Indy Pro Series: Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Topics: Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
April 2, 2006
ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA
THE MODERATOR: We'll start with our finishers today. Alex Lloyd started 10th, big mover 10th to 3rd, racing for AFS Racing. This is the best finish for that team in Indy Pro Series history. Second place, Jay Howard, on the far right of the table, finished 3rd yesterday and 3rd at Homestead, as well; that's in the Sam Schmidt car. Second place is his career best in the Indy Pro Series.
And again, the winner of today's event is Raphael Matos. This is the second win in as many days for Guthrie Racing. Raphael started 6th. He becomes the second driver to win consecutively in his first two Indy Pro Series starts. Mark Taylor did that, as well, in 2003.
Alex, take us through your day starting 10th.
ALEX LLOYD: Yeah, it was a good day. Yesterday was a bit disappointing. I wasn't hoping to start 10th obviously, but today went very well. I got off to a good start. I was able to pick off a number of people. We took a little bit of wind off them to the right but maybe not a lot because we got behind Jay through the middle section, but come to the straightaways and we didn't have the pace really to get close to them to make a go.
I was just trying to not make mistakes, see if an opportunity arose, and keep Jonathan close; he's obviously very experienced. It's hot when you're following another car, so it was difficult, but great results and great for the team. Best result ever, first on the podium for them, so all in all a good weekend and a good race.
THE MODERATOR: Jay, finished second today. Did you ever think there was a chance of running Raphael down toward the end?
JAY HOWARD: No. To be honest, right from the start, we made some big changes yesterday, from yesterday's race, because we knew there was a decent amount of time to keep with him. I said on the radio, even if we're together right at the end, I can't get by him. He's very quick, so the chance of getting beyond him is going to be slim.
Congratulations to those guys. They did a great job over the weekend. We struggled a little, but we'll take this weekend and find more improvements. I can't thank them enough because they worked hard. It was the hardest race I've ever worked for in my life; hardest second place, that's for sure.
THE MODERATOR: Raphael, started at 6th, didn't take long to work your way through the field.
RAPHAEL MATOS: Just made sure that I had a clean start. Fortunately I was in the 3 position at the start, so I was able to be right behind Jonathan. After I passed Jonathan, I just started chasing Jay, and once I passed him I just tried to push as hard as I could and open a gap and tried to keep that gap until the end. Unfortunately the yellow flag came up. I was able to keep my first position after the restart. I didn't do the same mistake I did yesterday. Jay, yesterday I think he had the fastest car on the straightaway. Today I think we had pretty much the same downforce, so I was able to maintain my position.
THE MODERATOR: Jim Guthrie, the owner of Guthrie Racing. Again, we mentioned this yesterday, but the 1997 IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year. Welcome back. Quite a way to start on the road course.
JIM GUTHRIE: Great welcome back. Raphael has done a great job. It's been a great weekend compared to our opener at Homestead.
Q. Jay, you are a resident now at this time in St. Petersburg. Did you have a lot of family and friends that came out here to cheer you on? And if you did, did it help?
JAY HOWARD: Yeah, it helped me try a little harder. Definitely I wanted to put a good show on for the guys, and unfortunately I couldn't bring them a couple of wins, but I think the best I possibly could with what I was given.
Q. Alex, this is the best that Gary Peterson and AFS Racing has done. Are you signed up to run any more for them, or is this a one-shot deal?
ALEX LLOYD: Yeah, it's looking like we'll be here for the rest of the season. The way I'm driving, Gary and the whole team has been fantastic. They're a good team, all the guys from Target Chip Ganassi. They've only been together three weeks, the guys on the team. Coming here and having a car that's been reliable throughout the whole race and getting a podium has been fantastic. It's looking very likely we'll be here the rest of the year.
Q. Alex, how much oval experience do you have?
ALEX LLOYD: None. I think we're planning an oval test on the 23rd prior to the Indianapolis test on the 25th. That will be interesting. It will be exciting, but I'm looking forward to hopefully getting some experience with ovals, and what better place to start than Indy.
Q. This is for Jim and Raphael. Jim, welcome back. You're a former winner in IndyCar Series, former Rookie of the Year. Your first foray into this type of racing and here you've got two wins back-to-back. How in the world are you going to cut this guy loose and put yourself in the car?
JIM GUTHRIE: I don't know, I've got to work on that, with a long lasso or leash. I'm real appreciative to have him along for this race. Who knows who will happen after this, but I'm appreciative of his efforts.
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