Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines 1. IZOD IndyCar Series Q & A - Feb 17 2. De Ferran looks forward to working with Matos 3. Teams get jump on 2010 at Sebring 4. Find Tag in Toronto 5.
Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines
1. IZOD IndyCar Series Q & A - Feb 17
2. De Ferran looks forward to working with Matos
3. Teams get jump on 2010 at Sebring
4. Find Tag in Toronto
5. Drivers On TV
1. IZOD IndyCar Series Q & A - Feb 17: IZOD IndyCar Series driver Ryan Hunter Reay and Firestone Indy Lights driver Charlie Kimball participated in a Q&A session to discuss the Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park. Below are select quotes from their interview. The complete transcript and audio MP3 file are posted at www.indycar.com/media.
· 28-year-old native of Boca Raton, Fla., will compete in his fourth season in the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2010.
· Will drive the No. 37 IZOD-sponsored car for Andretti Autosport.
· Has one win, three top-five finishes and 16 top-10 finishes in 40 IZOD IndyCar Series starts.
· Was 2007 IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year and 2008 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year.
· 24-year-old native of Camarillo, Calif., will compete in his second Firestone Indy Lights season in 2010.
· Will drive the No. 26 Levemir Flexpen car for Andretti Autosport/AFS Racing.
· Finished 10th as a rookie in Firestone Indy Lights in 2009 with best finish of fourth at Watkins Glen.
Q. Ryan, talk about the change to Andretti Autosport. This is the first opportunity you've had with a team of this caliber.
RYAN HUNTER--REAY: It's an amazing opportunity. I have everybody at Andretti and IZOD to thank for it. We've already got to work. The atmosphere on the team is unreal. I mean, they're really pushing to get back to where they were winning races constantly. That's what matters most. It's been an easy transition. We're working really well together. I'm really looking forward to having three other teammates, too.
Q. You mentioned some of that pre--season testing you've done with the team. You have to be champing at the bit to get to next week, can't come soon enough for you.
RYAN HUNTER--REAY: Oh, yeah, for sure. The Barber test is something I've been really looking forward to. I haven't been to that track yet. I wasn't able to make that test last year because of my ride coming together late with Vision. I've looked at it on videos, seen it on TV, I've done some iRacing with it. I can't wait to get there and get on track and see where we are stacked up against everybody else. Most importantly get to work with the team, with everybody being there, all three teammates on track at the same time.
Q. How is working with Michael Andretti?
RYAN HUNTER--REAY: Michael is great. He's got so much passion for racing, it's contagious. He's pushing hard. He's in the office every morning before the sun comes up and leaves when the sun goes down. He's pushing the hours. He's working as hard as anybody else.
He's at the top of the team. There's no other partners, it's just Michael. He has a clear vision of what he wants to do. He's really determined to make it happen. It's a really good atmosphere on the team because of it.
Q. Ryan, I know you got engaged last year. How are the wedding plans coming and if they are coming along, is it you or your fiancee Beccy (Gordon) that has more say in that?
RYAN HUNTER--REAY: Well, she has all the say. We've been just so busy with everything from moving, we just moved from California to Florida. My mom recently was very ill late in the season, into the early off--season. We're still in that moving process, in transition. We're starting to talk more about it. I'll get a date here pretty soon. But, yeah, that's our ship, and she's definitely sailing that one.
Q. Charlie you feel much pressure entering the season going into the car and the team that won last year's championship?
CHARLIE KIMBALL: Well, I think I always put more pressure on myself than I feel externally. Obviously, jumping in the No. 26 car means that I know I've got some of the best equipment out there. At the end of the day, it comes down to me to perform. I think that testing has been going really well. I'm really excited. The crew is a lot of fun to work with. I can't wait to get to the open test next week and the first race at St. Pete.
Q. You mentioned you've already tested with the team. What have you learned about yourself and the team going into next week's test at Barber, which is essentially like a race weekend?
CHARLIE KIMBALL: You're right, going into Barber, we're sort of treating it like our first competition. There's no prizes or rewards for results at Barber, but it's a chance for us to unveil the new paint scheme for the No. 26 Levemir car. We have a line item list of stuff to test. Hopefully we'll end the day near the top of the charts.
I've learned a lot this year just about how a professional team works. Stepping into Andretti, having someone like Michael Andretti with his hand on the tiller, giving me the benefit of his experience has allowed me to learn a lot more quickly than I have in the past.
Q. The test is at Barber Motorsports Park. Have you been there? What are your thought on that facility?
CHARLIE KIMBALL: I actually did a test day at Andretti/AFS Racing last fall down at Barber. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was surprising how much fun it is. It's very technical and pretty quick in places. It's got a really good mix. I think it benefits a driver that's on top of it as well as a good car.
So not only am I looking forward to the test next week, but also to the second race of the season.
Q. You're the first Indy Racing League driver to compete with Type 1 diabetes. Does being diabetic affect the way you go racing?
CHARLIE KIMBALL: Having diabetes definitely affects how I prepare to get in the car. From the moment I get up in the morning, before a test day or a race day, I'm preparing. I'm checking by blood glucose levels. I'm injecting Levemir and NovoLog, the two insulins I use as needed. Everything is getting ready for the moment I put my helmet on. I check my blood glucose level 15 minutes, 10 minutes, five minutes before I get in the car. It's the last thing I do before I put my gloves on. That management routine allows me to go out and compete on a test day or race day equally and not have to worry about the diabetes.
I'm there proving that diabetes doesn't have to slow you down. It doesn't slow me down on the track or off the track. Together, partnering with them allows me to get that story out there and be proof that you don't have to have diabetes in the drivers seat; it can be in the passenger seat while you drive your life.
2. De Ferran looks forward to working with Matos: When 2009 IZOD IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Raphael Matos heard that Gil de Ferran was joining forces with Luczo Dragon Racing, he hung up the phone and quickly dialed his new boss.
"He was so excited he could barely stand it," team co-owner Jay Penske said. "He's been so excited and just welcomes the opportunity to race with Gil this year."
Matos first met de Ferran as the 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner began his preparations for a return to the driver seat in 2008. The two quickly became friends and that led to de Ferran recommending Matos to Penske and Steve Luczo as they searched for a driver to build their team around.
"Here's a guy that really kind of struggled a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where he is," de Ferran said. "The only reason that he got to where he is is because he has actually been successful at every level that he's raced on so far.
"I guess he's not a rookie anymore, but still, when you compare him to people like Helio (Castroneves) and (Scott) Dixon and Tony (Kanaan), he's a relative rookie, but nevertheless, a rookie with impeccable credentials. First of all, I would say the raw material I believe is of very high quality."
But more importantly, Luczo and Penske feel Matos is very accepting of advice and criticism. With de Ferran's background as a driver and ability to communicate with Matos in their native language they feel like they have the right fit in guiding Matos to race wins and championships.
"Frankly I'm only getting to know Rafa now, and I think for you to be able to transmit some of your experience and your knowledge to somebody, first you have to understand what makes them tick, because my belief on this is horses for courses," de Ferran said. "Everybody has a few different buttons, and I have to learn how Rafa operates because clearly already he does a decent job. I think his success has proven that.
"Plus Gil can say 'stay calm' in Portuguese much better than Jay or I can," Luczo joked.
And if de Ferran needs to fall back on experience, he can look at the last young driver he worked with.
"I started my relationship with Simon Pagenaud as a boss, and today I would say he's my good friend and a mentor," de Ferran said. "I really don't see any issues there. He's a great guy, and we struck up a good personal relationship, and I was happy for him that he had a great break with Steve and Jay last year, and I look forward to working with him. I really don't see any issues here."
3. Teams get jump on 2010 at Sebring: E.J. Viso, Raphael Matos and J.R. Hildebrand got a jump on track time with testing at Sebring International on Feb. 15.
Viso, who competed the past two IZOD IndyCar Series seasons with HVM Racing, tested with KV Racing Technology. Hildebrand, the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights champion, was testing with Dale Coyne Racing. Matos, the 20009 Apex-Brasil Rookie of the Year, was back in the Luczo Dragon Racing car.
"I've been itching to get back in a car," said Hildebrand, who drove for Andretti Green Racing/AFS Racing last season. "I've been talking to Dale (Coyne) the last couple of weeks and he had scheduled this test day, so he invited me to come out. We're still trying to sort things out because the season is coming very quickly, but we are both in that boat. We'll just see how things look in a couple of weeks. Those important decisions have to be made quickly, but from both of our standpoints (the) test day went well.
"Most of the guys here were trying to prepare for street course races. I know, for sure, we weren't tuning to go fast at Sebring. We we're tuning the car to prepare for the bumpy tracks that start the 2010 season. St. Pete is pretty bumpy, and Brazil looks pretty rough from that standpoint. We still had a very good day. We didn't think we would be real competitive from a time standpoint, because as I said, we were working on street course testing packages, but we ended up being right in the quickest windows in terms of time."
Viso ran 103 trouble-free laps in KVRT's first test of 2010. Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama plays host to an Open Test next week.
"KV Racing Technology had a successful test and I am very pleased with the way both the team and E. J. performed," team general manager Mark Johnson said. "The team did a great job preparing the car and it performed flawlessly. The engineering staff had a solid plan and we accomplished everything on our check list. I also want to complement E. J. on the job he did. This was his first test with our team and he was professional and worked well with the engineers and crew. Based on his feedback and the plan the engineers had in place, we were able to collect some valuable data.
"At this point, we will sit down with E. J. and discuss further plans for the 2010 IndyCar Series season. I do anticipate testing him again at the Open Test at Barber next week."
Viso, 24, of Caracas, Venezuela, has posted one top-five finish in 32 races.
"I am very happy with the way the test went with KV Racing Technology," Viso said. "The car was prepared well and we got a lot of work done. This is a very professional team, a great group of engineers and mechanics. I felt very positive and comfortable working with them."
4. Find Tag in Toronto: FAZZT Race Team driver Alex Tagliani will greet attendees and sign autographs Feb. 20-21 at the Canadian International Auto Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Tagliani's No. 77 Bowers & Wilkins FAZZT Race Team car will be on display ono Centre Stage of the North Building, where the Quebec native will sign autographs from 1-3 p.m. Feb. 20 and noon-2 p.m. Feb. 21. His appearances are in conjunction with the team's partnership with Autonet.ca.
"I am excited to be back in Toronto and to get an opportunity to greet my Canadian fans who have been so supportive of my racing career," Tagliani said.
5. Drivers On TV: Before Danica Patrick gets on track Feb. 24 at Barber Motorsports Park in the No. 7 GoDaddy car for the IZOD IndyCar Series Open Test, she's making the rounds of Southern California media outlets. So to catch up with Patrick on your favorite talk show:
She appeared on "The Ellen Degeneres Show" on Feb. 17 and made stops at "Good Day LA" on KTTV FOX 11, "The Bonnie Hunt Show" (airs Feb. 19, check local listings), the "CBS Evening News" and CNN for future air dates. She will be a guest on the syndicated "On- Air with Ryan Seacrest" radio show on Feb. 18 and "Chelsea Lately" for air Feb. 23 on E! Check local listings. She will also be a guest on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on ABC (show airs 12:05 a.m. ET Feb. 19).
Also making the rounds are three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves, who introduced his daughter Mikaella to the world on on Feb. 17's episode of "Entertainment Tonight."