Moran Jr., Fogarty press conference, part I

An interview with: JON FOGARTY ROCKY MORAN, JR. Part 1 0f 2 Anne Roy: Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Anne Roy. I am the communications supervisor for the CART Toyota Atlantic Series. Thank you all for joining us this ...

An interview with: JON FOGARTY ROCKY MORAN, JR.
Part 1 0f 2

Anne Roy: Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Anne Roy. I am the communications supervisor for the CART Toyota Atlantic Series. Thank you all for joining us this afternoon.

I would like to start by introducing the drivers who are with us here today, then we'll proceed with questions from all of you.

We have two drivers from Dorricott Racing. One of them is with us, the other one is in his race car right now. They are testing at Portland. Obviously, Jon Fogarty was lucky enough to be pulled out of his car, find a phone, come and join us. They did have to keep Alex Gurney in the car. Unfortunately, we will not have Alex Gurney with us this afternoon, but Jon Fogarty is with us. I thank you, Jon, for joining us, for taking time.

First, let me talk about Jon Fogarty a little bit. He's driving car No. 32 for Dorricott Racing, sponsored by Thomas Fogarty Wines and Vineyards. He's driving the new Swift .014. He is our points leader right now. He's got three points over Michael Valiante, who stands in second. He's the only driver to finish on podium in each of the first two races. He finished first in Monterrey, Mexico, and third in Long Beach.

Thank you for joining us, Jon.

Jon Fogarty: Thanks for having us.

Anne Roy: Alex Gurney will not be joining us. We will introduce Rocky Moran, Jr., who is driving car No. 4 for Sigma Auto Sport, again in the new Swift .014. Rocky is in his fourth year in Atlantics with us. He's third in points with 21, that's 14 points behind Fogarty. He's a member of our inaugural CART Toyota Atlantic All-Star team that we get in the year 2000.

Rocky is known as the guy who just keeps right on plugging. He just hangs right in there. In the year 2000, he was the only driver to finish every lap from every race. He's earned his first win with us last year at Laguna Seca while driving for Cobb Racing. In Monterrey, Mexico, he finished sixth and fifth in Long Beach last week.

Welcome, Rocky. Thanks for being with us.

Rocky Moran Jr: Thank you, Anne, it's a lot of fun.

Anne Roy: It's nice to have you guys. If no one has any objections, we will move on to the questions from some of our media folks who have joined us this afternoon.

Q: For both of the drivers, can you compare this year's new Swift chassis with last year's? Is it improved? How much? What's the difference?

Jon Fogarty:  I can get into it a little bit.  We did our testing program
this season with last year's car.  It was actually Rocky's car that he
won Laguna with.  We had a pretty good car right off the bat.

Got comfortable in that car pretty quickly. Then we were able to shake down the new car. It was pretty apparent right off the bat that the new car was more rigid, a little more stiff, added a little more security in some of the quicker corners. Unfortunately, our test track doesn't have too many fast corners, so we weren't really able to tap into that right away.

Hopefully, this weekend right now we're testing up in Portland, which does have some quick corners. It should become apparent how much better it is through the fast stuff, although we don't have data from the old car.

But it's nicer to drive. The gearbox is easier to deal with. It's just a little bit more confidence inspiring, I would say.

Rocky Moran Jr: I kind of agree with that. I got to drive the Swift 008 for a long time. I ran it the second half of '99, 2000, 2001. I've gotten to put in some decent hours so far in the 14. Pretty much similar deal. They've generally made it a stiffer chassis overall. The tub has been reinforced, stiffer trunnions. The tunnel configuration is a little bit different. The bodywork itself is a little bit different, a little bit easier, nicer to work on. It's got increased head protection over last year's car.

It's pretty good. Seems to weigh about the same as last year's car, so the weight is pretty similar. As far as driving goes, the biggest difference for me was the improved gearbox. The gearbox on the .008 was pretty finicky, pretty lightweight. They really beefed it up this year. I think reliability-wise it's going to be a much better car than the .008.

The overall stiffness you feel I think really is going to become more apparent at tracks that are quicker, Laguna, Road America, or ovals where there's going to be more support, the car is not going to be flex around in the middle of the corner.

Overall, it's different in a lot of ways, but it's not all that different to drive. It's just a little stiffer chassis overall.

Q: The stiffer chassis helps the setup be quicker?

Jon Fogarty: Yeah, in general, you know, stiffer is better. It's better to have a tub that's not flexing around as much. It's not night and day. It's not like you get in it and completely can't believe how much better it is. It's real subtle. But I think at the quicker tracks, it's going to be a lot nicer.

Rocky Moran Jr: It allows you to really keep a better handle on what the shocks themselves are doing. The suspension is doing most of the complying with the road rather than the chassis. Nice from that perspective.

Q: Rocky, are you still flying?

Rocky Moran Jr: Yeah, I am still flying. I've gone up a couple times since my little incident.

Q: I saw the live coverage on that. You started jumping up and down with your friends.

Rocky Moran Jr: Yeah. That was a great day. That was a totally great day. Quite an adventure. I don't recommend crash-landing airplanes to too many people.

Q: You've been with several teams last year. How does Sigma compare to those teams? Sigma looks like they gave you a really good car. How do you feel this year?

Rocky Moran Jr: Overall, it's by far the best team that I've been with. We've got a great, great team. It's headed up by Jim Griffith who obviously has a lot of experience in the Toyota Atlantic Series. He was the engineer that basically won the championship with Buddy Rice, he was behind the Lynx cars when they were so successful. It's good to be working with someone that has a reputation like that.

The team is really well-organized. It's definitely a young team. Funding has been pretty tight, tighter than we thought it was going to be. We're a little bit behind.

I had an injury, you know, prior to the season that put us behind a little bit. Right now we're probably five or six test days behind most of the other teams. We're just playing catch-up. This little break between Long Beach and Milwaukee is good for us. I'm excited.

Like you said, definitely the best shot I had. Unfortunately for me, the competition this year is a big step up from the years past. This year if you're a few 10ths off, 4 or 5/10ths off, you can be as far back as 9th and 10th, 3rd or 4th last year. That adds a little bit of complexity to everything.

But I'm excited. I think as the year goes on, we're going to continue to get stronger.


Fogarty, Moran, part II

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Alex Gurney , Jon Fogarty , Michael Valiante , Buddy Rice , Rocky Moran