BUSCH: CHAMPCAR/CART: Christian Fittipaldi press conference 10-30-01

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, OCTOBER 30, 2001 AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY Opening Remarks& ...

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, OCTOBER 30, 2001 AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY

Opening Remarks…
"Wow, what a difference. Good afternoon everyone. Obviously I'm very happy to be here. Its something completely different than what I'm used to. I'm really looking forward to the race. NASCAR is definitely very big and it's something that I have watched on television for a long time. I'm really happy to have this chance together with these guys and hopefully there will be a lot of excitement when we come here for the race weekend. And now it's going pretty good and we'll see what happens. It's going to be something completely new for me but I'm really looking forward to this chance. Although you're obviously very serious and obviously trying to do the best job out there. It's a little bit on the fun side also. It's something different than what I do. Maybe next year, this will pick up, maybe it won't we don't know. But as for right now it hasn't changed my CART plans. I'm looking forward to the race."

On making NASCAR debut in hometown of Miami…
"It's a lot easier. I can sleep in my bed and it's not far from my house. It's a track that I know. So I'm looking forward to the Homestead race - there's no doubt about it. When we really decided to come race here, we also remembered all the factors. But at the same time it's the perfect chance. I race this weekend in the final race of my series, then the following weekend we have the NASCAR race over here. So definitely, that will make life a lot easier for me."

On the idea of racing in NASCAR…
"I have to admit that ever since I came over here in 1995, I started looking at the sport and I definitely realized that it is very, very big. Certainly this opportunity came around and we were sort of joking. I went to the Bristol race and Mr. Haas, my team boss, had been telling me for the last couple years that I have to go and look at one of the NASCAR races and this and that. But I'd always stay at home, watch it on TV and never go to the track. Then when I went to Bristol I was impressed with what I saw. Definitely those guys put on a fantastic show out there. And Carl (Haas) said 'let's get one of the team's cars and you go testing and see what you think about it.' I went to Lakeland about a week and a half ago and we had an excellent test there. I really liked it. Then after that, with this opportunity of running over here (at Homestead-Miami Speedway), we started playing around and saying 'Maybe we should do it; Maybe we shouldn't do it.' And the team gave me this chance and obviously I'm going to take it. It's not every day that you get chances like this and I hope it goes well."

On Carl Hass encouraging Fittipladi to race in NASCAR…
"By no means did he push me into this. And as I said before this is a one-time deal. As far as I know it's not going to effect my CART plans in 2002 in any way. So I'm looking forward to this race as I said and after this race is over, then we'll sit down, talk and we basically go from there. I don't know. I just think that maybe there's a possibility it could happen one day. There's no doubt about it. But maybe the timing is not there. I have to feel it out and I have to learn a lot, because this is a completely different world to what I'm used to. And we'll just go from there."

On what Haas said when learning of Fittipaldi's intentions to run Busch…
"Try it! It could be interesting.. It could be interesting for all of us. Obviously, he has a NASCAR team also. I think it's more 'Come down here Christian; see how it is; check out your experience running Busch and we'll just go from there.' I find it very, very unlikely, to the 95% point, that my 2002 CART plans will not change."

On running a full CART schedule and a limited Busch Series schedule…
"Let's put it this way. I wouldn't see it being impossible. Right now, there's absolutely nothing that tells me that we are going to be doing that. But it's a good idea actually. I'm going to take it over to Carl and see what he thinks about it."

On differences between NASCAR and open-wheel racing…
"It's pretty different compared to what I do. The speeds are lower, the car is bigger, the car is heavier. But at the same time in order for you to go quick and for you to race really well out there, you need a different type of skill. I think we are used to maybe a skill that you have to push to limit of the car. Generally, the more you push, the quicker you go. Over here (in NASCAR), in the little I ran, you have to understand a lot more why you're going quick or why you're going slow. And sometimes you have to go slow in order to go quick.. you can't overdrive the car. It's a lot more thinking than people realize. People just think that you sit in a car, press the gas pedal and off you go."

On Emerson Fittipaldi's (Christian's uncle) reaction…
"Everything went so quick. Everything happened while I was in Surfer's Paradise last week. We basically had the green light probably on Friday or Saturday when I was over there. So I raced there, I came over here. I arrived yesterday about 8 or 9 o'clock. I went to bed. Tried to sleep a little bit. Came over here. And from 7:30 this morning I was on the track. So to be quite honest with you I really haven't talked to anyone yet."

-HMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar , NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi , Emerson Fittipaldi