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CART Media Conference

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  CART

CART Media Conference

Kyle Krisiloff
July 2, 2002

MERRILL CAIN: We now welcome in Kyle Krisiloff who bill be making his Toyota Atlantic debut this weekend in Toronto this weekend. Kyle, thanks for taking a few minutes to join us in the CART Media Teleconference this afternoon.

KYLE KRISILOFF: No problem. Thanks for having me.

MERRILL CAIN: Kyle is an 18 year old driver; the sun of former Champ Car driver and current Patrick Racing Operations Director Steve Krisiloff. Kyle has had success basically at every level of racing he's competed in including Midget Racing, Formula Fords and most recently the SCCA National Formula Atlantic Series where he captured two pole positions and two wins while establishing course records and that is in just three races of competition. As it was announced in Chicago over the weekend that Kyle will be driving for 21st Century Technology in the CART Toyota Atlantic Series beginning in Toronto, with sponsorship from the United States Grand Prix and from Patrick Racing as well and also his father will serve manager of the team. Congratulations on the opportunity. We'll now open it up for some questions for you.

Q. The relationship you have had with your dad who has had some success, Kyle, and you follow in his footsteps, he must be tremendously proud of you to see how your career has come along. How has it affected your relationship with him?

KYLE KRISILOFF: My dad, he is very proud of me, and throughout all my levels of racing he has always been the person that's at every race giving me his full support. So it has been nice to have him along, you know, at every race, giving me his full support.

Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself. I don't know that a lot of Canadians know you. They certainly know of your dad's exploits. Give us the 30-second tour of the bio again.

KYLE KRISILOFF: It started when I was about nine years old running quarter midgets in the Midwest, and started off slow, and then I started running very competitively on the national level and I won quite a few races. Then I moved onto shifter karts and karting and that's when I first took, you know, a real liking to road racing. So I have been chasing my dream of Formula One since that. It has just been a fun ride all along.

Q. Style, when we watch you drive, does it remind you of everybody? Patterned yourself after anybody?

KYLE KRISILOFF: I don't know anything about that. I definitely -- I try to stay calm. I think it's important to finish races and be around at the end. But I am also -- I am not afraid to go inside if there's an opening.

Q. You are planning to run with a series in Toronto this weekend?

KYLE KRISILOFF: Yeah, this should be our first race this weekend. We're looking forward to it.

Q. When you look at this race that's coming up, this could very well be one of the biggest races that you will ever have because everyone is going to be watching you for the first time. What are your thoughts about that?

KYLE KRISILOFF: Well, I have thought about it that I am getting into a pretty big series and it is my debut and everything, but I view it as I am pretty new at this, and pretty young so I have a while to learn. I am just going to try and go out there and keep the car in one piece and be patient and try to be consistent and learn as much as I can. We came in this a little late this year so we're not expecting a run for the Championship or anything like that. So I think our plan is just to learn as much as we can, and try to catch up, you know, a little bit because all these guys have been doing it a long time. They are pretty good at what they do.

Q. As far as emotions are concerned is it in one respect maybe a little better than you do not have the pressure of running for a Championship that you can be patient, and that you don't have to take the chances that, if you were in a Championship, you may have to take?

KYLE KRISILOFF: I don't know. It always nice to be able to look down the road and see that there's an ultimate goal or reward for your hard work. I'd love to be able to try for the Toyota Atlantic Championship, but it is nice to know that, you know, these next six races, the most important thing is that we learn as much as we can and I get some good seat time.

Q. Kyle, welcome to the Atlantic Series. Your first ride in Atlantics is going to be on a street course and one that can be a little bit difficult to master. Have you ridden or have you driven street courses like this before?

KYLE KRISILOFF: I never actually driven on a street course. I have watched them in CART videos in Toronto; looks like a pretty challenging track, so I am just going to try to learn as quick as I can. Most of these tracks this year I haven't been to, so part of, you know, part of the team getting up to speed will be just myself learning these tracks. Because they are pretty nice facilities and most people don't have to drive there. So it is going to be a challenge.

Q. What kind of advice does dad give you on this?

KYLE KRISILOFF: Well, everybody pretty much tries to give the same advice and that's, you know, keep your nose clean, try to run as long as you can, keep the car together and just, you know, be patient, there's lots of time throughout the weekend. I am just going to try to sneak up on it and try to run as well as I can.

Q. Coming up through doing SCCA Racing, particularly Formula Atlantics, how would you compare that particular car to the Toyota Atlantic car?

KYLE KRISILOFF: It's roughly the same car. In SCCA you are allowed a few less restrictions on the engine and you are allowed to run a softer tire, but the actual chassis is the same chassis. I am running the same chassis that I was running earlier this year. I actually went testing and between the two tires, I didn't find much difference, and the motor will have slightly less power for the new CART Series. But besides that, they are fairly similar so there's not much difference.

Q. You are pretty much comfortable in the car already; it's not a real learning experience yet?

KYLE KRISILOFF: Yeah, we have had quite a few outings in the car, so I am fairly comfortable in showing up for Toronto. That's not one of the things that I am going to have to get adapted to. It is more just, you know, the atmosphere, and the new racing track that I have never been to.

Q. A lot has been made in other venues about using video games to learn a track. Is that something that you can do with Toronto? I really don't know if one is available. Is that something you have done and if so, has it helped in learning a track that you have never been to before?

KYLE KRISILOFF: We have been pretty much flatout lately and I haven't really had a lot of time to looking at stuff like that. I am sure some type of simulator would be helpful but right now I am focused on other things, and that would be nice if I had time, but really, all I had time to do was look at an in-car video of Scott Pruett a few years ago. I have heard that people such as Juan Montoya have had success, using video games and stuff, so I assume that they are probably pretty good if you haven't been to the racetrack.

MERRILL CAIN: I'd like to ask you a question. Obviously as we look down your resume here you have been successful pretty much at every level of racing you competed in as we pointed out in the introduction there. Is that strictly because of the situations that you have fallen into? It is because you have got that kind of built-in confidence through your dad because you have been brought up around this sport? What do you attribute your success to at this point in your career?

KYLE KRISILOFF: When we first started off the first year in quarter midgets we just ran mid-pack, I was just learning how to race, but slowly and slowly we became very dominant and by the end I was winning every race I went to. It kind of started all over again when I started go-karts. I hadn't had much experience turning right and left so it was a whole different game. But when we got into the Formula Fords, it almost started over again because I hadn't been, you know, in an open-wheel car so at the beginning of the season it was slow. But I learned a lot, and by the end of the year, before anybody knew it, we were already challenged at National Championships. So I think it is like anything else, you can't really relate some of the slower cars to some of the faster cars. There's always a large learning curve that you have to get over, but I think in time - I am a quick learner, so, I will try and do as best I can as quick as I can.

MERRILL CAIN: It was brought up a little earlier on the call that your dad has helped guide you along, given you some advice. You said you were getting advice from a lot of other people. Obviously in the situation you are in, with the ties to Patrick Racing, you have got a lot of experience there with Jim McGee and Pat Patrick himself. Have you had much opportunity to bend the ear of those guys and get some guidance from them and maybe some of the other Champ Car Drivers that have come through that tremendously successful team over the years.

KYLE KRISILOFF: Yeah, I met -- I am at the shop everyday so I have got a pretty good relationship with Mr. McGee and Mr. Patrick, I see sometimes at the races. They are always anxious to lend some advice or share an ear. Definitely those guys have been around, you they, helped me in areas to further my career. My hats are off to them because they have helped me as much as they can.

MERRILL CAIN: Let us open it back up and see if Lynn is back.

Q. I have a question as to why Toronto was chosen as the first venue?

KYLE KRISILOFF: We started this year off in SCCA and we had success immediately, so after a little bit of amateur racing we decided that we would be wasting the rest of the year running there, so pretty much by the time we got everything together, Chicago was the first race we could have gone to. We chose not to because I love road racing, you know, my goal is Formula 1, so it seemed kind of silly to go out and run an oval first that we have no experience on in the car. It won't even be like a good test because there's no more oval race this is year. Toronto just seemed like the best logical race for us to make our debut at.

MERRILL CAIN: Kyle, that will pretty much wrap it up for the teleconference today. We appreciate you joining us. And we're happy to welcome you into the CART Ladder System, the Driver Development. We wish you the best of luck this weekend, in your CART Toyota Atlantic debut. Thanks, Kyle.

KYLE KRISILOFF: Thank you. We remind everybody that the next event is the Molson Indy in Toronto this weekend with the race set to air this Sunday at 1:30 P.M. eastern time on the CBS television Network. Thanks to all that participated in today's teleconference. Have a great afternoon.

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