Milwaukee Driver Interviews
Milwaukee, WI, June 4, 2006 ó Julie Andre scoured the Milwaukee pit lane and paddock looking for drivers to answer her questions on what the rookies think of their first oval experience, staying in shape, the amount of power to pass, and having only one oval track on the schedule.
JULIE: What is your first oval experience like?
PASTORELLI: Itís tough. It is certainly not as easy as it looks like. It looks like just left turns. It is very difficult to get to the limit. The difference is on a road track you can go a little over the limit, and you can feel it. Here, if you go over the limit it is easy to go into the wall like this morning.
ZWOLSMAN: I did the rookie test here about a month ago. We also did some laps here this morning and yesterday. For me it is pretty difficult to get used to. You really have to push yourself over a certain point; you have to have confidence in your car to actually go fast. You have to build slowly. Thatís what I am doing. Iím going quicker each time I go out.
HEYLEN: Itís tough. I was the only rookie not present at rookie day several weeks ago, so yesterday was the first day out for me. Itís hard the first couple of laps getting used to it. Itís different; nothing like the street races. I am getting into it, but unfortunately, I am a day behind everyone else, but I think we are getting up to speed. Going into a turn, full throttle with out braking is hard to get used to.
CLARKE: Itís really tricky. From what I have heard, because I donít know anything about ovals I am a complete virgin, but from what I have heard it is a tricky oval at the best of times. I am just working myself into it. I am still working up to speed too. The more laps we go the quicker we go. So, hopefully we will be up to speed for the race. Not trying to win anything right now. I am just picking it up as I go along.
POWER: Itís a lot of fun, but when the car is not right, itís not very fun at all. On a qualifying run with new tires the car is good. Itís a little dangerous which makes it more interesting. Itís very challenging. I have a good teammate; Alex has helped me out quite a bit. I have caught on fairly well.
LEGGE: Itís great. I am having a lot of fun. I am fortunate to have PKV racing behind me with Jimmy and Oriol. I am having fun with it, and it is a place that you need to have a massive amount of respect for because it can bite you really badly. I am having fun right now.
JULIE: Now that the hard part of the season is getting underway, how do you make sure you leave enough time to work out and stay in shape?
PASTORELLI: Of course you have less time but there still is time to do some fitness stuff. You should be in good shape by now. You do your hardest training in the off season. During the season you just maintain.
ZWOLSMAN: Yeah, I go back to Indy as quick as possible and do as much training as possible during the week because we have some pretty tough races ahead, and you need to be prepared. You canít do as much training because of all the traveling.
HEYLEN: For sure itís tough. I do the best I can. I trained all winter and obviously itís hard to beat the older guys because they have been doing it a long time and also fitness wise for sure they have an advantage.
CLARKE: It does get quite tough actually because you spend most of your time with the team and the mechanics. You should see the food that they eat. It is hard not to fall into the habit. I am practically living on bean sprouts. They have really nice burgers, and it is so unfair when they eat them right in front of my face.
RANGER: I think it is pretty difficult. With more races you need to train more. I have a personal trainer at home that helps me prepare for the races.
POWER: Yeah, you work pretty hard in the off season, and you just have to maintain it. Itís hard, but you just need to do as much as you can between races without overdoing it.
LEGGE: I have a guy named Jim Leo who works with Pit Fit in Indianapolis. Really, I donít have to think about what to do. I just get told what to do. We are doing a lot of fun thingsówe are swimming, riding, running, weight training, and circuit training. We are making it really fun and for the first time I have really been enjoying training.
DOMINGUEZ: Yeah a little bit more challenging because you are traveling more. But I try to work out as much as I can like yesterday I ran a little bit even if it is just for 20 minutes. You need to make sure you do a lot in the winter instead of partying.
WILSON: You donít get the same opportunity but you still try and do the same kind of workout maybe not quite at the same intensity. Whenever I get home, I am still riding the bikes, swimming, and weight training.
SERVIA: We are supposed to be ready. We train hard in the off season/winter. Now itís not so tough. We had some tough races like Houston it was really hot even at night and Monterrey was extremely hot. So you need 4 days to recover after a race like that.
ALLMENDINGER: No, because you work on that all winter. If you are not fit enough going into the season it doesnít matter if there are more consecutive races. You are never going to be ready for them. So we work hard in the off season to be ready and I think we like more races because especially if you have a bad race you get right back to it.
JULIE: Would you like to see Champ Car increase the amount of Power to Pass?
ZWOLSMAN: It would be fun! Itís always fun to have this option to play with. It helps with your race strategy to see how much you still have at the end of the race and how much you are going to use at the beginning of the race.
HEYLEN: It has been nice. The bigger the difference the easier it will be to pass. But on the other hand it is nice to have the power the whole time during the race. Some tracks you need it more than others.
CLARKE: Yeah sure if they think it will work for the racing, why not.
RANGER: I think it is good, with the push to pass you can see the difference. We will see what they decide to do, but I think it is the best thing to do.
POWER: I think it is a good idea but they probably should not decrease the horsepower because it makes the cars appear a bit more spectacular. It makes it better for the fans to see more passing which makes watching the race more interesting.
LEGGE: Gee, I donít know. I am not really sure about that. I donít have enough experience with it to know. I think it is a really good thing for passing, but I have to master it a bit more first.
DOMINGUEZ: Yeah you always want more. Everybody wants more, so that would be nice.
WILSON: I donít know. I know we havenít had much of a chance to use it here. Some of the road courses you could do with a little bit more and sometimes its fine. It really depends on the circumstances and how much you rely on it.
SERVIA: I think its great; it is so hard to pass these days. The fans come to see overtaking so everybody has the same seconds, and you have to play them right. I think it is great for the show.
TRACY: It helps but you need to get the car handling right, otherwise there is no benefit.
ALLMENDINGER: Push to pass is a big deal. Having more will help because the straights are so short here that when you get a run on someone the extra power will help you get the pass done.
JULIE: What are your thoughts about having only one oval track on the Champ Car schedule this year?
ZWOLSMAN: I came from circuit racing that is where my heart is. This is my first experience on an oval. I still feel the circuit racing is where I take the most joy out of so for me itís not a big problem. The only thing is if you only do one oval it is hard to get used to it. That is a disadvantage.
HEYLEN: Obviously for me, maybe better because I have little experience on these types of courses. I have to say once you get up to speed it is not that bad. There is a lot to it; more than I thought, so I like it.
CLARKE: We are not yet the quickest here. So, I canít say I would want more ovals if we are not quick. If we were the quickest then maybe I would want more ovals. Itís nice that this championship runs on a variety of tracks. But everyone knows that the street circuits are good for Champ Car too as well. It really involves the fans, and I like that aspect.
RANGER: I think it is the best thing to do. The Champ car is not a great car on the oval. It is pretty hard to race with this type of car. You donít have a lot of down force and sometimes you try to push hard and you end up doing what Oriol, Alex, and everybody did. You need to be smart, relax during the race because it is a long race.
POWER: Itís all right. I havenít done them much so I donít mind, but it is good to have this oval especially because this is a good oval. But having only one on the schedule doesnít bother me.
LEGGE: I think that is good that we race an oval. I really donít know whether we should race another or not. I will let you know after the race.
DOMINGUEZ: Well, I would like more, two or three. I prefer road courses and street courses but ovals are also fun. They really make you hang it out at high speeds.
WILSON: Maybe if there is the right oval available. I think this is a much better option for us then going to Vegas. That style of racing is quite strange. Ovals can be more challenging mentally, especially the Milwaukee oval.
SERVIA: I like more ovals definitely. Although I am from Europe, I always felt very comfortable on the oval tracks. I really liked it in Indy lights or in 2000 when we had 6 or 7 ovals on the schedule. Itís a bigger challenge for the driver to be capable of running on all types of circuits. Hopefully, we will get some more back.
TRACY: I think it is good. I think we have shown how much damage we can do in one weekend. The teams arenít well funded enough to be writing off four or five cars a weekend. Ovals are a lot of fun, but definitely when you crash you write a car off.
ALLMENDINGER: As a series only having one oval on the schedule is probably not a good thing. That is what has made Champ Car so great over the years. We race on such diverse race tracks. Itís what makes the series so spectacular. But at the same point for preference, Iím ok with it.
Copyright © 2006 by Julie Andre and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.