91st INDIANAPOLIS 500 BUMP DAY PRESS CONFERENCE Paul Diatlovich, Jimmy Kite Sunday, May 20, 2007, Indianapolis Motor Speedway MODERATOR: Darn. Put forth an effort, and I imagine the pain is just immense. Gentlemen, we wish we were talking to...
91st INDIANAPOLIS 500 BUMP DAY PRESS CONFERENCE
Paul Diatlovich, Jimmy Kite
Sunday, May 20, 2007, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
MODERATOR: Darn. Put forth an effort, and I imagine the pain is just immense. Gentlemen, we wish we were talking to you again in happier times, but just talk about the whole experience and what happened near the end and what ultimately was the situation that resulted in you falling just a little bit short.
JIMMY KITE: Just, you know, even though we got to run a couple days, it's been a long month. Doesn't seem two days ago Paul was calling me saying, "Hey, you're my guy this month that's going to put the car in the '500.'" After the accident on Wednesday, the guys worked their tails off to get that car back out there. We got out Friday. The thing was handling great; we knew it was locked down. We started trimming it out and trimming it out. The speed we expected just wasn't there. It's not as if the car wasn't handling on me -- or for me. It's not as if the engineers weren't working their tails off, and it's not as if I wasn't out there trying my hardest and running foot to the floor. It's like we found terminal velocity in the car and no matter what we did, it just didn't handle real good down the straightaways.
MODERATOR: Paul, this thing can be just a very fickle mistress, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. You know that as well as anyone.
PAUL DIATLOVICH: Unfortunately, I do. You said this is Indianapolis; it's a sad day. Quite conversely, any time I can come through the gates at 16th and Georgetown to this facility, it's a wonderful day. We came up short today, we came up short this month. It has nothing to do with putting probably one of the best drivers I've ever worked with through a very terrible time by not giving him a car that was capable of making the race. It falls squarely on my shoulders that we missed the show.
But any time I get to come to Indianapolis, any time I get to participate in the greatest spectacle in motor racing, it's a great day. I'm going to be very disappointed next Sunday when the green flag falls and we're not part of the fastest 33, but we weren't and that's what the Speedway is about, is to start the fastest 33 cars.
MODERATOR: That's the statement that makes you one of the favorites here.
Any questions for Paul or Jimmy?
Q: I know it's early yet, but do you have any sort of diagnosis of why the car wouldn't go fast?
DIATLOVICH: It was definitely something that I missed in the initial setup and in the -- we're going to probably do a post-mortem on the chassis tomorrow and then we'll find something. But it's something that, you know, I missed. Like I said, the crew was extraordinary, led by Rob Stark. They did a marvelous job. We had a crash, we persevered. We went through, there were no real panics. They did everything I asked them to do, and it was me not telling them enough, I guess.
Like I said, Jimmy Kite is a very good driver, and to have him sitting next to me explaining why we missed the show is -- you know, if he never answers the phone from me again, I wouldn't blame him.
KITE: That's not going to happen.
MODERATOR: I figured that.
Q: Where do you go from here?
DIATLOVICH: We're looking for money so that we can get this program up and running properly so that I can put this guy in a proper car and come out and avenge this day.
Q: More money would translate obviously into more time in the car.
DIATLOVICH: That's where we fall short. We're engineering the car in a day, in two days. These people have had them on the seven-post rigs, they have full staff, crew, so I'm not making excuses. I've had the same opportunity and chances that the other people have, and I really thought I would cover my bets by saying it's not going to be that hard because I've got a gunfighter, and he is. Let me tell you what, I'll rue the day that I did this to him because I definitely would like to make it right and make it better.
Q: Now, as I understand the rules, and I could be wrong, but you guys are still the alternate in case something goes wrong.
DIATLOVICH: As a matter of fact, Roberto Moreno was just laying down on the start/finish line, and I tried to bribe the golf cart driver to run him over because I knew we were first alternate, but that unfortunately didn't happen. (Laughter)
MODERATOR: With that in mind, you talk about the post-mortem, is it in the there in the back of your mind? It has happened.
DIATLOVICH: No, not in this day and age it won't. Everybody's got a backup car, access to a backup car for whatever happens. We gave it our best shot, and it came up short. The reason why is squarely on me.
MODERATOR: Other questions for Jimmy and Paul?
Guys, thank you very much for coming in. We appreciate it.
DIATLOVICH: Thanks for having us.