Though he heads into the final round of this year's Indy Pro Series at Chicago's Chicagoland Speedway this weekend with an outside chance of retaining his 2005 title, New Zealand driver Wade Cunningham says his focus remains on the race itself.
While a pole, win and fourth place at last month's double-header penultimate series meeting at Infineon Raceway in California helped him close the gap to championship leader Jay Howard to just 27 points (Cunningham heads into this weekend's final with 327 points in fourth place, just three points behind third placed Bobby Wilson and only 19 behind second placed Jonathan Klein) the 22-year-old Kiwi says that realistically, only bad luck is going to stop Englishman Howard from taking the 2006 title.
"If the field isn't above 20 cars, which I don't think it will be, it will be impossible for me to win unless the other guys crash and you can't go into a race weekend wishing that upon other people. I'm just going to do what we've been doing at all the other races, and that is have fun and do our best. If you look at our record this year that's been pretty good."
So far this season Cunningham - who was forced to miss the first double-header meeting at the beginning of the season because of an emergency appendectomy - has claimed four pole positions, won two races and led 275 laps, more than twice the number Howard has and an incredible four times that of the next best placed driver, Raphel Matos.
Practice and qualifying for the Chicagoland 100 takes place on Friday with the race scheduled to start at 3.55pm on Saturday (both US time).
Wade Cunningham is proud to be one of New Zealand motor racing's Black Bullets. To find out more about our Black Bullets go to www.blackbullets.com
2006 Indy Pro Series Points after Rnd 11 of 12
1. Jay Howard 354
2. Jonathan Klein 346
3. Bobby Wilson 330
4. Wade Cunningham 327
5. Nick Bussell 295
6. Jaime Camara 284
7. Alex Lloyd 262
8. Brett Van Blankers 179
9. Chris Festa 175
10. Raphael Matos 154