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Indy Car Racing Media Conference

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Penske Racing

Indy Car Racing Media Conference

Michael Andretti
February 21, 1994

JOHN PROCIDA: I want to thank you all for joining us today and very pleased to have Michael Andretti with us. Two things I'd like to note before we get started: One, because we do have quite a few callers in today we would like to have everyone limit their questions to one until we go through the entire roll and that will still be on an open format, so just go in with your questions, but try to hold your second questions until after we get through. Second thing I'd like to request is to please try to keep the background noise down. You can be heard throughout the conference. As we try to prepare a transcripts, it does have a large influence on what we can get down on paper. So now I would like to also note that we have Michael Knight with us today and Michael if you could please go ahead.

MICHAEL KNIGHT: Thanks, John. We want to thank John and the IndyCar organization for helping to organize the conference today with Michael Andretti. On behalf of Newman/Haas Racing, Kmart, Texaco, Havoline and Budweiser, we want to thank all of the media people for taking time from their busy schedules to join us today. I just wanted to make a couple of brief notes which may help you in your questioning or in the stories that you may prepare based on today's teleconference with Michael Andretti. As I think everyone probably knows, this is Michael's second stint at Newman/Haas racing; was previously with the team from 1989 through 1992 as a teammate with his father, Mario. During that four year period that Michael previously drove for Newman/Haas he won more races and more pole positions than any driver in the PPG IndyCar World Series during that four year period. He was the 1991 PPG Cup Champion and finished runnerup in the championship twice in that four year period and third the other year. The other point we'd like to make is that with Mario's retirement, Michael enters the 1995 season as the leader among active drivers in race wins with 29 and pole positions with 27. And of course, he is driving Kmart, Havoline Lola Ford Cosworth for Newman/Haas racing this year and many of the people that he is working with at Newman/Haas are crew members who did work with Michael in the past when he was with Newman/Haas before or on his father, Mario's car; although, he does have a new chief mechanic Tim Bumps, who comes over from Penske Racing. And with that, let me just say that at the conclusion of the conference call, if anyone has any other questions or needs additional background information on Michael or needs any other materials, I will be able to be reached for awhile at 602-661-5240 and with that, we will turn it back over to John and just thank Michael for his time today.

JOHN PROCIDA: Thanks, Mike. Now we want to open up for questions. Go ahead.

Q. Just start out talking a little bit about what it means to come back to the team that you left to go overseas and race and now you are back with the team but without your father.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Obviously, I am very excited to be back with Newman/Haas. As Mike said, I am back with mostly the people that I have worked with in the past and have had a lot of success with and it is great to be back with Kmart and havoline, Texaco Havoline again and I am really looking forward to it. As I said, the only difference is dad is not going to be there. That was something I will definitely miss, for sure, because, you know, that was a very unique situation for us when we were able to do that, being the only father/son team ever, ever really, and, you know, it was a great situation, but I am still looking forward to it. I am looking forward to working with Paul. I think he has done a good job already this year during testing, and I think we are going to have a very strong team this year.

Q. On that same line, in working with Paul Tracy, how important is it for you guys to maybe have the kind of relationship, teammate relationship that you had with your dad, how important is that in your quest to beat Penske and the other top teams?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I don't think that will ever happen, let us be honest and I don't think -- what we did have there was never done before and never-- probably will never be done again unless you do have blood working together, because it is just a different situation, but, you know, other than that, I think we are going to work together well - as good as any other two-car team out there, and a lot of it comes down to the engineers basically passing the information between us; because a lot of times there is going to be things happening during practice and stuff that, you know, is going to be up to the engineers to consult with each other and to trade information because we are going to be in the race cars, so, you know, I think it is going to be good. I think, so far, it seems like in our testing that we both have a similar feel for the race car; which is good; which is always important because I have had teammates in the past where I just, you know --- we just didn't connect and, you know, they just wanted their car a little different than I did. But it seems like myself and Paul have the same type of driving style which I think is going to be good.

Q. What was your greatest thrill in competing against your dad? Was it finishing one, two in races at Mid-Ohio and Portland or sharing the podium with your dad and your cousin John at Milwaukee?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Be honest with you, there are so many, I think we have been very fortunate to share a lot of great memories together. You named a few. I think it was really special when I won the championship in '91 at Laguna Seca and he was there on a podium with me to share that moment, and also when I won my first race after coming back from F-I down in Australia, there he was on the podium again sharing it with me. So we have had many, many moments, special moments together and those are moments that they are going to stay with us the rest of our lives.

Q. If you could talk please a little bit about testing, a more, shall we say, established mark like a Lola than rather be a development guy for the Raynard last year, does it make testing any easier for you?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: It definitely helps because I think as we have a good data base to go off of; whereas, with the Raynard you are basically starting from scratch. Obviously, that is a big help, but also working with you know, guys like Peter Gibbons, my engineer, and stuff, it is great to be back with them because we know each other very well, and it was basically business as usual, so you know, those things are going to really be helpful, I think, for us getting into the first race because I think our testing has gone well because of that.

Q. You were saying that you and Paul's driving style are very similar. How would you describe your driving style.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: When I say that, basically, the way -- what we want out of a race car. Some guys can handle a little more understeer; other guys want a little more oversteer in the way the car, you know, goes to the corner and the way they hustle the car, it seems like we seem to be pretty similar. It is hard to say do I like more of an understeering car or whatever, I don't know, it -- I think we can just both see -- we seem to be able to drive the same type of race car, and I think that is key.

Q. The two years since you were with Newman/Haas, your dad's famous for saying that every negative has a positive. Can you just talk about the, I don't know, maturing process, if you will, of what you have been subjected to the last two years and how it has affected you and how you handled it?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Obviously, F-I, I think you can definitely put that up to a year of experience where it was a negative experience in some ways but I think you have to look at the positives and the positives are, I think I learned a lot about myself; a lot about people, in general, and, you know, learned to deal with pressures, and I think all that just makes you a better person in the end and I think, you know, I feel like I have changed a lot since then because of that.

Q. Do you feel now that you, in a sense, come full circle in returning back to the Newman/Haas team?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I feel very good about it. Yeah, I feel like, you know, hopefully I can pick up where I really left off back in '92. I feel like the chemistry is still there. It hasn't really changed, and along with, I think we have a race car that we can really work with this year, the new Lola seems to be very good and I think we are going to be right there when the green flag falls in Miami.

Q. The fact that the Penskes are going with this new Mercedes engine like how do the other teams feel about that? Do they have some sort of technological advantage or do you sort of see their team, you know, being dominant again because of that? Is it going to be a situation where no matter how well you drive, they are going to have more horsepower and given better technology. . .

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Realistically, all that is -- when you say it is going to be a Mercedes engine, it is still the Ilmor engine. All they are doing is putting the Mercedes name on the cam cover. It is the same people developing it and all that, so I don't see that we should worry anymore than we have in the past. Obviously, I think they have made gains with -- it is really not a new engine. They have just developed their old Ilmor engine that they have had the last couple of years, and you know, obviously I think they have made improvements. But I think also on the other hand, I think Cosworth has made improvements too, so I think we will be able to compete with them in the engine department pretty good this year. Obviously, they are not going to have that advantage at Indianapolis this year because they are not going to be running the push rod engine. They will be running a standard engine that they run all year, so, you know, they won't be running around with a thousand horsepower there which will put us on more of even ground at Indianapolis.

Q. Last couple of years it sort of has been understood that the Newman/Haas team was sort of functioning as maybe two separate teams in their own orbits. Do you think now that with you and Paul there you might sort of -- it will be closer than it was; maybe a little more mutually helpful than it was the last couple of years?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, I feel pretty much that that is the way it is. I think it is definitely operating as one single unit. When we go testing, you know, I get Brian Lisles comes and sits on the wish bone as does Peter Gibbons, my engineer, and so and vice versa, when Paul is there, so the information is being traded and it is definitely a two-car effort that, you know, when we go testing, especially, all the information is definitely being shared.

Q. Given what happened last year between you and Paul, are things cool now? Was that just kind of a racing thing that happened?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, I think, you know, it is basically what Paul -- the comments Paul made after Vancouver which was a little unfair to him because a camera was put in front of him moments after he had an incident on the racetrack, and when you are hot like that and your adrenaline is going 100 miles an hour, you are saying things that you really don't mean because; you haven't had time to look at what happened and dwell on it, so because it was all said in the heat of battle, I don't hold any grudge there and so, you know, I don't see that there is any problem. We have talked and there -- everything is fine between us.

Q. Looking at your competitors next year, do you see any particular dark horses that we might be looking forward to?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I will tell you, there is a lot of people that are going to do well next year. I think you still have to look at the same old people, I think, for the championship, but I believe that there is going to be a lot of guys that are going to come out of the woodwork that are going to get their licks in during the year. There is obviously Robby who is running well in testing, and who knows how Christian Fittipaldi will do, that is an unknown. Then you have Villeneuve, I am sure is going to do better the second year, and then you have even the Pacwest Team that is testing well at a lot of places. So there is just so many people that I think we are going to have to worry about. It is going to be tough to qualify in the top 10 next year, for sure; this year, I should say.

Q. What about the chassis situation? What kind of improvements have been made? Does everyone make improvements? Does Penske still have the advantage? Is there something special that you guys have done to narrow the gap?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, I think that was one advantage getting Paul on board, obviously, is, you know, we pretty much know the direction that they were going and I believe that Lola has made up the gap between last year's Penske and last year's Lola. I think that we are right there and I believe we had a bigger gap to gain than, say, Penske. I think it is going to be harder for Penske to make improvement on their car because they did have a very good car, and I believe that we had a lot more room for improvement and I believe that we did make it and I think the encouraging side is I am looking into our programs that are going on and I feel that we have a lot of things that are going to come during the year that are even going to help our effort, and we are going to be able to develop this thing even further which is really going to be nice.

Q. With the compression in the schedule this year weighted fairly heavy through the start up to Indianapolis, how -- do you approach the year differently from the standpoint of setting up for the championship?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, obviously, you -- for me, I am not approaching it any differently. I think it is more "how is the team approaching it." I think they are looking ahead on the way they have to be organized between races and what they have to do; the job that needs to be done. I think that is a big key in whoever wins the championship is going to be probably the team that is best organized to handle the schedule that we are going to have and I feel like our team is preparing itself pretty well.

Q. How many miles do you think you might have tested during the off-season and how many different types of tracks have you tested on?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, I can't answer the first one because I really don't know. I have no idea how many miles we have run between me and Paul. But we have basically only tested at Phoenix and Seabring. Once at Firebird, which is not much help, really. I think the two tracks that we tested at are good tracks for testing, but the big problem we have right now is one of the big tracks that we used to test at a lot and gave us a good feeling on where we were was Laguna Seca, but this year they were not allowing any IndyCar testings there because of the noise or whatever, so it has been really tough to try to find a racetrack. As big as this country is, in the winter, to find a racetrack to go testing at is very tough and, you know, that has been a little bit of a problem, to be honest with you that we haven't been able to test at -- we haven't been able to test it at a real road course. That is a little bit of an unknown for us; not only us, but everybody because everybody is in that same situation.

Q. Was last year -- was that much fun for you?

ANDRETTI: Last year?

Q. Yes.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: It was a tough year. I mean, it started out great and we had a big lull and we came back again. It was just -- it was a frustrating year, really was because a lot of things didn't happen the way I thought they were going to happen and you know, it was tough, but in some ways it was good because, you know, I was happy that we were able to get some results for Chip Ganassi after the effort he put in and, you know, they were good people to work with. I really enjoyed working with the whole team. They have a lot of good people there, but there was some weekends that were very frustrating; not only for me, but for all of us. A lot of it came down to just having a new race car, not having any notes (sic) go by and every once in awhile, we hit it lucky and other times, we just couldn't find it.

Q. Let me ask you about the issue of you coming from Chip Ganassi and having a course experience in testing and developing the Raynard and Paul Tracy coming from Penske with the Penske chassis, how much do you guys sit down and talk with the Lola engineers in utilizing your experiences from last year to help make the Lola car better this year.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I think we both spent time with them talking about it; especially when we first signed because that is when we -- Lola still had time to react to things and I think we both had good information to bring because of that, and that was a unique situation, actually, to be able to have two drivers coming from two different -- totally different race cars and then also coming to a team that had a different race car, so we had three-way information there that I think is going to be very useful, and has been useful for Lola.

Q. You are going down to Miami; you have got, again, a new course nobody has really tested and you came through in Australia last year, and what do you look for down there, a big scramble?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I don't know. I don't think it is going to be too bad. I have driven there, but I have driven the opposite way. They are changing the course to the way you run it the opposite way. But I think it is a good course. I think it is a well organized race. Ralph Sanchez does a great job down there. I think it is going to be a great place to kick off the season and you know, I think it is just going to be business as usual. I don't foresee any major problems because I think it is a good racetrack and I think we are all get down to business pretty quick.

Q. What road courses would it compare to? Is there anything that it is similar to?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Be honest, I think in some parts of it I would compare it to Tamiami when we used to race there, the way it is and the park area there and stuff. I think that gives you a little bit of the same feeling as that.

Q. What are the basic differences that you can see between the Raynard and the Lola? Is it a something you could really see or is it one of the more subtle things?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: No. It is a big difference. I think they have worked hard in the aerodynamic area; pit sensitivity. I think the Lola, that they have made great stride in that area and they have also picked up a lot more down force. I think they have a really good race car this year. It seems to be more of a numb car; not as sensitive which is really better, because it its sweet spot seems to be much bigger; sort of like a golf club that has a big sweet spot; that is sort of the same thing as these cars.

Q. Would you suspect Raynard drivers are going to have another tough year this season?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, I think Raynard drivers, overall, basically had a good year considering they started with a car that had, you know, from a fresh sheet of paper and I think looking at what they did to the car, I believe they made some improvements, but, you know, my looking into a crystal ball, I feel that Lola has made a little bit better gains and hopefully we will be able to prove that pretty quick.

Q. You talked a moment ago about the frustrations of last year. Was there any one thing that stands out in your mind and then on the other side of the spectrum, what were you proudest of in '94?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: The frustrations were that there were just some places where I have run very well in the past -- I mean, we just could not hit it. No matter what we did with the car -- we'd go through everything and we just -- we were missing it and we don't know exactly where we were missing it. And it was really frustrating. Places like Elkhart Lake to qualify 20th, it just still eats at me. It was just frustrating from that side of it. But you know, on more prouder moments, I felt very good on what we were able to do in Australia, and basically on most of the street circuits we ran well in Toronto and won there and also ran well in Vancouver, except for two flat tires that held me, I think, out of a green lane and also I think we had a good race car at Indianapolis and Michigan, so we did have some places where we had a car that was going to be tough to beat and we were, unfortunately, only able to win two, but I think we could have won very easily. From that standpoint, I was very happy what we were able to do there.

Q. When you say that this car is a little more numb; not as sensitive; does that mean that you can throw it around harder on the road courses; you know, you feel like it has more give to it in that way?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: No, it is more, I think, sense -- not as sensitive to setup, I think is what I mean. Like I said, the sweet spot is much bigger on the car so, you know -- like last year there was times when we were out of the ballpark, but we probably were not that far out. All we needed to do was find one little thing and we would be right there because the sweet spot was very small in the car to find it, find a place where it liked to work. But this car seems like it has a bigger area to work in, so, you know, it will -- when you make changes, little changes, it is not going to totally throw the handling out of whack. I think that is the biggest thing. It is really not in the actual driving of the car. It is more in the setting up of the car.

Q. Does your dad have any role with this Newman/Haas team? Is he going to be your sort of unofficial coach or eyes and ears? Is he going to help you in some way this season?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: No, he really doesn't have any official thing. He will just be coming down an a spectator and doing stuff like for Texaco stuff like that. He really has nothing to do with the team, officially.

Q. Can you comment -- last year when a lot of people - myself included - saw you for the first time after you returned from Europe one thing we all noted was how fit you were. From the standpoint of a personal training program, is that something you carried on through the course of the winter and what is kind of your basic routine?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I don't really like to say too much what I do. But I am as fit as I think I have ever been and I do little things to work on that area, but, yeah, from that standpoint, I feel very good about the way I am.

Q. Is that fitness something you noticed to be a lot more prevalent in Europe because again, as I say, I think there was somewhat of a real difference for you coming back from there, so is that something that is more emphasized in Europe?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I think it was -- going in, you know, they were making a big deal about it, so I wanted to make sure that when I went in there that they couldn't say anything and to be honest with you, when I got there, I found that the cars were much easier to drive, physically, than these IndyCars were, so, you know, it is just something that I just wanted to make sure that they couldn't say, you know, well, that is why it was, you know, didn't have a result or whatever, so -- and I just pretty much carried that over into this.

Q. What is your take on the Indy Racing League; is it just another place to go racing? Is there competition or is it just too much politics?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, a lot of politics. I don't want to get into it too much. All I want to say is that I just hope that they are able to work things out before all this thing -- all this does take place because, you know, I think IndyCar Racing is riding such a high and I feel like still the sky is the limit and I'd hate for that effort to be broken up. I just hope they get together and try to continue to go upward with IndyCar racing and not to either stall it or take it on a decline and I just hope that, you know, they are going to be able to work it out before it is too late.

Q. You have more race wins and pole positions than any active driver now, but you haven't yet won Indy. Is that one of your major objectives or goals this season?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: We are going to try. Dale Earnharp has been trying for awhile too and win Daytona. I actually thought Dale is going to win it and that will break the omen and I will be able to win Indy. Unfortunately he didn't do it, so now I am a little worried. I don't know what to say about Indy. I'd love to win it, and I think I could have won four or five times there already. It is just that it has been a tough place for me, but one of these times, it is going to go our way. I just feel it and I am hoping and praying that this could be the year.

Q. Have you ever talked to Dale about your similar frustrations at the big race?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: No, I never really did, but I can assure you, I know how he feels.

Q. Speaking on that, this year we have five races prior to Indy. How is that going to disturb the preparation for Indy that usually is a separate, you know, testing and everything?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I don't know. I don't think it is going to affect it much because of the uniqueness of the situation in Indy that we are there so long that I feel that there is plenty of time to regroup and to catchup on things. I think, you know, if you have a problem in the first few races where you crash a few cars or something then that could set you a little bit back a little bit for Indy, but if everything goes well in that area, I feel like the month is long enough; that everybody is going to be able to regroup and get set for the race and be prepared good enough for it.

Q. Your dad retired from IndyCar racing. Has he become the designated babysitter or has he been keeping busy ...

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: He has been really busy. It is amazing. He definitely hasn't felt the retirement point of it yet because he is doing so much with Texaco and doing a lot with his book and his wine that -- and other appearances for other people so he has been flat out. I think when it is going to hit him is when he is sitting on the sideline down in Miami and he is not in a race car; I think that is when it probably is going to catch up with him a little bit.

Q. Looking at the schedules, it looks like that June 17th, 18th date is open referring to Lamonz. A lot of talk over the off-season about your father's prospects for Lamonz. Is that something that you kind of had penciled in, any prospect of seeing you both together in that race?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I had the opportunity to do it, but I just -- after talking with Peter Gibbons, my engineer, it just felt like we want to go at this championship really hard and we don't want to distract from it, so I chose not to do it because of that, because if I was to do it, I would -- that would have put me on the road for like two months straight and because of Indy and stuff being a month long that, you know, I think it might have -- might take the edge off what we are trying to accomplish, so because of that, I won't be driving it.

Q. Could you just trace your relationship with Peter Gibbons? I sense that has been a pretty special one.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah, very special. Started when he joined -- first of all, I have known Peter, geez, I think since he was with Penske back in the early '80s, when he was just out of school and I knew him at Patrick Racing when my dad was racing there and we were able to finally get together and work together back in 1987 and we had two really good years with Kraco where we almost won the championship in '87 and in '88 we had a tough year but we feel like we did the best we could with the Cosworth at that time and then we both went our separate ways. He went with Penske and I went with Newman/Haas and I'd fought hard to try to get Peter back, you know, back together with Peter and we were finally able to do it back in for the '92 season and '92 was a huge year for us. We could have won 11, 12 races very easily if it wasn't for some problems that we did have with developing of the new engine, so as you could see, I just feel like we have just -- when I come into the pits, I don't even have to talk to him. He can just tell by looking at my eyes on what the car is doing and we just seem to be able to have that chemistry that is very special and I think it is the most important, chemistry, on a racing team is driver engineer chemistry. I think is he the best in the business. I think he is the best track engineer there is in the game - I really do.

Q. Have you ever been more determined going into a season than you are going into this one? Do you really feel an extra sense of determination this year?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, I mean, you always feel that going into any situation; any year, but I feel very good about the things that have happened to me in the last few months here and I feel confident at the moment that we are going to do well. I think that is important to have that feeling going in.

Q. Unser family have been two of the successful in IndyCar racing, but Al junior has won two Indy 500's so far. Do you feel any particular rivalry with little Al?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Not really. I have a lot of respect for him. I think is he a great race car driver; seems like he has got that Unser luck for Indy, for sure. He has won two and if you look at the other two Unsers in the family, they have won their share there, so it seems like that name does well at that racetrack and, unfortunately, in between -- I don't know how many races, between me and dad, we only have won to show for it at Indy, but it has been tough, but in terms of race wins and everything else, I think me and dad have been able to hold our own and do I find that I have a rivalry with Al? No, I don't. I have a rivalry with any competitor out there and he is one of them, but I have a lot of respect for him also, I think is he a great race car driver.

Q. Can you comment on the 70 year old Daytona 24 hour division winner named Paul Newman and give us your impression.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: He is amazing - he really is. I told I am going, I said I thought he was going to win overall. I really thought they would. They almost did. I knew that the team has done very good there and with the situation; with all the new cars, I thought that that team would win overall and they almost did, but he did win his class and I tell you, you got to give the guy credit, 70 years old, that is truly amazing.

Q. Do you anticipate that your team might go to a third car for the 500 in Indianapolis and that the third car might be made available for your cousin, John?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I highly doubt that that will happen, you know, unless there would be huge funding from somewhere else to help make that happen, so I don't think that will be happening.

Q. This will be your second year. Other than the one over in Formula I when your father wasn't around; can you now go out there and be your own person and not have to worry always about everybody, you know, talking to you, "well, what are you and your dad doing today" or you know, that kind of thing?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I don't know. I never felt that either way. I never really thought about it be honest with you. I would just answer the questions and be done with it. So -- that has never been anything that affected me one way or the other that -- I think the special side of it was that we were able to be on the same team and just bounce ideas off each other and I think it was helping both of us because of it, but because when I did start my career in IndyCar racing, we didn't work together until about five years into it or six years, something like that --

Q. I meant this being on the track, even when you were on different teams.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah, that is what I mean. I was with different teams when I was with Kraco and he was with Newman/Haas, there was five, six years where we couldn't talk about the race cars anyway. We were competitors on the track then, but, you know, we still had to do our own thing then and it was only a unique situation when we were together for those four years and those were four great years and years that will stay both of us, I think, for ever, but you know, will that affect me now, I don't think so.

Q. Going back to the your time with Chip Ganassi, was there an understanding there right from the beginning that you were going -- you were going to join his team but only until the Newman/Haas seat opened up?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: No, to be honest with you, when I went into the year with Chip, I was looking at a long-term thing, and unfortunately it just never did come about because Carl did get together with me very early, I think it was in May already that we were able to get together actually, and Chip at that time was not -- he did not have all his ducks in order to make an offer to me, so, you know, it is one of those things, you got to look at bird in hand and I was very happy to get back together with Carl anyway, and so I jumped at the chance to get back to it with him. But going into the year, I mean, we were talking, you know, long-term, but unfortunately, Chip wasn't able to put an offer together quick enough and Carl did, so that is the way it worked out.

JOHN PROCIDA: Anymore questions for Michael?

MICHAEL KNIGHT: Follow-up on a couple of points that were made that will be helpful to people in formulating their stories. Michael was asked to comment about Miami and we should point out that when the IndyCar series used to run in Tamiami Park Michael did win twice on that course; the final race of the 1987 season and then in the 1988 season he won the Marlboro Challenge non-points race in Tamiami Park and some of you may remember that that race was basically held -- started out in rain and then the track dried out and many people who have followed Michael's career in IndyCars, since the beginning, consider that to be one of his greater drives of his career because of the track conditions and it came down to, sort of a duel with Al Unser Jr. late in the race and Junior spun out and Michael won and also that was the only IndyCar race all season that was won by a car with a Cosworth engine. All the other races that year were won with the Chevrolet Ilmor. Again, that was not a points race. That was the invitational race. Also there was some questioning about Michael's relationship with Peter Gibbons, his engineer. I will relate a story which I am not even sure if Michael recalls this or not. But in 1991 at the Indianapolis 500 Peter Gibbons was Rick Mears engineer and of course Rick Mears and Michael had a great battle right at the end of the race and as the Penske team went down to victory lane after that, Peter Gibbons stopped in the Newman/Haas pits and spoke with Michael for several minutes while everybody else ran down to victory lane, which is just, again, a reflection of the relationship between Michael and Peter. Peter Gibbons actually left Penske Racing with about three races to go in the 1991 season and sort of worked informally with Michael on his drive to the championship and with Brian Lisles who was Michael's engineer at that time and then beginning in 1992, Peter was Michael's fulltime engineer at Newman/Haas.

Q. What year was that Mears incident?

MICHAEL KNIGHT: That was when Rick won his fourth Indianapolis 500 in 1991.

JOHN PROCIDA: Anything else for Michael? Thank you.


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