"Well, we were very consistent in the first nine races you mentioned, and I guess, it is one of those things, you know, in racing where the longer you go without a non-finish, the closer to one you get, and surely that was the case for our team, too. So, we had three races in a row where we had to retire with mechanical problems, so, that was not good, and that set us back a little in the point standings. I guess we lost a lot of points there, but we are trying to bounce back now and get a good ending of the season." - Kenny Brack

K. Johnson: Now let us welcome IndyCar Series driver Kenny Brack. Brack was the 1998 IndyCar Series champion, and he currently drives the No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite/Dallara/Honda/Firestone. He stands 7th in the driver point standings heading into this weekend's Delphi Indy 300 Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway and has recorded five top-five finishes, including a season-best second place effort at Motegi. Just as a side note, Kenny also plays guitar in the band 'Kenny Brack and the Subwoofers.' Kenny, welcome and thanks for joining us today.

K. Brack: Thank you very much.

K. Johnson: Through the first nine races of the 2003 series, you were fifth in the driver point standings and had recorded seven top-10s and zero 'Did Not Finish'. You then encountered a string of three consecutive races where you did not make it to the chequered flag, but then you bounced back with a fifth-place finish at Nazareth. Give us your perspective, if you will, on your season thus far.

K. Brack: Well, I mean, we were very consistent in the first nine races you mentioned, and I guess, it is one of those things, you know, in racing where the longer you go without a non-finish, the closer to one you get, and surely that was the case for our team, too. So, we had three races in a row where we had to retire with mechanical (problems) that we used for all three of them. So, that was not good, and that set us back a little in the point standings. I guess we lost a lot of points there, but we are trying to bounce back now and get a good ending of the season. So, hopefully more top-fives, and we are looking for our first win this year, too.

K. Johnson: You were, as we mentioned, the '98 IndyCar Series champion, and you won the '99 Indy 500. Coming into this year, did you have the feeling that since you had raced in the league before, albeit several years ago, that people thought you were just going to come in with Team Rahal and have it easy?

K. Brack: Well, I do not know about that, but I certainly have the feeling that whatever you are going to do at this level, if it is IndyCar (Series) racing or CART or Formula 1 or whatever it is, you know it is very, very competitive and you have to have all ducks lined up, so to speak. We came into this series this year with a one-car team, a very good team. Team Rahal is an excellent team, of course, but we also have excellent personnel.

But we have no previous experience with this kind of car and these tracks, and we kind of had, we had to, you know, kind of build up to everything, and that is where we are at, and I think we have done a good job, so far, but it needs to, of course, be better, and we are building day by day to achieve our goals. We want to win races and be a championship contender, and clearly, this year we have struggled to be in the top of the championship, but we are still good and we are the best newcomer one-car team out there. So, I think we have done a good job, but we need to get better, obviously.

K. Johnson: You mentioned being a one-car team. Going to all of these circuits for the first time, that puts you at a disadvantage of sorts, specifically related to testing, correct?

K. Brack: Yes, it does, because, I mean, the way the rules are written, it is 21 sets of tires per car, and so, obviously, if you are a one-car team then you get, let's say you use three sets of tires normally on a test day, that means that seven test days and if you are a two-car team then you can have fourteen test days, because you obviously get twice as many tires. So, if you are a three-car team, you get three times as many tires, so obviously the practical testing, on-track testing, is limited for a one car team. So we have to sort of do our stuff a lot more precise, and we are not using that as an excuse or anything, but it is certainly difficult to compete with the very best of the teams with less testing.

K. Johnson: Now turning to the musical side, you and the band have recently cut a CD, which is being released later this week and the proceeds of that are going to a charity organization. Tell us a bit about this endeavour.

K. Brack: Well, it was a thing that was put together in the beginning of the year as a relaxing thing on the side of the racing, plus the opportunity to reach hands in a very exciting way, and we put together this band, and Team Rahal and Pioneer and the guys there stand behind it, and we have, yes, we have played at certain race venues and opened up for big bands or have played for big crowds, up to 10,000 people, sometimes. So, it has been a really exciting thing.

The CD was not planned from the beginning. That is something that Pioneer decided to do, because, I guess, they were pleased with what they heard. I mean, from the racing side it is Laz Denes, who runs PR for Mo Nunn Racing, and Kathy Prather from Greg Ray and Access Motorsports, and then we have four professionals in the band, which are Gene Deer, a local blues guitarist legend in Indianapolis, and friends of his, Smoking Dave (Wyatt) on the base, Charlie Bushor on the drums and a girl called Kelsey Smith, who is singing most of the leads songs and stuff like that.

Those four, they are really a tremendous group of musicians, and so adding us three from the racing circuit together, it is a seven-piece band, and we manage to sound pretty good. So it has grown a little bit more than we were supposed to, like I said, because the CD was not planned from the beginning. But, it has been a fun project, and now we are releasing it to charity, for CARA Charities, and so, hopefully, we hope to help them bring in some good money to use for charity.

K. Johnson: You mentioned CARA Charities. They are an auto-racing charity that gives money towards needy families and children, which is a really great venture for you and the band to undertake. At this time, Kenny, let us open up our forum for questions from our media.

K. Brack: Sure.

Q: Kenny, so far this season you are not too far out on points. Where do you think you might try to finish for the season?

K. Brack: Well, I mean, mathematically we can still win the thing if things go our way completely, meaning that we win all the three races and all of the other people in front of us have really bad luck in the end of the season, I guess. But I am not, you know, I am a realist, and I think that is unlikely to happen. But, I think that we can, with a little bit of a good fortune here in the end, we can still finish top-five and top-six, so that is what we are shooting for. Personally, I think if we can finish the last three races in the top-five and maybe get a win or two, that would be a tremendous ending. That is what we are shooting for and we will try to achieve, but we will see.

Q: You were in this league before as champion in '98. Can you describe the difference in how competitive this Indy Racing League circuit is right now?

K. Brack: Well, I think if you look at the on-track product, I mean, I cannot see any open-wheel racing in the world more competitive than this league now, and perhaps I should back that up a bit, but the way I feel about it, you know, everybody has basically the same material. From the beginning it is two chassis, Dallara and G Force, and it is three engine manufacturers in Honda, Toyota and Chevy, and they are very closely matched.

I believe Honda made an extremely good engine, and so we feel that we have every bit what it takes to win races. But, it is also a lot of good teams and big-name drivers and a lot of good rookie drivers in here, and given a field of over 20 cars, with those parameters from the beginning being so equal, it is extremely competitive.

If I make a comparison to when I drove in the IndyCar Series previously, there were good drivers and teams back then, too. I should mention, maybe, Tony Stewart and a few others, but the depth of the series back then was maybe if you had a bad day you might finish seventh or eighth. Now, if you have a bad day, you are 17th or 18th, you know, that is the difference, and it is such close competition that in the real world, five hundredths of a second, you cannot measure it and it means nothing, a tenth of a second, but when you step inside the racing paddock, it takes on a whole new meaning. And, if you are a tenth off, that means you are probably six, seven positions down, and it is extremely competitive.

So, it really puts emphasis on having all of the best set-ups on the car and using the time wisely when you get to the racetracks, because you know, you only have a few, two, two-and-one-half hours to fine-tune the car, and you need to get it fine-tuned because if you are chasing hundredths of seconds, that is what it is all about.

Q: Kenny, you talked about the equipment. Does that give you the confidence, because there is no other, as you indicated, there is no other series in the world that races wheel to wheel like you guys do, never mind doing it at 215 or 220 miles an hour?

K. Brack: No, it is, the technical regulations of the series, the IndyCar Series, have really created an environment where it is so equal, and it puts such an emphasis to have all of the small things lined up for you that it is incredible. I mean, if somebody, normally, in oval racing, if you are a half of a second slower, you can still stay in front because the guy behind you can slow them down.

But, in this series, the technical package is such that you can race side by side. So, if you are a little bit slower, it might be a tenth or two or three. Well, you are not going to stay up front, you are going to go back to where your position in the field is, no matter what, and it is close racing. So, if you do not have everything lined up, like I said, it is very difficult to be successful, and it is truly a challenge both from a driver standpoint and from the team's standpoint.

Q: Just real quickly, Kenny, I am just curious if the Subwoofers and Kenny Brack are going to have another concert date out here at Fontana when we see you in a couple of weeks?

K. Brack: Yes, we are going to play out there. I am not quite sure, yet, when and where. I think we have something going on for the CARA Charity on Thursday night, and there might be another one at the track on Saturday night, early. I am not quite sure exactly the times and stuff like that, yet, but yes, we are going to do a couple of performances out there.

Q: I have watched you and the band play, and one of the things that I have noticed is the intensity that you have. Even though you look like you are having fun, you can see it in your eyes, that intensity. Compare the intensity of playing in front of an audience with a rock-n-roll band as to sitting in the car and driving a car.

K. Brack: Well, in some respect it is quite similar and in some respects it is a lot different, you know. But, I guess one similarity is that when you are in the car that is it, that is the only thing you concentrate on, you get completely consumed in what you are doing and you shut out everything else. That is a really extreme feeling which is something that every race driver goes through, I think, and when you are playing in a band you have the same sort of feeling, that nothing else than playing that song and what you have, you know, what your part is, that is the only thing that exists at the moment there.

But on the other hand, it is a lot more, it is a lot different, too, because you know if you are in the middle of a song and you make a little mistake or something, chances are nobody even will hear it because only you know what you were supposed to play, and maybe if it is a little bit different, nobody takes notice. Well, if you are in a racecar and you make a little mistake, chances are you pay for it big time. So, there are differences and similarities, but I enjoy both and the music to me has been very relaxing. It is like, I guess, some drivers have other hobbies like playing golf and stuff, and it is the same thing for me. Music is my sort of hobby, relaxation.

Q: Does it help you during a weekend of where everything is so intense to have that couple of hours to play before an audience, and the one big difference is when you do well, it is not like you do well on lap four that everybody is going to stand and cheer and you can hear them? I mean, when you do well with a song, you get immediate response. Is that a good way for you to just get yourself away for a moment, to change the intensity?

K. Brack: Well, I have not thought of it quite in those terms. I would say it does not do any good or bad things for the racing. I do not think it changes my racing weekend in a positive or negative way, but perhaps - I know we played in Nashville four or five hours before the race, and we finished fifth, which is one of the best results we have this year. So, maybe it does something for us, but I do not know.

I would say that I do not think it does anything in that sense, but what it does I think for us, for the team and for the team sponsors, Pioneer in particular, that sponsors the band too, and Miller Lite and all the others, Honda and stuff, and myself, is I think we can connect with the fans in a very good way because fans come down to the pitch.

You know, when I am in the car and get out of the car, and you know I am very intense and thinking about what I need from the car and stuff, and I usually have to concentrate pretty hard to relate that information to the engineers, and we hurry back to the transporter all the time and then we sit in this little engineering room and discuss about that.

Fans, although they are there, they really do not get to see the relaxed side of any drivers, really, because we are always busy even when we are out of the car. This thing with the music, I think, I can show the fans a different side to stuff and maybe have a little time, even, to sign some autographs and be normal to people instead of just running around like being, just going from one place to another without even noticing anybody around me.

Q: Yes, and it is good to hear the applause after the song isn't it?

K. Brack: Oh, yes, of course. I mean, you know this band is really, like I talked a little earlier here, we have Kathy and Laz, they are really good, but you know, we have four really, well, professionals with us in Gene, Charlie and Dave, Smoking Dave and Kelsey, and they hold the band together. So, with relatively little rehearsal, we manage to sound real good.

I must say the CD we recorded, it is a live record. We have not changed nearly anything on it, we just mixed it and put the levels right, and the way it came out I am really pleased and proud of the final product, which is greatly down to these people, because it is very easy for a band to go into the mixing, well, studio, after a live recording and take everything away except the drums and put new tracks on there. But we did not do that. This is a live thing and we have changed very little after we recorded, and like I say, it is a great band.

Q: How is everything over in Sweden?

K. Brack: You know, it is really beautiful here. It is a little chilly, it is going towards fall, but the trees are still green and during the daytime probably 70 to 75 and now it is going down to like 50 or 60 here. It is like 6:30 in the evening. I am standing here, outside of my house here, we have a great big park in the middle of town and it is pretty nice.

Q: We had a downpour over the weekend, it flooded everything.

K. Brack: I heard you got some rain there.

Q: Yes, a whole lot. Anyway, I am looking at the standings. Except for Sam Hornish, who has driven in the league four straight years and won the Championship, so he would be an exception, every team ahead of you has a dual, you know double drivers. Is that the thing that is pretty well coming, if you want to win a championship you have to have two drivers to lean on each other's work?

K. Brack: I don't want to think like that, because since we are a one-car team we still have high expectations. But, I think that, you know, I think that having a two car team or a three-car team is a lot, there is a lot of benefits to that, especially in terms of testing and also when you go testing to have two cars out there and get two responses, and you can sort of get through the changes and the engineering ideas you have a lot faster.

But, I think that for us, it has been a very challenging year because we came into this all new, and I think that that is the big thing for us, it takes time to collect data and to look at data and to find what is working with the car and what is not working.

Basically, in the league it is so competitive that you have to get to the racetrack and start in the right ballpark with the car, and if you do not, well, then you may use the first day trying to find your way and maybe you get it right the second time. But, then you are a day behind and so all the fine-tuning that you need to get the last tenth or two out of the car, you do not have that time and then you are behind, and that has been a big challenge for us. It is a great team, Team Rahal, and we are learning fast and it is, you know, I am sure that we will finish the season really strong.

Q: Right. Well, who among the drivers that you are seeing for the first time this year have been the most surprising to you, the one you kind of respect the most?

K. Brack: You know, I do not see any surprises, really. I know most of the teams and most of the drivers, and, you know, you look at what they have accomplished in the past, and I would say that there are not a lot of surprises out there, I do not think. I think that before the season, I could sit down and look at the starting field and say any fifteen guys here could probably win the title with the right amount of flow through the season and all of that. So, there are a lot of team situations who have everything they need to win and the credentials backing up champions, you know? So, I cannot really put anyone out of there that has been a surprise.

Q: Gil de Ferran announced his retirement, you know, last week and he is two years younger than you. What are your thoughts about Gil?

K. Brack: Well, he is a guy that I have been racing, for some reason, since the beginning of the 90's. There was a series called Opel Lotus here in Europe, a European Championship, and I think that every driver that you, well not every driver, but most of the drivers you read about in Formula 1 or Indy cars or whatever, used to compete in that series back then. David Coulthard and Pedro Lamy and Gil and a whole lot of other drivers, and, I guess, we have sort of followed each other's footsteps well from back then.

Gil has always been a great competitor and, you know, done a lot of excellent results, obviously, and it is, you know he said he wanted to quit while the music was still playing. But, I mean we just put together the band, so we are going to be playing for a while.

Q: Will you miss him?

K. Brack: Pardon? Yes. You know he is a great competitor, but if he feels that, for whatever reason, he feels that is it, if he cannot find the motivation anymore or whatever, I do not know. But, I wish him all the best and it is sad to see him go. So personally, I think it is too early, but, you know, that is obviously, those decisions nobody can tell you what to do, it is just you have to make them yourself.

Q: Obviously you have not lost your motivation then.

K. Brack: No, I am still striving to try to win more races and being as professional as I can when I prepare myself, and I have a great team to race for and great partners in Honda and Pioneer and Miller Lite and, obviously, the team, Team Rahal, and all of the mechanics and the engineers there. I mean, we have a good group and I am all fired up about winning.

Q: I would like to talk to you about the package that you have and also about working with Don Halliday once again, because I know just the two of you got along extremely well, particularly in the 2001. Do you think that Honda has made improvements over the year, and do you think that their drivability is getting better?

K. Brack: Well, I know that Honda has made a lot of improvements over the year. I am quite impressed with the short time they had to make this engine. I think they surprised a lot of people in the beginning of the year, being as competitive as they have been, and I feel we have had a very good support from Honda and, technically, they are a very skilled company and, historically, if you look at what they have done in the past I think you will see that they have done nothing without being successful.

So, for me, I had no doubts when I was asked to drive for them this year that it would be a really strong engine, and you know their partners, Ilmor and all that stuff, they have all been very successful in the past and Ilmor, as you probably know, builds the Mercedes, the race engine in Formula 1, and so there is a lot of skills and a lot of knowledge within that company.

Q: And what about working with Don again, is it as comfortable as it was back then?

K. Brack: Oh yes. I mean, I think Don and I get along well, but it is not the two-person show. This is a team effort, and I think that the team that we have with, well, obviously, owned by Bobby Rahal and led by Scott Roembke and the team manager, Steve Dickson, and the race engineers, it is not only Don, it is Ken Pare, sorry, Martin Pare and Tim Reiter, and all of the guys there. They are really skilful, and Don and I get along well and he is my race engineer, and we have also a group of really educated mechanics led by Ricardo Nault. So, the whole team, I am very pleased with the personnel and all of that stuff.

Q: Great, great, I wish you good luck and a safe flight back.

K. Brack: Thank you very much.

K. Johnson: Well Kenny at this time we do not have anymore questions for you. Again, we appreciate you joining us today and we wish you the best of luck this weekend in Chicago.

K. Brack: I appreciate it, thanks so much.

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