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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

Dillon Battistini
June 21, 2008


NEWTON, IOWA

THE MODERATOR: The winner of this year's Jeld-Wen 100 here at Iowa Speedway for the Firestone Indy Lights, we're pleased to have Dillon Battistini, our new points leader.
DILLON BATTISTINI: Thank you very much. I'd like to start by thank Arie for testing my new champagne-proof fire suit. It works really well and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to go racing.
THE MODERATOR: How does it feel to win at Iowa Speedway on the oval here today?
DILLON BATTISTINI: It just feels utterly fantastic. I hate to rub it in in front of Arie, but I feel great right now (laughter).
I feel a little sorry for Arie. He drove a great race. Circumstances went against him a bit. There wasn't much he could do about that. It was a very good battle, clean, enjoyable for me.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.

Q. Ovals being kind of a new thing from what you're used to, this oval in particular being as short as it is, what is it like in race conditions whipping laps around here as quick as you do?
DILLON BATTISTINI: Well, what I would say is that it's enjoyable to drive, for sure. In race conditions, it's very difficult to pass because our cars are evenly matched on pace, and it was very hard to get enough of a run, enough of a slipstream to overtake without the intervention of traffic.
I knew that I had to make the most of the situations when we were coming to pass the lapped cars.

Q. Could you see that chance coming, that he was going to get bottled up? Could you get a read on that yourself and think it was your chance to actually be able to surpass him?
DILLON BATTISTINI: Well, I knew that it was my best chance to get past, for sure. I mean, I tried staying right on his gearbox when we were catching traffic. But, I mean, even if I could get a slight run, it was difficult to find space to get past. So I tried just hanging back slightly. My hope was that he'd have to back off and I would be able to stay flat. That's, luckily for me, how it worked out.
ARIE LUYENDYK, JR.: It wasn't easy for you to get around Davison either. When he cleared me, you know, you were being blocked by Davison as well. That gave me an opportunity. But luckily for you, it went yellow. I think that, in general, is just unsportsmanlike driving.
DILLON BATTISTINI: Yeah, that was pretty tough. He did come down and kind of chop across me. I came quite close to hitting him. Lucky for me it worked out. But it was tough. I mean, you know, getting past some of the other drivers was definitely easier.

Q. Dillon, I know you're a professional racecar driver, but this oval thing has gone pretty well for you this first part of the season. Are you surprised how well it's gone? At Homestead you talked about getting in an IndyCar at some point. Is that still on?
DILLON BATTISTINI: Yeah, that's still on. I have plans to do at least two or three tests in the IndyCar this year, a couple of races towards the end of the year. So the way things are going right now, I think it's all looking really promising for me. Hopefully I'll be in an IndyCar with Panther next year.

Q. Dillon, how are you adjust to get length of these races? Especially 115 laps today, how difficult was that physically?
DILLON BATTISTINI: It's fairly tough because we run really high downforce here. Obviously the IndyCar races are a lot longer. It's good preparation. Yeah, the race is longer than what I was used to last year in Asian Formula 3. I managed, I coped. I've been doing a lot of training. It's fine.

Q. You have adapted to ovals. How have you managed to do that with little or no experience to start with? These cars run very close.
DILLON BATTISTINI: I know. I mean, we were really close at times. I have to admit, when I first started driving at Homestead, it felt really quick. It felt quite dangerous running so close to other cars.
Once you get into race mode, it kind of goes out the window. You just put your head down and drive. Because you want to go faster, you actually feel slower after a while. It's just come to me naturally I guess. It helps when the car's great. The Panther team has given me a fantastic car at each of the oval circuits that we've been to. We got a bit unlucky at Milwaukee. I was flying in the test there. Unfortunately it didn't work out in the race. Aside from that, I mean, I've had a car capable of winning every time out. I'm just really pleased with how it's gone.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much. Again, congratulations.



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