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2014 Standings
After Pocono
Driver Standings

1 Will Power 446
2 Helio Castroneves 446
3 Simon Pagenaud 402
4 Juan Pablo Montoya 391
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay 388
6 Carlos Munoz (R) 340
7 Marco Andretti 325
8 Scott Dixon 297
9 Ryan Briscoe 285
10 Sebastien Bourdais 271
11 Tony Kanaan 267
12 James Hinchcliffe 266
13 Mikhail Aleshin 263
14 Justin Wilson 253
15 Charlie Kimball 239
16 Jack Hawksworth 227
17 Carlos Huertas (R) 224
18 Josef Newgarden 220
19 Graham Rahal 202
20 Sebastian Saavedra 196
21 Takuma Sato 189
22 Mike Conway 152
23 Ed Carpenter 138
24 Oriol Servia 88
25 Kurt Busch (R) 80
26 JR Hildebrand 66
27 Sage Karam (R) 57
28 James Davison (R) 34
29 Jacques Villeneuve 29
30 Alex Tagliani 28
31 Luca Filippi 24
32 Townsend Bell 22
33 Pippa Mann 21
34 Martin Plowman (R) 18
35 Buddy Lazier 11
36 Franck Montagny 8

Rookie of the Year
1 Carlos Munoz 340
2 Mikhail Aleshin 263
3 Jack Hawksworth 217
4 Carlos Huertas 204
5 Kurt Busch 80
6 Sage Karam 57
7 James Davison 34
8 Martin Plowman 18

Wins
T1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 2
T1 Will Power 2
T1 Simon Pagenaud 2
T4 Mike Conway 1
T4 Helio Castroneves 1
T4 Carlos Huertas 1
T4 Ed Carpenter 1
T4 Juan Pablo Montoya 1

Podium Finishes
T1 Will Power 5
T1 Helio Castroneves 5
2 Ryan Hunter-Reay 4
T3 Carlos Munoz 3
T3 Juan Pablo Montoya 3
T6 Marco Andretti 2
T6 Simon Pagenaud 2
T8 Mike Conway 1
T8 Carlos Huertas 1
T8 Scott Dixon 1
T8 Tony Kanaan 1
T8 Graham Rahal 1
T8 Charlie Kimball 1
T8 Ed Carpenter 1
T8 Jack Hawksworth 1
T8 Mikhail Aleshin 1

Lap Leaders:
1 Will Power 348
2 Helio Castroneves 174
3 Ryan Hunter-Reay 165
4 Ed Carpenter 116
5 Tony Kanaan 79
6 Juan Pablo Montoya 74
7 Takuma Sato 67
8 James Hinchcliffe 56
9 Simon Pagenaud 53
10 Jack Hawksworth 32
11 Scott Dixon 27
12 Marco Andretti 22
13 Justin Wilson 20
14 Sebastian Saavedra 14
15 Graham Rahal 10
16 Mike Conway 8
17 Josef Newgarden 8
T18 Oriol Servia 7
T18 Carlos Huertas 7
19 Ryan Briscoe 5
20 Mikhail Aleshin 4
21 Alex Tagliani 3
22 Sebastien Bourdais 2

Entrant Points
Pos. # Entrant Points
1 12 Team Penske 446
2 3 Team Penske 446
3 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports 402
4 2 Team Penske 391
5 28 Andretti Autosport 388
6 34 Andretti Autosport/HVM 340
7 25 Andretti Autosport 325
8 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 297
9 20 Ed Carpenter Racing 290
10 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing 285
11 11 KVSH Racing 271
12 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 267
13 27 Andretti Autosport 266
14 7 SMP Racing 263
15 19 Dale Coyne Racing 253
16 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing 239
17 98 BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian 227
18 18 Dale Coyne Racing 224
19 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing 220
20 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 202
21 17 KV/AFS Racing 196
22 14 A.J. Foyt Racing 189
23 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 112
24 26 Andretti Autosport 88
25 21 Ed Carpenter Racing 66
26 22 Dreyer and Reinbold 57
27 33 KV Racing Technology 34
28 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 29
29 68 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing 28
30 6 KV Racing Technology 22
31 63 Dale Coyne Racing 21
32 41 A.J. Foyt Racing 18
33 91 Lazier Partners Racing 11

Finishing Average
1 Helio Castroneves 5.81
2 Kurt Busch 6.00
3 Will Power 6.09
4 Simon Pagenaud 6.72
5 Sage Karam 9.00
6 J.R. Hildebrand 10.00
T7 Scott Dixon 10.18
T7 Carlos Munoz 10.18
9 Juan Pablo Montoya 10.45
10 Ryan Hunter-Reay 10.72
11 Ryan Briscoe 11.75
12 Marco Andretti 12.125
13 Carlos Munoz 12.375
T14 Oriol Servia 12.5
T14 Justin Wilson 12.5
16 Alex Tagliani 13.0
17 Sebastien Bourdais 13.25
18 Charlie Kimball 13.625
19 Mike Conway 13.66
T20 Jacques Villeneuve 14.0
T20 Ed Carpenter 14.0
22 Carlos Huertas 14.25
23 Mikhail Aleshin 14.875
24 James Hinchcliffe 15.125
T25 Takuma Sato 15.5
T25 Jack Hawksworth 15.5
27 Sebastian Saavedra 15.75
28 James Davison 16.00
29 Josef Newgarden 16.375
30 Graham Rahal 16.625
31 Martin Plowman 20.5
32 Franck Montagny 22.0
33 Pippa Mann 24.0
34 Townsend Bell 25.0
35 Buddy Lazier 32.0

Pole Positions
T1 Takuma Sato 2
T1 Will Power 2
T1 Helio Castroneves 2
T4 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1
T4 Sebastian Saavedra 1
T4 Ed Carpenter 1
T4 Simon Pagenaud 1
T4 Juan Pablo Montoya 1

Appearances in the Firestone Fast Six
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 4
T2 Scott Dixon 3
T2 Will Power 3
T2 James Hinchcliffe 3
T2 Helio Castroneves 3
T2 Jack Hawksworth 3
T7 Simon Pagenaud 2
T7 Josef Newgarden 2
T9 Takuma Sato 1
T9 Marco Andretti 1
T9 Sebastien Bourdais 1
T9 Tony Kanaan 1
T9 Sebastian Saavedra 1
T9 Mike Conway 1
T9 Juan Pablo Montoya 1
T9 Ryan Briscoe 1
Interview: Prendeville, Buhl, Taylor and Hunter-Reay

IRL weekly media conference
Wednesday, June 18, 2008

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Ryan Hunter-Reay
THE MODERATOR:
Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us for today's Indy Racing League teleconference. We'll take a look forward at the Iowa Corn Indy 250 and the Jeld-Wen 100 for the IndyCar Series and the Firestone Indy Lights this weekend at Iowa Speedway.

We have several guests joining us today. Starting the call with us is Firestone Indy Lights driver Andrew Prendeville. In a few minutes we'll be joined by Robbie Buhl and Kirk Taylor from Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. And we'll have Ryan Hunter-Reay from Rahal Letterman Racing to conclude the teleconference.

Andrew, good afternoon. Thanks for joining us.

ANDREW PRENDEVILLE:  Thanks for having me on.

THE MODERATOR:  A little bit of background on Andrew. He's in his second season in Firestone Indy Lights, driving the No. 5 entry for RLR/Andersen Racing. Heading into Iowa he ranks 10th in points on the strength of four top-10 finishes in the first six races, including a fourth at the last race at The Milwaukee Mile.

Andrew, you've had a really solid start to the season so far. Give us your analysis of your season to date.

ANDREW PRENDEVILLE:  Well, it's been a pretty decent start. We've had a little bit of bad luck at a couple of races -- St. Pete and Kansas. That kind of put us behind in points. So right now we're trying to play catch-up. But we went to the Freedom 100 and Milwaukee and got some good finishes, got some points back, and even though we are 10th in points right now I think we're only about 50 points out of third place. It's a good thing that the championship this year is a really tight battle.

THE MODERATOR: No question about that. We're running at back-to-back short tracks in Milwaukee and Iowa, but they're very different. Can you compare and contrast the two tracks for us.

ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: Milwaukee is definitely the toughest short oval that we do. You're not flat out all the way around, so you really have to drive the car and the car has to be set up right. Iowa is pretty unique. It's seven-eighths of a mile, but for us it's flat out all the way around because of the high banking. So it's definitely a different style for each one. I think at Iowa things happen a last faster than you expect because it's such a short oval.

THE MODERATOR:  What role does setup play in both? Setup is obviously key on any oval. Are there any differences in the importance that setup plays at the two tracks?

ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: Milwaukee's a flat elevation, so there's a difference in the setups as opposed to Iowa, which is pretty high banking. I think the biggest thing that I found out at Iowa last year is if your setup goes off at Iowa, you're going straight to the back very fast. The same goes for Milwaukee.

You got to have a good race car. If your setup's good, hopefully some other people's setups aren't so good, they fall back, you can pick up some spots.

THE MODERATOR:  You continue to run a very successful program called Racing Laps For Best Friends. Give us an overview of the program.

ANDREW PRENDEVILLE:  The Racing Laps For Best Friends is a per-lap donation platform for Best Friends Animal Society. I do have a little bit of news on that pertaining to Iowa, as well, in a little bit. But the program itself is you can donate a certain amount of dollars for every lap that I complete in any race. You can sign up for the entire season or you can sign up for individual races. All of that money goes to Best Friends Animal Society.

Real specific, with Iowa, being all the floods have been happening, they have a rapid response team that they've started out after Katrina a couple years back, and they are actually on the ground right now, this just happened the last couple days, looks like they are in Washington County Fairgrounds in Southern Iowa. They're also going out to Oakville, which is in Louisa County, Iowa. They're going to be doing whatever they can to get any animals rescued, get them medical help, and to get them back to the people who those animals came from.

So this is real important because all the laps that I do, all the donations that come in for this race go directly to that help the people in and animals in Iowa with all the floods going on.

THE MODERATOR:  Let's open it up for any questions.

Q. Can you talk about how tough it is to do well in this series, much less win a race. I think I counted nine former Indy Lights Series winners in the field at Iowa this weekend.

ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: I think this year is a lot more competitive than it was in the past years. A lot of drivers have been around for a long time and won lots of races all over the world, all over the country, all different kinds of series. At the same time, I think the teams this year have gotten a lot closer in terms of how well the cars are prepped and the setups going on the cars.

I think we've had four or five different winners already this year, if I'm not mistaken, and it is very tough. You have to be spot on with everything that you do. But the most important thing is you've got to finish the race. There have been some mishaps here and there that help you move up in position. But you try and get everything you can because all the drivers are very, very good this year.

Q. Last year it was cold and rainy. It could be the same. Thirty percent of the race last year was run under yellow. Do you think we'll see as much time under the yellow this year? How do you see it playing out as far as the race itself this year?

ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: The Iowa race, I'm not really sure. The race had been kind of different this year. For example, Indy last year the field got strung out pretty well, but then this year it was a line of cars the whole race. Iowa last year was a string of cars. We thought we were going to be lapping fairly quickly, but I don't think we started lapping cars at all for the whole race.

I'm not really sure what to expect out of the Iowa race, but it's going to be competitive. Qualifying will be very important. Getting up to the front will be very difficult.

Q. Your brother had some racing success. Can you talk about how racing is a family affair in the Prendeville household.

ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: My family has been involved with racing for a long time. My brother, Doug, and I have been racing since we were kids. He just won a race up at Watkins Glen this past weekend in the Formula 2000 series. It's something that we both enjoy. We like competing against each other. It's a passion that we both have. So we enjoy it. Whether I go to his races, he comes to mine, or we're racing against each other, it's a good time for the whole family.

THE MODERATOR:  You had some of your best finishes on the road courses in the second half of the season last year, including the third place at Infineon. We're about to enter that same stretch again here pretty soon. What are your expectations for the second half of the season knowing you're going to enter into a stretch of races that will suit you well?

ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: I think it's going to be just as competitive the second half. I'm in a pretty fortunate position. Like I said, the championship is very close. So I need to put a string of good finishes together to get myself in the hunt. I think the road courses should help. The ovals have been good to us. We have quick setups, but the races just haven't gone our way. So I think, you know, I just got to finish races and I got to finish well, and hopefully I can get myself back up into the top five in points.

THE MODERATOR:  How difficult is that challenge this year because, as you noted, the depth of the series has improved so much?

ANDREW PRENDEVILLE: It's much tougher this year. Like I said, there's lots of good drivers. The teams are much more competitive with each other this year. But I think we just have to execute our weekends properly and we should be able to pick up a few more spots in the points these next couple races. Hopefully that's what we can do.

THE MODERATOR:  Andrew, we appreciate your time. We wish you the best of luck this weekend in Iowa.

ANDREW PRENDEVILLE:  Thanks for having me.

THE MODERATOR:  Next, our guests are Robbie Buhl, co-owner of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in the IndyCar Series, and Kirk Taylor, president and CEO of Express Auto Delivery. Earlier this week, Express Auto Delivery signed on as the sponsor for Buddy Rice's No. 15 car for this weekend's race at Iowa Speedway. Good afternoon.

Robbie, can you tell us a little bit about the relationship with Express Auto Delivery.

ROBBIE BUHL:  Well, Kirk and I first met last year at Iowa. He told me a little bit about this company that he was building, Express Auto Delivery. He was very interested in using the IndyCar Series and the platform that we have from the ability to help with some branding, entertaining some people at the racetrack, and getting the message out of what his company is. There's a lot of people that are in the car business, whether it's new cars, there's a lot of car dealers that are involved in our business, a lot of people that like cars. So it's a good place for him to be in to grow his business and his platform.

I guess I would turn it over to Kirk to tell a little bit more of what his business is. Obviously Kirk is a big race fan. The growth that we're having in the IndyCar Series right now, I think the timing is right. Unfortunately, it's been a tough week for what he's tried to do with being based in Cedar Rapids.

THE MODERATOR:  Kirk, the floor is yours. Tell us about Express Auto Delivery, if you would, please.

KIRK TAYLOR: We're a logistics management company that arranges transportation with independent auto transport trucking firms. We pool them together to provide more consistent service, auto auctions, manufacturers, car dealers, so on. What we found is, as I have been communicating with our customers and even our shareholders, there's a tremendous amount of excitement about us sponsoring Dreyer & Reinbold and Buddy Rice. The enthusiasm is just fantastic.

We think it's going to be a great relationship. We look forward to continuing on, as well. We haven't even got our first race under our belts yet.

THE MODERATOR: Kirk, we're glad to have you at the IndyCar Series. What about the series and with Dreyer & Reinbold in particular was attractive to both you and Express Auto Delivery?

KIRK TAYLOR:  Well, Express Auto Delivery, I started this company up approximately two years ago off of my experiences in logistics, Internet technologies, and actually in the automotive sector from buying at auctions and selling, even selling online. But I've always been somebody that's had to come -- I didn't have a big budget or anything. I put together people with talent and made things work.

So when I met Robbie, I immediately could tell the passion and the love just for the IndyCar Series. I myself have been going to IndyCar races for the past eight years. I thoroughly enjoy it. I really wanted to get involved with it.

That really attracted me to Dreyer & Reinbold, just the passion they have for racing. I really think I see Dreyer & Reinbold continuing to build and becoming a really strong team. So I'm excited to be with them.

THE MODERATOR:  Robbie, Buddy has had three consecutive top-10 finishes. You guys have had some other strong runs this season. It really looks like things are coming together for the team. What's been the biggest reason behind the resurgence?

ROBBIE BUHL: Well, we are happy with the way things are going. But, like everybody that's out there competing, you're not happy till you win. But as competitive of a business as we have, and you have so many different facets that you have to continually get better in as a race team, and right now obviously we're really getting some good consistency and good growth, and we've had some solid finishes. You know, it's the old story: you have to walk before you can run. The walking in this case is good consistent racecars, solid finishes in the top 10, keep working on that format and, you know, then we'll be in the top five, top three, and the opportunities will present themselves.

It's nothing that just kind of dropped out of thin air. It's been part of our plan through the wintertime to keep improving our engineering package, keep improving everything, all the components we have as a race team from just being prepared when you show up to a race weekend, having a plan in place, all those little things are happening.

From my standpoint, from the business standpoint of where we're going with Dreyer & Reinbold, really this is the first year we spent a lot of time and energy planning for 2009, not just kind of worrying about from one day to next of what we're trying to accomplish this year in 2008. Obviously there's bits of that that are all going in the right direction because at the end of the day it is all about performance, don't forget about that. We need to keep growing our revenues for '09. We have a focus on that of paying attention to how we get there for '09 so we can continue to grow.

It's a little long-winded version about it, but we're excited about it. It didn't just happen. I mean, there's a lot of guys from our team that are all working hard.

THE MODERATOR:  Robbie, what does it take to get to the next level, competing for race victories on a week in, week out basis?

ROBBIE BUHL: What that is, as we come to a conclusion for this year, but also as we finish this year, is just we have to be candid with ourselves as a race team and evaluate ourselves, saying, Here's the areas we need to concentrate doing that. Some of that comes with some manpower, so we got to look to add manpower to our team, maybe spend a little bit more time in the wind tunnel or the shaker rig in the off-season, grow with some certain departments in the race team. That all comes back to growing the revenue.

What's exciting as we look forward to that is this relationship with Kirk and his company, Express Auto Delivery, is we met a year ago at Iowa, we talked a couple weeks ago, said, Hey, we need to give them an opportunity with our team to get their feet wet, to really understand how they can apply our business model of IndyCar racing to help enhance and grow his business.

I'm excited about this scenario as well as a lot of other great partnerships that we're developing with the race team that are going to put us in the position to keep following through on that growth plan.

I think, you know, if you knew the answers to everything and what it took to win races, make those guarantees, if it was that easy, you'd see a lot more people trying to do it. It's not that easy and there's no one right answer to things. You've just got to keep pushing and, again, like I said, we've just got to be candid with ourselves and with our team of what we do right and what we don't do right and improve on those things.

THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Kirk or Robbie.

Q. Kirk, when you join a team like Robbie's team with a driver like Buddy Rice, what are you looking for as far as return on investment with your sponsorship?

KIRK TAYLOR: What we wanted to do is get ourselves into a position where we can show that we're a serious player in the marketplace. We have a fairly large team in our industry handling the transactions that we do. While we have a lot of credibility with our partners and because of how we handle things, I guess a testament to this would be we were flooded out of our offices this last week. We were able to bring up our services to partner locations. Actually two people sitting on my board, they offered space in their location. We're running out of an old Chrysler dealership today actually.

So we were able to move very fast and provide -- still provide the reliable service that we were there with.

But in the auto transport industry, it's very fragmented. So the companies come in and out so fast that we want to show that we're a stable company and that we're in the marketplace. Obviously, to do this type of sponsorship, you've got to be a fairly stable company, and you have to be a reputable company to do it.

Additionally, what I'm getting out of it is our investors are coming back to us, and they're so excited about this. They know who Buddy is. They like him. They think he's a great driver. For us to be able to put our name on a car at the stage we are in our business and for us to really get out there really says a lot from where we've come from in just two short years of being in business.

ROBBIE BUHL: I think obviously, as Kirk said, to establish themselves in the marketplace, credibility, letting people know who they are, that they're a stable company, that's one thing. But another thing that it provides, too, whether you're a big or a small company, it really is a great thing internally for your employees, in this case Kirk's employees. It gives them something to sink their teeth into, to get behind and root for. With a lot of the companies that are partners of Dreyer & Reinbold, it's been a great thing for all those companies internally because it gives a little camaraderie amongst that company to get behind something and tie them together.

KIRK TAYLOR: You are so right. And, actually, I forgot to mention that. This week what it has done is it's put so much excitement in place. We're not dragging because of the floods; we're excited about what's coming this weekend. Everybody is absolutely excited about this in our office.

Originally I thought it was poor timing for us to have this happening at this time, to be the first launch that we do this. And now I'm thinking this is absolutely the most perfect time because it's such a positive for our group.

Q. When I used to go to the 500 as a kid, you could tell where the Borg-Warner people were, bright yellow hats. They all sat in the same section. Are you planning some kind of activation of your sponsorship by putting on some kind of public display like that in Iowa, a section with your people in a certain garb?

KIRK TAYLOR:  Actually we have T-shirts made up. Yeah, I've got a whole crew of people coming that are all going to be sitting in the same section. We have tickets. I believe we're up to 50 to 75. If it wasn't for the situation that we're in and all of the other business owners in the area, I would be surprised if we had anything less than 200 people and maybe even a thousand people there.

The Iowa Corn Indy, people might not understand it in other areas, but to have a professional sport come into Iowa, next to Hawkeye football, this is really huge. We have no professional teams in here. So you're into the college football. But the fan base of racing in Iowa is huge and it really is an important thing for our community to have this here. So it's real easy to get people to turn out and be enthused about it.

THE MODERATOR:  Robbie and Kirk, we really appreciate you taking the time today. We wish you the best of luck this weekend. Kirk, welcome to the IndyCar Series.

KIRK TAYLOR: Thank you. I'm really excited about being here.

ROBBIE BUHL:  Thanks for having us on.

THE MODERATOR:  Our next guest is Ryan Hunter-Reay. Ryan, before I even introduce you and get some background, I have to thank you because I know you're having your own version of planes, trains and automobiles today. We sure appreciate you taking the extra effort to hook in today.

Ryan is in his first full season in the IndyCar Series after taking over the seat of the No. 17 Team Ethanol car midway through last. Despite the late start, he won the Bombardier Lear Jet Rookie-of-the-Year honors, with three top-10 finishes in six starts. This year Ryan has three top-10 finishes in the first seven races, including a run from 20th to sixth in the Indianapolis 500.

Ryan, with a little luck and a lack of misfortune, you would have had a couple more solid results this season, especially at Texas where you were running third with six laps to go. Tell us a little bit about the season so far and the progress you've made to be competitive week in and week out, especially since Rahal Letterman Racing is a one-car team.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:  Yeah, I mean, I couldn't be happier with the way we've been moving forward. Really, the whole Ethanol IndyCar team at Rahal Letterman Racing, we've blended really well with chemistry. Since I came on the team last year, I've been working well with these guys. I really enjoy showing up to the racetracks, working with these guys. It's been an honor.

Not only did we get Rookie of the Year last year, we won the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year this year, which with that group of rookies over a full month at that racetrack was a pretty big feather in our cap.

Like you said, that's pretty cool. But the biggest thing is we've been running in the top six. We've been there. We've shown that we're a threat at the front, and even more so at Texas. Unfortunately, it didn't all add up with those last five laps.

THE MODERATOR:  Before you ran the IndyCar Series, most of your racing was on road courses. This year you've been really strong on ovals. Has that surprised you? What has caused you or helped you adapt to ovals so quickly?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Well, really, I have the record for most laps led in Champ Car with 250 at Milwaukee. I won at Milwaukee in Champ Car. We raced three or four ovals a year there. Then in Atlantics, I dominated on ovals there also. I had quite a bit of oval experience coming in.

But definitely the IndyCar Series and the way these Dallaras move around in traffic is a different feeling, that takes a bit of getting used to. I think I've come to grips with it. The best part is we've tuned the setup of the car around my driving style. That's really come out, I think.

It's neat to see that working. You know, we had a top seven at Homestead. We were P4 in St. Pete. Had top six at Motegi, top six at Indy. We just need to keep doing that. I have no doubt our breakout performance will come here real soon. Like I said, we had it there at Texas. Could have, should have, would have.

THE MODERATOR:  With two short tracks coming up ahead in Iowa and Richmond, with 27 cars expected on both, it's a lot more traffic than we've had at those two tracks in the past. Talk about your expectations and your concerns for both races, especially considering there's going to be heavy traffic in a hurry at both places.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: It's going to be interesting, that's for sure. I know one thing, it will be a great race to watch. How it is in the car, I'm not sure yet. These tracks are definitely strong. Smaller than tracks I've been to in an IndyCar. A bit of a learning process for me as well.

That said, these car count figures are unreal. The fact we show up to these racetracks with 26, 28 cars each weekend, it's an exciting time in the IndyCar Series. That's what I'm thrilled about. I said at the Indy 500 banquet, I'm proud to be an IndyCar driver right now. It's an exciting time for open-wheel racing in America. It's great to be a part of it, and be an American driver in that mix.

THE MODERATOR:  This is almost a second home race for you, Ethanol sponsorship. Is it safe to say this probably, next to Indy, is the most important event of the year for you?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:  Yeah, there's quite a few important ones. But this one is a home race for us. If we had a home race, it would be this Iowa race. I've been looking forward to it for a while. The Ethanol folks have been telling me about it for a while. I've gotten so much support, fan mail, emails, every which way you can think of, about this race. So I'm really looking forward to it.

It's a shame with the flooding and everything like that. I'm on my way up there today to go up and do a couple PR activities, then try to help out a bit with the aid there in Cedar Rapids. The airlines have stopped me once again.

I'm really looking forward to the weekend. This is what it's about, being an Ethanol IndyCar driver, going to Iowa in the ethanol-sponsored race. It will be pretty cool. I'll take it in.

THE MODERATOR: Let's open it up to questions for Ryan.

Q. Has the rising price of petroleum fuels made it easier for you to deliver the message of ethanol?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:  Well, the rising costs in fuel has made it easier to explain the food complication with ethanol, yes. In that way it has, for sure. A lot of people, they don't really understand why, Well, if ethanol is not this foreign-made fuel and it's cheaper, why are the prices the same for an E10, an E85, cheaper? That's because ethanol doesn't mandate the costs on the actual fuel. The gas stations do. Those two switches there have been the main thing.

What people don't understand is the biggest reason that the rise in food cost is because of fuel. Just like everything else, if you want to have some furniture delivered in California, it's going to cost you a lot more now.

Q. Your experience is on road courses. You came from Champ Car. With the road courses coming up, is that something you look forward to, somewhere you'll really be able to shine? There's a lot of people saying the Champ Car teams are going to be tough. Maybe you will be one up there with the Champ Car teams. Do you still kind of consider yourself a Champ Car driver with them?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:  That's a good question. I don't really consider myself a Champ Car driver. But, yeah, I was in that circuit for, gosh, four years. So, yeah, I'm used to the road courses. What I enjoy most as an IndyCar driver is the mix. I love going to a road course, then to an oval, then to a street circuit, then to a short oval, then to a road course, then a superspeedway. That's what I like the most. It keeps you on your toes. It keeps the teams on their toes. It makes for really interesting racing over the span of the season. That's what I'm looking forward to. I'm looking forward to that bouncing back and forth. You have to change your driving style from track to track. I think that, the changes, will suit me.

Of course, I'm looking forward to the road courses. I really enjoy driving on the road courses. But, you know, as you can tell, last weekend at Texas, I really enjoyed that, as well.

Q. I talked to Danica and Hideki yesterday at Richmond. They were testing. I asked them about the short ovals coming up, Iowa and Richmond. What is your opinion of those? They compared them to road courses, kind of a driver's track. Do you agree with that?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: I wish I could go -- I've never been to either of them, so I can't really say. All I can say is that Milwaukee, compared with the other ovals, it is the most like a road course because there's a bit more hand wheel going on, you're wheeling the car a little bit more, off the power, back on the power, sometimes braking. There's a little bit more of that stuff going on. That's how I think you can liken the road courses to Richmond.

I don't have experience there, so I really don't want to comment too much.

Q. These next few races, are you really looking forward to being kind of under the microscope here? It really comes down to the driver in these races. Is that a challenge you look forward to and welcome?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:  At Iowa and Richmond?

Q. Iowa, Richmond, then the road course after that at Watkins Glen.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Like at Iowa and Richmond, I think experience is going to pay off a little bit there in the first couple sessions, maybe in the qualifying. But, yeah, it's going to level up the playing field a little bit, just like the road courses. The road courses, the competition is going to be so deep. All the Champ Car guys are going to be right there. The IndyCar guys, Scott Dixon, myself, Tony Kanaan, Helio (Castroneves), all these guys are going to be right there. St. Pete was hot and heavy on the competition. I'm looking forward to it. I'm excited.

Q. With all the talk of Danica Patrick, the Honda Formula One test drive, would you be interested in taking the Formula One for a drive?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:  Would I be interested in taking a Formula One test drive? Is that what you're asking?

Q. Yes.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Absolutely, I would be. Why not?

Q. Considering you like the road courses as much as you do, you wouldn't have the chance of a Formula One on an oval, how do you think you would feel in a Formula One car?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: I think I'd feel fine. I've driven all the Champ Cars on the road courses and the IndyCar on the road courses. I think if you have a good driver, if the driver is talented enough naturally to do it, you got four tires and a motor, I think the rest comes naturally. Yeah, I would love to do it. It would be a blast.

Q. I was going to ask you about the paddle shift changes in the IRL. Coming from the Champ Car, the old stick shift, something you would have experienced before.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:  We used the paddle shifters now. Paddle shifting is much easier than anything else. The transition to going to a paddle shifter is a no-brainer. If you've been driving paddle shifting for a while, all of a sudden you have to go drive an H-pattern gearbox, that's the more difficult thing.

Q. How do you actually feel about computer systems, game stations? A lot of Formula One drivers that haven't been to specific tracks, they can get out there and try it out on one of these consoles, learn the track that way. Would you ever test anything that way?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Yeah, I actually did a little bit of that last year before I went to -- what was I racing? I went to race Watkins Glen in a Daytona Prototype. I got in a simulator in California, in L.A. I drove the exact car I was going to drive on the exact track I was going to drive, although they were three thousand miles away from each other. It was pretty neat. It helped out a lot.

Those machines are very expensive. I don't have the financial capability to put one in my house. But if I ever have a chance to drive one, I'm all for it. I love it. They're not readily available to use.

Q. This is the second season with this team. What would you say is the most challenging venue this series has to offer that you've experienced so far?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY:  I don't think I could put my finger on just one. I'll tell you what, Indianapolis did live up to Indianapolis. It lived up to the hype. You know, I got there and I thought, well, this is going to be like, you know, a big Homestead track or something like that. And it wasn't. You know, the car moves around a lot in the race. Straights are so long. The corners feel like they have almost no bank to them when you get into them because you're going so fast. It really lives up to it. I was really impressed with Indianapolis. I thought it was going to be a little bit more straightforward than it was. It surely wasn't. That was definitely a challenge.

Then you have, you know, these big superspeedways like Texas, stuff like that. That defines its own type of racing, which is very challenging, where you have to really play your cards right over a race distance. Then we have these road courses, which is just flat out amazing on the competition side, how close everybody is.

They have their own differences and difficulties. But none of them -- I wouldn't say Indy is more difficult than driving a full race at Watkins Glen or Sonoma. I wouldn't say that. They're different in their own ways.

THE MODERATOR: Ryan, we sure appreciate you taking the time to call in, especially during these tough travel circumstances. Wish you best of luck with your connections and best of luck this weekend in Iowa.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Thank you. I appreciate it.

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