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August 9, 2008

Dillon Battistini

James Davison

Arie Luyendyk, Jr.


THE MODERATOR: So again, we have second and third in the press room for those who want to join us. First of all, do we have any questions from the press room? Thank you guys for showing up. Thank you very much.

Q. James, you've come off a great run, obviously a victory and came, oh, so close, to being the first repeat winner of the year. Tell us about your run.
JAMES DAVISON: Yeah, we started fifth. Qualifying was very close between Arie and Dillon and I. I guess that is the top three for today.
We had a very good race car. I'd say for the first time this year, I had a really good race car that it didn't go too loose on me, which is important.
Yeah, we took advantage of the opportunities, and I think moved up to second, getting a lot on both Arie and just basically held on to position. Yeah, just a solid finish. I'm very happy with it.
I've been able to qualify on pole, second, third, but I've never been able to get a finish for whatever reason. So it was a solid second place today. I'm happy with my points, you know. I have a good chance to finish about seventh, coming from fourth to seventh in points, which would be good recovery, comeback, whatever.
THE MODERATOR: Absolutely. We were trying to think back. You had a second place run at Iowa. Great run here. You've had a very solid year. You've been up in the points all year. You think this may be your best finish, one of your best finishes since a good finish here really some time ago? The first race this year for the Firestone Indy Lights Series. Tell us about your run?
From a spectator's standpoint, I have to tell you, I've been running this game for a long time. I watched with one eye closed. Looked a little hairy out there.
ARIE LUYENDYK, JR.: Yeah, just some drama. We qualified on full race distance tires, and we started on stickers. So I think that was a bit of a disadvantage in the first corner, and that's when Dillon got by Rafa and I.
But the car really came alive there on that short run. So that was good for me on the last part of the race with all the restarts.
Antinucci was a tough customer. James did a great job; he was patient and didn't make too many mistakes and the car was great, you know. I think it was really hard to pass here unless someone made a mistake or had a lift. And that was the key, just to stay in the game until the end of the race.

Q. Arie, which leg did you have the surgery on? And did you have to make any adjustments in the car on how you managed your feet and the operation?
ARIE LUYENDYK, JR.: Yeah, I have two seats. I have a road course seat and an oval seat. The oval seat makes me sit a lot lower, but it does bring my knees really close to the bulk head. So I had to run the road course seat, and put extra padding in.
I had surgery on my bursa sac, similar to Darren Manning's surgery, removal of the bursa sac, and arthroscopic on my left knee.
You know, it's just really lucky for me that we had this break in between races. It came at an opportune time because it got infected. Actually, got a staph infection inside the knee joint. I had to operate quickly, and I didn't think I'd make this race.
I'm just really happy because everyone at the Orthopedic Indiana Hospital really helped to get me back in the car and get me in shape.
Just happy to be here. It's my third podium in a row on ovals. So just need to get it going on the road courses. Qualified well in Ohio in fifth. Hopefully, I can get up there at Infineon and defend for the championship.

Q. So many getting bursa sac injuries with the knee. It was Peyton Manning, not Darren Manning.
ARIE LUYENDYK, JR.: Yeah, that guy (laughing).

Q. James, coming from strictly road courses, you seem to be adapting quite well to the ovals. A race like today when it was seven, eight cars running nose-to-tail, side-by-side two and sometimes three wide, are you getting to enjoy this kind of racing?
JAMES DAVISON: Yeah, I remember the first time at Homestead in the open test when I was running with my teammates side by side. It's a really incredible experience.
You know, it's like pulling a late braking move on somebody continuously for like ten minutes if you're out there for that long.
Yeah, I'm loving ovals, you know. It definitely helps being with Sam Schmidt, not only giving me a good car, but teaching me from the beginning back in January, February what the technique is on ovals.
So myself and Ana Beatriz applying what they've taught us so well. Richard on and off, as everyone can see. It was good that he was up there tonight.
But yeah, I mean, I think Paul Tracy said, if you think of an oval, it's two corners. There's a technique to it, obviously. If you look at all the Sam Schmidt cars, sometimes you're on pole and the others take or something. Yeah, really enjoying it. And definitely want to stay under the IndyCar banner.

Q. Having come to America and having been a road racer, were you told that ovals are just a piece of cake, because it's just turn left a couple of times, did they tell you that? I've heard that before, oh, oval's nothing to it. And it's more difficult than they think.
JAMES DAVISON: The one person I spoke to was a friend of Wade Cunningham's, and from New Zealand, and I believe he raced at Infineon in 2006 or '07, and he came from Chicagoland. And he said, yeah. It's a piece of cake. Which Chicagoland is, clearly.
But when you get to an oval like Milwaukee, you know, it's a different deal. A lot more confidence comes into play. You've got to have a lot more trust in the car, et cetera.
But there is a technique to ovals. And I'm applying it, and I'm qualifying upfront. I've got a solid second place finish, so let's hope at Chicagoland we can get another pole and another win to add.
As you know what happened at Nashville was really unfortunate coming up to lap traffic and getting put in the wall. So this is a good recovery in the last two races a first and a second and for points.
THE MODERATOR: After picking up his fourth victory of 2008, congratulations on that. But one thing that we note, last year Hideki Mutoh was able to come here and test at IndyCar. After testing IndyCar, he came here and he won the Firestone Indy Lights race. You also tested at IndyCar here and you turn around and won here at Kentucky Speedway. So congratulations, what a great race and a great win.
DILLON BATTISTINI: Thanks very much. I guess that's how history repeats itself there. But I'm just very happy with this result today.
It means a hell of a lot after the streak I've just had. Which I don't really feel was much. But it's great to be back in the top three in the championship. I really hope I can hang on to that.
If we can improve our road course, then I've still got a very good chance. So, whatever, that's what I need the most races this year, and I'm obviously in a pretty good position to aim for that.
THE MODERATOR: I tell you what a great day for the Delphi National Guard team in both races. You guys had good finishes.
DILLON BATTISTINI: That's right. I was second in the last part of the IndyCar race, but that's right. So, another win for me, and another great result for the IndyCar team. So great day for us, for sure.

Q. You came from primarily road racing, but you seem to have adapted very well to the ovals. Have you gotten used to the fact that on an oval on occasion you can run two or three-wide and have somebody right behind you? Are you used to that and are you enjoying it?
DILLON BATTISTINI: I seemed to adapt to ovals straightaway. I remember the first time I got in a car and drove on an oval. It was the week before the first race at Homestead. It just felt really fast and dangerous even at first. But then once you get into race mode you focus so much on going as fast as possible, that it doesn't feel quick anymore.
I guess you just get familiar with the drivers around you, and, you know, you begin to know what to expect from the others, and you feel more and more confident with racing in traffic.

Q. How many times did you grind when groan when the caution came out? Especially the last one with the five-lap shootout till the end?
DILLON BATTISTINI: How many times did I groan? To be honest, it didn't bother me. My race starts were very good. It was time almost to relax. I mean, they can't ever take me under the yellows. So what I have to do is keep my tires warm and focus on making a restart.
It didn't bother me. I was more worried about catching back markers. Fortunately, I only had to do one of those.

Q. I'm just curious what it's like from a driver's standpoint. Because it just looked like there was a battle every single turn. Sometimes three-wide, and to me it was a little hairy out there. It looked like a pretty dicey race.
DILLON BATTISTINI: Well, I could choose which line I wanted to take, and I chose the low line, which is the quickest I found anyway. And it suited me well.
I mean, they can try to get one, go around the outside. But I mean I was glued to the border around the whole track, and the car was good enough to stick. So I could put it wherever I wanted, and that helped me a lot, obviously.
So it was a very close battle. But we came out on top, which was great.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on your win.

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