CART Media Conference
T.E. McHALE: Good afternoon to everyone, welcome to the CART media teleconference. We're pleased that you all could take the time to be with us today. Our guests this afternoon are FedEx Championship Series points leader Kenny Brack of Team Rahal and his team owner, three-time FedEx Championship Series champion Bobby Rahal. Good afternoon, gentlemen. Welcome to the call. Thanks for being with us today.
KENNY BRACK: Good afternoon.
BOBBY RAHAL: Good afternoon.
T.E. McHALE: Kenny, the driver of the No. 8 Shell/Ford/Lola became the first driver of the FedEx Championship Series season to reach 100 championship points when he drove to victory two weeks ago in the Target Grand Prix presented by Energizer at Chicago Motor Speedway. The Victory was a series high third of the season for Kenny who also drove to victory at Motegi, Japan in May, and the Milwaukee Mile in June. He also owns pole positions this season at Mexico; Texas; Milwaukee, where the starting grid was based on championship points; and Michigan, where the starting grid was based on practice times. He has scored championship points in eight of 11 starts to date, including a podium finish of second at Nazareth and has led a series high of 472 laps this season. Heading into round 13 of the FedEx Championship Series, this weekend's Miller Light 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Kenny stands at the top of FedEx Championship Series championship with 104 points. Bobby Rahal is one of two men to have earned three CART driving championships, in 1986, '87 and '92. He earned 24 race victories, fourth on CART's all-time list, and 18 pole positions, fifth in CART annals, during a 17-year driving career, which lasted from 1982 to 1998. Bobby stands third on the CART career list with 264 starts, fourth with 3,107 laps led, and third with career earnings totaling $16,344,008 dollars. He served a six-month term as interim president of Championship Auto Racing Teams from mid June through November of last year and currently heads up the Jaguar Formula 1 racing program. Before we begin taking questions, the Miller Light 200, Round 13 of the FedEx Championship Series will be televised live on ESPN this Sunday, August 12th, beginning noon eastern time. With that, we will open it up to questions for our guests.
Q. Bobby, being your home course, a bit of a Mid-Ohio expert, but if both of you could talk about the demands of Mid-Ohio. Specifically it's a very technically demanding racetrack. Would I be correct in saying that from the point of view of the Lola, this would be perhaps your most challenging track left in the season to really be competitive at that track? Talk about what it takes to be competitive there. Kenny, if you could talk about that and then Bobby add some comments.
KENNY BRACK: Well, obviously Bob knows the track perhaps more than I do. He's been there more times. But we had a really good run there last year. Personally, I think the track is nice. It's a very challenging track. I think that one of the factors this weekend, the heat is going to really be a factor I think if it continues to be hot like this. It's been like 95 to 100 degrees here in Columbus. That's real grueling. That's going to take a toll on race day, on equipment and everything. As far as being competitive, I think that I don't feel that we're going up there having any deficit to the Reynard teams. I think the Lola will be okay there. I think we have a good package for that type of course with the Lola and the Ford. We've been competitive in other road and street circuits this year. Hopefully it will be the same there. Obviously, you never know. It's the first time we'll be there with this package. Especially the chassis, it's a new chassis for us this year. We haven't got any previous information, but we've done a pretty good job of it so far. I think that will be all right.
Q. Physically, Kenny, before Bobby talks, is the Mid-Ohio, particularly with the potential heat, is it the most physically demanding track on the schedule?
KENNY BRACK: Yeah. The track itself is the most physically demanding track on our schedule. You know, even if it's a moderate good day, it's still very physically demanding. In this heat, it's going to be tough, that's for sure.
Q. Bobby, any comments you could add about Mid-Ohio, getting the car and team and Kenny right for this race?
BOBBY RAHAL: Well, nice to talk with all of you, first off. I think, no question, I think it's always been here at Mid-Ohio. This is just an extremely physical circuit. Ultimately, in some respects, this is as much a test of a driver's conditioning as it is of actually how well the car handles. Obviously I think qualifying is extremely important. I mean it's that in any road circuit. But being able to pass, certainly there are opportunities, but there aren't many of them. You know, you have to be ready to take advantage of anyone's sort of miss-cue, which means you have -- you just have to be running every lap almost as though it was qualifying laps. You know, I think this is a hard circuit, hard on the cars. As Kenny said, it's been very hot here in Columbus. Don't know what the long-range forecast is, but I know for the next several days it's going to be this hot. That's just going to have a huge effect. In '95 I think it was, you know, you could see I think it was Jacques Villeneuve leading early on, and literally by the third distance, he was dying in the car and had fallen back. A lot of people fell out of the race, making mistakes in the heat, what have you. It will be tough. But the racetrack is a great circuit. You know, pit stops, pit strategy is going to be real important. You know, the usual things. I think at some circuits, you have more opportunities than others in which to pass people or make a difference. Maybe the value of qualifying isn't quite as important. But I think the value of qualifying is almost paramount here. You've got to be in the first row or two. I think past that, it becomes really tough to win. You know, obviously for Team Rahal, for Kenny and Max, we have to make sure we give them two cars that they can put on the front row.
Q. Bobby, I just wanted to ask, I guess I feel strange asking this question long distance, but both your teams have won races, you have a guy en route to the championship in a year that you haven't got the hands-on, day-to-day running of the team. Human nature being what it is, have you asked yourself, "I wonder why they're doing so well when I haven't been involved as much as in the past"?
BOBBY RAHAL: I think maybe I was involved at the right time. I mean, I'm still obviously involved very much. I mean, I'm on the phone virtually every day. As I've always said, I felt my role was very much sort of a 25,000-foot role, viewing the big picture stuff. Certainly knowing where we had been as a team, which was often close but not quite, you know, I was just committed, and David Letterman committed himself, too, that we were really going to sort of change things, bring some new people in to change the way that we did things. Mark Johnson certainly is a prime example of that, giving him much more of the operation's aspects, Scott Roembke, him having done so much anyway in years past, really sort of out from underneath my shadow, getting the credit that I think he is due after all these years. So, you know, my decisions were those big ones like, "Let's change from Reynard to Lola," which wasn't economically the easy decision, because it would have been far less onerous for us just to stay with Reynard. But we wanted to do what we needed to do to win races. There were some big decisions made I suppose early on by me, but in concert with Scott and others and Don Halliday. Then it's like, "Get out of the way and let these people do what they're supposed to be doing." If I have to stay away while they keep winning, I'm more than happy to do that (laughter). I'm a big fan of this team and of the people on this team. I'm so pleased to see them having the level of success. My ego doesn't need to say it's because of me. I had my time in the sun. You know, I just think it's great. We're going to work very hard to ensure that Kenny wins this championship and that Max continues to have good races. You know, he's done a good job for us, as well, this year.
Q. If I could follow up on that. When you get in a situation like what happened with the two guys at Michigan, is that something that you as the owner would step into and help get things resolved, or is that something that you would just kind of stay away from and let it take care of itself?
BOBBY RAHAL: Well, I have to admit, I made clear my opinions following that. They shall remain private. The Golden Rule here is: Don't hit each other. That was a tough race. You know, for 220 some laps, I thought it was the greatest race I'd ever seen because our two guys were right up there, lead pack all day long. I thought the team had done a super job. But I think in the end, while I could talk to Kenny, talk to Max, talk to Scott, everybody here, in the end, I think the way they came back at Chicago, on all counts, whether it was from Kenny's standpoint or the team, Max had a good race in Chicago after a troubled qualifying, all credit to them because they're the ones who pulled themselves together and sort of said, "Okay, that's happened, now let's get on with it." Chicago to me, perhaps if we are fortunate enough to win the series at the end of the year, we'll look back at Chicago and say, "That was the turning point."
Q. Kenny, I was talking with Bob at Michigan. I asked him a question. I said, "Why did it take people so long to basically discover Kenny Brack?" You're 35, 36, driving like a 25-year-old at this point. I'm wondering, were you frustrated at any point in your career? What was the magic break? Was it the AJ Foyt ride? What's it like now riding this ski jump?
KENNY BRACK: I mean, you know, I think that -- I don't think age necessarily have anything to do with speed. I think the older you get, within reason, I think the better you get because you get more experience. Obviously, the factors are physically if you can keep yourself physically in condition so you can drive, but I believe you can do that till you're well above 40. What really comes into play is your determination, your will to succeed. You have to have talent and work hard, but if you don't have the will, it doesn't matter if you're 20, 30 or 40, you won't win. As long as you have the strong will, as you always did, then you only get better and better. So that I think answers one of your questions. The other thing is that I never had a manager running around the paddock, you know, telling team bosses how great I am as a race driver. I guess I never found one that I thought could do a good job for me. I had to do everything on my own, finding sponsors and stuff like that. It really wasn't until I came to the United States when I won the 500 and all that that I got a lot of publicity, and maybe that helped a little bit. I talked about it already back in 1996, I won a lot of races Formula 3000, came close to winning the title. I won races in all the leagues I've been driving in my career. But we talked back then, and there was no opening in the team. You know, we've been in contact -- had been in contact for a while, even though we didn't get together until the year 2000. I think I've had a real good career so far and had lots of fun and learned a lot of stuff. I had to do a lot of stuff on my own. You know, that only strengthened me as a driver because whatever you do, I still have that knowledge with me. I wouldn't change anything for the world in my career. I've had a really, really good experience with everything. I hope I will continue to do that in the future.
Q. You keep talking about taking it race to race. The fact that you've won the IRL championship a couple years ago, the fact that you have matured as a driver, does it kind of steel you for what's ahead, keeping your mind in the game, so to speak?
KENNY BRACK: Well, you know, I've been running for championship in all the series I been in. I guess you get -- you know what it takes to run for a championship, to get used to it maybe. But still there's new challenges thrown at you all the time. I believe in myself. I believe I have the ability to run for the championship in any series, given the equipment. I think Team Rahal, I mean, we're the team to beat right now. I'm extremely proud of the team, you know, how we have developed through our time together, you know, the different systems that we have developed in our time together. We have the Lola, the Ford. Everybody, we're working really, really good together, and we obviously have good support from Shell. We're a championship winning team. It's not one man's doing; it's a team of people that have to be really, really dedicated. Perhaps a driver can motivate or enthusiasm (sic) a team a little bit like that. But if you don't have the skill (in/and?) the people, you're not going to win. This team right now is at the top of its game. I'm really, really proud to be part of that situation.
Q. Bob, this weekend, you guys have your traditional CART race at Mid-Ohio. Down the road at Kentucky, the IRL is running basically head to head in a similar market for maybe the first time ever. I'm wondering, how do y'all escape confusion in the marketplace about who y'all are, who they are? Yall's got the guys who finished in the Top 5 at Indy, but they're who they are. How would you explain that to people at this point?
BOBBY RAHAL: I don't know if you can reduce any confusion. I think there's been a tremendous amount of confusion since 1996. That's why we've always tried to find some way of unifying this deal. But in the end, it comes down to, you know, which series has laid claim as the road racing series, the street racing series, the predominant road and street racing series in the country. It's had some successful events on the ovals. It's had some that are tremendous races, yet don't seem to attract a lot of people. I don't know if there would be a lot of spill-over. I think those people are ending up going to Louisville were going to go there anyway. And I think the ones that were going to go to Mid-Ohio were going to go there, and given the option would still go there. I think it's two different crowds. The series are very different, obviously. I think the fact that -- you can draw all kinds of conclusions from the fact that, you know, the last several years' worth of Indy 500 winners are at Mid-Ohio or the top six cars were run at teams that will be at Mid-Ohio. I think there's obvious lessons from that. As I say, ultimately for open-wheel racing to regain its rightful place, I think there's going to have to be some solution one way or the other.
Q. Are you talking about one series or a double series?
BOBBY RAHAL: I don't know. I mean, there's been so much talk over the years. It's been, what, four or five years since all this started, since the discussions have started. I mean, it's clear from the CART side that it's pretty much going -- can you almost see it going back to the way it was, going to Indy, after Indy everybody goes back to CART. Having said that, I think ultimately for open-wheel racing to regain its rightful place, as I say, there's got to be some kind of unifying solution, I would say.
Q. Do you agree with that, Kenny?
KENNY BRACK: Yeah, I don't have any solutions. As far as the driver is concerned, I've been in both leagues. I liked driving in the IRL. But I like driving in CART. It's a very versatile series. It's tremendously demanding for teams and drivers trying to be competitive in all kinds of different situations. One week we're running on a super speedway, next week is a short oval, next week is a street or road course race, then back to an oval. That is very challenging for anybody. I'm driving in a situation where I feel comfortable right now. Yeah, if there's a way of unifying them, that certainly wouldn't hurt. But those discussions, I don't know if anyone have a solution for that right now. I leave those discussions up to others. Right now I'm trying to concentrate on winning. That's all I can do right now. That's all I want to do for Team Rahal right now.
Q. In Formula 1 this year, you knew what you were getting into pretty much with Jaguar, a team that's been struggling. Has it been more difficult than you expected at this point or are you about where you figured you'd be at right now?
BOBBY RAHAL: Well, I guess I assumed it was going to be bad going in (laughter). I was prepared to be pleasantly surprised. I think it's had aspects of it that I think are far better than it's given credit for. I think that there were aspects obviously of it that were very much in need of repair. I will say while the results don't show it, necessarily, the team has responded quite well this year, and we've really closed the gap quite considerably to our group of competitors, which I've described as the BAR, Jordan, Sauber, and Benetton group. We're a long way away from a Ferrari, McLaren, or Williams for that matter. While the car has made tremendous improvements, while there's been tremendous improvements to the car over the year, you can only do so much generally with what you've got. Having said that, R3, which is next year's car, will be the first car that has been conceived by the whole new technical team brought in at the end of last year, Mark Handford, Steve Nichols, our technical director, and a few others. I'm quite enthused and optimistic about how I see R3 coming together, and knowing that this was going to be a multi-year program, that this was not going to happen overnight. I guess you prepare yourself for the hard days, but that doesn't make it any less easy or somehow more comfortable when you go to a race expecting a certain level of performance, and you don't get it. I mean, it still hurts. All in all, while it's been very difficult, I don't know if it's been any more so than I had thought going in.
Q. How is the family taking life in England?
BOBBY RAHAL: They all think it's Austin Powers.
Q. Kenny, Dr. Jerry Punch couldn't stop raving about you and the IROC cars. They say you're probably the best open-wheel in the series since Al. Talk about your experience and how you've been able to adapt to those cars where others have struggled? Jerry also talked that there could be a future for you on a one-race option.
KENNY BRACK: Well, first of all, that was very kind words of him, obviously. I think driving a stock car or IROC car is obviously very different from an open-wheel car. It's nothing you just jump in and, you know, do. You have to view it as a serious championship. That's what I've done. I mean, I probably ran more laps than most people in those cars, together with their test drivers, Dick Trickle, Dave Marcis, Jim Sauter, Andy Hillenburg all those. I tried to soak up as much information about those cars and how to run them, so forth, that I could during these races. I think that's part of the reason that I've been reasonably successful. You know, it's very difficult to beat the NASCAR drivers. We do four races a year. They do that type of cars, that type of driving 37 races. Obviously, it's not that easy to just go in and beat them. But I've been running up front. I think I was on the podium in three races or four this year. Had a fourth place. I think that was really good. I had hopes to try to win the series at Indy. I was really close. I guess third is not a disgrace either, considering only Bobby and Tony beat me. I like driving those cars. I think it's a lot of fun. It's a series where the fun part is the only thing that's left there. All the settings, the driver don't set the cars up or anything. We just jump in and drive. That's the fun part. It's a tremendous amount of fun to drive those races. You get to know people from different league series. I know people from the IRL obviously since before, but getting to know NASCAR drivers, the guys down there. That's interesting for me. I enjoy that environment, too. It's a nice little championship. I really appreciate being in the championship because obviously it's very difficult to get asked to drive the IRL since you have to have whatever results in your normal sort of driving job. You've got to be one of the top guys in your league to be able to get invited, so it's a very exclusive group of drivers that you race against, which is a lot of fun. As far as driving the options or anything, I don't have any options in NASCAR for the near future. I don't know where that comes from.
Q. I know your boss is on the phone listening. I know you talked about learning from Dick Trickle, a lot of the test drivers. Was there one specific or maybe two specific drivers that you got close with, that you felt comfortable with, not only off the track, but following behind on the track?
KENNY BRACK: Well, I mean, we practiced and raced with obviously all the drivers that are in the series. I must say that all the Cup drivers have been fair. I've been comfortable running around. I guess it's the other way around: it's about getting them comfortable running around us open-wheel racers. There's been a lot of talk that people sort of have an opinion that the Cup drivers don't run with the open-wheel drivers. I don't think that's the case. I think the case is that if any driver -- they run with any driver that can run properly in the stock cars, therefore you have to learn how to draft, how to position yourself, and also let people know that they can trust you if they going around on the outside, that you not going to push them up in the wall and stuff like that. If you can establish that kind of trust, then they'll run with you. They'll run with anybody. In the last lap, you're nobody's friend, and nobody's your friend either.
T.E. McHALE: Kenny's performance in IROC, he finished third in the season finale at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday. He also finished third in the championship, which was the highest championship finish in the open-wheel racer in the IROC series since 1996. Kenny, congratulations on that.
KENNY BRACK: Thank you.
Q. Bobby, with CART not returning to Nazareth and to Michigan next season, do you envision CART possibly going to exclusively road and street course circuits? How do you see the races being replaced at Nazareth and Michigan?
BOBBY RAHAL: I have to say, I mean, I guess have to preface this by saying I suppose I achieved as much success on oval tracks as I did on road courses - at least it was pretty close. Having said that, I think you can't argue with what seems to be the case or what appears to be the case, which is that open-wheel racing, with the exception of Indianapolis, open-wheel racing on oval tracks just doesn't seem to be working. California might be an exception to that, but I think that's just by virtue of obviously it's a crowd that enjoys racing of any type. Nevertheless, I think California Speedway looks to be a little bit unique. You know, whether you go to Nazareth, whether you go to Michigan, I mean, Michigan, I don't care what category you're in, if that clearly isn't the greatest race in terms of quality of a show, I don't know what would be. Yet if you judged it by the people in the stands, and people do judge it by that, you'd say it was the worst event in the world. It's I guess confusing or baffling - maybe "baffling" is a better word - why that is. Nevertheless, that's it. You sort of juxtapose that with the crowds they get at Long Beach, Laguna Seca, Elkhart, Mid-Ohio, Toronto, Vancouver, the list goes on and I don't know. You have to say, "I think there's something to that." I think the more unique CART makes itself compared to whether it's NASCAR or even IRL, that certainly causes you to look to events that will make it unique. I think, for example, next year the event in Denver is going to be a tremendously popular event, as it was ten years ago or so. It just seems that that's the nature of the beast. So rather than trying to be something you aren't, I think you probably ought to try to maximize what you really are. It sure looks to me like that's the road courses, the street courses, things of that nature.
Q. Kenny, what would your reaction be if the CART series were to go completely exclusively street and road courses?
KENNY BRACK: I mean, to me, I race whatever courses they have on the schedule. I mean, it's an extremely competitive championship. If you look at the teams, the drivers, you got 15, 20 situations out there that can win races. This year we've had like eight different winners or something like that in the race we've had. I mean, it's just great to be part of such a competitive situation. That's what's mattered the most to me. If it's street courses, road courses, ovals, I don't care. I'm there to try to win races. I'm proud to be able to win races in the situation that's competitive. I'm proud of my team here that's been able to be that competitive. That's all I care about.
Q. Bobby, could you update me with the status with Buddy Rice?
BOBBY RAHAL: I guess really not much has happened to date. Obviously, we're still quite interested in Buddy, but I don't know. This is a period of time, as sponsorships are solidified, plans are made, situations like Buddy's become clearer. Obviously, we wouldn't have done this just to do it. While it's a little bit frustrating for Buddy I'm sure to feel like you're sort of in purgatory, nevertheless our interest is genuine. We're going to see what happens I would suspect in the next 30 days we'll have a pretty good idea of where things will stand.
Q. Have you ever said the date by which you have to exercise that option?
BOBBY RAHAL: I think that's details in the contract and there's obviously confidentiality issues with that. I really can't say. Certainly there's a date, because it's not fair to anybody to be kept, you know, being out there waiting. Our interest in Buddy goes beyond just him potentially being a driver for us someday. My interest is to see him, you know, achieve his goals and to be one of the more successful American drivers in open-wheel racing, CART, in this country. There's nothing to be gained by sort of keeping somebody out there hanging. Usually option dates do have a triggering date to make -- for someone to make a decision one way or the other.
Q. Bobby, a colleague from The Oregonian had a question, rumor in the press room is that you were in 2002 the third team like Jerry Forsythe, Rahal with somebody else. Is that possible or true?
BOBBY RAHAL: No, that's not true. I've got enough on my hands. I've got enough on my hands right now. I mean, we looked at the possibility of a third car. But really, you know, this is a very tough, tough business. I don't want to do anything to mess with the formula that we have currently because it's proving to be successful. As I say, the last thing I want to do is alter that in any way.
Q. Is the contract with Max renewed already?
BOBBY RAHAL: We don't have a contract with anybody on the Miller card at that stage. This year was the last year of the original contract with Max. Now, certainly Max has done a great job. I thought his race at Portland was a phenomenal race in very, very difficult conditions. But he and I haven't even really spoken about it. As I say, I think in the next 30 to 45 days, you'll see a lot of the movement happen in terms of drivers and teams and what have you. We'll know more later. There's still a lot of the series to go. Max can still have quite a good year, if we can just get him some good luck. The guy is showing he can run very quickly. He's showing he can win. We've got to just help him try to do that.
Q. Got to make a subscription with Lady Luck?
BOBBY RAHAL: That's right.
Q. Bobby, when you were in Vancouver for the race last year, you seemed to be against having more than two races in Canada. I wonder what your thoughts are being three next year?
BOBBY RAHAL: I wasn't against it. That's just what the contract was. Obviously, there were sensitivities at the time, particularly when have you two years left to run in Vancouver, about the last thing you want to do is, you know, talk about that. You want to talk about the upcoming race. As I think I just mentioned, I've always considered Vancouver and Toronto in particular two of the most successful events ever in the CART series - maybe in open-wheel racing as a whole. I think it's going to be tremendous that you have Vancouver, Toronto, and I'm particularly excited about Montreal because I think Montreal is a circuit -- as a circuit, is a phenomenal place, for the team as great racetrack. You'll have the three biggest cities in Canada hosting three major events. I think that's nothing but a huge positive for us. Molstar, who as you know is the promoter, if they're not the best, certainly one of the best promoters CART has, one of the best that exists in motor sport. The more you can do with them, as far as I'm concerned, the better.
Q. Kenny, I just wondered how nervous you were before Letterman and while you were taping it?
KENNY BRACK: Well, I don't know nervous. I was anxious probably. You know, that was a whole lot of fun. It was obviously a great honor to be able to sit in for a show like I did with Paul and the rest of the musicians. They've been a tremendous supporter of racing, obviously a great owner for this team. He's done a lot for the CART series by showing clips here and there, supporting it all through the season. It was just a great thing to be able to do that. I was very, very honored to be able to do it.
Q. Sounded good, looked great.
BOBBY RAHAL: You only play with professional musicians like Paul and these professional musicians. It's a lot easier than playing otherwise because they make it easy for you. That's probably part of the reason that it sounded good.
Q. Are you saying it's harder to play with Carpentier?
BOBBY RAHAL: It's harder to play with your own group. You practice together and do gigs. But these guys there at the show, they play together every day. They know each other so well. They can carry someone that don't know them that well. If you have your own group, then you have to work hard in getting to know each other and getting to notice the small nuances here and there to sort of make it sound good. But they're great musicians in my group, too. But you don't get that sort of same feeling as when you play together every day. That's different.
Q. Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Markus Naslund, Mattias Ohlund. I wonder how big they are back home? They're four Swedes that play for the Vancouver Canucks .
KENNY BRACK: I heard of most of them. Hockey, especially NHL hockey in Sweden, is pretty big. You have obviously some really big stars over here, Swedish. I'm thinking of Boris Berg, Sundin, these guys. These other guys are in the press regularly in Sweden, too. There's quite a few of them that plays in the NHL.
Q. How is it that a country of eight million people, not just hockey, but golf, tennis, motor sport, what is it about Sweden that produces so many elite athletes?
KENNY BRACK: I don't know. I mean, I really don't know. But hockey is a big, nearly national sport in Sweden. Hockey and soccer are the two sports that every kid. Even I had a hockey club.
Q. Can I ask you what you thought of the Indy 500 this year, what it said about comparisons between CART and the IRL?
KENNY BRACK: I mean, comparisons, I read very little into that. Indy 500 is always won by the best team with the best driver. Clearly Penske cleaned house. You know, that's that basically. Hopefully maybe we can be back there next year and show them how to really do it. We'll see.
Q. Kenny, it's really hot in Toronto, too. I'd like to focus a bit on the heat we talked about earlier. What do you do to deal with it personally yourself?
KENNY BRACK: The only thing you can do is to drink a lot, stay out of the sun as much as you can. Really in the race weekend, there's nothing. You can't avoid it because you have to be out paying attention to what other people are doing. You have to sit in the car and everything. The only thing you can do is be well-prepared. That's something you go through the whole season doing, you know, physically working out. That's the only thing you can do really.
Q. What is your primary fitness? Is it cycling?
KENNY BRACK: You know, for me, I rather run. Mix with weight lifting, I run for the aerobic.
Q. How far do you run?
KENNY BRACK: I don't measure distance. I measure time. I always run time. If I get, you know, whatever distance, it depends on what kind of workout I do. If I do interval or if you do some other stuff. I run pretty long stints.
Q. But some interval work, too?
KENNY BRACK: Yes, just like you would do for any other sport. You mix it up with interval, continuous training, whatever you have.
Q. When you talk about drinking a lot of water, I guess, do you have water in the car in this situation?
KENNY BRACK: We do have water in the car. Obviously, we can't carry a big container of water. We can carry a little bit of water. It's not enough to keep you hydrated. You have to drink a lot before the race, then you add some during the race, then you drink about a gallon or gallon and a half after the race just to try to reset the loss of your fluid. I mean, it's a tremendous loss of fluid during a race. It's very easy to get dehydrated in weather like this.
Q. How would you explain to an outsider as to how hot it gets? I've heard drivers say you don't feel it as long as you're moving? Given the heat we have now, that might not be the case.
KENNY BRACK: In this heat, you feel it when you're moving, too. When you stop in the pit stops, making adjustments in practice and stuff when you stop in the pit stops, that's when you really sort of -- your senses aren't focusing on driving because when they are, they shut everything else out. You come into the pits, you open a bit. That's when you really feel how hot it is. It's grueling.
Q. Have you ever in the past have something happen in a race and you thought, "I was just too hot, lost concentration?"
KENNY BRACK: I don't think that I've ever have that happen. I've been really dehydrated. One instance last year I was really dehydrated. After Cleveland, I was really, really dry afterwards, so to speak. Normally it takes two or three days to get back to a normal situation with the fluids and stuff. When you get dehydrated, then you can't eat for a couple days. It takes probably about a week to get back to your normal form. It's something you have to be very aware of.
Q. You've got the bulk of your points from oval races up to now. You have six of the nine remaining as road circuits. Are you enthusiastic about the opportunity to get results there?
KENNY BRACK: Definitely. I think you're right, we have had the majority of our points from oval racing. We have been competitive on the road and street courses, too, it's just that we haven't been able to get to the finish line in a lot of them because of various mechanical problems and so forth. I think that we have a very good package with the Shell/Ford to really bring home some good points even there. I think that we can challenge for wins in the races to come, definitely.
Q. The car cut out or you might well have won at Mexico. Was there another road circuit where you had the thing shut down for a moment?
KENNY BRACK: No. That was the race. We also had -- we ran Long Beach, for example, and we had drive shaft that broke there. Was second there when it happened. Obviously, third in Toronto when we had an electrical short circuit. We've been Top 3 in all the races, or many races in that situation, too. I don't think we have something missing. I think we're having a pretty complete knowledge about what we need to be doing in different situations.
Q. Kenny, when you talk about the road circuits, getting the car ready, at Vancouver last year, three races away here, too, didn't qualify particularly well. Can you talk to me about the Vancouver track, what you like or don't like about it.
KENNY BRACK: It's a terrible place (laughter). All jokes aside, we had a rough time there last year actually. It was actually so bad in the first session, I came in twice. I thought the car was broke. I just couldn't drive it there. It was slip-sliding all over the place. I think for the race we kind of (inaudible) onto what we needed to be doing. By that time, many times it's too late. I think as far as the track is concerned, it's not the most exciting track, but it's good. The town, the setting of it, it's extremely nice. There's a lot of support, a lot of fans coming to the race. I guess that goes for all the Canadian races that I've been to so far. It seems to be like it's a happening in the places where we race. It's not only the race, it's a big party. You Canadians, you have other stuff going on, parties and competitions and stuff like that. It's really an event outside the racing, too. We always enjoy coming to Canada and race. I think this year I have one-year experience from Vancouver. I think that we have a very good understanding what we need to be doing to be competitive. I'm looking forward to it.
Q. Bobby, you talked a bit about Vancouver. We're about a month away from those two races in Europe. You've been in Europe. I wonder what kind of sense of how they're going to go over there? Talk about what you talked about before, CART maybe going to a street and road racing circuit.
BOBBY RAHAL: I think it's going to go well. I have no doubt that it's going to be a learning curve for Europeans in regards to what CART is all about. I would say for those people that follow racing closely, and many of them do over there, they all wish in some respects certain aspects of Formula 1 were more like CART: the competitive nature of it, accessibility to the drivers and the teams. Those things just aren't there in Formula 1. In CART, obviously they're some of the mainstays. I think there's probably a well-educated group of racing fans there that are going to come because they know it's good racing, and there's going to be a group of people that will come to the race out of curiosity that probably would be converted, I suppose, or at least will follow the sport more regularly once it leaves those races. The fact, thanks to Joe Heitzler, this year we have a consistent television package in Europe. Every Sunday night on Eurosport, it's live. For me it's been good, but for a lot of people they know when they can tune in and the race will actually be on. I think that's helping to create some interest. I don't doubt for a second that there's going to be some period of time you'll have a race, and I don't know if both races will be sold out, but it's just going to over time I think bring more and more fans to have an interest in this type of racing. Certainly the ovals are a very unique form of racing in Europe. It's something that they're not at all, other than watching on TV, not something that they're all used to. I think when they see these cars and drivers on those circuits, they're going to be wowed by it. But that's there. If we're on road courses there, as I say, wouldn't be any different than Formula 1, Formula 3000 or anything else. So being on the ovals I think is the way for us to go. It's kind of a paradox in a lot of ways. As I say, I think it's a damn shame that the ovals aren't popular here. As I say, if Michigan isn't the greatest race, hasn't probably produced three of the greatest races ever in the last three years we've been there, I don't know what circuits would. Yet it doesn't seem to really matter. I just find that, as I said earlier, baffling. Conversely, you look at Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal next year, Long Beach, Houston, the list goes on and on, Elkhart, Mid-Ohio, Laguna, you can't argue with it. Sometimes reality is not necessarily what you want it to be, but you have to recognize what it is. I think, without question, the more unique we are at CART as a series, the better, the more successful the series will be in the long-term. May not be immediately successful, but nothing happens overnight. We have to lay claim or stake a claim to some aspect to something that is unique and special for us to really grow the sport. If we just want to be like everybody else, we're going to suffer.
T.E. McHALE: As we're approaching the top of the hour, I'll open it up to a couple quick final questions for our guests.
Q. Kenny, your success so far this season could probably be attributed to something you're keeping close to your vest. Also, will Mid-Ohio pose any unique challenges, will you have to make any changes, adjustments? Bobby, if you could take a few moments and wax eloquent for the Mid-Ohio fans what that track personally means to you?
KENNY BRACK: That is for me? I couldn't hear the question.
Q. What do you attribute your success so far this year to? Also, will you have to change anything in light of that for this weekend at Mid-Ohio?
KENNY BRACK: Well, I think success so far has been, like I talked about earlier, this is not a one-man show from anybody, it's teamwork. Team Rahal is extremely strong right now. I've been part of helping build it, but there's 90 people here. We all have been part of helping build it. That's the key to our success so far. I don't think that we want to change anything for Mid-Ohio. We've been successful, ran strong on all kinds of different tracks, all kinds of different layouts. We just going to go to Mid-Ohio and try to continue what we have done so far.
BOBBY RAHAL: Well, naturally Mid-Ohio, as you know, I go way back. Of course, had a lot of success there, all different kinds of cars. Won both of my IROC races at Mid-Ohio, won some sports car races there, the Lumbermens, Indy car, CART races, I guess all kinds of stuff. I just always loved Mid-Ohio. I thought it was one of the great driver circuits. It puts such demands on you as a driver, whenever you left there, especially if you won, you really felt like you'd done something special. Of course, having grown up really literally going to Mid-Ohio, here I am now 30 years later, 40 years later, going back, I still think 40 years later, "Here we are, what a fantastic place." It's still going strong. It's under great direction, ownership by Michelle Gajoch and Barbara Trueman. It's just I think one of the great road racing circuits in this country and one of the great ones in the world. I guess I just feel having witnessed most of the world's greatest drivers race there over the years, Jackie Stewart, Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme, Jim Hall, Mark Donohue, the list goes on and on, from that era, to the guys you see today, not many places have seen that level of talent walk through the gates there and perform. For me, I feel lucky that I was in that -- in the group. I just love going there. I think it's a great facility and it will be great for another 40 years certainly.
Q. Kenny, seems like since you won the IRL championship, won the Indy 500, you're poised to win the CART championship. If you win the CART championship you have conquered just about everything there is to conquer. What's next? Do you think you'll be going towards Formula 1 with Bobby and Team Jaguar?
KENNY BRACK: I think that's a bit premature right now. We have nine races left. We just have to focus on the job at hand and see where we end up. If we manage to win it, that will be great. We'll think about the next step after that. Certainly for now, I don't have any other plans than to continue here for the near future.
Q. AJ Foyt, Penske, Ganassi, Andretti, a lot of big names have gone back to the Indianapolis 500. Will we see Team Rahal there next year?
BOBBY RAHAL: We're certainly investigating it, as we've done the last several years. Naturally, I'd love to go back. I still think, without question, there's such history and tradition to it. Being such a traditionalist in a lot of ways, I think you just do want to go back. You want to compete and to win. I'd love to win that as an owner, not just as a driver. There haven't been many of those, I suppose. We're looking into it. We're going to do everything we can to go there. Because of the names, the kind of names you just mentioned, if you go, you got to go to win. That means money and that means a lot of support. We want to make sure that we're properly prepared to do so. Personal we are working actively towards going there. I suspect here in the next 60 to 90 days we'll know for sure one way or the other.
T.E. McHALE: With that, I'm going to step in and wrap it up for the afternoon as we've been at it for over an hour. Kenny, Bob, thank you for taking the time to join us this afternoon. We wish you the best of luck in the Miller Light 200 this weekend. Thanks to all of you who took the time to join us this afternoon. Have a good day.
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