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Infiniti Pro Series: Corning 100

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Corning 100

Infiniti Pro Series: Corning 100

Wade Cunningham
Phil Giebler
Bobby Wilson
June 4, 2005


WATKINS GLEN, NEW YORK

THE MODERATOR: Wade Cunningham, you sure worked for it. Give us a quick run down on the 27 laps.
WADE CUNNINGHAM: We started off. It was a disaster at the start. That was the worst, we couldn't really see where we were going. There was poor visibility at the start. Just tried to keep my nose clean through the first corner. Really couldn't do much at the start. It was pretty tough just with visibility. I just took advantage of the next two restarts with my position. That was just kind of elementary.
Once I got the lead, the car was very good. We caught another full course yellow, then it started to rain a little bit. Really, the car wasn't perfect in those conditions and I really struggled just to stay in front of Bobby. He got me on the restart. The last restart, I couldn't get the power down, so I struggled to come up the last corner. That's pretty much how we finished.
THE MODERATOR: Third place finisher Phil Giebler. Give us your 30-second run down on the race.
PHIL GIEBLER: Yeah, just a really difficult race in general. Difficult for everybody. There was obviously a lot of cautions that caused everybody to kind of find their limits on the track, which was difficult all the time.
All in all, it was a good race for me. I had a lot of battles out there, which made it tough to make some ground up. The biggest difficulty out there was vision, not being able to see a thing out there. Sideways in fifth gear going up the hill, you don't know where the other car is.
Pretty exciting out there. Almost brought home a 1-2 finish for Kenn Hardley Racing.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. What is it like to try to get out of that rooster tail you were chasing around?
WADE CUNNINGHAM: Really, the worst part was coming out of turn two, going up the hill, right at the end, when it started to rain. We were really sideways just between gears. It's a visual problem when you have the mist in the air, that distance, you can judge any kind of distance. You don't actually see the guys in front of you, what he is doing. The mist just hangs in the air for so long. That was really, really tough.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen. We have the winner with us now, Bobby Wilson. Come on up, grab a chair here. I guess the first thing I'm going to ask you is, how does it feel, the first win in the Infiniti Pro Series?
BOBBY WILSON: It's a wonderful feeling. Team worked so hard this weekend. Glad to see. It's my second time up here. I'm really proud of the team. They worked so hard, just adapting the car to the setup, it was kind of iffy conditions. Really didn't know which way it was going to go. Just staying on the track and adapting to the conditions paid off.
THE MODERATOR: Speaking of the team, I believe this makes them two for two at Watkins Glen. The car you drove is the car that Jeff Simmons drove to victory last year.
BOBBY WILSON: Yeah, definitely. Got some pretty big shoes to fill. Our second race under our belt. I think there's more of this to come because it's a great group of guys and I'm very confident.
THE MODERATOR: Take us through the race today, in particular that pass of Cunningham at turn one that put you out in front.
BOBBY WILSON: (Indiscernible) gearbox coming off the last corner, nailed every shift, popped out at the right moment. Just got alongside him going in, never looked back. I could see the clouds were coming in, visibility was going to diminish. Being out front was key. Just had to happen at that point. I learned my lesson on the first restart. My engine wouldn't clean up as much as I'd like. He kind of got the jump on me there.
THE MODERATOR: Talk about the track conditions, continued to change throughout the race.
BOBBY WILSON: Definitely. You know, when the track was wet, we were trying to find dry spots. When it was dry, you had to cool your tires, so you were trying to find wet spots. It was a long race. Just changing conditions. You just had to adapt to it and save your equipment.
Q. First time you won a race in the rain?
BOBBY WILSON: Not exactly. It might be for this car. I've done it in karting, F-2000, ran plenty of races in the rain. I've always done quite well in them. A lot of times in go-karts. That pays off.
Q. Describe the visibility you had during the race because of the rain and the other cars, the spray.
BOBBY WILSON: Well, put yourself in my shoes. Basically you got a helmet on, your body temperature's up, your visor is fogging up. When you're following a car, it's like a big white cloud in front of you.
Visibility was like zero at times. Getting out in front was key and keeping the air moving through your helmet and everything was also very important. But you couldn't really do that when you're behind somebody because of all the rocks and everything. That's basically what it was like.
Q. What about the performance of the Firestone race tires?
BOBBY WILSON: That's a very good question. They did actually work very well. They were consistent as long as you managed them properly and had a good setup on the car. It paid off.
Q. You were talking about managing your rain tires. Part of that is, did you look for places where you could throw up a rooster tail to keep people off your rear?
BOBBY WILSON: Absolutely. They would do it to me in a heartbeat. Make it wide.
Q. Was there any fear when the track started drying out of junking your rain tires and was there any talk about going to slicks?
BOBBY WILSON: I think if the race would have stayed green for a longer duration, we may have run into the problem because the track was drying quite rapidly.
Absolutely, but the yellows came out and we were pretty comfortable cooling off the tires on the edges of the straightaway, finding puddles out there. It worked out.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations again on the victory.
BOBBY WILSON: Thank you very much.



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