IMS Press Release
Quotes from Thiago Medeiros, Paul Diatlovich, and Jeff Matthews of PDM Racing.
THIAGO MEDEIROS (No. 18 PDM Racing Panoz/Honda/Firestone, immediately after qualifying ended): (The other day when you wrecked the car, did you think you would ever get this opportunity again?): “No, definitely not. I did not think I was going to have a second chance to put this together. After the accident, we did not have a second car. We appreciated the surprise from Fernandez Racing, to let us borrow a spare tub. From there, we built a brand-new car, and those guys put everything together in the last 48 hours. We appreciate everyone’s continued effort from all the teams in the garages.” (On getting out with the car for the first time): “We ran 50 laps around the Speedway this morning. It was a complete new car. We found the right balance. The other car would not take well to changes, where this car worked. I was able to adapt myself to this car, and everything went good. If we needed to go back out before 6 p.m., we could have. We felt ready as ever this time to go after a qualifying run. Everything went well. We now know we have speed now.” (Have you ever had a more nerve racking day than today?) “No, this is the first time I have ever had this kind of pressure and everything. Up to the accident, I know what I missed. I missed communication between myself and my spotter. I recognized my mistake and will not make it again.” (Can you sum up your week thus far?): “Yes, determination. That is what PDM racing is all about. You never give up when an opportunity is thrown to you. Especially twice let alone here at a change to run in the world’s greatest race, at the Indianapolis 500. With all the troubles we had this week it makes getting into the race that much more emotional for me and all these guys.” (What does getting into the race mean to you?): “This is the most fun I have ever had in my whole life. It is a dream coming true since I was a little kid. Years ago, I remember seeing Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon walking around here and never thought that, that would some day be me, this year we are the drama. I really appreciate PDM’s effort on this deal because we got a brand-new car up to date and qualified in the race. Those guys have been working 48 hours straight. I mean, we just got that new car on the track this morning only doing 50 laps. Then get it qualified. What a day we had.” (How did the car feel during the qualifying run?): “It felt good. Very stable. We had three attempts and chose the safest balance right now. If we had to trim out a little more, we could. It was the best 10 miles in my whole life. Now I am just looking forward to my best 500 miles next Sunday.” (Medeiros from press conference): (Were those four laps as difficult as anything you have put together in your career?): “First of all, I would like to thank all those guys that run this program here. They have been working 72 hours like maniacs. We appreciate those efforts. We ran 50 laps this morning and put everything together. I was not very confident with the car and the setup that we had from this morning. Then we made some changes, go back out and didn’t work quite well. We brought it back again, made some changes, and the way that we qualified, I’m pretty confident that Paul (Diatlovich) made the best setup we had for the day today. We pushed for four very consistent laps together, and we’re good. Now we have to start working on a more consistent car and a better balanced car for the race.” (What are your feelings about starting 33rd?): “Well, first of all we cannot make any mistakes again. There is a very little margin of error here. The little mistakes that you make, you’ve seen what happens here. People run out of room and knock the fence here, right, Paul? Just like the pit stops, it will be the first time I’ll be doing that. I’m just looking forward to being a part of the race. I have a very consistent car. I want to stay on the lead lap, and we’ll see what happens.” (Emotion of having to wait half an hour to see if anyone else would try to qualify): “It’s the 90th edition, so it’s a very special situation to be a part of the history for the rest of our lives. I really appreciate those guys’ effort. We appreciate everybody’s effort, especially overnight, and we’re glad to be a part of the history of the Indianapolis 500.” (On having the confidence to perform): “I talked to Paul, he gave me the confidence that the car would be there when I needed it and I trusted him. I had faith in him and I did my best. Brian (Barnhart) gave me confidence before I went out. But my confidence came from Paul before I went out to qualify. We talked about what we had and what he done to the car. I tried to explain everything that I saw in the last run, ‘I didn’t like this; I didn’t like that,’ so he made the changes and gave me the confidence.”
PAUL DIATLOVICH (Co-owner, PDM Racing): (About his car making the field): “It was there. In fact, one of the gentlemen who works for us, one of the weekend warriors, made mention of that earlier in the month when we showed up, and the car looked pretty much like it did now. We got it very late. We had to do prep on it. We ran Thiago (Medeiros) in Rookie Orientation in the car that looked pretty similar to what it was. (Co-owner) Jeff (Matthews) has a lot more artistic talent than I do, because with me that was fine, but with him he said, ‘No, we can’t do that.’ So he came up with a very attractive paint scheme, and Thiago promptly knocked the fence down with it (laughter). Therefore, we might leave it the way it is.” (About the type of team PDM Racing is): “Having been here as long as I have, it’s a privilege every time I drive through the gate here whether I’m working or whether I’m just looking. This place is very special. To embellish the spirit of some of the independents that have been through what we have been through, it is a fantastic way of continuing a tradition. This is Indianapolis. This is everything to us. It is just a tremendous privilege and honor to be apart of it. Once again, with Thiago stepping up and saying – we had some options with some other drivers to get in the car – he thought we had lost confidence in him, and we didn’t. It was frustrating, but it goes without saying. In the end though, we also had faith in him. He had the faith in us.” (About Medeiros locking up left-front tire on pit road): “The first time was OK because we were in a different pit location than what we practiced with. It was the second time he did it that I got excited and explained to him that we didn’t like that type of late braking and flat spotting of very expensive, good Firestone tires. You have to understand, he is a rookie, and he is trying to learn. Every time he’s trying to stop the car, he’s pressing the envelope because it is so important on the ingress and egress of pit stops here. He is doing a marvelous job. I think one of the good things that he is going to do during the race is he is probably going to pick up positions because every time he has stopped when he did hit the marks he had the thing positioned properly. He’s not scared of turning the wheel to get the thing turned in. Some drivers tend to be a little lazy about that because these are tight pit boxes now. He did a marvelous job. He’s getting the cobwebs out. He’s also getting acclimated to the fact that we were just five pits from flat out racetrack. To get his timing down and all that, he did fine.” (About difficulty of getting the car finished): “I can’t answer for Jeff (Matthews), but I know every square inch of the ceiling tile in my bedroom. I’m sure Jeff does the same thing, because this is a 24/7 opportunity for us. We are in the business to go racing. We do enjoy the profession of this. It is extremely difficult to come up with the necessary funding to do that. Thiago brings talent. I see one of his sponsors sitting here with us. We are melting a good situation that might carry on into future endeavors. That might make a lot of sense for us, too.” (About A.J. Foyt’s chance of a third car and Marty Roth’s accident): “I hate to see anything like that happen, because we just went through it. Besides the money, it is a lot of work. It is a lot of effort. We have people in these vehicles. So, no, I wasn’t happy that (Marty Roth’s) accident happened. On the other end, we breathed a sigh of relief for us, because that was one of our concerns. The other one was ( A.J.) Foyt. Historically, I believe he did that last year at the 6 o’clock hour and put Greg Beck and his company in the truck. Yes, I was extremely nervous.” (About Foyt sending Ryan Briscoe): “When I heard (about Ryan Briscoe driving the #48 car), it did put a chill down my back, for sure.”
JEFF MATTHEWS (Co-owner, PDM Racing): (This has to be particularly satisfying for you, because you grew up literally across the street from the track, in the town of Speedway): “Yeah, I grew up about a 9-iron away, it’s just a special thing to be a part of, and … (emotional pause) that’s about all I can say.” (How did you get involved in PDM Racing?): “I started off with PDM in 1998, actually it was a Christmas present from my sister. I was just getting out of college. She lived at the top of the hill from where the (PDM) shop is located, she went down to the shop – she knew there was a race shop down there, and I was a racing nut – met Paul (Diatlovich) for the first time and said, ‘Hey, my brother’s a huge racing fan, can I buy one day for my brother to come out to the Speedway and hang out with you?’ Paul said, ‘Sure,’ and just like Paul, he took her money. So it was in ‘98, we ran (Jack) Hewitt, I went down to the shop, and I want this day for you to be at the track at 9 a.m., I was there at 6 a.m. and wiped the wheels down, and I’ve been going back ever since. So, it started off as grunt worker, went from PR, to marketing, to partner.” (When did you become co-owner?): “That was September of 2003, and I’ve been full-time ever since.” (Growing up with the Speedway barely a football field’s length away from your house, how does it feel to be an Indy 500 participant?): “It’s amazing. I never thought I’d ever get this opportunity. It’s one of those Christmas presents that keeps on giving. It’s incredible. I’ve always loved racing, we grew up across the street from it, and it’s simply hard to describe. I have no idea; I’m lost for words, obviously. I’m very lucky to do something I’ve always loved. PDM is a pretty interesting company, and Paul’s a character to work with. It’s been a lot of fun.” (Are you both satisfied and relieved following qualifying?): “Thank you very much, both for sure. These guys that work on the car – and I don’t, I don’t pretend to – these guys have spent three days putting in such hard work and what it typically would take two weeks to build a car. These guys were incredible, spirits were up, spirits were high, and we knew that we had something special. Thank God we’re here.” (How did the final 30 minutes of qualifying feel to you guys?): “It was the longest 30 minutes of our entire life. Here we spent – it all comes down to 30 minutes – the three days that the guys busted their asses to build this car, and it all comes down to 30 minutes. It’s amazing. I had concept of time, and it was going real slow.” (How big of an undertaking is it for you guys to do this program?): “It is a pretty big undertaking for us. Obviously, we do full-time USAC Silver Crown Racing, a two-car program with both Thiago and Aaron Pierce. Definitely a different level, and that’s something new for us. This is a major undertaking, getting the necessary funds to pull this off, and the resources and people, it’s very, very important. So it’s big; it’s big, for sure.”
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