Jon Fogarty press conference, part I

An interview with Jon Fogarty Part 1 0f 2 INDIANAPOLIS (September 3, 2002) - What follows is the transcript of the CART weekly teleconference presented by WorldCom featuring CART Toyota Atlantic Series 2003 champion Jon Fogarty. We want to...

An interview with Jon Fogarty

Part 1 0f 2

INDIANAPOLIS (September 3, 2002) - What follows is the transcript of the CART weekly teleconference presented by WorldCom featuring CART Toyota Atlantic Series 2003 champion Jon Fogarty.

We want to welcome Jon Fogarty of Dorricott Racing. Congratulations on a great run, not only through this weekend, but this season long.

Jon Fogarty: Thanks a lot.

Merrill Cain: Jon is a 27-year-old California native who entered last weekend trailing Michael Valiente and moved from fourth to second place early on in Saturday's race. He took the lead on lap 13 and held on to claim his second win of the year and earned the points necessary to win the crown for the highly competitive CART Toyota Atlantic series.

What a great effort from you all weekend long. You've had a couple days now to think about it. Talk to us about how everything played out for you just perfectly this weekend, and how does it sound when someone refers to you as the "2002 Toyota Atlantic Champion?"

Jon Fogarty: It sounds great. It still has not fully sunk in. I keep replaying it over in my mind and it's a good feeling. The weekend was - it was fantastic. We went into it on a level playing field, since nobody had ever been to the Denver circuit. It was an entirely new circuit, but my crew has been pretty good at developing the car and we always have a good baseline to show up with.

It was looking a little grim. [Michael] Valiente was quite a bit quicker than everybody in the early sessions of the weekend, but we got our program underway and at race time we had everything we needed to get up front.

Merrill Cain: It was truly a great weekend for you. I know the banquet was Sunday night, I believe, what was that like? How did they honor you and was it more emotional than you thought it would be?

Jon Fogarty:  It was good.  Everybody was in good spirits.  It was a
fantastic night.  It was very well done.  Really cool.  I won a new car,
which I wasn't aware of.  I'm pretty excited about that.

I had a good time. It was just great to be able to be there with my team, and actually great to be there with all of the other teams, who you don't get to spend time with during the season. There's so many quality people involved in the whole Atlantic series. You know, it's like suddenly you realize there's all of these people that you get to know that as a champion, you might not be coming back next year. So it's a little bit bittersweet.

Merrill Cain: What kind of car did you win?

Jon Fogarty: I don't know. It's a Toyota, obviously. They are going to call me and let me know. Probably a Matrix or something, although I'm pushing for a Lexus.

Q: When you realized the championship was going to be yours, you just said a moment ago that it's just starting to sink in but, when you realized it on the track, what were your first impressions, your first thoughts, what were you feeling?

Jon Fogarty: It's an interesting feeling. I mean, I was still nervous. My crew had informed me that Valiente had spun and I was in the lead at that point, and I knew that I just had to basically finish the race to get the championship, and at that point it was a bit of a relief. But, you know, anything can happen and I knew I had to bring it home.

So there was a lot of focus going on in the car. I didn't want to let that focus down until I got the checkered flag, but once I took the checkered, it was pretty huge. It was tears of joy, just pure excitement, relief. My crew, just being able to do it for the crew, and so many people that I wanted to win the championship for, not just myself, it was just elation. It's hard to describe.

Q: The closing lap after you learned that Michael had spun out, is that the longest stretch of racing that you've ever been involved in? Did it seem like everything slowed down?

Jon Fogarty: It did. This is going to be hard to articulate, but it was kind of like time was standing still. So, the moment took forever. But at the same time, I don't actually remember it taking a lot of time. It's a place I've never been before in my entire life of mind set. The pressure, you know, the desire to get everything done and get the championship.

It did take a long time, but thinking back on it, it all seemed to go very quickly. I had a lot of confidence, not only during the race, because my car was so good, but going into the weekend, for whatever reason, and the week leading up to the event, I just had a really positive outlook on it, and I think that was part of the key to success for this weekend.

Q: I had a football player tell me over the weekend after catching a big pass for a touchdown, he said if you can dream it, you can achieve it. Is that your story?

Jon Fogarty: That's pretty much it. You know, in not having that little bit of doubt in the back of your mind really let's you kind of live and it makes the dream possible. I knew what we had to do. I just kept a positive mental outlook, telling myself that it could be done. I won't say I knew it could be done, I knew it was going to happen, but I just had a good feeling about it, for whatever reason.

It was kind of odd, but I played out so many different scenarios in my head leading up to the weekend of what needed to happen in order to win the championship, but I knew the easiest way to get it done would be to win the race. So that had been my focus since we left Montreal.

Q: Talk about missing the second half of the Indy Lights season last year with a back injury, could you elaborate on that?

Jon Fogarty: It did not bother me one bit this year, which was fantastic. The whole development is a bit of a mystery, which is frustrating.

We ran the first part of the season, we had some good results. I had some minor incidents, one at the Texas Motor Speedway on the oval there, but I didn't have any pain after that wreck there. After that race, we went and did a really extensive test at Mid-Ohio and then the following week we came back to Bakersfield [Calif.] and started to test at our local track. I got in the car, first time I went to the brakes, in the heavy braking zone, something gave, and it ended up being a disk in my neck between, I think my C5 and C6. It was pinching a nerve. I was completely debilitated. I could hardly even move.

We met with a lot of doctors, did a lot of things.  Surgery was
definitely an option but I didn't want to get cut into.  I didn't want to
have any fusions in my spine.  Didn't sound like a lot of fun to me.

So we kind of kept our heads up and talked to as many doctors as possible to seek out alternatives. I went through physical therapy. And it kind of took care of itself, thank God.

So it ended up, you know, not being a huge deal, but missing the last half of last season was certainly frustrating, because we had - Dorricott always provides me with a good car and I had a lot of missed opportunities.

This year, it's been fantastic and I haven't had any problems.

-cart-

Jon Fogarty press conference, part II

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Jon Fogarty