldn't get it done. So I was able to pull a way a lead. Catching up to Arie Luyendyk Jr., coming out of two, I had a push pretty much all day, had bad air, just pushed right up into the wall. I hit really hard. I thought I broke something - for sure I broke something, but I just tried to gather it back up and to make sure the car was okay. Hopefully it was.

MODERATOR: You went on about 17 laps later, lap 49 caution comes out. Pretty strong lead at that point, a couple of seconds over second place.

TRAVIS GREGG: Yeah, packs the field back up. I had a really big gap. You always hate to pack the field up and bring them close to you but we knew we had to get a strong restart. They were telling me I was the fastest car out there. Just tried to get a good start, be smooth and not make any mistakes.

MODERATOR: Okay questions.

Q. (Inaudible)

TRAVIS GREGG: Not a whole lot. Race car is a race car though. You try to go as fast as you can, don't really slide around too much in these cars. The contact when I hit that -- hit the wall out of two, kind of reminded me sometimes of hitting the right rear in the sprint cars, kind of felt like I was back on the dirt track.

Q. (Inaudible)

TRAVIS GREGG: My parents, my grandparents, my brother and sister, their family, a bunch of friends from Camden; just great to win in front of the home crowd.

Q. (Inaudible)

TRAVIS GREGG: I think so. This is an important race for me to get back into it. And I knew I needed to do well. And it worked, so, I am happy.

Q. (Inaudible) Good run today. Talk a little bit about what your car was like in traffic --

TRAVIS GREGG: The only lap traffic guy was I felt in the race was Arie and I got behind Marty Roth but I really didn't close up on him and got the last yellow and came out. The car really kind of pushed coming off the corners and I was trying to balance the car out with the weight jackers but in between one and two got a little bit of tight on me and I didn't want the rear to come around so I knew I had to work with the understeer and we were fast still so I really didn't want to chance it and try to push that into oversteer.

Q. (Inaudible)

TRAVIS GREGG: I think so, I don't know what their cars were doing, but definitely the high side was good for my car because it freed it up, keeping it low would just grab too much speed and the data we were looking at that yesterday in qualifying, I just went where the car felt best and it was the quickest.

Q. (Inaudible)

TRAVIS GREGG: I could definitely feel the difference from this year to last year. There is a small bump in between 3 and 4 on the bottom but it really wasn't down there in the bottom in 3, 4. 1 and 2 I am not sure if it was the bump or the wind crossing the track, that would unsettle the front, but definitely out of 4 running a little bit high, you come across a couple of bumps. But nothing really that would unsettle the car too much. You could kind of track through them.

MODERATOR: Congratulations, Travis Gregg.

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