IRL: Indy 500: Rookie starters press conference

86th Indianapolis 500 Press Conference Quotes Rookie Drivers Saturday, May 25, 2002 LAURENT REDON (No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone): About Eric Bachelart, who had two starts here, giving advice: "He gave me some advice, but I also ...

86th Indianapolis 500 Press Conference Quotes
Rookie Drivers
Saturday, May 25, 2002

LAURENT REDON (No. 34 Mi-Jack Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

About Eric Bachelart, who had two starts here, giving advice: "He gave me some advice, but I also wanted some different advice because as you said, he didn't have so much success. He gave me a lot. As Tony (Kannan) said, ovals are pretty new for me, so we do need a lot of advice to know what's going on. I've been watching a lot of videotapes from the last four, or three races here. When I see guys like Rick Mears and all of these guys I always try to ask what is good to do, and what is the race going to be."

DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Team Green 7-Eleven Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):

Paul Tracy is known for his aggressiveness, do you see similar qualities in Tomas Scheckter?: "He's a lot thinner than Paul is, isn't he? Absolutely. I think what Tomas has done this year has been great. It's been exciting. The one thing is, when he's been out there he's been quick in every race he's done. What more can you ask? He's been out there trying to win races. When he gets a bit more experience, maybe after this week, for sure he's going to win some races this year. He does a good job. He makes it exciting for me to watch at home."

What have the veterans told you about the first lap?: "Stay away from my teammate, who's starting next to me."

TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

About his father not being thrilled about coming to the race here because it's so fast, how much have you had to calm him down since he's arrived here this weekend?: "I think the thing with ovals is that it's dangerous. It's much more dangerous than racing in Europe. Obviously, he was brought up in an era that was very dangerous. Hopefully I can try and keep it as safe as possible."

RICK TREADWAY (No. 5 Sprint/Kyocera Wireless/Airlink Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):

How hard will it be to race in your hometown?: "It really hasn't been as difficult as you'd think. They keep us pretty busy between press conferences, autograph sessions, and I think we even have a parade we're supposed to go to. You're pretty worn out after that. So you just get a good dinner and get a good night's sleep and get ready to rock and roll tomorrow."

MAX PAPIS (No. 53 Red Bull Cheever Indy Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone):

What advice have the veterans given you?: "Maybe they'll talk to us, but it depends on what background you are talking to. Some of them may be scared so they tell us to be careful about the wind and this and that. But you don't know who really to listen to. The most important thing is to be humble and get all the advice you can. But a little self-confidence should be inside of you whether you are a rookie or not."

What advice would you give to a veteran?: "Move over."

What will happen if you are given a team order to move over?: "I gave Eddie my account number. I told him to be sure something is wired to the right account if get any radio call. But it was just a joke. He didn't laugh, but he has the right account number."

What have you been told about the first lap of the 500?: "I've talked a lot to Rick Mears. I talked to him when I arrived in CART. I'd never driven on ovals. We're going to be three abreast, but I think it will only be for the first three rows. Later on when you get past the start-finish line, you'll line up one behind the other, so I think the most important thing is to be respectful of each other. It's a 500-mile race, and I don't think nobody is thinking about winning the race on the first lap."

Does it feel good to finally run this race?: "I first came over here in '96, and the Indy 500 was the only thing I knew about American racing when I grew up in Europe. I followed eight or 10 of them when I was over in Europe. So I was a little disappointed that I couldn't race the Indy 500. It's a great dream coming true. It's a special race. It does remind a lot of the Monza Grand Prix -- my home grand prix -- or Le Mans. Something that is really, really special, and I'm proud to be a part of it. I think for me it's something that has meant a lot, and I'm glad that I'm over here."

TONY KANAAN (No. 17 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):

"I'm happy. I think it has been great fun. I almost think it is unfair to call myself a rookie but I understand it, though. I have been doing ovals for six years so that's not to long. I'm glad that I'm here. I think the more the Race Day comes closer; you get the feeling that it is going to be very exciting. I have never been here to even watch a race before. I think when we get a big crowd tomorrow I am going to realize how big this race is. I am happy to be here and think we are going to have a great race."

About rookies winning the last two years: "It's not a coincidence. The people that are rookies, except (Laurent) Redon and Tomas (Scheckter), have never been here but have been to a lot of oval races, and that has been what has happened in the last two years. I have won a 500-mile race before, thanks to Max (Papis). I think all 33 drivers can do it, not just the veterans, but all the rookies. It's the closest field, and I think it is going to be very exciting for you guys and us. We just need to take care of each other and try to finish the race."

GEORGE MACK (No. 30 310 Racing G Force/Chevrolet/Firestone):

"I am a rookie. I am having a great time with these guys. We will know fairly quickly who has a good race car and who doesn't. For the people that don't, they will have to work on it throughout the day and make up time through pit stops and trying to avoid attrition that occurs."

ALEX BARRON (No. 44 Rayovac Blair Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):

What will it be like to come off of Turn 4 and take the green flag?

"That's definitely going to be an experience. We haven't seen anything like that this month. That's something you have to deal with and stay focused on the race itself and let all the pressure situations and everything around you do what they are going to do. The last two years, I've been here walking around, and this year I only had to buy one pair of shoes. The last two years, I've had to buy two and three pairs of shoes because I've done so many miles around this place talking to owners and all my friends trying to get in. It's great to be here and be in a competitive car and run with the friends I made in CART. It's an awesome race, and I'm looking forward to it."

-ims-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Paul Tracy , Rick Mears , Mo Nunn