Indy Racing League Weekly Teleconference Transcript Sept. 2, 2003 Kenny Brack Part 1 of 2 K. Johnson: Welcome everyone to the Indy Racing teleconference for this week, Tuesday, Sept. 2. Today we will visit with IndyCara Series driver Kenny...
Indy Racing League
Weekly Teleconference Transcript
Sept. 2, 2003
Part 1 of 2
K. Johnson: Welcome everyone to the Indy Racing teleconference for this week, Tuesday, Sept. 2. Today we will visit with IndyCara Series driver Kenny Brack, as well as, Infiniti Pro Series driver Mark Taylor. Our first guest is Mark Taylor. He is the rookie driver of the No. 4 Fulmar Panther Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone. He is the Infiniti Pro Series points leader with three events remaining on the 2003 schedule and has scored an Infiniti Pro Series record five victories this season as he heads into the Chicagoland 100 this Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway.
Brack was the 1998 IndyCar Series champion, and he currently drives the No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite/Dallara/Honda/Firestone. He stands 7th in the driver point standings heading into this weekend's Delphi Indy 300 Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway and has recorded five top-five finishes, including a season-best second-place effort at Motegi. Just as a side note, Kenny also plays guitar in the band 'Kenny Brack and the Subwoofers.' Kenny, welcome and thanks for joining us today.
K. Brack: Thank you very much.
K. Johnson: Through the first nine races of the 2003 series, you were fifth in the driver point standings and had recorded seven top-10s and zero 'Did Not Finish'. You then encountered a string of three consecutive races where you did not make it to the checkered flag, but then you bounced back with a fifth-place finish at Nazareth. Give us your perspective, if you will, on your season thus far.
K. Brack: Well, I mean, we were very consistent in the first nine races you mentioned, and I guess, it is one of those things, you know, in racing where the longer you go without a non-finish, the closer to one you get, and surely that was the case for our team, too. So, we had three races in a row where we had to retire with mechanical (problems) that we used for all three of them. So, that was not good, and that set us back a little in the point standings. I guess we lost a lot of points there, but we are trying to bounce back now and get a good ending of the season. So, hopefully more top-fives, and we are looking for our first win this year, too.
K. Johnson: You were, as we mentioned, the '98 IndyCar Series champion, and you won the '99 Indy 500. Coming into this year, did you have the feeling that since you had raced in the league before, albeit several years ago, that people thought you were just going to come in with Team Rahal and have it easy?
K. Brack: Well, I do not know about that, but I certainly have the feeling that whatever you are going to do at this level, if it is IndyCar (Series) racing or CART or Formula 1 or whatever it is, you know it is very, very competitive and you have to have all ducks lined up, so to speak. We came into this series this year with a one-car team, a very good team. Team Rahal is an excellent team, of course, but we also have excellent personnel. But we have no previous experience with this kind of car and these tracks, and we kind of had, we had to, you know, kind of build up to everything, and that is where we are at, and I think we have done a good job, so far, but it needs to, of course, be better, and we are building day by day to achieve our goals. We want to win races and be a championship contender, and clearly, this year we have struggled to be in the top of the championship, but we are still good and we are the best newcomer one-car team out there. So, I think we have done a good job, but we need to get better, obviously.
K. Johnson: You mentioned being a one-car team. Going to all of these circuits for the first time, that puts you at a disadvantage of sorts, specifically related to testing, correct?
K. Brack: Yes, it does, because, I mean, the way the rules are written, it is 21 sets of tires per car, and so, obviously, if you are a one-car team then you get, let's say you use three sets of tires normally on a test day, that means that seven test days and if you are a two-car team then you can have fourteen test days, because you obviously get twice as many tires. So, if you are a three-car team, you get three times as many tires, so obviously the practical testing, on-track testing, is limited for a one-car team. So we have to sort of do our stuff a lot more precise, and we are not using that as an excuse or anything, but it is certainly difficult to compete with the very best of the teams with less testing.
K. Johnson: Now turning to the musical side, you and the band have recently cut a CD, which is being released later this week and the proceeds of that are going to a charity organization. Tell us a bit about this endeavor.
K. Brack: Well, it was a thing that was put together in the beginning of the year as a relaxing thing on the side of the racing, plus the opportunity to reach hands in a very exciting way, and we put together this band, and Team Rahal and Pioneer and the guys there stand behind it, and we have, yes, we have played at certain race venues and opened up for big bands or have played for big crowds, up to 10,000 people, sometimes. So, it has been a really exciting thing. The CD was not planned from the beginning. That is something that Pioneer decided to do, because, I guess, they were pleased with what they heard. I mean, from the racing side it is Laz Denes, who runs PR for Mo Nunn Racing, and Kathy Prather from Greg Ray and Access Motorsports, and then we have four professionals in the band, which are Gene Deer, a local blues guitarist legend in Indianapolis, and friends of his, Smoking Dave (Wyatt) on the base, Charlie Bushor on the drums and a girl called Kelsey Smith, who is singing most of the leads songs and stuff like that. Those four, they are really a tremendous group of musicians, and so adding us three from the racing circuit together, it is a seven-piece band, and we manage to sound pretty good. So it has grown a little bit more than we were supposed to, like I said, because the CD was not planned from the beginning. But, it has been a fun project, and now we are releasing it to charity, for CARA Charities, and so, hopefully, we hope to help them bring in some good money to use for charity.
K. Johnson: You mentioned CARA Charities. They are an auto-racing charity that gives money towards needy families and children, which is a really great venture for you and the band to undertake. At this time, Kenny, let us open up our forum for questions from our media.
K. Brack: Sure.
Q: Kenny, so far this season you are not too far out on points. Where do you think you might try to finish for the season?
K. Brack: Well, I mean, mathematically we can still win the thing if things go our way completely, meaning that we win all the three races and all of the other people in front of us have really bad luck in the end of the season, I guess. But I am not, you know, I am a realist, and I think that is unlikely to happen. But, I think that we can, with a little bit of a good fortune here in the end, we can still finish top-five and top-six, so that is what we are shooting for. Personally, I think if we can finish the last three races in the top-five and maybe get a win or two, that would be a tremendous ending. That is what we are shooting for and we will try to achieve, but we will see.
Q: You were in this league before as champion in '98. Can you describe the difference in how competitive this Indy Racing League circuit is right now?
K. Brack: Well, I think if you look at the on-track product, I mean, I cannot see any open-wheel racing in the world more competitive than this league now, and perhaps I should back that up a bit, but the way I feel about it, you know, everybody has basically the same material. From the beginning it is two chassis, Dallara and G Force, and it is three engine manufacturers in Honda, Toyota and Chevy, and they are very closely matched. I believe Honda made an extremely good engine, and so we feel that we have every bit what it takes to win races. But, it is also a lot of good teams and big-name drivers and a lot of good rookie drivers in here, and given a field of over 20 cars, with those parameters from the beginning being so equal, it is extremely competitive. If I make a comparison to when I drove in the IndyCar Series previously, there were good drivers and teams back then, too. I should mention, maybe, Tony Stewart and a few others, but the depth of the series back then was maybe if you had a bad day you might finish seventh or eighth. Now, if you have a bad day, you are 17th or 18th, you know, that is the difference, and it is such close competition that in the real world, five hundredths of a second, you cannot measure it and it means nothing, a tenth of a second, but when you step inside the racing paddock, it takes on a whole new meaning. And, if you are a tenth off, that means you are probably six, seven positions down, and it is extremely competitive. So, it really puts emphasis on having all of the best setups on the car and using the time wisely when you get to the racetracks, because you know, you only have a few, two, two-and-one-half hours to fine-tune the car, and you need to get it fine-tuned because if you are chasing hundredths of seconds, that is what it is all about.
Q: Kenny, you talked about the equipment. Does that give you the confidence, because there is no other, as you indicated, there is no other series in the world that races wheel to wheel like you guys do, never mind doing it at 215 or 220 miles an hour?
K. Brack: No, it is, the technical regulations of the series, the IndyCar Series, have really created an environment where it is so equal, and it puts such an emphasis to have all of the small things lined up for you that it is incredible. I mean, if somebody, normally, in oval racing, if you are a half of a second slower, you can still stay in front because the guy behind you can slow them down. But, in this series, the technical package is such that you can race side by side. So, if you are a little bit slower, it might be a tenth or two or three. Well, you are not going to stay up front, you are going to go back to where your position in the field is, no matter what, and it is close racing. So, if you do not have everything lined up, like I said, it is very difficult to be successful, and it is truly a challenge both from a driver standpoint and from the team's standpoint.
Q: Just real quickly, Kenny, I am just curious if the Subwoofers and Kenny Brack are going to have another concert date out here at Fontana when we see you in a couple of weeks?
K. Brack: Yes, we are going to play out there. I am not quite sure, yet, when and where. I think we have something going on for the CARA Charity on Thursday night, and there might be another one at the track on Saturday night, early. I am not quite sure exactly the times and stuff like that, yet, but yes, we are going to do a couple of performances out there.
Q: I have watched you and the band play, and one of the things that I have noticed is the intensity that you have. Even though you look like you are having fun, you can see it in your eyes, that intensity. Compare the intensity of playing in front of an audience with a rock-n-roll band as to sitting in the car and driving a car.
K. Brack: Well, in some respect it is quite similar and in some respects it is a lot different, you know. But, I guess one similarity is that when you are in the car that is it, that is the only thing you concentrate on, you get completely consumed in what you are doing and you shut out everything else. That is a really extreme feeling which is something that every race driver goes through, I think, and when you are playing in a band you have the same sort of feeling, that nothing else than playing that song and what you have, you know, what your part is, that is the only thing that exists at the moment there. But on the other hand, it is a lot more, it is a lot different, too, because you know if you are in the middle of a song and you make a little mistake or something, chances are nobody even will hear it because only you know what you were supposed to play, and maybe if it is a little bit different, nobody takes notice. Well, if you are in a race car and you make a little mistake, chances are you pay for it big time. So, there are differences and similarities, but I enjoy both and the music to me has been very relaxing. It is like, I guess, some drivers have other hobbies like playing golf and stuff, and it is the same thing for me. Music is my sort of hobby, relaxation.