IRL: Nashville: Winning team press conference

Winning team: Alex Barron, Larry Blair, Tom Gloy July 20, 2002 Moderator: Firestone Indy 200 winner, Alex Barron has picked up his first career Indy Racing League victory. Alex, this year was also the co& ...

Winning team: Alex Barron, Larry Blair, Tom Gloy July 20, 2002

Moderator: Firestone Indy 200 winner, Alex Barron has picked up his first career Indy Racing League victory. Alex, this year was also the co﷓rookie of the year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he finished fourth at that event. He has been in front in many of our races. Alex, congratulations on this much-deserved first win.

Alex Barron: It's a great feeling. Blair Racing has been working really hard all year. We've shown a lot of speed throughout the year. We've had a few things happen to us to hold us back a little bit, that is what shows a sign of a really good team. Even in this race we had a few things happen to us out of our control, the team kept fighting and kept fighting on and off the track and showed at the end we had everything come back to us. Got it back neutral, we showed a lot of speed at the end of the race.

Q Larry Blair is one of the car owners, with the Rayovac team. This is a brand-new team, you have top be tickled to death with success so quick.

Larry Blair: It is a something to be here in the winner circle with Alex and the whole team. Fundamentally, it is a new team but there are experienced, mature players throughout the whole organization, most notably, Tom Gloy here, who helped call a great race because we did have some adversity in the beginning. But we overcame all of that with Alex's great drive.

Moderator: Tom, you made a great call in this race. The call in the Indianapolis 500 was also awesome. Almost got you into victory lane, if we could have maybe finished under green, you might have be in victory lane at that point. You, yourself, were a great racer. Congratulations on your fine run.

Tom Gloy: We have been together about seven-and-a-half months now. Everybody works awfully hard, and Alex leads the charge for us, without a doubt. Super day. We had a regulator fail at the first pit stop. We went from third or fourth to dead last. Alex hung in there; he is just a fighter. We came back from the failure and got on to a strategy that looked like it might work, and it did in the end. I will tell you what, those last four or five laps, I will give those to Alex, 100 percent, absolutely flat stick, it was unbelievable.

Q Tom, you might want to refresh or Alex, whichever one: On the first stop you came in with the leaders, you were in the fifth position, you went back out and had to come back in one more time. Did you have to come in two times in the first yellow-flag pit stop?

A. We had a failure of the ... the air line that raises the car. The air jack failed, we had a regulator failure. It took us forever to get out, get the car out, get the tires changed. We came back in because we decided we would start on a fuel strategy, so we had five or six laps of yellow, came in filled it up again and went on to a new strategy.

Moderator: Open it up for questions.

Q Alex, what were your emotions as you were coming down for your first Indy Racing League victory with several laps to go?

Barron: Actually, I was a lot more calm than I was when I was behind Scott (Sharp) because I knew if we could get out front going into Turn 1, I could get flat out until the end of the race to finish the race. When you are behind somebody, if somebody turns in early, it is really hard to get a run on them because you lose the front wing. I knew that it was hard, too, because he was behind me, and he was gauging me, so I gauged him when we punched off. I knew I was at a little bit disadvantage of that. But, you know, I was actually calmer being in front than I was behind. Once it went green, the car handled beautifully, we were flat out to the end and showed some really good speed at the end of the race.

Q In regards to your past with Scott Sharp for the lead going down into the corner, it looked a little hairy going down in there.

Barron: Scott's car got really wide. It was only a few laps until the end of the race, Scott was trying real hard to win. He was on the inside, I ran out to the outside of him, his car pushed up, I had to lift, when I did that, I just dropped down low and got back on the throttle real quick. At that point he lost his front end a little bit, and I was able to come back underneath him on the exit. I had a lot of momentum on Turn 3, and I was able to overtake him. At that point, I knew our car was good enough again. If we got by ourselves, we'd run real strong.

Moderator: The question is team achievement and great run at Indianapolis got a little lost in the controversy after the event. Does that maybe give the team some of the notoriety and some of the happiness that you guys deserve?

Barron: I believe it is more mental than it is physical. When a team wins like this, it makes them try that much harder. It shows them there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you keep working like you do, you'll achieve your goals. This team, just like any other team out there, this team works really hard. A short time to put a lot of things together. Tom and Larry have been working real hard to put together the right package. The got us there. I'm just real happy it came here in the middle of the season, and we got a good result for everybody.

Q What point did Alex realize in the race that, hey, we got a shot to win this thing?

Barron: I knew it because of the way they held me out on the last stop. They made me pit. I was actually getting up to speed when it went green. I knew if it went green enough, the other guys would have to pit, and I would move us up forward. Once we got up toward the front, there wasn't a lot of dirty air. That is where the car was running really strong. At the end of the race, we ran our fastest lap of the race. There was a lot going on. There was quite a few wrecks. There is only one line, one-and-a-half lines around this track. I went up high on a couple of restarts, tried to overtake, I just missed the wall. I was backpedaling for a couple of hundred yards, some of the guys weren't lucky enough to pull that off; I was. Scott Sharp, he almost hit the wall two or three times in Turn 2. In fact, I thought he did. He ended up running strong at the end of the race. There is only one groove. I thought that played a big part of what went on in the event. We were just real fortunate to get out in front at the end of race and run strong laps.

Moderator: Some of Alex's last few laps were at 201.5 miles an hour. Quite quick at the end of the event. We have a question here. The question is: Can you play the guitar?

Barron: I can move the strings. No, I can't play it. That is something I have always wanted to do. A lot of my friends play it. Sometimes when I was a young kid I would go over to a couple of my friends' house. They were a little older than I was. They played guitar. That was something I always wanted to do. A couple of guys I know started a band -- they actually race cars. It is definitely an interest for me. I think the guitar is a beautiful instrument. I hope I get some time to take lessons.

Q The question is: Alex has had so much potential, now that he is with a very solid team with Blair Racing, what does this do for your future to head into?

Barron: I haven't won a car race since '97. In '97, I was with a really good team called Lynx Racing. In '97, rookie of the year, we won the (Toyota Atlantic) championship, I haven't won anything since. I have been on teams for a short amount of time, as soon as the chemistry comes, things have changed. It's been really hard for me. When I first moved up to this level, I got a development program. It was hard on me mentally. I really had to dig down the last couple of years. And this is the breakthrough for my career. It hasn't just happened in a year, it's been three-and-a-half years now. It's been really tough. I've run a lot of races. I have had a lot of things happen at the end of the race. I have been four laps from the end leading a huge race and have had something happen. This has been a really big breakthrough for me, mentally. I knew I could always do it, but this helps a lot, and I hope we can build on this, as myself and the team at the same time.

Q Larry, a lot was made during the season that Roger Penske was making the jump from CART. How has the transition gone and tell us about the competition that you have seen in the Indy Racing League.

Blair: We knew that the competition was very stiff here at the Indy Racing League, and we made no assumption whatsoever. We knew we had to earn the right to win here. It was a total team effort. There was a lot of experience that we had to gain here. The good, old-fashioned 80/20 rule really applies. You can be 80 percent fast, but the last 20 percent, you really have to work hard at. The testing we did here last week, the discipline and maturity of John Dick, our chief engineer, in collaboration with Alex and so forth really helps to demonstrate all of that.

Moderator: Last couple of questions. Go ahead. The question is for the entire team or Alex. Having ran against Team Penske the last few years, is it intimidating when you look in your rearview mirror and see those red-and-white machines heading toward you?

Barron: I look at every driver and team as a competitor. This sport is really mental. If you do that, you put a lot of pressure on yourself that you don't need. When you cross the finish line that is when you really enjoy it. To beat Roger Penske, Gil de Ferran and Helio (Castroneves), those are really successful people. That is a good feeling. We have a lot of respect for all the competitors. I think it's been a long time coming for us, and to beat a team like that, it feels really good.

Q How is the feeling of this victory compared to a fourth place run with ... ?

Blair: It was actually Max Wilson in CART. Actually, this is a bit of a fairy tale. It is a moment I have actually dreamed about for about two years now. To actually have it come true is a pretty phenomenal experience and one that I will cherish forever. It is very special.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Scott Sharp , Gil de Ferran , Max Wilson , Alex Barron , Tom Gloy , Roger Penske
Teams Team Penske