CHAMPCAR/CART: Scott Roembke (Team Rahal) interview

Scott Roembke, general manager of Team Rahal, has taken on an increased role since owner Bobby Rahal assumed the duties as interim President/CEO of CART back in late June. Roembke may be the "unsung hero" of the Team Rahal racing operation as he...

Scott Roembke, general manager of Team Rahal, has taken on an increased role since owner Bobby Rahal assumed the duties as interim President/CEO of CART back in late June. Roembke may be the "unsung hero" of the Team Rahal racing operation as he is in charge of the business side and runs the team's daily activities. His job description encompasses everything from hiring personnel to coordinating budgets to formulating pit strategy at the races. Roembke comments on the success enjoyed by Kenny Brack and Team Rahal this season, and looks ahead to this weekend's race at the California Speedway.

SCOTT ROEMBKE - General Manager - Team Rahal - ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT KENNY IS STILL IN POSITION TO CLINCH THE DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP CONSIDERING THAT THIS IS HIS FIRST SEASON AND HE DID NOT FINISH WELL IN THE RACES LEADING UP TO AUSTRALIA? "I'm not surprised that Kenny has been so successful. When Bobby (Rahal) hired Kenny from the other league it was because he was a consistent front runner and a driver that had proven to be not only a title contender but capable of winning the championship."

CONSIDERING HIS EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE RACING ON OVAL TRACKS, DOES IT SURPRISE YOU THAT KENNY HAS MORE PODIUM FINISHES ON ROAD/STREET COURSES (THREE) THAN ON OVALS (ONE)? "To be honest, we left points on the track at several of the oval races through our own fault. If we managed to gain those points, there wouldn't be a disparity between Kenny's road and street points and his oval points. Kenny's early career was formed on the road and street courses of Europe, so I wasn't surprised when he regained the form of his early career on those kind of tracks. We knew we were getting a complete driver at Team Rahal when we hired him, not just an oval specialist."

ALTHOUGH KENNY DIDN'T FINISH THE RACE IN MICHIGAN BECAUSE OF CONTACT, HE WAS FAST AND CONSISTENTLY RAN AT THE FRONT. HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU IN HIS ABILITY TO DUPLICATE THAT EFFORT AND WIN THIS RACE? "I'm very confident that Kenny will be able to be competitive and that he will be fast this weekend. At Michigan, I think he was as fast as anybody in the field. Strategically, we held him back and that may have contributed to him being in the position where he got caught up in the contact, but the bottom line is that he was fast and I see no reason why he shouldn't be fast again."

"If you look back over the last two years of CART superspeedway races, Max Papis has been as dominant as any driver on these tracks. We are confident in our package at Team Rahal and feel we can give him a competitive car."

HOW ARE YOU AND TEAM RAHAL APPROACHING THE RACE IN FONTANA? ARE YOU PLANNING ON DOING ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY? "If you are changing things just for one race because there is a title on the line then you are in trouble. For Team Rahal, this race will be business as usual. We have a veteran crew of mechanics, engineers and a driver who has a proven record of success. There are a lot of variables in a 500-mile race that you can't control. As a team we have had a fair amount of success on the superspeedways the last couple of seasons and we know if we do our jobs then our drivers will have a chance to win."

IS THERE ANY EXTRA PRESSURE WITH A RACE LIKE THIS? "No more than usual. Actually, in our situation there isn't a lot of pressure. We are still considered a long shot for the championship so the pressure is on (Gil) de Ferran and (Adrian) Fernandez - they are the favorites. We just have to worry about ourselves. Our goal is the same as it was for the previous races - to win the event. If we do that then we can start to worry about the tiebreakers and the finishing order of our opponents. The first thing we have to do is win and that is our goal going to California."

WHAT THINGS CONCERN YOU ABOUT A 500-MILE RACE, LET ALONE A RACE WITH SO MUCH AT STAKE? "A 500-mile race is a unique event. The race is so long that a lot of factors come into play that you normally don't worry about. We will approach this race the same way we approach every 500-mile event. We will try to stay on the lead lap and survive, then with about 50 laps to go we assess the situation and go racing."

WHAT WOULD WINNING A CHAMPIONSHIP MEAN TO YOU AND TEAM RAHAL? "For Team Rahal it would mean that over a long, arduous season we managed to consistently score more points than our opponents, and that would be a great accomplishment. Bobby (Rahal) has won a championship before (1992 - Rahal/Hogan Racing), but for the current version of Team Rahal it would be a first and a validation of thousands of hours of long work and perseverance by our team towards this goal. Personally, it would give me a feeling of satisfaction knowing that our crew in our first year with a new driver was able to come together as a team and perform at a championship level." v

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Series INDYCAR