An interview with Dale Coyne Merrill Cain: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for joining us today on this week's CART Media Teleconference. I'm Merrill Cain with CART Public Relations. First up on the teleconference today we are happy to...
An interview with Dale Coyne
Merrill Cain: Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for joining us today on this week's CART Media Teleconference. I'm Merrill Cain with CART Public Relations.
First up on the teleconference today we are happy to make a special announcement relating directly to CART's event in Europe next month at Rockingham Motor Speedway in England. We're happy to say that a new team will be debuting at the Rockingham 500, as Team Saint George will join the field for the event. And the team has purchased the car and many of the supporting parts, Sigma Autosport entry in the CART FedEx Championship Series earlier this season. One of the driving forces behind Team Saint George is a former CART owner and driver, Dale Coyne. Dale has joined us today to briefly discuss the welcome addition to the CART field starting in Rockingham. Dale, thank you for joining us and if you can, tell us a little bit about your involvement with the team and what you guys have left to complete in your efforts before going to England next month?
Dale Coyne: Thank you, Merrill. This all came together quite quickly. They were looking to put an effort forth over there with Team Saint George and a British driver and a bit of British flavor to the whole program. They contacted us about our equipment, our effort and our personnel to kind of coordinate it and get it off the ground. And we came in agreement to do that. We purchased the Sigma car and all the ancillary equipment that they had with that last week, first part of last week. Our guys here, about 11 guys working feverishly on it trying to go through it completely from one end to the other and making it a good prepared car. Because it actually leaves late this week. It flies over on Friday for a PR event next -- I think it is tentatively scheduled for next Tuesday over there. So we're excited about that. And everybody is doing a good job to just get it ready and be ready for next week, and then of course stay there for the race two weeks after that.
Merrill Cain: It is a truly collaborative effort, I think here, a lot of the part, as you said, and the car itself are coming from Sigma. But you are also supporting it with a lot of the parts and supporting cars that you have been building with the Dale Coyne Racing; correct?
Dale Coyne: Yes, we had two cars that we started the update process on earlier this year. With a side intrusion panels, we had sent the tubs back to England, they had to modify them, so we had started on the path of being ready to run this year anyway. And then we looked at this and the logistics of getting a kit, 2002 update kit out of England in time and then the Sigma purchased made more sense to us. I am not afraid I think, with what CART has done with the rules for next year and the plans that I am certainly not afraid to spend the money to buy those kinds of things and it just gets us ready for what we're trying to plan for for next year.
Merrill Cain: Has a team manager been selected and where are you at in terms of your personnel and how close are you to driver selection?
Dale Coyne: We are probably one more day away from the driver selection. There has been several mentioned. I think the short list is probably Johnny Herbert and Darren Manning. There's been a couple of others mentioned that are also pretty good quality drivers. So we'll see -- another conference call early tomorrow morning and we'll see where that lies. But as far as the key personnel, that will be done from here. David Watson rejoins us as engineer. He was here with us in 1996 in his rookie year as an engineer in CART. Then he went on to work for Rahal and has been at Sigma for the last two years, so we're happy to have him back as the engineer on the program. We're just very pleased with it. We think it's going to be a very competitive car. It's kind of tough to jump into the wars. Everyone else is spooled up and up to speed. We're up for the task. I think we'll do a good job of it.
Merrill Cain: How important is it to have a British element to this, a British driver in the car or some sort of connection for the folks in England?
Dale Coyne: I think it is very important. We went there last year. Dale Coyne Racing went there last year and tested some tires, there were some track surface concerns; there were some aerodynamic configurations that we went there and tested last year with Alex Barron. And we put Johnny Herbert in the car for his first time in one of the things on oval and he was up to speed at Rockingham right away. He took to it very naturally. And they brought on a lot of press because I think Johnny is a pretty well-known name over there. I think that the addition of Johnny last year in the test, it showed the amount of interest that there was, especially from the British people for one of their own. So I think it's only natural that it has progressed now in this Team Saint George where the car will basically be a British Flag and will have the Saint George cross on it and a British driver.
Merrill Cain: How close are you to sponsorship?
Dale Coyne: There are some smaller companies involved and major ones involved. That will probably be announced within the next week.
Merrill Cain: I know you are hopeful that this team can compete at other races this season. Talk about that and what your plans would be for 2003 next year.
Dale Coyne: We're trying right now to piece together a couple of more races yet this year. We're looking at the domestic races and possibly Mexico City. And then we'll see for next year. We were a two-car team before and I think the things that CART has done to control the costs next year as well as increased the payout make the parts that you have to find a realistic number again. So I am more optimistic than ever that we can compete again next year with the two-car team.
Merrill Cain: Excellent. Dale, it's great news. We appreciate you coming on and updating us a little bit. We look forward to seeing Team Saint George in competition in England next month.
Dale Coyne: Thank you.