FedEx Championship Series BRYAN HERTA, DRIVER OF THE SHELL FORD-COSWORTH FOR TEAM RAHAL, LOOKS TO CAPITALIZE ON PAST SUCCESS AFTER A STELLAR TESTING SESSION AT LAGUNA SECA RACEWAY. HERTA, DEFENDING RACE POLE SITTER AND TRACK RECORD HOLDER, IS...
FedEx Championship Series
BRYAN HERTA, DRIVER OF THE SHELL FORD-COSWORTH FOR TEAM RAHAL, LOOKS TO CAPITALIZE ON PAST SUCCESS AFTER A STELLAR TESTING SESSION AT LAGUNA SECA RACEWAY.
HERTA, DEFENDING RACE POLE SITTER AND TRACK RECORD HOLDER, IS LOOKING TO LAGUNA TO TAKE THE TOP SPOT ON THE PODIUM IN LAGUNA AND BREAK INTO THE WIN COLUMN FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HIS VERY PROMISING CHAMP CAR CAREER.
YOU JUST FINISHED A VERY SUCCESSFUL TEST SESSION AT LAGUNA SECA RACEWAY (AUGUST 29 & 30) WHERE ALL BUT THREE TEAMS WERE PRESENT. YOU SET THE FASTEST TIMES BOTH DAYS AND WERE LAPPING THE COURSE FASTER THAN LAST YEAR'S POLE SPEED. WHAT DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT THE CAR?
"Well, believe it or not, we rolled the car out of the trailer that way. The car was awesome right out of the trailer Ray (Leto) had a great set-up on it. I think he understands my style enough now and how it works best with many of the tracks we visit which helps in setting up the car.
In Laguna, it was an exceptional test where we just rolled off the trailer and were good. It's rare that you just roll out of the trailer and the car is right here basically at lap record speeds within an hour of being on the track. What's even more promising is that we were able to maintain that throughout the two-days. We made a lot of big changes throughout the test and really didn't do a lot of fine tuning. I feel that there is still more in the car."
AS DEFENDING POLE WINNER AND TRACK RECORD HOLDER, WHAT IS IT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE TO YOUR SUCCESS AT LAGUNA?
"It suits my style of driving I suppose. I have always done well there. I don't think I have ever qualified off the front row. I think third was my worst ever qualifying spot in Laguna in any kind of car. Why is that? I don't know? I have an idea of what I do, but it's the same style that works for me at some tracks and works against me at others. It seems to be suited very well for that track."
WHAT IS THAT STYLE?
"I carry huge amounts of speed through the apex of the corner. I roll more speed into the corner than most anybody else out there. And at that track if can do that then you can carry it out. At some places I get into trouble doing that. But at Laguna it works."
DO YOU PREFER RACING ON PERMANENT CIRCUITS OVER TEMPORARY STREET CIRCUITS?
"I think that many of the street courses we go to are important tracks. Long Beach is a great event. I think it is one of our best. I think it is very track specific.
Just looking at Laguna, there have been many safety improvements made here over the last few years. It's wide open, a place where drivers can, this is a little cliché, but, let it all hang out."
BACK IN 1995, YOU SEEMED ON YOUR WAY TO CAPTURING YOUR FIRST CHAMP CAR WIN AT LAGUNA UNTIL ALEX ZANARDI PULLED OFF A PASS THAT NO ONE EXPECTED IN THE CLOSING LAPS AND ENDED UP GETTING BY YOU TO TAKE THE WIN. DO YOU EVER LOOK BACK AT THAT RACE THINKING WHAT ELSE YOU COULD HAVE DONE?
IT SEEMS THAT YOUR NAME IS MENTIONED MORE AND MORE COME RACE DAY AS A THREAT TO WIN ON ANY GIVEN WEEKEND, ESPECIALLY ON ROAD COURSES. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU?
"It's flattering. It is a good feeling that people think that much about you. The worst thing is when people ask if it's frustrating to be so close and to not have won, and it is, but believe me, it's a lot less frustrating than not being close. I am not going to say I am happy for not having won a race yet but I am proud of the fact we have been competitive and seem to be able to get as close as we have been. I am confident that if we continue to do that we are going to win one.
HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO WHEN YOU WIN ONE?
"No. That kind of stuff has to be spontaneous. If you plan it its not a real reaction. I don't have any idea. I don't sit in my hotel at night and think what I am going to do, that is the kind of stuff you think about after."
DO YOU HAVE A SPOT PICKED OUT FOR YOUR FIRST CHAMP CAR TROPHY?
"I don't have a special place. I am not a big collector. I like trophies, they are very nice, but to me the memories and the satisfaction personally that you get are the most valuable. The trophies, the money and everything else is very nice, but they are secondary."