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Infiniti Pro Series: Milwaukee 100

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Milwaukee 100

Infiniti Pro Series: Milwaukee 100

Nick Bussell
Wade Cunningham
Jeff Simmons
July 24, 2005


THE MODERATOR: We are joined by our second and third place finishers, Wade Cunningham and Nick Bussell. Second place for Wade, his fifth second place finish of the year. Nick Bussell in third place matches his season best third place, previously finishing third at St. Pete. I guess this would be Nick's career best oval finish. Nick tell us about your day.

NICK BUSSELL: It was a pretty interesting day, needless to say, with the track being the way it was. There's a lot of unknowns going into the race as far as how greasy the track was going to be, what kind of grip levels we'd be dealing with. It was a lot greasier than when we initially anticipated. It was a hard-fought race. I know that. A lot of times we were hanging on. When I was on Wade, I saw him moving around, I was moving around. It was almost synchronized when it was happening. Happy to come home third. On the final restart, I think something happened in the gearbox and the car stayed in third gear on a false limiter. I got passed by Jaime. I think if I could have stayed in front of him, I would have had a chance to run with the two leaders. Unfortunately, took me a while to get around Jaime. Happy to come home third, a lot better than I thought I would do coming in here, knowing how tough this track is.

THE MODERATOR: Wade, how about your day?

WADE CUNNINGHAM: Well, you know, the plan was just to see how it goes. And the track was very difficult, like Nick said. The biggest difference I thought was the wind today. The exit of two, turning into the exit of two, it was extremely difficult. It was gusting lap to lap. You didn't know how much throttle you could carry. Had to be so precise on the steering. A lot of times I completely lost it in two. Luckily I never hit the wall. I led a lot of the race today. I led the final 30 odd laps. So I'm really disappointed to come home second again. But that's the way racing goes. I was trying to talk to my spotter to talk to Arie, my teammate. A little bit of miscommunication, lap traffic second to last lap, that cost us the win.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for either one of our drivers.

Q. (No microphone.)

WADE CUNNINGHAM: I think the key today was drivability off turn four. It was something we worked a lot on in practice. The car was pretty mega off the exit of four. I'm pretty sure no one else was flat in second gear off the exit. I could because I had (indiscernible) in the rear-end to hold the power down well. I could just accelerate through the gears better than everyone else. I had enough throttle to get through the turn. All go from the start. I motored away at the first restart and then I passed the leader on the next. So, yeah, that was something we definitely worked on for the race.

Q. (No microphone.)

NICK BUSSELL: I don't know if you could quantify exactly what it was, but we knew going in with the heat, the wind, the rubber, the rain last night, the IndyCars that go out this morning and laid some more rubber down, I don't know if Silver Crown rubber had much to do with it. The track was all around greasy. Had to be really precise. One lap you would get a little understeer, next lap you come through there and you're correcting. Like Wade mentioned, you come off of two turn, you get a gust going, it was real unpredictable. The lap before you could carry a little bit more throttle and all of a sudden it was a big mistake. I knew it had a lot to do with the wind there because when Wade would wiggle, I was doing the same thing, but a few car lengths back. It caught both of us out. I'm sure it was doing it to a lot of other guys, too. It was very treacherous to hang on and be able to maintain a decent pace.

THE MODERATOR: Nick, why don't you tell us about your plans for the rest of the year. I think they're up in the air right now.

NICK BUSSELL: We're actually committed to running the rest of the year with Vision Racing. Last weekend was our first weekend with the team. It was a last-minute deal. I didn't know if I would be competing the rest of the year. To go into Nashville, have a decent run there, to come here, knowing this place is what it is, I think we did quite well. The new team, learning the communication with my engineer is something I haven't developed over the course of the season with Larry. I think so far we've hit spot-on on what we like to hear out of each other and I think it's been good. The teammate thing has been good. At the other team, I didn't have teammates to deal with. I've learned a lot from those guys, we all share data. I'm looking forward to the rest of the year. We're going to be there with those guys and keep trying to get better.

THE MODERATOR: Wade, how about you? Are you set for the year?

WADE CUNNINGHAM: Definitely, you know, we're committed with Brian. Hopefully we'd like to do another year next year.

THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you very much. We're now joined by race winner Jeff Simmons. His third career Menards Infiniti Pro Series victory, his first of the season. Jeff, tell us about your run.

JEFF SIMMONS: The track was really slippery. Fortunately, I was able to get a little bit of a feel for it. I mean, I kind of consider cold tires at the start of a race a little bit like running in the rain. You just really try to feel the car and listen to what it's trying to tell you the whole way through the corner because you don't have any ability to really predict it that well. Our car was pretty good right off the bat. We were able to hold it low and get some guys coming out of the corners and put the power down a little better than they were. It was a long, hard race. That yellow flag obviously hurt us when it allowed Wade to get by. We had a little problem picking up fuel there for a lap and a half. That's how he got us in the start. I just had to try to remain patient but push really hard at the same time because the laps were ticking away. I'm really thankful we caught up to that lap traffic.

THE MODERATOR: How about the heat? Was that a challenge for you out there today?

JEFF SIMMONS: You know, I didn't really notice it except for under that yellow flag actually, that long yellow. Just kind of opened the shield a little bit and got my hands out, get a little bit of air on them. Other than that, you're concentrating so hard you don't really notice even the heat at all.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Jeff Simmons.

Q. (No microphone.)

JEFF SIMMONS: Well, I knew exactly what Wade's car did. I ran enough laps behind him to see what his car was doing and I ran enough laps behind him earlier on even to know what line he liked to drive. He started changing his mind there a lot at the end, some of it to kind of thwart my passes, and some of it to just, you know, try to stay low coming out of the corner because his line typically was a higher line than mine, which allowed me to keep that wing underneath him and for me to hold the car low as well. I think that's one advantage that we had over everybody today, is I could keep -- drive my car really low on the track in the middle of the corner, and that's how we had it pretty much set up from the very beginning. I noticed a lot of other guys were almost running outside of that barrier inside turn three and four, so I was able to go inside there and figure out what his car was doing. I knew I'd have a shot in traffic. I just didn't know if it would be good enough because it's hard to predict what the guys ahead of you are going to do.

Q. (No microphone.)

JEFF SIMMONS: Well, my spotter, he let me know we were starting to catch traffic. You know, he told me pretty much where we were going to catch them. Then it was just a matter of figuring out what Wade was going to do, try to stay close enough to read and time some sort of move on him. He got by Marty better than I did going into three so I had to take the high line around Marty and just stay on it. I think, you know, Wade pushed up just a little bit in the middle there and I was able to get a good run coming out.

Q. (No microphone.)

JEFF SIMMONS: Well, we actually didn't win in Nashville, I won at Kentucky 2003, which for us is basically a superspeedway, you're flat out all the way around. Certainly I think the shorter tracks are better for us. It puts a little more premium on the driver really hustling the car around the track. That's what we had today. I think, you know, you saw good drivers there at the top. I mean, Camara came up there in the top and was giving us fits on the restart when I was having problem picking up the fuel, whatever it was, I'm not sure what the problem was. But, you know, it really required you to hustle the car around the track today and be right on top of it the whole time. If you lost concentration for a split second in the middle of the corner, you'd find the back end stepping out on you.

Q. (No microphone.)

JEFF SIMMONS: Yeah, we were pretty good coming off the corners. Later in the race we started losing the rear and I had to be careful. That's why it was so hard to chase Wade down there. He started, you know, slowing it down more in the middle and getting a good shot out, too, so I couldn't get quite enough of a run like I needed to get by him. But, you know, I don't think he's going to be too happy with Marty, I guess. Marty didn't do anything wrong, obviously, but Marty cost him the lead. Marty was the car that cost him the lead both times.

Q. (No microphone.)

JEFF SIMMONS: Well, it's certainly frustrating. Even more frustrating than not winning the races was having so many problems, you know, along the way and not even getting good finishes. I mean, when you're down near the bottom of the order or you don't even finish, it's always frustrating. But obviously we tried to keep the morale of the team up and everybody positive. We knew that we would be stronger on the short tracks. That's what we're coming into now. When we go to Pikes Peak, we expect to be very strong there, too. It's great to get that win and great to get the first win for Kenn Hardley and Team ISI. He's been great and been behind me so much, behind the other guys, the rest of the guys on the team. I'm really thankful I could get that win for him.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Jeff.

JEFF SIMMONS: Thank you.

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