Series news and notes 2010-05-05

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines: 1. IZOD IndyCar Series Q & A - Paul Tracy, Barry Green, Jimmy Vasser 2. Meira jumps from race car to triathlon 3. Franchitti Joins Forces With VisitScotland To Launch ...

Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1. IZOD IndyCar Series Q & A - Paul Tracy, Barry Green, Jimmy Vasser
2. Meira jumps from race car to triathlon
3. Franchitti Joins Forces With VisitScotland To Launch Personalized Driving Itineraries For Scotland Tourism:

1. IZOD IndyCar Series Q & A - Paul Tracy, Barry Green, Jimmy Vasser: IZOD IndyCar Series driver Paul Tracy, KV Racing Technology co-owner Jimmy Vasser and GEICO-KV Racing race strategis Barry Green participated in a Q & A session. Below are select quotes from the interview.

Paul Tracy

* 41-year-old native of Scarborough, Ontario competing in his fourth season in the IZOD IndyCar Series in 2010.

* Will drive the No. 15 GEICO-KV Racing Technology car for KV Racing Technology at the Indianapolis 500.

* Has two top-five finishes and five top-10 finishes in eight IZOD IndyCar Series starts.

Q. First for Paul, talk about yesterday's announcement that you would be working with Barry Green in the 2010 Indy 500. Was it as simple as making a call and saying, "Let's get this band back together?"

PAUL TRACY: Well, it really kind of was. Obviously, Jimmy and I have been discussing what our plans have been, are going to be, since the last 500 last year. Obviously, Jimmy and I talk daily, multiple times a day, living in the same town (Las Vegas).

Jimmy's concerns coming into this year's race with three young drivers is that he wanted to keep a more watchful eye on those three guys and felt that if there was anybody out there that could help us with our program, that we should explore that. Obviously, I reached out to Barry and proposed that question to him.

At first I think he was caught a bit off guard. I think he may have been laying out on his boat suntanning. I think I caught him off guard. He called me back the next day and said, "I'm in, so let's go."

Q. Paul, how difficult is it for you to not race this year to get in a car and drive it and be ready to go?

PAUL TRACY: Well, I feel this year I'm more prepared than I was last year. Obviously, you know, last year the deal to run Indy kind of happened kind of last minute, about a month before. At this point right now versus where I was last year, I'm about 35 pounds lighter than I was last year. I've been training. I've had this whole winter to get ready for it. Really that's all I can do other than driving the car. I feel I'm ready to go. Obviously I'll have to use my experience and knowledge of being in the car, being on the tracks to my advantage. That's all I can really do.

Q. What are you doing training--wise? 35 pounds is a noticeable difference. What have you been doing in the off season?

PAUL TRACY: Well, I really started, to be honest, about eight weeks ago. I've been pretty busy in the off--season. I've been filming a TV show for SPEED Channel. It's a car driving show, a high--end kind of super car show. That's kind of been keeping me busy.

They had sent me some raw footage to watch from one of the first episodes we filmed. I saw myself on TV and I said, 'I got to lose some weight.' You know, I just started riding my bike, going to the gym. I hooked up with the trainer that I had in 2003 when I won the championship.

Really just been putting in about two, two and a half hours on the bike in the morning, training with a trainer in the afternoon for an hour and a half. Really just watching what I eat.

Q. That's 35 pounds in eight weeks or is that from last season?

PAUL TRACY: Eight weeks.

***

Q. Barry, you do have quite a successful resume at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the 1995 win with Jacques Villeneuve. Came back in 2002 with Paul and Team Green. Then in 2006 you came back with Michael Andretti and nearly won the race. What is it about Indy that keeps bringing you back?

BARRY GREEN: It's just the Indy 500. It's such a challenge, such a great challenge. To be honest, I missed IndyCar racing dearly. I'm not very involved at the moment.

Paul called me. When we first chatted about it, I first had a bit of a conflict. But once Paul laid out what Jimmy had lined up team--wise, I really thought these guys are really serious, and it would be a great opportunity for me to come back and hopefully enjoy myself and work for Paul again.

I've never worked with Jimmy Vasser himself. I've raced against him on many occasions. We've been great friends. But if you look at the team he's put together, the engineering staff, his team manager, these guys are very, very serious.

I think if you look back at last year's 500, they had a really good run. Paul might have finished even further up towards the front last year had he not had a bit of an incident with the car.

You know, everything seemed to line up. It sounded exciting. So I'm in.

Q. Barry, I know in the last couple years you came back and did one--offs when it was still AGR. The car has been the same since '03 with the exception of a few little tweaks here and there. How much has that helped you get your own thought process back up to speed in calling race strategy at the speedway?

BARRY GREEN: No big difference helps a little bit. But I'm just sort of the team leader in the group, you know. It's the engineers that have to keep up with all that. I certainly don't get involved in the nuts and bolts. I listen to everything being discussed between the engineers. I'm in every meeting between the engineers and Paul and the team meetings. I might pick up on something that might help, a suggestion one way or the other. But the engineers are the guys that make the decisions, put the tweaks on, figure out how they can make him more comfortable.

I think probably more importantly is Paul, Paul and Barry Green's relationship. We've had some great times together, great laughs. We've been through some tough times together which made us better friends and stronger friends. To me that's the easy part. I think that would be difficult going back and jumping in with a driver that I did not know.

I know John Dick very well. He worked for me. Terrific guy. Terrific friend. Jimmy, I've raced against. I think my comfort is with the people and I feel very comfortable about that.

Q. I know the first time you came back there after '02 you said there's times people have a tendency to put too much emphasis on it. You'd like to remember '95 when you helped Jacques Villeneuve come back and win the race.

BARRY GREEN: That was a great race, a great one to remember for me. I have to go back to that was a team effort. The amount of talk that went amongst the group in the pits to come up with a plan and to keep Jacques focused. That's my specialty, are the people.

I think the engineering side we'll leave up to the engineers, and Paul and I will try to mold together and work with the group and see what we can come up with.

***

Q And, Jimmy, you went from one to three cars for the start of the 2010 season. Does adding that fourth car put any strain on the KV Racing Technology?

JIMMY VASSER: We ran three cars at Indianapolis last year. Things went pretty smoothly. I have all the confidence in the world of Mark Johnson and Dave Brzozowski over there. They tell me what's possible and what's not. They said, "Hey, we can do this, we can do it well."

Especially with it being P.T., he brings a wealth of experience to the table. We have some young guys, a rookie. Mario (Moraes) did a fantastic job last year. I think with EJ (Viso), everybody working together, the group of engineers that we have, I think it only strengthens our possibility to have one of those cars win the race.

***

2. Meira jumps from race car to triathlon: Twelve hours after scoring a 10th-place finish in the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway, IZOD IndyCar Series driver Vitor Meira made his way to the staging area of the Mack Cycle Tri-Miami Olympic Triathlon in Key Biscayne, Fla.

The A.J. Foyt Racing driver decided to compete in a triathlon consisting of a 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike ride and 10-kilometer run the morning after putting in 200 physically demanding laps against 26 competitors on a high-banked 1.5-mile oval.

"I knew this triathlon was going to happen and it could be a possibility," said Meira, who competed in a triathlon earlier this year in Chile. "But my priorities are very clear. Racing is first above all, always. So I didn't really think about it much. Since I left the car physically good, I thought to myself, 'Why not do it?' They were still accepting entrants until Saturday at midnight so I enrolled myself (online).

"When the alarm clock went off (at 4:30 a.m.), I thought, 'This is not a good idea.' But I had it set in my mind that I was going to do it and that was the end of it."

Meira finished 33rd overall and fourth in his age division (30-33) after completing the 1.5-kilometer swim in 28 minutes, 12 seconds; the 40k bike in 1 hour, 5 minutes, 44 seconds; and the 10k run in 47 minutes, 50 seconds.

"Where it really it hit me was on the last 5k of my run, and by then I was really tired, and thought to myself, 'What the hell am I doing here?' '' he said. "When I got back home, I was wasted for the rest of the weekend. I didn't do anything, just watched TV on the couch.

"I placed really good in my category though so it was fun."

***

3. Franchitti Joins Forces With VisitScotland To Launch Personalized Driving Itineraries For Scotland Tourism: Two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti has teamed up with Scotland's national tourism organization VisitScotland to launch "Dario Franchitti's Great Drives" three car-touring itineraries highlighting routes from Edinburgh to Inverness, the West Coast and Far North and the South of Scotland.

Written by Franchitti, the driving itineraries will target visitors from the U.S. and Canada interested in traveling in the tire tracks of the 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner.

"Scotland is my home and these are some of the roads I grew up on, so it's an honor for me to share the breathtaking views, the off-the-beaten-path sites and some of the rich tradition of our great country," Franchitti said. "I'm very excited to share these scenic drives with visitors looking to tour Scotland by car. The moment I have a break in my IndyCar racing schedule, I fly back to Scotland and quite often jump in my car and drive around the country on the same roads and routes that VisitScotland and I have showcased in these itineraries."

The car-touring itineraries are being promoted on the VisitScotland home pages at www.cometoscotland.com and www.cometoscotland.ca. They will also appear in several American and Canadian travel e-newsletters..

***

The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues May 30 with the 2010 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at noon (ET) by ABC. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 211. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Firestone Freedom 100 on May 28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway The race will air live on VERSUS.

-source: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Jimmy Vasser , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Barry Green , A.J. Foyt , Vitor Meira
Teams KV Racing Technology