Indy Racing League Weekly Teleconference Transcript March 16, 2004 Marty Roth MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. We'd like to welcome two drivers to today's Indy Racing League teleconference. Both Marty Roth and Adrian Fernandez made big news...
Indy Racing League
Weekly Teleconference Transcript
March 16, 2004
MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. We'd like to welcome two drivers to today's Indy Racing League teleconference. Both Marty Roth and Adrian Fernandez made big news in the world of open-wheel racing in the past several days. Later in the call, we'll welcome new IRL IndyCar® Series participant Adrian Fernandez. We'll open today's call with the third entrant in this year's Indy 500, Marty Roth. Roth, who has competed in 13 Menards Infiniti Pro Series^Ù races since the 2002 season announced yesterday that he will be entering his own car in the 88th running of the Indianapolis 500 in two months. He will enter a Dallara/Toyota/Firestone. Marty, thanks for joining us today, congratulations.
MARTY ROTH: Thank you, it's great to be here.
Q: Certainly you've had significant track time with the Pro Series cars over the past couple years. Stepping up to the IndyCar Series for the Indy 500 seemed like the next logical step. Can you talk about the past two seasons, your goal of racing at Indy?
MARTY ROTH: Yeah, it's been a great series, a great learning experience. You know, I can't imagine starting the 500 without moving up through the Pro Series. I've met a lot of great teams, a lot of great people, a lot of great drivers. It's just a great series. It's 100 miles of hold-your-breath racing.
Q: You did not get a chance to race in last year's Freedom 100 at the Indianpolis Motor Speedway. This may be the first lap you ever turn at the Speedway.
MARTY ROTH: First time. I'm looking forward to it. I do get to do the Open Test for the Freedom 100 first, then I'm back and forth in between the two cars. I've got a jump on the Rookie Orientation Program for about two days before I go out in the big cars. I'll get used to the track, sort of play it by ear.
Q: Have you talked with Mark Taylor, Ed Carpenter, and A.J. Foyt IV about the difference in horsepower in the IndyCar Series cars?
MARTY ROTH: Yeah, there's a lot of difference. Bigger cars tend to hold the track a lot better. They're a lot faster. On the same note, they seem a little bit more telegraphic than the lighter cars, or at least that's what my experience was when I did my rookie test in 2002. But we'll get used to it pretty quick.
Q: Have you sought the advice of those guys, Taylor, Carpenter, Foyt?
MARTY ROTH: I've been talking to other drivers, Rick Mears, Sam Schmidt, a few others out there who offer their advice. I've got a pretty knowledgeable team as far as running the big cars and running the Speedway. Mark Moore and Butch Winkle are no strangers to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I'm in good hands.
Q: Could you tell me a little bit about your team? Can you fill us in a little on the experience they bring to the team that will help you?
MARTY ROTH: Primarily the team comes from PacWest. They've been in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series, they've been bouncing around in the IRL. When we went and formed the Infiniti Pro team and picked up the Panther equipment, I hired Mark Moore as team manager. He had his pick list. He went around. The first guy he brought in was Butch Winkle. It's just been great working with these guys. We gelled immediately. We've done a fair bit of testing. We ran our first race in Homestead. That's really the reason we're moving ahead. You're not taking a racing team and moving the whole racing team up to the IRL level; it's more like they were already there.
Q: Entering the 500, is that more of a passion for you? Is it more of a business opportunity?
MARTY ROTH: Well, they should all be the same, shouldn't they? But, yeah, it certainly is a passion. It's a business opportunity. It's all of the above. I've been after this my whole life. You know, I started racing motorcycles when I was 16. I started car racing actually kind of late in the game. I must have been 27 at that point. You know I've just been trying to step up to the bigger cars all the way through. We've been knocked down a couple of times and got back up. Now we're on track, and we're moving in the right direction.
Q: One of the toughest things will be adapting to a speed jump of about 35 mph. Do you think that will come fairly easily?
MARTY ROTH: Well, it came pretty easily at Kentucky. It's a different track. There was a lot higher banking. I do anticipate going a little quicker here, and with a lot less banking. Getting used to the track I think is going to be the easy part. As far as dealing with Indy and the whole show, that will be where the distraction is. I'm going to keep my eye on the ball, just go up there and sort of make the fastest race car I can for the race.
Q: You rode a motorcycle at Daytona. How do you compare this to going around the Daytona banks with nothing but two wheels under you?
MARTY ROTH: I remember the first time I went around there on a Superbike. In my helmet, I just started laughing. It was a fantastic experience and something that I've never forgotten. I'm expecting something similar here. I still remember fondly the first time I stepped into that IRL car in 2002. It kind of reminded me around that first trip around Daytona banking on two wheels.
Q: In your resume, there's a big gap between 1990 and 2002. What did you do during that period?
MARTY ROTH: Dream of the time I could get back into a car (laughter). No, the '90s were really rough on us in the real estate game. We were pretty much in a recovery mode over the next 10 years. It was always my intention to get back into a car. It just took a little longer than expected.
Q: I know drivers say they approach each race the same, but is that really the case, when you think about trying to qualify for the 500 this year?
MARTY ROTH: There's nothing like the 500. You know, I've been there a few times now, and it's just such an amazing place as far as the energy. You put half a million people into a stadium,and it covers you with goosebumps. That's how racing is. You've just got to look at it as another race you've got out there, and your job is to set that car up, you know, learn the track, set the car up, go racing. Like I said, the main thing is keeping your eye on the ball, don't get distracted, and go out and do your job, build a fast race car.
Q: Do you have aspirations of running an IndyCar Series car for events in 2004 other than the Indianapolis 500?
MARTY ROTH: We've tried to secure sponsors. We've got a few things lined up. It depends on how those things unfold. But I'd certainly, yeah, like to finish the season.