An interview with: Jonathan Macri and Josh Beaulieu Part 1 of 2 teleconference takes on a definite Canadian flare this week. We'll be joined by Alex Tagliani of the Player's/Forsythe Racing Team in just a minute, and later in the call we'll...
An interview with: Jonathan Macri and Josh Beaulieu
Part 1 of 2
teleconference takes on a definite Canadian flare this week. We'll be joined by Alex Tagliani of the Player's/Forsythe Racing Team in just a minute, and later in the call we'll hear from two of our top Canadian CART Ladder Series drivers, Jonathan Macri of the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship and Josh Beaulieu of the Barber Dodge Pro Series.
We now welcome in two of our top Canadian an drivers. First, Jonathan Macri of P-1 Racing. Thanks for joining us on the call today.
Jonathan Macri: Thanks for having me.
Merrill Cain: Jonathan's in his second season in the CART Toyota Atlantics Series. He tied his career best finish in Toronto by finishing second earlier this season and he's currently sixth in the point standings, just 29 points behind series leader Michael Valiante. While there's no race in Vancouver this weekend, Jonathan will be there participating in the expanded CART Mentor Program. He will be spending time all weekend long working with the team, alongside CART FedEx Championship Series driver Mario Dominguez.
That has to be a pretty exciting situation for you get into. What are you excited about and what are you looking forward to about working with them?
Jonathan Macri: Just the whole thing starting off. It was an excellent experience, just to get a general idea of what it is like to compete on a Champ Car team. I'm sure I'm going to get lots of opportunities to talk with Mario, just for him to let me know what's going on and get an idea of what a weekend is like and to see what all the PR is and the pressure. I've experienced quite a bit of it in Toyota Atlantics now, but to get the gist of how much more running in CART would be exciting.
I think even just talking over with the engineers, meeting a lot of the different people, sponsors and everything, I think it's going to be a really good eye-opener, as well, for me.
Merrill Cain: We're also joined in the by Josh Beaulieu of the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Thanks for joining us today.
Josh is a 25-year-old driver from Langley, British Columbia, Canada who is competing in his first full season of the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Josh has won a pole in his last race in Cleveland, he sits 11th in points, and I'm sure he's excited to race in Vancouver this weekend. This will mark the first time he's competed on his home track in his career, and he looks to take the checkered flag in the Barber Dodge Race on Sunday.
Thanks for joining us again. What's it going to be like for you take the green flag when you race in Vancouver on Sunday?
Josh Beaulieu: Well, I hope I pick the checker, as well.
We have not finished the last three races. We have had a little bit of misfortune in the last three races. But just to have my first home race in my fourth year of racing in front of my sponsors and friends and supporters is going to be a really special weekend. I think and I hope that I can do a good job.
Q: Josh, when you look at Vancouver as your home track, what do you look for this weekend and who looks to be your best competition?
Josh Beaulieu: Well, it's going to be my first race here in Vancouver on this track. So I am learning the circuit.
But I think the strong guys all year have been, obviously, [AJ] Allmendinger, winning four of the first six and there's been two or three up there, as well. I think after a few races now under my belt, I'm happy that I can be up there running at the front, like at Cleveland last weekend. But I think it's going to be very close, obviously, and part of it is just going to be a matter of staying consistent and not making mistakes. It's definitely not going to be a runaway race. I don't think any race so far this year has been in the Barber Dodge Pro Series because it's been so competitive. It's certainly going to be a challenge and I'm looking forward to making the most of it and running near the front in front of my hometown fans.
Q: Josh, you've had a huge amount of commitment and you've done a lot of it yourself. Can you talk about that, the difficulties, the challenges? I know you did get some rewards with the Formula Palmer test, etc. Talk about your career to this point.
Josh Beaulieu: Well, it's certainly been a roller coaster. You're right. I do 90 percent of my own marketing and PR at this point. So it's difficult to balance all of that with racing and preparing, doing the off-track things required in turn to do the things on the track. But it's been a great experience and it's definitely taught me a lot about the sport and about life in general.
But still, with all of that being said, I'm still at a very modest level in racing and I'm hoping to move up to the CART FedEx Championship Series within a few years.
We have yet to sign a title sponsor this year, so I've been going race-to-race. The last few races I didn't know I was doing to be there until the Monday or two before the race, because the sponsorship gets pulled together at the last minute type of thing.
So that has been the biggest challenge for me this year. But I think as I improve on the track and the speeds increase and I start running near the front more, then hopefully that will pave the way to open the door for sponsors and so on.
Q: Now, obviously, it's got to be something of a challenge when you don't know Tuesday morning if you're going to race or not. But Tuesday afternoon you do and you've got to hop a plane and go. How do you separate that business side to the driving side, getting in the car? Does it still weigh on you, or are you able to shut it completely out of the business side when you get in the car?
Josh Beaulieu: I think that's certainly a challenge, being able to shut out everything else and race when you get in that car. I think maybe some drivers are, but I'm not able to do that 100% completely yet. You are always working towards, just forgetting about everything and just focusing on driving and doing the best job that you possibly can.
So that's definitely a challenge and it's a struggle and probably a goal in itself to just focus on the process. That's something I work at improving, as well.
Q: Josh, racing there for the first time, do you find that the other Canadian drivers who seem to be a very tightly-knit group, have been of any help to you?
Josh Beaulieu: Absolutely. I had the privilege of speaking with Carpentier two weeks ago in Toronto and he offered about 15 minutes of his time. We were talking about basically preparing to jump in the car and preparing for each race and what he does, and he gave me his advice, and it was completely unselfish of him and I appreciated that so much.
I think that Canadian drivers do tend to stick together a little bit. There is another guy who is also very quick in our series, Dan Di Leo. He and I talk a little bit. There is a little bit of that element of national pride, I guess, and it's nice to see that.
Macri, Beaulieu, part II