Firestone Indy Lights: Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka 100
Topics: Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka 100
October 2, 2010
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with today's post race press conference for the Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka 100 with our podium finishers, Brandon Wagner, James Hinchcliffe, and Wade Cunningham. This is Brandon's first career Firestone Indy Lights win and his 13th start in the series. It is also the first win for his team owner, Davey Hamilton, an IZOD IndyCar Series competitor as a team owner on the Firestone Indy Lights.
We are also joined by James Hinchcliffe who finished second, and will be our championship runner-up this year in Firestone Indy Lights. This is James' tenth Top 5 finish of the season.
Finally, we're joined by Wade Cunningham who finished third. Wade made two starts this season, both times finishing on the podium.
Brandon, we'll start with you. First win, how does it feel?
BRANDON WAGNER: Of course it feels good to get the first win finally after the 13 start. We've been working hard in the off-season and all season long to get that win. We had some motor trouble early in the year, but we got that figured out.
Came out here all weekend with a strong car.
We were P-2 in final practice. And we had a good car to qualify and qualified third. And once I cleared the official cars the first lap, it was really easy. Car was great, Hinch gave me tons of room, and we had a great race.
THE MODERATOR: James, you obviously and Brandon put on a great show today. If you could talk about today's race and really chasing him down there?
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: Yeah, for sure, we started sixth. Not quite as good in qualifying as I would have liked. We thought it was going to be a decent amount hotter today, so put a bunch of down force in the car to try to keep the tires with us and it really helped us get up to Brandon. Just did not have enough to get around him.
He was super quick and was running really fast and really clean. I could get alongside him a bunch of times but just didn't have quite enough to make that pass happen.
I've got to thank my team for giving me an awesome car to get up there and run with him. It was a lot of fun dogging him all those laps. Just huge credit to the team for all the hard work all year.
Congrats to Brandon and Davey Hamilton on their first win, and also to J.K. and Sam Schmidt for the championship. It's been a fun battle all year long.
THE MODERATOR: Wade, you were able to advance several positions from your starting position to end on the podium in the final race of the year. How great a feeling to end on a high note this year?
WADE CUNNINGHAM: Yeah, it's always nice. A sort of a last minute deal. Sam had a car that couldn't come through and he wanted to fill the seats. So he got spoke to Mike Kelly last Friday, and finally got the go ahead on Sunday.
I'm glad to be in the car. It's a great way to finish the season with Sam and IZOD to give me the chance to go to Indy again this year, so I thought that was a great feeling.
To finish on the podium is nice. To get up there for your sponsors and all the people that helped to make this happen. It was really nice for us to try to get some momentum and get people excited for the next year.
THE MODERATOR: I think that is the next question for all three of you. What is next?
BRANDON WAGNER: Well, for me, like anyone else, we're trying to raise money to go to the next level. It's really tough right now to get the funding we need. We've got a lot of good things in the works and we're hoping to go to the next level.
If we don't have enough funding to do that, we'll probably at least run Indy in the Lights car and just go from there.
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: For us, I've just completed my second year in Firestone Indy Lights and it's time to make that step. So we've been working since about March on a bunch of companies to try to raise some funding and talking to a bunch of teams.
I think there's a lot of evidence out there that the IZOD IndyCar Series is heading in the right direction, because we seem to get a lot more interest, a lot more response than we have in years past. So hopefully in the next eight weeks we'll know a little bit more about where we're going to be for sure. But, for sure, the goal is to move up to the IZOD IndyCar Series.
WADE CUNNINGHAM: It's going to sound boring now coming from me (laughing). It's tough in any situation to put the financing to get to move up. But I've been working to race in Indy and just put the budget together for a partial IndyCar Series ride.
Looking to do a handful of races, maybe three or four. And, you know, it's just going to come down to the hard work over the winter and convincing people to bet on you. So a lot of hard work ahead, but a result like this should help.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. Brandon, your buddy there really made you work and earn what you got here. Talk about what advantage you thought you had at what position? And you haven't been in that position a lot; how did you keep your cool?
BRANDON WAGNER: Well, I had a good spotter in my ear who was really walking me through it. And I knew where Hinch was at at all times around me. I tried to give him as much room as I could down low or up top.
It seemed to me just up top all the way around the track really would work the best for me. Hinch would get a run down low, and he would just about clear me coming out of four. But I would go up top and it would just wheel me right around. So up high was really the way to go for our car today, and it really worked well up there.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Congratulations to all three of you on a wonderful race and a great season.
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