Indy Car Racing Media Conference
Topics: Indy Racing League
March 14, 1995
BOB ANDREW: Good afternoon, everyone. On behalf of IndyCar, I would like to welcome you to today's teleconference. Normally, John Procida is with you. However, he is in the land down under covering IndyCar Australia, so I am with you today. We are joined by Indy Lights driver Greg Moore. Greg is driver for the Player's Ltd./Forsythe Racing team, and he won the opening PPG-Firestone Indy Lights round at Miami last weekend -- two-week ends ago, I'm sorry. I would like to remind everyone that this is an open call. Everyone is available to ask questions. We would ask you to use your mute button while not talking. We do have some radio journalists on line recording, and we need to provide as clean a background as possible. Also, we have Jim Heineman available with us from the Indy Lights Series. He will be available at the end of the conference to ask any further questions of Greg and the Series, in general. So, now, we would just like to open up for questions. Do we have a question for Greg? At this time, our lines are open.
Q. Greg, I understand you did some testing with Roger Penske last year?
GREG MOORE: Yes, that's correct.
Q. Was that a rewarding experience?
GREG MOORE: It really was. You know, after ten years of racing, I realized it was all starting to pay off. I am in pretty good company in testing the Penske car with Eric Senya, so I am pretty happy with it.
Q. Greg, we talked a bit about how you will be testing a Forsythe car. I wonder if there is any chance of you being in an IndyCar race this year or whether that would be impossible with the Indy Lights focus?
GREG MOORE: Well, we are really trying to focus everything on the Indy Lights Championship this year. The players and I both want to bring the championship home; the players first year and my third year and, you know, that's really the focus. It's really up to the players and up to Gerry Forsythe with what happens later on, but, you know, first of all, we are looking forward to the Phoenix race and then, you know, we will see what happens after that.
Q. Was there any discussion at all that if you were fortunate enough to sew up the championship at some point during the season and then step into an IndyCar, or is it too early to talk about it?
GREG MOORE: There has been no discussion about it yet. The only discussion that we had about IndyCars is that Claude and I will both be getting some testing in the Forsythe IndyCar. Right now, the Indy Lights Championship is the first and foremost thing.
Q. Compare your first year of IndyCar Racing to this year, our Indy Lights Racing as to how you feel you have progressed and what the biggest learning curve was?
GREG MOORE: Well, basically, the biggest learning curve that I had was just learning to drive a much heavier car than I was used to. I come through Formula IV and Formula 2000 and also go-carts, and they are very small and nimble cars. The Indy Lights car is much like an IndyCar where it's got a long wheel base, it's a big car, and it's just a very difficult car to drive. The Buick motor has got quite of bit of torque, so you can't be too anxious with the throttle and, you know, learning all the tracks has also been tough for me too in the first year.
Q. What about the mental aspect of it?
GREG MOORE: The mental aspect was a huge thing. In the first year, I was just overwhelmed, you know, by how I was being received by the press; all the pressure that I had on myself. In the second year, I thought I had come a long way in holding back all of the press and, you know, just keeping down to driving, which is my job, really. And this year, you know, I think I have got a great handle on it, and I just can't wait for Phoenix and try to win that race.
Q. Greg, can you describe the team setup, what kind of help you have and that sort of thing you have now?
GREG MOORE: Well, on my car, it's a two car team with Claude Bourbonnais and myself. We have got three mechanics on each car. I have got returning mechanics that came from my team that I had last year, and the engineering is Steve Challice. He is working on my car, and Lee Dykster is working on Claude's car now.
Q. Greg, how long do you think it will be before you can step into an IndyCar?
GREG MOORE: Well, it really depends on how our testing is going and how also the Forsythe IndyCar team is going. You know, seeing as where Claude and I are both going to get into that car sometime this season, it depends on the testing and really just the availability of the car and if we can make it to a test.
Q. Do you think it will happen, do you have a ballpark figure on what race it will be; Detroit, Portland, Nazareth?
GREG MOORE: I really don't know. I don't know what the chances are of getting into a race this year. I think they are probably quite small, but I think that the IndyCar testing that Claude will both be doing will be good for both of us, and just give us a good taste of what we are looking for.
Q. Greg, Claude Bourbonnais, if I remember correctly, ran at least one IndyCar race last year, I think in Toronto. Had he given you any insight on what it might be like to drive an IndyCar?
GREG MOORE: Not really. You know, he did five races last year with a small team, and I don't think it was a great car that he had last year. Basically, I think he was just getting the experience of driving an IndyCar. I think now, seeing as I have done the testing, I did two days in the Penske car and, really, you know, I have got a good feel for what the IndyCars do and so does Claude but, really, right now, we are just trying to help each other on the race weekends and on the testing with the Indy Lights car. It's such a difficult car to drive being a flat bottom with a lot of rear percentage of weight. It's a really difficult car to drive, so I am giving him some insight and he is also giving me, so it is paying off both ways.
Q. Is it as big a jump to go from what you were driving before to Indy Lights, or I should say, is it as big a jump to go from Indy Lights to an IndyCar? Is there as much of a difference as there was from going from carts, etcetera, to Indy Lights?
GREG MOORE: I believe that the move I made two years ago was the toughest move that I will ever make in my career. You know, I think it proves how Bryan Herta hopped out of the Indy Lights Series and did very well in the IndyCar. Paul Tracy did. Coming out of the 2000 Series, it teaches you how to drive and drive a race car, but, really, it just overwhelms you when you first get into the car. It took me - I have got to say - it took me a year to get used to it.
Q. You keep mentioning Penske. Is there a chance that you might end up driving for them?
GREG MOORE: No, I have got a multi-year deal with Player's Ltd. and with Forsythe Racing. So, I have got friends over at the Penske organization now, but, really, my job is to win the Indy Lights Championship this year for players and for Forsythe, and then we will, you know, continue my contract with Mr. Forsythe and the Player's Ltd.
Q. Greg, how do you view the other drivers in the Indy Lights Series this year?
GREG MOORE: This season, I think has got to be the most indepth field that we have had, you know, that I have been in in the last three years. I think in any given race, there is six or seven guys that can win it, and it's going to be a very, very tough series for us this year.
Q. Are the drivers getting better or are the teams getting better?
GREG MOORE: I think it's a combination of both. You know, definitely, last year, the Tasman team had a bit of an advantage on some of the tracks. Also, my team had a bit of an advantage on some of the tracks, too. I think now, the drivers are starting to realize that these cars, once you get up near the front, all of the drivers are fairly equal and all the cars are fairly equal, so it's who gets the lucky breaks and, you know, sometimes it will be one guy is faster in a given weekend because he is just a better guy that weekend.
Q. Greg, when you began driving Indy Lights, did you have a timetable set to go into IndyCars, and has that timetable since you have tested an IndyCar changed?
GREG MOORE: No, it hasn't. We initially said, my dad and I, we had a contract; not really a contract, but we had a deal where he would help me for three years with an option year financially in racing. We went through the first year in Formula IV, the next year in Formula 2000, and then we went into Indy Lights, and then my dad opted on the option year, which was last year. We had a very good season last year finishing third. Now, I think that our plan or our timetable has worked out well. Now I have been picked up by a great team, and I think this team can carry me up to the IndyCars.
Q. Greg, can you talk about the difference this year that you have had ample testing, I guess, versus last year when you didn't have the budget to do that? Can you talk a bit about the difference that has made and can you say basically how many miles you have done to this point versus last year?
GREG MOORE: Well, up to this point last year, we have done six days of testing, and that was it. That was at Firebird in Phoenix. This year, we have done 15 days of testing all at Firebird. It has definitely all paid off. In Miami, I think we had a really good car there, and there is stuff that we learned last year during the season that we were sort of scared to try during the race week, and we just didn't have any test days to try and perfect it, but now, over the winter, we did considerable miles, and I am looking forward to it. We are going for a test on the oval. You know, Claude has done a couple of tests on the oval and they have gone very well.
Q. That's at Phoenix?
GREG MOORE: Yes, on the Phoenix oval. Those tests have gone very, very well. I believe he is on -- I know he is under the lap record. I am just looking forward to go in testing there, you know. In the last two years, we haven't done one test there on the oval, and we did well last year on them. I think we can improve the car and even go faster.
Q. When is that test scheduled?
GREG MOORE: It's the Indy Lights open test on the Wednesday prior to the race, and then we are going to be testing at all the ovals this year, too.
Q. Greg, is your driving style close enough to Claude's that you can share information or do you share information?
GREG MOORE: Yes, we share information. We both like the car set up a little differently, but we do share information. In testing, really, we sit down, at the end of the day we sit down and talk about each different setup that we have on the car, and in practice and qualifying, we talk about the gearing, we talk pretty much about everything you can think of. We share it. No problems. There is no number one driver on the team, but once the race comes, it's two separate guys racing for the win.
Q. Greg, talk about the fact of your youth when you started and where you are today and how that has affected your career?
GREG MOORE: Well, I think it's been a great thing for me. I started when I was ten years old racing go-carts. I think starting at that young age, it has given me some great opportunities to get to where I am now and, you know, I have got potential to have a 30 year, 20 or 30 year career in IndyCars and, you know, I think for me, that's just great me and it's great for the team and it's great for my sponsor, and we can form a long-term relationship, and we will continue it on.
Q. Do you preclude doing any F-I or anything other than the IndyCars?
GREG MOORE: Right now, my focus on is on the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar championship. Once that happens, if it ever does, it will be a while until I realize that there is other things other than IndyCar. Right now, I think IndyCar is the strongest motorsports around. I just can't wait to do my first race.
Q. Is it different being the kid in Indy Lights than being what you are now, the veteran?
GREG MOORE: Well, not really, because I am still the youngest guy in the Series by four years. At the drivers' meeting, they introduced me as the grizzled veteran at the age of 19. Being my third year in the Series, I can help out some of the rookie drivers. When I first started, I had a couple of guys who had done two or three years in the Series, you know, giving me small pointers, just small little pointers, and I find myself now doing that to some of the other guys, too.
Q. Greg, who have been the drivers that you have looked up to from your youngest years and have you kind of liked the style of anyone that you have tried to follow?
GREG MOORE: Well, obviously, Eric center was my hero. I have got posters of him all over my room. I have got all of his books; everything you can think of.
Q. That's a lot of books.
GREG MOORE: It is. It definitely is. You know, I think that he was the best that has ever, you know, been in the motorsports industry. I hope one day I can say that I have come close to doing half the things he did. I like the style that he drove. He was very small, very methodical, but also very, very fast.
Q. How long were you when you became aware of him, how early in your own career?
GREG MOORE: Pretty much right when I was racing go-carts, he was in the into Lotus, and he was, you know, just to see some of the things that he can do in the cars then, it really, really impressed me.
Q. Another thing, Greg, over the years of being a racing driver pretty much full-time for a long time, what have you been able to fit in in the way the kinds of things that a person might normally do, you know, other sports and fun things and school? Has that been tough?
GREG MOORE: It was a little tough at the end of my schooling. You know, I graduated with honors from high school so I can go back to college if I have to or if I feel like it. It was tough in the last year because I had spent so much time on the road and so much time racing; that it was just very difficult. You know, like after my third place finish in Portland two years ago, I had to go home that night to graduate the next day, had the school prom and, you know, the whole meal deal like that.
Q. You were able to do the school prom, though?
GREG MOORE: Yes. It was on a Monday afternoon, so I made it by about six hours.
Q. Did you have a date or were you like Homer Simpson?
GREG MOORE: No, I had a date. I have got many, many friends out here Maple Ridge and Vancouver and, really, I am just a regular teenager who does a high profile job, I guess. That's the way I see it.
Q. Right. In your three-year deal with your dad, did he also include something like you can be a race driver as long as you are a lawyer, as well?
GREG MOORE: No. He said all I had to do was be a nice young man, do very well in school, maintain a B average in school, which I did, and here I am, I am still racing.
Q. What high school did you get to, Greg?
GREG MOORE: Pitt Meadows Senior Secondary.
Q. Where is that?
GREG MOORE: It's in Maple Ridge.
Q. Okay. Greg, if you were to have a 16 year old walk up to you and with possibly some of the same background and he was to say to you, "I need to get into Indy Lights or I want to move into big-time racing," what would you tell him first?
GREG MOORE: As long as he had done a lot of go-carting, I would tell him to first go to a driving school, which I did. I went to a driving school when I was 15, like a race driving school, and then I would tell him once you have done quite a bit of go-carting and had been quite successful at it, I would tell him to go to Formula IV for a year or two, and basically follow the same routes that I did. I think it has paid off well for me. Paul Tracy did the same things I did. He did Formula IV and Formula 2000 and straight to Indy Lights after that, and it went pretty well for him, so I think that he would do all right that way, too.
Q. Do you think you were unusual that you were able to do all of that by the time you were 16 and then climb into an Indy Lights car?
GREG MOORE: I think it was a little bit unusual, definitely, being so young in Indy Lights. IndyCar had to change the rule. You know, the rule says you have to be 18 to drive, and I was 17, actually. So, it was definitely tough at the beginning, but it has definitely all paid off now.
Q. What are the pitfalls?
GREG MOORE: There really are no pitfalls. You know, it has been great for me. You know, I have got the potential to have a long career in the auto racing industry and, you know, I really haven't had to short my personal life or anything. I have got a girlfriend. We have been going out for almost three years now and many, many friends out here. I do everything that a normal 19 year old did.
Q. Does your father or family have any racing background?
GREG MOORE: Yes. My dad, he raced club racing. He did a lot of club racing. Just before I was born, he used to build his own CAN-AN cars. He did it for three or four years and he started racing with the likes of Bruce McLennan and Mark Donohue and all those guys.
Q. What were the cars called?
GREG MOORE: They were called the Moore's special. They were home built CAN-AN cars, and then once I was born, he retired from racing until '86 where him and a friend of his, they both bought a TransAm car or a Camaro and raced in the GTO when GTO was really big. They did probably six or seven races a year for two or three years. He just did it for fun, to pass the time away.
Q. Greg, what driving school did you go to?
GREG MOORE: I went to the Spenard David School in Toronto, Ontario.
Q. How long was that?
GREG MOORE: It was a two-day school.
Q. Had you started whatever education they have in Canada for normal teenagers to get their regular driving license at the time?
GREG MOORE: No.
Q. Could you compare what education is given to the average driver compared to what you learned in that school?
GREG MOORE: Well, in that school, it was basically, you know, how to heel and toe, how to downshift, what the apex is of the corners. Basically, just the basics of race car driving, but once I turned 16, I was able to get my learner's license they call it up here, and I did go to Young Drivers of Canada. I went to a six week course.
Q. What did you feel taught somebody more about a car?
GREG MOORE: About a car, I would say the actual dynamics of a car, I would say the racing school did, but I think for accident avoidance and all of that stuff that you are going to need on the road, the Young Drivers was definitely a good thing.
Q. Did you notice anything from the racing school or a performance school built into the Young Drivers School?
GREG MOORE: Not really. What they were trying to do, they are trying to promote the safest driving that you can do. It was definitely an eye-opener. You know, they give you records and statistics of crashes and, you know, fatalities and things like that, and it opens your eyes, when you are a young 16 year old guy, it definitely opens your eyes as to the dangers that can happen when you are out there.
Q. Does it teach you all that much about getting the car back, starting the back end, starting to go on a highway ramp or anything like that?
GREG MOORE: It relatively does, yes. They don't go in-depth like the racing school did, but, you know, they give you the basic synopsis.
Q. So, you don't feel that you would be safer on the road if like regular drivers new more of the same things that you learned in the racing school?
GREG MOORE: I am sure I would. Any time that you can get some education about a car -- in most peoples' lives, when they get in the car, they think it's just a thing that they go from east to west and from work to home in. They don't realize that, you know, what a wonderful machine it can be and what a bad thing it can be, too.
Q. Thank you. Greg, going back to when you started in carts, was that something you were really keen to do? Did you see yourself getting into racing immediately, or was it just a fun thing that grew?
GREG MOORE: Well, at first, it started off as a very fun thing. I had been to a couple of my dad's races and just said, you know, dad, I would like to try something like that. At the time, I was a playing hockey. I was a goalie at the triple A level. I was playing very competitively. So, I started just racing go-carts for fun. In the first race, I won, and then I started to go into the regionals which were the West Coast of Canada and the States. I started winning there, and then once I was 13, my dad said -- I was always doing something every weekend. I was either playing hockey or racing a go-cart or something like that, so my dad said, you have to make a decision. I am glad now that I choice racing.
Q. Did you ever envision yourself playing in the National Hockey League?
GREG MOORE: I did, actually. It sounds funny, but I really hoped one day that I would play in the NHL as a goalie and, you know, I think if I just stuck at it -- you know, three or four guys that I played with are either in the NHL or have been drafted. Paul Creay who plays for the Mighty Ducks, we actually roomed together in some of the tournaments that we played at, and Brennan Morrison who played in the NCAA, he was rookie of the year last year leading the points in Michigan this year. You know, I think if I just stuck with it, I would have been quite successful. I don't know how far it would have taken me. I think I made the right choice.
Q. Do you still play pick-up games, sir?
GREG MOORE: Once in a while. Not on the ice. Sometimes a bunch of friends will get-together and play street hockey in a basketball court or something like that outside. I never play goalie anymore. I am always a forward. I don't know why.
BOB ANDREW: Let's wrap it up. We appreciate everyone for joining us. We thank Greg also for joining us today. I would like to remind you of a couple of things. The next Indy Lights Race will be at Phoenix on April 2nd in conjunction with the Slick-50 200 IndyCar Race. The next IndyCar Race is this coming this weekend from Surfers Paradise in Queensland, Australia. The television time for that race has been changed. That race will now air on Sunday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. It originally was scheduled for 2:00 p.m. It is now scheduled for 4:00 p.m., so note that. Is there any questions for Jim Heineman regarding perhaps specific background information on Greg Moore or the Indy Lights Series in general. We have just a couple of minutes left.
Q. Where is Greg's hometown?
GREG MOORE: Greg, I think it's still listed as Maple Ridge, British Columbia.
Q. Jim, is there any word on what last year's champion is doing or what it looks like for him? Is anything happening?
GREG MOORE: Well, unfortunately, he is pretty much in a holding pattern as Herta was at this time. Tasman Motorsports is actively pursuing different deals regarding potential sponsors and setting up a program for Steve Robertson. Nothing has been signed on paper. The other thing that they are really working on is when he does get back out into the IndyCar, they are not going to throw him out there just to be on the track. The man is going to be out there to try to do well. They are not going to put him in inferior equipment or without the proper funding.
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