Kenny Brack, driver of the Shell Ford for Team Rahal, is perhaps the most heralded rookie to come to the CART series since Nigel Mansell. Brack doesn't view himself as a traditional rookie. He believes his past race record, which includes...
Kenny Brack, driver of the Shell Ford for Team Rahal, is perhaps the most heralded rookie to come to the CART series since Nigel Mansell. Brack doesn't view himself as a traditional rookie. He believes his past race record, which includes winning the 1999 Indianapolis 500, should differentiate himself from the Champ Car veterans, rather than the yellow rookie stripes the 33-year-old Swede will wear on the rear wing of his Shell Ford.
BY CART STANDARDS YOU ARE A ROOKIE - A ROOKIE THAT HAS WON THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 - BUT A ROOKIE NONETHELESS. DO YOU FEEL THERE IS THERE EXTRA PRESSURE ON YOU TO PERFORM?
"The greatest pressure is the pressure I put on myself. Yeah, I won the Indianapolis 500, the greatest race in the world, so I think I can pedal a car around an oval pretty good. You don't win races like that unless you know how to get the most out of your car and what to expect. But, I am a rookie here because no matter where you go the first time, whenever you start something new, you are classified as a rookie. Everything is new to me - the cars, the tracks, the competitors - everything is new to me, so I am just trying to learn bits and pieces here."
WHAT WILL YOU CONSIDER A SUCCESSFUL SEASON?
"I definitely want to be looking for race wins this year. I mean, I have had that goal everywhere I have been. So I don't expect it to be any different here."
OTHER THAN RUNNING CONSISTENTLY, STAYING OUT OF TROUBLE - THE TYPICAL ANSWER YOU GET FROM MOST DRIVERS WHEN YOU ASK WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP - WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED? YOUR TEAMMATE, MAX PAPIS, ALREADY HAS A YEAR WITH HIS TEAM AND ENGINEERS, AND HAS BEEN ABLE TO BUILD SOME CHEMISTRY THERE. YOU DON'T HAVE THOSE INTANGIBLES YET. DO YOU FEEL BUILDING THAT CHEMISTRY IS YOUR BIGGEST HURDLE?
"There are a lot of things you need to have in place to win a championship. That means the equipment - from the chassis to the engine, the team owner, the mechanics, team personnel, all the way down to the people that deliver pizza to the shop. The driver needs to lead the team in the right direction so that it all comes together. I regard the driver as the center of the team. They have to be able to pull everyone together. If the driver is successful at doing that, all of the other things fall into place, and you don't have too many incidents, then you have a championship-winning situation. That's what we are working towards. Right now, for me, that would be an unrealistic goal to have. Of course it's in the back of my mind and I want to win as many races as possible, but it's hard to set goals like that when you don't know the tracks, competition and all the other variables involved. I am focused on doing my best possible work out there."
IN MANY SPORTS, AND AUTO RACING IN PARTICULAR, IT SEEMS THAT ROOKIES GO THROUGH THIS PERIOD OF HAVING TO PROVE THEMSELVES TO THEIR COMPETITION. DO YOU THINK YOU WILL HAVE TO PROVE YOURSELF?
"Who knows? If I am an established driver in a series and a new guy comes in, it's pretty easy to look at that guy's record and tell if he is a good driver. If he is a good driver, you need to feel him out and see how he reacts in certain situations and make sure you are comfortable with what he does. That's all there is to it. I don't know how these guys do it, but I wouldn't expect them to do any differently. I know many of these guys from earlier days in IROC and F-3000 and they are all very talented drivers. We are all out there to do our jobs as professionally as we can."