IndyCar » 23 May 2004
Medeiros claims Freedom 100 victory.
Infiniti Pro Series points leader Thiago Medeiros cemented his position at the head of the pack by taking his second consecutive victory of the year in the Futaba Freedom 100 at Indianapolis.
The Brazilian, who opened the season with second at Homestead before winning in Phoenix, passed series returnee Jeff Simmons on lap 13 and was barely headed as he drove to victory.
The Sam Schmidt Motorsport driver started from pole for the second race in a row, but was denied a flat-out run to the win when he took the chequered flag under a caution after the #10 Roquin Motorsports entry of Rolando Quintanilla made contact with the inside wall in turn two on lap 38. However, the slow pace at which he crossed the line did not diminish the joy of winning at the Brickyard.
"It's unbelievable, I'm so excited," Medeiros bubbled, "I have to say thanks to the team. They did a wonderful job this weekend. They know how hard we tried to find a good set-up for the race. We did it."
The Brazilian had to work for his win, however, as a tactical choice on gearing left him behind Simmons at the first green flag restart, which followed a caution period to clear up the aftermath of a touch between the cars of Jon Herb and Billy Roe on lap three.
"We were running without first gear, as we don't have to use one on the big tracks," he revealed later, "It was a very good start, but he took advantage and overtook me because we did not have enough horsepower to pull out.
"We had a very hard and clean run. We touched wheels in the exit of turn two on the first lap, but Jeff is one guy that I have a lot of confidence to run side-by-side with. We had a very hard fight for first place, but I knew that my car was handling very good. We made some changes before the race, putting a bit more downforce on because we saw the wind conditions were completely different to yesterday. I knew that, if I started to work on the car during the race, I could overtake him again, and that's what we did.
"I just took my time and was studying where I was quicker than him to try to overtake him. He made a mistake and gave me enough room. When I was running behind him, the conditions were really hard. The car was pushing in one and two and loose in three and four, but I started to make some changes in the rear and the weight-jacker.
Medeiros has now won three of the past four Menards Infiniti Pro Series races, but the latest was the one that meant most to team owner Sam Schmidt.
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