An interview with Daniel Herrington Indy Racing League Teleconference Transcript August 6, 2008 MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Thank you all for joining us on today's Indy Racing League teleconference. We have several guests joining us today.
An interview with Daniel Herrington
Indy Racing League Teleconference Transcript
August 6, 2008
MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Thank you all for joining us on today's Indy Racing League teleconference. We have several guests joining us today. We're going to start the call with Firestone Indy Lights driver Daniel Herrington, and in a few minutes we'll be joined by IndyCar Series driver E.J. Viso and Kentucky Speedway's director of communications Tim Bray.
Daniel Herrington is on the line with us right now. Good afternoon, Daniel.
DANIEL HARRINGTON: Hey, how you doing?
MODERATOR: Doing well. Daniel has made four starts in Firestone Indy Lights this season. His best showing was an eighth at Watkins Glen, and he recently signed with RLR/Andersen Racing to compete in the remaining four Firestone Indy Lights races of the year. Just to get us started, you'll be making two debuts this weekend, your first race with RLR/Andersen Racing and your first race on a big oval. How hard has the anticipation been since the deal was announced?
DANIEL HERRINGTON: Well, I've been extremely excited ever since it's happened. I've actually been trying since early in the season around April or May to get my rookie test on a big oval done and give myself an opportunity to get out there and race, and it's taken this long to do it. But I couldn't be happier about the way it's worked out with RLR/Andersen, and I think this is the right opportunity to come out and show well at the end of the year.
MODERATOR: You've been spotting for Justin Wilson since May. What have you learned from being a spotter, and has the Newman/Haas/Lanigan racing team given you any tips about ovals going into Kentucky this weekend?
DANIEL HERRINGTON: Well, you can actually learn a whole lot from just sitting there watching people. Starting with Indy, I had the whole month there to watch drivers kind of progress and learn and adapt, including Justin Wilson. It's their first year really tackling a lot of these ovals, so watching him go through that learning experience and the team go through the learning experience has been very valuable.
We went to -- we were at Indy, Milwaukee, Texas, Richmond, Iowa, so all sorts of different types of ovals that you can learn a different thing on each one and try to apply it to your own driving.
I must confess, it's been quite difficult to sit there and watch people drive around and have to sit on the sidelines, but at the same time, I think I've learned a lot that should help me be more prepared for my debut here at Kentucky.
MODERATOR: And as I mentioned, you're signed with RLR/Andersen Racing heading into the last four races. What are your goals for these last four races, and do you consider it sort of an audition of sorts for 2009?
DANIEL HERRINGTON: I do. I always consider racing as an audition because you know you only have a few opportunities in the racing world to make a good showing and kind of get the right impression for people.
I've got kind of two separate goals. On the oval, since I'm very much a rookie at ovals, my goal was to learn as much as I can, do as well as I can in traffic, learn how to manage that aspect of the racing, and hopefully we can get some good results. I did an oval race at the Milwaukee Mile at the start of 2006, and that was my first oval then and we finished second, so I'm looking forward to this opportunity, and I know that they worked really hard to prepare a good car for the ovals.
And the second kind of goal of mine is we've got a road course there, Infineon, and even though I've never been there, my background is in road racing, actually as well as some of the engineers on the team, so I think we can have a really strong showing there.
Unfortunately these four races I've had earlier this year, the results have not shown kind of the speed we've shown. At Mid-Ohio we were running there in the top three or five pretty consistently, and then we had some things go wrong in the race. But last year we finished third and sixth at Watkins Glen when we raced, and that was only my second weekend in the car.
I think we can go out and be strong right away, and absolutely I'm looking forward to working and getting integrated within the RLR/Andersen team and kind of exploring possibilities to grow with them over the next few years.
MODERATOR: We can take any questions for Daniel.
Q: You had a chance to test at Kentucky last week or the week before, I can't remember which. What did you learn from that test that surprised you?
DANIEL HERRINGTON: Well, I've told a couple people this and some of them give me funny looks, so bear with me for a bit. Actually when I raced in Milwaukee I had the sense that I was getting into the zone, as we call it, very quickly. There's so much rhythm to the ovals. You've got essentially four separate corners and that's all you have to worry about. So every lap you can try a little tweak here and there, and you get a lot of laps and can end up trying a lot of things and learn a lot in a short amount of time on the ovals.
That same feeling I had at Milwaukee I had here at Kentucky. Just kind of the rhythm and the pace of running around there kind of affords you the luxury of being a bit more patient in traffic and sitting back and learning for a bit and kind of working my way forward during the race. That's really what I'm looking forward to with the race.
But it was definitely a new experience on a superspeedway like that where it's just flat all the way around because Milwaukee you have to drive the car.
MODERATOR: I know you're about to start your final year of college at NC State. I was wondering how your engineering studies have helped you in the car.
DANIEL HERRINGTON: Well, it's definitely been helpful because as an engineering student you can kind of understand where your race engineer is coming from when they ask you questions. If they ask you how is the car and you say it's loose, that doesn't help them any. They need to know more specific details about how it's loose and where it's loose. So that's been pretty helpful to me.
Included with that is kind of a better understanding of the mechanical workings of the car, so when I feel something, I might be able to diagnose it a bit better than someone that hasn't been through engineering school. But it's definitely been a pretty tall task doing both engineering and trying to survive as a race car driver.
Q: I just wondered if you could explain a little bit your relationship with Ross Bentley of Speed Secrets and some of the things that he helps you with.
DANIEL HERRINGTON: Yeah, Ross has been a good friend of mine for three or four years now. I got to know him back when I was running Formula BMW and since then have been trying to find as many ways as possible to work with him. And every time he shows up at the racetrack I go fast and do well. He's fantastic about working with drivers, and he's worked with a lot of them over the years. He really helps me a lot.
It goes beyond the point of just saying, turn later here in Turn 1, something like that. He really helps you work on the mental aspect of racing and all the kind of actual things that many coaches avoid or miss, and he's really focused on those, which is kind of part of what I'm working on to help complete myself as a driver and make sure I have all those little extra qualities and intangibles which help you make it to next level. So I'm really excited about him coming to the race.
Q: Is he going to come to any of your races, Indy Lights races?
DANIEL HERRINGTON: He'll be at Kentucky and Infineon. He had a prior commitment for Chicago. He literally calls me once or twice a week and is asking, where are you racing next so I can come be a part of it and work with you. It's fantastic to get him there.
MODERATOR: Daniel, we'll let you go. We appreciate your time, and best of luck this weekend at Kentucky.