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Firestone Indy Lights: SunRichGourmet.com 100

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  SunRichGourmet.com 100

Firestone Indy Lights: SunRichGourmet.com 100

Arie Luyendyk, Jr.
September 7, 2008


JOLIET, ILLINOIS

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by our race winner, Arie Luyendyk, Jr. His first career win in the Firestone Indy Lights Series, and his 62nd career start.
Tell us about your run out there today.
ARIE LUYENDYK, JR.: It was a great run. We tested here last week. We worked the whole day basically on race strategy and race setup. Rafa was, you know, a true competitor today. He basically worked really well with me positioning his car where I could fend off third place. I think in years past, you've seen a lot of impatience here and you've seen a lot of side-by-side racing for the lead. Sorry it couldn't have been a better show, but it definitely benefited me the most. That last restart I knew I needed to get it done. It was a good opportunity. I poked my nose through there. He wasn't able to close the door in time. It's a great feeling to finally get that win.
THE MODERATOR: With your win today, you finish fourth in the championship points standings. Talk about your season a little bit.
ARIE LUYENDYK, JR.: Season has been great. You know, I think I exceeded a lot of expectations out there this year, and hopefully people noticed that. And also, you know, I feel a little bit robbed of the top three just because I had the knee injury that really held me back at Infineon and had a couple really poor finishes there.
But, you know, overall I think a pole position and a win this year and lots of podiums, it's been a great year. Working with Rafa, he's been definitely the most enjoyable teammate to work with. You know, I can't say enough about the crew. The crew has been great. They've been awesome to work with. My engineer has just been a breath of fresh air.
You know, when everything fits, it feels nice. So it's been fun.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Arie.

Q. You seem to have a different driving style this year. You were more patient, it appeared, paid attention to what was going on, completely different than we've seen in the past. What made the big difference?
ARIE LUYENDYK, JR.: I think a combination of things. You know, I think a lot of letting go of the frustration of not winning I think was the biggest thing. Everyone always saying, When are you going to win your first race? When are you going to win your first race? Then when you're in the car, you're overly aggressive. Instead of thinking about the big picture, you're thinking about getting ahead of the car in front of you and you'll do anything for it. I think that patience really paid off today. It's been like that all year basically.
I think preparation, the team that I'm with now is far better than any other team I've been with. So that's also a big part of it. I can't take all the credit. It's just I think knowing that I'm 26 years old and I want to be an IndyCar driver and I need to make it happen. I need to make changes to my style.
I think it's been good. Hopefully people notice that. I'd love to do IndyCar next year. That's been my dream for a while.

Q. I know you were getting frustrated at not winning. At what point this year prior to today was probably the most frustrating near miss?
ARIE LUYENDYK, JR.: Definitely Iowa. You know, leading 101 out of 115 laps always stings a little bit. That was definitely hard to get over. I thought, shoot, if it's not going to happen now, I don't know if it's ever going to happen.
You know, going into the last part of the season, the big ovals are always a gamble. You never know what you're going to get with your car. We've had such a great car. I knew my teammate would be the one to beat today because he was really quick in testing.
So I'm just happy. I'm so relieved right now (laughter). It's hard to describe. But I'm sure I'll be partying for a solid week remembering the finish today.

Q. What is going on with your knee? Are you going to need surgery on it?
ARIE LUYENDYK, JR.: They don't think I'm going to need another surgery, which is nice. The swelling is still pretty big. They don't want to take a sample from the inside of the knee because they don't want to reinfect it, so they're just going to wait another few weeks.
But the mobility is back. Not completely. I was able to run on it a couple days ago for the first time. It's hard. Infineon was probably the most pain I've ever been in in my life in that racecar, the first race. It's good to get over that. Actually to have finished the race was probably my biggest victory of the year. It was just nice to come here and not have to worry about it. It hurt over the bumps through three and four, but it definitely wasn't a factor.
THE MODERATOR: Arie, thank you very much.
ARIE LUYENDYK, JR.: Thank you.



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