PATRICK CARPENTIER: For sure, it's going to be different, very
different. The car setup will be different. We're going to be
able to use a lot more front of the car without having the car
extremely loose as we exit the corners because it's going to
be controlled by computer.
So it makes it, I'd say, a little bit easier to drive, but it
also makes it more equal for everybody.
MODERATOR: Just to clarify, it was announced on Friday that,
yes, traction control will be mandatory on all cars at the
beginning of the 2002 season. Both Lee Dykstra and Wally
Dallenbach will be joining us shortly. And they will be
speaking to the specifics of traction control.
Q. My understanding is that the traction control was really
already built into the engines, but the factories, they turn
it off, so it should be pretty easy to turn on?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah, it's easy. Everybody has it built
Q. So my question is: Do you think some of the teams were
using it before?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: I know a lot of the teams used it in the
winter testing. To develop at Homestead; and our pits were
down in the corner, the most difficult corner of that track.
Definitely, it appeared who had it and who did not. I think
what is happening is that a lot of guys were practicing it in
case it was going to be made legal. I don't think they would
have used it in the race weekend. If they would have, it would
have been extremely difficult to find out. But that's why they
made it legal, but I think they knew it was coming.
Q. I was talking to Rick Schaffer the other day and he was
telling me about how you were a champion speed skater in your
youth. And I wonder, at this time of year with the Olympics
and everything, do you kind of think if you had gone down that
path and just can you just talk a little bit about your
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah, I skated for many years. I skated
for eight years. I was a member of a team in Canada, but it
was before indoor track speed skating was admitted into the
Olympics. I used to train all summer and all winter. The
reason I started racing cars was I thought I was never going
to have to train anymore. I was wrong there, but it gives me a
break for a couple of years. I have to train really hard for
speed skating. Actually, I went to a few Olympics, and these
guys have won the Canadian championship and two North American
indoor speed skating on the short track. And it's a great
sport, a lot of action. Actually, I learned a lot about the
MODERATOR: So ovals are nothing new to you.
PATRICK CARPENTIER: I was born on them. A little bit more
speed today, though.
Q. You turned on I would imagine driving style as well,
something that I observed and you can confirm or deny this,
but when the tire war ended and the tires got harder, a lot
of guys that used to carry a lot of mid corner speed were not
as competitive last year and some of them came to grips. Talk
to me about your style, as well as Alex's, and if you think
that's what happened with the tires, and how you guys adapted.
And then going forward with the traction control, if you think
there will be a similar adjustment?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah, for sure there's going to be an
adjustment. Because I think it's going to be very different.
CART cars, if I make the comparison with Formula Atlantic,
which is a light car with not a lot of power and a lot of
traction, which will be similar, I guess, to an Indy car with
traction control or a champ car.
What happened is that with these cars, now especially like you
said there is no tire war it was getting very difficult to
apply the power at the corner, especially circuits like
Vancouver, Houston, Long Beach, where it is a little bit more
slippery and more difficult. It took, I'd say, a little bit of
a different driving style. You had to go, to approach the
corner really fast, really go as deep as you could, and the
speed in the middle of the corner did not matter because
everybody seemed to be doing the same speed anyway. And since
we could not apply the power down at the exit, the entrance
was very important.
So this year, I think it's going to change a lot. And I'm
actually pretty happy for myself because I've always liked to
use the power and apply the power, if you say more with the
rear wheels than the front wheels. I feel I got more success
in Atlantic, and with the traction control there, I think it's
going to allow me drive more the style that I would like to.
So that's going to be interesting.
Q. Race drivers know that the sport is more mental than
physical. I'm interested in your apparently painted on the
back of your helmet is a Shaolin Temple and you're very much
into meditation. Tell me more about that and how that relates
to you driving the race car.
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Actually, meditation helps me to be I did
quite a bit of martial arts before. I don't do martial arts
anymore, but it's something that seems to help me to focus a
little bit more and to be more calm, especially during the
races and the race weekend. I used to do it every day. I don't
do it as much anymore, because I don't feel as much of a need
to do it. But I do it quite often, and for some reason for me,
it helps me to calm down and rest a little bit more, and just
to get my ideas and emotions and things together more easily.
It's something that I've always felt is something that's
always helped me. I know for some people sitting down and
breathing and just focusing on one thought is something that
they like to do, but for me it's something that helps me quite
Q. What's the significance of the Temple in China?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Nothing special. It's always because I
liked Zen meditation, and I guess that's where it originated,
and I kind of learned that inaudible I put the castle on the
back, because my helmet contains all different events of my
life and different the parts of my life. If you go through it,
it's got the FA Team that we race against, it's got No. 7;
different colors, blue, because when I got hired by Player's,
I went to the highest step on the podium; and the white for
purity. So everything on the helmet is something that I lived
through or something that was the past. And the Temple I just
keep there because I had it at that point in my life.
Q. There were a number of rules changes announced at Laguna
Seca in regards to competition and making it more exciting for
the fans, how do you feel about the announcements that were
made in terms of competition and making the show better; do
you feel that was the right direction?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yes, I do. I've been actually if you want
to call it that, one of the complainers of the last few years
about the way the qualifying procedure used to work.
I was really impressed by what Lee and Wally could turn around
just in one week, and I think they changed more things in the
past spring training weekend than we have changed in the last
five years. So I was really happy and it's funny because you
walk down the pit lane now and it's like a new place everybody
is smiling and everybody is anxious and up for it and they
want to start the season.
I think what they have done with the qualifying situation is
every driver has to be happy about it. It's going to be a lot
more fair than what it used to be. Everybody is going to have
the same track and really, these guys are going to explain
more what the rules are. But everybody is going to have the
same track time. Everybody is going to be on the track on
Friday afternoon at the same time and Saturday afternoon at
the same time. And I don't think the track is going to be too
crowded because we have a maximum amount of 15 laps that we
are allowed to do.
And the guy who is going to be the fastest on Friday is going
to get some points, and he is going to be assured to be on the
front row. And the guy who is fastest on Saturday, if he is
faster than the guy on Friday, will get the pole and will also
get some points. Both days will be important, and there will
be some points to grab, and it will be very interesting.
I think it's going to be a great show, especially because they
are going to have TV on Friday nights and stuff like that. I
think what's coming for the CART series is going to be
Q. What's your opinion of finishing the race under green if
they red flag the race toward the end of the race, will your
strategy now change to save fuel, make sure you have enough in
case a red flag were to come out at the end?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Oh, yeah, it's going to change, for sure.
It's going to be very definitive like you take Fontana, where
we race for $1 million and the race ends up under a yellow
flag. I don't think it's very interesting and I don't think
it's fair, and I don't think it's good for the fans.
You know, some races, it's going to be unfair to me or to
someone else because it ended on the green. But some other
race, I might be the lucky one that's going to win it and have
a good strategy because it ended on the green.
But for the show, no doubt about it; it's a lot better finish
on the green.
MODERATOR: Pat, thank you very much for joining us today. As
we talked about on the call, you are more than welcome to stay
on the line and listen to Wally and Lee, and anything you'd
like to chime in, we'd be more happy to hear from you.
Best of luck next season and we'll see you in a couple of
weeks in Monterrey, Mexico.
We are now joined by one of the most well respected names in
most sports, Wally Dallenbach. Thanks for taking the time to
join us this afternoon.
Most of you are more than familiar with his accomplishments
through the years but he competed as a driver racing Indy cars
from 1965 through 1979 winning five races over that time
frame. Wally stepped out of the car in 1980 to help assist
CART as a race official and he became the chief steward of the
series in 1981. Wally presided over 298 champ car events from
1981 through 1999 when he decided to step aside as chief
steward. After serving as a key role to the chief steward in
both the 2000, 2001 FedEx Championship Series season, he
decided to come out of retirement and rejoins the race control
staff this year, returning to the role of chief steward where
he will work closely with Chris Kneifel, who served in that
capacity last season.
On behalf of CART, let me just say that we are happy to have
him back. And like you said earlier, Wally, you never really
left, but we are happy to have you back in the fold.
We are also pleased to be joined by a new member of the CART
racing operations staff, veteran racing engineer Lee Dykstra
came on board with CART in early January. He will serve as
director of technology and competition overseeing carts
technical program and the race competition staff, as well as
playing a key role in competition rules CART has established
beginning in the 2003 season and beyond.
Lee has worked in racing for some 33 years working as a design
engineer with Ford, Kar-Kraft and serving as president of
Indianapolis based Special Chassis, Inc. Most recently, Lee
served as race engineer for the No. 77 Forsythe Championship
racing entry in a 2001 FedEx Championship Series season,
driven by Bryan Herta.
Lee, thank you very much for joining us today.
LEE DYKSTRA: My pleasure.
MODERATOR: With all of the recent technical and competition
rules, changes announced by CART in the last week or so, we
thought this would be a great opportunity for the media to ask
some questions of the experts.
With that, we'll open it up to questions both Lee and Wally.
Q. I would like to ask Lee Dykstra two questions: First of
all, I remember him when he worked with Patrick Carpentier as
an engineer; why did he take that job. And also, I would like
to ask him if he thinks the three engine manufacturers will be
ready with a traction control for the first race in Monterrey.
LEE DYKSTRA: First question , I have a lot of respect for
Patrick and his ability. That's obviously, you know, a major
reason for taking that particular job. I enjoyed very much
working with him during the couple of years that we did work
together, and, you know, like I said, I have a lot of respect
for his ability.
As far as the second question is concerned, all three
manufacturers at some time in the past have done development
on traction control. They are currently taking engineering or
manufacturers' days to do further development to sort of
finalize the things, but I have no doubt that all three of
them will be ready for Monterrey.
MODERATOR: Lee, can you just take a second and tell us a
little bit about traction control, why CART is putting this
into place in 2002. It was announced last Friday, all of the
engine manufacturers bought into the concept. If you could
just talk about the concept behind traction control, we had a
few questions on that earlier in today's call.
LEE DYKSTRA: The traction control was put in as allowing it
because of the difficulty of trying to police not having
With the current electronic systems that we have for engine
control, it's very, very difficult to try to get a handle on
things that are done that simulate traction control in one
gear or, you know, at a particular place in a corner or that
sort of thing.
So rather than having, you know, a big hassle as far as
accusations between manufacturers and stuff, they graciously
agree that we will mandate the traction control and eliminate
that as a possible argued point.
MODERATOR: Thank you for clarifying that.
Q. Wally, you've been at this game, obviously, in a number of
roles for a long time. Is this the biggest group of rule
changes and such that you've seen in your career, and how do
you think that's going to affect the competition and your
gentlemen's roles in regulating it?
WALLY DALLENBACH: Well, there's no doubt it's been the biggest
change I've seen in 20 some years that I've been involved as
an official. And changes are really going to be challenging,
not only for the officials, but I think for everybody
involved. I feel like they are good changes and they are
changes that are needed to bring some excitement back into the
Policing them is going to be difficult and there's going to be
some miscues and trial and error as we perfect the system as
we go into it. But I think conceptually, those changes should
create a better aroma for television and the fan. They are
going to have to spend a little time understanding it, as
Challenge, yes it is. But will it make it better for racing? I
think it will. Probably needs to be polished, but that will
come as time goes by.
Q. Last year at Monterrey, you said essentially that you hoped
that Chris was the last guy standing on Fantasy Island; and
that having come true, which is why you're back here, what can
you do to help Chris understand the things that he did wrong
last year, or maybe not necessarily wrong, but what can you do
to help him so that he can assume this and you can go back to
WALLY DALLENBACH: That was probably as much responsible for
Chris getting the job as anyone, and I have a lot of faith in
him and I feel that his qualities are there.
He walked into a year in the sport when there was a lot of
turmoil and there was a lot of things happening, and we all
know what they were. Along with that, I think he really felt
strong about being independent and doing his own thing
initially, and as the year wore on, certain things, you know,
took place. Some of them were nature. Some of them were
otherwise, whatever they were; they caused some problems.
The bottom line was that he got beat up a little. That's going
to make him stronger for the long haul, and so maybe he did
drop down on one knee by the time the season ended; I've been
there. But what I would like to do, I came back on board, not
only on his behalf, but I believe in CART and I believe in
where they are going. And I was there for the first round when
we broke away from another organization, and it was believe
me, it was just as tough then.
Collectively, I think we are going to make a good strong team
I think what will happen ultimately is he will come out
stronger for the future.
MODERATOR: You had mentioned, I believe, when we were in
Monterey California, a few weeks ago, that the changes, the
things that are happening in CART under Chris Pook's
leadership and all of the rules and competition changes that
we've got. Do you still have that feeling and where do you see
WALLY DALLENBACH: Even so, when you look at the equipment, the
tools, the events, everything involved, the technology
involved in 1979 and 1980 and having said that, you know, it's
very clear in my mind when eight of us were denied even the
practice time at Indianapolis at one point and had to go
through the course to get back in there, those are scars that
are clear in my mind. And out of all of that business that
went on, we built an organization that was really strong and
versatile. And what's unique about CART, of course, is the
fact that we can probably race on fly paper if we had to. That
is second to none in auto racing.
Those qualities in this series are worth fighting for. Yeah,
we have had some problems the last couple of years, and that's
what went through my head, to come back and meet the
challenge. Try to get strong again and in the black and try to
be a part of what it should be.
MODERATOR: Again, we are happy to have you back.
Q. Wally, with the advent of traction control and Bridgestone
coming in now, I know there's going to be some subtle changes.
Does traction control present a new set of problems to deal
with with tires?
WALLY DALLENBACH: No. I think not. I think actually traction
control will probably be easier on tires, generally speaking.
In relating to your own car, it's like having an open dip
inaudible or something like that where better application to
the power goes through the ground and various ingredients; and
I think that will help the tire situation.
And also, I think we'll, you know, it will make it somewhat
easier to drive these cars in some of the areas, but at the
same time, it will make them perform better, and that's what
we are looking for. We are looking for our cars to look good
out there and to race side by side. This is certainly going to
Q. Do you foresee any changes in the race staff, as far as you
are concerned, with race control or observers or any more
changes in that area this year, or are you pretty well set?
WALLY DALLENBACH: I think we're close to where we need to be.
I think we need a couple a couple guys on our staff yet who
can fill some gaps. But race control looks pretty strong, and
people around me, I feel very good about. I feel that after
the first race or two, based on the new rules and how we are
going to monitor them and things like that, which in itself
will be a challenge, but, I mean, we may be just seeing
possibly one more person up in race control monitoring, maybe
one additional screen or more.
But the good news is I think we are ready to make those moves
if we have to, and it's going to be an exciting challenge,
both up there and on the racetrack.
Q. How is the relationship with you, Chris and the Atlantics?
WALLY DALLENBACH: Atlantics have always been close to me. I
was a car owner in '84. My son drove one of the cars. I was
not only chief steward, but I was a car owner. So I feel real
close to the Atlantic, always have. I think they are the
perfect race car for the training series. I think what they
did replaced the Midget of the 50s. If I was small enough and
young enough, I would probably be in one myself.
As far as Chris (Kneifel) is concerned, he is going to take a
leadership role there, and he's going to be very close to me
when he's not doing that; and the trade offs I think will work
great because we are going to lean on each other through the
Q. Lee, how are you going to track all of these new changes
inaudible this year, and also keep track of what's going to be
happening next year with technical setups?
LEE DYKSTRA: After I stop walking on water, you mean?
Yeah, it's difficult. Of course, I've got some help here. I've
got Steve Dixon, as far as, you know, at the racetrack and as
far as the technical inspection and that sort of thing, and
I'm going to rely heavily on him.
We are just, you know, going to go as quickly as we can as far
as the 2003 regulations, because obviously, all of these
manufacturers are sort of need information in order to make
our time deadline for October/November.
Q. What about 2003, have you had any conversations with
Reynard or Lola to stay in the series?
LEE DYKSTRA: Yeah, I've had numerous conversation with, not
only them, some of the other chassis manufacturers, as well.
Q. How about engines, I've heard in the past that there should
be no problem
LEE DYKSTRA: In fact, (Vice President of Racing Operations)
John Lopes has been involved with that stuff pretty deeply as
far as there's a lot of stuff that has not come out in the
press that we are doing that at some point in time, this stuff
will be announced. But certainly the situation looks very
Q. I assume that both you and Wally are extremely happy to
have Chris Pook on board?
LEE DYKSTRA: I think this whole thing, you know, it sort of
starts on the top and just sort of filters down. If you have
strong leadership like Chris, then that allows you to work
within your pasture, whatever, to get things done.
WALLY DALLENBACH: I agree. One of the big reasons why I signed
back on is I had a lot of faith in Chris Pook, and I'm going
to back him up as much as I can in my capacity.
Q. Question for Lee. When we got the announcement that you've
come on board, I think it stated that you would be working
very closely with the rule changes for the new engines for
2003. I have a two part question. The first part is: The
engine manufacturers that have been mentioned as suppliers
would be Toyota, John Judd and Tom Walkinshaw; that's been
discussed, but I don't know how definite it is. My question
is: For John Judd and Walkinshaw, what would be the source of
their engines, because to me they are a builder and not a
LEE DYKSTRA: It would be a situation similar to more where
essentially they are building an engine it's badged as some
other manufacturer. In other words, they do manufacture
engines. John Judd's engine won the 24 at Daytona.
Q. That was just confusing to me. And my second part of that
question is: For the 2003 rules, I've read that we're going to
use the basic tub which would follow the IRL rules, but the
aerodynamic package would be the same for CART, and I know you
need to have that for road course racing; you can't use an
oval package for a road course. And because it's my
understanding that our engines will be maybe a couple hundred
horsepower less, I would think that the aerodynamics that
we've taken away so much from the race cars over the years to
slow them down to compensate for engine performance increased,
wouldn't we be changing or would we be going back to any of
our previous aerodynamic designs?
LEE DYKSTRA: Certainly. Certainly. We will be adding downforce
for the short oval tracks. We'll be looking at taking out drag
for Fontana to get to a performance level that we think is
necessary for these cars.
Q. And that brings to mind, when you said Fontana, we use a
Hanford there, and I've seen it in print that that's going to
be utilized in 2003, but will we even need that?
LEE DYKSTRA: That's something that we'll look at. Obviously,
we're in the early throws of this sort of thing, but there is
some adjustability in the Hanford wing. Last year, we add the
three inch section on the back and things like that could
conceivably come off. In our rules meeting, we said that we
were going to try to maintain the current CART aero packages
Q. But the idea is, when we get done with all of that and you
finalize what it's going to be, we should see better racing;
LEE DYKSTRA: For sure. If we add downforce for the short ovals
and that sort of thing, we certainly should see back the to
1998 99 type of racing situations.
Q. Lee, I've got a two part question here. The first part of
it: This traction control system, is it controlled by the
engine; in other words, cutting REVs or by the brakes or is it
both in combination?
LEE DYKSTRA: No. The brakes there is no braking as such. So
it's strictly engine, engine power reduction, either through
spark or fuel.
Q. I guess related to this, I'm not a technician, so I might
be asking a dumb question here. But in street cars, a lot of
street cars using the traction control systems have altitude
control, as well, to help supposedly help a car from losing
the rear end. Is that going to be possible with any of these
traction control systems, and if so, how are you going to be
able to use that against the rules and then are you going to
be able to police it?
LEE DYKSTRA: Because they have anti lock braking, they have
the ability to selectively lock on essentially any corner on
the car. We do not have that ability. Essentially the traction
control will be that, but not a stability control as such,
which is what the auto manufacturers call it.
Q. The rule book, when will that be released? There's been a
lot of talk about these new rules, but will there actually be
a release of the rule book in the near future?
LEE DYKSTRA: That will be on the Web here shortly. It's
sitting down there essentially. We have got one issue that we
want to resolve here, but at this stage, it's ready to go. So
the teams will have it for sure in their hands before
Monterrey, and it will be available to you guys as well, on
the CART Web site.
Q. As far as the 2003 package have you done any simulation
with regard to performance, and do you expect there to be a
similar performance that we see today in terms of overall lap
times, or do you expect a certain percentage drop off in
LEE DYKSTRA: I would think that our current performance on
short ovals will be quite similar. The road course, to be
honest with you, I have not done a lot of simulations to see
what that looks like, but I think it's going to be pretty
Q. The tub is going to be the same as the IRL and the engine
is very, very similar. What do you think the cost is going to
be if a team wants to convert the car over to the same IRL car
as Indy; is there an estimate of what that might cost a team
to do that? Or would a team just buy a whole new car?
LEE DYKSTRA: Our owners specifically asked that we mandate the
CART tub so essentially they could change that over, and
that's the premise that we are going on. Whether we achieve
that or not, that's hard to say because there's so many
factors there. But it will be a common tub that a Lola or
Reynard will build.
As far as the cost of the conversion, essentially, it comes
down to, you know, the cost of the car minus the tub cost,
because you are changing the aerodynamics, you are changing
the gear box, the wheel housing, the suspension.
Racing these days is so specialized that, essentially, you run
something different than you run for a road course.
Q. So it's not really going to be too easy cost wise for a
team to bop back and forth between two different series if
they wanted to?
LEE DYKSTRA: Well, it's easier than it is now.
MODERATOR: Thanks again for joining us today, gentlemen, and
thanks to all who participated in today's call.
can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
to discuss this article