Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Less Is More For Romain Grosjean After First DCR Honda Drive At Barber Motorsports Park

At Barber Motorsports Park, Romain Grosjean prepares to get into a cockpit of a Dallara/Honda NTT INDYCAR for the very first time with the motor running in anger. Image Credit: Joe Skibinski via NICS 2021

Less Is More For Romain Grosjean After First DCR Honda Drive At Barber Motorsports Park

For Romain Grosjean's (#r8g) first test in an NTT INDYCAR at Barber Motorsports Park, he was beginning to discover that less is more as it relates to the driving excitement found in the technical specification platform built by Dallara, powered by Honda, and set up by a much smaller crew that what he was familiar with in Formula 1. 

For example, he was assigned "the" engineer that gave Sebastien Bourdais most of his awesome set-ups ... and it doesn't hurt that his native language is French (for those deeper, more exploratory discussions about platform handling away from pitlane).
A recent comment published from Romain expressed that he's excited to join a racing series with a field of more closely prepared machines - "Although I’m not ready yet to take on the ovals, IndyCar has a much more level playing field than what I have been used to in my career so far. It will be exciting to challenge for podiums and wins again." 

"Formula 1 lacks ‘excitement’ of IndyCar" said one Planet F1 headline.

Dale Coyne and Rick Ware are banking on it.



NTT IndyCar Series News Conference - Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Romain Grosjean - Driver. Dale Coyne Racing with RWR

Press Conference - First Test - Barber Motorsports Park

THE MODERATOR: Good evening, everyone. My name is Dave Furst from INDYCAR and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Glad you could join us after a busy day of testing at Barber Motorsports Park. We'll take a few questions here in just a bit.

If you've been following the day, Romain Grosjean had his first test in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES driving the No. 51 for Dale Coyne Racing with RWR, and Romain joins us from Birmingham, Alabama. A lot of questions but some general thoughts just to begin with on getting into the race car, your first time driving an INDYCAR. How was it?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: It felt good. It really felt like home at the beginning. Obviously, it's a new car, so I just had to adjust a little bit to my new driving position and so on, but things very quickly felt quite smooth, which was good, and then I discovered the joy of not having a power steering wheel, and I don't regret all those hours in the gym, but maybe I'll do some more just in case.

THE MODERATOR: Of course there's the other storyline; this is the first time you'd been in a race car since the accident in Bahrain. How did the hand hold up today?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: It went okay. I mean, it's not -- as I say, it's not perfect. There's a nice big blister on my left thumb which is not pretty, but driving-wise it was okay. It wasn't painful. I was being a bit careful on some of the curves, but generally, it hasn't been a limitation.

Q. When you told your children, hey, I'm going to go back, I'm going to get back in the car today, what was their reaction? Did you have to soothe any of their fears or anything like that?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: No, they were actually super excited, and I've been sharing and talking with them a lot, and we made some video calls over the last few days and I showed them the car, and they were happy. It was hard to know that I was going to go away for like 18 days, but they were happy, and yes, I sent them pictures so they could follow on social media a bit, and yeah, I think they know that their daddy is doing what he likes, so I think that's the most important for them.

Q. Adapting to a car without power steering, how heavy did the steering wheel feel? I know there are a couple of turns there at Barber that are pretty heavy turns working the wheel. How big of a transition was that for you?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: It's definitely the hardest steering wheel I've had to cope with. The first few laps, the muscles weren't quite warmed up or ready for it. It got better at the end, which is always a good sign. I'll know where to exactly where to work in the gym and what to do. I also know that's the hardest track of the year, which is always good to start with so you have a baseline of what it's going to be like. But yeah, I think I can fine-tune my training. I didn't know really what to expect, and now it's pretty clear.

Q. What about the acceleration in an INDYCAR compared to Formula 1?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yeah, I mean, there is less power. That is for sure. But I observed that the mechanical grip of the car is pretty outstanding and therefore you can try different lines in the corner and you can actually make it smooth in the way you want it.

I think I could go on for a long time comparing Formula 1 and INDYCAR, but I don't think it's doing any favor to anyone. I think really what I've found here is that there's a lot of mechanical grip and less aero than the Formula 1 car and obviously a little bit less power, but that the drivability of the engine, the modes of the engine, the different maps we tried worked really well.

Q. What about the difference in team? I know in a typical Formula 1 season -- Formula 1 team probably has more people in their catering and hospitality department than Dale Coyne has on his entire team. What's it been like adapting to -- Dale is a racer, he runs a lean machine, but everybody kind of pitches in and helps out. What's it like working for Dale Coyne now?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yeah, yes, it's one of the smaller teams of the championship, but it doesn't mean that no one -- the guys here are very motivated. They do a great job. They've been turning the car quick. They've got some good experience. So really I don't think it's anything to be bad or to be ashamed of. I think, yes, we are a smaller team, but also if you think the car may be a little bit complex in terms of -- because they are spec parts, it doesn't mean they are easy to set up. But I think we can do a great job with what we have, and that's why I took the challenge.

Yes, there are less people, but I think generally I've been getting on very well with everyone, and I haven't really felt any limitation in terms of working on the car.

Q. Just wondered what your plan was for the day today, if you can kind of run through what you were hoping to achieve at the start of the day and whether you actually got through all of those things that you wanted to kind of do.

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yeah, well, the first thing was to get adapted to the car, to understand the way it works and making sure that the seat position was good, which it was, so that was already the first good thing. We tried different setups on the car just for me to have a feel what does happen when we change this setup or this setup because obviously when you get to the racetrack you never really have so much time. We didn't look at finding the perfect balance, but we looked more at making sure that I had an idea of what was happening while we were changing big things on the car.

Q. You've spoken a lot about your accident last year and how that affected you sort of following that. How did it kind of feel just getting out of the car, coming out of the pits and getting those first few laps in, kind of refreshing your brain and bouncing back from what happened last year?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: It felt like home, to be fair. It felt like home, and didn't have any apprehension whatever. Just going out there, learning the car. The real question is going to be at the race start April 18 here in Barber, but for now, driving the car is good.

Q. Kind of piggy-backing off the last question, I know you've been doing a lot of sim work leading up to today's test at Barber, but how much of today as you mentioned was trying to find the proper setup for you and how much of it was trying to test the limits of what this car could do and what you can do within this car?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Well, I think there were a little bit of both. Every time you come testing you have to try to find your limit, which I did this morning in Turn 1. I wasn't quite happy with it, but it happened, and I actually understood something you could do in Formula 1 you maybe cannot do in INDYCAR, so actually that was kind of a good learning experience.

And then it's really learning about when you change to dampers or the bars or something, what does it actually do on the car, how does it affect the car, which part of the corner. Also getting to learn my engineer and him to learn me and what I'm talking about entry, which phase of the corner am I talking about and so on. So that's been our day, and it's been pretty good.

Q. You mentioned the incident in Turn 1. It sounded like it was a fairly simple spin that didn't cause too much damage. Can you kind of take us through a little bit -- I know most of us weren't there to see exactly what happened. It didn't sound like anything too major, but can you take us through what happened there?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yeah, basically I just went too fast in. When I was on the brake I also picked up the throttle which you do in high speed, but because it's a mechanical diff it does open the diff when you do that, and therefore it makes the car lose, whereas in Formula 1 it would actually stabilize the car, so I would say it was a learning experience and then I didn't do it anymore, and it was better.

Q. I know we don't have any official times from today, but how competitive do you feel you were amongst that field and how competitive do you feel like you can be this year from your first test and what you learned today?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: I don't know. It's definitely super tight. There were a couple of very quick times at the front. For us, the last set of tires I didn't get anything out of it. Just didn't feel great for some reason and the sun was quite low, so the visibility went down.

But I think the set before -- middle of the afternoon we had a decent lap time, especially looking at a track condition maybe a bit hotter. But yeah, generally I think -- I don't know, it's difficult to say, but it's definitely super tight, and we need to keep working and I need to keep adapting my driving style and understand how to go fast in an INDYCAR because it's a bit different than a Formula 1 car.

Q. You had mentioned that you didn't want to talk too much about the comparison between an F1 car and an INDYCAR, but some of that is actually quite fascinating. I know you can't really compare the braking but I know the steering is a little bit different, as well, so could you go into a little bit more detail with that?

Grosjean was able to remain within one second of the times posted by the fastest drivers of the day who had experience driving this platform and the track before. Image Credit: Romain Grosjean's FB Page (2021)

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Well, I think Formula 1, if I'm being simplistic, Formula 1 only works as aerodynamics and the rest is just here to support the car. An INDYCAR works really with the setup and the aerodynamic is much simpler and much less downforce. So high-speed corners is a bit more fruity on an INDYCAR but the low-speed corners actually feel maybe better.

Q. And the physical nature of it all, I know you were saying at the beginning your arms are actually quite tired. Going back and having to reassess the physical side of things, do you know which portions you're going to have to work on yourself to get ready for the race?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yeah, I think so. I think I've got some clear idea. I'm going to go back in the gym and make sure that the muscles are good. Sometimes you can do as much as you want in the gym. The real race, the real training is in the car. That's good that we did 80 laps today. It gets the proper driving muscles active. Obviously I wanted to do some shifter kart back home because I think shifter kart could be good training, but with my hand and core temperature I wasn't able to, but I think no, things are getting better and I think I can get on it and I think it's going to be actually very helpful for INDYCAR.

Q. You had said to me that you spoke to Marcus Ericsson about what you expect from the series and Marcus told you it was a really nice environment, that you would get along with the guys well. It looks like you've had interaction on social media with some other drivers. I'm wondering how the welcoming has gone and what drivers you have found to be friendly.

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Well, it's been great. It's been great, and yes, I think Marcus wasn't wrong, and I've had already some good interaction with Sebastien Bourdais. He was next to me so that was easy. Takuma Sato came over. I saw some of the other guys. Simon Pagenaud in the pit lane, he was driving and I gave him a wave and he gave it back. So I think generally it's been a great day in that respect, with Edward, my teammate. We have a good relationship, as well.

I told him I used to be an asshole as a teammate back in the days, but now I'm 35 and I'd like us to be friendly. On track you want to beat them, there's no doubt, but outside of the track I think if we can be friends it's mega.

Q. Is it a surprise to you to be in this sort of atmosphere?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: It's definitely very different from what I'm used to.

Q. And your engineer, how has that been going? I know that he worked with Bourdais a long time. I don't know if they put you guys together because you're both French, but how is that working?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: It's been good. We've been fairly busy and haven't really got much time to sit down and debrief, but on track and so on, it's been clear. We've done the testing. I guess now it's going to be a question of sitting down together, going through the data, working through it, what we're going to do.

It's always nice when your engineer speaks the same language as you. We do all the debriefs in English because we don't want to exclude anyone, but obviously when we are outside of the track and talking just the two of us, that's going to be French, and sometimes it's a bit easier to explain some of the feelings in your mother language.

Q. We talked about the extra physicality of the INDYCAR to drive without the power steering and we know your hands got quite badly burned in the accident at the time. Has there been any extra issues with that, with the extra physicality of driving the car on your hands as they continue to heat up?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Actually, no, it's been all right. I've got a big blister on the left hand, on one of the thumbs, but I didn't really feel it in the car. So I guess that was fine.

I think generally, no, that's been okay. Putting the gloves on and removing it is not always nice so I tend to keep my left glove on, protect it from the sun, as well, but generally it's been okay.

The aeroscreen removes some air that you get in the car so it gets quite warm, but the other tubes that you have with the helmet air system and also at the front of the cockpit works pretty well. So I think it's very physical. It is tough driving those cars, very much, in a different way than Formula 1 where the only thing you fight in Formula 1 is the G-forces where here you actually fight the heaviness of the car physically. But I don't mind it. It's quite cool.

Q. You mentioned the aeroscreen there. Obviously you were used to the halo in Formula 1. How did you find the aeroscreen on the INDYCAR?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Absolutely fine. If it wasn't for the air not coming through your helmet and your visor staying clean, you wouldn't notice. You wouldn't know it.

Q. As for the experience itself today, you were at Barber, which I always think is quite a European style track. Does that help you settle into the new car and the new environment compared to some of the tracks you're going to go to this season which are going to be very different?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yeah, I think there's going to be some different tracks, but if you look at Mid-Ohio, Road America, Laguna, they're not dissimilar in a way to the tracks that I've known. The pavement may be a bit different with some patches on, but again, it gives character to the circuit. The street circuits, they're always different, and year to year they change. They're bumpy. I heard they're very bumpy. But well, let's see.

Q. And of course you're going to have the ovals to get used to, as well. What do you think when it comes to oval running?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: We'll see later. There could be a chance that I do get (indiscernible).

Q. In terms of the aeroscreen, how was the visibility for you today, and also how beneficial is it for you testing in Barber today and also Barber being the first race? Is that a beneficial kind of aspect for you to build on?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Well, the aeroscreen wasn't an issue at all and I completely forgot it was on, so that was good. Testing in Barber, obviously it's always good and we kind of come racing here. But I still feel like I've got some stuff to learn in the car to go faster, so that's what I'm going to be doing in the next few days before we go testing in Laguna Seca.

Q. How beneficial is it for you to have Ed with you?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yeah, it's been good. I've been looking at data, and I'll keep doing that, keep understanding. I need to get used to also the PI system that we use to look at data, but I'm definitely going to work on that and make sure that I understand what it does different, where I'm faster and what I can do to improve myself.

Q. Going into the season you have a couple of drivers that are making the jump to INDYCAR. You have probably one of the top drivers from the Australian area and one of the top stock car drivers of all time with Jimmie Johnson. Has the mindset come across to you that this season could bring a lot more eyeballs, especially at a race with Barber being a complex road course?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Well, you know, I think it's mega to have Jimmie and Scott on board as well as all the other drivers. I think we've got a very strong field with a lot of experience from some of the guys, and a huge fan base from Scott and Jimmie. For everyone that loves motorsport, it's super cool to have that and to be able to watch that.

Q. I know it's only your first day in the INDYCAR, but have you been able to get an impression of the kind of driving that the Firestones would require and promote? Do they have any kind of characteristics to any tires you have raced with previously throughout your racing career?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: If I'm being honest I've been very pleasantly surprised with the Firestone. They've been great. No tar blanket going out of the pit. It does feel -- okay, it's a bit more slippery but there is grip, and you can actually push for a few laps and they stay quite consistent. I was doing good laps after 25, 26 laps on the tires and that's something that I couldn't do in my previous experience.

Generally I think I've been happy with them. Obviously we haven't used the red stickers on ones, so they may degrade a bit more, but definitely the primary tires were pretty good.

Q. When you say slippery, would you put that down to maybe it's still February and the temperatures are maybe cooler than when you'll generally go racing or is that more a condition of the tire?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: No, I think it's more condition of the tires because we got to 95 track temp, something like that, close to 100, which isn't bad. It's been actually a very sunny and cool day. Generally I think Firestone is a good product.

THE MODERATOR: Romain, you'll be at Laguna and that's a place you grew up playing video games; is that right?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: When I was young and beautiful.

THE MODERATOR: We want to thank you, Romain Grosjean, a full day of testing at Barber Motorsports Park in the book. A reminder the season opener for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES just 54 days away. They'll be back at beautiful Barber Motorsports Park April 18th for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. Thank you all for joining us here tonight. Everyone have a great evening. Thank you.
[ht: FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports]

RESULTS Of 12 Car Test Session Day At Barber Motorsports Park >>>

The question The EDJE/Motorsports Journal had, but time would not allow was this:

Question: You mentioned the issue you had in turn one (always good to push the limits with a No Harm/No Foul result), was there a section on the track, a track that was described as the toughest track on the annual schedule, that grabbed your attention more than any other section? Why?

This track was built for bikes - FYI.

Continuing with the less is more theme - less wide track because of its original intent - less downforce than F1 design nets more adjustment and set up possibilities to gain an advantage - less fussy tires from Firestone given lack of heating blankets gave less grip at first but more consistent grip throughout longer runs - less competitive egos off of the track allow for greater relationships in the series - but never let this lull one asleep when the wars begin with the helmet on the head sitting between four open wheels. Those other wheels around you wish you were not in their way.

Your first real test will come on a track designed for motorcycles yet oddly suited as the toughest NTT INDYCAR SERIES challenge that all of the driver's love. The NTT INDYCAR SERIES season opener at Barber Motorsports Park is set for Sunday, April 18 - broadcast live on NBC Network.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Romain Grosjean, Dale Coyne, Rick Ware, Dallara, Firestone, Honda, Barber Motorsports Park, NTT INDYCAR SERIES, #r8g, The EDJE

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Larry Foyt & Charlie Kimball Agree To Running GP & 500 IMS Races In 2021

Charlie Kimball prepares to compete at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with AJ Foyt Racing for a second time. This will mark his 11th start in The Greatest Spectacle In Racing. Image Credit: Chris Owens via NICS (2020)

Larry Foyt & Charlie Kimball Agree To Running GP & 500 IMS Races In 2021

That's it, only two races at one venue. Indianapolis Motor Speedway plays host to two races for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES each year, one dedicated road course known as the Grand Prix, and the INDY 500. It is planned to be able to reinstate the Month Of May back at IMS with the GMR Grand Prix on May 15th, and the Indy 500, "The Greatest Spectacle In Racing" on May 30th, 2021.

This announcement will need to be considered a late start agreement and cornerstone for the 2021 rebuild season from the disrupted pandemic-shaded 2020 season where the professional racing series was lucky to finish with 14 full races thanks to some creative double race event weekends.

Charlie Kimball has two races, Race 5 and Race 6, locked up for the planned NTT INDYCAR SERIES season that features seventeen races. The first race will be at Barber Motorsports Park April 18, 2021.

NTT IndyCar Series News Conference - Thursday, February 11, 2021
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Larry Foyt - President, A.J. Foyt Racing
Charlie Kimball - Driver, A.J. Foyt Racing

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. Glad you could join us for a big announcement from A.J. Foyt Racing this afternoon.

Larry Foyt is in his hard-to-believe 16th season with A.J. Foyt Racing, seventh season as president of the team. It was announced about an hour ago that Charlie Kimball would be returning to A.J. Foyt Racing, participating in the Grand Prix May 15th on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as well as the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. He'll drive the No. 11 Tresiba Chevrolet as he's set to compete in his 11th season in the NTT INDYCAR Series, 13th consecutive season that Novo Nordisk will sponsor Charlie, which of course the relationship goes back to his days in Indy Lights in 2009.

We'll start with Larry. Congratulations. Charlie joins Sebastien Bourdais and Dalton Kellett to make it a three-car effort in May. How happy are you to get Charlie back into the mix?

LARRY FOYT: Very happy. Thank you. It's a great announcement for us. We all know what a challenging year 2020 was. Charlie was awesome to work with. We know he runs great at the Speedway. Really glad we're able to run the GP running up to the Speedway, get that team clicking, ready to go into May. I know Charlie feels like he's got unfinished business there.

I'm really excited to be rolling into Indianapolis with three guys we know. I feel like that gives you kind of a bit of a head start going into that because even as much practice as we have there, it tends to go pretty quickly. You never know what's weather is going to do. There are a lot of unknowns. To have Charlie back onboard with Novo Nordisk and Tresiba is really great for A.J. Foyt Racing.

THE MODERATOR: Charlie, 11th Indy 500 start, third place back in 2015. It would seem returning to A.J. Foyt Racing is a bit of a natural fit, correct?

CHARLIE KIMBALL: Yeah, it definitely feels very comfortable heading back to working with A.J. Foyt Racing. Larry was great to work with last year, continuing the relationship that's for more than a decade now with Novo Nordisk and the Race With Insulin program, which is atypical in sports, especially in racing, to have a relationship that lasts for that long.

Heading back to Indianapolis, Larry talked about unfinished business. After last year we have a solid foundation. I really enjoyed working with the guys from the team manager, Scott Harner, all the way down to the engineers, mechanics, everybody there. I think it's a great fit to be in the No. 11 Tresiba Chevrolet for this year's Indy 500 as well as the Grand Prix.

The month of May here in Indianapolis is kind of the cornerstone of the INDYCAR Series. For me, it's exciting to be a part of that.

THE MODERATOR: You mentioned Tresiba back on the fire suit. That sponsorship, it goes back years and years. That's meant so much to your career, hasn't it?

CHARLIE KIMBALL: It really has. For me, it's more than just what happens in the race car. It's the fact that I've used Novo Nordisk insulin to manage my blood sugar and diabetes from the day I was diagnosed in 2007. To be part of the Race With Insulin community, giving back to the diabetes community, empowering those people with diabetes around the world, it's important to me. It's important to Novo Nordisk. I think the fact it allows me to live my dream and race cars in the INDYCAR Series is the cherry on top of that.

Charlie Kimball won’t be back for a second year as a full-time driver for A.J. Foyt Enterprises in the 2021 IndyCar season, but the 35 year old  is still slated to return in a two race deal to the team and partner with longtime sponsor Novo Nordisk. Image Credit: Joe Skibinski via NICS (2020)

THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and open things up for some questions this afternoon.

Q. Charlie, what are you going to do the rest of the season? I know obviously you would like to drive the full season. With that not being a situation for this year, what do you plan to do the rest of the year?

CHARLIE KIMBALL: I think I'll just sit around, read books (audio disconnection) travel, work to put some more opportunities together, maximize that. I'm a racing driver. I love being in a race car, whatever that looks like.

I think for me, I spoke earlier about what I really missed in 2020. Even though it was a full season, I felt like I missed some of those events that are really special to me: Long Beach Grand Prix comes to mind, Grand Prix up in Toronto as well. If I can put an opportunity together that allows me to be in the cockpit in the INDYCAR Series for those events, I will. I'm continuing to work towards that goal.

At the same time I'm focused on getting the job done in May. I'm focused on going out, getting the best result possible for A.J. Foyt Racing, figuring out how to get this big nose and ugly mug onto that Borg-Warner trophy.

Q. A chance that Sebastien is back with the team, Dalton. To be able to work again with those guys, how much do you think you can help the whole overall effort?

CHARLIE KIMBALL: That's the goal, is to add to a program rather than detract from it, especially as a third car. Those two guys are running all year, confirmed with Larry and A.J. Foyt. The more I can do to help their program in those two races, as well as races before then and after then when I'm not in the car, but still plan to be at the racetrack, make sure my face is still being seen, but also contribute to the team however I can.

I think the results at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg at the end of last year with Sebastien, myself, both of us inside the top eight, really showed the progress we made as a team over the course of the year when we didn't have any testing, weren't able to really develop the car with all new drivers, all new engineers after that reset in that previous winter.

To be able to build on that progress that we showed in the last race, contribute to the team however I can, that's my goal and that's what I'll be doing.

The Tresiba Chevrolet prepared by AJ Foyt Racing is hoping to bring a higher level of focus to a three car team for the month of May. Journeyman Charlie Kimball may bring a balancing perspective to a team that has a four-time INDYCAR Champion in Sebastien Bourdais and second-year driver from Canada, Dalton Kellett. Image Credit: Joe Skibinski via NICS (2020)

Q. Charlie, how beneficial is it to you obviously coming back to a team that you know, but also the fact you worked with Dalton and Seb before?

CHARLIE KIMBALL: I think it's really valuable. Larry talked about the amount of practice we get at the Indy 500. Seems like a lot, but for that size of that event it goes quickly. You throw the weather in there, pretty soon you're thrashing and trying to get a lot of work done in a very short amount of time.

So having drivers that I've worked with as teammates, both Sebastien and Dalton, who I'm very familiar with from training, things like that, is helpful. Also knowing the engineers, having worked with the engineers last year all season long, I think it really is important to keep that teamwork going and also just the mentality of working together that we built last year. That momentum will really carry us through the start of the season in April but then into the month of May here in Indy.

Q. Larry, for yourself, how kind of beneficial is it to you guys as a team running Charlie, the fact that he's been with the team before?

LARRY FOYT: Yeah, exactly. I think the thing is now we know Charlie and we trust Charlie. What's good is like he was saying, we feel like we have three guys now that we can be trying things with during practice and be learning from. That's just a really big advantage. It's a known thing, we know his feedback, we trust him.

That's just really helpful because, like he said, you have not only your race setup but also your qualifying setup at Indy that you have to develop. We've been working hard on our shop program here over the winter. We take a lot of pride in our Speedway cars. We definitely have some things we need to evaluate, so it will be really helpful.

Q. Larry, we understand that Charlie is running the Indy GP and also the Indy 500. For the third car, for the rest of the season, are you planning on filling that?

LARRY FOYT: Right now, no, we really don't. It's easier in May, just you have a lot of people that are used to -- as the INDYCAR Series grows to 33 from what is normally 24, a lot of those people live and are around Indianapolis. I think that just makes it easier to put a good group together for this third car.

We actually got this deal done, we kind of knew what we were doing pretty early, so we were able to already get a head start on that and be working on that. That's really important.

No, right now there's no plans to do anything outside of these couple races, so that's really our focus right now.

Q. Larry, you've talked about and been asked about several times over this last year the prospect of A.J. Foyt Racing transitioning into a three-car team full-time. Now that you have Charlie as a third driver for these two races in May, you said you don't anticipate transitioning into a bigger team this year, but when you have a veteran driver like that, a sponsor like his behind him that's been with him for more than a decade, do you see any opportunity for you guys being able to work together in the future, perhaps 2022?

LARRY FOYT: Well, I'd love to have Charlie and Novo full-time. That would be wonderful.

Sure, as a business you're always thinking of growth. Growth is good as long as you do it the right way. We struggled a little bit just from our growth from one car to two cars. So going to a third car, it would have to be a really good situation.

It's always on my radar. We'd love to do it. I think Charlie would love to do it. We'd all love to do it. It just comes down to financially what can we get done and what can we put together.

We're always working on it, always looking forward, looking years down the road to try to keep growing our business.

So right now, nothing definite. Always things are bouncing around the paddock, you hear of things going on, a lot of teams talking about growth and whatnot. But right now for us, we're just focused on this year, focused on results. Us as a company, we've had some bad years that we need to recover from, we need to show what we're capable of. That's what the goal is for this year.

Q. Larry, what is the engineering lineup for the 14 and the 11? Who is going to be race engineering each of them?

LARRY FOYT: So basically we added, as you know, Justin to our lineup this year. He'll be engineering the 14 full-time. Mike Pawlowski will still be running the 4. Mike Colliver is moving to more of a technical director role. I believe we will have another engineer who is used to the Foyt team, will be running Charlie's car as well, to keep Mike in that technical director role. If not, Mike will fill in and do that car. We're just kind of debating that now.

We're really happy with the way the engineering group is working right now. I think it will be pretty seamless bringing Charlie and should flow really well.

Tresiba and Novo Nordisk sign up for two races out of a possible seventeen - one suspects that the confidence to support a full season may be tempered through the uncertainty and experiences thrown at all of athletic competition through the reduction in the gathering of eyes at event venues. 2021 is a year sponsors feel that they are digging out of a hole, a very deep hole. Image Credit: Chris Owens via NICS (2020)

Q. Charlie, what do you feel your best-ever race at Indy was? Obviously you had a third and a fifth. You've also kind of punched above your weight in cars that weren't so strong. What do you feel was your best-ever performance at Indy so far?

CHARLIE KIMBALL: I like that 'so far' because I hope it's going to be 2021, at least results-wise.

I mean, I think back to a couple of years. I mean, 2018, 2019 with a new team qualifying for the race, then running well inside the top 10, top 15.

Then looking back, I can't remember the year it was, it might have been '17, when we were running right up front, running in the top three coming up to the last pit stop, and I had a mechanical failure. Those are the results that no one ever sees because you don't see them on the final scorecard.

You know the work you put in all week long, qualifying weekend, Carb Day, race going to plan, then sometimes the racetrack doesn't give you that little bit of Lady Luck you need to get across the finish line and confirm that result.

Those three years really stand out to me. The results are nice, but a lot of times the result doesn't show the quality of work that you've put in over the whole month of May.

Q. Last year you guys finished off the year with one of your strongest runs of the season at St. Petersburg. How much does that help the confidence for the team going into 2021?

LARRY FOYT: Well, what I'd say is I'm glad hopefully we're going to have more street course races because our street course program seems to be very competitive.

Just no doubt the Indy 500 is on the top of our list. We really care about that race. We've been working hard to get our permanent road course stuff better because we felt like we were lacking some competitiveness at the Indy GP and struggled there. We've been working on some shop development stuff for that kind of racetrack. We have a Barber test coming up. All stuff that will hopefully benefit Charlie and the whole team as we roll into the month of May.

Q. Charlie, do you want to touch upon that?

CHARLIE KIMBALL: Yeah, Larry talked about the momentum and the belief. I think it definitely energizes the whole engineering office, the mechanics, both race shops, in Speedway and down in Waller.

A good result like that, it's the proof that the work you've put in all season, the development you've done over the course of race weekends, is paying off. That gives everybody confidence to keep working and keep that work ethic up.

I've seen that in conversations with Larry, the team management, with engineering, that there is a solid belief in the work that we accomplished last year and how that's going to pay off this year based on the continuing development over the winter.

Q. In spending last season with the team, what are your expectations heading into both events? What do you feel you need to improve upon as a driver?

CHARLIE KIMBALL: I think as a driver, I'll answer the second part first, you're always looking for gains. The Indy 500, we ran really well last year when you look at comparisons and equal things. Yes, the 18th isn't the result we wanted as a team. The 4 car, we were definitely disappointed. But we overcame some challenges that I don't know anyone ever really saw from the outside. It was nice to get that result, have a nice clean month.

The Indy GP, I think we learned some things not only that July 4th weekend but also at the Harvest Grand Prix later in the year. For me as a driver, I definitely learned some things that paid off when we got to St. Pete, then beyond that here into 2021.

Q. Larry, your team has won a race here and there, but you haven't been consistent winners. Where do you think you're lacking? Have you ever considered doing any technical relationship like Meyer Shank Racing has with Andretti where they get engineering knowledge or maybe even a shop program? Have you ever considered doing that with one of the bigger teams?

LARRY FOYT: Yes, good questions.

I think one of our issues has just been in recent years too many changes. We haven't had consistency in drivers. We haven't had consistency in engineering. Just the way things have played out. We've gone through a manufacturer change, trying to get caught up with that. Just been on our back foot a little bit.

We really feel like this group we have together now is all pulling in the same direction. Probably has been a long time since we felt that way. There's a lot of positive vibes within the team. Like Charlie said, the results laid toward the end of the year last year made us all believe we're heading in the right direction. That's what I'm excited about, the consistency we have going in with the group and the drivers into 2021.

Technical shares? Certainly we've thought about it. Had some conversation. It's just never been something that really we were able to put together for whatever reason, albeit financially, whatever reasons, teams that just weren't in a place where they felt like they were ready to do it.

We're carrying for us, as a smaller team, a pretty large engineering staff right now. We really are putting our resources, as we have pivoted from just being a normal, I think, old-school INDYCAR team, we're really an engineering-led team now. That's been the goal over the last four or five years. We feel like it's all headed in the right direction.

We want to come out next year and start to turn I think what people think of when they think of A.J. Foyt Racing. We want to be back up front.

No doubt this INDYCAR field is ridiculously strong, I mean, from top to bottom. It is incredibly strong. Fighting for top 10s, then getting in that top five has got to be what the goal is.

Q. Charlie, is the Tresiba deal just a sponsorship deal in that they're putting the name on the car or is there planned activation during the month of May?

CHARLIE KIMBALL: I'm happy to answer that.

The whole Race With Insulin program for the 13 years now we've worked together has been about more than just a brand on the race car. We have done a huge amount of work within the diabetes community. Up until last year in-person events, community events, educating healthcare professionals about how I use the medications within a high-performance occupation like driving a race car. Interacting with families. For me, that's one of the largest values.

Obviously representing the diabetes community on the racetrack, and a stage like the Indianapolis 500 is special. But when you talk to parents about empowering their kids with diabetes to overcome that challenge and still do what they want in life, chase their dreams, that's when it's really valuable.

I'm so grateful for the work with Novo Nordisk and the Race With Insulin program, to be able to share that story and hear other people's stories. When I meet someone who's had diabetes for 50, 60 years, just ran their first marathon, it inspires me to keep doing what I do on the racetrack, and also keep doing what I do within the community.

It's always been about more than just what happens on the racetrack. I know that the last 12 months has looked very different for a lot of people. I'm not sure what the activation around it is going to look like yet. I think there are still plans coming together for that.

But the more I can do to help empower the diabetes community and go out and win on the racetrack, I think we would call that a win-win.

Q. For example, given COVID, would there possibly be a commercial with you involved, TV commercial that would run during the races or even outside the races on general TV?

CHARLIE KIMBALL: I'm not sure what activation plans are coming together. Like I said, I think they're still in development. That's something that as those things come together we'll roll them out.

Novo Nordisk always does a great job of supporting the team, working with the team very closely. I know they enjoyed working with Larry and everyone at A.J. Foyt last year in a very unique situation.

We're still working on what 2021 is going to look like.

Q. After you win this year's Indy 500, will you use the money to run some more races?

CHARLIE KIMBALL: I don't know. We'll have to see if Larry can keep the people onboard. I think people are more likely to stay onboard when they're wearing a 500 winner's ring.

THE MODERATOR: Charlie, Larry brought up a good point, how competitive the NTT INDYCAR Series has become. It's hard to believe you're now in year number 11 in the series, when you were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed 10 years ago until now, the competition level has only just increased. It's been amazing to watch over the last decade.

CHARLIE KIMBALL: 100%. I think you see that not only in the level increasing within INDYCAR, but you see that with the interest from outside. Marcus Ericsson was one of the first to come over from a Formula 1 experience, come to INDYCAR and see how challenging it really is. Obviously Romain coming over and signing for the road courses, road and street circuits this year is another indication of that. Romain and I were teammates years and years to go, man, I want to say that was 2005, 2006 we were teammates back in Formula 3 Euro.

There's a long history of drivers doing well in Europe and looking to INDYCAR because of the level of competitiveness, the fact that anybody can go out there and win on any given weekend if you get it right.

For me, I've always grown up watching the Indy 500. It's such an important race, largest race in the world, largest sporting event. To be able to continue to compete in that, my attempt to qualify for my 11th Indy 500 is not something that I scoff at either.

THE MODERATOR: Might be your biggest supporter, let's turn things over to Asher's Racing Channel.

Q. This question is for Charlie. Is there any chance that you could be joining A.J. Foyt for the rest of the races or maybe another team for some of the other races, too?

CHARLIE KIMBALL: Well, it's good to see you, Asher. I appreciate the support. I appreciate you pushing Larry on the last call about getting me back into the fold and on the team. I think it definitely helped get this deal done.

At the same time I'm working all the opportunities. I know Larry is, as well. He talked about the company growing, the race team growing, doing it right. I'd love to be a part of that. At the same time I'm trying to make sure I maximize every opportunity from when I'm in the car, other partnerships, try to put more together.

As I said earlier, I have helmet, will travel. I'd love to be behind the wheel at any point, at any race this year.

THE MODERATOR: Asher with the hard-hitting questions there. Nicely done.

Good to see good people back in the series. Congratulations, Charlie Kimball. The Grand Prix in May, of course the Indianapolis 500 after that. Congratulations, a three-car effort heading into the month of May.

The race comes up Sunday, May 30th. 100 days out from the race comes up next Friday, a week from tomorrow, February 19th.
[ht: FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports]

In 155 races, Kimball has one victory (at Mid-Ohio in 2013) and six podium finishes.

“Over the last 13 years, Charlie Kimball and Race with Insulin have become an important part of Novo Nordisk,” Chip Amrein, lifecycle management and connected care lead, said in a release. “We are pleased to join AJ Foyt Racing for both the Indianapolis Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500 this year and to continue supporting Charlie as an ambassador and inspiration within the diabetes community.”
[ht: NBC News]

The career of Charlie Kimball in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES may be another possible reduction in force given the challenges this Wuhan Virus has delivered to our culture over all ... let's ask Marco Andretti who will be competing to join the field of 33 with Charlie Kimball in the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 during the month of May.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Charlie Kimball, Larry Foyt, AJ Foyt Racing, GMR Grand Prix, INDY 500, The EDJE, Tresiba, Novo Nordisk, Marco Andretti, The EDJE

Thursday, February 4, 2021

F1 Driver Romain Grosjean Enters INDYCAR, With Reservations, For Dale Coyne Rick Ware Racing

The 34-year-old Frenchman is now formally one of the elder statesmen of the F1 grid, his best season remains 2013 when he finished seventh in the World Championship, collecting 132 points for the Lotus team including six podium finishes. In four years with Haas, the Swiss-based racer has never finished higher than fourth, achieving that result in the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix. But he insists the “dream” lives on that he could yet emulate the multiple title triumphs he enjoyed in junior formulas ... until now since he has joined the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Image Credit: Planet F1 (2020)

F1 Driver Romain Grosjean Enters INDYCAR, With Reservations, For Dale Coyne Rick Ware Racing

So, if anyone was going to bury the lead, then some will never mention that Romain Grosjean is a Mike Conway from a different country. Romain isn't coming to INDYCAR with the intent to race every challenge the series presents to a professional race car driver at the top of the competitive challenge game - something the NTT INDYCAR SERIES delivers over any other professional open-wheel racing series.

Romain Grosjean will not race ovals ... there, this is the lead, every challenge presented are not the challenges this series is suited for to the likes of one Romain Grosjean.

Q. According to the release, it says the road and street course races. What's it going to take for you to get on the ovals?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Well, I think if I was 25 and single or even with no kids, I would be racing ovals definitely. No, it's also a family choice. I think on the 29th of November, 2020, for 2 minutes 45 seconds thought they had lost a dad and my wife unfortunately lost her husband. The idea of putting them back into that situation, really I can't take it.

The speedways at the minute, no. But I am not saying 100% no to Gateway. Let's see how the season goes. If we can do some testing on short track and see how it goes.

It's not 100% yes and 100% no, but for now I just need to look after my family in the speedways.

Okay, he is soft peddling his reluctance to race ovals, but this is a professional race car driver who has raced in Formula 1 for a decade and has just suffered one of the most horrendous one-car crashes in modern F1 history ... and he doesn't much care for going round n' round. 

NTT IndyCar Series News Conference - Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Dale Coyne, Dale Coyne Racing with RWR
Rick Ware, Dale Coyne with RWR
Romain Grosjean, Driver Dale Coyne with RWR

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Good morning. Let's start with some introductions. Dale Coyne is set to begin his 38th year in INDYCAR competition. The former driver, now long-time owner of Dale Coyne Racing.

It was announced last week that Rick Ware and Rick Ware Racing would be partnering with Dale Coyne this season with a taste of the NTT INDYCAR Series last year in the Indy 500, but the NASCAR team owner expanding things certainly in 2021.

He announced earlier this morning Romain Grosjean will be driving the No. 51 on the road and street courses this season. A veteran of nine plus seasons in Formula 1, some 180 starts. The 34-year-old joining so many others who have made the transition from F1 to INDYCAR.

Let's start with Dale. Congratulations. Speculation is over. What can Romain bring to your team this year?

DALE COYNE: Look at his résumé. He's bringing a lot. Formula 1 is such a challenging world to judge a driver because it's by team. But if you look at what he did, we're impressed what he did before he got to Formula 1. He won the GP2 series by 35 points. It was a year that I think nine drivers in that series made it onto Formula 1. It wasn't a light year. He won six junior categories before that. He's a winner.

Formula 1, it's difficult to be a winner unless you're with the top two or three teams. So we're going to get him over here with the fourth best team and show that he can still be a winner. We're looking forward to having him with us. Our French engineer Olivier Boisson will be his head engineer. I think they were together over the holidays at Christmas over in Switzerland.

I just think it's a good feeling all around. We're going to create a good environment for him. We're happy to have Rick Ware with us this year. Got a taste of it at Indy last year. Once you get a taste of that place, you want to keep coming back.

We just look forward to a strong year with Romain and with Ed, so...

THE MODERATOR: Rick joins us as well. Welcome to a full-time participant in the series. How did this partnership come together? You're obviously not messing around when you have a driver like Romain.

RICK WARE: Yeah, Dale said it best. I grew up with a road racing background initially. We're kind of knee deep into NASCAR. But follow road racing, love road racing. Anybody that's in motorsports obviously I believe follows Formula 1 to a huge extent.

We had some opportunities for sponsors to expand a little bit last year, from an owner's standpoint I've never been to Indianapolis. Who could not want to be part of that? When James Davidson came onboard, we started talking. The racer in me wanted to try to figure out a way to do it. Talked to several people. Had nothing but great stories about Dale, working with him.

Got to meet him. I felt like we kind of hit it off as far as he's a journeyman driver into a team owner. Kind of the same with us. This is our 30th year in motorsports. This is all we do for a living. We live and breathe it.

The racer in me, man, just ate up Indianapolis. Of course, we'd been there with NASCAR. Indy is about INDYCARS. We put a deal together. I really started seeing the benefit of trying to expand just our reach as a race team.

To go in and say that we're going to just do it all on our own would have been a huge feat. Right now with where we are in our career, we want to have success. I joked a little bit with Dale, I kind of want to be him when I grow up. He's been very, very successful.

We kind of just talked back and forth about kind of what my dreams were, where we wanted to be with RWR. I wanted to expand in the business and marketing model like Penske, Ganassi, that can go to sponsors and be able to offer different motorsports platforms.

We just talked more and more. I think over the long haul we really didn't have a second plan really for a driver. We said there's maybe an outside chance that something may happen with Romain. I think we waited for several months. Selfishly, we figured it was going to be a great story to have a great driver. It's a business, obviously, first.

I'm excited to have a guy like that drive for us. I'm excited to just get to the racetrack, expand our sponsors. It's all business, but man, some part of it I'm kind of like a kid, too. I'm just so thankful to be here.

THE MODERATOR: Certainly congratulations to Romain. Welcome to INDYCAR, the NTT INDYCAR Series. Why is this move the right one for you at this time?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Well, thank you.

I mean, it's the one I want to do. I have a chance after doing 10 years in Formula 1, I had the option to discover something new. There were few options on the table, but I felt like the one that I wanted to do was INDYCAR.

I got in touch with Dale last year, before Imola. I really felt there were a big enthusiasm on getting me onboard. It's something that I really, really loved and felt good about.

I looked at the options that I had. I say what I want to do is to go in INDYCAR because I've been watching the races. The series looks super competitive. The car looks fun to drive. The circuits looked amazing, just the old style that I really like. When you look at Road America, Mid-Ohio, the street courses, Laguna Seca, they're part of the circuits that I used to play video games on those 20 years ago. Not good to say that, but 20 years ago (smiling).

I am super excited to discover the championship. I've been absolutely amoring the YouTube channel of the INDYCAR over the Christmas period, watching every race for the last three seasons, trying to understand what I need to learn.

There's lots to learn from a rolling starts to doing the pit stop to learning the car. I'm ready to tackle the challenge. I think it's the right one.

THE MODERATOR: I have to ask you about your recovery from the accident. How is that going for you?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: It's going okay. This is my left hand, so it's still quite marked. But it's uglier than it is bad, I would say. It's all working well. The left hand ligament was pulled away. I've had surgery. This is going okay.

I think the first test for us is the 22nd of February. I may not yet be 100% in terms of what I can do, but definitely good enough to drive very well. By the time we go to race one, I think I'm going to be ready.

I'm not worried about it. I've been in the gym since the accident. The accident happened on Sunday in Bahrain. By Wednesday I was already in the gym trying to get the mobility going.

It was a difficult call for the doctors between stopping my hands to move and getting the recovery and the skin faster, or keeping it moving to keep the strength and the mobility. But we knew there were more risk of delaying the healing.

With the season start being postponed a little bit, all actually played in my hand, if I can use the play of word (laughter). As I say, I am not worried that we're going to be okay.

In terms of physical training, I've been going in the gym quite a bit because I know there is no power steering in INDYCAR. That's something I need to relearn.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Romain, some of the Formula 1 drivers have been over here in the past, such as Fernando Alonso. They like the fact that the driver can really race with the INDYCARS more so than with some of the technology you were used to with the F1 cars. As a racer, how much does that intrigue you, that you can go out there in a lot of ways hustle this car rather than have the technology be so dependent on the vehicle?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Well, this is something I'm very, very much looking forward to. I've been watching the races. The way you can follow the car in front of you, the way you can slide the tires, the way you can either try to play with your 'push to pass', the fact that the cars in qualifying are within 6/10ths of each other. This is all really exciting.

You need to get the details right and so on. I think, yes, as you say, you don't have the differential you can move, you don't have the recovery and all the shaping and the braking, the systems you can have in Formula 1.

I think the racing, yes, the car a little bit slower, but the racing looks much better from everything I've been seeing. I think in that respect I'm super excited about it.

Q. Formula 1 was the first to come up with the halo concept. INDYCAR kind of went one step beyond that with the Aeroscreen. You tested out the halo. We saw how valuable it was to save you from further injury. How do you feel about the Aeroscreen, that extra added layer of protection?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yeah, I mean, it's now part of the motorsports in general, halo and Aeroscreen. As you say, Aeroscreen is a step behind I think absolutely even because the speed are higher, it makes more sense. But I think it's a great invention generally. I need to test it to see if there are any things that you need to adapt in terms of visibility. From what I believe, no.

Obviously it has saved my life. I'm sure it's going to save some more in the future. It's not unknown that I was against the halo being brought to motorsport. But in French we say only idiots don't change their mind. I did change my mind. I wouldn't race a car with no halo or Aeroscreen on.

Q. According to the release, it says the road and street course races. What's it going to take for you to get on the ovals?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Well, I think if I was 25 and single or even with no kids, I would be racing ovals definitely. No, it's also a family choice. I think on the 29th of November, 2020, for 2 minutes 45 seconds thought they had lost a dad and my wife unfortunately lost her husband. The idea of putting them back into that situation, really I can't take it.

The speedways at the minute, no. But I am not saying 100% no to Gateway. Let's see how the season goes. If we can do some testing on short track and see how it goes.

It's not 100% yes and 100% no, but for now I just need to look after my family in the speedways.

Q. Rick, you're still really building your NASCAR stuff. I know you probably want it to be performing better. Looking from the outside, why invest in this? Some people would say you're doing more than what you should be.

RICK WARE: Those are good questions.

The reality is, NASCAR, until the new car comes, which they say is coming next year. It was supposed to come this year. We are stuck in some certain parameters with our budgeting, what we can afford to do and to not do.

Last year we ran more cars. We are running less cars this year. All of our cars across the board are going to be running I think dramatically better, better level.

As you know within NASCAR, you get a sponsor, you get a driver. You're at a certain level. Just because you spend more money doesn't mean that you're going to move up two or three or four spots. We have teams that we're spending 14 and 15 million dollars for the season, 10 million dollars more than we were. They finished two, three, four spots ahead of us in points.

What we have to do is we have to make sure year in, year out how we survive and that we're here and we grow every year. You've seen how we've grown over the years. It takes a lot marketing-wise to make this happen. We brought in 20 new primary sponsors last year. We've kept about a third of them over into this year.

To make it through the COVID, to make it through year in, year out, you've got to have marketing partners, you have to have sponsorship, you have to be able to offer some things that people don't have to offer.

We're not taking money away from the NASCAR side. We're generating new dollars. It's a family business. We invest everything back into our business anyway. So my hope is to grow this to where all the conversations I'm having right now are going to talk about running two or three NASCAR cars and full-time INDYCAR in the 2022 season and beyond.

We are investing more this year into our NASCAR, and we are investing into INDYCAR as well. I firmly believe that will allow us to have longevity. We've seen a lot of really wealthy owners. They got tired of losing $10 million a year. This has to be a business. There has to be a fine line.

We had several top 10s last year. That's hard to do for a small team. To go compete against teams like Romain's car owner and Stewart-Haas is no easy feat. We're trying to grow and be financially responsible.

Q. Is Cody part of this INDYCAR program as well?

RICK WARE: Yes, we haven't made any of those announcements yet. Again, it being a business, Cody only ran a few races last year because we decided to wait until we had proper funding. Cody is now going to run full-time in the Cup schedule.

A few of the Cup races that conflict, we have some really good drivers that we're going to fill in. We've been able to achieve sponsorship with Nurtec ODT, the migraine medication. They're going to be involved in some INDYCAR. They're involved in NASCAR heavily in the Cup Series and Xfinity.

That's an example of how we were able to get a full-time publicly traded company like this. We are trying to be an entity that for a certain amount of money you can be part of the three largest motorsports opportunities in North America.

Getting into the INDYCAR, I hope this will be an ongoing venture and we will grow it together with Dale. Someone like Romain, selfishly as a business, he's a great tool because I think now he'll be loved just as a family guy and a racer, which is very unique, especially coming from Formula 1.

As Dale said earlier, his accomplishments just speak for themselves. You have to understand, this is a business opportunity to grow. This is going to allow us to be more competitive. But we're kind of stuck on the NASCAR side a little bit until the new car comes out. We lost two or three major car owners this past year because the business model did not work. You have to be very careful.

Q. Romain, you were talking about your hand. The recovery is going well. Is there any concern with the new skin rubbing on the steering wheel, putting any pressure on that?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: I guess time will tell. But there's always painkiller if needed. We're going to work around the steering wheel the best we can.

I think it's going to be all right. I mean, it's only a simulator back home that I have for eSports, but I've been using it a fair bit just to get my hand in the right position and get the skin used to do those movements.

I don't have any concern and it should be fine really.

Q. With regards to switching to INDYCAR, is there anything in particular that INDYCAR brings that other options might not have, such as Formula E or anything like that?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Sexiness. As I say, after the accident, there's one thing I realize in life, is to have the choice to say no or yes. Really I think INDYCAR is a top series, top drivers, top cars, super exciting to drive.

I shouldn't mention it, a competitor of mine right now, but yesterday Will Power posted on Twitter a nice video from the helmet, testing in Sebring. Hearing the sound of the engine and watching the onboard, I just took the clip, sent it to my wife and said, This is why I do it. I felt like this is what I want to do. This is what I want to race. It looks mega. Let's do it.

Q. Romain, how many of the INDYCAR drivers do you know personally?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: I'll know Simon Pagenaud, Marcus Ericsson, Alexander Rossi. I think that's it.

Q. Dale, how difficult has this been as a process? Through kind of no fault of his own, Romain has changed from doing a full season of INDYCAR to kind of scaling back initially to do the road courses. From a financial aspect, how difficult has the deal been coming together based on those things?

DALE COYNE: We wanted Romain from the beginning. Like he said, before Bahrain we were talking quite seriously. He was always our target. We're happy that it all worked out together that we could make this happen.

Obviously we respect that he's only going to do the road courses. But we're happy with the whole program and looking forward very much to the year.

Q. You've had a lot of drivers come from Europe, from various backgrounds. What do you think makes the team so great at sort of bringing young talent into INDYCAR and also talent from Formula 1? It seems like the team has a really good record of bringing in engineers, people from different championships, helping them to adapt to INDYCAR quickly. What do you think is the secret behind that?

DALE COYNE: I think the secret is the drivers need to feel like we do. We enjoy it. We enjoy the racing, we enjoy the competitiveness of it all. Drivers come here and they enjoy the car. The car is back in my hands again. We can set the car for a driver that likes an understeer, oversteer car. In Europe, they give you a car and you drive it. The engineers are everything and you're just a tool in the car. Here you're the biggest tool in the car.

I think they enjoy that. We enjoy doing that with them. We enjoy learning them and their driving styles, pointing out how to make them better. As Romain says, it goes back to his earlier days in formulas where the camaraderie in the pits, everything that happens, it's such a different feel over here than it is in Europe. I think that gives the driver a whole new rebirth no matter what their age is.

I say this is the year of the old man rookies. We have Romain and Jimmie Johnson, the young guy McLaughlin who is in his late 20s. Hopefully they all enjoy it, have a good time with it. Again, we're really looking forward to it.

Q. Romain, Dale mentioned you've already met your engineer. How did that go? How have you adapted to working with him? Are you positive your chances this season based on your work with him so far?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yes, I am. I think the relationship, it's very difficult to explain, but sometimes the alchemy works quite well. With Olivier, straightaway we get on very well. We come from the same region in Europe. I guess maybe that helps a little bit. We've had a straightaway good relationship.

I asked loads of questions, some very simple to some more advanced, and we've been talking through emails and WhatsApp quite a bit.

I also told him that I can run on iRacing the INDYCAR. I can send him the data so he can see if it's completely off the reality or not. I can learn the circuits in that aspect.

I also spoke with some of the other engineers working on the dashboard, some of the first few things you do. Also the chief mechanic is named Todd. Straightaway from the day the contract was signed he sent me an email welcoming me in the team, as well as Terry the team manager. I got five or six emails from the guys the day the contract was signed. This is what I'm looking for. I'm looking for working with people that are motivated about racing, and they love it, as I do.

I'm maybe turning 35 in the first race of this season, but I still feel like I'm 20. I've got lots to learn and lots to do.

Q. Romain, have you thought about relocating to the U.S.? Will you commute?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Initially I'll be commuting quite a fair bit because the kids are at home at school. I won't move them. But if things go very well and I'm enjoying my life and my start in INDYCAR, we may think about coming a little bit more.

Let's see. For now I'll be commuting. We've been working with the team and Dale on the date, how we can make sure it all works the best it can.

We know family-wise it may be a bit of a tricky year with some long time of dad out of the house. They also know and feel that I'm excited, looking forward to it. That makes them happy.

Q. Romain, how beneficial do you think it's going to be for you coming from Formula 1 into INDYCAR in terms of getting up to speed? The cockpit is similar. The steering wheel is quite similar, as well.

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yeah, I think there are a lot of things that are similar. There's also things that are different. The anti-roll bar you can set up inside the cockpit, that's not something I've run before. I'm quite excited about it. You can always fine-tune things to your liking.

I've got loads of experience from Formula 1. Some will be useful, I'm sure. A lot of things I need to learn as well. I'm really coming with an open mind and getting ready to be like a sponge, to learn as much as I can from all the guys, from the engineers, from my teammate Ed Jones, as well. He knows INDYCAR. He's been racing there. For me it's going to be very interesting to learn all of that.

Maybe on the engineering side, whenever I've got things that I've done in the past that were useful, just bring that on the table and see how we can work from there.

Q. Dale, as Romain says, he's coming from Formula 1 where it was very kind of data driven. How beneficial is that to you as a team owner to have someone who is experienced with engineering meetings?

DALE COYNE: I think it will be big. Honda has already shown more enthusiasm about our simulator work, what we can learn from that knowing he has an extensive background of some work in the Europe. That's probably our biggest addition this year with his knowledge, what we can learn on a simulator.

Q. Romain, is there any one of the tracks you'll be running that you would say you're looking forward to the most?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: If I'm being honest, pretty much all of them. If you really want to have one that stands out, is Laguna Seca, just because I used to race it when I was, again, teenager couple of years ago on video games. I think it was Grand Tourismo. I really liked Laguna Seca. I think it's going to be cool to go there.

Q. You mentioned you have been watching some of these older INDYCAR races while riding your bike. You mentioned the competitiveness throughout the field as something that excited you. What stood out to you, if anything, in some of those races and how it differed from the Formula 1 racing?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: I have been watching 18 hours and 36 minutes of INDYCAR racing over the last couple of months (laughter). Yes, I think the excitement comes in the fact that in Formula 1, after turn one, you normally know what's going to be the race result just because you know the pace of the car, Mercedes is going to pull away, maybe the Red Bull is going to be there. Some things can change, but nowhere as much in INDYCAR.

Mid-Ohio 2018 I watched recently was Sebastien Bourdais had an issue in qualifying and started back of the field. He came back like a bullet from the gun and finished sixth just behind Scott Dixon. The race was not over. The strategy was the alternative one. He started on the black tire, went for the reds, just came back from the back. That's not something you're going to see in Formula 1 unless Mercedes qualified in the back, which never really happens. That was great to see.

Most of the races between the cautions, the pit stop, the fueling and so on, there is always options for strategy. Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn't really go your way. That's really something I have appreciated about it. The fact that, yes, it's never over. You may run into trouble with fuel, you may not. You may have tires going away. Because the car are quite close in performance, the field is never really spread. That's cool to see.

There's also things that I'm surprised with. Blue flags. You don't need to let by when there's a blue flag. Many times I got penalties in Formula 1 because I didn't respect the blue flags. You have five corners to let the car by, whilst in INDYCAR you can just keep racing. It's an information. It's not so much mandatory. Few things that I just need to get used to that are quite different.

Yeah, the races are really good to watch.

Q. Dale, obviously Romain has this long, extensive list of achievements in Formula 1. Being in that series for nine years along says a lot. Was there anything beyond the fact that he's this experienced Formula 1 driver when you look at what he's done and what he's accomplished that stood out to you or maybe excites you the most?

DALE COYNE: I think it's just says volumes to have the ability to stick it out over there. Being with Haas, it's not like being with Mercedes, yet he tries every weekend and gets the best he can out of his car. They say in Formula 1 you're racing your teammate. He raced his teammate. Never gave up, went at it.

Again, his attitude here. You see how he is. He's excited about being here. We're excited about having him. I think that's just a good combination, a good marriage. We can do good things with that.

Q. Are you guys committed with this driver/team relationship beyond more than one year?

DALE COYNE: We haven't committed to next year yet, but we've certainly talked about it. I think he wants to stay here and prove some stuff. Maybe we'll get him to Indianapolis next year.

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Never say never (laughter).

Q. Romain, with all the other racing series that are out there, my question would be why INDYCAR? Why not something like endurance racing? Did you talk to any of the other INDYCAR drivers who are currently racing about the series before signing on with Dale?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yeah, I did. I did. Simon Pagenaud and Marcus Ericsson were very helpful in asking questions, basically what HANS device to use to what are the good teams, what do you think, how do you deal with your hotels. Various questions. They've been great help in that aspect.

Why INDYCAR? Because I am passionate about motor racing. That's the most fun, exciting and competitive option I could think of right now. As I say, I'm super happy to be joining. Endurance is a midterm thing that I'm looking for when I'm too old for single seater. Right now I felt like I was ready to take the challenge, I wanted to do it. As I said, I'm a rookie, there's many things I need to learn and to understand.

I think the passion of racing was the number one priority in my choice.

Q. You mentioned your hand was healing well. You'll be taking part in INDYCAR testing in a few weeks. There's no power steering in INDYCAR. What in particular are you having to do with your hand to rehab it, to get full strength back?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yeah, the strength is 90% back, which is very good. Initially the first limitation would be the ligament from my left thumb because that is just time that heals it. But I've been very gentle and followed the rules from the doctor, which is a hand specialist in Geneva I really trust. When he tells me I can do something, I do it. When he tells me not to do it, I don't do it. I think that was quite important for me to know where to put the limit. He's very confident in the ligament being good.

Really I don't see much limitation. As I say, when I wake up in the morning, the hand is quite stiff. I need to put some cream, getting it moving and so on. Some of the movements are still a bit limiting.

I shouldn't say that, but I've been on the podium in Formula 1 with a broken right hand twice (smiling). The pain goes away when you go racing. Yeah, I've been racing with broken parts. I've been on the podium. I think it was okay.

Q. Dale, you've been around INDYCAR from the beginning. This current season INDYCAR rookie lineup is impressive. Can you rank the talent compared from 2021 to back in the '90s?

DALE COYNE: I think the talent's gotten better every year. I think the teams have gotten more competitive. We're much more competitive today than we were back in the '90s. Everybody has raised their game. I think that's why it's attractive to that kind of talented driver, because the series, everyone from top to bottom, is strong now. Obviously that brings in strong drivers.

Yeah, I think the whole series is much, much stronger.

Q. Dale, I want to be clear. 51 will run the full season, you're just going to fill the ovals later?


Q. The third car, is that going to be the Indy 500 or more than the Indy 500?

DALE COYNE: Probably more than the Indy 500. We haven't come up with exactly what we're going to do there yet. It will probably be four, five races plus the Indy 500.

Q. Is it your goal to get to a three-car team?

DALE COYNE: No. It's funny. That's an interesting question. We got to a two-car team. Back in the day we had different drivers. We got to a two-car team worried we weren't going to be a one-car team. We get to a three-car team worrying we're not going to get to a two-car team. Every year we put it together and get it done.

We're happy being a two-car team. We think we can do it well. Obviously running a third car at Indy helps the series, and you have the time there to do it. We already have the team assembled for the third car. Really strong group of guys, great group of guys. We're excited about where we are manpower-wise. Manpower is the biggest thing when you started adding cars. We're confident about what we're doing.

Q. Rick, you said Cody is going to do full-time in NASCAR, but indicated he could do some INDYCAR. He did the Rolex. Where do you see him going with his career?

RICK WARE: We're trying to just give him a well-rounded career. Obviously NASCAR is our core business. I think he's going to do a handful of races this year. We've put together the funding to do that.

We're trying to test a lot of what we can do to make sure we have a continued base of interest with sponsors, et cetera. The 24 Hour, obviously it's an off weekend in theory from all the series actually. It was really good for us social media-wise for our sponsors, television time, et cetera.

NASCAR, like all mega series, is very competitive. Sometimes we have to think outside the box how to make sure we can stay relevant for our sponsors and have a storyline.

Again, I'm a hardcore racer like Dale. I'm very excited just to be part of it. We're very serious in trying to see how maybe Cody can work into a handful of races a year, to be part of an ongoing sponsor program.

He's got a fair amount of experience on ovals. He does really well there. So there might be some potential to do a handful of those here and there throughout the year. But right now he's really looking forward to doing some testing, the road course, some INDYCARS.

One of the weekends we have on the schedule, the All-Star weekend, which is a non-points event for the Cup cars. We're just kind of looking at all that, trying to build a brand around Cody as a driver, trying to attach a sponsor to him for his ongoing career.

Q. You have an interesting entry at Daytona with Derrike Cope. I'm wondering how that came about, what you expect from that entry.

RICK WARE: So Derrike drove for me I want to say I think 2005, 6, 7 or 8. I'm not quite sure. He's driven for me in Trucks, Xfinity and Cup. We do a lot of business back and forth together. We were kind of talking. He was an older guy, obviously won the 500 years ago. He was wanting to do his final race.

Again, I think we do a good job, storylines that have some interest that we can tie into things that make sense. At Derrike's age, I would say it's tougher for him to go to Martinsville for 500 laps. To go to the Daytona 500 with the car we got from Richard Childress, an ECR motor, he has a legitimate shot to stay out of trouble and have himself a top 10.

Jacob Companies, which was our sponsor on my first Indy 500 with Dale, they're back. There is their fifth year with us. That's a perfect example of how we've kept some interest. It's something different we have to offer. Jacobs is back now. They're doing 17 primaries on the Cup side. They're going to be involved with some INDYCAR stuff as well. They were on the 24 Hours this weekend.

I say, Hey, we got a shot to have a really great storyline with a guy that's won the 500. They're all excited about it. So we partnered up Jacobs with Derrike for that race. I think it's going to be a great storyline.

That's my responsibility, whether it's my son or whether it's Romain or Derrike Cope or Haley. A lot of different storylines. We have to make sure we're relevant with the media. Every year we're trying to grow our team and the quality of our team. It's very competitive so we have to take baby steps.

Q. Romain, it's been mentioned making the jump from Formula 1 to another racing entity has helped certain drivers, Kevin Magnussen. Are you hoping to have going into the INDYCAR campaign?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: I spoke with Kevin yesterday morning. I think we exchanged. He was super enthusiastic and super happy about his experience in the Rolex 24. He also showed his speed. They had the speed to win the race. It showed, again, Formula 1, if you don't have the car, you just can't do anything.

Yes, I'm excited to come to the U.S., discover a new world, a different world of racing, but a world where you stand on the same chance to win the race.

Q. Rick, what is the one thing that over the past few years Cody has grown from a competitor? Does running the multiple disciplines, like Asian Le Mans, help him realize his confidence level?

RICK WARE: Yeah, I think every driver has their strengths and weaknesses. You'd like to think there's some core talent there. I believe there is. There's a lot of drivers that have core talent.

His biggest issue probably has come up through a racing family is having to preserve equipment, the mental aspect of not being able to race like he would like to race. The Asian Le Mans definitely gave him some experience and confidence.

He loves road racing and so do I. It is definitely harder to make a living doing that from a business model just because of the amount of television time, the sponsor you can attain, then the prize money. It's an issue.

We try to do that as much as possible. We had an invite to Le Mans last year. Cody was going to be one of the drivers. But with the COVID, they were going to cancel, pushed it back to September, so it wasn't even an option for us because we were running so many NASCAR races. It's given him a lot of confidence.

It's also making him a better driver, learning how to do different disciplines. It's amazing just how I see how he takes that to different levels.

We did a test with Dale in INDYCAR. It was kind of amazing just how he took different things from that. It definitely elevated him in the LLP2 car this past weekend. We had a (indiscernible), which is a lot slower car, straight line. He had some good teammates. It just made him a better driver.

So we're looking forward to doing more of that. Every bit of it makes it better now with NASCAR, having seven road course races, including going to COTA, where the F1 guys have been, INDYCARS have been. He is even more excited about that because he loves the road racing.

The racer in me, we just finished the 24, kind of thinks about if I can talk Uncle Dale to get involved, we get Romain, Ed Jones, we could have a heck of a lineup at the 24 Hours next year.

Anything is possible. But, yes, as far as Cody goes, I'm excited for him, just to see him grow, for sure.

Q. Romain, when you were first released from F1, were looking for a new drive, you said you were only motivated by joining a competitive team. At the point after Bahrain where you were looking at the contract, in what way you wanted to go forward, how much did the competitiveness of Dale Coyne Racing matter as a factor in terms of not having to justify going to it but in motivating you to?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Again, I know if you compare maybe the Penske or Team Ganassi, Dale Coyne Racing is a small team. Again, it doesn't mean that you cannot compete at the front.

I think I need to learn how INDYCAR works. We need to learn to work together. I'm not going into race one thinking I've done 10 years in Formula 1, I'm going to win that easy. No. I need to learn. Drivers there have been running for many years, they're very competitive.

But the car are pretty much the same, apart from the dampers. It's up to setting it up and getting the right relationship with the engineer and driving it.

I think we can be competitive. I am not coming just to be entering INDYCAR. That is definitely not my option. But also I'm entering knowing that I've got many things to learn. Let's see where that brings us. We're ready to tackle the challenge and to learn as fast as we can.

But as I say, I've been watching many races. The team has done very well last year with some rookies, so I'm hopeful that we can repeat that or even top up a little bit on top.

Q. Dale, Romain mentioned that February 27th was going to be the first test. Where is that going to be? How many times do you think you'll get him in a car before the season starts?

DALE COYNE: It's actually the 22nd of February. We're at Barber. A week later we're at Laguna. Looks like we're going to have four testing days scheduled before the first race at Barber, four road course tests. That's good. We got that and some simulator work that's going to be coming up. I think all that will get him ready.

Q. Rick, I want to clarify something you said earlier. Maybe I misheard you. I thought you said this was a business deal and that there was a corporate sponsor as part of this deal. I didn't see that announced. Did I miss something or did I mishear you?

RICK WARE: I think we're probably a week or two away for announcing that because we have sponsorships for both the 51 and the 52. You have to understand that Romain has been I wouldn't say first choice because it's really kind of our only choice or decision that we're having to wait. You can imagine trying to sell a sponsor at this level without being able to say who the driver is.

First and foremost from the business standpoint, we needed to make sure we had Romain on. Now we're going to put together the pieces of the puzzle. There are going to be sponsors tied to our NASCAR scenario. We're going to be leveraging some of these INDYCAR sponsors to cross over into the NASCAR.

I think we're probably a week or two away from that announcement.

Q. Rick, you mentioned Cody has an interest in maybe trying INDYCAR. I believe he may have tested last week with Dale on a road course at Sebring. You said he likes road course racing. If Romain isn't going to do the ovals, would he do an oval race and fill in for Romain or would he try to do a road race?

RICK WARE: We've talked about that. Again, Dale has probably literally run more rookies than anyone in the garage, right? We're discussing that. I'm kind of leaving that up to Dale for the final decision.

Cody has a lot of oval track experience. Obviously he's never been an on oval track in an INDYCAR. Dale has taken a lot of guys to oval tracks for the first time in INDYCAR. So for me, I have full confidence in Dale. I think it's just a matter of what makes the most sense.

Again, we want to make sure if Romain changed his mind that we were prepared for that, right? The Indy 500 is a big scenario.

We're prepared to fill in the gap if we need to. But I think that's really going to be some conversation with me and Dale, ultimately with Dale, kind of where all the sponsors see fit.

We would be excited to do that if that opportunity makes sense.

Q. Romain, I wanted to ask you about the TV coverage of INDYCAR in France, the Internet coverage in France in French language. Do you see a lot written about champions like Simon and Sebastien? Can you add to that? Do you see it blossoming in years to come thanks to your participation?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: I hope so. I think the channel that does Formula 1 does INDYCAR in France, as well. It's a pay TV. It's always going to limit your viewers. But they are doing most of motorsports. Obviously Simon, after the Indianapolis 500 was a big thing. One of the top four races in the world. That was big.

Yeah, obviously we can get people involved. I think with the social media, we mentioned the YouTube channel, some of the tools we have we can reach out to a big audience.

I think we should have some good viewings. I'm hopeful that we can make INDYCAR even more known in Europe. It's a very American-based series, but I'm sure if we are competitive people will follow.

Q. Dale and Rick, how hard is it to sell to a company, a business, to sponsor your car with a Frenchman compared with an American, those barriers being knocked down? Is it just all about talent, they just want to see their names running up front and it doesn't matter who's in the car?

DALE COYNE: I think it's about talent. Romain coming here kind of reminds me when Nigel Mansell came here. He wasn't American. He lit the world on fire over here. People want to see results. They want to have a driver they can cheer for, somebody who is a good spokesman for them, a driver that has results.

Numbers don't lie. If you can finish towards the top, I think it gets you what you need.

Q. Rick, do you share those views?

RICK WARE: Yes, I absolutely share those. Again, it still takes dollars to make all this happen. Romain is in a unique category. Nigel is probably a perfect example of that kind of person that came over and raced. Using Nigel as an example, he was technically a foreigner, but he was sponsored by Kmart. At the end of the day Kmart got a lot of coverage.

Things are a little bit different now. Again, like you're talking about with television, the value of social media, the things kind of behind the scenes. Again, me and Dale are racers. First off, we got a racer in our car. But we can work around. We don't necessarily have to be selling hot dogs and hamburgers. Social media is so important.

Again, we leveraged that this past weekend at Daytona. That's where we're going to get the by-product of having a true professional. Just a great guy, great storyline, a great race driver.

At the end of the day people want to see people go fast. People want to see people passing people. For sure I think we have that person. So that's going to sell for us.

Q. Romain, coming into INDYCAR, a lot of time a lot of people see the fan-friendly aspect of INDYCAR. Drivers are accessible to the fans. How exciting is it for some of these new areas, potentially being able to interact with the fans, especially American race fans?

ROMAIN GROSJEAN: It's super exciting. I don't know much of the U.S. As surprisingly as it is I've been traveling around the world a lot. The first time I came to New York in my life was 2018, whereas I've been pretty much every else. I know a little bit New York, obviously Austin, a little bit Los Angeles. Nothing really outside of that.

I'm super excited to discover new places. With the jet lag anyway, I will need to come quite early on the races to get used to that. It's going to be a great opportunity to discover something new, as you say, to discover new paddocks as well where you don't need a very complicated pass to enter, and you can have interaction with the fans, open paddock sharing with the drivers and sharing passion.

If you come to see a racetrack, it's because you're passionate about racecars. If you're drivers, you're passionate about racing cars. We have many, many things to share.

THE MODERATOR: That is a good point, Romain. The credentials we have don't have the chip in it. It's a little easier to get into the paddock. You'll look forward to seeing that.

A lot of wonderful stories of Formula 1 drivers coming overseas and transitioning to INDYCAR. We welcome you, can't wait to see you at the test here in a couple weeks. Congratulations, Dale and Rick. That season opener Barber Motorsports Park is going to be here before we know it on April 18th.

Thank you, everyone, for joining us.
[ht: FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports]

Romain Grosjean observes that F1 cars are much faster, but maybe it's the constant speeds INDYCARS travel throughout the duration of a superspeedway oval racing event - jus' sayin'. After all, this is what caused Mike Conway to tap out.

It is hard to become, as a fan of INDYCAR, overly excited about a driver who comes in less than excited to tackle the entire challenge the NTT INDYCAR SERIES represents to the world of Motor Culture and Motorsports overall, no matter the personal concerns (see Scott Dixon). 

We will just have to wait to see if he might "get it" and catch the INDYCAR racing bug.

... notes from The EDJE

TAGS: Romain Grosjean, Dale Coyne, Rick Ware, NTT INDYCAR SERIES, Super Speedway, Ovals, The EDJE