So it’s always fun to be allowed to listen-in on an IRL Teleconference with some IndyCar “Big boyz…” Especially on a gray ‘N gloomy day in the Pacific Northwest,; and thus your Humble Scribe, along with his fellow “Bloggaraatzi” (As Jeffie of My Name is IRL likes to call it) got to listen in on a fairly entertaining interview between two of the chief architects contesting the 2009 Indy Car Series Title; Mike Hull of TCGR and Tim Cindric of Team Penske for what was essentially a half hour interview.
(Thursday; October 1, 2009)
The teleconference was hosted by the always affable Arni Sribhen, of Firestone Indy Lights fame… And I enjoyed the light hearted competitiveness between the two men, as Cindric scored the first broadside across Hull’s bow when telling Mike to take it away and answer Arni’s question first since you’re leading… To which caused Hull to guffaw out loud, as Arni had read off the most impressive Bio’s of both combatants, whom both have scored multiple Championships and racing victories along the way. With Tim being Hulio’s Pit Strategist, while Mike is responsible for calling the shots on Dixon’s car, in what Arni noted was the second closest title fight in series history, with a record 14 lead changes to date.
In regards to Ryan Briscoe’s blossoming into a title contender this season, Cindric noted that Ryan has always been on the pace since the very “Get-go” when watching him test against Penske at Sebring in 2005 with TCGR. When it became apparent that Lucas leur was moving to Audi’s Sports Car effort in ’07, Briscoe’s name came up and they decided to give him a shot in American Le Mans competition to see if he could mature into a possible replacement for Sam Hornish Jr.
To which Hull replied; by saying can I say a thing about Briscoe before answering your question Arni. I’ve always thought that Ryan was special from Day One when he privately tested for us at Phoenix before the Sebring test and he really persevered thru a very tough ’05 campaign, where we simply decided to look at our operation from a business standpoint and decided to cut back to a two car operation which meant unfortunately we had to let Ryan go, as I’m a huge fan of his… So obviously I wasn’t looking to have him winning the title against our two drivers; as Scott and Dario are simply the two most similar drivers - melding into one and sharing everything, so hopefully one of them will win the title for us. (Of course I’d hazard to guess that Mike would prefer Dixon in order to give him bragging rights over his boss a la Cindric vs. “The Captain.”)
Then it was time for questions from the selected audience with Bruce Martin of versus being up first. Huh? I thought that Bruce was the Doofus who less then impressed me at Indianapolis this May with his stupid qcomments while reporting for Sports Illustrated.
And after repeatedly trying to pin down Cindric on Will Power’s future at Penske, Tim calmly stated; well I can tell you we’re NOT letting him go yet! As we’d obviously like to get the situation cleared up as soon as possible; as to whether it’s a full time ride or race by race basis we’re still working upon that situation.
Cindric then rolled off the company line how you could throw a virtual blanket over Power and Briscoe, who are extremely similar talent-wise… Well for starters they’re both “Aussies.” And they both work really well together and are quite willing to share information with Castroneves, who’s kinda our team leader.
Next to take a crack at the duo was Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, who asked for both men's impressions on how the race could go? To which Tim replied, well obviously our situation’s a lot more straightforward then Mike’s is, to which once again caused Hull to laugh out loud. As Mike stated how he’d like to hire the person Reynolds claimed to have figured out there were 250 possibilities for winning at Homestead, but Chip’ll be there, along with his Abacus… As Hull seemingly echoed Cindric’s comments… To which Tim noted that there were other drivers in the Frey, as some would be going for their first victory of the season and for others it might be more dire. (Can you say Contract?)
I’m very proud of Ryan’s willingness to go and answer some tough questions in his own words after Motegi, of which he’s basically put into the past and has promised to give his all at Homestead. Roger’s not the type of guy to yell at you when something like that happens and our team’s silence on the matter pretty much sums up things…
Last in the queue was Gary Graves from USA Today, who seemed to ask a fairly similar question, to which both Mike & Tim methodically answered, with Cindric restating how it was pretty simple for them; as if Ryan didn’t finish ahead of the TCGR duo then he wouldn’t be Champion… But don’t forget “Hulio’s” going for fourth in the series and would still like to win. He respects the title protagonists and won’t do anything foolish; but obviously will do whatever we can to help Ryan but at the end of the day he’s still shooting for fourth.
Arni then wrapped-up the session by asking Mike if she’d told him that Dixon would be leading the Championship going into the final round at the beginning of the season, would he have believed it? To which Mike calmly replied I’d wanna know who your Crystal ball reader was…
And that concludes this teleconference
As I really enjoyed the camaraderie and respect shown between the two opposing Team Bosses, which caused me to go away thinking how pragmatic of both Chip ‘N Roger to have hired such competent team managers… As obviously this allow both Team Owners to focus upon the bigger picture, like Sponsorships, Employees, equipment, Team direction, etc.
So Thanks to Arni for letting me listen-in to the teleconference…
And don’t forget to check out the 2009 Championship Finale at Homestead on versus, unless you’re still a hapless casualty in the Direct TV/versus skirmish… As next Saturday afternoon beginning at 1PM Pacific will be your last chance to watch Bob, Robbie, Jon, Robbie Floyd 2.0, Mr. BRUT Arute-Arute and Lyndie-Car in action this year.
Also, it’ll be interesting to see how Bruce, Tim and Gary convert this teleconference into printed word for their various employers, which should appear in the near future… (Perhaps today?)