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IndyCar Series: Kansas Lottery Indy 300

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Kansas Lottery Indy 300

IndyCar Series: Kansas Lottery Indy 300

Milka Duno
April 29, 2007


THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Milka Duno, 14th place finish in her IndyCar Series debut. Milka, if you would, talk to us a little bit about your day out there for your IndyCar Series debut.
MILKA DUNO: It's a great experience. It's very tough race. At the beginning I have crazy understeer in my car. Is where I lose position because it was so difficult that I behind the other cars, different line. It was crazy, crazy car at the beginning.
But after my engineer made a fantastic job and we made two pit stop, we made two correction in the car. The car was so good, it was the moment when I started to recover and run with the highest speeds that the car give me.
Pancho, my coach driver, my spotter, was helping me the most. One time that the car was good, all time was push, Milka, push Milka, flat all the time. I appreciate most the job of all my team, of Peter, all my guys, John, Simon, all my guys and my team, because they make fantastic job. We start late in the program, but they made great thing for be ready for this race.

Q. I'm sure you've thought about this day for quite a while. Was there anything going through it that surprised you?
MILKA DUNO: At the beginning was big surprise because in qualifying we have a very good car, but we were alone. When I was in traffic, the car was no good. I was be surprised because I can't drive the car. Was so crazy understeer. I try to keep the car on the track and avoid anything that can happen. I tell to my guys, I have crazy understeer. I move the bar, but I still have so much understeer.
I keep the car on the track just for don't lose more time. And the moment that we made the pit stop, we made some change in the car. After the car was fantastic, I start to recover.

Q. In the TV coverage of the race, they were talking about the kind of feedback you were getting from your crew. They said you got a lot of support. What kinds of things were they saying to you to help you get through your first race on an oval track?
MILKA DUNO: In racing, in the team, you have to have so good communication with your engineer. You have to give the right information, he can make the right adjustment. Is the way to improve quick and to do everything in the good way in the short time we have in practice.
I am working with (indiscernible) since last year. We have excellent communication, very good relation. With all my guys also in my team. Immediately when I give the correct feedback about what happen in the car, he know me, and he know what is happening in the car, and he know what kind of adjustment made and make the car better all the time.

Q. Did you have any close calls today?
MILKA DUNO: Close what?

Q. Any situations where you thought it was probably a situation you didn't want to be in?
MILKA DUNO: In this sport, you must be a little crazy, no? Drive flat all the time. You take the risk, no? We careful, but you take the risk, be behind the other car, drive down when the cars are going to pass you outside, or inside when you want to pass another car. You have to be just like, I don't know, a little -- very cool. You're so concentrate, you're focus on the thing that you are doing, try to don't make a mistake, no? Is so risky what we were doing. Oval is so high speed, over 205, 208 all the time. We have to take care, no?

Q. Would you say this is a perfect weekend?
MILKA DUNO: It's a good weekend. It's a good weekend because, see what happen at the beginning of the race. I was with a car I can't drive. After, once I find that the car was good when we made a change, you see my running was so consistent, high speed, passing cars, trying to keep with the rest. Was a good day to learn so much. This day I learn so much. I learn in a quick way, a fast and tough way.

Q. You've come from sports cars where you don't run quite this fast. Did your car get upset more here with the dirty air than it would be in a Grand-Am car?
MILKA DUNO: It's different kind of car. I adjust to the things you have to do. Now I adjust to the car. I learn for racing oval with the rest of the car. It's just a process. It's just adjusting to a new things. But it's not a big thing. It's difficult, but it's something that you can do, no? With the practice, you get everything.

Q. Could you talk about the significance of being part of history, one of three female drivers in this race today. Do you feel the IndyCar Series is maybe more open to racers regardless of gender than maybe some of the other racing organizations?
MILKA DUNO: I think it's very attractive when in a male sport there are women. But you have to be good. If you are not good, nobody take care of you. You not here making interviews if I drive bad, no?
It's something you have more attention because it's a woman in a male sport. But at the same time we have more pressure, no? Because everybody is looking what the women are doing. Nobody see how many cars are behind the woman, they only see what the women are doing, no? It's normal pressure. It's normal situation.

Q. You improved four or five miles per hour from the start to the finish of the race. You know how much of a gap there is between where you are right now and the top 10. What are you going to do over the next month to try to get up there in that field?
MILKA DUNO: First of all, our car have not all the aerodynamic elements we need. We are waiting from England new aerodynamic element that made our car could be fast. We were running with the car. The car give to me the maximum the car can give. The speed that we got is the maximum speed we can get with the car we have now. My engineer is fantastic. He say once we have the rest of the implements that we need, we get the extra miles.

Q. Now that you've had this race, what is your observation? You talked about the Indy 500.
MILKA DUNO: Another tough moment, sure. Is going to be difficult. Everything is new. I'm learning in the fast way because I have to learn in the fast way. I start late in the championship. But it's the opportunity I have. I must take with all the responsibility, all the situation I have. I must learn the fast way. I'm sure Indianapolis is going to be a very tough race, too.

Q. Is there a particular lesson you learned today in your first race that you can take to Indy?
MILKA DUNO: I don't know Indy. I know it's really fast track. But I learned so much in this race. It's 200 laps with traffic, high speed. I learn a lot. Sure, in Indy I still learning, I still learning, all this year. Never you finish to learn, the process to learn. Every day you are learning something new. Especially in race, you can't predict anything. You have different situation, different things. One car is go out. You have to react and see what happen. If you have too much traffic, if you have a bad car, if you have a good car, depend. Everything is a process and help me to learn.

Q. Do you wish you had another race or two going into Indy?
MILKA DUNO: I'm going to have 10 race this year. The next one is Indy.

Q. Do you wish you had another one before you got to Indy?
MILKA DUNO: No, the next one is Indy. Now we go to Indy. I don't understand, sorry.
THE MODERATOR: Would you prefer to have another race before you got to Indy?
MILKA DUNO: Is no sense in I prefer. Is the situation I have. The next race is Indy. I can do nothing more. We have some practice. Always we want to practice and have more race and more practice. But we have a schedule. The next one is the next one.
THE MODERATOR: You're going to Kentucky next week for some practice.

Q. With the 90-degree corners there, it seems that road racers have figured Indy out fairly well. Might that help you a little bit?
MILKA DUNO: You talk about Indianapolis?

Q. Yes.
MILKA DUNO: I can't tell you so much because I don't know the track. Once I know the track, I explain you what is happening with this track and another track.

Q. How do you feel like the car handled today? What was your impressions of the track?
MILKA DUNO: It's like I told you at the beginning, no, the car was crazy car, so big, big crazy understeer at the beginning. It was so difficult to drive. I was lifting in turn one, turn three and four. There was no way to drive your car. Once the engineer made the adjustment, the car was fantastic. It was so good. It's the moment when I start to recover. Because I was able to drive behind another cars in traffic, outside, inside. It was fantastic car for race.

Q. At the end of that race, did you start to get a little tired? How are you physically at the end of the race? Do you feel you could go 500 miles?
MILKA DUNO: One thing that happened, I was racing in a tough championship also with the Daytona Prototype. Drive with the Daytona Prototype is tough, so hot inside. You are racing for many laps, many hours. 24 Hours Daytona. I think I have good condition for this car.
I was feeling more tired when I drive the Prototype car than with this car. Even when I was not doing oval racing, the training I had before help me so much so I adjust so quick in this car. In this car maybe you have mentally even I think a little bit more tired than with the Prototype because is so focused and you have to be so precise in every corner, every lap, flat all the time. With a road course race or with a Prototype car, you can take the risk, maybe you have little mistake, you can correct. Here is so difficult. Your mind, it is going to be tired, no?

Q. On Friday Danica said the Indianapolis Speedway is a little more difficult than racing the mile-and-a-half oval tracks. What have you been told about Indy of how you're going to have to adjust to racing at Indy?
MILKA DUNO: I don't know. I really start to learn about Indianapolis next week when we be there, no? With Pancho, my coach driver, he's going to help me, explain me everything. I am in the process to learn everything in that new championship, new kind of race in oval. I am learning everything now. When I race in Indy, I will tell you later what is the difference everything. Now I don't know about Indy.
THE MODERATOR: All right, Milka, thank you very much. See you in Indianapolis next week.
MILKA DUNO: Thank you so much.

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