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IndyCar Series: Kansas Indy 300

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Kansas Indy 300

IndyCar Series: Kansas Indy 300

Michael Andretti
Bryan Herta
July 6, 2003


KANSAS CITY, KANSAS

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with Bryan Herta and Michael Andretti. Michael has some arrangements and needs to get out of here quickly, so we'll get started with them. Bryan, this is your first win, third start in IRL. You finished fifth at Texas in June. It's Honda's second win, second win for Andretti Green Racing. Michael, comments on your driver's win today.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: He's making me look good. He did a great job. I knew Bryan coming in would be great for this team, and he proved it very early. In his first race for us I think he finished fifth. He's just been doing a tremendous job for us. Everybody loves him on the team. You know, I'm just proud of the job he did today. I'm proud of the job of the whole Archipelago Motorola crew. Those guys needed it really bad because of the stuff they've had to go through with Dario and everything. Kyle making a great call in the pits with the strategy, I mean, I'm just so proud of them. Then having Tony come home ahead of Scott Dixon to increase his points lead, it was like a huge day today for our team.

THE MODERATOR: Gil and Helio were talking about the importance of fuel strategy earlier. Bryan, obviously you ran out of fuel at the end of the race. The checkered flag came out just in the right amount of time.

BRYAN HERTA: We had just enough. Like Michael said, I really got to give a lot of credit to Kyle Moyer. He's the guy on the radio that made the call. Right as I came out of my last pit stop, he knew what we had to do to try to reach for the end. I think that was the difference, we started saving fuel from the very first lap on that last run. I got a little concerned because Tony dragged me around for a while, which was great, because I was saving some fuel, but he pulled away from me and I said I need more fuel to stay with him. We had a choice right then, we could either race Tony or save fuel. Kyle said, "Let him go." That made the difference. Kyle's race strategy and the Honda fuel economy, I mean, those were the two factors that made us different than even else today. I think that's what got us to Victory Lane.

THE MODERATOR: Questions from the media center.

Q. Could you talk about how important fate plays in a driver's career?

BRYAN HERTA: Well, I don't know. I mean, I don't even think about it anymore. I've been the flavor of the month, I've been ground down into a little smidgen of an ash. This is just kind of a funny business that way. I think it was a shame what happened with Dario, and he's a good friend. But they needed somebody, and I'm just thrilled that Michael called me, really took a chance because, you know, I'd had a few bad oval races towards the end of my CART career there. You know, there were some people thinking maybe I couldn't do it on the ovals anymore. Michael believed in me. That gave me a lot of confidence to know a guy like him believed in me and gave me this chance. Made me really, really motivated to want to, you know, prove that he's right. Gosh, I love driving for this team. To bring home a victory in the third race with them, I don't know what else to say. It's unbelievable.

Q. You said a lot of people thought you couldn't do it anymore. Did you think you could win another race?

BRYAN HERTA: I think if you look -- you've got to have all the ingredients right. You got to have the right package. You got to be on a big team, you know, with the right amount of funding to do the development and everything. And I haven't had that for many years. I mean, I think if you go back and look in my entire career, I've never had a teammate who has won a race. I've kind of been in the right place at the wrong time. Been with a lot of great teams. That's all behind me now. I'm with a great team that is winning races right now. I want to just look ahead and try to win as many more as I can for this guy this year.

Q. Can you talk about picking up your first IRL victory and being here?

BRYAN HERTA: As I said, I mean, I'm almost speechless. I never cried in a race car, and I cried crossing the start/finish line, it hit me so hard. You know, but it was so many things. I mean, first win on an oval. You know, driving for this guy, who is a good friend beyond everything else. The team effort, the way we won the race. I mean, it was such a team effort. You know, it was almost magical. I don't know if you can recreate it. No matter what else we ever do together, you know, this will be very, very special for me always.

Q. How much pull were you getting out there from Robbie?

BRYAN HERTA: Yeah. We were looking for somebody to draft off of so I could just save fuel. We knew we had everybody covered if we could just save enough fuel. So I was just looking for somebody. Robbie happened to be the guy that I hooked up with. You know, I mean, I definitely need to send Robbie a nice bottle of champagne because he kind of let me ride around behind him the last 15 or 20 laps. That's what got us to the end. We didn't have a lot to spare. We knew what we had to make. We were bound and determined to make it. You know, I think Robbie played a big part in this race because, you know, he allowed me to sit there on his coattails and just save the amount of fuel we needed to make it to the end.

Q. Was there ever a point where you were beginning to believe (inaudible)?

BRYAN HERTA: If I did, I wouldn't be here today.

Q. How far back do you two guys go?

BRYAN HERTA: I don't know. I mean, we got to know each other when you drove for Chip.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: '94, '95.

BRYAN HERTA: You were driving for Chip, I was going to drive for Chip the next year because you were going to Newman/Haas. We just got to talking. Sometimes you get on better with some people are others. Michael and I just formed a friendship. We always raced well together on the track. I think that was a big part of it, you know. Certainly I had a lot of respect for Michael, not just for all the races he won, but the way he won them, the way he raced on the track. I think that mutual respect is what spawned a friendship.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I agree.

Q. Racing and winning today, could you describe what it means for you to experience speed?

BRYAN HERTA: You know, it's all slow motion, I mean everything. The more that's going on, it seems like the slower things happen. I think that's especially true when we were battling early in the race. We had a lot of wheel-to-wheel battles with guys. You know, time seems to slow down, your life seems to slow down. In those last few laps sitting behind Robbie, you know, I was driving on the dash. I was watching the number come up every lap. I knew what number I needed to make on the miles per gallon. I was just watching that. It just kept going slower and slower and slower. My lap times slowed down a little bit. But, you know, it's just -- it's surreal. You go into sort of a different world. I think you'd have to experience it to really -- I don't know if I'm doing it justice by trying to explain it.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations. The win today was awesome.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Thank you.

BRYAN HERTA: Thank you.



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