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IPS: Texas: Arie Luyendyk season review

IPS: Texas: Arie Luyendyk season review
Nov 7, 2003, 11:54 PM

Arie Luyendyk, Jr. Post-Season Quotes After some time away from the race in Texas, tell me what you are feeling about that weekend? "I was more disappointed than anything else. We had one of the strongest cars all year, yet we didn't get a ...

Arie Luyendyk, Jr. Post-Season Quotes

After some time away from the race in Texas, tell me what you are feeling about that weekend?

 "I was more disappointed than anything else. We had one of the strongest cars all year, yet we didn't get a win. We let them get away from us. I was very disappointed in the results." 

After two years in the IPS, what was the biggest thing you learned or took away from that experience?

"I basically took a lot from the Pro Series. I learned to race on ovals -- I had not done that too much in the past. The main reason for choosing the Pro Series was to gain experience on ovals. I learned when to be patient and when to be aggressive. I learned that when you have a car that can't win, to not push it because it can bite you."

Name five positive and five negative impressions from this past year: "Negative:
1) Too many personnel changes;
2) Not enough budget to run a competitive effort;
3) Mechanical problems;
4) Being involved with incidents in both races that I started form pole position;
5) Team never really jelled until the end of the season because of all of the problems;

1) Going from the back to the front during the Pikes Peak race;
2) Learning how to drive a car that didn't handle very well;
3) Qualifying on the pole twice this year;
4) Being able to drive at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time;
5) Winning the "Most Popular Driver Award" from the IRL Crew."

You seem to be very friendly with your Pro Series competitors. Talk a little bit about the camaraderie in the Pro Series?

"It's like a family. When you travel with a group of people half the year you get to know them well. It's nice to be involved with a sport where you have lots of friends."

Tell me how much it would mean to you to run in the IRL IndyCar Series in 2004?

"It would be great because it is something I have been striving for since I was 10 years old. It's my ultimate goal and something I am working very hard to accomplish."

Tell me how much it would mean to you to run in the Indy 500 in 2004?

"I look forward to Indy 500 because it is where my father has had so much success. It would be such a rewarding experience for me."

Final thoughts on your 2003 season?

"If I could go back and do it again, I definitely would do things differently. One thing I took out of it is that I learned how to drive a car with many different characteristics. That was good -- to learn how to drive a car that wasn't a winning car - because I know eventually I'll have to deal with all of those characteristics in cars I drive later on in my career. So now I'm a bit more prepared mentally to deal with all of that."

"I ran 2nd most of the race behind Mark (Taylor). All year when we had a car with lots of downforce on a flat track, the car would be excellent on long runs, but on restarts, it would be very loose. After the last yellow flag, that's where we found out we had a bad setup for restarts. We restarted in 2nd but fell to 6th. The car was great on long runs, so we worked our way back to 4th and almost passed for 3rd right at and the finish."

"We started the weekend really good in practices, mostly at the top of the charts. We qualified 3rd, but only a few 100ths off the pole speed. We made some changes in the warm up, which worked well until I crashed in between (turns) 3-4. We could not get the car fixed in time to get our qualifying spot back, so we started last in the race and worked our way up to a top-10 finish. We salvaged a race on a tough weekend. It was really disappointing because we were fast all weekend, although the car wasn't that impressive during the race."

"The car was good, but we seemed to lack speed the whole time we were there. I don't know why. We qualified 5th, which was disappointing because we thought the car had more in it, but we knew we could still win from the 5th spot. It was an honor to race there. It was the first time the Pro Series averaged lap times together for qualifying instead of a one-off lap, which was really interesting. In the race, the start didn't go so well, just like Homestead. We were really loose in the corners, especially on restarts. There was a yellow on the first lap, and during the yellow, our car alternator caught on fire, so we had to park it in the pits. While in the pits, the race got red flagged for rain, and it resumed the next day. We got the car fixed but we were 9 laps down, and it's really disappointing to start 9 laps down. It was hard to just drive around for points hoping for people to drop out, especially when no one did -- it was a bad finish."

"The weekend started bad. The setup of the car made it impossible to drive. We all worked at it, but it was bad, especially in qualifications. It seemed hopeless. I really enjoy that track, but the setup wasn't right. My engineer gambled on a new setup for the race, and from the first lap, I knew I had a car that could win the race. I was on a tear from the beginning, and was very motivated to work my way through the field. I ran quite a while side-by-side for 2nd. I ended up finishing 3rd after starting way back in the field. If there was no yellow at the end, I probably would have won the race as I was about 3/10 of a second faster than any other car on the track."

"I really don't want to think about Kansas too much. I qualified 5th, so the weekend started off pretty good. Unfortunately, I misunderstood when the driver's meeting was and missed it. The penalty for doing that is starting last in the race. I had a good car all weekend, although I did make some mistakes. I started last, but worked my way up through the field partnering with Mark (Taylor) and eventually found myself in 5th. The official said I jumped the restart, so they black-flagged me, and I ended up going a lap down. The whole weekend I seemed to have some back luck following me around. Mark (Taylor) ended up winning the race, but that easily could have been me as I was ahead of him for a good portion of the race."

'This was my worst race of the year, hands down. We actually tested at this track, but basically got nothing out of the test as we were slow and could not figure out what was wrong. We had laps at the track from last year, too, but that didn't help. On race weekend, we were slow in practice, and before qualifying, we found out we had a broken shock. Once we got the shock changed, the car was reasonably good. During the race, the car was pretty good, too, but we had a huge aero push, and because we started so far back, we were stuck behind a lot of traffic, which didn't help. The car was good alone, and we were running some good lap times, but behind other people it had a big push. Qualifying is about 70% in the Pro Series, so you have to qualify well to finish up front in the race. It just didn't happen for us in Nashville."

This is the second year in a row Arie qualified on the pole; Led for 19 laps at Michigan in 2003;

"We had high hopes going into the Michigan race because we were so fast there last year, and we led the most laps under green there last year. Last year at Michigan, we had the field covered. I was the only driver to beat A.J. (Foyt IV) in qualifying on 1.5- and 2-mile tracks, although he seemed to have more power for the race on bigger tracks. This year, we qualified on the pole, led many laps in the race, but did not have enough time to work the car in traffic. Once we got in traffic, we could not get back to the front. We were fast in clean air. If the race had never gone yellow, then we would have won for sure. But the car has to be good in front, it has to be good behind other cars and also in traffic to win races. And our car was not good behind other cars. I ran from 2nd to 6th to 2nd to 6th all race, until I found myself behind a spinning car and I could not avoid hitting him. I led a lot of laps but the end result was I did not finish the race."

"Gateway is one of my favorite tracks that I look forward to going to each year. We didn't have any testing, which was a big disadvantage. I qualified 7th, but we found something in the warmup which made the car really fast, so I had a really good race car. I worked my way up through the field during the race, and we actually had the fastest split times through the corners. The car was good, although a little down on power. Again, we had too much downforce. We ran laps comparable to the leader, but it is a very difficult track to pass on. Overall it was a good result for the team. It allowed us to catch some momentum for the next race."

"After St. Louis, we wanted to keep the ball rolling, which was an issue all year. We'd be good at one race, then bad the next race. And this race was no different. We rolled the car off the truck and it was the worst race car I've ever driven in my life. It was hitting the ground so hard I could not hold the steering wheel. We worked on the car the whole weekend, and during the race, we actually moved up a bit because of an accident that took two cars out in front of me. From where we started to where we finished, we made big gains. The car improved a lot over the race, but we really struggled with horsepower the whole time. I followed the right people (Aaron Fike) to the front, with our car even being faster in the corners. I ended up passing Aaron (Fike) with the help of (Ed) Carpenter's draft. We ended up lucking out with a 2-car accident on the last lap which put us into 4th for the finish. We got a new engine after the race, which gave us some hope for Chicago."

'After the Kentucky race we made personnel changes in our engineering department. We never had any consistency all year, which led us to make the changes. Our qualifying results to that point were so poor with the exception of Michigan, and if you want to win in the Pro Series, you have to start on the front row. In Chicago, though, everything ran completely smooth. No speed bumps, no drama. It was a relaxing weekend. It was good to not be stressed out that something was going to go wrong with the car or that the handling of the car would be horrible. During the race, it was so close with the top-7 in a big group -- the closest finish in Pro Series history! I moved to 2nd at one point, then back to 6th at one point, then up to 4th to finish the race. It was a good finish overall for the whole team. I was really happy with my engineer (Mark Moore), as the car was flawless to drive. I was hoping for a higher finish, but it was really hard to pass because the leaders ran 2-wide the whole way around the track. But overall, it was a good weekend for our team."

"Just like the rest of the year, when we finally felt some momentum after a good Chicago race, then we go through a weekend like California that is not good at all. The car didn't handle well at all from the beginning. It was really good during the first practice session, so we all felt some hope for the weekend. But then the track changed and, for some reason, we could not adapt to the changes. We qualified badly, which again goes along with the rest of the year. We clawed our way up to 10th in a very difficult race where I could barely drive the car and keep it on the track before figuring out after the race that the rear anti-roll bar became disconnected sometime during the race. The rear of the car was completely rolling over, which made the car push a lot and extremely difficult to handle. There was no way to latch on to the leaders. We were lucky to salvage 10th, passing 2 cars in the end while staying on the lead lap -- so the end wasn't so bad considering how the entire weekend went for our team. I'm learning that all of these mistakes, even the small ones, have had a huge impact on the overall results of the season."

Led laps 1-37 before falling back to 2nd, then getting tangled with Mark Taylor trying to make leading pass on Aaron Fike. Both crashed, but neither driver was injured.

"This was our 2nd pole of the year. After California's bad weekend, we kind of expected the pattern for our year to continue with a good showing in Texas, and for the most part, it worked that way. The weekend ran really smoothly, and I knew I had the crew behind me to win this race. My car was strong and I led the whole first half of the race starting from the pole. I really felt I had my first win in reach. I haven't been that close to winning before in the Pro Series in 2003. But it ended in a frustrating way. On the last restart before I crashed, I got too far ahead of the field -- really, too good of a restart -- and the rest of the field had a chance to line up and take a run at me. You would think that a goal would be to get a good restart, but I'm learning that sometimes it's not the right thing. I was 10 car-lengths ahead of everyone early after that restart. Aaron Fike was 2nd, and he had everyone line up behind him and draft up to me. Aaron ended up passing me in turn 1 on the 2nd lap of the restart, so I slotted in behind him. I knew I still had the car to beat and was anxious to get back to the front. We also knew that there was rain on the way, so I did not want to wait too long to get around Aaron again as they could call the race any time after the half-way point, which we had just passed. I was told a car was looking high (Mark Taylor), but I did not see him there. So I made the final call and tried the pass on Aaron, and I crashed into Mark (Taylor). I was really disappointed because I was so close to that win. I watched all year as people who I've consistently run in front of win races, which is frustrating. But next year is a new opportunity and I'm hoping I can show my true talents in the IndyCar Series."

Popular Arie:

Arie won the IRL Crew's 2003 "Most Popular Driver Award" for the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series, copying the feat his famous father achieved by winning that same award the first year it was given for an IRL driver. Arie, Jr. led the polling for this award at every track the Pro Series visited in 2003, finishing with a remarkable four times the amount of votes than his second-place pursuer, Aaron Fike. Arie will be honored for winning the "Most Popular Driver Award" at the IRL Crew's yearly banquet in Indianapolis on November 8th. The annual IRL Crew "Salute to the IRL" will take place at Celebrations banquet facility, and is for members only. Social hour starts at 5:00 p.m., with awards scheduled for 7:30 p.m., there will be a Q&A session with special guest Tom Carnegie at 8:00 p.m., and then there will be dancing to a live band at 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 each per member (send check or money order made out to: IRL Crew, c/o Nancy Owens, 128 Hazy Court, Greenwood, IN 46142). For more information about the IRL Crew or their banquet, check out their website at:

Arie's New Fan Club:

Appropriately, Arie will be introducing a new Fan Club at the IRL Crew banquet! Membership benefits include: Official Certificate of Membership; 2003-04 Publicity Card Signed by Arie; Official Race Schedule; Appearance Schedule Select Track Ticket Discounts; Access to Special Members-Only Section on Arie's Website; Invitation to Members-Only Fan Club Parties; Special One-On-One Photo Opportunities with Arie; Merchandise Discounts; Official Laminated Membership Card / Assigned Membership Number; Monthly Newsletter With Exclusive News Written by Arie to His Fans Inclusion on Arie's VIP E-mail List To Receive Regular Insider Updates; VIP Access To Special Events; Sponsor Decal Giveaways; Product and Service Discounts, and much more! Individual memberships are $10.00, while family memberships (for up to four family members) are $25.00. For more information or to join, please call Janie Vogel at (440) 808-1813 or e-mail

Arie On TV:

Arie, Jr. will be featured on an episode of Spike TV's "Super 2nr" show this Saturday, November 8th. Motorsports correspondent Troy Hanson goes to the California Speedway to meet Arie, Jr., and they take a spin in the IndyCar two-seater. Plus, they get to meet some world-famous Laker Girls. Other features of the show include hosts Eric and Marc Kozeluh traveling to San Diego to visit the first Hot Import Nights of 2003 and show the viewers what is happening at this traveling car show, the "Turbo Twins" explaining the difference between turbos and superchargers, and finally, they'll go out to Willow Springs with Hanson as he puts the exclusive European streetable racer, the Radical SR-3, through its paces. Check your local listings for the exact time the show airs in your time zone.

Busy Off-Season:

Arie, Jr.'s 2003 racing season may be over, but that does not mean he's taking any time off to rest and relax. In preparation for a possible 2004 IRL campaign, he's been working every day on sponsorship and promotional programs to set himself up for the proper funding to run in the IRL. Arie has also spent time making appearances with his father, Arie, Sr. Other activities that have kept Arie, Jr. busy have included spending time in the Los Angeles area pursuing some modeling opportunities, as well as being utilized as a teacher/expert in various "ride and drive" programs for corporate clients. The IRL even sent a photographer to the Phoenix area to spend the day with Arie, Jr. taking various lifestyle photos of him for use in 2004 sales, marketing and public relations materials. This past week Arie, Jr. and Sr. have both been attending the massive SEMA automotive trade show in Las Vegas, networking and meeting with various potential partners for 2004. In between official functions and meetings, Arie has been getting into his full off-season training routine, including weight lifting and running, in preparation for not only the 2004 IRL season, but possibly participating in a few half-marathons throughout the year.

A Model Driver:

Arie signed a contract with the world-famous Ford Modeling Agency in Los Angeles and the Ford Robert Black Modeling Agency in Scottsdale, Ariz. in the last month. Look for Arie's pretty face on a billboard near you...

Cataloging Arie's Career:

22-year-old Arie is featured in the Fall "Back To School" issue of the widely read Abercrombie & Fitch catalog, with a full page Q&A interview accompanied by a stunning full-page, full-color photograph. To view a portion of the A & F layout, visit Arie's website at, and click on the "media" link.

European Flair:

Scottsdale resident Arie is making waves in Europe, as the Italian version of Vogue Magazine tapped this rising star to feature in their recent July issue. To view a portion of the Vogue layout, visit Arie's website at, and click on the "media" link.

Media Magnet:

Arie's accumulated an impressive list of major media appearances in 2003, including: Italian Vogue (July, feature article and full-page, color photo); Abercrombie & Fitch Fall catalog (feature article and full-page color photo); USA Today; Autosport; Racer Magazine; RPM2Nite (ESPN2) television show; Spike TV - "Super 2nr".

Thinking of our Friends in California:

Arie Luyendyk, Jr. and everyone on the Sinden Racing Service Team would like to send our best wishes and thoughts to our friends in California who are being besieged by the horrible wildfires that have been plaguing the area these past few weeks. While in California for the most recent IRL Infiniti Pro Series/IRL race in September, the team was sponsored by and stayed at the Best Western Heritage Inn in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., which has been directly in the path of the raging fires. The hotel is about five miles from the spectacular California Speedway. To our friend Nancy High and her staff at the Best Western, please know that you are in our thoughts.


Did you know Arie--

Is the son of two-time Indianapolis 500-Mile Race champion Arie Luyendyk, who acts as Arie, Jr.'s spotter during race weekends;

Moved to Milwaukee, Wis., from native Holland when he was two years old (speaks Dutch), moving to Scottsdale, Ariz. when he turned eight;

Oldest of four children; has a sister (Maida, 15) and twin brothers (Luca and Alec, 10);

Started in racing with karting at age 10;

Has driven karts, Formula Fords, F2000, Barber Dodge, American Race Trucks, Winston West, Toyota Atlantics, Indy Lights, Infiniti Pro and IndyCar Series cars;

Favorite racing memory is finishing third in front of his home crowd at the Marlboro Masters at Zandvoort, Netherlands;

Is pursuing modeling in the off season in order to foster corporate relationships for his racing career. Just signed contracts with the Ford Modeling Agencies in Scottsdale and Los Angeles;

Is appearing in a spread (article and full-page, full-color picture) in the current Fall issue of Abercrombie & Fitch's "Back to School" issue and July's Italian Vogue Magazine;

Enjoys listening to music, working out, practicing yoga, traveling, cooking and snowboarding;

Played roller hockey in high school;

Competed in the 2003 Indy 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, and will compete in that race again in May of 2004 as well as another half-marathon in Arizona in January;

Favorite foods are sushi and Italian (prepares his own sushi);

Loves, loves, loves to eat anything sweet;

Likes hip-hop music; does not like country music; favorite bands are Incubus and Aerosmith;

Favorite color is blue;

Calls himself a "dork" for liking reality shows, in particular "Trading Spaces" (he'd like 'Vern' to redecorate his condo);

Says best quality is his patience; worst quality is being stubborn;

Does not like arrogance in other people;

Biggest influences on his racing career have been his dad and his grandfather;

Racing hero, if he has someone other than his dad, would be F1's Michael Schumacher;

If he could not do anything in racing at all, he thinks he might enjoy design or architecture;

No pets;

Says he's "musically declined" as far as his talents in that area;

No children--His real baby? His 400-hp F150 Lightning he tools around the streets of Scottsdale;

Goes to Vail in the winter to snowboard, and Holland in the spring to visit family and friends;

Typical day in the life of this race car driver includes phone calls, working out and hanging out;

Race cars and fast automobiles top the list of what is sexy to Arie;

Describes driving style as aggressive when he needs to be, but patient;

His philosophy on life is to just take things one day at a time and enjoy every moment;

The one thing that no one knows about Arie is that he can "out eat anyone";

If he suddenly won $1 million, he would buy a "small but cool" European house, then invest the rest of the money either in stocks or racing;

Not a football fan at all, but likes to watch soccer, some basketball and extreme sports;

Has no interest in going NASCAR racing and is 100% committed to pursuing a career in the IndyCar Series, although he would not mind teaming with his famous father for a run at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona endurance sports car race this coming winter.

Mark Moore -- Engineer
Tim Shank -- Crew Chief
Gilbert Lage -- Support Staff
Butch Winkle -- Mechanic
Mike Battersby -- Mechanic
Arie Luyendyk, Sr. - Spotter

Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication!

Many thanks to the Sinden Racing Service Team's 2003 supporters:

Average Joe's * Bosch * Coca-Cola * DeCosta Co. * Evolution Eyes

Hubbards * Meijer * Molina Jewelers * Momo

RE/MAX * Widmaier Chiropractic * Smith & Wesson * Thermos Grill-2-Go

SPONSORSHIP or MEDIA INQUIRIES: Please call Janie Vogel at (440) 808-1813, or e-mail to: for a presentation of potential partnership opportunities with Arie Luyendyk, Jr. for 2004.

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