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Firestone Indy Lights: St. Pete 100, Race 2

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  St. Pete 100

Firestone Indy Lights: St. Pete 100, Race 2

Richard Antinucci
April 6, 2008


THE MODERATOR: Guys, we appreciate your time.
Race winner Richard Antinucci now joining us. Richard, if you would talk about your run out there today.
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: Well, it was really tricky. I actually had a very good start, got squeezed on the inside, and I got pushed by Matos, who pushed my teammate, who pushed me into the wall in the second corner, so that started P6, first lap.
Then we had a couple cautions, a long first caution which broke the rhythm. We had new tires and we were trying to use the tires to get to the front. We went further back and then had to wait, so it was very stressful in terms of having to pace myself and relax.
Then we got both of the Andersen cars in the brakes down Turn 1, pretty immediately after the restart, so that was really good. Then the higher you go the tougher it is to pass.
Matos was doing some great things, a lot of top speed and good exits, so he was actually managing to make progress quicker than us, although overall on the track we were very quick. He got through Bea; very risky move but it worked out nice. I tried several moves on Bea on all parts of the track, and I wasn't really managing to get by, just put it that way.
Then on the last one, we had just had a restart, so I was pretty cold on tires, brake temps and everything, and I tried down the inside and I was going to back off, but I was completely out of road. I went out as much as I can and ended up making contact with my teammate, which is not ideal. I have a lot of respect for her. She was doing a great race.
But as you could see the lap after, we set the fastest lap by half a second at that point. We were really being held down, and it was time to move on. I feel sorry for Bea; I want to apologize to her, and I feel it's absolutely a racing incident. I'm very happy for the points and to finally get a race this year, and six races in a row for me in the top two, so I'm very happy with the consistency.

Q. I guess you've got to be real happy with your start, a second at Homestead, second yesterday, first place today. Any thoughts or were these your expectations coming into the year?
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: Yeah, expectations are always tricky. You don't want to fool yourself, and I had a lot of respect before I met Matos just by what he was doing last year when he was on the other side of IndyCars, Champ Cars and Atlantic. So I saw he's very fast on road courses, let alone street circuits, and he's won here before.
To do so well on the first oval was great. Altogether in that race I was very happy. It really left a bitter taste to come out and get beaten in the last three laps with my inability to adapt during the race to save the time and win that first race. But yesterday we had nothing for Rafa.
Today, we'll never know. We worked on the car. We did some big changes, and we just tried them four laps in the morning, and they worked out very well. And then we set the fastest lap in the race. I was cruising at the end and we were still setting some pretty quick times, so I was pretty happy with the progress. I think we've made progress. Two laps three tenths yesterday, and I think we improved a couple times today, so who knows. But very good, I'm happy.

Q. How much did the track change because of the rain between yesterday and today?
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: A little rubber went away, also, so that would take a little grip. But you've got to consider it was less hot today so we had a little bit more grip because of that. So I think it balanced out. By the time we had finished our warmup there were no puddles or wet spots anywhere, and IndyCars went out after that, all of them. So it was pretty clean, and then those drifters messed it up again. But after two laps we were okay.

Q. I guess you're going to be testing in Indianapolis on Friday. Talk about what you guys are looking at for Indianapolis.
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: Well, the team and my engineer actually have won that race three out of the last four times, so I'm looking forward to having a good setup and having them rub off all the good experience and good advice. That will be the first Superspeedway or whatever you call it, much bigger than 1.5 miles. I think it's two and a half, right? So it's going to be much higher average speed, higher top speeds, less bank than Homestead, so it's different.
It's a whole new world again. We did well in our first new world at Homestead, and hopefully we can do the same or perhaps better.

Q. You come from a family that has done well at Indianapolis. Have you gotten any advice about the lines and how best to run there?
RICHARD ANTINUCCI: Well, not yet at Indy. At Homestead I was going up and down the paddock and speaking to Eddie. They were doing GrandAm the same weekend. So I was getting some good advice. What he was saying correlated perfectly with what my engineer was saying, so I knew he wasn't throwing me down; he was telling me positive advice. Yeah, he's got good advice.
He took me around on a road car once. I don't know if they're allowed to do that, but he did, just at 40 miles an hour, and he said it's going to be really different when I go out there in the real thing.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on your win today.

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