For me, the only reason I want to go there is to try to win. It's not to go there to qualify and make the field and have a good day. I said at the press conference in Long Beach the reason I'm going there is to win. If we can do that and generate a lot of media for our sponsor with GEICO, hopefully we can grow this into something bigger and better. Right now the focus is just on Indianapolis. If that goes well enough, then maybe we can get into the races in Canada or maybe more.
Like you said in Long Beach, this is the one trophy missing from your mantel and you'd like to have it. As you talked about earlier, can this be the springboard to get you back in full-time?
I would hope so. Obviously with either a win or a great result in Indy I would hope that it would open the door to racing on a full-time basis. Last year, coming back at Edmonton, to come right out of the box and be in the top five or six in every practice session with Tony's team, then finish fourth, I thought the expectations of that, I think everybody exceeded what we had planned to do. The excitement level after the race for that three, four, five days post race was very good. I thought 'okay, I'm going to be in a car here'.
As time passed by, it just kind of fizzled. You know, nothing's a guarantee. Obviously this is a good opportunity. It didn't come out of the blue. I've had to generate the sponsorship to do this and find the money to do it. Nobody has handed me a ride. It takes money to run these cars. It's going to take finding a full-time sponsor to get me on the track.
Toronto is back on the schedule this summer. Your old pals/enemies at Andretti Green are running the show. How much would it mean to you personally to be back on the grid with a car that's competitive to win?
Well, obviously I would like to do that. Again, it's going take finding sponsorship to do that. Now that we've got a programme for Indy, and I was at Long Beach, generated a lot of talk, generated a lot of media, a lot of exposure - some people are starting to talk about what is it going to take to get you in the Canadian races or more races. So we've got the doors open now talking to more sponsors, people getting interested.
But it's tough. It's a tough market out there. I was just listening to Stanton [Barrett]. It's no different. I'm no different than him. We're out there talking to sponsors, but it's hard to get a commitment from them.
I remember in 2002 before the race when the team was struggling to make it into the show, you kind of called it Groundhog Day, that every day was the same. Rather than getting better, it was just getting worse. Then you were there at the very end of the race with it in your hands. Do you feel much better prepared going into Indy this year than you did back in '02 with Team Green?
We went there again in '02 on just a one-race deal to run Indy. Our focus was the CART title with Dario [Franchitti] and myself. I think as the month was ramping up towards qualifying, we just weren't progressing and getting the setup right on the car. We struggled and struggled and struggled with it. We were just off a little bit in terms of setup. It doesn't take very much to be two, three or four miles an hour slow.
We basically on the day of qualifying, I think on the first weekend, we made a big drastic change in the final practice to try to get some speed in the car. I had lost the car in turn two and backed into the wall, banged myself up pretty good. I was almost right then, I said to Barry Green, I'm ready to throw in the towel on this deal. I think I should go home for a couple days and just clear my head and think about this. If you don't want to run, or if we want to go test at Mid-Ohio with the Champ Car, then maybe that's what we should do. Barry said to go home for a couple days. I went home, got my head clear, because Indy is the kind of place where you run so much there, and once you get kind of sideways, get going the wrong direction, it's hard to get going back the right way again. Sometimes the best thing to do is just go and clear your head.
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