Mid-season teleconference transcript (part 4)

Continued from part 3 Q: Max Papis, when you look at Chip Ganassi' racing team, over the years one thing I've come to know about you is that you always work with the team more than just as a driver, you envelope yourself with the team as ...

Continued from part 3

Q: Max Papis, when you look at Chip Ganassi' racing team, over the years one thing I've come to know about you is that you always work with the team more than just as a driver, you envelope yourself with the team as a family. Is that something that you have found with Ganassi racing?

MAX PAPIS: That's a good question actually. You know, within the organization of Chip, everybody's very professional. It's a different feeling. You know, of course it's not the same family feeling that was when I was at PPI. But you have to even understand that is 300-, 400-people organization. We have a great feeling, atmosphere within our group of Grand-Am. You know, we're very close to each other. We joke a lot with the guys and everything.

But again, you know, I think that one of the reasons that I can contribute to the team is bringing my own personality on board. You can see that. You know, I could feel actually when I joined the team in the beginning of the season, everybody was very uptight. They were kind of scared of talking and doing things, this and that. And after awhile, you know, kept working on them, kept working on them, and they kept working on me on other things, and we are much more relaxed. We are more open. A joke now is more allowed than what it was before.

I think that means my personality is gelling into the team. You know, it's a new program. We just started a few months ago, so you need to give it time to know each other. Again, you know, we started a little bit cold, and now we are getting a smile a bit on our face.

Q: Is that one of the reasons why you and Scott seem to get along so well, because Scott is a very outgoing person as well? You can be a little dangerous in a fun way. Is that why you and Scott get on so well?

MAX PAPIS: I think me and Scott, we have very different personality. Scott is a little bit older than me. I'm a little bit younger. But we have both, you know, our racing side a lot of will to succeed, a lot of point to prove.

On the human side, you know, we are a good team. His humor is different than mine. His humor is much more dry. Mine is a little bit more Italian, as you can hear. But we make it as a great team because we accept each other. That's our philosophy within the team. We accept each other with the good and the less than good things and we try to make the best out of every situation.

At the end of the game, you know, I told you like in the beginning of our conversation, someone -- you know, my job is driving fast, but at the same time my job is being myself and bringing something to the team that maybe other people can't. And I think all those things make a difference between one driver and another driver.

But again, you know, working with Scott, he makes life easier because he's a good guy and he's someone that likes racing. He likes racing and he has lot of passion for it as much as I have.

Q: Are you racing for the moment or for the future?

MAX PAPIS: At the beginning of the season, I thought more that I was driving for my future, just at the beginning. And after giving it a hard thought, I am driving for the present. I am driving, that means like winning is everything is what counts in racing, and if you try to make plans and do this and do that and do this and thinking about what is going to be, you know, for the future, you are never going to be good in the present.

So for me what I really -- I was pleasantly surprised by the level of competition that is in Grand-Am. Yes, of course, you would always like to have 200 more horsepower and 1000 pounds more of downforce because we're driver. We're still going to complain even if we have 1000 horsepower underneath us. But I'm driving to prove a point. I'm driving to prove a point that we are winners, and that you better not count me out because I'm always there.

Q: Where do you think you've come from since Daytona, since '96?

MAX PAPIS: Definitely from being just a kid that whatever was happening to me was fine, I definitely am much more mature. Sometimes, you know, that really upset me a little bit because sometimes I think a little bit -- if before I didn't think for a second before giving an answer, sometimes now I think a little bit more. Those things are good things, but at the same time I always tried to be -- I always tried to be myself in the best way I can. Maybe before I wasn't really too much worried about offending some people. Now I think a little bit more because I been in that situation, so I'm a little bit more respectful towards certain situation.

But as a driver, I feel stronger than ever. I feel more mature than ever. You know, it's sometimes difficult through your career to understand certain situations and why certain things happen, but the most important thing is, again, this is sport and I'm winning together with Scott and together with the people like Ganassi. That's what it counts at the end of the day.

ADAM SAAL: Max Angelelli, you're obviously fast and competitive, but you like to have fun as well. Do you think it's important to have that same balance that Max Papis talked about, you have to have fun while you're working, but also get the job done?

MAX ANGELELLI: Yes. Normally sometimes I'm doing something like that because, you know, taking a chance to give back something that I received. So, yeah, when I have a chance, when everything is fine, why not? Little bit of drama, why not?

ADAM SAAL: Maybe we'll have more of that as the season goes on.

Q: Max Angelelli, you ran at Lexington, Mid-Ohio, June 26th in the Cadillac. Can you translate any of that information that you gained there into your Daytona Prototype?

MAX ANGELELLI: Yes, about the track, not about the cars. The track has been changed a little bit, but was not big revolution. I don't know if you know, but I will not go there anyway. For the drivers that we go there, like my teammate Wayne, now I can just help him because they change a little bit all the corners, in the corners. They did a pretty good job. Last time I went there was pretty much bumpy. Getting there earlier, I can tell Wayne now it is much more flat and we can do some stuff in the car to get best out of this. That's all. Not much.

Q: Question for the two Max's. Sometimes as a reporter we don't like some of the questions or points we must consider, but nonetheless it is our responsibility to put it forth and clear up any misunderstandings that may exist from other people. It is the contention of some that you two look upon each other with wary eyes. Let me rephrase that perhaps. That one perhaps receives more recognition than the other, and therefore it has caused strained relationships between you two. I didn't see that at the Paul Revere, especially on the winners' podium. Having said that, do you want to talk about that?

MAX PAPIS: Maybe I can say something. When you race, you're always competitive, and there is only one place for one Number One. There is no place for two Number Ones.

On my side, I always been treating everybody in the same way. Yes, of course, you know, being teammates, maybe few years ago when we were kids, you know, nobody really wanted to give anything to anyone. But for me I like -- I respect my competitors and I do my best.

The thing I learned here in the United States and I'm going to keep with me forever is always to recognize the second place guy and always if you finish second, go and congratulate the guy who wins because you could be in that position the next weekend.

I didn't know that before coming to US because in Europe, you need to understand that we get a very different upbringing. They teach you that you need to hate your opposition to beat it. I learn here in the United States, at least that's what I learn, that you can beat your opposition still wishing them good luck before the race. I don't know. Maybe Max has something else.

MAX ANGELELLI: Wishing good luck before the race, that brings bad luck (laughter). Don't do it with me.

MAX PAPIS: Italians are superstitious. You see the point? Maybe I became too American.

ADAM SAAL: Max Angelelli, anything further to add on the question?

MAX ANGELELLI: I am fine. I have no problem. It's people talking. It's just speculation.

Q: Mr. Taylor, you face -- I find it really interesting in the Daytona prototype series, there are a multitude of chassis manufacturers, a multitude of engines. You've got a considerable background of expertise. When you talk about Bob Riley, he just seems to have some sort of genius, doesn't he?

ADAM SAAL: We have lost Wayne. Max, any insight on Bob Riley? You worked with them for a while.

MAX ANGELELLI: I had the pleasure to work with him in 2000 and I have a lot of respect. This year surprised me a lot with such a good car, surprised in a good way. I always knew Bob and all his staff did good job.

ADAM SAAL: Everybody who joined us today, thank you so much. We'll see you at the next couple of races.

-garra-

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Max Papis , Max Angelelli , Chip Ganassi , Bob Riley