An interview with: Kenny Brack Part II Q You kind of touched on the different tracks, the different lengths of tracks, style of tracks that the drivers have to compete on in CART. Just wanted to get your opinion, do you think the start of the ...
An interview with: Kenny Brack
Q You kind of touched on the different tracks, the different lengths of tracks, style of tracks that the drivers have to compete on in CART. Just wanted to get your opinion, do you think the start of the season is a little street, road course heavy? Would you like to see a short or long oval mixed in early on in the season?
Kenny Brack: I don't really care. I'm looking at the schedule as it is. I guess every competitor has to look at it that way, then prepare themselves for the program at hand. I don't think it would make a big difference whether you had an oval like the second or third race, or if you have road racing because you sort of do what's necessary.
That's it really. I mean, for us, we're also going to do the Indy 500 so we're going to have plenty of oval running up until June or whatever.
Q Looking a little ahead to Long Beach, last year it seemed like you had a really strong car and a really strong running until you had problems in the pits.
Kenny Brack: Well, it wasn't problems in the pits. We broke a drive shaft.
Q At any rate, do you feel you have any unfinished business at Long Beach that you want to go back and have a strong showing?
Kenny Brack: Racing is only unfinished business (laughter). So, yeah, it doesn't matter. Even if you win a race, you still want to go back and win it again. Like Mexico, I feel like going there and winning it, I feel like going to Long Beach and winning it.
Long Beach is a classic American race. It's the one road race over here that's got all the history to it, you know, that makes for a big race. So, obviously, to win that race would be great, definitely.
Q What are your thoughts on today's announcement about Miami?
Kenny Brack: Maybe I don't even know about the announcement.
Q It was announced that CART would be racing there this year in October.
Kenny Brack: That's great news.
Q I guess you've never raced in the city streets of Miami.
Kenny Brack: I have. And I won a Barber Saab race there. Actually, that was the first race I ever did in the United States which was, I believe, February of '93 or something like that, downtown Miami, together with I think it was IMSA at the time, wasn't it?
Q May have been.
Kenny Brack: Yeah.
Q I believe it was a Toyota win.
Kenny Brack: That's possible. I won that race. That was the first race I ever did. So, yeah, I've been racing there. It's a great town.
Q With regard to the new rules, there's been some questions asked already. The one thing I've seen in these rules is the ability to pretty much go flat out because of the way the pit stops are going to be scheduled, no limitation on fuel. As a driver, does that make you happy to be able to run without worrying about saving fuel, going 100%?
Kenny Brack: Well, I think, yeah, that's going to be good because that means, that if you're doing a good qualifying effort and you have a good car, you will be able to -- the race result should reflect that.
I think that sometimes, like in the previous years, sometimes if you have a bad car or whatever, you can sometimes by pure luck basically get the race win. We saw that several times last year.
Now, I don't know whether there's such a thing as a flat-out, straightforward pit strategy. There's always going to be strategies and some luck will be involved because of the yellows, how they fall and stuff, I believe. But I think to a lot less extent this year. That's the thought behind it anyway.
Q I guess my understanding was that you had to stop within a window. They give you a certain window of laps where you have to stop.
Kenny Brack: That's correct. And that is based upon fuel consumption, so they know that, okay, if you have this fuel consumption, you can go so many laps on full fuel, then if you want to go any further, you have to start saving. This is based upon you have to stop within the window of going full all the time. You can't go any further; you have to stop.
Q Do you notice any difference in power with the boost reduction this year? Is it noticeable?
Kenny Brack: Yeah, it's less power, obviously. They've reduced the boost from 37 to 34. So, yeah, we have a little less power. The cars are a little slower in the straight line speeds.
As always, the development goes quickly forward, and I'm expecting to see, increases in the power over the season. You know, we're ready from last year to this year's chassis, there's more down force, so the cars are better. Lap time-wise, I think, I don't know, we'll be quite close to last year's lap times.
Q Talk about the Target Chip Ganassi team. We were talking to your Winston Cup counterpart, Stewart, a couple weeks ago. He said from the time that he first walked in the door, it felt as though he was with a winning organization that only talked about winning. Talk about the feeling that you've received since you've been there.
Kenny Brack: It's a great team. There's a bunch of guys here that they want to win, that's all they want to do. They have experience in winning. You know, they won a lot. It's a great group of people.
It's a bigger organization than what I'm used to. But, they have managed to sort of get a good bunch of guys, although there are quite a few of them here.
I'm looking forward to it. They have a lot of information from previous years, different drivers, different driving styles, all that stuff. I hope that I can gel real good with this team and win a lot of races this year, obviously.
Q Other than the fact that it's a bigger team, is there any kind of other difference that you see with this team?
Kenny Brack: Well, all the teams want to win, you know. I think, like I say, the difference in this team is that they have a very good organization and they've been proven to be very successful in the past. They can still be very successful. They are very successful.
You know, the driver's job is to try to get in there and get to know everybody, acclimatize yourself to the team you're in and try to take advantage of everything.
Q What kind of emotions do you take from last season? Job undone? What did you feel in the season when it was over?
Kenny Brack: Well, I got to say that we had a fantastic season, no matter how you look at it. We won four races. That was more than any other did in the series. We took six posts. That was more than any other did in the series. We led the most laps. I guess no matter how you look at it, it was a very successful season. Difficult to beat those statistics.
You know, we didn't win the championship. That's obviously the end-of-the-year reward if you do a real good job. That's what we didn't do. Of course, that feels hard to deal with. But still, we've got to try again. I think I'm in a great operation in Team Chip Ganassi Racing, to try to accomplish that goal.
Q If you could, talk a little bit about last year, the way racing was last year, the way that it promises to be this year? Do you kind of consider this a make-or-break year in terms of the circuit, maybe these changes were necessary to kind of take it a step forward?
Kenny Brack: I don't think in terms of the on-track action there will be a make or break. I mean, if you look at the 20 races we did last year, I'd say that you see plenty of action. I say you see plenty of controversy and all that stuff that makes it interesting.
But certainly I think that the changes that they've done hopefully will be bringing even better, closer racing. I don't know if it's possible or not, but certainly it will be in a different way this year.
Q In a sense, has the organization become stodgy, stagnant maybe in terms of how things were being done, that it required some driver input and maybe some input from someone who knows the sport very well?
Kenny Brack: I don't think CART's problem last year was the on-track product. I think it was on other levels of it. But, I think that Chris Pook has brought a lot of stuff along, I mean, a lot of positive energy. I sense that from media and from everybody, that there's a lot of positive energy around CART now, where last year, I guess mainly from the media, it was kind of maybe negative energy.
So that's changed a lot. I think that you'll see a lot of good on-track racing this year, as always.
Q I talked to a couple of drivers, and with traction control in this year, it's probably not going to make a huge difference by most accounts, but some drivers are telling me they will be able to adjust their driving style more to what they're used to. Would you concur with that?
Kenny Brack: Well, I'd say that for me, I'd like to adjust the traction control to my driving style. I think traction control on the level that we have it right now, I don't think that it will enhance the lap time. It might do after a few months or a year when we get more used to it and develop it more. But right now I think it's going to maybe help you.
Let's say you're in a qualifying lap, maybe you push hard, you take a chance, and coming off a hairpin, whatever, all of a sudden you give it too much throttle. You just get wheel spin. Well, in that situation, I think that the traction control comes in and helps you. Instead of losing two-tenths because you have too much for a split second, the traction control helps you catch it so you may lose half a tenth or a tenth of a second. I think it can help you in that way.
I think that maybe it will perhaps sometimes help you basically in situations like that, which can be helpful, of course.
Q With Bridgestone being the tire of the series this year, have you noticed any changes, if any, to the tire?
Kenny Brack: Yeah, they changed lettering on the side from Firestone to Bridgestone.
Q That's about it?
Kenny Brack: Yeah, I think so (laughter).
I don't know, there might be other changes, too. I'd say that the tires are, you know, to me identical. As you know, Bridgestone owns Firestone, so I guess it's a marketing situation. I think they're identical, yeah.
Q What's happening with your band?
Kenny Brack: I don't know. It is rock'n roll. It's a little fickle. I don't know. We'll see. To be honest with you, I've been pretty busy this year getting everything up and running, getting acclimatized to the new surroundings and everything. I haven't really thought about the rock'n roll stuff yet. Once we get underway, if things work out fine, we'll see if we may put the band back together.
Q You know I ask for the joke.
Kenny Brack: I know you, I saw you out there in California and everything. Were you invited to the back stage party?
Q You've driven for some very strong-willed owners. Maybe Bob is the best at not showing it on TV. Tell us about your working relationship with Chip now compared to AJ.
Kenny Brack: Well, there's definitely some differences between the owners that I've driven for. I think that one common deal is that they all want to win. I think AJ obviously was very charismatic owner. Bobby is in his way, too. I expect Chip to be a great owner. He's a very charismatic owner, too.
I haven't yet raced for Chip. I know all he wants to do with his racing is win. He loves winning. That's the best thing you can have in an owner. I expect a good relationship, and he's a great guy.
John Procida: Kenny, thank you for joining us today.
Kenny Brack: Thank you.
Part I Brack interview