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IZOD IndyCar Series: Indianapolis 500 Bump Day

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Indianapolis 500

IZOD IndyCar Series: Indianapolis 500 Bump Day

Bryan Herta
Steve Newey
May 23, 2010


THE MODERATOR: I haven't seen anything like it. That was the most unusual set of circumstances. In fact, I was asked what do you think they went through? I think they probably thought they were out, now they're in.
BRYAN HERTA: Three times. Three times we thought we were out when we crashed. We were pretty confident that we were going to have to bump our way back into the race. So when we crashed we thought, oh, that's it. And then we got bumped out the first time. And okay, thought, okay, you're out, that's it. And then time withdrew in front of us, we got back in. We got bumped out a second time.
In the dying minutes, Steve and I hopped on the golf cart with Colin Dyne from William Rast, our sponsor, and we went down to the tech area where they're sending the cars out, because we thought are we in? We were confused. We were like looking at each other, are we really back in?
And I can't say I've ever experienced a range of emotions in one week let alone one day that we have through this whole process.

Q. Bryan, we spoke earlier in this week. You said you were confident about your driver, about your team. When I was writing my qualifying report last night, I was wondering who is going to be that crazy story? We haven't seen it yet. Someone's going to go through hell by the end of Sunday. Who is it going to be? Is this what you're hoping you would be that team on your first try at the Indy 500?
BRYAN HERTA: Steve, were we hoping? You know, we were well aware that we were going to have a roller coaster that our race was to make the race, and we knew that we were going to be part of whatever is happening today, that it was going to be touch and go. But never in a million years could we have imagined the scenario that actually unfolded. Thank God. I already had a hard enough time sleeping.

Q. I got the impression your driver was on his way to Methodist or at Methodist. Where was he when you found out that he was --
BRYAN HERTA: We actually called him. He's at Methodist. They're just checking him out. But he's very happy. Very, very happy. Very happy. I spoke to his father, Wilson. They're just -- they're really nice people. The kid is really nice. Fluent in six languages. 19 years old. He's smart. He's educated. He's raced all around the world. Talented.
Thank you. And to be under fire the way he was this month with a team with very little resource. We only had the one car. We couldn't afford to crash it.
We were on the limit every single step of the way. And you know what happened today in Turn 1 with him was nothing more than us trimming the car out in the heat and him just hanging it out and looking for that last little bit of speed that we thought we were going to need to bump back into the field.
And we started at 218 at the start of this week, and we qualified at 223.6. So as a team we gained almost six miles an hour. And I'm very proud of the guys on the team and Sebastian and my partner, Steve Newey.
Steve was my race engineer. And when we started this team, it was his idea (laughing). And it just started as a conversation. We bumped into each other at a go-kart race. And he said, hey, Bryan, what do you think about starting an Indy Lights team? And I hadn't really thought about it. But it planted the seed.
And the more I thought about it, I knew Steve was the right guy to be my partner, because I didn't have the experience running the team, managing the budgets, putting the right people together. I mean, it's an endless task, as all of you in this sport already know.
But even more than I would have imagined, and he has been the rock that has put this together. And I know I get to have my name on the team, but he deserves an awful lot of the credit for what's happened here.

Q. You mentioned that you're a small team without many resources. How bad is the car? What's the part situation? What have you got to do to --
STEVE NEWEY: The car is pretty bad off. We broke the gear box, bell housing, underwing, rear wing attenuator, left front suspension is junk. Left rear suspension. Obviously I could go on and on. There's a lot -- Honda wants to take a look at the engine.
We're going to have the engine over to Honda tomorrow to see how much damage there is. The tub appears to be okay. So there is a lot of damage, and our guys are coming in and we're going to go shopping for used parts tomorrow (laughing).

Q. I've known you guys since you came up with Andretti Green, and I know where you're going and where you went and where you are today, from a monster team to a small team. What's your first thing that you're going to do and when are you going to start? Are you going to wait until after next Sunday, or are you going to start tonight calling people to get the second car for next year?
STEVE NEWEY: I mean, we're already putting plans in place for 2011. We've got a marketing partner that's working every day to try and help us raise the sponsorship that we need to expand our one car program and put more resources together so we can invest in some equipment, and obviously ultimately the goal would be a two-car Indy team, IndyCar team next year. We're already working on 2011.

Q. The question was asked about how bad the car is. How is your driver? I know he was taken to Methodist. How was he feeling before he left here?
BRYAN HERTA: Unfortunately, we don't have any updates yet. We saw what you saw. He hopped out of the car on his own power. Waved to the crowd, which is always a great sign.
I did see him over at the Infield Care Center. Talked to him for a while. At that point he was pretty dejected because he thought we were done for the month.
But they felt like further tests were warranted. They want to be extra cautious, as they should be. So we're still waiting to get some update on his condition. But I know that he's feeling a lot better now than he was one hour ago.

Q. Just to confirm, guys, after all you just went through, you're already thinking about next year and doubling the cars (laughing)?
STEVE NEWEY: That's a good question. Maybe we'll have to rethink that, when we're thinking more clearly (laughing).
BRYAN HERTA: I'm not going to be thinking very clearly tonight. I'm going to have a good time.
THE MODERATOR: As you should. Congratulations.

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