Medeiros Eyes Irl Future During Kentucky Test
2004 Indy Racing League Menards Infiniti Pro Series Champion Thiago Medeiros cast an eye toward his driving future on October 8 at Kentucky Speedway during a one-day IRL IndyCar Series test with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
The 22-year-old Brazilian completed his second IndyCar Series test in the past three months. He passed his rookie test in Chicago with Patrick Racing in August.
After earning fourth- and sixth-place finishes in two career Menards Infiniti Pro Series starts at Kentucky, he noticed several differences between the two cars on a track he knows well.
"I felt a lot more 'Gs,'" Medeiros said. "The IndyCars not only have more power, but they're a lot more fun than the Pro Series cars. Everything happens faster in the IndyCars and they have more grip overall, better tires and better downforce. In some ways it's quite a bit equal, but in other ways it's a bit harder to drive than a Pro Series car."
Medeiros began the current IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series season with a second-place finish and four wins in the first five events. He clinched his first career series title and first for current team Sam Schmidt Motorsports with a ninth-place finish at California Speedway on October 2 and will officially accept his 2004 crown following the last series event of the season at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, October 16.
His Menards Infiniti Pro Series records include winning five consecutive pole positions, seven poles in a season and eight for his career. He also has led a record 525 career laps, 521 in a single season and 249 consecutive laps over four races. In addition, he has led a record 11 races led in a career, 10 races in a single season and nine consecutive races. Finally, Medeiros has charted a record 11 consecutive top-five starts, 15 consecutive top-10 starts and collected 15 consecutive top-10 finishes dating back to last season.
Despite his record setting efforts and having a title firmly in his grasp, he remains focused on closing the season with a solid performance at Texas.
"We're not finished with the (Pro Series) championship," Medeiros said. "We've had seven poles in 11 races and still have one race left in Texas. We had five wins in the first 10 races and look forward to a sixth one. We almost had it at California and it's sad we finished that way (with an accident) or we might have been celebrating in Victory Circle." His main goal beginning October 17 will be to gain more IndyCar Series seat time and a full-time ride for the 2005 season.
"I think I am ready (for the IndyCar Series.)," he said. "I definitely want to move up but there are not many seats available. For sure, this test will help me find a ride. The more time and experience I have in the seat will put me in better shape for next year. I'm just taking my time to get up to speed."
Should Dreyer & Reinbold field a second full-time IndyCar Series entry in 2005 to complement current driver Felipe Giaffone, team owner Dennis Reinbold said Medeiros is an early frontrunner to fill the seat and team with Felipe Giaffone.
"We expected Thiago to be very good, especially since he' s a champion in the Infiniti Pro Series, but he was VERY impressive to us today," said team owner Dennis Reinbold. "He was very comfortable in the car very quickly and we were able to work on some things throughout the test that you normally can't do with someone who hasn't had that much seat time. We were very impressed with his feedback, ability to handle the car and feel for the changes we made. I really believe that he is going to be a talented IRL driver in the days ahead."
~ Kentucky Speedway ~