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INDY CAR RACING MEDIA CONFERENCE

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Indy Racing League

INDY CAR RACING MEDIA CONFERENCE

Bobby Rahal
April 11, 1995


JOHN PROCIDA: I want to thank all of you for joining us today. Please, let me remind you again that any background noise that comes through is a detriment to our radio people trying to get any good clean sound bits with Bobby today. Please keep that in mind throughout the conference. I just want to pass along a few statistics concerning Bobby and his performance this year and in the past at Nazareth. First, this year, Bobby is one of only two drivers so far to register multiple podium finishes. We have had ten different drivers reach the podium so far this year. The only two that have reached their twice were Bobby with a third at Miami and a second at Australia and Scott Pruett being the other driver. Historically, Nazareth is the site of Bobby's last IndyCar victory which came on the way to his PPG title in 1992 and I think right now we will proceed into the question part of our program. I do want to note that we are going to start off by letting everyone ask one question before we get going. Since we are going to Nazareth, next stop, why don't I start with Bill Fleischman, if you have any questions.

Q. I wonder if you could just recall a little bit about that Nazareth race in '92 and what you think of the track if you enjoy it, so forth?

BOBBY RAHAL: I guess the biggest thing I remember about in '92 was obviously the fact that, you know, that championship was coming down to pretty much at that point -- although, I think there were three or four of us that had a mathematical chance at the championship. I believe -- really Michael and I were the two that had the two best chances of it. We had had some bad races the previous two races, I believe, which had been Mid-Ohio and Vancouver and our lead had -- actually we had had a lead going into Vancouver and came out of Mid-Ohio in second place, I think it was. So it was going to be obviously very critical that we win that race. In '91, I had basically been leading the race and got held up coming out of pit lane and lost the race as a result; we always had gone well there. I felt confident also in '92 they had the Marlboro Challenge there and I was leading the race there and that was -- there was some multiple penalties for me and Michael there which ruined a very good race and -- but the fact was that the car had handled very well and we were leading pretty comfortably and so although I was really perturbed Saturday night because of all these penalties for the Marlboro race, I really felt like we had a car that could win and the next day ran second in the first part of the race and on -- I think we got a better feel, better pitstop; managed to get in the lead for the last 100 laps, I think it was, or maybe a little bit more and we really were able to stretch our fuel mileage out so that we did not have to stop for fuel, and which meant that we had a very good handling car and we were able to maintain a lead on Michael even though we were running pretty lean on the fuel mixtures. So it was really an exciting race and it came down between he and I in the last, as I say, 70 or 80 laps, with the gap sort of going back and forth depending on traffic, and we were able to win and, of course, winning the racing; ended up going to Laguna Seca last race of the year with about, I think it was about 6 or 8 point lead or something, I am not sure exactly what it was, but it really gave us a leg up and I kind of remember that in victory circle and in the press box afterwards when we were in the interviews I was very upbeat and Michael was very downcast and I felt that we probably won the championship at that race.

Q. Bobby, Nazareth, the race appears to the observer that it goes off so fast; such a short space of time. It eight appears to be like a very easy race, but we are told it is not. Can you comment on that?

BOBBY RAHAL: Well, it is only a fast race because you are going so fast. I mean, what was it a year or two ago or '93, I think the average speed was -- we did it in just over an hour -- 200 miles in just over an hour. I couldn't believe how quickly it went. But the track is very difficult to pass. You are in traffic all the time. It is two and three abreast in the corners. It is actually kind of a fun race if your car is handling well. It is really fun because of all that. But it is a real -- it is a handful and it is very pressure-packed because, literally, if you get through traffic, you can really stretch out a lead but if you get held up, a big lead can disappear literally within one lap, so it is an extremely frantc race, I guess, and also one that developing a good handling car over the course of it is tough to do, so I guess that to any one mile oval is really fun when the car is working well and maybe Nazareth and even more so because of the speed of it and the narrowness of it.

Q. The dates of the race were changed. Does it put anymore importance to the race and it is also the last race before the Indy 500. Does that have an effect on going to Indy? Can you learn things from that race?

BOBBY RAHAL: I don't think you can learn things necessarily from that to Indy. Obviously the speeds are considerably different and the track is considerably different, but, you know, I think what makes it obviously very important is -- particularly, this year, so much of the championship is over by the time we get to Indianapolis. I think fully one-third of the races or close to one-third of the races have already been run by the time we go to Indy which in the past it has been about 1/5. Whether it is anymore important or not, I don't think that -- every race is important and that is -- that is a well-worned statement and it is true, and I don't know if it has anymore bearing now than it would if, it would -- if it was held in September, but certainly it is a race that you want to do well in. The one mile ovals, I think, can really be a key to a championship. They certainly were to us in '92 and because there is four of them, to gain a good finish or a win, hopefully, at Nazareth gives you a little bit of a leg up on your pursuers.

Q. What do you think your strengths have been and where do you need more work?

BOBBY RAHAL: I think our strengths are the team itself. I think the engineering group is working very well. The performance this year has been good as far as the chassis and the engine. You know, Long Beach was a great disappointment, but in terms of the reliability, but in terms of actual performance, I was very pleased with it, and I think we had a very real chance of winning. But you know, I think we have -- every race we have just that much better understanding of the chassis. I think the performance has improved in that, and so I don't know if we have any one single strength, but I think that we are pretty confident that we know what the car wants; particularly after Phoenix and so I feel we can go into Nazareth with a pretty good chance to do very, very well.

Q. What can you tell us about the fifth car that you have entered at Indianapolis?

BOBBY RAHAL: Really, it is sort of an emergency. We have no intention of running a third car, frankly, having not had the problems we have had the last two years I think we might be open to it, but we have had all the excitement we could stand in '93 and '94, so we certainly don't need anymore for this year, so I think we are -- that is just an insurance policy, really.

Q. What is the car?

BOBBY RAHAL: It is a '95 Lola Mercedes.

Q. Bobby, your had a two year sabbatical from competitive racing; you are coming back at the age of 42 and you are competitive; you see all these youngsters winning. What is your mind set? Do you feel that you are a little behind in that respect or does it make you even more anxious to be competitive?

BOBBY RAHAL: I think, you know, I don't think age has anything to do with our competitiveness. I mean, this weekend I ran with some 31 year olds or 32 year olds and a 25 year old or what have you, I am in the best physical shape I have ever been in, so I am not concerned whatsoever about the age factor, although it is kind of fun too for the old guys to, you know, beat the young guys, you know, Emerson certainly has shown he is very competitive and he is a lot older than I am. So you know, I don't really look at the age itself. That is just a number. I think it is how you feel and I think it is the preparation that you are taking, and as a result, I -- whether it is a road circuit or oval or whatever, I feel we are going to have, you know, we can compete certainly at least on an equal basis, and possibly a superior basis than most.

Q. Would you just address the fact that, I think when you came to Miami everybody was talking about what great balance this season could foretell; you have got four races; four winners, Herta has been on a pole; I think the points leader hasn't won. If I am not mistaken Mauricio might be second in points. Could you just address the balance this season has brought.

BOBBY RAHAL: I think that is something that we tried to get across to the press earlier in the year. Everybody, you know, seemed to think that last year, Penske's year, was indicative or reflective of most of the years in IndyCar races and that was far from the truth. I think the majority of the series over the last ten years has been reflective of this year, where you never really had one clear cut favorite; that anybody can win. I think this year, it is even more so the case. There are more good teams; better prepared teams; more good drivers. You know, I think the real key or the real -- I guess "key" is probably the best word is going to be during Indy and afterwards when the teams are really being pushed, then you are going to see who can sustain it and who can't. But in the meantime, it is obvious that the year -- there has never been a more competitive year and never been a more unpredictable year in terms of who is going to run strong on any given day. I think that the same teams will continue to run strong like ourselves and Penske and Newman Haas or what have you, but you got guys like Gugelmin who has qualified well and Gil de Ferran and Jim Hall's car has qualified well in every race. They have had problems, but they have been right up there in qualifying, so I think the parity and I think the competitiveness will never be greater than it has been this year so far.

Q. Looking at the first four events, they are down; you are two podium finishes. Curious about two things: One is how you are viewing this season. I am sure it is refreshing from the last two and then I am curious about Raoul's performance the last two events and how much you guys are interacting from a race setup standpoint. He got off to a great start at Miami, but has fallen off a bit the last two events.

BOBBY RAHAL: Frankly, we have -- in Miami, I kind of went to his setup and then Australia he went to mine and Phoenix we both had about the same, and he sort of went his own way in Long Beach, and sometimes the way I like my car is not the way he likes it and the way he likes his is not the way I like it. Then again, there have been other times when they have been somewhat similar. So, you know, I think Raoul sort of had -- he has had some difficulties in the races last weekend he had electrical problems; then he had a flat tire - pretty hard to do well when you have got all that going for you on that day. It is, you know -- but from a speed standpoint, I think -- and from a feedback and working with the team, I think he has been very good. So you know, we have just -- both of us have been, I think a little unlucky in some areas. Me, in qualifying and Raoul, in the race, and you know, that is the way it goes. But as far as, you know, I think we are both starting from the same point and we are both trying to develop cars that we like and as I said earlier, sometimes that is going to -- they are going to be similar and sometimes they won't.

Q. You spoke a few moments ago about the disappointment of Long Beach; yet when you climbed out of the car and were interviewed on ABC, you didn't seem that disappointed; you seemed confident for the future.

BOBBY RAHAL: Well, I think, as I had said to several people, we were competitive. We were where we belonged and naturally, I am disappointed that we didn't finish, but I'd much rather have competitive speed and have to develop the reliability than to have reliability and not be competitive because, you know, it -- for you to win a championship, you have got to run up front. You can't rely on everybody falling out. And I feel that we certainly had the equal of Al and maybe given time in --- particularly the way Michael was catching Al at the end of the race without all the gears, obviously Al's performance was dropping off so perhaps we could have taken advantage of that, we will never know, but at least we were in a position to do so and I think when you are there, yeah, you are disappointed, but there is a sense that, you know, okay, we found some things that we like and the car likes, and you know, we'll get them the next time.

Q. Talk a little bit about Nazareth, the setup for it from the standpoint of the race car and then maybe the setup from a driver's standpoint. I had a chance to teach there last year and TV does not do it justice because turns one and two feel like an oval; look like an oval, turn three feels like a lefthander on a road course. Do you setup the car kind of in between oval and road course and then do you drive it differently as well at different parts of the track.

BOBBY RAHAL: Well, naturally I don't want to give too much away. But I mean, it is still an oval no matter how different the corners are. That kind of makes it fun. That is why I always enjoy poking those so much because the cars were so totally dissimilar. But I think certainly the key at -- one of the keys at Nazareth is that because the corners are so different, you really have to work at getting the car to be, you know, to be as good as you can in the two different types. It is very similar to Phoenix in that regard because Phoenix, you know 1 and 2 are totally different from 3 and 4. I think the big thing, though, at Nazareth is you have got to really be able to get the car to handle even more so than you do at other ovals because it is so fast and it is so narrow that for you to be able to pass people, you really have to really be able to maintain your momentum and your speed through the corners. Because the straightaways aren't long enough that if you just get into a drag race with somebody, you are just not going to be able to get by. So it is a challenging racetrack. It is, as I say, it is unbelievably fast and very narrow, but when things are working right, it is a lot of fun.

Q. The 26 cars that started, 17 ended the event running only 6 failures, mechanically. Would you attribute this to the level of competition from new car constructions coming in like Reynard the engine competitive issue or what would you attribute that to?

BOBBY RAHAL: I'd attribute it to all of that and mainly to a greater depth in terms of the preparation and the quality of the teams. And that is traditionally a race that has a fair degree of attrition. There is no question that the parity that we spoke about earlier and the competitiveness that has come from an influx of very professional teams, like PacWest and, you know, Barry Green now, of course Forsythe have split off where there was one competitive team; now there is two, and there are others, I am sure that I am missing, but there is just -- and to be sure, you know, Reynard is producing a very nice car as is Lola and now you have got different three different engines, whereas, in the past, you might have had two and at one point even just one, so I mean, that there is just a much greater depth and much greater professionalism about the entire series; that is why you see the kind of results that you are seeing.

Q. If I might, where is the new engineering talent coming from; over from Europe or where is this core of professional --

BOBBY RAHAL: I suppose there is some coming from Europe. Certainly, for us, we have taken American fellows that were young and are still young and they are learning the hard way, you know, the school of hard knocks, on-the-job training, but I am very pleased with the progression they are making. There is a lot of American engineers involved in the series. You have probably seen a little bit more European interest; particularly, because of Reynard coming, but also because of a number -- there is more teams, and I think that the possibilities in Formula I are very minimal and a lot of people are looking here to get their chance or their opportunities, so it is just sort of -- I am sure there is some fallout from IMSA, people have went -- with Nissan leaving and Toyota, people like that, you get people from those teams looking to join IndyCar teams, so it is sort of a combination of all those things, I suppose.

Q. You talked about your physical conditioning and how you are are in better shape than you were. I know you have done some training down in Florida in the past couple of years. None of the drivers have told me last year that probably little Al was in one of the best physical shapes of all the drivers and I look back to a great race you had with little Al in Michigan in 1990. Is that becoming more important? Are we getting these cars to the point where a driver's strength and endurance is becoming an even greater factor?

BOBBY RAHAL: Well, not only is it because of the performance of the car, but it is because of the pace of the race itself. It used to be that particularly on the ovals and particularly the 500s that you know, you could kind of pace yourself at certain periods of the race and you know, get racing when you needed to. Well, the pace of the race on the road circuits and on the ovals is literally like flat out from the word go or like qualifying laps, so the physical expenditure to meet that kind of pace has really increased a lot, and you know, I think Al is in pretty good shape. Obviously, guys like Michael, I mean, all of the drivers, you don't see any guys running around carrying any extra weight, that is for sure. And in fact, I think, Dr. Bock at Indianapolis who does the physicals for all the drivers there has remarked to me on a number of occasions that people just don't understand the physical conditioning that the drivers are in. My pulse rate resting heart rate is like 47 - which is somewhat similar to a marathoner's or 46, and I train consistently where I tried to get my heart right at 180 beats for long periods of time because that is what we drive at, and certainly when you really have to give a push, so you know, if you are going to compete now, you really got to be in the best physical shape you can be, and whether it comes from diet or exercise and so, you know, anybody who thinks they can do it the old fashion way, which is to do nothing, is going to be sorely disappointed.

Q. Have you raced with a contacts this year or are you wearing glasses?

BOBBY RAHAL: Still wearing my glasses.

Q. Regarding the young drivers like the Ferran and the Gugelmin, how difficult or is it difficult because they are running up front? You haven't raced with them extensively. How difficult is it for you to know what they are going to do and does that create a problem?

BOBBY RAHAL: Well, you know, contrary to what people like Buddy Jobe would like you to believe, people like Gil de Ferran and Mauricio Gugelmin are extremely capable drivers. I have raced against both of them now and I have nothing but admiration for both because they are very professional. They do not do anything crazy. They are in control of their cars at all times and are they competitive, to be sure. Are they tough to pass? As tough as anybody. But they are honest racers and the biggest thing is they are really in control of their car, and so, although, you know, particularly in de Ferran's case because obviously Mauricio, we have competed against him since last year, there is -- I think there is something about him that makes it easier to race with. Frankly, some of those guys better race with him than some of the normal people. There is a tremendous sense of of awareness on their part and it shows in their driving.

Q. Does it take a period of time for you to learn even though they may be expert and good drivers, as you say, but everybody has their distinct ways of doing things going low or going up? Do you have to know what they are doing in advance?

BOBBY RAHAL: You do, but it becomes fairly you know -- quickly apparent. We have had four races together. I have raced wheel-to-wheel with both of those guys, in particular, and, you know, you learn quickly that, yes, they are tough to pass, but no worse than anybody else, and in fact, in many respects, as I say, a little better than others.

Q. Just wanted to check and see if you had any thoughts about Indianapolis and your preparations for that event during the month of May?

BOBBY RAHAL: Well, we have tested there several weeks ago. In fact, Raoul is testing there today and tomorrow. We feel that we have a good -- we will have a good package for that race. It will be more competitive than ever before. The starting grade will be unbelievably close at Indianapolis this year and unbelievably fast. There is no question in my mind that the lap record will go down this year and so -- but as I say, we are confident with the package we have and with the people we have on our team and we are looking forward to going there with a known quantity this year after a couple of years of rolling the dice.

Q. I didn't see or read anything in reference to Jobe. You mentioned his comment about "Foreign drivers." Did he say something that I wasn't aware of and (2) could you just address that as long as we are on the subject, about the fact that theoretically the series would suffer from the influx of people with names other than Smith and Foyt - just address that?

BOBBY RAHAL: Well, I mean, it is on the record as far as what Buddy Jobe has -- I think he really disparaged his own race, if nothing else, first and foremost. I think the Pennzoil people have responded to it very well, but somehow in this country, the idea that all these guys are buying their rides; that there is something unholy about that or something that diminishes somebody's talent, I think it is an attitude that is, first of all, contrary to the nature of racing today, where people are making their opportunities for themselves, and it really is ignorant of the fact that IndyCar Racing has been an international series for many, many years, far more than the last five; that IndyCar Racing survived on foreign cars and drivers for quite awhile; particularly after the war and particularly after -- in the start of the series -- of Indianapolis in the beginning. And of course, the '60s, when the reengine revolution hit - there is somehow a feeling, I think, by certain people that IndyCar racing is different than it once was and I think that is ignorant of the facts, and some people -- you know, everybody is entitled to their opinion, but I think that when an opinion is so contradictory to the facts it needs to, I think, be corrected.

Q. Is this IndyCar Racing going to hurt CART and the sport in general?

BOBBY RAHAL: I think it is already hurting the sport. Any time there is controversy or any time that there is upheaval, the sport is hurt. So that -- if that was an objective, that has been satisfied or they have succeeded. Will it hurt CART? I do not believe so. There was, I think, solidarity about what we have tried to do in IndyCar racing, once again a record crowd at Long Beach, I think is reflective not of a series that is in trouble, but one that is trying to do things right. Are there things that can be improved upon? To be sure. But, I think that there is a genuine effort on behalf of Andrew Craig, the owners and the drivers for that matter, to really do the right things in IndyCar Racing and CART, and so I am -- the IRL is creating controversy, there is no question about it. It is hurting IndyCar Racing. CART, I think, is going from strength to strength, and it is unfortunate that now there is all this talk about the IRL and what have you, but we are going to go about doing our business and making IndyCar Racing as successful as we can possibly make it, and we will see what happens elsewhere.

Q. You don't see any defections from CART to the new league?

BOBBY RAHAL: I can't talk for my fellow owners, but I don't see why anyone would.

Q. I was looking back the other day at four, five years ago some of the starting grids and registrations for some of the races, and the field has gone from almost not enough to makeable field to just about every race now there are more cars trying to qualify than can fit in the field, in other words, there has been progression. What would you attribute that to?

BOBBY RAHAL: First thing I attribute it to is the success of the series because it is creating a draw for drivers from around the world to come to our series. It is creating sponsors to fund those efforts. It is attracting circuits to have races. Like Miami now and others, and there are a number of others that are interested in bringing in IndyCar Racing. You know, I think it is a combination of everything, but the show has become better as the series has succeeded or has become more successful. It has been more of an attraction to the spectator, TV audience, and sponsors and people around the world and as a result, I think that is what has generated this -- you know, this the position that it is in. As I say, we are -- certainly, in no way do we have all the answers and in no way are we doing everything right. I think with Andrew Craig now and I think the board is made up of just not sportsmen who love racing, but aren't interested in the business side of the equation. We have a board now that is made up of businessmen who understand that investments have to be made for the series to grow and for it to be successful as it should be. And so I think there is a plan out there. I think that there is a desire on behalf of everybody in CART to improve the show and to make it to satisfy the spectators and TV and sponsors and what have you, and as a result, more -- as I say, it just starts feeding on itself, and you know, as I said, we are not in possession of all the answers, but we are trying hard to at least have some of them.

Q. Follow-up on the same subject matter, Andrew Craig spent sometime in the Orient on the way to the Australian event; been some talk about interest outside of North America for IndyCar and Australia. Any comments from your perspective both as a driver, but maybe even more so as a franchise owner about Europe?

BOBBY RAHAL: Sure, I think that there are places that you know, the world has become a smaller place. Our sponsor, Miller Brewing Company, has expanded its business interest in the South America into Europe and England. In fact, they are using their IndyCar program to do a show car program in England because Miller is an American beer and IndyCar is American racing and what have you. Miller has expanded to Japan and to China and all around. So, I mean, the idea that this is -- that our sponsors, whether it is Miller or Marlboro, or any number of them, would be satisfied with just a national series, I think, is not correct. At the same time token, I don't think that we should, you know, we should be -- we don't want to be Formula I. We shouldn't be everywhere. I think the only reason we should go to races outside of North America is if there is a real logical reason to do it and certainly, I think, South America because of the base relationships between North and South America, I think, it is valid that we have a race there. I think in Japan for the same reasons. Beyond that, I really don't see much, and neither of those races should come at the expense of one of our American races. So -- or North America, because we have Canada as well. So I think there are some valid marketing reasons to compete overseas, but not to the exclusion or the sacrifice of the races that we already have.

Q. How many races can you afford to do, I mean NASCAR is running what, 33 cars this year? How much room for expansion is there?

BOBBY RAHAL: That is the issue. You know, we have 17 races this year. Really, I don't think we want to do a lot more than that, frankly, anymore than that. That is a big issue for us; particularly if you are talking about going to Europe and/or going to Japan or to South America, what have you, the biggest things that puts the pressure on us is not almost the number of races. It is the fact that we spend one month in Indianapolis, right in the middle of our season and NASCAR does not do that. And so consequently, we have to schedule, you know, 16 other races in a very narrow window and it really puts a premium on where we can go and how many times we can go as a whole. So how many could you do? I really wouldn't think you would want to do more than 18, but it may even be 17 or 16 depending on the races that you have. Much of it would be dependent upon when and the whys to. You just can't -- we just can't -- there is no way we can run 20 races or 19 or 18 is even marginal, I'd say. I think 17 is a pretty good number and we would have to go from there.

Q. Is it a necessity -- this is from a car owner's point of view -- is it a necessity today to spend an entire month at Indy?

BOBBY RAHAL: I don't know if it has ever been. I suppose it might have been years ago when the depth of the field was nominal, you know, people would show they wouldn't do a race all year; they'd show up there and get going and they needed two weeks to get going going. I mean, hell, now everybody shows up and they are ready to go. I mean, the Indianapolis 500 could be held, literally, in one week and I do not think the outcome of the race would be any different or the quality of the event would be any different, but Indianapolis 500, there is a tremendous sense of tradition there, and you know, as it is, it is one week shorter than it used to be, and, you know, I sincerely doubt whether Tony is interested in reducing the cost of racing to the teams by reducing the length of the month or the length of time that you have to spend there because of the sense of tradition and because, let us face it, if you have three weeks to promote something that makes for a pretty successful month.

Q. If you were given a vote, how would you vote?

BOBBY RAHAL: A vote for what?

Q. To say stay there for the week or the month?

BOBBY RAHAL: I mean, just as a driver, pounding around Indianapolis for three weeks is probably one of the riskiest things you can do. As I say, I think as a driver -- from a driver's standpoint, I think you could very easily have just a greater race in a lot less time. But I don't think we are going to be given the vote particularly now, and so, you know, we have to live with what we have got, I am afraid.

Q. Seem to be monopolizing things here. I have seen you teach in driving school classes before and you have put forth the philosophy of "anticipate, don't react to situations," particularly on the racetrack. Can you relate that to Nazareth and how ultra important it might be to actually anticipate what is going to happen, a lap or two or three ahead as opposed to reacting to situations?

BOBBY RAHAL: Well, I mean, I don't think you do it any differently there than you do anywhere else but because traffic is so key, you certainly want to run up on people at the appropriate time or try to do it as much as you can. But you know, I don't think there is anymore of a conscious effort to do that there then there would be any certainly at any other oval for that matter and probably any other road race.

JOHN PROCIDA: Anymore questions for Bobby?

Q. What about testing with the compression of the schedule that is becoming more and more difficult, but what are your plans? You mentioned Raoul being in Portland.

BOBBY RAHAL: He is in Indianapolis today. .

Q. What are your plans as far as how aggressive of a testing program for both cars the rest of the year?

BOBBY RAHAL: We have a dedicated test team and its own car which is an expensive proposition, but because of the way the schedule is, if you don't have one, you can't test; certainly not to the degree that you would like to, so we are fortunate in that Miller and all of our sponsors have given us the wherewithal to prepare like that and it really will make a big difference; particularly in June and July, especially when we are going to have five races in a row or four races in a row, we will be testing in those periods, but we will be testing without having an impact on the preparation of the race cars.

Q. In Europe Formula I a lot of the teams have gone to having a specified test driver.

BOBBY RAHAL: Right.

Q. With their test team program, do you see that happening with your team and other teams in IndyCar?

BOBBY RAHAL: I think that is the eventualiy for certain times of testing to be sure, yes.

Q. The course has certainly become a lot safer with the rules and we are talking about trying to increase racing and get the fans more into it. Do you have any comments on the speeds, are we about where we are going to be? Are we looking back at cutting back speeds?

BOBBY RAHAL: I think on the ovals, you are going to definitely see a program to reduce the speeds. These cars are now producing close to 850 horsepower and they are fun to drive on a road circuit. But they are, in my estimation, way too fast on the ovals and that I don't even mean the big ovals. I mean even the short ovals. At Phoenix this year, the top speed entering turn one was 203 miles an hour - on a one mile oval. And that is, you know, when everything is going great, that is fine. When you have got a problem, you have got a big one. And so there is a definite desire on the part of the Board of Directors of CART and the technical people which I am on the technical committee to reduce the speeds of the cars on the ovals and somehow not not diminish the quality of the racing. In fact, a case that makes it very well, the quality of the racing would actually go up. So that those things are under consideration and I am sure will be announced shortly.

JOHN PROCIDA: Last question for Bobby Rahal? (NO RESPONSE). Let me follow-up one thing that Bobby said earlier about the attendance at Long Beach this weekend, total of 285,000 people were on hand and I also want to add that anyone needing additional materials can get a hold of Tom Blattler and his number is 909-698-9650. You can contact me at the IndyCar office and next week we will have Paul Tracy on with us. Bobby, I want to thank you for being with us today.

BOBBY RAHAL: Thank you, John.



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