TRANSCRIPT: INDYCAR NAIAS Media Roundtable with Jay Frye

INDYCAR NAIAS MEDIA ROUNDTABLE

An Interview with Jay Frye, Josef Newgarden and Alexander Rossi
Thursday, January 12, 2017

THE MODERATOR: Welcome, everybody. So the purpose today was to bring people together to talk about kind of where things are going, where Jay and his team and the partners have worked a five-year plan for developing not only the body work in 2018 but some other cool features that we’re going to talk about today. Jay has been doing a lot of things behind the scenes over the last six months, thought it was a good time to kind of share some of those things with you. He’s going to talk to the drivers next week, so some of the questions he may not be able to give a full answer to just yet. You’ve got to talk to these guys first.

Alexander Rossi, the Indianapolis 500 winner, Josef Newgarden who has a new job. Many of you have heard about that. I have a new job.

Jay, if you could, let’s kind of start with where we’re at, why we are having the discussion about body work, what’s cool about the plans you’re making, and have a freeze on the body work for 2017, the upcoming season, which begins, by the way, March 12th. Talk about where you’ve been over the last few months and why it is that you wanted to embark on this endeavor.

JAY FRYE: Well, basically you asked me to, so that’s why. That’s a new thing.

So really what we have done, there’s been a lot of things that have been announced over the last year, and we’ve never really sat down and put all the pieces together, so we appreciate the opportunity today to be able to do that.

The five-year plan. I went to the University of Missouri, so this five-year plan is actually really four years, but it could be five. If you look at it in 2017, we’ve announced we’re going to freeze the kits. ’18, ’19 and ’20, so the next three years after that, we’ll have a universal aero kit, and in the year 2021 it gives us an opportunity to do maybe something drastically different, maybe continue the current universal program, but just provides some options.

So really that’s where we’re at today. If you look at each bucket for each year, there’s different elements that come with it, so in ’17, we’ve announced obviously the aero freeze. We are excited we announced earlier this year we’ll have a new brake manufacturer with PFC. We’ve deregulated a substantial amount of parts, which is really good. Different testing regulations.

So each year besides the aero piece of the car, there’s different elements that will come as we go through the process.

The ’18 car, what we’re working on now, which we will unveil completely in the next couple weeks, we looked at the cars over the last 20 years, and what different parts and pieces off of different cars that we liked and we knew that other people liked, and especially that our fans were asking for. So that’s really where the car started, and it’s kind of a reverse engineering exercise. Usually you work on a performance piece first, where this car we worked on the esthetics of it first, hoping that we can create a performance package around it. And besides the performance piece, it also will have a lot of safety initiatives that are very cool, I think.

In a nutshell, that’s kind of where we’re at, and we’re excited about the future, and this car is going to be pretty cool.

Q. Talk about the why the look is so important. Start with that maybe. Why is the look important not only from the team side but also from the fan side?

JAY FRYE: Well, we really wanted to have — if you look around the show here, if you compare — we talk about a ’68 Camaro. The ’68 Camaro and the ’16 Camaro or ’17 Camaro looks a lot like the ’68 Camaro but anything close esthetically retro Indy car to make it look like what an Indy car is supposed to look like. So that’s kind of how we started the process.

Again, a lower engine cover, doing some different things in the back, again, a different shape for the side pods. Again, I think you’re seeing, something is going to go on the screen at some point, we’ll show you kind of some preliminary hand drawings that we had of the car. Again, if you look at the one in the middle, it kind of shows, again, a lower engine cover. You’ll notice there’s something that’s not in the rear wheels.

That’s the baseline of where this program started.

We today earlier announced a multiyear extension with Dallara. Dallara will still build the cars, chassis, we’re still working through who’s going to manufacture the aero kits. We were very enthused and surprised the amount of people that wanted to participate in that process.

So because of all of the enthusiasm and participation, we are able to take a lot of different ideas and kind of piece them together to come up with what we hope is the final product. Again, the final product we should hopefully be able to show or announce mid-February I should think.

Q. Talk about the safety a little bit and moving debris –

JAY FRYE: Well, the car, we did some testing last year with some ideas that we had. We tested at mid-Ohio, we tested at Phoenix. So we’re taking the current car and coming up with some of the ideas we have, we basically took parts off to see what they would do. One of the things on this new car, there’s a lot of parts and pieces that are not on it, so we took most of the downforce of this current configuration, most of the downforce comes from the top. The new car, most all the downforce will be generated from the bottom of the car, so I think these guys will like that.

When we did the tests, one of the things the drivers mentioned and commented was how we have a great racing product right now, we don’t want to affect that negatively in any way, but this new car, the universal car, we should be able to pull it better. We don’t run into that air that they currently do. So that’s some things that we’re looking at. Performance-wise it should be better because we don’t want to go backwards, and the safety elements to it, there’s some stuff on the side impact that should be much better.

We are looking at a wind screen or a halo type application. Will that be on the car in ’18, I’m not sure, but we’re full speed ahead designing and developing as soon as possible.

But again, even that, because of our schedule being so diverse, maybe there’s two different applications. It would be difficult to run a halo at an oval, but what’s to say you couldn’t run a halo at road courses. Yeah, we’re looking at all different scenarios.

Q. Talk about the speed elements. You talked about going faster all the time. What about the speed element?

JAY FRYE: Yeah, you don’t want to go — obviously when you develop this car you don’t want it to go backwards in performance. Like I mentioned earlier, we reverse engineered this for esthetics and looked first and then performance second. We have had this car configuration that we’re looking at in a scale model wind tunnel, and we’re very pleased with the initial numbers that it came back with. Actually we were very pleased. We feel like we’re on the right direction esthetically. We feel like we’re in the right direction performance wise, and then again, the safety piece of this car will be much further ahead than where we are now. Again, you don’t want to go backwards, so this ’18 car, it will be its first year, and then it will be even better in ’19 and ’20, also.

Q. Talk about your timeline, you think, for actually seeing the car and then testing a car. What do you expect that to be?

JAY FRYE: Well, the timeline is — an actual drawing of the car will probably be mid-February, and then it’ll be early to middle of the summer before we get on any kind of track testing. And then once that happens, the process will accelerate very quickly. So again, once we were very — the model wind tunnel test was done, I believe, 10 days ago, two weeks ago, so once we got those numbers we were very encouraged by the plan and how it could work. If those numbers would have come back not what we thought, then we would have had to maybe regroup a little bit, but right now we don’t have to.

Q. What does freeze mean for ’17? To me that implies if one side is inferior to the other that they’re frozen in the inferior position, but maybe that’s not what it means. So what does that mean, frozen?

JAY FRYE: Well, it means that the kits are frozen from ’16 to ’17, so they’re not —

Q. So if Chevy was better than Honda last year, then they’re better than Honda this year?

JAY FRYE: Theoretically, yes. But there’s other elements besides the aero kit that make it better or worse. Teams or manufacturers or whatever. So it’s not — the aero kit was one piece of the puzzle. I think the puzzle has changed some going into ’17, but the aero piece of the kit, yes, is frozen for ’20’17.

Q. Maybe Josef can answer this because you drove Chevy when they had the decided advantage in 2015 and you saw how much of a gap Honda was able to close, so maybe you could talk about what the freeze will mean this year in terms of a fairly even competitive balance.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, sure. Yeah, absolutely. And Jay brought a great point up here with the freeze, obviously I’m on the Chevy side so you can say I’m biased. But looking at last year, we look at the two pillars of success in INDYCAR. You have the big pillars, you have the Indy 500 and you have the championship. We have those split. On the Chevy side we were disappointed we weren’t able to win the Indianapolis 500 and we believe we have some areas that we need to improve for that. I don’t know if you can say it’s clear-cut that one side is stronger than the other. I think there’s certainly elements that make both sides strong, and like Jay said, that’s going to change going into ’17. There’s other elements of the car which always advance that you just don’t know how that’s going to shake out until you get on the track in 2017.

To answer your question, I don’t know how ’17 is going to shake out. I think we have strengths on the Chevy side that we know of that we hope will continue in ’17, but it’s not a clear-cut case if that’s going to be the fact of the matter once we get on the track in St. Pete. I think it’s really interesting where we’re going in 2018, but for ’17 in the meantime, we had a great product. Like Jay said, we had great racing. We had one of the best 500s we’ve ever had, which we keep following up year and year after, so I think you’re just going to see a lot of great racing again. You’re going to see the championship probably go down to the finale like it has for many, many years, and once we get to ’18, then there will be the big shakeup with everything changing. But I don’t think there’s anything set in stone of who’s going to win the championship next year.

JAY FRYE: Remember, at this time last year we were going through the 9.2 and 9.3 with both manufacturers, and we were very confident where we were with the numbers between the two, so that was part of when we announced the freeze that we thought that there was a level playing field.

Q. I’m wondering what jumps out at you about the concepts when you look at them?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: You know, I mean, this is actually the first time I’ve seen these, too, so I’m with you guys in this boat, and obviously we’re going to have some private discussions next week with INDYCAR, which is really fun for the drivers, they really try and take our feedback and get with us before they do anything. So that’ll be fun.

But one of the things I really liked hearing from Jay is that what drivers have been screaming about for a long, long time is that we want more bottom side performance from the race car, we don’t want to rely on the top. You have to remember the racing product has been really, really good. It’s not like we’ve had a bad racing product. We have a great racing product. I think we just want to make it what you always want to make it. You’re always striving to make the car more difficult to drive, provide more separation in the talent of the drivers, and then make the racing product better. And I think that’s — the first thing that stands out to me, it’s kind of cool looking seeing the concepts of the side pods shrinking, the floor becoming a more prominent element, again, and then obviously there’s the Kardashian discussion of the rear. I think it looks really cool, and I’m excited to see more of it next week.

But if you want to take something from a driver, I think everything that Jay is saying is exactly what we’ve always been looking for, so it’s really exciting, and I always love hearing from Jay because he does a great job as well as all of INDYCAR, they’re really doing a great job of listening to what we want, what the team wants, and what’s going to work for the series and the manufacturers. It’s exciting to look at.

JAY FRYE: Again, those were preliminary hand drawings, so it’s come a long way from there, but it kind of gives you an idea of the direction we’re going.

Q. Now, with Dallara building the chassis and I know Dallara has said they would like to build the aero kit but you’ve got a lot of other companies wanting to build the aero kit, would you feel comfortable in saying we may have a different company involved with INDYCAR as far as the universal aero kit?

JAY FRYE: Well, certainly that’s possible, but again, today we announced the new multiyear extension with Dallara, so we’re very confident in what they do. From a former team perspective, this is — I feel, again, all this stuff we’re talking about today, there’s been a complete transparency with the teams. The teams have been involved in every decision that we have. They’re very aware of everything we’re doing and where we’re going for the future. So that part is very good.

But as a team, in ’17 when you have the freeze, then you have a three-year program, so you’re going to have continuity in the chassis from today going forward for 2020. But you have a new kit for ’18, ’19 and ’20. So you can plan where you’re going and you know what you’ve got.

So it’s a very efficient approach for the teams.

Now, part of this is knowing we can deregulate part of this. The new Dallara deal, there was some price breaks, there was some parts that were completely deregulated that we took back. There was another group of parts that now the teams are able to buy direct from the manufacturers. So the product has become more efficient, but it’s also become much better.

Q. Josef, you mentioned briefly the halo project. Is that something you guys are screaming about and wish they would get it in now?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Well, it’s obviously a sensitive topic, and I think you have a split — I don’t know if you’d want to call it split, understanding I’m not all drivers. That could be my take on it, and this is a driver’s take, this is coming from me personally, Josef Newgarden. I love the heritage and the history of open-wheel racing. I respect it. It’s why I’m in an open-wheel car. I don’t mind jumping in an Indy car the way it is right now. That’s the way I fell in love with it as a kid. I’ve got no problem jumping in a race car as it currently sits and driving in it. I think anyone will pretty much tell you that for the most part. There’s always going to be inherent risks to racing. You’re never going to get away from that.

I think the biggest thing INDYCAR is trying to do is put in their due diligence for what they’re trying to find. You can’t just make a knee-jerk reaction to something like this. You never know what type of knock-on effects you could have of just throwing something on a car and not being responsible about it.

When I look at just going into 2017 I feel very comfortable to get back in the car. Always have. I’ve got no problem with what we’re doing. I’m exciting to go racing in 2017 in an Indy car. But going into the future, I get to talk with JR Hildebrand every now and then, and he’s a really smart guy and fun to talk to, and I think he put it best that we’re going to be able to find a solution at some point that keeps within the spirit of open wheel racing and open cockpit cars and advance the safety of that. So what’s that going to look like? I think we’re working on it right now, and that’s exactly what Jay said. I think that’s coming down the pike, and I’m comfortable with that. I think we’re going to find something. We’re working on it. Formula 1 is doing the same thing. You don’t see them throwing something on the car right away, and that’s exactly what’s happening on the INDYCAR side, too?

Q. Alex, did you get a chance to test one over there?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: No.

Q. Your thoughts on the halo?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: I mean, I agree with Josef. It’s very important that there is no rush decision. There’s much smarter people than racing drivers doing the research on that, and I think the FIA in combination with INDYCAR is obviously really trying to figure it out. I mean, I stand with Josef in the sense that I have no issue getting in the cars and they are now, and the last thing I’d want to do is do something that could make the situation a whole lot worse.

JAY FRYE: To expand on that, it’s been actually very flattering and pretty cool, we’re getting a lot of calls from Formula 1 teams and FIA and that type of thing because they see what we’re doing and how far along we are and what possibilities we have, so it’s been quite flattering. So we feel like we’re kind of taking the lead on it right now as to what’s possible and what could be next.

One of the things on safety, too, if you look at last year, this was the dome skids, the tethering, the rear wheel guards to the rear flaps, you know, two years ago we had the issues with the cars getting airborne. Last year at Indy, every car that spun, I don’t know if you noticed, smoke completely engulfed the cockpit. Well, the year before the cars would get light and there would be no smoke when they spun.

Well, when we saw smoke when the first car spun and the car was completely engulfed with tire smoke, that was perfect. That’s exactly what the — that safety element was supposed to do, keep the car on the ground. It flat spotted the tires. You shouldn’t do a 360 spin or whatever and just be able to drive off. It needs to keep the car on the ground. There’s been other safety things that we’ve done that we will incorporate into the ’18 car that we have in ’17 that we developed in ’16.

Q. (No microphone.)

JAY FRYE: Manufacturers? Well, again, when we talk about this five-year plan, one of our targeted goals is to recruit another OEM to come into INDYCAR. Well, our five-year plan, part of that was predicated on the wishes of OEMs or prospective OEMs, so what we think we’ve done by coming up with this five-year plan with the universal kit is we’ve eliminated some huddles for other OEMs to come in. Our two current partners are great, Chevrolet and Honda, and they have completely signed off on this program. They’re participating in it. They’re going to be part of the testing program. But simultaneously we also ran these ideas by other OEMs that aren’t currently in the (Verizon) IndyCar Series because it would have not been very smart on our behalf to come up with this great five-year plan and then take it out to different OEMs and them be like, we don’t want to do that, either.

Does this five-year plan mean it’s imminent that somebody is coming in? No, but again, we’ve removed the hurdles, and he we think by having them part of the process, it’s created some enthusiasm. We’re talking to three or four at this point. Some of them have said no, which to me that’s encouraging, and we’ll just keep working on this, and we’ll get the new car out. We’ll let everybody see what we’re doing, again, them being part of this process I think is really good, and then through this five-year plan there’s a couple of natural opportunities for another OEM to come in, so we’re going to keep working on it.

Q. (No microphone.)
JAY FRYE: No, you mean like — well, there’s possibilities of some things like that. It’s more about the under link creating the downforce on the bottom of the part of this new car, this universal car, too, there’s a lot of parts and pieces on these current cars. You know, there’s a lot of debris that we’re tethering a lot of things for safety reasons. So part of what we’re doing in ’18, the car will be — there’s new safety enhancements that are going to be built into the car, not having all these parts and pieces are going to make the car safer, and then, too, just for cautions and debris and cleanup and that type thing, it should make the flow of the events better.

Q. You mentioned that you’re going to open up some things to the team this year. Can you clarify what any of those are?

JAY FRYE: Well, there’s an — an example is the driver cockpit. So before there wasn’t a lot of flexibility in pedals and different things, so we thought the teams should be able to — he’s got certain ideas of what he wants, he’s got certain ideas of what he wants, so we’ve opened that up. So that’s something new, just one example. There’s probably 15 things that they’ll be able to do in ’17, and not a lot of it is — there’s three or four that are performance related, or five, and then the other 10 are really where they can build their — if I’m a race team I think I can build stuff better than anybody else and I think I can build it more efficiently and cost effective wise, so we’ve given them an opportunity to build some of their own stuff in ’17. In ’18 there will be more, and then we’ll just kind of go through — it’s part of the plan how we go through that process.

The other part, too, is there’s five manufacturers now that the teams will be able to buy direct, so part of that is — it’s kind of a left-handed — we’re trying to recreate some of the cottage industry. The stuff that they can build on their own and the stuff that they can buy direct now is going to create opportunities for others to build things and to create development and to come up with — we’ll every year look at different opportunities of outside cottage industry people coming to us with things that we can approve or disapprove and get into the system again.

Q. So in that case, let’s say X company builds whatever. Does that have to be open to every team to buy, or can they work with a team and only work with that team?

JAY FRYE: Well, the stuff that the teams build themselves that we’ve opened — that’s up to that team, whatever they do. And if a team builds something, it’s self-policing. Two weeks later everybody has got it if it’s better. So that’s fine.

Q. Does anything jump to mind about what components you’re talking about specifically in terms of — are we talking about bearings?

JAY FRYE: Rockers, things like that. Yeah. I can get you a list. I mean, it’s not that — I can get you a list.

Q. If your most interested OEMs decided that we wanted to go Indy car racing and makes that decision tomorrow, what season would it be that they would be able to begin competition?
JAY FRYE: ’18 would be a stretch. ’19 would be possible. But again, if somebody wanted to come in then we would do everything we could to accelerate it as quickly as we could. Again, we have two great partners now with Chevrolet and Honda. There’s a lot of things that would have to happen. There would have to be a lot of collaboration as part of that. But it’s — they understand, and Chevy and Honda have been great. They understand it’s important to the series and the league to have a third or fourth partner, and they’re very actively participating in it with us.

Q. And how interested is your most interested OEM?

JAY FRYE: Again, so far none of them have said no, so that to me, half full, half empty, that’s half full.

Q. Can you be a little more specific about the 11, 12 interested in building the kit? Are they all race car companies?

JAY FRYE: Yes, they’re mostly — there’s a couple that when you speak of cottage industry folks, there was a couple of domestic and international that have got excited about — one of the things this has really done, too, is this has created a lot of opportunities for 2021, so again, we have the five-year plan. At the end of the five-year plan it’s 2021, so at the end of ’21 is there more than one manufacturer? Again, who knows. It gives us a path to get to ’21, so in ’21 do we have another OEM participating? Do we have — again, we have a path and a plan now that will help us get to that point. I’m not saying we didn’t have paths or plans before. I didn’t mean that. We have a plan that everybody has bought into and understands. It’s efficient. It should be performance gaining, it should be a better safety initiative product, it should create better racing, it should put more of it in the driver’s hands. And more efficient for the teams.

Q. I’m wondering, Alex and Josef, what you see and what you hear about the car.

ALEXANDER ROSSI: I like how prominent the floor is because that means, like they’ve discussed, the bottom side downforce will be a priority, and for those of you that don’t understand the significance of that, it’s when we’re trying to follow closely and you get to this point where the racing kind of seems stagnant because nobody is really getting closer. It’s because the car behind us is so affected because they are going over the top of it. It’s what we call dirty, meaning it’s moving, and it’s not a flat surface, which is what the car was designed in. When you’re relying on downforce coming from the bottom, you’re not affected by turbulence or dirty air because it’s irrelevant the state that the air is in when it hits the floor. So that part is massively encouraging.

And I mean, beyond that, I think it looks awesome. It’s the first time I’ve seen it. But it takes us back to kind of the glory days, I think, which is the direction the sport is heading, and the Verizon IndyCar Series is only progressing forward, and this is a huge step, I think, in going in the right direction. You know, big hats off to the team for what they’ve come up with and look forward to driving it in the near future.

Q. It looks more sleek than a box.

ALEXANDER ROSSI: Oh, yeah, yeah, it looks like a real race car for sure, which is awesome. That’s what we need.

JAY FRYE: We had mentioned some of the criteria that we came up with a few months ago, because again, we started this project in April, and it’s something that was written. And the fans, it was amazing and overwhelming how much they want this, right. And it was cool the debate they were coming up with of what this should look like. So how did we get to where we’re at is we looked at ’20 years’ worth of cars, and you go, that was cool in that car and this is cool and that was kind of cool, so how do you piece that together. Again, that was the esthetic part. So then once you piece it all together, then it’s got to perform, right, you can’t put a car together and it goes 200 miles per hour at the Indianapolis 500.

Again, I think we mentioned earlier that we have done one test on this car, model test, and it was overwhelmingly good performance-wise to date. We’ve got a ways to go, but we’re definitely in the ballpark. That was very encouraging. That will help accelerate this whole process. So we didn’t want to know these drawings and then, hey, guess what, we did a test and it’s like, oh, my, it’s not going to work. So we think this car will work.

Q. So we can label it (inaudible) a better driver will get the most out of it?

JAY FRYE: Well, yeah. Again, it’ll be hopefully a more raceable car. You’ll be able to maneuver it more. You’ll be able to drive it — just different things that you can’t do now because like what Alexander said, you get stuck. So this should eliminate that.

Q. What are your concerns or things you’re thinking about going forward?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think from the driver’s side, you always have questions. You go into the race shop, I got a question every day, tons of questions about what we’re doing, what we’re working on, and I think it’s kind of the same thing when you get to see the folks at INDYCAR and the leadership and the management. You kind of want to know where are we going, what are we doing, that’s our goals, what’s our thought process, what could we see in the next five years, and that’s what’s really encouraging. I like hearing from Jay quite a bit because I really think him as well as the other leadership part of INDYCAR, they’re really listening to what everyone wants, and from a global standpoint. So the drivers have things they want, the teams have things they want, the manufacturers have things they want. So when I ever get an opportunity to talk to Jay or any of the other staff, I always ask, what’s the car going to look like, how is it going to perform, what’s our objectives and why are you doing what you’re doing, and you’re getting a little bit of a glimpse of that, and I am, too. Like Alex said, this is the first time I got to see these sketches, as well, and we’re going to get to see more of that next week, and I think they’ll try and key the drivers in to what’s going on and get our feedback and try and make things go forward.

Behind closed doors, we’re always trying to help from the driver’s side. What Alex is talking about on the racing side, we’ve had great racing. It’s not like we have something we need to fix, but we’re always looking to make it better, and yeah, we want to make the racing product the best on the planet, and how do we make it even better than it is right now? Well, trying to get rid of some of the effect of air behind cars is really the biggest thing. Shifting everything to the bottom of the car, not having the dirty air come from the top, the cars generally perform better, and I wasn’t — Jay kind of alluded to a test that they did last year, and I was banged up so I couldn’t do the test at mid-Ohio, but J.R. Hildebrand was in my car doing it and Tony Kanaan was in it and I’m sure you guys saw the article, but I was there and I got to watch them go through the process with the technical group, and they really studied every part of the car. They took parts on and off, and they studied every effect they had. They had tons of tires, so you run through 10, 12 sets of tires, and they really want to understand exactly why everything affects what.

I think they’ve gone through and done a lot of due diligence to figure out how do we make this car even better than it currently is, and they’re trying to do that while making it look sexy because I think all of us as car as race car guys, we want a sexy looking race car. We want people to show up, and you’ll get this from the drivers, when they come to the racetrack, you want them to be wowed by the race cars. Whenever you see it in the garage area, you see them on the track, you see them in pit lane, you want to be blown away by what you’re looking at because the cool thing about Indy cars and open wheel race cars in general is you can’t see these thing anywhere else. It’s not like a production car. I mean, it’s kind of like a fantasy almost which is what makes Indy cars so cool.

The sexy element, making them bad ass looking, that’s really, really critical, and we’re going to tie the performance into that, too, so it’s just encouraging to hear all those points that they’re trying to hit from the INDYCAR side.

Q. Did you guys walk around the showroom and see anything you liked?

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I mean, I liked the Chevy Traverse to be honest with you. It looks like a baby Tahoe. Maybe that’s not super performance driven, but it’s pretty cool. I just got — I just saw it for the first time, and apparently it just had really good reviews about it. I thought the Cadillac, that concept Cadillac big sedan was pretty cool. I forget what it was called. The Escala, yeah. I thought that thing was sweet. I’m pimping my brand a little bit.

But I haven’t had an opportunity, I do want to see everything else. We saw Mercedes a little bit, we want to see BMW, but I got to see Chevrolet, and they have some pretty cool stuff. So I think that Traverse was cool. I’d mark that down if people need to get a car or a crossover, and then the Escala was really neat for the future.

Q. How about you, Alex?

ALEXANDER ROSSI: The Honda Ridgeline Black Edition. It’s functional and cool. No, but it’s pretty — it’s all blacked out. It’s pretty cool.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Not as cool as the Traverse, but that’s OK. It has a cooler in the trunk for all your Dr. Pepper/Snapple products, even though that’s not our thing anymore.

You know, Chevrolet is really doing a great job of integrating Verizon and the technology that Verizon brings through their cell phones and wi-fi service. The 4G, LTE, it really pairs well with the Chevrolet. You can’t get by that. It’s just — it’s science.

ALEXANDER ROSSI: I’ve got to say the Firestone tires that were on the Ridgeline were pretty awesome.

JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, that’s cool, yeah.

Q. My question is can we expect as fans to see anybody go after Arie Luyendyk’s qualifying record at the Indy 500?

JAY FRYE: Well, again, speed is in our DNA of what we do, so for this 2018 car, universal car, we certainly don’t want to go backwards, so we’ve got to keep going forward. So the goal is to maintain where we’re at but go forward in steps. I mean, it’s a ways off for something like that to happen again. Again, but as you go over the years, you’ve got to do it safe. Speed is in our DNA. Is it going to happen in the next few years, probably not. Possible, but probably not.

Q. Ed Carpenter was at 231 a couple years ago, and there were issues with the cars last year –

JAY FRYE: But we fixed that, so that’s part of what we talked about earlier, dome skids, rear flaps. We think we’re closer on something like that. But again, speed is very important, yes, but at the end of the day, the racing product is what’s the most important. That’s one day, the 500, the race, is the most important thing. We want to have a great race.

Q. Of your two most interesting partners, are they domestic or are they international?

JAY FRYE: One of the two, how’s that? Or both. They could be both.

Q. Are you getting a lot of interest from companies –

JAY FRYE: When you say interest, again, we’ve been through the process. We’ve had them — asked them to help us. There was enthusiasm to help us, which was great. At the end of the day, does that mean they’re going to sign up? No. But have we eliminated some hurdles for them to come in, absolutely. Now we’ve just got to go to work. Now we’ve got to, let’s put together, we’re getting it out what we’re doing. They’re going to be just like our teams, our other OEM partners, Chevy and Honda, are aware of what we’re doing, so we’re going to take it out to them here in the next couple months and see what’s possible.

THE MODERATOR: Let’s wrap this up from a group standpoint. Thanks to everybody for attending.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: