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Firestone Indy Lights: Jeld-Wen 100

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Jeld-Wen 100

Firestone Indy Lights: Jeld-Wen 100

Arie Luyendyk, Jr.
June 21, 2008


NEWTON, IOWA

THE MODERATOR: We have our second-place finisher here. We have with us Arie Luyendyk, Jr., Scottsdale, Arizona, second-place finisher today. I can tell you're disappointed. Tell us about the run and your feelings about it today.
ARIE LUYENDYK, JR.: Well, first off, I just have to say thank you to my team and Firestone. I mean, the car was amazing to drive. The tires held up on long runs. You know, I think we were the class of the field. In practice no one could be quicker. Qualifying we had pole. We led most of the race. But traffic didn't fall my way.
You know, some races are like that. It just seems like the unlucky breaks come my way (laughter). It's a little frustrating. You know, a lot of second-place, a lot of third-place finishes for me. I thought it was my day today. But, unfortunately, he got the best of me. Two guys went wide into one. Davison wouldn't let me by continuously for about two laps. Here I sit.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Arie.

Q. Walk us through that sequence when you got caught up in traffic.
ARIE LUYENDYK, JR.: I think it was like lap 98. I can see the pylon. I'm looking at the pylon, counting them down. I saw some lap traffic ahead of me. I cleared Cyndie. She did a nice job of staying high, holding her line. That was good. I knew Davison was battling someone. I couldn't tell who it was.
But, you know, we came up on Davison a few times already. Every time we could catch him, it would go yellow. It was just not putting him a lap down. I knew he would be an issue because every time we caught him, he was an issue.
Now this time, you know, I don't know if his spotters didn't let him know I was there or whatnot. But I showed him the nose going into one, and he decided just to take me all the way to the apex flat out. I had to lift and back off, down change two gears. That's when Dillon got me.
It was frustrating. The car was so good. I was just happy for our sponsor Targus. We've had some tough races the last few events. This is a good way to bounce back. I know we'll be quick at Nashville and we tested really good at Mid-Ohio. So I expect the same at the Glen. Hopefully we can bounce back with a win.

Q. Did you need to look in your mirrors? Could you sense him back there for a good part of the race?
ARIE LUYENDYK, JR.: No, I think I looked more behind me than I did in front of me, to be honest. It seemed like he would get close. If he tried to make a move or got within two car lengths, it seemed like he had trouble staying there, then the gap would stay at about four car lengths.
I knew if I could hold him on the bottom, the car was really good there. Every now and then I would run low just to make sure I could still do it. The track wasn't dirty down there. I was waiting for the time that he was going to make his move. He made a few of them out there, but they were usually induced by traffic or something.
I thought we had him covered. But, you know, just unfortunately sometimes you hit traffic and you have to slow up, and that's what happened.

Q. I know you're disappointed now, but overall this season you've made marked improvement. Your running results are much better than what we may have expected from you. Is your confidence way up right now?
ARIE LUYENDYK, JR.: I mean, I think, you know, that's a tough thing for me to say. I think I've always had confidence in myself. And I don't think that's any different than it has been. I just think I'm in really good equipment right now. I was with AFS a few years ago. Their program has stepped up tremendously with Andretti Green Racing. I've always been quick on ovals. I love driving ovals. Now after doing A1 GP last year, I feel like I'm a contender on the road courses, too.
I don't know where we stood in the championship. We're ready for the fight. It should be an interesting last nine races or so.

Q. A driver in the field might have held you up, has had some admonition in the past for holding people up. If you were Tony Cotman, what would you recommend or tell Tony you would think would be a good thing to do for these situations?
ARIE LUYENDYK, JR.: It's a tough one for him. I understand the guys are racing side by side. There's only so much he can do. I think he does an excellent job of officiating the races. He has done I'm not going to say better, but he has officiated the races very well, I feel.
I think it's more in the drivers' hands. I think you have a few guys in the series, I don't know if they were leading and I was the one being lapped, I would be more courteous to the leader. But I don't know if that's just me having, you know, more experience or being in this situation more often.
If you're having a tough day out there on an oval, you know, it's just not falling your way. These cars are hard to drive. If your car isn't set up good, you're not going to be quick. I just think if the leader's coming, there's a common courtesy. Obviously there's rookies in this field, and some of them just haven't learned that yet.
But I think the officiating, I'm not listening to race control, but from what I see on the racetrack, it's pretty good.

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