CHAMPCAR/CART: An interview with TV broadcast, production team, part III

An interview with: Derek Daly Tommy Kendall Scott Pruett Calvin Fish Bob Varsha Terry Lingner DOUG SELLARS Q Especially to the drivers, the travel that is looking forward to the second half of the season, the travel internationally, how ...

An interview with:

Derek Daly Tommy Kendall Scott Pruett Calvin Fish Bob Varsha Terry Lingner DOUG SELLARS

Q Especially to the drivers, the travel that is looking forward to the second half of the season, the travel internationally, how arduous is that as a driver to get ready to plan in September, let's say, for what you may need and what you may plan to do in November?

Derek Daly: I might start off, having initially traveled extensively with F-1 as a driver, then on television. At one stage I actually did F-1 and Indy car in the same season. I remember my opening event was in South Africa, and my second event was in Australia. That was the opening weekends of my season.

Quite frankly, I enjoyed it. I don't think it's a problem planning. I think when you surprise people, it becomes a problem. But when you have your schedule well set out, you know where you're going, I think everybody's able to plan around what they do. I mean, although the actual travel part, sitting on an airplane, is not glamorous. I think most of these people - certainly me - are still energized by continuing to go that these venues. The beauty about motor racing, it is so unpredictable, so the actual travel part of it does not become a burden.

Tommy Kendall: Talking about the international stuff, I can't speak to what it would be like if you did it all the time like in Formula 1. But I find because the overseas trips are not that common, the guys tend to pack extra days in. You're almost I think -- I think people are almost better rested for the international races than maybe they are in the U.S. They're sometimes catching the last flight out, getting in the night before. Scott could probably speak to that.

Scott Pruett: When you first opened going to Australia the first time, which was the biggest event we went to back in '91, yeah, you plan add few days ahead. Then as you've been there for a couple years, you just plan to be there, "Okay, get there Wednesday, we'll rest up on Thursday, can be on track Friday."

I know for the guys last year, especially Australia with Fontana back-to-back, the crew, because they went from a street course to a superspeedway, the guys, especially the crew, were wrung out. I mean, these guys were hurting, I mean, with getting back and late hours and trying to re-acclimate to the time. That was a tough grind for them last year.

But in general, in doing Indy car, I mean, it's been great. I think what CART has done over the years with the black-out days and having a little respect -- I mean, it is a grind for the drivers, but it's more so a grind for the crew, especially with these guys having families, wanting to see their kids grow up a little bit and spend some holidays. I was very proud of the fact with how they stepped up and put in these black-out periods so they gave and forced, more than anything forced the time for these guys to spend with their families, because, you know, they just can't help themselves.

But from a driver's standpoint, the CART series has been great in what they've been doing, especially going from CART to Cup, when did I did Cup, there was three months I wasn't home a full 24-hour period. That got to be a horrible grind.

So I think what is happening now and most certainly with the team owners, the drivers, the crews, I think it's getting to be a very good a balance.

Derek Daly: To follow up on what Scott just said, when he mentioned going from Australia to Fontana, what a challenge to go from street cases to superspeedways. There is no more versatile form of motorsports on this planet, and the skill set needed is unprecedented for crews and for drivers. That is one of the things Chris Pook is harping upon, and one of the things we've known for years and probably have taken for granted. But the skill that is needed is unprecedented if you're to become champion in this series.

Q Is it affordable for the teams to get the monies necessary to do that kind of travel and have the kind of equipment necessary standing by to go from a street race in Australia one weekend to a superspeedway in Fontana the next?

Derek Daly: Absolutely. Because as CART has done now is they've taken a domestic market where you can only seek sponsorship on a domestic level, and opened it up, now you can seek commercial backing on a global level. That is a huge door opened up for people.

People don't often see it that way, though. They see the negative side of it. But to open up the world as potential sponsors and the large companies on a global level, I think is an enormous opportunity for these teams if they just realize it and not just complain about having to travel so much.

Also another point. The last time I drove for Williams was in 1982. That's 20 years ago. At that time the budget was $25 million to run a two-car front-running team. The word at that stage was that Formula 1 is dead, it will never survive, it will never generate that type of commercial backing on an ongoing basis.

Nowadays, 20 years later, it's more than $200 million to compete at the front, and it's never been bigger and never been better. So I think that answers the question.

Part IV Broadcast interview


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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Pruett , Calvin Fish , Chris Pook , Derek Daly , Tommy Kendall
Teams Williams