Indianapolis 500 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Infiniti press conference April 10, 2002 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Indianapolis Part 1 of 2 Bob Jenkins: Well, good morning. I'm sure you've been told that before but since I didn't go with you on the...
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Infiniti press conference
April 10, 2002
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Indianapolis
Part 1 of 2
Bob Jenkins: Well, good morning. I'm sure you've been told that before but since I didn't go with you on the Panther tour, good morning to all of you and welcome to Dreyer & Reinbold facility here on the northwest side of Indianapolis. We're going to be hearing in the next few minutes about the Infiniti program and the racing program itself. We have a few speakers, and we'll be talking with some of the drivers that will be in Infiniti-powered cars this year at the Speedway. We get started by hearing from the owner of this team. Not only is he the owner of Purex Dreyer & Reinbold Racing but Dennis also owns several Indianapolis-based car dealerships including two Infiniti dealerships. Many of you know that he has a long history of connections in auto racing because he is the grandson of one of the early pioneers of open-wheel racing, Pop Dreyer. So please welcome and give a large round of applause to Dennis Reinbold. (Applause)
Dennis Reinbold: Thank you very much. As Bob said, we welcome you to our race shop here at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. We've got, as you can see out there, a shameless promotion. We backed in some Infiniti automobiles so you can peruse those. We don't have any sales orders, but we can take care of that if you have some interest a little later on. Infiniti designs performance cars, as you can see by our new G35 out there that Infiniti is really focused on performance and styling and really moving toward the future, so we're excited. As an Infiniti dealer, I'm very excited about their product line-up and the future of that franchise. As a team owner with the IRL team, I'm also very excited about Infiniti in terms of their future and the performance aspects of the motors. We've got Bernard Dudot here who will later on inform us what's happening with Infiniti. It's very exciting for the future. With our race team, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, we're getting ready to gear up and go to Nazareth next week, which we're really excited about. We've put together our crew. This is our third year full time as Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Our team is consists of a lot of very, very experienced and quality veteran team members. We're really excited to have them. They're over there. You guys can raise your hands, if you would. Led by John O'Gara, who will talk here in a few minutes, we put together a group of guys that we feel like one of our strategies is we all want to get together and get along really well and develop as a team and grow as a team and stay solid; and from that nucleus we can expand and grow. Part of our goal at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is to become a two-car team operation. When that happens, we don't know. As many of you know, we had a second entry scheduled to go into Indianapolis this year. We will put a second entry into Indianapolis, that's our plan. We have delayed the announcement of who that will be and what that program will be for the simple reason of we have some sponsorship opportunities that we're pursuing hopefully those come to fruition. We don't know at this point in time but we want to leave that door open in case that does happen. The time frame, of course, is very short. So sometime shortly after Nazareth we will move forward and pursue a second-car operation if we haven't succeeded in our pursuit of a full-year program with the second car. For the most part, our focus at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is to get Robbie Buhl in the winner circle and Infiniti in the winner circle. We're excited about our preparation and how to approach each race. We feel like each race we have a very legitimate shot at winning. We go to each race with that expectation. So it's taken three years to get to this point, but we're excited about where we're at and think that we have an excellent shot at Nazareth, at Indy and beyond at winning a lot of races this year. So with that I will pass it back over to Bob. Thank you very much. (Applause)
Jenkins: This next guy doesn't look very old but he's been around racing for quite a number of years, a couple of decades actually. He's worked with people like Dan Gurney and Tim Richmond and A.J. Foyt and Team Menard. In fact, he helped Team Menard win two championships in '97 and '99. He's been with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing since 1999 and is responsible for preparing the race cars and coordinating the pit activity. Now, when he's not racing -- your son is starting to race; is that right? Looks like you've got a job cut out for you. Let's welcome Johnny O, Johnny O'Gara. (Applause)
John O'Gara: Thank you. First of all, I would like to thank everybody for coming out today and all the interest in the IRL. I'm team manager here. I've been here since the team started. I want to, first of all, introduce all, the whole team and the mechanics. You guys, as I introduce you, you can raise your hand but keep working. (Laughter) That's a brand new car that we're trying to get ready for Indy. Brad Brewer from Lafayette, Ind., is our crew chief. He's been involved in racing his entire life. Second on my list is our engineer and my nephew, Michael O'Gara. He spent some time at Honda as an engineer. He spent some time at PI Research as an engineer. He does a real good job for us. The other half of our engineering staff is John Martin, who is not with us today, he works out of California. We've got Gary Cheever. Gary is from Cheever Racing last year, so he's familiar with the Infiniti. I called him Gary Cheever, that's not right. Gary Frost, he worked with Eddie Cheever last year and he's like a lead mechanic and fabricator. Phil Davis, Phil comes from Heritage Motorsports and Jeff Ward last season. Roy McAdams, another mechanic, he's from Albuquerque, N.M., better known as Bubba. Wayne Selman, our truck driver. I think he's out running parts right now. Mitch Fink, Mitch is here somewhere, he coordinates all the Racing for Kids stuff and does a great job. Another guy that's not with us today is Jeff Dickerson. He's our spotter and really helps Robbie through some difficult times on the racetrack. He does a great job for us. We've got one other crew member that's not with us today, Brian Franzosi who came to us when Menard shut their truck program down. He's in the Air Force and was activated after the September 11th deal. He should be back shortly. But that's the entire crew. I've been in this business for a long time, I've never worked with a group of guys that get along as well as these guys. We all socialize together. It's more like a family than actually a race team. So that's about all I have. Thanks.
Jenkins: The guy who drives the car, of course, is Robbie Buhl. He joined forces with Dennis and formed the team in 1999. The first time out, you will recall, they were very successful. Robbie won in Orlando in 2000, he also recorded a victory before he joined this team in New Hampshire in '97. Now, most recently you'll recall he sat out the most recent race at Fontana because of a crash and a subsequent concussion. But hopefully he'll be back for Nazareth, and we're definitely looking for him back for the seventh try at the Indianapolis 500. In six previous finishes, his best finish has been a sixth and has recorded three top-10 finishes. So please welcome a guy you associate with, of course, with Racing for Kids, Robbie Buhl. (Applause)
Robbie Buhl: Thanks. It's great to be here in Pennsylvania with you guys. Oh, no, I guess this is Indianapolis. I'm still recovering from my hit there in California. Every day I get better. I met with a neurologist here in Indianapolis yesterday and everything they see on all of their x-rays looks good. So I'm excited to be back for Nazareth. Before I say a little bit more, Johnny O is the team manager and if you guys are in the bathrooms today, he just finished scrubbing those. So he's got a lot of details around here and that's just one that I wanted to point out that he did a really good job at. So I know all the guys back there appreciate it. Dennis briefly touched on it, we're really happy to have you guys come to our shop. It's something we take pride in, but I want you to know this is something we've all worked hard on in terms of Dennis and myself and Johnny O and all the crew guys of evolving this race team, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, and this race shop. This just didn't happen in one day. This is something that we keep improving upon and if we can ever make this a better shop, a better workplace, we're going to do that. It's something you can't do overnight and we're doing over time and simply proud of. That translates to our performance on the racetrack. If we can have everything in order back here at the race shop, that pushes over to how we perform on the racetrack. We have a group of guys, we have a good time at what we do. We didn't have a good time crashing the car in California, but we'll move past that. That's part of the business. But I was talking with Tim Tuttle a little bit before this, you know, I'm a little frustrated as a driver because I don't think, if you look through our black-and-white results of this team over the last eight or 10 races, we've been competitive at every event. If you look at the black-and-white results of what we've done with this team, you won't see it there. But we are a competitive team, and we're going to keep digging in, and we're going to win our share of races, hoping with some of the good luck that I've had in years past at Nazareth -- Nazareth is where I clinched my Indy Lights championship in '92, so there are good memories there for me. Maybe a little of that will rub off and give us that next weekend there. But as I said, we've got a good team. The black-and-white results haven't showed it. We've got a good group of guys, we've got a great association with Infiniti and where that program is going, Firestone, Purex, Aventis. Aventis is a pharmaceutical company based in New Jersey, Allegra is one of their big products. Obviously, Nazareth is going to be a big event for them. I think we'll have close to 500 people from that company there. So we're looking forward to it. We'll be around after to answer any questions. And, again, thanks for coming. (Applause)
Jenkins: This next guy I got to know during last year's running of the U.S. Grand Prix when Eddie Cheever was chosen to be the analyst, if you will, for the telecast. The first person that he said that he wanted to help him and help us in the booth was Bernard Dudot. He was the technical director for the Renault Sport program from '80 to '97, was part of the Renault V10 engine program, which won six constructor titles and four driver titles in Formula One. Before joining the Infiniti Motorsports program last May, he worked as technical director of the Prost Grand Prix Formula One team. He is the Indy Racing Program Director for Infiniti Motorsports, Bernard Dudot. (Applause)
Bernard Dudot: Thank you, Bob. 2001 was the best achievement for Infiniti Motorsports since the program made its debut in 1997. A year ago we introduced the Infiniti Indy 35A engine. Eddie Cheever, Jr. won with this engine at Kansas and Robbie Buhl led the final four races of the season with the powerplant. We led more laps last season than ever before. The beginning of this season we are miles ahead of where we were last year when we had a brand new engine. We are continuing our longstanding partnership with Dreyer & Reinbold and Cheever Indy Racing. We have two new teams with Conquest Racing and Bradley Motorsports. While we have the capacity to supply at least 10 entrants in this year's Indy 500, our main focus is to be on winning with our current teams. The engine we have now, it's a completely new design compared with the engine we had last year. We have a new system management and we spend a long time in durability on the dyno. We have for the Indy 500 the new spec engine having a lower center of gravity and more power. Our goal is very simple, become the first Japanese automotive manufacturer to win the Indianapolis 500 and to win the Indy Racing League championship. Thank you for coming. (Applause)