In Indycar we don’t really do a fitness test at the start the way they do in Europe, and I think what’s more important is overall health than just fitness or physical condition. This is one of the years I’ve been busiest and although being in top shape can be important I also realized that driving the Indy cars is not as stressful on the body as GP2 the g -forces not as hard and the brakes are not as good. In ’08 and ’09 I was one of the most fit drivers and maybe not quite as much now, but I think I’d still be in the top 10 at least.
Another factor is that this year I’ve been busy with various things off the track – work, business, travel, sponsors, so I’ve been spending a lot of time running my business on my own. I wear the manager’s hat, the lawyer’s hat, all those hats….A lot of drivers have people doing these things for them. A good example would be Tony ( Kanaan ) who has 6 or 7 people working for him so he can stay focused on driving and training.
Do you enjoy the business side of things and do you expect someday to have someone do that work for you?
I’ve been on and off a few times with people doing that work. You have to find the right person you can trust and feel comfortable with. Big sponsors are involved and so far I’m still the best one to take care of my own business. You’re pretty much the image of a country, of a team, so someday I may let go but so far I haven’t found the right person.
At Infineon you were consistent, qualifying 9th and finishing the race in 9th. Did you follow a particular strategy and how are you approaching a new track like Baltimore?
To be honest I think what happened at Infineon, regarding the car, the team, the drivers, the setup, is that probably the setup was way off from the leaders. In every session we were never closer to the leaders than 8/10 of a second and that never happens. I’m not complaining about the team or anything, it’s just racing and it happened. I was the strongest of the KVR team over the weekend but I didn’t really do anything different. I was just driving at a place that I love and given my position in the standings I didn’t have anything to lose, but on the other hand I wanted to be sure to finish. We’ve had so many issues this season, some mechanical, some on my side, just a mixture of things, so I think that these last few races starting last weekend can be very good if we get our stuff together.
Going to a new track like Baltimore can be good for us. Nobody has experience there. At some tracks teams like Penske and Ganassi have so much data, but here nobody has data yet.
We’ll start with a very slippery, green track and a soft car and little by little you might want it to get stiffer and those are things you plan in your head and you’re going to be talking about it with the team and engineer.
I always love running the street courses and look forward to the weekend.