IRL: Indy 500 Media Day press conference, Part I

Indy 500 Media Day: "What to Expect This May" Wednesday, March 26, 2003 Brian Barnhart, Bob Jenkins, Scott Goodyear, Mike King and Davey Hamilton. Part 1 of 3 Ron Green: Good morning. First of all, I want to thank all of you for coming out...

Indy 500 Media Day: "What to Expect This May"
Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Brian Barnhart, Bob Jenkins, Scott Goodyear, Mike King and Davey Hamilton.

Part 1 of 3

Ron Green: Good morning. First of all, I want to thank all of you for coming out on such a beautiful morning and to get everyone excited for the month of May. My name is Ron Green, I'm the director of public relations for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We have a busy day planned ahead of us, a great day and hopefully it will help all of you to get kick started in your coverage for the month of May. All of the programs this morning will be here in the Trackside Conference Room. We move upstairs at 1:30 for the Chevy program, which will include two major announcements regarding the pace car and then another Indianapolis Motor Speedway announcement we're looking forward to.

A couple notes on the day. We will be providing transcripts at the end of the day for all the programs. There is a mult box in back if you need to plug into that. Please turn off your cell phones in here for all the programs this morning. Restrooms are available on the third floor. This afternoon during the pace car rides we'll have a few other programs going on. Lines last year for the pace car ride were rather lengthy. So we scheduled programs, spread people out and have a full afternoon of activities. I had a few questions this morning already regarding credentials for the month of May. Deb Taylor on our staff is outside, and just check with Deb on the status of your credential for the month of May.

We have our full PR staff here today to help you. That includes Deb Taylor, Tina Mendenhall, Josh Laycock, Eric Powell and Joe Crowley. Paul Kelly, as many you know, is back at his keyboard and he'll be helping with the transcripts. Paul is back in his home in New York. Mike King is going to host most of our programs today and we'll turn it over to Mike in just a few minutes. Again, enjoy the day. If you have any questions regarding May or any of the programs today, just grab one of the PR staff members and we'll be eager to help you.

I want to thank your attendance this morning, it's an early morning but I think it's going to be very exciting to see what these guys have to say for the month of May. Mike.

Mike King: Thanks, Ron, and we appreciate all of you coming out here to what looks to be a beautiful day here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Very quickly, just to go through the itinerary with you for those of you who may not have it to let you know what's happening.

First off, we're going to start with our first panel talking about what to expect this month of May. At 9:15 we'll be talking Infiniti Pro Series with some drivers. As we talk about the Inaugural Freedom 100 that will take place, it was announced a couple of weeks ago, Ed Carpenter, Paul Dana, Arie Luyendyk, Jr. and Mark Taylor, who is 2-0 on the season as far as the Pro Series goes, will be here.

At 10 a.m. Kenny Brack will be here with Bobby Rahal. Of course, Kenny, the '99 500 winner and the '98 series champion.

At 10:45 Michael Andretti will be here for the countdown to his final Indianapolis 500. As Ron mentioned, at 11:30, the media luncheon and the pace vehicle announcements will take place on the 4th floor here in the WorldComplex.

At 12:40 it's the pace vehicle photo op. From 1 p.m. until 2:45 the media pace vehicle rides. At 1:15 and at 2 p.m., as Ron mentioned, since the lines were so long last year and people were basically just having to pace and wait for their turn, there are going to be a couple other things for you to do.

At 1:15 to 2 p.m. we'll be talking about the evolution of the IRL IndyCar^Ù Series chassis, and that will includes Les Mactaggart, Phil Casey, and driver Robbie Buhl. Also at 1:15 and 2 p.m. Joe Negri and Rick Voegelin will be talking about the Chevy Indy V8 engine program. So you've got lots to choose from here today.

What to expect this month of May, we've got a distinguished panel here this morning led, of course, by the senior vice president of operations for the Indy Racing League, Brian Barnhart. In fact, Brian is the only person up there that's distinguished. (Laughter) That's not true at all. Sitting next to Brian is the former voice of the Indianapolis 500 who I was more than happy to assume his role once he moved to the TV side, Bob Jenkins. Next to him, who is certainly distinguished -- Scott, I didn't mean to overlook you at all -- Scott Goodyear, the former open-wheel great who finished second twice here in the Indianapolis 500.

And Davey Hamilton -- also, I don't want to say former driver for Davey, because even though he is not in a car this season and is joining us as our driver analyst for the IndyCar Series broadcast on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network. He's made it quite clear to us this is probably just a one-year commitment and he fully intends to be back in a car next year.

So we'll get brief opening statements. Let's start with senior vice president of operations for the Indy Racing League. Brian, what do you think, month of May 2003, what do you expect?

Brian Barnhart: I expect nothing but great things. I mean, I sit in here and, you mention the beautiful day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway again, they're all beautiful days there. You know, it really gets the goose bumps going, you get excited as you approach the month of May. There is truly nothing like it in motorsports. For this activity to be taking place, I know we're late March and we've got another event on the IndyCar Series schedule before we get going in May. We''e got rookie orientation in late May and we've got another test in Nashville as well, so we've got a race and a couple test events scheduled. But the excitement is already starting to build. It's going to be a fabulous month.

We've really had some great additions to the IndyCar Series field on a full-time basis with the additional cars being run by Mo Nunn and Chip Ganassi Racing, the additions of, as you mentioned, Team Rahal with Kenny Brack. It's nice to have Kenny back, the '98 series champ and '99 Indy 500 winner is driving for the 1986 Indy 500 winner, and that's really nice to have them joining the field. And, of course, the very powerful Andretti Green team is here, and Tony Kanaan has sat on the pole at the first two races of the year. Scott Dixon won at Homestead, and Tony was able to win from the pole at Phoenix. So we've had a couple of great events and the excitement is just starting to build. So we're really looking forward to a great month.

King: Bob, the 500 has been part of most of your life. What about as you get set for another month of May?

Bob Jenkins: Yeah, it's always special. Having grown up not too far from Indianapolis, I always look forward to the month of May rolling around. It's been a part of my life as long as I can remember, since I was five or six years old. And every year gets more exciting to me. I have, of course, been a part of coverage of it since '79 and in various capacities. But every year is a little bit more special, and I think this year is probably as important as any one that we've seen in recent history with, as Brian indicated, the inclusion of more teams, more drivers with a variety of engines. It just makes for a lot of stories for us to be able to cover and to capitalize on during the month.

As far as what we'll be doing, normal coverage of qualifying on both ESPN and ABC and, of course, our regular coverage of the race. So I'm excited as usual.

King: Davey, I know it's now difficult for you to sit in that analyst chair and to come back here when you so desperately want to be back in a race car. But stepping out of the car this year to complete your recovery and now assume an analyst role, is the month of May going to be different for you from those when you show up here as a driver?

Davey Hamilton: I look at it a little bit different. It's still the Indianapolis 500, I'm still excited to be here even though it's a different role. Obviously, like you say, I want to get back in a race car as soon as possible, but it's just not in the cards this year. The rehab is coming great, I've come a long ways, I feel great. Unfortunately there's some issues once I get in the race car that doesn't allow me to compete, in long races especially like the 500 on a competitive level.

So now I'm excited to come back with the radio. This is when I was young, I listened to it on the radio and I watched it on TV and so I'm just kind of looking at it a different way. This is how I learned to love the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy 500 from the radio and TV. Being on that side of it is exciting and who knows, I would to like to get back in this thing next year if at all possible and if all the healing goes as I hope to and my feet get better as time goes. But if not, this gives me another avenue as well to further my career in motorsports.

King: And to let you know, if you haven't had a chance to hear Davey, he does a great job with us. He has jumped in full bore as far as the analyst role goes. In addition to working with us as the IndyCar Series analyst for our broadcast on the Radio Network, Davey is also the analyst for the USAC broadcast on Speed TV, he is also the analyst for ESPN broadcast of the Infiniti Pro Series broadcast this year. So he is getting a dose of media this year.

Scott Goodyear, every year when you come back, of course, you officially announced your retirement but everybody looks at you and thinks so close every time that your name comes up. Is it sweet or is it sour to come back to the Speedway and watch them go around here during the month of May?

Scott Goodyear: You know, I don't think about that very often until I come here and guys like you get a chance to remind me about that all the time. (Laughter)

Jenkins: Actually, we do every single time we can.

King: I just wanted to be the first for this coming month of May to remind you how close you've come.

Goodyear: On that, I'll tell you a quick little story quickly. There was a CD that came out last year -- what was that one?

Jenkins: "Voices of the 500."

Goodyear: "Voices of the 500," and Paul got a copy of it. Anyway, we were listening to it one morning on the way into the race track and Paul is sitting up front and he's trying to find the tracks and all that sort of stuff, and then we get to 1992 and whose voice is on it except Bob's. So Paul turns it up and we're listening to this thing and all the voices are there, and "Who's is it going to be?" and it goes into the whole thing, and we all know how the ending comes. So we're driving along and the ending comes and I just listen to it and I turn around and go to Bob, "Bastard." (Laughter) I said, "Could you not change the ending of that just once?"

Jenkins: Like it was my fault.

Part II

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mark Taylor , Robbie Buhl , Davey Hamilton , Arie Luyendyk , Scott Goodyear , Michael Andretti , Bobby Rahal , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Kenny Brack , Paul Dana , Eric Powell , Brian Barnhart , Mo Nunn
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing