IRL: Alex Barron press conference, part II

Indy Racing League Weekly Teleconference Transcript July 29, 2003 Alex Barron Part 2 of 2 Q: Did you spend the last 10 or 12 laps getting to make that pass at the end? A. Barron: We were trying to weigh out the best way it would be ...

Indy Racing League Weekly Teleconference Transcript July 29, 2003

Alex Barron

Part 2 of 2

Q: Did you spend the last 10 or 12 laps getting to make that pass at the end?

A. Barron: We were trying to weigh out the best way it would be to attack at the end of the race. About 5 laps to go I was wondering, the Panther car seemed to gain speed, and we were stuck at the same speed, then they started backing up. Then with 2 laps to go we tried one of the moves we did with about 8 laps to go and it seemed to work, getting a good draft off of (Turn) 2, going into (Turn) 3 with a lot of speed and then carrying a low line next to him off of (Turn) 4 and be able to inch forward past the finish.

Q: Does the point's championship change a little bit now potentially that these new Gen IV (Chevy) engines has shown that it is going to be able to run out front with the Toyota and the Honda?

A. Barron: I am sure there is a lot of talk behind the scenes, but I am not sure where it is with that. I am sure the engine manufacturers are going to work that out for sure.

Q: When you start looking jobs are you able to carry into the deal bringing your own sponsorship?

A. Barron: Yeah, I had $1.50 for two Snickers bars, but that's all I had. I wish I had some sponsorship to bring. But unfortunately the kind of money some of the teams are looking for, I haven't had. I've just had to call to work for the team with existing sponsorship.

Q: One idea that is in a lots of drivers minds now a days is NASCAR. Did that come to your mind or did you want to stay in open wheel?

A. Barron: Well, definitely for me NASCAR has a market there. But this thing about racing, you have to be around the right people to get the opportunity to do things like that. My resources in NASCAR are very limited. I pursued it a little bit a couple of years ago for a couple of months, and I just couldn't seem to get in that inner circle. With all the momentum in IRL right now, IRL seems to be getting bigger and bigger. I think for me is just to stick with IRL and try to get a good opportunity to win a championship.

Q: Do you agree with this people who say maybe that the IRL is an open wheel NASCAR?

A. Barron: Well I think there are some similarities for sure but I think a lot of how it is run is different in general but there are some similarities.

Q: And finally and this is delicate. The IRL was formed with the idea of offering rides for American drivers; at least that was the expressed purpose. There is a lot of non-Americans in the series and drivers like you have to fight your way back in like it was maybe ten years ago, is that a frustration for you?

A. Barron: I think it's been that way since I moved up in Atlantics in '97, moving into Indy-style cars, it's been really tough. The guys in the Indy Racing League have done nothing but try to help me get back in. I can't say enough about the group. They run a pretty tight ship and I love working with them. I think it's a great place to be.

Q: Alex you may have touched on this earlier, have you also been told for Kentucky and St. Louis that you will be with Mo Nunn?

A. Barron: I think I'm good until Felipe comes back. It's hard to say where everything is solidly until the end of the year. Felipe has been in the car from Day 1 and as soon as he gets better he'll be back in. As long as I get the call to drive the car, I'll just put my head down and do the best I can once I get the call.

Q: Have you watched the tape of the race now?

A. Barron: No I have been so busy, but everybody said it was exciting I can't wait to watch.

Q: We have had about five close finishes in the league, and it seems always the guy that's on the outside seems to be able sneak over the line first, is there any reason to that?

A. Barron: I think being up on more of the banking of the track there's not as much scrub with the car, so the car seems to move forward a little bit quicker. But it's tossup, because on the inside you have shorter distance to go. It just depends on where you're at and how you attack at the end of the race. I would say definitely to get the slingshot from (Turn) 4 most of the tracks you run on you're going downhill usually you can get a little bit more ahead coming off of (Turn) 4 vs. coming off of (Turn) 2.

Q: You have driven 20 races in IRL and 17 you have been running at the finish, and I think last year you went for a long run there where you never finished lower than 12th. Do you think with that kind of performance, and since you bring the car home that you would get a more serious look for a ride?

A. Barron: I think a lot of the owners look at it that way. I have been getting some calls pretty frequently lately even before this ride. Again, like to get back in full time and run. I want to make sure it's in a competitive car, and I want to go after a championship. I haven't had a chance to do that for a long time. That's what I'm really seriously looking at for 2004.

Q: Last year you drove for Larry Blair, then you drove for Penske and now you are driving for Mo Nunn. Compare the differences between those three car owners.

A. Barron: Larry Blair, a very genuine guy. I loved working for him. He hasn't been around racing for a long time, but he's a fast learner. He put a lot of people in key positions to do the jobs, oversee the team. Roger Penske, obviously it's a very professional team, a great sponsorship, very successful, a great guy to drive for. And Morris, I remember Morris as the great engineer when he was engineering Zanardi and Montoya in CART. So quite a bit of a difference between the three. I got to spend a little bit of time with Morris over the last week. There's a lot of things about him I didn't know, because I didn't get a chance to sit down and talk to him. It's just been a great experience for me to work with people like that, the variety I've seen. You can't say enough about the people worked for when you work for people like that.

Q: What were some of the things about Mo that you learned about?

A. Barron: A lot of the old stories he has. It's pretty amazing some of the stuff he's seen. Pretty dramatic some of the places he's been, people's he's worked with. I didn't know there was that much history was there. I didn't know until maybe a couple of months ago that he owned a Formula One team back in past.

Q: And one other question. During the time you are off, how do you keep working out and keeping a tough mental attitude?

A. Barron: The mental aspect of it is definitely tough when you're watching everybody running around the track racing. But I always go back to karting. I do a lot of shifter karting, go out and do a lot of development. I have my own chassis now. It's call the Barron Avante. It's here in the States. A lot of the young kids I help out when I'm back at home and have some and try to give them some guidance on how to get up the ladder.

Q: There was release from Toyota after the race where Jim Aust called you the best kept secret in the sport, and I am thinking that can be a complement or it can be an insult.

A. Barron: Well from Jim, I take that as a complement for sure, he has been a guy that I have spent time with when I haven't been driving. Going over and seeing all the guys from Toyota, and he has always been inspirational, you know 'keeping you head down, you'll get a shot at it. He's made some calls for me and they have been great to me.

J. Shorts*: What I was really wondering is that the performances you have had in both series, do you ever think why the hell am I a secret to anybody out here?

A. Barron: I mean sometimes it's definitely rough. Some of the decisions and a lot of them are out of your control. Sometimes you go wow, why does it work like that? The only thing you can do is look at the positive side of it and put yourself in a position where you can get a chance to prove yourself.

Q: Alex when you went into that spin, what was going through your mind?

A. Barron: The main thing was dropping in the field and trying not to damage the car. We were fortunate enough that it came back down in the infield and when it caught air coming back on the frontstraight, it didn't damage anyting. I was saying 'Wow, Scheckter came down on me and I was trying to get the car going again and it turned out it just looked like there was a lot of bad air and it was one of those racing instances. It was tough, I had to regroup and the guys had to settle me down. We just had to put tires and the car and go after the win again.

Q: When it started did you think what a great way it is to end like this.

A. Barron: It was fantastic everyone was just glowing after the race and I think it shows what kind of team Mo Nunn is and I think we can build on this and try to do well here in the upcoming races.

Q: You had the ride because of Felipe in the Kansas. Do you stay in conversation with him?

A. Barron: Most of all he is a very genuine individual and I have known him for several years now. He one of the drivers you could sit down with and have a conversation with. Working with Tora (Takagi), doing spotting and driving Arie's car at Indy, being involved with Mo Nunn and talked quite a bit and he is going through a rough time right now and working to get back in shape and trying to get back in the car. I can relate to some of the emotions. I'm sure he's looking to get back in the car and getting back after it.

K. Johnson: Talk about the way they have the car set up.

A. Barron: I think working with Ian Watt engineering the car and it's his first year in the IRL and we've just been trying a lot of things. We haven't had a lot of testing time and the other car with David Cripps, he's been involved with the IRL for a long time. We know a lot about the cars and we've just all been working together as a two car team. We seem to get progress quite quickly with the cars and I think that's what it takes on a race weekend.

Part I

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Alex Barron , Roger Penske , Mo Nunn