Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines: 1. Catching up with Bertrand Baguette 2. Rahal Keeps Up with The Kardashians 3. Safety Team members honored 1. Catching up with Bertrand Baguette: First-year IZOD ...
Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1. Catching up with Bertrand Baguette
2. Rahal Keeps Up with The Kardashians
3. Safety Team members honored
1. Catching up with Bertrand Baguette: First-year IZOD IndyCar Series driver Bertrand Baguette recorded his first top-10 finish of the season Sept. 4 in the Kentucky Indy 300, which followed his previous best of 12th a week earlier at Chicagoland Speedway.
Baguette, 24, of Belgium, gained one position in the standings and is third in the Rookie of the Year race.
"I think it was a good race for us, starting P6 and running third for a while," said Baguette, driver of the No. 34 RACB Conquest Racing car. "It felt good for the team and for me to be in that position. We've been continuously improving, which is good, and hopefully we can do even better at the next one."
That's Sept. 19 at Twin Ring Motegi. Below, we catch up with the driver who is a houseguest of Conquest Racing owner Eric Bachelart - also from Belgium.
Q. What have been the biggest surprises on the track and off?
A. The biggest surprise for me on track are the ovals. I honestly thought it would be easier than it is. It's really difficult. You have a very big sensation of speed. And the speeds can be very crazy, especially at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where a lap can average 225 mph. It's something unbelievable. I never thought I would do a lap averaging a speed like that. It's completely crazy. Then, when you get to race time, it's so much different than when you drive alone on the track. You have to be able to fight with other guys at that speed and you have to be focused all the time because a little mistake can mean disaster for you and everyone around you.
My biggest surprise off track is the fans. The American fans are different than the European ones. They are much closer to the drivers and are for the drivers. When a driver has a bad day or something, they encourage him. In Europe, they would be there criticizing him instead. Here in America, they are behind you and pushing you to be stronger. It's a different mentality and I like that a lot.
Q. What is a typical Tuesday for you after a race and before another that weekend?
A. What I usually do is train in the morning and the afternoon. In the morning I go to Pit Fit with Jim Leo and usually the Tuesday morning we run. Then midday, I go to the shop for a post-race weekend debrief and then in the afternoon I normally go with Will Power and Dan Clarke for a two- or three-hour bike ride. In the evening, I usually hang out with (Firestone Indy Lights point leader) J.K. Vernay. We are very good friends. We either play video games or go eat together.
Q. What are some of the things you've tried for the first time living in North America?
A. One sport that I tried for the first time is baseball. It's a very common sport here in America, but not so much in Europe. I played with some friends and it was really fun and I was actually not too bad at it. It was surprised to discover that I was not bad at that sport for having never played it before.
Also, I went for a boat ride on the lake and none of us had a license to drive the boat. In Europe, you need one to navigate a boat. It was quite funny because the guy just lent us the boat and didn't tell us anything, so we had to figure it out for ourselves. It was the first time for everybody and with a lot of boats on the lake it was a little scary at the beginning. But we figured it out by the end of the day.
As for food, I'm just surprised how much fast food there is here compared to Europe.
Q. What do you miss most from life in Belgium?
A. What I miss most are my friends. When I am in Belgium, I am a lot with my friends and I like to be with them, so the fact that I am here far from them, is quite difficult.
Q. Talk a bit about your association with the RACB.
A. The RACB, the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium, put in place a Belgium National motorsports team and I was the first driver on that team. The RACB helps all the members of the team to further their career. I think we are six drivers right now. They are there to help us find sponsorship money, they help with communications and make sure our relationship with our respective team is good. They look after all the aspects of my career and make sure that everything is going in the right direction. I have to thank them for where I am today.
2. Rahal Keeps Up with The Kardashians: IZOD IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal will be featured this week on Keeping Up With The Kardashians on E! Entertainment Television.
The behind-the-scenes show details the Indianapolis 500 as the Kardashian family partnered with Rahal Letterman Racing through Quick Trim, which sponsored Rahal's 12th-place-finishing car.
Race weekend saw the Kardashian family come to Indianapolis to meet Rahal and the race team, take a high-speed ride around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and attend all of the parties, parades and events that make the Indianapolis 500 one of the most prestigious events in American sport.
The show, which chronicles the day-to-day exploits of the Kardashian family, will air the episode from their visit to the Indy 500 at 6:30 p.m. (ET) Sept. 8; 2 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Sept. 9; and at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 10.
3. Safety Team members honored: Jim Norman, who has been a member of the Holmatro Safety Team since 2004, was recognized Sept. 6 with the Championship Drivers Association Award for service.
Norman, a chief for the Nashville (Tenn.) Fire Department and safety director at Nashville Superspeedway, is the fire control officer in Race Control for IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights race weekends.
Mike Bray, who has been a member of the Holmatro Safety Team since the Indy Racing League's second race in its inaugural season, was recognized for his service. Bray, who is retiring from the safety team at the end of the season, has been part of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway safety team since the 1960s. He helped develop the Motorsports Safety Class in the 1980s and has been part of the Holmatro Safety Team's education staff that trains track safety workers at each Indy Racing League event.
A volunteer firefighter with the Lawrence (Ind.) Fire Department, Bray is general manager of the Permanent Magnet Co. in Indianapolis.
The next IZOD IndyCar Series race is the Indy Japan 300 on Sept. 19 at Twin Ring Motegi. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 11 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS on Sept. 18. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 212. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season concludes with the Miami 100 on Oct. 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.