Indy Pro Series: Kentucky 100
Topics: Meijer Indy 300 presented by Coca-Cola and Edy's
August 11, 2007
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by third-place finisher, Wade Cunningham. His eighth race this season finishing no worse than fourth.
Wade, talk about your run out there.
WADE CUNNINGHAM: We had a pretty strong start, straight for second behind Hideki. We didn't quite know where we were going to be on the gearing for this racing, it was at night. We didn't know what the downforce or the engine was going to do. Luckily we picked right and we had a gear tall enough. But it took probably the first 20 laps to be able to drive into it by the time the fuel burned off.
It was a great race. I think Hideki was by far the strongest. Without some serious help from behind, it was going to be really, really difficult to pass. Like Alex said after the race, he just didn't have the front end on his car in traffic to be able to push the outside car past.
It was disappointing to lose nearly 30 laps to yellow 'cause I thought, you know, it was an excellent race, one that I as a driver really enjoyed inside the cockpit.
Then, you know, what can I say? The last five laps were the closest racing all day. We were three-wide on a number of occasions. You know, it was fun to drive with two drivers that you could trust and that you knew would keep everyone's safety and interest.
It was a great finish. Hideki chose the inside, Alex was on the inside, and he got pulled to the finish. Just a great race.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by second-place finisher, Alex Lloyd. His third second of the season to go with seven wins.
Alex, talk about your run out there today.
ALEX LLOYD: I mean, it was a really fun race. I mean, at the beginning we were struggling a little bit. I think we just didn't quite have the downforce we needed to run in traffic. I felt like if we could have got to the lead, we would have been pretty strong. But, you know, I just couldn't stay close enough.
Like Wade said, I tried -- I saw Wade was trying to make some moves around the outside, I knew Hideki was probably the strongest car out there, has been all weekend. I tried to push Wade. I just couldn't stay close enough through the corners, therefore not being able to get close enough down the straight to really make much of a difference.
You know, I really just stayed there for the first part of the race and played with my car a little bit to try and improve it and do what I could. Then obviously we had the yellow. I wasn't sure we were able to get green again. Obviously we didn't get much green running.
You know, we gave it everything we had. We got a great restart, got to the outside of Hideki. I thought maybe we had a shot. We were half a car length ahead going into turn three. Then with Wade on the outside, Hideki was very strong. At the end of the day, he came through turn three. Like Wade said, I was able to tuck in Hideki's draft and draft up second for the finish.
It was all in all a great race. Great fun to drive in. I'm sure the fans enjoyed it. A great way for the Pro Series to have their first night race and put on a show like this.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. (No microphone.)
WADE CUNNINGHAM: I thought overall we had more downforce. I think as a team, we were over down force a little bit for the race. It was just a guess. We didn't know how fast we were going to run. No one broke into the 27s last year, now all of a sudden we're running 28.1 or 28.2 or even slower in race trim.
So it was just a guess with everything, being a night race. We didn't practice at night. But obviously the three cars at the front got it right. Everyone else struggled. The bigger the pack gets, the dirtier the air and the more moving around.
I think Hideki, Alex and I, we had a great race. We respected each other's space. When you get into a gaggle of cars in the midfield, it's every man for himself. You can't set up on corner entry. That's why the midfield probably looked so terrible.
Q. (No microphone.)
ALEX LLOYD: I mean, it was. You know, as I said, it was a good race and a very fair race, which is always nice. You know, from my point of view at the beginning of the race, I couldn't stay low down behind Hideki. I thought if I ever did get towards the inside of Wade down the inside, I couldn't hold it down there. So that was one of the reasons why I was holding back a little bit because I couldn't run side by side down there without pushing up into somebody.
You know, we got better at the end. We were able to run very close and not have too much of a worry of a push, pushing up into people. So, you know, that was good. So, yeah, we ran close, clean. That's the main thing. That's what we all want to see. That's why this race ended up so successful.
The front end, obviously, I don't know how it was at the back, whether the driving was just as good. We all ran clean, fair and hard. It was a good race.
WADE CUNNINGHAM: It was definitely an enjoyable race. I love the mile-and-a-half's. I think the racing looks good. It feels good inside the car, being able to place your car. You have time to enjoy the racing itself, which sometimes on a road course, it's so frantic, you don't.
Also, you know, the slower pace on the oval, relative, as a driver, you're not exerting yourself as much, so you can use your head a little bit more. You don't react the whole time, you can plan stuff ahead.
It was just a really enjoyable race and it was a pleasure to race with Alex and Hideki.
Q. (No microphone.)
ALEX LLOYD: No, I'm not going to be doing the race. We decided that a couple of days ago. Basically the reason behind that is I wanted to do the test prior to do -- before making the decision to do the race. With Marty having a sponsor on board for the race, they needed a driver who could commit right now. That wasn't something that I was willing to do before having tested the equipment, seeing how much time.
I'm going to be testing an IndyCar Thursday at Sebring, which will be good fun. But no plan to race for the end of the year now. Of course, I had my Pro Series commitments at Chicago. I'm doing the double -- looking at the schedule, there's a few things clashing, which would have made it very difficult.
Yes, chose to wait on that one. Obviously I really appreciated the chance with Marty. Unfortunately, the timing, the way it all worked out, it's not going to be this time. Like I say, I'll be in an IndyCar next week and we'll see how that goes.
Q. (No microphone.)
ALEX LLOYD: With Ganassi.
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