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CART Media Conference

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  CART

CART Media Conference

Michael Andretti
Michael Valiante
April 16, 2002

MERRILL CAIN: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us today on this week's CART media teleconference. I'm Merrill Caine with CART public relations. We're privileged to be joined today by two champions from this past weekend's action at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. In just a few minutes we'll hear from Michael Valiante of Lynx Racing who captured the Toyota Atlantic race at Long Beach on Sunday. First we'll talk with another Michael, all time leader in career victories and driver of the No. 39 Motorola Honda/Reynard Bridgestone, Michael Andretti . Michael, thanks for joining us today.


MERRILL CAIN: On Sunday Michael took the checkered flags on the streets of Long Beach to claim his 42nd career victory in CART, holding off Jimmy Vasser and Max Papis. With the win Michael extended his CART record for most seasons with at least one victory and now stands at 15 and he continues to move up the all-time Champ car win list. He currently sits third, trailing only his father Mario, who has 52 wins, and AJ Foyt who has 67 career victories. Michael also set another CART record on Sunday, after winning at Long Beach 16 years ago in 1986 for his first Champ car win. He established a new mark for the longest time between venues. We also do need to point out that as was announced by CART on Monday, Team Motorola was fined $20,000 as the No. 39 car failed to pass a post race inspection because it did not meet the minimum underbody height requirement. Despite that fact, we do appreciate Michael taking time to talk with us today. Let's get to questions.

Q. On the weekend, all the open-wheel races in the world were won by people named Michael. I wondered, anything has to do with the name?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Did you win anything?

Q. I just watched you guys. Are you aware of some of the younger drivers that are coming up? I'm thinking of people like Michael Valiante and some of these other series. At a race weekend, do you get much of an opportunity to see them? Is there anyone out there that's impressed you that's maybe a year or two away from getting into the CART series?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: To be honest with you, I'm so busy on the weekend, I don't really get a chance to watch. But as the year goes on, you do begin to hear names, like midyear you start hearing the same name over and over, then that's when you have to start watching. Obviously that's the kid, whatever, that's really coming up. Right now I really haven't been watching. Midyear, like I said, I'll probably be more up on it.

Q. You've always had great success on the street circuits in particular. Any reason for that? You won a lot of races in Canada which have been on street circuits, then 15 years between wins at Long Beach. Do those kind of courses suit your driving style more? You do well on ovals, as well. Do you particularly excel at street courses?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I wouldn't say so. I like them. I like them a lot, but I don't think I'd do any better on them than any other type of course. I think it's probably maybe because we race more on the street circuits than any others. Maybe it has to do with numbers of races that I've run on those types of circuits. Chances of winning more on those is greater.

Q. You made out with your 42nd career victory. Your dad had 52. AJ Foyt had 67. Are you perhaps at this stage in your career, are those records within sight? How long do you expect -- or your fitness regimen, maybe you would agree, you're maybe in better shape now than you were ten years ago. Do you see an end in sight or can you see yourself racing like your dad did into his 50s?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: No way. No way. Competition won't allow you anyway. It's just so tough nowadays. I don't know what I'm going to do yet. I think we have to first wait and see what happens with open wheel racing in the States and all that. I don't know yet. I feel really good. I feel like I'm still on top of my game. As you said, I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life. We'll see. I can definitely tell you, though, I will not race till I'm 54 years old.

Q. What kind of infrastructure does Kim and the team have when you're faced with the situation like you were at Long Beach where there's jubilation, celebration with a victory, then all of a sudden there's a fine because the car is too low? Does the whole team get down or is there a structure that says, "We win as a team, we lose as a team, get fined as a team"? How do you make it not affect the entire outfit?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: It won't affect the entire outfit. I think there's circumstances. There are reasons why we were fined, things like that. It was because it was a car that only had 12 laps of running on it before we even ran the race. It was a brand-new car. Things settle on new cars and stuff like that. It really didn't affect the handling at all of the car. The car didn't feel any different or anything like that. It was just one of those technical things. It won't affect the morale of this team. This team is real professional. These guys understand, they know. I have all the confidence in the world in them. They've been under a lot of pressure with all the things that are happening on the team with going to Lola, the Indy thing with the Delara, getting those ready. These guys are awesome. I just have all the faith in the world they're going to continue to do a good job. I wouldn't even say what happened was a mistake. I think it was just circumstances.

Q. There's a lot of balls in the air with the Indy 500 coming up. You talked about the Reynard situation, the Lolas. Can you tell me the difference to you in how it feels under your butt, the difference between the chassis?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I can't really because last time I drove on the oval at Homestead, it was with a different rear wing with the Reynard last year. You're not comparing apples to apples. I can't really tell you one to the other. When I get to a road course, I'll probably be able to compare with the exact same wing package and give you more of an answer. I haven't gotten to that point yet.

Q. Your fastest lap was Lap 77, about 13 from the finish. Do you remember that lap?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah. We were pushing hard.

Q. Can you take us through it a little bit, how it felt different than any other lap, what was happening?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I just -- I knew I had to make hay there. I was pushing as hard as I could. I remember that one was a pretty quick one. I ran a few others down around that time, as well. But I knew at that point I just had to push as hard as I could. I think that was after they told me I could go, I didn't have to save fuel anymore. That's when I really started to push. They wanted me to save a little fuel while Jimmy was being held up behind Papis, they were saying to just cruise, watch the fuel, try to get some put away in case you need it later. Then as soon as Jimmy passed him, started to catch me, they said to go. That's when I went. That's when I started to crank off my quick laps.

Q. You looked pretty emotional at the finish there, more emotional than I normally have ever seen you in a race win or loss or anything. What was going through your head at that point?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: It was a big win for us. I knew how important this race was to Honda because they wanted to keep the streak going. This is almost like their home race. I really wanted to do well for them there. Also Long Beach is just a very special track to me because that's where I won my first race. I've had such hard luck there since then. It was great to finally break the ice there and get another win. It felt really good. It's funny, I watched the telecast last night, they said I was crying. I was not crying. I did not pull a Moreno. I can tell you that. I was wiping the sweat from my face.

Q. Were you thinking not to blow another tire?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Thinking all that stuff. All I was really trying to do was focus on the laps, continue to hit every point, hit every apex, brake at the same point. I was trying not to think about anything else, just wait to see the checkered flag. I tried to do that so I didn't distract myself. It seemed to work.

Q. I would like to see you race into your 50s.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Ain't going to happen (laughter).

Q. Are you going to be home this weekend?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: No. We're heading off to Japan on Saturday. We have to leave, have to do some stuff for Honda in Japan.

Q. Your feelings about the Indy Racing League coming into Nazareth Speedway?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I'm glad there's a race here. If there isn't a CART race, I'm glad there is a race here. I'm hoping that our community supports the race. We'll have to wait and see. They didn't do a good job supporting the CART race. We'll see how they do with the IRL race.

Q. (Inaudible) sequence pit stops? Was that the way things worked out? Did you have that in mind to begin with?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: No, we pretty much discussed it beforehand. If the yellows came out at a certain point, the leaders did one thing, that we would do the opposite. We were in the no-lose situation at that point. Even though it was a gamble, it really wasn't a gamble. If it didn't work, all we would have done is ended up back where we started. You know, we had nothing to lose at that point. When that one yellow came out, all the leaders took it, we stayed out. We had like another 12 laps to go before we had to pit, so we really cranked out some strong lap times at that point and were able to get a gap. Then when we went back out again, we were not as far behind. Then we caught another yellow at another good spot. That gave us the track position. That's how we ended up winning.

Q. I'm sure you're going to look at pit strategy throughout the year. Do you think this was a unique situation at this race?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah, it was unique. It can happen again. It may probably happen again during the year. But it's a lot of just luck, the way all the things fell. It was definitely luck to get that track position. But I've got to say, though, once we were able to get the track position, we had a car good enough of keeping that track position, so that was important.

Q. Looking ahead, moving to Indy in May, how have you guys been preparing if at all for that race? How much is on your mind right now?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: The other two cars of Paul and Dario have been testing at Indy because they haven't run an IRL car, so they needed to get some miles in it. I myself am waiting till the month of May. When you test at this time of year, it's a total waste of time because the track conditions are so good. We're just going to wait and start to go to work in May. The team is already preparing the cars, obviously. They're working hard at it. We've hired a few extra guys as well to help prepare them. But myself, I'll start really focusing on it after Motegi.

Q. Did the weather on Sunday make any difference after you had been practicing and qualifying under different conditions?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: No, no, it really didn't. For us it was good because it was cooler from a driver's standpoint, in terms of the handling and things like that. The only thing it did, on cold tires, it took a couple extra laps to get up to speed. That's the same for everybody. It didn't really affect the handling in any way.

Q. We saw you up in Toronto last year come from the back. Is this going to be an ongoing thing?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: No, I don't want it to be that way. It was unfortunate circumstances we were in the back. In the end I'm probably happy we were in the back because we probably wouldn't have won because we did something different than the leaders. I think our car was actually capable of top six qualifying. I never got a clear lap. Then I had on my last lap, I ended up crashing. We never got the optimum out of the car to show what it had. We are not planning on being in the back like that all the time.

MERRILL CAIN: Michael, one question before we let you go. We have Michael Valiante from the Toyota Atlantic series set to joint us. You're a graduate of the Atlantic program. Can you talk a bit about the importance of the CART ladder system, driver development, how it can help open wheel car drivers to reach the competition level in the FedEx Championship Series.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: It's important. If you look at the way racing is structured in Europe, for instance, they're getting talent at a very early age where guys are going through the ladder system, just like you do, say, football, or whatever, any other sport. It's good to see that CART is taking that role in trying to get young talent because that's the future of the series. I've got to say that the Indy Lights program and things like that, also the Atlantics have put out some great talent. You look at the guys, probably 80% of the field I'm racing against now came out of all that. It's so important. It's what the future is all about for us. They have to continue to support the series, otherwise the future won't be as good. But I think they're doing a good job in doing that. A shame to see the Indy Lights series go away. It was good to see a full field of Atlantics. Ton of cars there this year.

MERRILL CAIN: You obviously have been brought up in racing yourself, your son Marco has moved up through the ranks. Is that somewhere you see him going down the line?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah, I would definitely see that a few years down the road, for sure. I think it's such a great training ground. The Atlantics, it was actually in my opinion, my favorite car to ever drive. It was just a fun car to drive. I'm hoping if Marco continues to go up the ladder, he will be able to experience that soon.

MERRILL CAIN: Love to see another Andretti in the field.


MERRILL CAIN: Michael, thank you very much for spending some time with us this afternoon. We wish you best of luck in round three of the CART FedEx Championship Series Bridgestone Potenza 500 in Motegi, Japan a little over a week away. Wish you the best of look. See you in Japan.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.

MERRILL CAIN: We'll go now to Michael Valiante, driver of No. 19 Lynx Racing Swift in the CART Toyota Atlantic Series. To give you a little bit of background, he's a 21-year-old native of Vancouver, British, Colombia. He's competing in his second season in the Atlantic cars after graduating from the Barber Dodge Pro Series. In 2001, Michael ran five races and still wound up ninth in the series championship and he's considered a serious contender for the 2002 title as well. Sunday's win in Long Beach was his first in the Toyota Atlantic championship and he used a daring pass of Alex Gurney on lap 21 of that race to key the victory. Thank you for joining us today.


MERRILL CAIN: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. I was asking Michael Andretti if he was aware of some of the drivers that are coming up through this ladder series. He basically says he'll be able to talk about that better when the season progresses and he gets kind of a handle on everyone. Do you get much of a chance to watch drivers like him in that CART series? Is he one of the guys you look up to or are there other people? Are you too preoccupied and concerned with what you're doing?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: Well, the main drivers I look up to, something you can learn from. I make sure that I always try -- if I don't get to watch the event live, I actually try to watch it on TV the same day or the next day. But like Michael Andretti was saying, we're so involved on the weekends with developing the cars and trying to do well, sponsors, it's hard to pay attention to everything else going on around you. But you definitely want to at least sometimes go in and watch to see how Michael Andretti or Paul Tracy or whoever is taking a certain corner. You can try to compare yourself or compare your line.

Q. In Andretti's case in particular, because the longevity he's had, 15 years between wins at Long Beach, your career is just starting out, when you look at the length of career of somebody like he has had, been successful as long as he's been, do you draw any sort of inspiration from that?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: For sure. I mean, I think just winning Long Beach in itself is an extremely prestigious event to win, just because of the history. It's great for my first win to come there. But for sure I mean, any driver that can stay in this sport a long time, I think it's great to see, especially with the talent of Michael Andretti. But it's also great to see the now faces coming out of Toyota Atlantic or wherever else.

Q. First win in any series is so huge. I don't want to use a cliche about the weight being off your shoulders. This is such a competitive series. Knowing that you can beat these guys, at a very prestigious event, that's got to do a lot to relieve a lot of the pressure. You go into these series saying, "Until I win my first one," you wonder if you'll ever do that. Did you think that way or did you know it was going to which eventually?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: It had to come in one of the top teams in the series. Just joining Lynx, I have basically their reputation to follow. Obviously, a lot of people expect us to win. There's no reason why we shouldn't. I'd say there's been a lot of pressure for me to perform. We were a little bit disappointed after Mexico where we qualified. But I think we really -- I really am coming together with the team now. I only did five events last year. I have a new engineer this year. I think it was great, you know, to get this win off early in the season and to prove that we will be a championship contender for the rest of the season.

Q. Nice outside pass on Gurney. Very entertaining. Are you known as a bit of a risk taker? There's not a lot of places to pass in Long Beach. Are you known for doing things like that, a guy who will let it all hang out and stick your nose out there?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: I think it's early in the season. You've just got to see when you want to take those risks. They're basically calculated risks. The last event, I don't think I would have done that if I was leading the championship and could finish second to win. My car was so good when I was following him, that when you have an opportunity like that, you really have to take it. As you can see, as soon as I got in front of him, I could pull away quite quickly. I knew, if anything, that race I had to win because it's hard to have that much better of a car than everybody else.

Q. You have to think, "Now I've won one," it would have been nice to do that in Vancouver, but as the schedule works out, you'll be everywhere but?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: I was looking forward to coming home. It would have been great actually to get my first win in Vancouver, as well. But last season I raced in Vancouver, it was my last race, and I finished second. I almost didn't make it to the event. I think it was great last year to finish second, it's great to start the season off with a win at Long Beach.

Q. You just talked about the benefit of that win to the Lynx team. For you personally, what does that first win do for the mindset of a young driver?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: Well, I'm trying to keep everything in perspective because it is the beginning of the season. There's still quite a few more races to go. We're going to need a lot of podium finishes to be a championship contender because now with the merging of Atlantics and Indy Lights, the series has become so competitive. I'm so happy to finally get that first win out of the way, especially coming in Long Beach. It has relieved a little bit of pressure, but I still think we have a lot of work to do in the upcoming events.

Q. Being from the greater Vancouver area, maybe a few more wins like this, do you think the comparisons with Greg Moore will be become inevitable?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: I mean, it's hard to say. Greg was a great driver. I only hope I can be compared to him one day. It would be awfully difficult to live up to Greg Moore. I think it will all depend. The pass I made on Gurney I think I gained a lot of respect from doing that rather than just finishing second and taking it safe. I'm just extremely happy.

Q. You said it would have been nice to race in Vancouver this year. Is this any race for next season in Vancouver or has the schedule not been determined yet?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: It hasn't been determined yet. Obviously, I'll be pushing for a Vancouver event.

Q. You had a good view of the first turn of the first lap. Can you tell us anything about that?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: The green flag was thrown extremely late. I think we were really bunched up by the time we did get the green flag. I didn't have the greatest start. So Jon Fogarty who started fourth alongside of me got in front of me. Basically we all went into turn one much too late. I was just trying to gather up the car. I think Jon squeezed down the inside of Joey and Ryan was on the outside. It's really difficult to go through turn one three abreast, especially with that much speed. I think it was hard to see what happened to Ryan, but I guess he hit the tire wall. I was just able to squeeze on the inside of Jon Fogarty. I thought I was actually going to come out in the lead. I looked on the inside, Alex was on the inside of me, and we were in the same situation, going three abreast. We just squeezed through there with inches to spare.

Q. Certainly I know you held your breath after that for a bit. Did you hold your breath when you made the move on Alex or was that something you felt you had in hand and could do?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: Well, I had followed Alex I think it was almost for 20 laps. I knew that he wasn't too strong in the braking zone of turn one, so I knew if I had the chance to pass him, it was going to have to be at the end of the straightaway. The hard thing was at Long Beach you really have to get behind him off the hairpin to get the draft in the Atlantic car to have the chance to pass him at the end of the straightaway. Alex is extremely good at coming off the hairpin turn. On the restarts, it was the closest I had ever been. I got a great draft. I was thinking about going to the inside first, but Alex was right up against the wall. I had so much momentum going. I just decided to take the outside line. I had a little slide going. Probably wasn't as dramatic as it looked because the car wasn't completely sideways, it was just enough where I could hold it through the corner. By the time I was at the exit of the corner, I realized how close it was.

Q. Does this win now give you extra confidence for the season or did you already have this confidence being with the Lynx team?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: I think it all gives us -- has given the whole team extra confidence because we have a few new people on the team now. Like I said, Steve Cameron, the team manager, was my manager last year. Rick is my team manager this year. I'm still getting used to working with new people. Obviously we're doing something right because we had a really good car and were able to win this race.

Q. Last year you ran in the series, this year. Can you talk about the different level of competition this year versus last year?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: Last year was extremely competitive. There was quite a few good drivers. But I think with the merging of Indy Lights and Atlantic, obviously you have three Dorricott cars who are a constant threat, three good drivers, the team is very good coming from Indy Lights and winning quite a few championships. With the numbers now exceeding 25 cars, the competition level, any Top 10 driver can win an event. That's how I see it. It's really forced not only myself to raise my game but also the team as well, to make sure that in every single test day we're getting the most out of me and getting the most out of the cars. I think it's extremely competitive, more than last year, because I don't think there were this many cars that could win a race. I think it's going to be extremely challenging all year long, although it will be -- I think we will get more recognition, the Atlantic driver will get more recognition if he wins an event because they're basically one stepping stone series into CART now.

Q. You have quite a layoff now. I think your next Atlantic race isn't until June.


Q. What does that do to you in terms of what will you do during that time? Just having won a race, obviously you'd probably like to have another race in a week or two weeks to keep the momentum going. That's the way the schedule is. How do you feel about it? What will you do in the month of May?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: I think it's critical to keep in good shape even though we're going -- we have almost a little over a month off. Basically I'll just be working out almost every day. We have some tests scheduled, as well. I also like to do a lot of karting. I have a long history of karting, so I do quite a bit of that while I'm down here in California. That just helps me prepare for the next event. It would have been nice I think later in the season there's a series of events, almost four in a row. Like you said, it would have been great to keep this momentum going. But it's also great to have a month off just coming off a victory, the whole team is happy. Basically the whole team is on a high from winning that event. It's a good way to have a month and a half break. I think it will only build my confidence for the next event.

Q. Do you feel an inordinate amount of pressure? The fact you have a Lynx seat, you almost sounded like you didn't do very well in Mexico, sounded like there was a real urgency to do well here. Do you feel that now? Last year you only had five rides, but now being one of their top drivers, because the history of Lynx, do you feel that pressure like you have to produce immediately, you can't even sort of have time to kind of acclimatize yourself to the season?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: I mean, definitely the Lynx organization, it's great to be part of. They don't put the pressure on me. I mean, I put more of it on myself. The sport at this level, Atlantic, even more so in CART, it's all based on performance. The pressure is always there to finish on the podium. Like I said, I think this year more than anything it's critical to finish on the podium and have consistent results if you're going to have a shot at the championship. You can just see from Jon Fogarty, who finished third this weekend, he has a first and a third now. I think he's going to be one of the main contenders because he's consistent. Same thing for myself. If we don't have the best car, we're not having the best weekend, like in Mexico, we were still able to finish fourth. That's what put us in the position right now where we are in the championship, a few points behind Fogarty who is leading. Like I said, if we can't win, we have to at least finish on the podium.

Q. You finished fourth in Monterrey. Do you also feel, you not only have to win, you have to demonstrate you're a pretty aggressive driver, the manner in which you won? Is that just as important as winning?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: Winning the way I did was it is was the best thing I could have done. I think a lot of people have taken notice to the way I passed Alex. He didn't make it easy by any means. I really had to push to get by him. When you can win a race like Long Beach, because I think people say it's a real technical track, if I can win the way I did, it will really help my career. I think it will really help the team, to give them confidence as well, if I can do things with the car like that.

Q. Do you come home at all during this next stretch?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: We'll be testing in Portland next week. I'm going to try to make it back to Vancouver within the next two or three weeks. I've been away from home for a while now, almost three months. I'd like to come home and see everybody.

Q. Atlantic events in Toronto and Montreal this year.


Q. It's been unfortunate it's not in Vancouver. At least those will be big races for you, won't they?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: For sure. Any time I come home for Canada, I think we receive a lot of publicity, as David did. Two great Canadian drivers, quite a few. We're all looking forward to coming home and competing in front of our home country crowd.

Q. How did you meet the Lynx ladies? I know you don't drink, but do you get carded very often?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: Well, how I met the Lynx lady, the beginning of last year actually I didn't really know what I was going to be doing. I just finished the season. I was really looking for an Atlantic ride. I first started talking to Steve Cameron, team manager there. We tried to put something together. Took quite a few weeks before I got in the car. It was only a week before Long Beach. We finally came to agreement that Long Beach would be my first race. After the first test, I basically went and met Peggy, Jackie, talked. They were excited to have me on the team. About getting carded, probably more so in the United States than in Canada. Like you said, I don't drink, so I don't have too many experiences with it. More so getting the mechanics beer, things like that.

MERRILL CAIN: One final question for you. We asked Michael Andretti about this before we let him go. If you could talk a little bit about the ladder system. You're a Barber Dodge Pro Series graduate. Now there is a clear track to the Champ cars. What does that mean to a talented driver like yourself who wants to reach the highest level?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: I think it's great. It's been a long time coming. When I came out of karts, it was difficult to make the transition because you didn't really have any direction, didn't know if you could into to Formula 4, two-liter, Indy Lights, Atlantic. It was difficult to make a decision. I was one of the first ones to win the scholarship into the Skip Barber Racing School, receive a full free season, my first season. I was able to go from their two-liter series, then win a scholarship to go to Barber Dodge, and now to Atlantic, and hopefully CART. There's a real defined path. It's great for up-and-coming drivers who aren't too familiar with the sport or how to even get up into CART or even Atlantic. I think it's great. CART is continuing to do things for Atlantic drivers and all sorts of drivers like this new mentor program that they've introduced. I think you'll definitely see some Atlantic drivers making the transition into CART.

MERRILL CAIN: The mentor program was announced this weekend also in Long Beach where drivers like yourself will have the opportunity to meet with Champ car teams and drivers, get a feel for what's it's like to compete at that level, especially on a race weekend. How important and valuable do you think that's going to be to you?

MICHAEL VALIANTE: I think it's extremely important because it puts your face in front of the CART owners or the CART teams. Anytime that you can have an introduction like that, you can always go back and talk to the team or talk to the engineers or even talk to the drivers. I found one of the most important things in racing is to constantly keep your face and keep in contact with influential people that you know, not only because of the influential people, but I've met so many great people and have become friends with them. Anytime you can basically network in motor racing, I think it's an advantage. I think CART is only helping the Atlantic drivers do that now. It's great to see.

MERRILL CAIN: Thanks again for joining us this afternoon. We really enjoyed watching the race in Long Beach. Congratulations again on the victory. We'll see you at the next Toyota Atlantic, in Milwaukee, early June.

MICHAEL VALIANTE: Thanks for having me.

MERRILL CAIN: Thank you for joining us on the CART media teleconference. See you at the next CART FedEx Championship series event, the Bridgestone Potenza 500 from Motegi, Japan on Saturday, April 1227th. Have a very good afternoon.

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