Merrill Cain: Good afternoon. Welcome to the CART Media Teleconference. Thanks to all of you for being with us this afternoon. I am Merrill Cain with CART filling in for our usual host T.E. McHale. Our guest today is driver Kenny Brack of...
Merrill Cain: Good afternoon. Welcome to the CART Media Teleconference. Thanks to all of you for being with us this afternoon. I am Merrill Cain with CART filling in for our usual host T.E. McHale.
Our guest today is driver Kenny Brack of Team Rahal who recorded the first victory of his FedEx Championship Series career in last Saturday's Firestone Firehawk 500 at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan. Good afternoon Kenny, congratulations and thanks for being with us today.
Kenny Brack: Thank you.
Merrill Cain: Kenny, driver of the No. 8 Shell Ford Lola and he earned his first career victory in his 24th start on Saturday finishing 3.650 seconds ahead of runnerup Helio Castro-Neves of Marlboro Team Penske. Kenny averaged a race record 178.113 miles per hour en route to the victory which gave him the FedEx Championship Series points lead for the first time in his career. With 49 points Kenny holds a two point advantage over Castro-Neves heading into Round 6 of the Championship, the Miller Lite 225 scheduled for Sunday, June 3rd, at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin.
Kenny's victory Saturday was Team Rahal's first since Max Papis won the 2000 FedEx Championship Series opener at Homestead Speedway. He owns three Top 5 performances in 4 starts this season including finishes of fifth in Mexico and second at Nazareth and has also recorded the first two poles of his FedEx Championship Series career at Mexico and Texas respectively. Overall Kenny, the winner of the 2000 Jim Truman Rookie-of-the-Year award owns 12 Top 5-finishes in 24 FedEx Championship Series career starts. He has scored Championship points in 10 of his past 13 starts, dating to a fourth place performance last year at Chicago.
The Miller Lite 225, Round 6 of the 2001 FedEx Championship Series, will air live on ABC television on Sunday, June 3rd beginning at 4 P.M. eastern time.
With that we will begin taking questions for Kenny Brack.
I want to recreate something for you real quick. Sunday afternoon this came over the loud speaker at Indy: "Kenny Brack, Kenny Brack, please report to the Walker Racing garage."
Kenny Brack: (Laughs).
I am just wondering, you know, what is going on -- do you take that as a compliment that so many people run around wondering what hole you were hiding in over there, when you would finally show your head? I am just wondering how does a driver see that when he is looking at it from afar?
Kenny Brack: Well, I haven't seen it so I don't know. That's the first I know about it. But, you know, I guess -- I don't know. It's been kind -- the rumor was pretty heavy (inaudible) I was going to drive for A.J., for Ganassi, for Penske and for Walker Racing. I don't know, it's a tough time driving for all those teams in the same race.
But it must be great to be wanted?
Kenny Brack: (Laughs) Yeah.
You went straight to Sweden; is that correct, that's correct, after the race, right?
Kenny Brack: Yeah, that's right.
What does this mean to you when you look at it, the breakthrough victory, I mean, what -- do you feel like a totally different guy now, you know what I mean? The burden is lifted?
Kenny Brack: No, I don't feel like a different guy. I am still the same, I hope.
But of course, it was a relief because we have been so close so many times and we have always -- I mean, look at the season last year, I mean, last race we were leading the most laps dicing for the lead when we had a mechanical problem. We had other situations last year where we were really competitive and running up front and always something happens.
This year we have had two poles and four front-row starts and in Nazareth it was -- we were clearly class of the field there. We had a really, really good -- the Lola Ford so good there, it was like stealing candies from or taking candy from kids.
It was really, really good. But still we ended up second and it has been so many times that, you know, we have been around running up there and now finally we got that first win and that feels, of course, great.
As I said, it is like a big weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I am very happy about that and for myself but also for the whole Team Rahal Shell team because we -- they have worked very hard to get this result.
Following up, from what you just delineated, all those examples, do you feel strength now from the standpoint of making not only getting that first win, but making a legitimate run at the Championship now? Do you feel like you have really got a solid effort behind you?
Kenny Brack: Well, I felt that all along. It has just been we have been denied so many times and I guess now we have done it, but I mean, this is not the answer to everything. But for certain, we have one victory and we aim for more victories, you know, and that's how a Championship comes together. But you also -- all the other results, the seconds and the thirds and the fourth and the fifth places, those are good feeling results for points for a Championship.
But certainly we want to win more, you know, and sure, we have high expectations in Team Rahal because we have a very solid group with a lot of knowledgeable people there, you know, including mechanics, engineers, team managers and drivers and everything and Ford, Shell, good solid partners we work with, and so we feel that we have a good foundation to make a quest for the Championship.
But we have to improve. That's the name of the game. We have got to stay focused. We have got to improve. We can't relax just because we won a race. We need this positive energy, but, you know, we've got to stay focused and keep making improvements.
Now that this first one is behind you, how do you keep the momentum going into Milwaukee and so on through the season?
Kenny Brack: Well, you just have to keep focused and the main thing, you know, the end result of a race is just a receipt of how good you were that weekend. No one is that good that you can't improve.
We certainly have areas where we can still improve and we keep focus on that and keep improving ourselves in different areas and just go along with it. That's how it needs to be done.
What are some of those areas that you feel the team needs to improve on?
Kenny Brack: It is everything, you know, but we still have to -- for example, pit spots, we need to get a little better there, I believe. And we have come along way when it comes to pit spots. We have come along way when it comes to reliability. But we have a new chassis this year and so we are still sort of learning a little bit about that. But we still have to keep making those improvements.
Driving - you have to improve the driving. You have to improve every aspect of the team to keep developing. It never stops. Because if you stop then you get overtaken before you know it.