Sebring: Orbit Racing drivers notes

Peter Baron --says four factors contribute to race success - brain power, engineering, competition and choice of cars; driver speed is cerebral - "What makes one driver faster than the other is pure mental power." --has degrees in finance and...

Peter Baron

--says four factors contribute to race success - brain power, engineering, competition and choice of cars; driver speed is cerebral - "What makes one driver faster than the other is pure mental power."

--has degrees in finance and economics; worked in financial analysis and applications in several industries including pharmaceuticals and high- technology; one job included responsibility for corporate finance operations in East European countries

--uses finance background to improve team operations - "We have hard-core financial applications. We can tick and tie to the penny where we spend our money, and we can pick and choose where to spend pennies better. We can keep budgets down, just knowing where we spend money and how we can spend it more effectively."

--started playing tennis at age four and was going to be a tennis pro, "But then I figured out I'm not one of the lucky seven or eight naturally blessed people. I was not going to make a career of tennis, but I was able to go through college playing tennis. Once I got out, I didn't want to see a tennis racket again. Now I get nauseous if I see a spaghetti strainer."

--helmet design started with doodling; "The brighter colors stick out better. It's for my fan base so they can identify with me."

Mike Fitzgerald

--is driving in three series this weekend - with Orbit Racing in the ALMS, Team FBR TransSport in World Challenge touring cars and with 3R Racing in World Challenge GT

--applies learning techniques to racing: "There's a process to getting better at something, and I try to apply what I've learned doing other things to my racing. I haven't been doing this as long as most of these guys, so I try real hard to accelerate the process as much as I can. I spend a lot of time in the off-season driving my shifter kart, working out, working with a sports psychologist, doing eye exercises to improve depth perception - I do all kinds of little things to try to get better. I feel like it works, I get faster every season."

--wanted to emulate his father who was a professional baseball player, but is satisfied to play shortstop on an amateur team; instead, "Racing is the outlet for my competitiveness - it's a great feeling to be able to drive a car pretty close to as fast as it will go."

--borrowed helmet design from Formula One driver Mika Salo - "I stole it! A long time ago, I partially copied Mika Salo's helmet because I thought he had a cool helmet. Then it just sort of evolved. It doesn't look so much like his helmet anymore, but it's based on that."

--enjoys his young son, who is drawn to anything with wheels - "I'm a full- service daddy. My oldest loves anything with wheels or an engine. I don't encourage that at all, but if it has wheels, he wants to get in it. I don't know if it's genetic or what!"

Leo Hindery

CEO and founder of the YES Network (Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network)

--wrote The Biggest Game of All with Leslie Cauley - "I'm at the end of my career by most measures, and it was a chance to look back and talk about some things that perhaps would be helpful to people earlier in their careers."

--involved in Democratic party politics; also supports AIDS /HIV initiatives in Africa and Russia; co-chairs UN AIDS and Russia-U.S. AIDS project - "I believe this disease will alter foreign affairs and policies throughout the globe. We've never encountered anything that decimates populations like this. You have to be overwhelmed by its humanitarian impact."

--racing and baseball - "When you finally pull out of the pit, it's you and the car. At that one moment, it's like being in the batter's box at Yankee Stadium. When that pitch is coming at you, you've got to hit it. You've got to drive this car."

--"I've never, ever enjoyed anything recreationally like I enjoy racing. It's the team aspect - the person who changes the tires is as passionate and important as the person who has the privilege of driving. In so many other parts of our lives, we encounter people who are there because they have to be. Nobody is here who doesn't love racing. That's truly unique."

Marc Lieb

--as a child, watched Le Mans and wanted to race for Porsche; now is a Porsche factory driver, competing in 28 races this year in the FIA GT Championship, Porsche Supercup and American Le Mans Series

--family sport is soccer - father, uncle and grandfather were all goalkeepers; Marc also started as a goalkeeper at age 11 and still plays in hobby tournaments

--chose racing over soccer - "You can play soccer when you go out the door, but with racing you have to take the race car or go-kart, put it on the trailer and drive a few hundred kilometers to the race track. It was all a bit more exciting than soccer."

--planned to stop racing at the end of 1999 because he didn't have the funding to continue his open-wheel career, then was invited to a Porsche junior competition - "It was really, really hard - three days of physical and mental testing, English tests and driving tests. I won the competition and it was unbelievable. The last three years on the junior team were really, really hard, but I enjoyed it so much. It was the first time I could just concentrate on racing and improve myself."

--enjoys racing in the United States - "The whole atmosphere is more relaxed in the States. Here they know how to do it, they know it's a show and that's important."

Jay Policastro

--trains every morning for two hours, starting at 4:30 am; tries to duplicate race conditions in his home gym - "I always leave the gym at 85 degrees and I wear long sleeves, long pants and a hat to hold the heat in. I use the same supplements as I do in the car."

--"The best part about racing is being in the car and working on self- improvement. We don't have an opportunity to do it full time, but we devote a lot of time to it. You have to set reasonable expectations, but it's a good opportunity to see how good we are against the people who do it every day."

--travels extensively as president of Classic Industries, which does contract manufacturing for Fortune 500 medical-device and pharmaceutical companies; father Joe is chief executive officer; the two have worked and raced together for many years

--"We're very much alike in thought process, organization and expectations that we have from the dynamics of the vehicles. There are other areas where our personalities are 180 degrees different. We've worked well together over the years, respecting that each of us is different. We're very fortunate to be able to race, and to do it together is even better."

--set up an autocross course at home for his three children to race in their go-karts

Joe Policastro

--extends business philosophy to racing - " Racing is a pretty structured event. When you look at what it takes to put a team together and to race competitively, it isn't any different than it is in business - you have to be well-prepared. You have to have goals and objectives, you have to work those plans to be successful. That's been our philosophy all along - plan our work and work our plan. We don't want to play defense, we want to be ready for the next challenge."

--enjoys racing with son Jay - "One thing that's nice about driving with your son is you know each other's personalities. We don't have to say a lot of things to each other. When we were doing autocross, I was showing him how to do it. Now he's showing me! Sons always want to be like their father, now I want to be like my son.

--"It's a good close association I think a lot of fathers would envy.  We're
father and son, but we're friends here.  it's great to have him as a co-
driver.  It's the best time of my life."

-enjoys vintage cars and wine-making; owned a boutique winery for 10 years and won several medals in wine competitions

--philosophy - "Never give up. Don't let today's events change your life - take it for what it's worth, keep your focus and long-term vision."


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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Mika Salo , Leo Hindery , Peter Baron , Marc Lieb , Joseph Policastro Jr.