Indy Pro Series: Mid-Ohio 100
Topics: Mid-Ohio 100
July 22, 2007
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you very much.
We're joined by our race winner, Richard Antinucci, a rookie in the Indy Pro Series. His first Indy Pro Series win. He is the nephew of long-time Indy Pro Series driver Eddie Cheever, Jr.
Richard, talk about your day out there.
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: Not just the day, but the weekend's been awesome. A little bit frustrated of after qualifying, you know, relatively because we were on the outside of row two. As you've seen in all the practices, without any problems or things that hindered us, we were basically the pace. I was really motivated going to go into this weekend and prove what we had was good, and it really has been.
We've really learned a lot coming into our fourth weekend. This is the only track we've tested at before we've raced. And That underlines the potential I think. Because when you don't know a track, it's kind of hard to learn the ropes and get up to pace with limited testing.
I'm so proud of my team. I want to thank my Uncle Eddie and Tony George for helping me out, too.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Richard.
Q. You have a lot of experience with road racing in Europe. How does this track compare to the European road courses you come from?
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: I think this track is awesome. This one and Watkins Glen, to be honest with you, are great. They remind me of the English tracks. The road flows around nature without making all these modern changes for safety, which obviously if something happens you can get bitten hard in these kind of places. But it's much more fun for the driver. It's a pure driver's track. Not just to prove that the driver is fast, but it's fun for a driver to race on.
Q. Any possibility that you will get into the oval section later this year or next year?
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: I hope we get in this year because with our limited resources, we decided to maximize what we knew and try to make an impact as quickly as possible. Coming from a European background on road courses, I thought, we thought, that we could have a better impact sooner with the road course races.
But we need to get on ovals because our goal is IRL, so...
Q. Classic pass for the lead. How earlier could you have made that move?
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: No, Alex is a pro. You've seen it this year and last. I've known him for a while in England, as well. The guy is not flustered. He was just driving really well. I had to take advantage of my faster car and get out of that corner quicker because that's one of the only passing points on someone that close to you in terms of pace and that clever as a driver.
I knew it was always going to be tough. He was going for the championship. He is going for the championship. So he was never going to do something foolish down there. We had a really good run on him, so I think it was kind of pointless for him to try and defend.
It was a good move. I don't know. Classic.
Q. How important was the test here to the race?
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: That's huge because let me give you an example. Watkins Glen is a very particular track that has unorthodox characteristics. On one side you have to be geared in a certain way, and on the other side in a another, and setup as well in terms of chassis. We were seven seconds off as soon as we got to Watkins Glen. In the next half an hour we were four seconds off, then two, and then we were basically the pace. You can do all of those leaps in one test day.
We came here, rolled out of the pits, maybe were a little bit off, made a couple tweaks, but we were there. So that's how important it is.
Q. Being that your uncle is Eddie Cheever, former 500 winner, how much of an influence is he on you? How much help do you receive from him?
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: He's huge. He's a great guy to help me out. First of all, he's family, which can be conflicting sometimes, but it wasn't in this case. He's helping me out. We're working on this together.
I owe him everything, him and Tony George really, they're helping me out this year to be racing. I'm so proud of all my guys, too. My engineer, Mr. Buffanti, he's come from Italy. None of the people on my car have ever seen an IPS car, so great.
Q. You raced a couple of years ago in Europe, Formula BMW.
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: Never did Formula BMW. Last year I raced Formula 3 Euro Series.
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: In what term, sorry?
Q. Experience, engineering, something like that.
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: For sure. I think Formula 3 Euro Series, being the biggest F3 championship in the world, for such a small, underpowered car, is probably the most competitive series in the world at that level.
But this is like a GP2, the American version of GP2, which is the feeder series to the top-flight category, which is IRL. This is a step forward. But you've got to learn other things. There's other drivers with other tricks and there's others ways to go fast in every type of championship, in every type of country.
I brought a lot of experience in terms of passing, consistency, fitness, development on the car. But it's always a new approach and it's always something different to work with.
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: Yeah, but you need -- basically I was interested in racing with only one or two teams. That doesn't guarantee you anything into the category after that, beyond the fact you need a budget of around €1.2 million. I don't have that kind of sponsor around me, and I'm definitely not that rich from my family. Not even close to doing that. Plus, to be honest with you, I think Formula One is not fun at all if you're just fighting for 16th, 18th, 14th position. I'd much rather be driving in IRL, which is probably the second most popular championship in the world in open-wheel racing just behind. It's what I want to do. I feel more comfortable living back in the States, too. I'm working with my uncle. This is awesome. I want to be an IRL driver who can fight for wins, not just fill in the numbers.
THE MODERATOR: Richard, we'll let you go. Congratulations.
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: Thank you.
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