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Infiniti Pro Series: Phoenix 100

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Phoenix 100

Infiniti Pro Series: Phoenix 100

Chris Festa
Wade Cunningham
Jon Herb
March 19, 2005


THE MODERATOR: We're joined by second and third place finishers in today's race, Chris Festa, Wade Cunningham. Both rookies in the IRL Infiniti Pro Series this year and both have had their career-best finishes. Chris, we'll get started with you. Tell us about your run today.

CHRIS FESTA: The restarts were a little bit tricky. Basically the reason that I could see that the other cars kept spinning, upshifting to third, they would get a little bit of wheel spin and loop. On the first restart I got a little loose on the upshift, so I guess that's what happened to the other guys. That's what it looked like at least to me. There was definitely a lot of cars throughout the race. Getting through all that was difficult. Fortunately we were able to do that. Once we got going, Jon and I were keeping a pretty steady pace. I was maybe about a 10th of a lap quicker when I was far enough back to where I could not have any dirty air. Every time I'd get up close to him, he'd be a little bit better in three than I was and I would lose everything I gained, and I'd have to spend the next 10 laps getting it back every time. But all in all, it was a really good race for us. Congratulations to Jon.

THE MODERATOR: Wade, how about your run today?

WADE CUNNINGHAM: We had a really bad qualifying run yesterday. We were really, really struggling with the car. Made a lot of changes overnight. Went for a bit after gamble. I think my lap times were better than they were yesterday in qualifying, I was a good 8/10ths off. I think we clawed a lot of that back. We didn't have the outright pace today to run up the front. Before the first lap spins happened, we were running pretty good. Picked up spots every restart and just held it and drove a reasonably conservative race just to come home third.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys. Ladies and Gentlemen, joining us now in the media center, the winner of the Phoenix 100, Jon Herb. Jon led the majority of the race. It's his first career win in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series. Congratulations. Tell us a little bit about the day. Obviously, you qualified well yesterday, started near the front, were able to get an early pass.

JON HERB: Thanks. We did as you mentioned led practice. We had the fastest car in the second session and overall and second quickest in the morning session. That really gave me a lot of confidence coming in here with the car, basically exactly the same car that we ran there. Just added a little downforce that we'd taken away for qualifying. I had a lot of confidence that we'd be fast, although I was a little disappointed we didn't make a better run at the pole. But those guys got something figured out over there. So my hat's off to them. In the race itself, like I said before, we had a good start on the outside, moved up to second for that first wreck, was able to catch Travis on a subsequent restart on the inside, moved past, and moved on. Obviously, a lot of guys had a lot of problems today with their setups and their cold tires. I don't think they were prepared for the type of race we have here.

Q. With all the incidents we had out there, did you have any close calls, any moments yourself?

JON HERB: Yeah, I mean, I had a moment behind a lapped car or two. I mean, there's -- these guys are struggling out there. Obviously, they're out here learning. This is a development series to a point. But it the top rung of the ladder to the IRL, to the IndyCar Series. So that being the case, it was a little close out there with a couple cars, I almost tanked one or two that weren't holding their line real well as I came up on them.

THE MODERATOR: Jon, congratulations.

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