IRL: Cheever Racing 2005 plans teleconference transcript (part 1)

Red Bull Cheever Racing Teleconference Transcript Indy Racing League November 11, 2004 Eddie Cheever, Jr. Alex Barron Patrick Carpentier MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. We'd like to thank you for joining us on today's Indy Racing League...

Red Bull Cheever Racing Teleconference Transcript
Indy Racing League
November 11, 2004

Eddie Cheever, Jr.
Alex Barron
Patrick Carpentier

MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. We'd like to thank you for joining us on today's Indy Racing League teleconference.

Joining us today are members of the Red Bull Cheever Racing team based out of Indianapolis. Earlier today the team made a couple of exciting announcements, which includes the addition of driver Patrick Carpentier, who will join Alex Barron on the two-car team. Red Bull Cheever Racing also announced that the two-car team will be powered by Toyota engines.

We'd like to join Eddie Cheever, Alex Barron and Patrick Carpentier to today's call.

Eddie, first congratulations on today's announcement. You've got to be excited about how things are taking shape for your team in 2005. Can you talk about today's announcement?

EDDIE CHEEVER, JR.: We've been working very long on putting all these pieces together. It ends a long relationship we had with General Motors, but it also starts a new one with Toyota. The IRL has become definitely a battle of Titans in the engine department, and we feel that with Toyota, it will put us back to the front again.

As for our drivers, I couldn't be happier. We have two seasoned, experienced warriors. They seem to be very comfortable with our company's philosophy. I'm very much looking forward to the season.

MODERATOR: Thank you.

Alex Barron had five Top-10 finishes in the 2004 season for Red Bull Cheever Racing, including a season-best third place finish at the Bombardier 500 at Texas Motor Speedway in June. Alex returns for a second season with the team. Alex, can you give us your thoughts on today's announcement from the team?

ALEX BARRON: I'm very excited. I've been with Toyota off and on since '97. I know that everything we've heard, they're very dedicated for the 2005 season. The team I think is, again, improving its strength. I think Eddie has put a lot of key people in the right places. I'm just very excited to extend my relationship with Red Bull Cheever Racing for another year.

MODERATOR: The newest member of Red Bull Cheever Racing, Patrick Carpentier, is an eight-year veteran of major open-wheel racing. After making his CART debut in 1997, he won the Toyota Atlantic championship in 1996, a feat his new teammate Barron did a year later in 1997. His first career CART victory came at Michigan International Raceway in 2001, which is a current stop on the IndyCar Series schedule.

Patrick, congratulations. Can you give us your thoughts on today's announcement?

PATRICK CARPENTIER: I'm extremely happy. Like Eddie said, we've been working very hard. To be teammates with Alex is a good thing. I know him a little bit because he raced at the same time as me in Atlantic, and I think we're going to get along really well.

But I'm looking forward to it. I'm very anxious. I want to start testing very soon. I think with the team, the way it's heading, with the Toyota engine, and for me coming in with Mecachrome and Red Bull and all these guys, I'm really excited.

I love ovals and I've been wanting to do it for a few years. I've never done the Indy 500, for me it's going to be a new experience, but I'm really looking forward to it. I love close-wheel racing and I love oval racing, so it's fantastic.

MODERATOR: Before we open it to questions for the media, I need to ask Eddie if there is a reason behind the No. 83 on the race car?

EDDIE CHEEVER, JR.: A Red Bull can is 8.3 (fluid ounces) -- that's the size of a Red Bull can. I'm amazed you picked up on that. Well done.

MODERATOR: Thank you much. I got an assist here from the folks in the office. I can't take full credit.

We'll open it up for questions.

Q: Patrick, congratulations on the move. It seems to me, we're not going to look back, in the statements we've had from Forsythe that you may have jumped the gun here and made a decision too quickly, that there was a possibility of you staying there. I know before you made this decision, that probably wasn't forthcoming to you, and this may be some backtracking on their part. What is your comment on that?

PATRICK CARPENTIER: Honestly, I'm not going to really comment on it. For me, I remember sitting last year, last winter, before the season started, and I was talking to Al. We were talking about it. I said, 'You know, I would like to go race some ovals. I would like to do the Indy 500. I think next year I'm going -- I'm most likely going to be looking towards the IRL.' It started fairly early. I was not allowed to negotiate until later in the year this year.

Gerry (Forsythe) knew about it. Everybody knew about it. Had a talk with Gerry. I know they were looking for something. They wanted me back. But for me, it's a personal choice. I've always wanted to do the Indy 500. I've always wanted to race ovals. You know how much I love oval racing. So for me it's a personal decision and a choice that I've studied and looked at very carefully. I think here with Red Bull Cheever Racing is going to be a pretty good partnership.

Q: Eddie, what are you seeing in Patrick as a driver? You've worked with all kinds of talent over the years. What are you seeing in Patrick that you like and why the hire?

EDDIE CHEEVER, JR.: I think he's at a perfect point in his career, both from an age point of view, and experience he's had. I cannot say that I have spent a lot of time with Patrick, but he seems to be extremely motivated. Something that you can always judge, a driver's motivation, is by looking if they're in good physical shape or not. He seems to be in incredibly good shape. The guy finished third in that other championship, which I don't even know what it's called any more. He has done very well. He's a professional.

We expect him to deliver results. I'm sure he will do that.

I put him on very much of an equal par with Alex Barron, who I have a lot of respect for. He's put a lot of work into this team. I think between the two of them, they will do a very good job working with each other.

It is important that we found somebody to work with Alex and somebody that they could push each other on. The time I have spent with Patrick, I have been very impressed with his dedication to his job. The whole team is very much looking forward to starting to work with him.

Q: Patrick, when will be the first time you get a chance to test with the Dallara chassis?

PATRICK CARPENTIER: I haven't had the testing schedule yet, but it's going to be around mid December, probably 13 or 15. I think my first, funny, it's going to be on a road course. Looking forward to that. Then I'm really looking forward to going on the oval circuits with it.

Q: Patrick, after eight years with CART/Champ Car, the solid season this year with the victory, can you sum up for me your past eight years and what it's been like for you, how long you've had your eye on moving to the IRL?

PATRICK CARPENTIER: Actually, it started a few years back. But the last winter is the time when I really started looking into it. I looked at pretty much all of the races this season before I made the final decision.

I've always been a big fan of oval racing and close-wheel racing. I looked for it. I think this project is coming together at the right time. For me I spent eight years in CART, and it was a big learning process. I'd say when I first started, I was very soft, just learning quite a few things, very easily influenced. Over the years, I got hit on the head a few times, not only because I crashed, but outside the race car. I just learned from that.

You know, you learn, you get tougher, thicker skin. Every year got better and better and better. This year was actually the first year for me where I really felt like I was a championship contender, championship winner, race-winning capabilities, strong and devoted to actually guide the team and lead the team.

I actually like that position. I'm not saying I'm going to lead the whole team, because Alex is going to lead his side of the team and we're going to work together quite a bit actually to both of us be at the front. But to lead a part of the team, I'm really looking forward to it. I think I've had great experience with that.

The reason we had success this year was in major part because of the attitude change and the attitude that I have. This is what I want to bring here, this is what I want to do with the team and winning races.

Q: Did you talk to Paul over the last few days?

PATRICK CARPENTIER: No, I haven't talked to him over the last few days. After the season, he came to see me. I really enjoyed Paul, and I'm going to say this, I have enjoyed the time with Eddie also because they're strong penalties, strong person. One thing I like about that is what they say is what it is. What they tell you is what they think and what they have on their mind, what it is. It's very straightforward.

For me, that's one quality that I really enjoyed of working with Paul Tracy. He came after the last race and he said, 'Congratulations, you had a fantastic year.' I said, 'You know what, Paul, I learned a lot of stuff from you.'

He's a very aggressive driver. He will fight for every corner, anything he can find to fight and to get an advantage, he will do it. In racing, that's the name of the game. That's what I learned from him this year.

Continued in part 2

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Eddie Cheever , Patrick Carpentier , Alex Barron