Infiniti Pro Series: Aventis Racing for Kids 100
Topics: Aventis Racing for Kids 100
THE MODERATOR: We have Ed Carpenter, who finished second, and Tom Wood, who finished third. Ed, you started on the pole. Talk a little about the race there at the end. You and Mark were running pretty close together.
ED CARPENTER: Yeah, I mean, it was a close race. He's had a good car. I think we both had the best cars all weekend. It's hard winning these races sometimes because the guy in the back of the draft, kind of like an IROC race. I don't know, I didn't hold him tight enough going down the backstretch. He got down underneath me. I didn't think there was enough room, but he got under the white line and made it stick somehow. I should know how not to give him that much room. So it's my fault.
THE MODERATOR: Tom, this ties your best Infiniti Pro Series finish. You're behind these guys. What are you thinking watching them race?
TOM WOOD: I was just hoping they'd do something to each other so I could get by them. We had something for both of them at the first half of the race there. We were just trying to work the strategy to see if we couldn't get a three-car breakaway going. My spotter was telling me just to hook up. That's what we did. It actually hurt me a little bit because it let Taylor get by me. But, you know, I was real happy with the car. And everybody raced pretty clean other than they had one pretty good touch there on the front straightaway.
THE MODERATOR: Let's go ahead and get some questions from the media.
Q. Ed, the last few laps were pretty close, wheel to wheel. Talk about those last laps and what's going through your mind?
ED CARPENTER: After he first got by me, I was just trying to get a good draft. I was trying to get underneath him. But he was protecting the bottom way better than what I did. I would have had to be all the way under the line to get by him on the bottom. My car wasn't really that good underneath him, so I just found a place my car was happy and finally started getting good runs high down the frontstretch. I think one time I was clear on him down the frontstretch. I was hoping that Gary Peterson was going to kind of hold the low line a little better and let me slip by. I thought I had it for a second. Didn't work out. Mark did a good job. We had a touch, but I don't think there's anyone else in the series I'd want to run that close with. He's a good professional.
Q. Towards the end the race, you ran into some slower traffic. What was that like getting around some of the slow traffic today?
TOM WOOD: You're kind of trying to set them up as a pick is what you're trying to do, make sure you get a tow on them. You can use it to your advantage a little bit. Mostly the guys in this series are pretty good. They're not going to do anything too stupid. And I think it kind of played out. They just held their line, we went around them. That's what they're supposed to do. Everybody drove pretty cleanly.
Q. Your team won this race last year. Was there some benefit from the experience of last year, or was there some disappointment that you let them down, Ed?
ED CARPENTER: I don't think the guys are let down. I think I'm more disappointed than they are. But any time we come to these high-speed places, we've always had in the last year and this year a great car. The Foyt team, they spent a lot of time preparing it, doing all the little things that add up to make a difference. Any time we come to a fast track, I feel like we have a chance to win. We just didn't have quite enough today.
Q. On the pass, below the white line, could that have been an infraction?
ED CARPENTER: If it was NASCAR, it would be. I don't think IRL has that kind of stuff. We'll just going to live to race another day and take to it Nashville.
THE MODERATOR: We've been joined by Mark Taylor, who won the event. Mark, that was awesome. The last five laps especially. What is going through your head when you're running that close to somebody going that fast?
MARK TAYLOR: You have to rely on the guy beside you, whether he's inside or outside. You have to know that he's going to be able to keep it where he is. It's just a big thanks to Ed, as well, because he was able to race with me like that. It's great fun to do that. I don't think I'd have been able to trust a lot of people, not necessarily in this series, but in other series, to be able to do that with me. A lot of respect to him. He showed me the same respect. We were able to run like that. It was just really an exciting race for us this. This guy on my left, he really worked it hard for me and got me through to the front and showed me what the car could do out there.
THE MODERATOR: Doug Boles and Pancho Carter have also joined us. Pancho, what are you telling your driver? How do you get him through something like this?
PANCHO CARTER: I can't tell you that (laughter). No, I get asked that question a lot. What do you do as a spotter? I say, Just stand up there and watch. Everything changes. You may tell the driver to move here, move there, do anything. I think mainly once Mark got the car figured out, as far as what it was like, coming from the back in traffic and stuff, and knew that the car would work like it did for him yesterday, it's just a matter of giving him some pointers, making sure that he kept focused, wanted to run to the front, which I think he does. He ran her to the front. It was a matter of just making sure we protected what I felt and I think what Mark knew was the best part of the racetrack for his car, and that was to not give up the bottom line.
THE MODERATOR: Any questions from the media center?
Q. The winner starting from the rear, can you talk about moving through the field?
MARK TAYLOR: It was really tough at the beginning. The amount of cars out there, everyone's moving about. It doesn't matter how good your car is, it's just trying to find space on the racetrack. It takes a bit of time for people to get spread out and for me to get comfortable with the car. You just have to take the opportunity when it comes, stay in the draft as much as possible, try and work that inside line, as Pancho said. It's tough to explain really. You don't think of anything while you're doing it. You try and make it automatic. You see a space before it appears almost and you can see what people are going to do ahead of you, and you try to react to that before they do it. It's just a big thank you to Panther Racing for giving me a great car, to be able to do it.
THE MODERATOR: Doug, this is a great start for Panther Racing today.
DOUG BOLES: We've actually had a pretty good season with Mark. We won the first two races. We've been competitive in the other two. To come here and win, we're pretty excited about that. This is a big boost in our championship hopes. As we get halfway through the season here, I think we have a great opportunity to continue. We have a lot of tracks where Mark has tested, we have a few more tests coming up. We're pretty happy with the way that things are going, and we think we have a great chance of winning the championship here, and that's what our focus is here for the last few races.
Q. Mark, Ed spoke of the low-line pass. He was surprised you were able to make that stick. Did you think it was there? Were you holding your breath a little bit?
MARK TAYLOR: Well, I knew that I had to do it. That was the opportunity that he gave me, so I took it. He didn't give me much from down there, but he gave me enough. He actually tried to do the same to me. He lifted out of it. But I tried not to give him as much room as he gave me. It's just one of those, you try and see the space that he's going to give you. He was understeering a lot more than me and I was able to hold it down tighter than he was. I used that to my advantage, was able to get a run on him with a draft, hook it down on the inside and keep it there, not run up the track too much. I was a little bit worried that I would take us both out, but there was enough space there that I was able to squeeze down underneath him and not have to worry about it. There's enough grip out there to be able to do that in these cars.
Q. This is your first year. What did you envision? Is your year going the way you planned so far?
MARK TAYLOR: It's the way that you hope it goes. I knew the Panther guys were going to give me a great car. I thought it would take me a long time to get used to the ovals. I think it has, and I'm still learning a lot. I was surprised that we actually won the first two. It just shows how good the car was. I think Indy maybe shows my lack of experience in the car. I think this one, it was a big step today. It moved me from being a bit nervous out there to really feeling confident in the car, being able to overtake people. I haven't had much of an opportunity to do that so far this season. This was the first time I was able to do it.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations.
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