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Firestone Indy Lights: Miami 100

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Miami 100

Firestone Indy Lights: Miami 100

Richard Antinucci
Brent Sherman
March 29, 2008


HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA

THE MODERATOR: Richard, in the last four races, two wins and two second place finishes, and led the first laps today on an oval event -- at an oval event, excuse me. Richard, why don't we start with you, and take us through your day.
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: A great day. So, um, up my first oval experience and my first race with Sam Schmitt. I'm very happy. You know, we got to take these points and look at the big picture. We're planning and we're designed to win. So we got to go out and show and try to be in the front time and gets as many point as we can.
I was surprised with our mid-race pace actually. We pulled away from the others. But as I saw Guthrie who was a lap car it was an indication that I started to drop off and not everyone was. And I saw that black car come within five laps and the caution came. I had a bit of breather on the tires which is good.
But we didn't expect and I don't think we planned to race 50 laps plus without a caution just based on the previous history of the results here and the track. So I think that hurt us a bit.
You know we greened the fronts, and the Panther guys locked in on the perfect set-up, you know, after both in the top three. It's kind of a good indication, especially towards the end, they were probably several tenths faster than us. I can tell you I wasn't going flat out any more.
BRENT SHERMAN: I was lucky. I saved my tires on accident. I didn't have to mix it up in the middle of the race
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: So I tried to save as much as I could. But big thanks to Sam Schmitt for believing in me and we're going forward and attack.
THE MODERATOR: Brent, your first career starts in Indy Lights. Started in 13th got yourself up to four for the finish. Talk about your day.
BRENT SHERMAN: I was kind of surprised with the lack of cautions, also. We didn't get the start we wanted, so rather than try to tear up our stuff at the beginning trying to get through the pack, we just kind of rode a little bit. And, unfortunately, we didn't get any cautions.
I was losing track position, but fortunate at the end we got A a couple of cautions and I was able to get a couple guys.
Like he said, they were mixing it up pretty good, and I was surprised how well the car drove at the end. I mean, I was flat, easy.
You know, a little more time I think I could have given Dillion maybe a run for his money. But I'm really pleased that the team performed the way it did. Wish I could have qualified a little better. But I think we figure things out and obviously. The race is what matters, and the car was good for the race, and luckily I was able to get some track position at the end and come out with a podium.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Richard or Brent.
For Brent. Couple years ago at the Dodge dinner at the LPGA in Daytona before testing we talked to you about starting the Daytona 500 which you did. And now you find yourself in open-wheel. Talk a little bit about the route that you took here and where you're looking to go from here.
BRENT SHERMAN: You know, I didn't know what to expect at that dinner. You know, I knew I was getting involved with a single-car team, and the Nextel Cup Series at the time was just as difficult as any other series in the world in my opinion.
The best finish, unfortunately, the best finish I had was at the Daytona 500; I finished 21st. It just kind of unfortunately went downhill from there. I just never got hooked up with the right organization to -- that would give me time to adapt to the car and adapt to the series.
So, you know, I just thought that even though this is a feeder series to the IndyCars or the IRL I felt like being with a team like Panther, they were going to give you me an opportunity to win races.
And, unfortunately, on the stock car side and the NASCAR side of things I was never given an opportunity to win races.
So that made my decision fairly simple. I've never been here in open-wheel car, but I've been here many times in a stock car. And I got to tell you it's pretty fricken exciting. It's fast. It's exciting racing. It's constant. You're constantly mixing it up. The only difference is you are not suppose to touch the tires or anything. That is a bad thing from what I understand

Q. For Richard. You and I talked about the start of the race. This was your fist oval. Anything out there surprise you? I mean you raced with Rafael, it didn't seem to make any difference at the fact you have never been here before, never run an oval.
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: I tested here but we weren't exactly sandbagging but we were being conservative I think, and to a certain degree. Come qualifying we were pretty on it for when we drew our number, which was pretty early. Then we had a good race.
I think it was down to tire management. I know a lot more now in how to approach an oval race even with the set-up I had today I think I can do a better job next time. I'm not surprised. I have a very good car.
That #7 Lucas, you have seen it in the front a lot. So I have to be up there.
But it's not the way I see it. I see it as a great opportunity to learn, and I'm going to try to absorb what I've learned and just go better at Kansas and at Indy.

Q. Brent, what are your goals behind this race for the future of your career
BRENT SHERMAN: I'm not getting any younger so I want to win races, and I want to drive an IndyCar. It's pretty simple, I want the run the Indy 500, and I want to be with what I consider a successful team. Which, if that's Panther, that would be great.
So, you know, if I can make it -- I don't want to get in over my head. I think when I jumped in from the Busch Series to the Cup Series it was pretty big league. I didn't have a lot of experience in the Busch Series. I don't want to do the same thing. And I'm going let the team owner decide whether I'm ready to -- what I'm ready to do.
You know, we're race car drivers, we want to run anything we can get our hands on; the most power and the most whatever. But I think you have to be smart about it, also. So I'll take my time if I need to. But I'm hoping that I can tackle the learning curve and move on.
THE MODERATOR: All right, guys, thank you very much.



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