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Firestone Indy Lights: Mid-Ohio 100 Race 2

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Mid-Ohio 100

Firestone Indy Lights: Mid-Ohio 100 Race 2

Wade Cunningham
James Davison
Pablo Donoso
July 20, 2008


LEXINGTON, OHIO

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with our podium ceremony. Our winner, James Davison; second-place finisher, Wade Cunningham from Auckland, New Zealand; your third-place finisher Pablo Donoso, from Santiago, Chile.
Pablo, this was a wild race, really a matter of survival getting to the end. You obviously got the job done.
PABLO DONOSO: Yeah, was a really hard race. The team gave me a really good car at the beginning. The car was pretty good. But then one guy hit me from behind and my car get really, really loose.
So at the end I said, you know, I want to finish the race and pick up some points. We lost the position with Wade. He was running pretty fast. I couldn't fight with him, and with Davison either. I just tried to finish the race.
I don't know what happened with Jonny Reid at the end. Everybody talks about the luck. Sometimes you need to have good luck.
THE MODERATOR: You and Richard were battling for the final spot on the podium. You won, so good for you.
PABLO DONOSO: Yeah, that team gave really good cars to them. Davison was really fast. The other guy spun like four times, still fighting with us.
In the rain, you have to be very careful and try to finish the race. When I was running in Euro, I run a couple of times in rain. That was all the deal. Sometimes you don't have the fastest car, you can be really slow, but if you finish the race, you can bring some good results home.
THE MODERATOR: Our second-place finisher, Wade Cunningham. Wade, doing a part-time series this time. Talk about your day today.
WADE CUNNINGHAM: Yeah, I inherited a couple of positions today. I threw a lot away at the beginning. The conditions were very, very difficult. And it was great, you know, coming back through the field, we had a very reasonable car, especially once the track started drying. We had more of a dry setup just with the wets on it. We came on stronger.
I was fortunate I got to watch my brother's race. He was always about five positions in front. I watched him take the lead. I was really happy for him. I didn't see him spin off. I didn't see where he ended. I assumed he was far into the lead, but unfortunately he wasn't.
He made that mistake, and then Jonny obviously just pulled into the pits thinking it was checkered flag. I'm not sure which mistake was worse, Mitchell's or Jonny's. Unfortunately, neither of them were able to pick up a result.
But for us, I'm happy to pick up second. I was content with third. It was just a case of finishing, like Pablo alluded to. Very, very difficult conditions. Probably the slickest track I've ever driven on. Obviously the seal they put on the concrete to keep the integrity of the track together is just terrible in the rain.
It was idling in second and third gear most of the time except the straights. But it was just a case of keeping ahead and going forward, trying not to make too many mistakes. A lot of people did. The championship leaders did. I'm sure people are going to make up ground today that tiptoed to the end.
THE MODERATOR: Let's go to our winner, James Davison. His best result of the season obviously with the win. What did you think when you saw Jonny pull into pit lane?
JAMES DAVISON: I was thinking, God, has he made a mistake? I'm pretty sure we haven't taken the checkered flag and we need to take it. I asked, Have I just won this thing? They're like, Yeah.
I mean, look, I had a very similar race to everyone. It was very chaotic. I went off down at turn four, at the end of the straight, went all the way down to the bottom of the gravel trap. Somehow I didn't get beached. Went back to about 15th. I just said, you know, under caution to my engineer, Look, I'm just going to drive this thing, keep it on the track, and lay it on the line if I have to.
So we had about three laps to go. I was catching Jonny about a second a lap. We come out of turn one on the last lap, and it was called full course caution. I was just really frustrated because we were very strong under brakes compared to him at the end of the straight. I was getting very close.
I mean, to take out of this, you know, I drove a race to drive to the front. You know, Jonny took me out from second place at Nashville accidentally. If that's his way of saying, Sorry, God sort of helping me out, turning this season around that I've had, you know (laughter). We've been very strong at times, but literally zero luck.
Yeah, I mean, here we are. It's great. I just want to continue what I'm doing and thank Lucas Oil, LifeLock, Sam Schmidt, my father, my whole team. It's just fantastic.
THE MODERATOR: Questions from the floor.

Q. James, can you describe what your week was like after Nashville and today compared to that?
JAMES DAVISON: Well, I said to myself after Nashville, I said, I would have preferred to have qualified on pole, lead half the race, ran second, got a DNS, instead of qualifying 10th and finishing 10th. People want to say that you've got the speed. You know, I didn't get the result. But that's the way I looked at it. I said, I put on a good performance. Something outside of my control prevented me from securing the finish myself and the team deserved.
I had the pole position trophy in my bedroom. Every time I walked in and out of there, it just reminded me that it wasn't that bad at Nashville really (laughter).

Q. (No microphone.)
JAMES DAVISON: Yeah, at St. Pete, we were in the top three in qualifying, got interference, ended up having to stop back, got caught up. Kansas, qualifying got rained out. Indy, I got a tire card. I didn't know what to do to get a result. It was just crazy. I could go on and on with what happened at the other races.
But it's just putting our heads down. I made a mistake in qualifying yesterday, trying to go two or three positions better. I ended up two positions worse. I lost my fastest lap causing a yellow.
You know, I just drove a smart race yesterday. I had a huge amount of pressure. For this one, you know, I believed in myself before the race. I won two races in the rain last year in Star Mazda. I was just going to let it run its course. Whoever made the least amount of mistakes...
Things are turning around and coming together. So, as I've said, I need to thank my team for supporting me, LifeLock. I want to build on this and come back next year with a bit more experience compared to some of these guys a bit older than me, like Matos, Perera, Antinucci, Reid, and compete at the front in points.

Q. Wade, you commented on the surface. Was the surface the major problem?
WADE CUNNINGHAM: Yeah, definitely. It was tough to actually see the track surface when there was so much water. You really couldn't see it. Then as the track started to dry, you could see the black patches where it used to be concrete and they'd sealed it. I'm sure the guys all recognized that's where you didn't want to be on the racetrack. Most people know to try to stay off the rubber in the rain, because water and rubber don't mix very well.
But I'm not sure everyone understood what the surface changes were like. Yeah, you would hit it, just like that, you would either be wheel spinning or you could be backwards. It was very difficult. And spray behind the cars early on when you couldn't actually see the track surface, when it wasn't even your fault, you were just a victim of circumstance.

Q. Pablo, you're driving for a guy who is the former winner in IndyCar. How much of an influence is he to you and was he on the radio giving you advice?
PABLO DONOSO: He's my manager. He worked with me from 2004. At the end of 2004 he bring me to USA after I finish running in Euro. We have a really good result during these years, Silver Crown, Star Mazda, now here. It's great to have him helping me. He's the most famous driver from Chile, the guy with more experience, helping me a lot. I think at least 50% of every result is from his help.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, gentlemen. Good job.



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