CHAMPCAR/CART: Bobby Rahal, Kenny Brack teleconference transcript, part III

An interview with: Bobby Rahal Kenny Brack Part III Can I ask you what you thought of the Indy 500 this year, what it said about comparisons between CART and the IRL? KENNY BRACK: I mean, comparisons, I read very little into that. Indy...

An interview with:
Bobby Rahal
Kenny Brack

Part III

Can I ask you what you thought of the Indy 500 this year, what it said about comparisons between CART and the IRL?

KENNY BRACK:  I mean, comparisons, I read very little into that.
Indy 500 is always won by the best team with the best driver.  Clearly
Penske cleaned house.  You know, that's that basically.  Hopefully maybe we
can be back there next year and show them how to really do it.  We'll see.

Kenny, it's really hot in Toronto, too. I'd like to focus a bit on the heat we talked about earlier. What do you do to deal with it personally yourself?

KENNY BRACK: The only thing you can do is to drink a lot, stay out of the sun as much as you can. Really in the race weekend, there's nothing. You can't avoid it because you have to be out paying attention to what other people are doing. You have to sit in the car and everything. The only thing you can do is be well-prepared. That's something you go through the whole season doing, you know, physically working out. That's the only thing you can do really.

What is your primary fitness? Is it cycling?

KENNY BRACK: You know, for me, I rather run. Mix with weight lifting, I run for the aerobic.

How far do you run?

KENNY BRACK: I don't measure distance. I measure time. I always run time. If I get, you know, whatever distance, it depends on what kind of workout I do. If I do interval or if you do some other stuff. I run pretty long stints.

But some interval work, too?

KENNY BRACK: Yes, just like you would do for any other sport. You mix it up with interval, continuous training, whatever you have.

When you talk about drinking a lot of water, I guess, do you have water in the car in this situation?

KENNY BRACK: We do have water in the car. Obviously, we can't carry a big container of water. We can carry a little bit of water. It's not enough to keep you hydrated. You have to drink a lot before the race, then you add some during the race, then you drink about a gallon or gallon and a half after the race just to try to reset the loss of your fluid. I mean, it's a tremendous loss of fluid during a race. It's very easy to get dehydrated in weather like this.

How would you explain to an outsider as to how hot it gets? I've heard drivers say you don't feel it as long as you're moving? Given the heat we have now, that might not be the case.

KENNY BRACK: In this heat, you feel it when you're moving, too. When you stop in the pit stops, making adjustments in practice and stuff when you stop in the pit stops, that's when you really sort of -- your senses aren't focusing on driving because when they are, they shut everything else out. You come into the pits, you open a bit. That's when you really feel how hot it is. It's grueling.

Have you ever in the past have something happen in a race and you thought, "I was just too hot, lost concentration?"

KENNY BRACK: I don't think that I've ever have that happen. I've been really dehydrated. One instance last year I was really dehydrated. After Cleveland, I was really, really dry afterwards, so to speak. Normally it takes two or three days to get back to a normal situation with the fluids and stuff. When you get dehydrated, then you can't eat for a couple days. It takes probably about a week to get back to your normal form. It's something you have to be very aware of.

You've got the bulk of your points from oval races up to now. You have six of the nine remaining as road circuits. Are you enthusiastic about the opportunity to get results there?

KENNY BRACK: Definitely. I think you're right, we have had the majority of our points from oval racing. We have been competitive on the road and street courses, too, it's just that we haven't been able to get to the finish line in a lot of them because of various mechanical problems and so forth.

I think that we have a very good package with the Shell/Ford to really bring home some good points even there. I think that we can challenge for wins in the races to come, definitely.

The car cut out or you might well have won at Mexico. Was there another road circuit where you had the thing shut down for a moment?

KENNY BRACK: No. That was the race. We also had -- we ran Long Beach, for example, and we had drive shaft that broke there. Was second there when it happened. Obviously, third in Toronto when we had an electrical short circuit. We've been Top 3 in all the races, or many races in that situation, too. I don't think we have something missing. I think we're having a pretty complete knowledge about what we need to be doing in different situations.

Kenny, when you talk about the road circuits, getting the car ready, at Vancouver last year, three races away here, too, didn't qualify particularly well. Can you talk to me about the Vancouver track, what you like or don't like about it.

KENNY BRACK: It's a terrible place (laughter). All jokes aside, we had a rough time there last year actually. It was actually so bad in the first session, I came in twice. I thought the car was broke. I just couldn't drive it there. It was slip-sliding all over the place. I think for the race we kind of (inaudible) onto what we needed to be doing. By that time, many times it's too late.

I think as far as the track is concerned, it's not the most exciting track, but it's good. The town, the setting of it, it's extremely nice. There's a lot of support, a lot of fans coming to the race. I guess that goes for all the Canadian races that I've been to so far. It seems to be like it's a happening in the places where we race. It's not only the race, it's a big party. You Canadians, you have other stuff going on, parties and competitions and stuff like that. It's really an event outside the racing, too. We always enjoy coming to Canada and race.

I think this year I have one-year experience from Vancouver. I think that we have a very good understanding what we need to be doing to be competitive. I'm looking forward to it.

Bobby, you talked a bit about Vancouver. We're about a month away from those two races in Europe. You've been in Europe. I wonder what kind of sense of how they're going to go over there? Talk about what you talked about before, CART maybe going to a street and road racing circuit.

BOBBY RAHAL: I think it's going to go well. I have no doubt that it's going to be a learning curve for Europeans in regards to what CART is all about. I would say for those people that follow racing closely, and many of them do over there, they all wish in some respects certain aspects of Formula One were more like CART: the competitive nature of it, accessibility to the drivers and the teams. Those things just aren't there in Formula One. In CART, obviously they're some of the mainstays.

I think there's probably a well-educated group of racing fans there that are going to come because they know it's good racing, and there's going to be a group of people that will come to the race out of curiosity that probably would be converted, I suppose, or at least will follow the sport more regularly once it leaves those races.

The fact, thanks to Joe Heitzler, this year we have a consistent television package in Europe. Every Sunday night on Eurosport, it's live. For me it's been good, but for a lot of people they know when they can tune in and the race will actually be on. I think that's helping to create some interest.

I don't doubt for a second that there's going to be some period of time you'll have a race, and I don't know if both races will be sold out, but it's just going to over time I think bring more and more fans to have an interest in this type of racing. Certainly the ovals are a very unique form of racing in Europe. It's something that they're not at all, other than watching on TV, not something that they're all used to.

I think when they see these cars and drivers on those circuits, they're going to be wowed by it. But that's there. If we're on road courses there, as I say, wouldn't be any different than Formula 1, Formula 3000 or anything else. So being on the ovals I think is the way for us to go.

It's kind of a paradox in a lot of ways. As I say, I think it's a damn shame that the ovals aren't popular here. As I say, if Michigan isn't the greatest race, hasn't probably produced three of the greatest races ever in the last three years we've been there, I don't know what circuits would. Yet it doesn't seem to really matter. I just find that, as I said earlier, baffling.

Conversely, you look at Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal next year, Long Beach, Houston, the list goes on and on, Elkhart, Mid-Ohio, Laguna, you can't argue with it. Sometimes reality is not necessarily what you want it to be, but you have to recognize what it is. I think, without question, the more unique we are at CART as a series, the better, the more successful the series will be in the long-term. May not be immediately successful, but nothing happens overnight. We have to lay claim or stake a claim to some aspect to something that is unique and special for us to really grow the sport. If we just want to be like everybody else, we're going to suffer.

T.E. McHALE: As we're approaching the top of the hour, I'll open it up to a couple quick final questions for our guests.

Kenny, your success so far this season could probably be attributed to something you're keeping close to your vest. Also, will Mid-Ohio pose any unique challenges, will you have to make any changes, adjustments? Bobby, if you could take a few moments and wax eloquent for the Mid-Ohio fans what that track personally means to you?

KENNY BRACK: That is for me? I couldn't hear the question.

What do you attribute your success so far this year to? Also, will you have to change anything in light of that for this weekend at Mid-Ohio?

KENNY BRACK: Well, I think success so far has been, like I talked about earlier, this is not a one-man show from anybody, it's teamwork. Team Rahal is extremely strong right now. I've been part of helping build it, but there's 90 people here. We all have been part of helping build it. That's the key to our success so far.

I don't think that we want to change anything for Mid-Ohio. We've been successful, ran strong on all kinds of different tracks, all kinds of different layouts. We just going to go to Mid-Ohio and try to continue what we have done so far.


BOBBY RAHAL: Well, naturally Mid-Ohio, as you know, I go way back. Of course, had a lot of success there, all different kinds of cars. Won both of my IROC races at Mid-Ohio, won some sports car races there, the Lumbermens, Indy car, CART races, I guess all kinds of stuff. I just always loved Mid-Ohio. I thought it was one of the great driver circuits. It puts such demands on you as a driver, whenever you left there, especially if you won, you really felt like you'd done something special.

Of course, having grown up really literally going to Mid-Ohio, here I am now 30 years later, 40 years later, going back, I still think 40 years later, "Here we are, what a fantastic place." It's still going strong. It's under great direction, ownership by Michelle Gajoch and Barbara Trueman. It's just I think one of the great road racing circuits in this country and one of the great ones in the world.

I guess I just feel having witnessed most of the world's greatest drivers race there over the years, Jackie Stewart, Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme, Jim Hall, Mark Donohue, the list goes on and on, from that era, to the guys you see today, not many places have seen that level of talent walk through the gates there and perform.

For me, I feel lucky that I was in that -- in the group. I just love going there. I think it's a great facility and it will be great for another 40 years certainly.

Kenny, seems like since you won the IRL championship, won the Indy 500, you're poised to win the CART championship. If you win the CART championship you have conquered just about everything there is to conquer. What's next? Do you think you'll be going towards Formula 1 with Bobby and Team Jaguar?

KENNY BRACK: I think that's a bit premature right now. We have nine races left. We just have to focus on the job at hand and see where we end up. If we manage to win it, that will be great. We'll think about the next step after that.

Certainly for now, I don't have any other plans than to continue here for the near future.

AJ Foyt, Penske, Ganassi, Andretti, a lot of big names have gone back to the Indianapolis 500. Will we see Team Rahal there next year?

BOBBY RAHAL:  We're certainly investigating it, as we've done the
last several years.  Naturally, I'd love to go back.  I still think, without
question, there's such history and tradition to it.  Being such a
traditionalist in a lot of ways, I think you just do want to go back.  You
want to compete and to win.  I'd love to win that as an owner, not just as a
driver.  There haven't been many of those, I suppose.

We're looking into it. We're going to do everything we can to go there. Because of the names, the kind of names you just mentioned, if you go, you got to go to win. That means money and that means a lot of support. We want to make sure that we're properly prepared to do so. Personal we are working actively towards going there. I suspect here in the next 60 to 90 days we'll know for sure one way or the other.

T.E. McHALE: With that, I'm going to step in and wrap it up for the afternoon as we've been at it for over an hour.

Kenny, Bob, thank you for taking the time to join us this afternoon. We wish you the best of luck in the Miller Light 200 this weekend. Thanks to all of you who took the time to join us this afternoon. Have a good day.

Part II Part I


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Series IndyCar
Drivers Bobby Rahal , Kenny Brack , Jackie Stewart , Bruce McLaren , Mark Donohue