IRL: Buddy Rice press conference, part 1

Indy Racing League Weekly Teleconference Transcript June 8, 2004 Buddy Rice Part 1 of 2 MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. We'd like to welcome you to today's Indy Racing League teleconference. We are joined today by the winner of the 88th...

Indy Racing League
Weekly Teleconference Transcript
June 8, 2004

Buddy Rice

Part 1 of 2

MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. We'd like to welcome you to today's Indy Racing League teleconference. We are joined today by the winner of the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500. Buddy Rice joins us from Salt Lake City. Thank you for joining us today.

BUDDY RICE: Thanks for having me on, no problem.

Q: You've had a whirlwind few days after Indianapolis. I was with you for a bunch of them. It was a rather intense media tour that we went on. I know you got to go home for a couple of days. Have things started to sink in a little bit for you here now that we're a week removed from the race

BUDDY RICE: Yeah, I think a little bit. Still it's going to take a while just to understand everything that's really happened. And we're still -- I mean, I'm on the second leg right now of the media tour. I leave again tonight for some more stuff in New York, then off to the Texas race. It starts up again after that. But, no, it's been very enjoyable. I've enjoyed every bit of it. It's just -- it's definitely been a little hectic. I think it will still take a little bit for everything to kind of really come together and understand what's really happened.

Q: We actually left (last) Tuesday morning with you to New York City for that media tour. I know you were going full bore there all week. You finally got home over the weekend. When you got home, was that a time really to reflect when you finally got to sit down in your own house and thought you couldn't believe what finally happened?

BUDDY RICE: Yeah, it's like I said really hard to believe. I finally got home and I'd seen some of the newspaper clippings, some of the stuff that had happened both at home and in other media stuff. So that was pretty cool. It was the first time I actually got to watch the telecast from ABC and stuff and be able to see that. So, yeah, it's going to take a little bit, I think, for it to really sink in, though.

Q: How were you received in Phoenix? Race night we were flooded with calls from Phoenix and Columbus, Ohio. When you got home, was it amazing to see everything? I know you had a bunch of voice mail messages.

BUDDY RICE: Yeah, it was pretty hectic. I laid pretty low. I didn't get home until late Friday. I was off again first thing yesterday morning for some of the stuff for Argent and Pioneer. But, yeah, I just lay real low, though, for the most part. But, you know, it seemed like everything was pretty well-received.

Q: The icing on the cake for your media tour is a visit to The Late Show With David Letterman tomorrow night. Are you excited about that, nervous about that? Give us your thoughts about being on Letterman.

BUDDY RICE: I'm actually pretty pumped to be going to Letterman's deal. I'm interested in seeing him. I haven't seen him since Victory Lane. So it's going to be nice. I think we're supposed to show up tomorrow, you know, get together before the show and stuff, and then obviously we'll do the show and then right after that I have to boogie out to get to Texas because we start running the following day in Texas.

Q: That was my next question. Are you done with the media stuff, itching to get back in the race car?

BUDDY RICE: Yeah, I'm looking forward to going back to Texas. I mean, there's -- we've got the points championship. I like running at Texas. It's also a night race, which I really enjoy. I'm definitely looking forward to getting to Texas.

MODERATOR: I know you have a ton going on this week, later today, especially with Argent. So let's open it up to the media.

Q: How much has winning Indy changed your approach or outlook on the season points title? Obviously you want to win the title, but how much has Indy really changed your strategy in terms of really going after it now that you're third in points?

BUDDY RICE: For me, it hasn't changed it at all. I'll be back to driving how I was driving and I'll take my approach going into the weekend and into the race identical. We just need to keep our heads down as a team and keep focused because it is very hard, you know, to win the biggest race there is and then to try to come back, you know, two weeks later and run again and still make sure you're focused on the championship. But, you know, this team's been here before. They've won championships before, so they know what it takes. And for both myself and the team, I don't think we'll change anything at all.

Q: How much has Kenny (Brack) helped in terms of giving you an idea of what to do after Indy, after winning Indy?

BUDDY RICE: Kenny and I, we've talked a couple of times, but nothing like that. I mean, everybody has to handle it their own certain way and deal with it in their own terms. So, you know, everybody being so different, I think you just got to handle it on your own.

Q: Can you tell us what may have motivated Eddie Cheever to dismiss you? Do you intend to remain with the IRL or move elsewhere?

BUDDY RICE: Well, for the first part of your question, I mean, no, I mean, Eddie is his own character, he does his own thing. It's his team and he can make whatever decisions he wants. He obviously felt he needed to make a change in his mind, and he thought it was better for the team. So, you know, Eddie can do what he wants with his team. There's no reason to sit there and for me to look back and wonder why. I'm in a lot better place right now. I'm in a lot better position. You know, I'm very happy with where I'm at. With going somewhere else, no, I'm very happy to be in the IRL. I had opportunities to go somewhere else and race in other stuff for this year, and I chose to stay here, even though there was a strong possibility that it was going to be a limited-time deal. That's because this is where I wanted to be at and I wanted to keep driving open-wheel cars and I wanted to be in the IRL.

Q: When you saw the replay of the restart pass, what went through your mind? Did you gasp yourself, "How did I pull that off?"

BUDDY RICE: No. I knew it was close when I was going by. I knew that. But it's just one of those things. I mean, you have to take advantage of any time you can attack. To get past both of those guys in one shot was something I needed to do, otherwise it was going to be very difficult to try and pass them. I saw the opportunity, and I took it. I knew it was probably a little bit of a risky move, but it was something I felt that we needed to do. That's what I want that's what I think was going to be, you know, good for us later on. I wanted to get back out in front and get back to leading.

Q: What's the methodology for you to get ready for Texas? All this has been great, but like you said, you have to get back in the car and start focusing on what happens the rest of the season.

BUDDY RICE: Well, I mean, basically I have nothing going on Thursday morning until once I get to Texas. They've slowed down all the media stuff until later on, like on Friday when there's nothing going on, then again until after the race weekend for the most part, other than the standard stuff. With that, being with a top team, a team that knows how to handle these kind of things, that's what's great about it, they know how to schedule all these things so you have time with yourself and to get back to driving.

Q: Do you feel like there's going to be a target on Buddy Rice's back now? You're the Indy champion, third in points. Do you feel like you go out there and guys are looking at you a little differently now?

BUDDY RICE: I don't know. I really don't know. I mean, some of them might view me differently. But I think they're all going to be focused on the same thing: going for the points championship. I mean, it's fairly close right now, and we've only had four races. We've got 12 more rounds to go. They're all going to be fought very hard. I think, you know, everybody will be pushing hard.

-irl-

Part 2

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Buddy Rice