An interview with Sean Guthrie Indy Racing League Teleconference Transcript Wednesday, April 16, 2008 THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us for today's Indy Racing League teleconference. We have several guests...
An interview with Sean Guthrie
Indy Racing League Teleconference Transcript
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us for today's Indy Racing League teleconference. We have several guests joining us today. Starting the call with us are IndyCar Series drivers Enrique Bernoldi and Franck Perera. In a few minutes we'll be joined by Firestone Indy Lights driver Sean Guthrie.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Firestone Indy Lights driver Sean Guthrie. Thanks for giving us a call today.
SEAN GUTHRIE: Thanks for having me on.
THE MODERATOR: Sean is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is in his third season in Firestone Indy Lights. He made five starts in 2006 and competed for the full season last year, driving primarily for the team owned by his father, 1997 IndyCar Series rookie-of-the-year Jim Guthrie. Sean is coming off a fifth-place finish in the second St. Petersburg race and also tested recently at Indianapolis. To top it all off, he will celebrate his 20th birthday on Friday.
Sean, first of all, congratulations on the upcoming birthday on Friday. It's not your 21st, but any big plans?
SEAN GUTHRIE: No. Actually one of my buddies called me the other day and asked me what I was doing on Friday. I said, 'I don't know, I think I got something going on.' Later on that night, I went, 'Oh, it's my birthday.' I honestly haven't given it much thought.
It's just another day back at the office. I missed three weeks in racing. I've just been flat out since I got home. I don't think that will change come Friday.
THE MODERATOR: Tell us a little bit about the season so far. Obviously seems like a little bit of bad luck to start out with, but nice solid result coming out of St. Petersburg.
SEAN GUTHRIE: Well, you know, it's definitely better than last year. Last year we tore up a car first race, then just kind of tumbled downhill until we got to Milwaukee. So far this year we definitely have a lot better result. I think we're eighth or ninth in points. Should have won at Homestead. Biggest driver error of my life. I think it will haunt me forever. I think I should call Roberto Guerrero to see how he dealt with it. That's not the way to start the weekend off. Then unlapped myself and finished 11th. Wasn't bad, but wasn't great. Then 15th and fifth at St. Petersburg were definitely fair results. Again, not quite what we hoped for, but not anything we're going to complain about.
THE MODERATOR: Your teammate Logan had a good run at St. Petersburg, too. Talk about the two of you guys. Obviously you were both in the series last year. Did you get to know each other at all being on different teams last year, and how has the meshing now gone as you have become teammates?
SEAN GUTHRIE: Well, actually Logan and I got to work together a little bit back in '06. He ran for us at the Indy F1 weekend when he was still not yet 18. He just did that one race with us. Unfortunately, I didn't get to race with him. But we did communicate, have a little bit of time together. Then we didn't really deal with each other much last year.
He's definitely a pleasure to have on the team. He and I get along great. We did a karting deal with the Indy Racing League when they had their promotional thing. We had a great time together. So, so far we work really well. Seems like our setups are usually pretty close. I think it's definitely giving Guthrie Racing a little bit of an extra edge this year over what we've had in the past.
THE MODERATOR: Does it help at all that you guys are so close in age? I think Logan now is 19, as well, compared to other teammates you may have had in the past that maybe the age difference was bigger. Is it a help that you are almost the same age?
SEAN GUTHRIE: I'm sure that is a little bit of a benefit. I think the biggest difference is that just our overall racing experience is very similar. You know, he's in his second year in the Pro Series and he did the Mazdas before that, just as I did, a lot of go-karting before that. So really the way we've been brought up in racing is very similar. That kind of gives us an idea of where each other is coming from, kind of be able to help each other.
I think he has a little bit more road course experience and I have a little bit more oval experience. Just kind of a little bit bouncing ideas off of each other and helping each other out. So definitely a big help.
THE MODERATOR: Let's talk a little bit about Kansas, the next stop for the Firestone Indy Lights Series. The series hasn't been there since 2004 so it's a new track for you. Obviously it is a one-and-a-half-mile track with some similarities to some of the other places, especially maybe places like Chicagoland and Kentucky. You've proven that you can run in the elite pack at those one-and-a-half-mile ovals. What are your thoughts as we head into the race at Kansas?
SEAN GUTHRIE: Well, my expectations are high. I really want to make up for what happened at Homestead. I think I can. The team is really focused its efforts on our ovals. Road courses are kind of a hard deal to a lot more of the drivers. So far we've worked our way through those. But mile-and-a-half, you really got to have a good car. I think we showed we had a great car at Homestead. Like you said, we've had top 10 results at mile-and-a-half's in the past.
So my dad and I have been talking and will continue to talk about where we're going to go as far as what we should take to Kansas. I've never raced there. Neither has he. We're kind of looking at some different photos, talking to some different people who have raced there and trying to come up with the best setup. I think Guthrie Racing will be able to do that, especially when we have Logan Gomez and myself working for that same goal.
THE MODERATOR: Finally let's talk about Indianapolis. You had the open test there last week. Tell us a little bit about how the test went and just looking ahead to the end of May.
SEAN GUTHRIE: Boy, I tell you what, that test was a trial in and of itself. I don't know if anyone else was out there. But the weather was on the cool side and the wind was just gusty and blowing all day long. It really made driving the track a trick. We weren't able to try as much on the setup as we of would have liked.
Overall I think it was a good test for myself. We had a really consistent car. Logan and Tommy Wieringa also drove there. They seemed to struggle a little bit. They were trying some different things. Hopefully by the time we get back there for May, we should have a pretty solid setup and be able to run for that top spot yet again.
Q: How do you go about preparing for a track that you've never raced at before?
SEAN GUTHRIE: Well, you know, it will be very similar to all the other tracks we race at. I'll be working hard up until I leave. Once I leave, it will just be time to get the race face on, I guess you might say. Really by the time we get there, hopefully I will be able to kind of see what the track is going to be laid out like. From what I've heard, it's very similar to Chicago, with banking like Kentucky. So it's just a standard mile-and-a-half.
Once we get out on the track, the first five to 10 laps will just kind of be a reconnaissance lap, take it out there and be very smooth on the throttle, 50% throttle, 60% throttle, keep working your way up. By the 10th to 15th lap we should be flat. From there on out, you're just trying to adjust your line of finding the optimal line to make the most out of your car.
Q: Do you ever use video games or simulators to help you?
SEAN GUTHRIE: You know, I have in the past. People might think that's a little bit funny. When you're doing a lot of the road course races, like in the Star Mazda series, my first year at the Indy Lights Series, I hadn't seen any of these road courses. Video games are something like that. Even just watching videotapes helps you kind of get a good idea so when you go out there, you don't have to drive around at 30 miles an hour. You can accelerate up, and go, 'OK, I know coming next is a left-hander.' You don't necessarily know what the track is going to do exactly, but at least you know which direction the track is going to go, how fast the corner is. And from there, you can really start to work on what the car wants, what real life takes.
THE MODERATOR: Sean, thanks again for taking some time to join us today. Best of luck as we move forward in 2008.
SEAN GUTHRIE: Appreciate it, Tim.