An interview with: Ricky Taylor and Jon Fogarty
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to this week's Grand Am teleconference. Today we visit with Ricky Taylor and Jon Fogarty, who will be going head to head in Friday's qualifying at 3:40 p.m. Ricky is going for his seventh straight pole and is looking to tie Jon Fogarty who has three poles and a second in Montréal qualifying.
Ricky, you're coming off another pole and your third victory of the season at Watkins Glen. What are your thoughts heading into qualifying in the race?
RICKY TAYLOR: I think the whole team is looking forward to this weekend. I think we've really gotten a good handle on the car for qualifying. We've shown good speed. Sometimes in the race we've had a little bit of a drop off over the long runs, but qualifying pace the car has always been very good.
So, I mean, we're looking forward to this weekend. I think it's going to be a really tough one.
THE MODERATOR: Jon, Ricky is on a qualifying roll right now, just like you were in 2007 when you won the championship, you won seven straight poles. You have quite a record in qualifying at Montréal with three poles and a second in four years. How important would it be for you to win another pole there and then bounce back in the race?
JON FOGARTY: Yeah, I mean, our focus as usual will be on the race. But seeing this is a two hour event this year, it's all that more critical to start up front. So I'm definitely going to approach it like I have the previous four years, go for the pole.
We like the circuit. The GAINSCO car always seems to work quite well. It's a unique place, for sure, with the heavy braking and numerous chicanes.
Yeah, I like it. It's a neat course. It's probably the closest we get to running on a street circuit. There's a lot of walls, a lot of curbs. We're going to get out there.
Ricky mentioned they definitely have got that car sorted out for qualifying and they've done quite well in the races as well. He'll be tough to beat. But I think we might try a couple things for qualifying this weekend that are different than what we've been doing and hopefully that pays off for us.
THE MODERATOR: Ricky, can you continue with your statement, talking about this weekend's race.
RICKY TAYLOR: Yeah, I think our car this year has been great in qualifying. We've been able to get a good handle on it early in the weekend and have a little extra time to play around with some special things for qualifying.
Coming into this weekend, I think this is going to be the toughest one for sure because Jon has I think three out of four poles here. He's going to be tough to beat. As always, the 01 and the 90, as well. Definitely going to be pushing hard and do our best.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. Ricky, you're running second in points. What are your goals for the last two races of the year?
RICKY TAYLOR: I think the championship is pretty far away. I think it's going to be tough to catch the Ganassi guys unless something really strange happens to them. All we can do is focus on ourselves and try to win races and then have some good performances and see what happens really.
Q. During your streak here, you had the Continental tire change. How did your team adjust to that so well?
RICKY TAYLOR: I mean, we've always had a good handle on the car so far this year. The guys have been working very hard on controlling the front. A lot of people are complaining that the front is too strong. I think our guys have been able to control it very well.
In qualifying, if you have a front that's really strong, it doesn't really hurt you too much. The place it's going to hurt you is in the race. Doesn't upset us too much for qualifying. For the race, it kind of throws you off a bit. We're just trying to keep up with it.
I think the guys made some changes at the last couple races that have helped us out a lot. Just keep working on it and keep chasing those Ganassi GAINSCO guys.
Q. Jon, you've been so fast this year. You have had horrible luck. What is it going to take to turn that around?
JON FOGARTY: Well, luck is a funny thing. Seems to come in spades with relation to the 99 team: we either have luck or we don't. I'm hoping we kind of break out of it, start a little bit of a roll the end of this season that we can carry forward.
It seems like it just builds on itself. If you get a win, everybody's uplifted and it's a confidence booster and it seems like luck starts coming your way. We want to have another win here before the season's out and just have a positive feeling going into the off season.
We have a lot of testing this year, which is great, something we haven't been able to do the past couple off seasons. Looking forward to that.
Yeah, just want to get some victories here.
THE MODERATOR: Ricky and Jon, thank you very much for joining us today. Best of luck in Friday's qualifying and Saturday's race. I'd also like to thank the members of the media joining us. Thank you very much.