A.J. Foyt, Airton Dare Moderator: I am currently joined on stage by today's winner, Airton Dare. Airton's previous best finish was a second at Pikes Peak back in June of 2000, and he is also 2000 IRL Rookie of the Year. And again, the...
A.J. Foyt, Airton Dare
Moderator: I am currently joined on stage by today's winner, Airton Dare. Airton's previous best finish was a second at Pikes Peak back in June of 2000, and he is also 2000 IRL Rookie of the Year.
And again, the gentleman sitting next to him who is a familiar face to the interview room today, A.J. Foyt, his second time visit to the interview room. Always glad to see A.J. back and back on a happy note.
So, gentlemen, thank you for coming in. We appreciate it. Airton, congratulations and tell us about the run out there today. You looked great pretty much from the get-go and worked your way through.
Airton Dare: Yeah, my car was perfect. We had only one small problem that was after restarts, and after the two, the tire pressures my car was a little bit loose, and that takes only five to eight laps. After that, I was able to put the car whatever I want, inside, outside and flat out all the way around. Those guys did a great job and gave me such a good car to drive.
Moderator: A.J., tell us about how it feels to pull off a double here at Kansas Speedway.
But both boys drove a hell of a race, and what else can I ask for? Like I told him, he was talking about that 'til the last stop. I raised some air pressure up on the right side, and then he seemed to be pretty happy. Then I run one set of tires with two runs, and I did that, so we didn't have that to fall back.
But all in all to win these races, you have to have a crew, and you also have to have a driver. So I have both of them.
Foyt: I won at, I think -- I can't remember if I won the sprint race when I flew here that night and then the next day won a dirt race, 100-miler or something like that. I know somebody said: How in the hell did you run three races in two days?
But it's hard to remember. I've been fortunate enough and won so many damn races, how can you keep up. (Laughter).
No, not really. Way I looked at it, I had my great days. I had my glory, and it makes me so happy to see the new boys. When you look at the average age of Larry, and you look at Anthony and you look at him, the average age of my drivers is 22 years old; so that's kind of spooky.
But like I said, they both have got good heads on their shoulders, and they did a hell of a job. Like Anthony, if you recall when I walked out of the press room earlier when I was out of the door he said, "Papa, do you have to work now?"
I said, "Just because you won a race, and you're Airton's right front tire man, yeah." So him and Airton are good friends, and he has been changing right front for Airton and stopping him in the pit. Airton said Anthony told him, he said, "I showed you how to win."
"I could win this." These two are characters. Don't try to follow his footsteps.
Q: Sam (Hornish) seemed pretty unhappy about the restarts ...
Dare: We are racing here for the victory, and I am pretty sure that everybody, all of the drivers, they would do the same. I didn't do anything. You guys could see on the tape. I give him some room. Actually, more room than he gave to me previous on the race. But he's the kind of guy that he wins a lot of races, and you know he's not used to finishing second.
We talk a little bit to the spotter of the guys, you always do that when you are a lap down and you are between leader and second place or third, you try to stay out of the way because you are not in a fight for the race, and they did a great job, Raul (Boesel) and I don't remember who else was there, (George) Mack, they got out of the way and let me go by. It just had better separation than Sam. It seems like, I'm not sure, but he missed a gear or something like that -- he run too much on the regular. That slowed him down a little bit, and I took a chance and made a move like him.
Q: How much of a boost is this for the team? This seems to be the best year for you guys; it's been kind of a struggle.
Foyt: I think we was in contention all year. On two or three different occasions, we was up there. We haven't just walked around getting our ass bit off. The way I look at it when I look at my whole career, I look over the last five years: Won Indy, won two championships, two seconds; so I can't say we have had a bad year. Just because maybe six months you are going to run into a dry spell. One of the greatest teams is Roger Penske, and look at the dry spell he had there for two or three years.
A good team never quits, and that's one thing that you can say about Airton. I've got people like that, that if they start to lay down, and then they go out the back door. That's the way I run and the way people I drove for. A lot of times I didn't win races, but I was always there working hard to win races. It's not that nobody ever give up, and sure, any time you win, it's a big boost to everybody, because that's what everybody works for.
It's just like you writing that column. You write a good column, everybody says how good; and if you write one that ain't worth a (expletive deleted), they tell you. And I think you get a lot of negative comments. (Laughter).
Q: What will you do to celebrate?
Foyt: The crew asked if they has to spend another night. I told them: "Y'all are going home right now. Because the money that Harrah's gives us is going to be trickling right down if we stay the night."
Q: What do you see in Airton, or what made you hire him earlier in the year?
Foyt: I thought he was very good in Nashville last year. He fired off a rocket. I thought if he could control it, he would be a winner.
No, he's young. He's eager, and he gives it 100 percent all of the time, and that's the type of race drivers that I like.