An interview with Robbie Buhl, Dennis Reinbold, Buddy Rice and Sarah Fisher THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you for joining us for today's Indy Racing League teleconference. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has competed in the Indy ...
An interview with Robbie Buhl, Dennis Reinbold, Buddy Rice and Sarah Fisher
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you for joining us for today's Indy Racing League teleconference. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing has competed in the Indy Racing League season since 2000, recording a victory and two top-10 finishes, and they will return to the IndyCar Series in 2007 with drivers Buddy Rice and Sarah Fisher. Joining us this afternoon are team co-owners, Robbie Buhl and Dennis Reinbold, along with Buddy and Sarah. Good afternoon everybody.
Q: Robbie, let me ask you a couple questions to start us off. Let's talk about the additions of these two drivers to the Dreyer & Reinbold team. Obviously, the team has a long history with Sarah, dating back to 2002, and you brought her back into the car last year, and now you're partnering her with an Indy 500 champion in Buddy Rice. Tell us about putting them into the DRR cars?
ROBBIE BUHL: This is something we talked about for a while. Sarah drove for us the last two races last year, Kentucky and Chicago, and she didn't put a wheel wrong there; there were things we need to do improve on our race cars to give her a better race car, but Sarah showed her desire to want to be back in a car and make a statement in Open Wheel (cars), so we're excited to have Sarah with us and complement that with Buddy and his knowledge of Open Wheel cars. Past champion at the 500, Buddy was at the shop, and we were looking at some of the things we have done as a team, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, and we were excited to see some of the commitment that Dennis and myself knew that we had to continue to improve on, to take our team to the next level, and we internally as a team have done a lot, and we are looking forward to putting some great cars out there for both Buddy and Sarah and having a competitive year. The work is still ahead but that's the plan.
Q: This is the first time since 2003 that the team will be running two cars on a full-time basis. Talk about the reasons behind that decision?
ROBBIE BUHL: The reasons behind that are simple. Both Sarah, Buddy and Dennis, we all feel the same way, that as competitive as things have become in our series, when you have two cars out there you can generate that much more information. One car can go one direction, another car can go another direction, and hopefully by race time, you've developed a better, more competitive race product, the ability to overlay computer-generated information in comparison to the cars.
It's a great tool for the engineers and a great tool for the drivers to exchange that information and to compare data from the information you're getting from all your on-board sensors, so it's one of those tools that you look to hope to have to be competitive, and, you know, we didn't want to make the commitment of running with two cars if we couldn't do it properly, and it was always our goal. And right new we're excited about the way everything is taking shape for this year.
Q: Thank you. Dennis, Robbie touched a little bit on this, but maybe you can expound on it for us. It hasn't been a quiet off-season at the race shop. Tell us about the changes you guys are making to get ready for a competitive season?
DENNIS REINBOLD: One thing we've done is we've really hired a lot of individuals that have come in and bring some expertise to our team, and I apologize for my voice, I have a cold, and I'm having a tough time talking. But we have focused on building our team from basically the ground up, and we've kept everyone that was employed with us last year and just added to that, so I'm excited about that. I've been part of this business as team work and the ability to get things done and we've had a good off-season from that measurement anyway.
Q: Thank you. Buddy Rice is coming to you his 6th season of IndyCar competition, he had a season and a half with Red Bull Cheever Racing and three with Rahal Letterman Racing, including the campaign of winning the Indianapolis 500. Buddy, tell us about your opportunity to stay in the IndyCar Series, and secondly, what it means to move to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing?
BUDDY RICE: It was something I wanted to do is stay in IndyCar racing. Some people took things out of context by my running with another series, but I felt it was important to keep myself sharp and being able to drive. I drove in another Open-Wheel series and a lot of people took that different ways, but when I started talking with Dennis and Robbie, and we knew the steps they were taking to make their team more competitive. And they wanted to move up the ladder there and make sure that they were competitive and a front-running team with the individuals they've brought on and the team they have. They're a long supporter of the (IndyCar Series), and to be honest, I'm excited to be back in the (IndyCar Series) on a full-time basis, and I'm looking forward to being back in competitive race cars and at the Indy 500. It's the biggest race in the world, and I was fortunate to win it before, and I'd like to do it again. And the ambition of the personnel and their desire and everybody's drive right now, I think it's going to be a complementary grouping of people to be able to do that, and that's one of the things I'm excited about, and I'm going to be looking forward to, you know, getting back to running up front. It's going to take a lot of work to catch the four red cars, but I've been talking with a lot of people, and I think it's going to be great to be solidly inside the top 10 and with working with J.D. and Chris Finch and get my car and an understanding of everybody's language, the car is going to be competitive, and there is no reason we shouldn't be running inside the top 5 and be competitive.
ROBBIE BUHL: That's why Buddy is driving for us, is we're seeing his commitment and he can see ours going forward, Tim.
THE MODERATOR: Great. Sarah has made an even 50 IndyCar starts in her career, dating back to 1999, won a pole at Kentucky Speedway and has 3 top-5 finishes. She made two starts for Dreyer & Reinbold last year. Sarah, talk about having a full-time ride lined up prior to the start of the season and, two, a great many of those starts have come with Dreyer & Reinbold.
Q: Tell us about coming back to them for another season.
SARAH FISHER: It's not a full-time ride yet, first and foremost. We don't know what our plans are going to be outside of the oval races. For sure I'll be doing all the oval races for Dreyer & Reinbold, and that's neat, I've had a great time with those guys and they have the equipment and the people to be able to put me back on the podium again and to be able to compete up front, echoing exactly what Buddy said. They have wonderful people and working with them in the off-season showed their commitment to growing as a team solidly. I'm excited about that to be able to be back and love the IndyCars definitely at heart.
Q: Hey, everybody. Sarah, what's the perspective of coming into the series where there might be three female drivers. Back in IRL, start of the decade, that's unheard of. Now what do you think about running with two other female drivers?
SARAH FISHER: It will be exciting for the league, because it's something they can sell and it will be great entertainment to see that happen. You know, I focus more on the individual drivers themselves and who you're competing against and, you know, it will be neat to have three drivers, that would be cool.
Q: And the rest of the team, as far as the road courses and street courses, any names bantered about, anybody you would like to see on there?
DENNIS REINBOLD: We are still working to round out a budget for the year so that's why that's still a possibility that we may do something differently with the road course races.
Q: Buddy, having won the 500, having come from a team that had success and starting with a new team, what was most important to you when you we want to Dreyer & Reinbold to try and not only match your career but step up?
BUDDY RICE: Like I said before, with what they brought in with engineers and stuff, I think it shows Dreyer & Reinbold's commitment to what they want to do with their team. And the performance over the last two years -- I left one team and went to Rahal, and in the first year I won the 500 with them. They did have some decent years, but they were trying to make a break-out year that same year, and we couldn't back it up. And the way things have happened as of late, obviously, they didn't have the sponsorship to fulfill the third year of the contract, and I needed to go somewhere where people were doing the same thing and the commitment that these guys are putting into their team is important and they have put all their efforts into the program to make sure they can run up front so it's definitely a step in the right direction. It's going to be nice to be competitive again and I know that the little bit of association that I had with J.D. (John Dick) and Chris Finch with Rahal and Fernandez working together, I know what they're capable of and what they bring to the table and obviously they have a better understanding of me, so I think it's going to be an exciting year for everybody.
Q: Robbie, and you Dennis have been together you came out of the box and you won your first race, since that time you have had top-10 finishes but as a driver I got to think you're striving to get back to the front and you feel that the changes you've made in bringing on these two drivers, who I think are outstanding drivers can put you guys back to where they were when you started?
ROBBIE BUHL: Yeah, there's been a lot of changes over that time period, that's for sure, Don, but you have to have all the components. You have to have a good race car, good mechanics running that, your engineers have to have a plan, and then you've got to have drivers that, you know, have the desire and the ability to execute it. Both Buddy and Sarah have shown they have that desire and that ability, so Dennis and I feel strongly the things we've done internally to add to the guys we already had back in the shop and that are going to be out on the road are going to give us those opportunities to win races. You heard Buddy mention the red and white cars, no question, they're good, they're fast, but there's going to be those days where we are going to have opportunities to win races and both -- our job is to put Buddy and Sarah in a position to do that, and that's our focus.
Q: Dennis, you were a little obviously vague about the rest of the plans. Are you working toward a two-car plan at Indy or a 3-car plan or is that still up in the air as well?
DENNIS REINBOLD: Definitely a two-car plan at Indy going in, and then we'll see how it goes the first week, and three cars may be something we would consider if everything goes well through the first week of qualifying.
Q: And I'm a little -- I'm having trouble understanding the situation with the non-ovals. Can you shed light on that?
DENNIS REINBOLD: No. I can share some why's on that from the standpoint of we're trying to round out our budget. We're far enough along to get us to the tipping point to where we can pull the trigger and say, yeah, we're going to do this, but it may be a possibility that we have to get someone else in for the road course races in order to balance out our budget.
THE MODERATOR: That looks like all the questions we have for you folks this afternoon. Congratulations on an exciting announcement and good luck not only in the next couple days but as we get going in 2007.