Indy Racing League Media Conference
Topics: Indy Racing League
June 8, 2011
THE MODERATOR: Welcome, everybody, to today's IZOD IndyCar Series conference call. Today our guest is the driver of the No. 82 GEICO KV Racing Technology Lotus Dallara Honda Firestone, Tony Kanaan. Thanks for taking the time to join us today.
T.K. joins us as he's en route to El Dora tonight to participate in The Prelude to the Dream for the second year in a row, Tony Stewart's All-Star dirt late-model charity event.
You raced in that race last year. Talk a little bit about your experience and how you think you'll fare this year against some of racing's biggest stars.
TONY KANAAN: It was a great event last year. It was my first time in a dirt track and a dirt car. I have to say it was a very unique experience. I haven't driven a dirt car since, so I don't know what to expect.
I was really horned that Tony called me back again. I spoke to him last night. Anytime he will invite me back, I'm going to keep coming back.
Next year I'll try to get some more laps done. I'm extremely excited. It is for a good cause. I think it helps promote dirt racing, NASCAR racing, and IndyCar racing. I was the only IndyCar racer from last year. As I said before, it's going to be different for me, but this time I have one year under my belt so hopefully I'll be better.
Q. Let's talk about your day job with the KV Racing Lotus. You're fourth in the standings heading into Texas. Has the season gone the way you thought when you signed with the team just before St. Pete?
TONY KANAAN: I didn't know what to expect. We signed four or five days before the first race. I had no expectation. I was just happy to be part of the IndyCar Series. We started pretty well in the beginning of the year with a podium finish right in the first race, and we're sitting fourth in the championship. We're definitely raising the bar right now.
I mean, a lot of things that need to be done on the team and we're growing the team slowly. I'm pleased. After all we went through at the end of the year, GEICO coming in at the last minute as well. I can't complain. But there's still a lot of races to go. I'm excited about Texas this weekend. Double-header race, it's going to be fun. It's going to be like the old days. So hopefully we have a good weekend at Texas.
Q. You mentioned the doubleheader at Texas. What do you think of the format and have you ever raced twice in the same day?
TONY KANAAN: I've done it in go-karts, but not in cars. I like the way it is. We'll have a better opinion after we do the whole thing.
But I'm happy. I think I'm excited about it. I think it's going to be a good thing.
THE MODERATOR: Talk a little bit about racing at Texas Motor Speedway, especially racing at night. Both the races will be under the lights as opposed to starting in twilight and going into the night.
TONY KANAAN: That's going to help a lot on the setup, although it's going to cool off for the second race. I think it's going to be closer as far as setups and how you want to dial your car.
We're going to have to be more aggressive maybe because the race is shorter, so you're going to see people trying different things to win the race. I'm excited.
I think having the races more or less closer to each other on time will help a lot of people as far as the car handling, for sure.
THE MODERATOR: Do you think the racing, with the setups being closer, more pack racing, as they say, as opposed to spread out?
TONY KANAAN: It's hard to say. You'll see people trying to be a little bit more aggressive as far as setups. Instead of race setup, maybe they will try for qualifying setup to see and then they can change the car after that. It's hard to say. So we'll see.
THE MODERATOR: It's obviously a large group of cars, second only to the Indy 500. Are you concerned about the size of the field?
TONY KANAAN: A little bit. I mean, but I think it's awesome. 30 cars, it's one of the biggest fields we had since the 500. So it's going to be busy, a lot of traffic. It will add to the race and be good for the fans.
It doesn't concern me. But actually it's always been a packed race and a big traffic jam, so it will be even more now.
THE MODERATOR: Let's talk again about El Dora. Can you learn anything about running on dirt that helps you in terms of car control or anything for the IndyCar?
TONY KANAAN: No, not really. I think they're two different things, obviously. Car control, it's always good to have. But there's nothing that I can relate to IndyCar. I wish I could drive my IndyCar sideways, but I don't think I can.
THE MODERATOR: What are your goals for the Prelude tonight? I saw something that said a top-15 finish in that race is something that you can easily obtain with the car you have.
TONY KANAAN: I'll try. I'm looking to have fun. I think it's the most important thing and be part of a very nice charity event. Whatever the outcome is, it is. It will be. I'll be happy. In a personal goal, I wanted to do good, but I don't have experience in those cars.
I'll do my best. That's all I can do.
THE MODERATOR: Seeing that the media with us is kind of shy, we're going to let you go and enjoy your drive to El Dora and best of luck tonight.
TONY KANAAN: Thanks, man.
THE MODERATOR: That will wrap-up today's IZOD IndyCar Series teleconference.
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