RHR, Pagenaud, Brabham, Carpenter, Karam, Munoz

Ryan Hunter-Reay
Ryan Hunter-Reay

Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport
Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske
Matthew Brabham, KVSH Racing
Ed Carpenter, Ed Carpenter Racing
Sage Karam, Dreyer & Reinbold
Carlos Munoz, Andretti Autosport

Ryan Hunter-Reay

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Ryan Hunter-Reay.

How excited are you just to be here, everything starting up again for this new season?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: It's great to get the season, get it going. Just coming back from the Daytona 24 Hour, seems like we're hitting our stride now. Tested yesterday in Sebring, testing again next week.

It's good to be back to work and being busy. I didn't know what I was doing with myself for the last few months.

THE MODERATOR: Rolex, Sebring, how much have you slept in the past 48 hours?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Not much. Have a little bit of that sore throat coming on. I drove almost nine hours at Daytona, and then went to Sebring and did a full day of testing in the 80-degree weather there. A pretty good physical test. It's good. Gets you in good car shape.

I am looking forward to sleeping tonight all the way through.

THE MODERATOR: You're one of the few drivers that has an Indy 500 win under their belt. How excited are you for the month of May and another shot at it?

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]RYAN HUNTER-REAY: I can't wait. We've been working hard with Honda trying to make some gains. We're staying with the same aero package as we had here last year. Obviously last year we didn't, as a whole, as a group, perform to where we wanted to. Hopefully we can improve on that. We'll see. We're waiting on a few things here and there.

I'm looking forward to my first superspeedway test to see where we stand compared to our competition. Certainly last year, Chevy had the upper hand on us, kicked us in the teeth, but we'll come back fighting.

THE MODERATOR: Simon Pagenaud was in here a few minutes ago, and between you and him, you're the only two drivers that have seen the new track in Boston. What were your thoughts when you were out there a couple months ago?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: The three adds that we did have were just fantastic, Boston, Road America and Phoenix. Couldn't have asked for a better addition to the IndyCar schedule.

Boston, the perfect market to be in. The track is amazing. I can't figure out how somebody puts on a street race because there's so much logistically that has to go into it. When you see the site undeveloped, roads, city streets, you see where the tunnel is going to be, it's amazing that you can even pull something like that off.

Huge potential. The site and where I saw it, how it's going to be, the plans for it, massive potential. I hope it's one of our cornerstone events.

THE MODERATOR: You actually also in your travel adventures got back from Phoenix. I don't think you got out to the track, but when you looked through the city, did some memories come up, some ideas in your head of what the IndyCar race there might look like?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Any time we have a short oval, I'm a big short oval guy. I love IndyCar racing on short ovals. It's like peas and carrots, just goes together. Anytime we can do that, I'm all for it.

Phoenix is a great market to be in, just like Boston. I think it was one we've been talking about for a long time. All the drivers have been talking for it a long time.

I haven't been on that track, gosh, since I was 17, so it's been a while.

THE MODERATOR: Some dad things in the off-season I'm sure, too, getting time with the family. Did the off-season spare you any time for a lot of new memories?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Get used to seeing the kids for a little bit, changing and growing. You get on the road, my youngest is getting ready to walk, I keep telling Becky to knock him down until I get home. I get home till tomorrow night. Hopefully he can hold off until then. I missed Ryden's first steps, so hopefully I don't miss this one.


Q. You drove the Sebring test. How did it feel?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: It was good. We had a good test. You don't know unless you're out there with your competition. Sebring is such a wildcard, one day you show up there, can't figure the car out, the next day, this track is strange, the next day you feel like you're a superstar. It just changes with humidity, track temperature.

Very tough to tell you where we are based on the a Sebring test. We had some promising runs there. Certainly we have to get on track against our competitors, especially our competitors at Chevy, understand where we stand.

THE MODERATOR: Great news out of Honda earlier this morning about continuing their partnership with IndyCar. What has Honda provided to you throughout your career, especially of late with their relationship with Andretti?

RYAN HUNTER-REAY: I have a phenomenal relationship with Honda. They've done so much for me in my career. But the sport itself, they really have been the backbone. Through all the years when I first came into the Indy Racing League in 2007 through 2011, when competition did come in, Honda stayed true and continued to fight and win races.

I'm thrilled that I have an Indy 500 win with them, now I want to go get a championship with them.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Ryan.

Simon Pagenaud
Simon Pagenaud

Simon Pagenaud

THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and continue with our Verizon IndyCar Series media availability. Pleased to be joined by Simon Pagenaud.

You're entering the second year with the team. What are things you learned from the first year that you're looking forward to continuing the second year?

SIMON PAGENAUD: It's great to have the winter to get to work on the little details. This year was a lot of work, for sure. Between two teams assembled in a very nice way, we have some really, really good people on my car.

It's been a better season than it looked with the results. Performance was quite incredible, right away, right out of the box. The execution was our issue. But that's exactly what we worked on this winter, trying to understand how we could execute better, what to execute better and how.

I'm super excited. The guys have been working really, really hard this winter. I can only thank my crew, how much work they've been doing, pit stops, thinking about it, making the car as nice as possible. I can't thank them enough for all the work they've done so far.

I think '16 should be certainly a much better year for us. I'm excited and relaxed about it.

THE MODERATOR: Everybody keeps talking about the anniversary of the hundredth running of the 500. Team Penske is also celebrating an anniversary with Roger's 50th year in motorsports. You recently gathered to celebrate. What happened at that celebration and how honored are you to be a part of this monumental year for the team?

SIMON PAGENAUD: What an incredible night we had. There were I believe 45 drivers that drove for Penske there present on-site out of the 83 total. Let me tell you, Danny Sullivan, Rick Mears, Gil de Ferran, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, my friend who won Le Mans from France. Incredible drivers, I couldn't name everybody because it would take a while.

It was a great evening because we're talking about the history of Penske Racing, 50 years, everything that Roger went through throughout those 50 years, all the history that happened, how he created this team and what it became.

I think you can think of a team like Penske would be a team like Ferrari in Formula One, which is incredible to think that way. Personally being part of it is quite an honor, something special.

I think that evening, there were about 1400 people gathered together, whether it was drivers, crew, families, partners, some partners that have been with Penske for 25, 30 years. I think we all felt privileged to be there. Certainly one of the best evenings I've had in racing.

THE MODERATOR: All these team adjustments you've had to make, but a couple personal adjustments. You were a driver based in Indianapolis when you signed with Team Penske you moved out to Charlotte. What has that change been like? Is it warmer, more comfortable to be living in.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]SIMON PAGENAUD: It's very true. It was big changes last year. You don't realize it at the time when it happens. You think everything is settled and everything is going to go well.

I have to say, the difference last year to here is huge just because I've had time to settle down, I've had time to get my things in place, in order. Now I don't have to think twice when I go to the gym which road to take. It's important for the comfort of life and preparation as well.

It's the same with the team. I know who to talk to for what reason. That's a big difference. Certainly it was a big move. I've lived in Indy for nine years. All of a sudden I lost all my connections and had to restart a new life.

I just want to remind you I came from France. Never been to the U.S. before, moved to Indianapolis, never moved. Certainly a big change and a new life started.

THE MODERATOR: In a few days you and the team will be heading out to Phoenix for a Chevrolet test. What are some of the things you're looking forward to about that track, one of the returning tracks for the series in 2016?

SIMON PAGENAUD: It's a legendary track for IndyCar. It's good to be back there. It's great to be on the West Coast as well. I think it's a fantastic market for us.

It's a new track. Actually the Phoenix track has done a great job at promoting, I know that for a fact because I have friends living there, they got tickets for their motorhome, they have tickets to park their motorhome for the NASCAR race and they were invited to come to the IndyCar race.

Phoenix is doing a great job of promoting the event. It's very exciting. They're doing everything they can for all their fans to be interested in IndyCar. That is important to have a track that can support us like that.

A short oval, should be an exciting race with turn one where you can go side-by-side. We'll see. I'm excited to test the new aero kit, evolution of the aero kit, get a new try at the engine as well.

All that is what is exciting. We don't get much testing anymore. We decided to test mostly during the season. It's been a long time without driving the IndyCar, so pretty excited about it.

THE MODERATOR: You're one of the two drivers that have been out to Boston recently to check out of the new course that is set up there. What were your impressions? I have seen a video of you going around the track. A very unique track for you.

SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, the layout is beautiful. I'm not here just promoting it. It is quite cool. It's got some fast corners, some really wide straights, some deep braking. Obviously we're going under a tunnel. I think that's great. Not just like Monaco, but I hope the fans can go in the tunnel and hear the cars go by. That would be really cool.

The tunnel part is really nice. Left-handed, going to be really fast. You go and brake for the long straight. It goes around the harbor. It's a really dynamic area in Boston, with a lot of restaurants around. I think it's going to be a great area for the race around the convention center. I was there for the auto show, and people were pretty excited. So we'll see.

THE MODERATOR: Attended a hockey game, too?

SIMON PAGENAUD: I did a hockey game. I was lucky to be in the suites. I had a great view. That game was super fast. It was crazy. I couldn't follow the game because it was too fast.

THE MODERATOR: What have you been up to during the off-season? You've been doing some, I believe, ice racing in Andorra? Where were you?

SIMON PAGENAUD: I went to Andorra, between France and Spain. I've been invited to do a winter championship that's organized in France. It's been going on for 25 years. It's called the Trophy Andros. I don't know if you know the jam Bonne Maman. It's the same company called Andros. They're a partner and sponsor this series. They've been sponsoring that series for 25 years. They've asked me to come and the schedule allowed me to go. This time I was available. It was great.

Driving on ice, I've never driven on ice. They had stud tires, skinny tires, an electric car as well. A lot of new things. But it was very interesting, quite enjoyable because I don't race in Europe anymore. It was a good opportunity to race with some old friends and new friends. It was pretty cool.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Simon.

Q. How did you feel at the 24 Hours of Daytona and the fire? Were you in your car?
SIMON PAGENAUD: I was in my bed. I was watching on TV. It wasn't me. I was driving that car, but I wasn't in the car at the time.

That was scary. It was a bad sight. Luckily he was fine. I think he got some fumes. He didn't feel too good for a little while after that. Luckily nobody got injured.

It's some huge spill basically. I don't know how it happened. They don't know how it happened either. Some fumes spilled and created some flames.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Simon. Have fun in Phoenix.


Matthew Brabham
Matthew Brabham

Matthew Brabham

THE MODERATOR: We're joined now by Matthew Brabham who will be racing the Grand Prix of Indianapolis this May and also the Indianapolis 500.

I feel like we keep asking everybody this, but for somebody racing at their first Indianapolis 500, this must mean so much to you.

MATTHEW BRABHAM: Absolutely. It means a lot. I grew up listening to stories of my dad being at the race. He raced in it 10 times. My grandfather also racing in it, too. Having that rear engine car come over.

The hundredth running, there's a lot of things all falling into place, really building around this place. To have the opportunity to have my rookie year as part of the hundredth running with the history, it's just absolutely awesome. I'm really excited. I can't wait for the month of May to start.

Yeah, just really grateful and appreciative of all our partners and sponsors and everyone that has supported me throughout my career to get to this start.

THE MODERATOR: A unique partnership you have going on for this month of May, the Chris Kyle Foundation, who came to fame through the movie The American Sniper is playing a part in your team with the Frog Foundation.

MATTHEW BRABHAM: The history behind the hundredth running is a huge part of it. But also the Memorial Day side of it is another big aspect of the event. We're very proud to announce our partnership with the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, and have Taya there as our team ambassador at the Indy 500. We're looking forward to getting her out at the event and doing everything we can to support her charity and what she's doing.

It's a great initiative. Again, it all links back into what we're doing. The Indy 500, the hundredth running, Memorial Day weekend, all those great things that kind of fell into place.

It's all been really just awesome and great. Yeah, we're really excited about it. We have a lot of cool media aspects on that side. We have some good programs coming around with that that we'll announce soon. So stay tuned.

We have a really cool program, Team Murray, Brett Murray, what we're trying to do is set ourselves apart from everyone else and what we're doing. We have some really cool things coming. Yeah, can't wait to get it all started.

THE MODERATOR: We keep talking about the hundredth running, but your journey in May will start with the Grand Prix, a track you raced on in Indy Lights, correct?

MATTHEW BRABHAM: Correct. I was lucky enough to win the inaugural race of the Indy Lights race here, the Indy Grand Prix on the road course. It was a race that was raining just like today outside, pretty similar weather conditions.

Yeah, no, I love the road course. It's improved a lot ever since I started playing it on video games on Formula One PlayStation games. To be living it in real life, the track is pretty awesome.

The long straights really promote some close, tight racing. You can really pass a lot of cars because of the downforce and running low wing. I think that was one of the most fun races I ever had. I was racing with Gabby Chaves. We passed each other for the lead two or three times. It was a pretty interesting race.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Really excited to get that race under my belt heading into the Indy 500 this year, help me develop as we run into the month of May. We have a couple test days. The big thing for me is getting used to the pit stops, team strategy, how the team operates and works, what's different from IndyCar to Indy Lights. Doing the Grand Prix is a fantastic event because obviously I've raced there before, I'm familiar with the track, familiar with the event. It's just getting used to the IndyCar side of things, I guess.

THE MODERATOR: You mentioned your special memories from your time in Indy Lights. Of all the drivers that can speak to the benefits of the Indy Lights program and the Mazda Road to Indy, you're a prime example of it. In American terms, it's almost like baseball. What are some of the things you took away from that experience that led to this opportunity for you?

MATTHEW BRABHAM: Yeah, it's a fantastic program. Obviously the Mazda Road to Indy is pretty much where all of us are coming from these days. It's a clear, defined path, a ladder system that you keep moving up if you keep winning the championship.

I was lucky enough to get through the first two rungs of the championship by winning the F2000 and the Pro Mazda championship. I couldn't be here today without that.

I can tell you, racing is very tough at the moment, especially on the sponsorship side of things. That really kick started my career in the U.S. It's the reason why I'm here today.

Yeah, no, it's definitely a great program. The things I've really learnt from that, probably more so on the business side of things as well, because they offer some great programs off the track about how to present yourself, how to go about doing things, how to connect with sponsors. I've learned a lot about that.

They're also very tightly connected with IndyCar. I'm always at the events learning from those guys. It's a pretty open paddock. I can always walk up to the drivers, they're pretty nice, even if I don't recognize some of the guys there.

It's definitely a lot of fun. I definitely took a lot out of the Mazda Road to Indy. I think pretty much everybody coming up into IndyCar is going to be coming from there, for sure.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Matthew.

MATTHEW BRABHAM: Thank you very much. Cheers.

Ed Carpenter
Ed Carpenter

Ed Carpenter

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by team owner/driver Ed Carpenter.

You had some team changes earlier in the week. What will look different for 2016?

ED CARPENTER: Yeah, seems like big changes, but organizationally not huge internally. We had operated as Ed Carpenter Racing from 2012 through 2014, merged with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing to form CFH Racing. Then as we got into the off-season, towards the end of it, all sorts of things we don't need to get into related to different things, partnership changes, structure changes that really precipitated us to going back to Ed Carpenter Racing when everything shook out.

The important thing I think for me, to have everyone understand, is that the plans that we have now are the same as what the plans were when we were CFH. We're running Josef full time. I'm going to be running ovals. Hopefully we'll run the 20 car at a full-time level. We're not there yet, but we still have a little time to make it happen. That's the biggest thing.

We're in good shape. We have all our people essentially back in key positions. We're excited for a strong 2016.

THE MODERATOR: Before we talk about your driving program, you mentioned Josef, somebody that gave your team one of its breakout seasons last year. What can we expect from him in 2016?

ED CARPENTER: What we're hoping for is just continued growth. As much as anything, consistency. Really he was great all of last season.

As the season went on, he came into his own and was more consistent whether we were at a short oval, Speedway, road course, street court. He had speed and raced well everywhere. At the end of the season at Sonoma, he was one of seven guys that were still eligible for the title. That was really, I think, important for him to know that he can be in that discussion, be a part of that championship mix.

He is one of the few guys in the series that has the versatility as a driver and the pace on all circuits to be able to contend for a championship.

That's what we're working towards with Josef. Hopefully a lot more pins, a lot more poles, have a consistent season. If all that goes well, we should be in the mix for another chance at a championship.

THE MODERATOR: You've only held this dual position for a short time now. Are there still things you're adjusting to or do you miss just focusing on the driver aspects?

ED CARPENTER: This will be the start of the fifth year of owning-driving combination. Four years is a long time, going into the fifth year. There are times when it would be nice just to be worried about driving. At the same time the rewards you get from ownership and the organization and all the people we get to work with, it's a lot of fun when things go well.

We're really dedicated to making our team successful long-term, sustainable, having good results on track and winning races.

I'm enjoying it. I think you continue to learn. Each and every year you try to get better, analyze yourself, figure out what we can do to do a better job. But I do enjoy it.

THE MODERATOR: Four years is a long time in racing years.


THE MODERATOR: Focusing on your specific driving program for 2016, we know how much Indianapolis means to you, how much it would mean to you to get to the 100th running, but in your own words, what would the significance of that be?

ED CARPENTER: The Indianapolis 500 every year is the highlight of my racing professional season. If I'm fortunate enough to qualify, this will be my 13th, which I'm very proud of. Every year I add on, the list gets smaller of guys that have done that many. Every year we've been here, we've had competitive situations. We're getting better and closer on figuring out how to win the race.

Just excited that race season's getting closer. I'm excited that Indy won't be my first race of the season, that we get to go to Phoenix before we get here, which is fun.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]As far as the hundredth, I think it's obviously a huge deal. You look around and see all the improvements and energy that's going in to making it an even more special event than it is every year. But from the drivers' perspective, it's the Indy 500, the highlight of our year.

From the outside, there is going to be more going on, a little more excitement, a little more buildup.

But when it comes to preparation, all the things we're working and focusing on, you try to tune that out and get prepared like you normally would.

THE MODERATOR: You mentioned Phoenix. IndyCar would be kicking off its training in late February.

ED CARPENTER: I grew up going to Phoenix pretty much every spring break through my youth, then when I was running midgets, Silver Crown, started racing there in '99. I was there for the last IndyCar race in 2005. I have a lot of fond memories.

I haven't been back since they made some changes. We'll be there testing on Monday. I'm excited to get reacclimated with the track.

It's a great place to race. I think it will be better now with the changes they made, with our cars relative to how they are compared to 2005.

Looking forward to it. From what I'm hearing, it will be a great event.

THE MODERATOR: Chevy test coming up. You'll be watching the Super Bowl in Phoenix?

ED CARPENTER: Obviously pulling for Peyton, but when the Colts aren't in there, not that worried about it. Time to shift focus to things that are more important, and that's our race team.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Ed.

Q. You mentioned working on funding to continue the 20 car running on the road and street courses. Are you still looking at Luca or are you looking at a different driver?
ED CARPENTER: We're looking at all scenarios. I talk to Luca and his management team frequently. I wouldn't say that's off the table. It's trying to find the right deal and a deal that we all feel comfortable with. We'll see what happens.

Q. You said you don't want to talk about what happened, but can you talk about how much of a setback it was for you or was it a setback?
ED CARPENTER: I don't think it was a setback. That's where I think there's some misconception. The announcement that you're changing names seems dramatic, like there's a whole lot going on.

The reality is our off-season started after Sonoma was over. Our preparation for this year started. It's been continuous and ongoing and very productive.

We changed names, but everything going on in the race shop, employees, preparation, plan, it's been ongoing. Changing logos around. Key positions, management, structure, for the most part it's the same.

It's a different group of owners that we report to as management, the team. But I don't feel like it's a setback as far as getting ready for the season or changing our goals or changing our focus. That's been a continuation from the start of 2015 to now.

Q. For the 500 this year, how many cars are you planning on running?
ED CARPENTER: I try to just to stay focused on what I know what we can do, what we have the funding and budget to do, to do at a high level, to the standards we hold ourselves to.

At this point we're planning on running two cars. Things can always change. But until they do change, I'm not really totally focusing on that.

There's always conversations going around, different things. You take every phone call. Obviously I talk to Hildebrand a lot and would like to get him more ingrained in our team. Until things happen, we're focused on what we're going to be doing, which is running Josef for the full championship and running the 20 car on ovals.

THE MODERATOR: Ed, thank you very much. We'll see you in Phoenix.

ED CARPENTER: Thank you.

Sage Karam
Sage Karam

Sage Karam

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Sage Karam. How great does it feel to be back in the IndyCar circuit?

SAGE KARAM: Yeah, no, it's cool. Obviously this year we got our Indy 500 deal done early. For me that was good to have a Christmas where you knew you were going to be driving something.

Obviously I'd like to be full-time. But it's difficult now to get all the funding together. Just taking it as we can day by day and hopefully I can get a couple more one-offs, unless something else opens up.

No, I'm really excited obviously to be a part of the biggest race in the world on May 29th. It's probably going to be the greatest day of our generation, anybody's generation really. Looking forward for that.

THE MODERATOR: Tell us about how the sponsorship that Dreyer & Reinbold and Gas Monkey came together.

SAGE KARAM: Gas Monkey Garage is based in Dallas, Texas. They have a show called 'FAST N' LOUD. I was actually a fan of the show. I saw an episode about two weeks before I knew they were sponsoring a Pro Stock drag car. I'm thinking, Man, we have to get these guys in IndyCar Series, what are they doing wasting their money in drag racing?

Two weeks later I get a call from Dennis because we already had the deal done but he wouldn't tell me the sponsor until it was totally, totally done. He told me it was Gas Monkey Garage. I kind of like freaked out. Pretty cool sponsor. They build fast cars. I drive fast cars. Kind of One Love thing going on.

Went down there and visited them. They're cool guys. You're going to see them around probably the month of May. You can't miss them with their beards. You'll see Richard walking around with a beer in his hands. They're looking forward to this, I know that for sure.

They have an amazing fan outreach. I think it's going to be big for me, the team and IndyCar, as well.

THE MODERATOR: You tweeted something the other day, I think it says something that, I cannot wait to be an Indianapolis 500 champion. With the 100th running coming up this May, what would it mean to you to win that?

SAGE KARAM: Yeah, so, growing up I've always kind of had two goals. It was to race the Indianapolis 500 my senior year of high school, and I did it, and it was to win the 100th Indianapolis 500. I believe I'm going to do it.

But, yeah, I got one last chance here to be the youngest winner in history. I look at it as third time's a charm. I'm looking forward to it.

To win it, I try to think about it every night, but I can't really think what it would be like after you win it because I really don't know how I'd handle it or anything. It would be one of those things that hits you. When it hits you, it's probably a pretty special, amazing thing.

It's just one of those things you think about every day, racing around here and winning. Until you do it, it just keeps you so hungry. That's why we respect this place so much, because of the history, the heritage, everything that we want from it, that it can give you in life if you succeed here.

THE MODERATOR: You referenced your age. Many of the younger drivers coming through here today, what does that mean to you to know you're one of the next generation of IndyCar Series drivers?

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]SAGE KARAM: I mean, it's good knowing that I'm one of the young up-and-comers because there's not a lot of us, only a handful of us that have gotten seat time. I just need some of the old guys to hang it up to give us more chances (laughter).

No, we're just playing the waiting game. That's it. I just remember coming to my first Indianapolis 500, it was in 2003, I believe. Seeing the cars was cool, hearing the cars was cool. When I saw them all come down the first time in rows of three, rolling through turn one, it was a pretty amazing thing.

I think that's what stuck the most with me, seeing them all on the first lap. That made such an impact on me. Now looking at it I'm one of those guys in one of those rows. There's a little kid in the bleachers that was five years old, six years old, whatever, he's getting impacted the way I was, he wants to be racing me then. I'm out there racing guys that I used to watch on the couch with my dad, like Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon. I had Dario help me out last year. He was one of my heroes.

It's a great thing when you race guys that you look up to. I hope one day these kids come up and I'm the old fart in the series and these kids are looking up to me.


Q. Other than Indy, have you gotten any opportunities to race anything else this season?
SAGE KARAM: Yeah, I actually signed a factory Lexus deal to run in two-door. The car is not ready yet. We're making some modifications, going to get some testing done. We're hoping to be on the grid at Detroit or Laguna Seca. Should be running when it's done. Teammates with Scott Pruett. We had a relationship at Ganassi, ran the 24 hours, the eight hours at the Glen. We raced each other. Got second here actually. It's going to be fun.

I'm really looking forward to it. It's a factory deal. It's not something you come by but every now and then. It's going to be a learning experience for me and also just give me more laps, keep me sharp, learn how to develop a car better.

Q. If any opportunities come up to participate in an IndyCar race while you're racing the Lexus sports car, are you able to do that?
SAGE KARAM: The Lexus deal right now is my main priority. If there's any schedule conflicts, I'd go towards the Lexus. I think there's three races, so I can rule out I won't be at Pocono, Iowa or Sonoma. I think those three fall on a schedule date. It's a shame. Pocono is a home track for me, ran well there last year. Iowa, again, my podium last year. Two of my best tracks right out the door.

If it were up to me this year, if I can't get a full season in IndyCar, do a couple more street circuits and road courses. I think people think I'm more of an oval specialist. I don't think that's the case. I have shown speed, I just made some mistakes last year. I can bring the results in on those road and street circuits.

THE MODERATOR: Sage, thank you so much.

SAGE KARAM: Thanks, guys.

Carlos Munoz
Carlos Munoz

Carlos Munoz

THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with our media availabilities with driver Carlos Munoz.

A monumental season for you winning the Detroit race one. Take us through the weekend, a grueling weekend, the only doubleheader on the schedule.

CARLOS MUNOZ: Yeah, that was long time ago it seems, so I don't remember now. I'm so focused on the new season. Past is past. I like to always focus on the future.

It was nice to have my first win last year. Not the way I wanted to win my first race. Like Michael said, A win is a win in IndyCar. I take it. Hopefully this year is much more. The main goal is to be fighting for the win in each race.

THE MODERATOR: The 2016 season is coming up extremely quickly, with the addition of a couple new venues and the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. You've seen extreme success in the Indianapolis 500. What would it mean for you to win the 100th running.

CARLOS MUNOZ: It's the race everyone wants to win, the teams, especially the sponsors putting extra pressure on the teams to win this race.

As a driver that have sit in here, they say the main goal is to win the 500.

I want to approach is differently, as if it was a normal 500, not the 100th. Putting pressure on yourself, that's not good. I want to approach it like every other race of the schedule. I've been approaching the 500 the same way I approach all the races because if you think it's a big race, you're going to put a lot of pressure on yourself.

This year the show is going to be spectacular. Going to Phoenix for the open test, the first time with the new kit. Going to be really challenging, the first open test.

THE MODERATOR: The Verizon IndyCar Series often boasts having the most diverse drivers in motorsports. You are one of our drivers from Colombia. Have you gotten to go back to Colombia in the off-season?

CARLOS MUNOZ: Yeah, I've been going a lot to Colombia. Unfortunately I couldn't go to Juan Pablo's race that he organized because I had an issue with my passport, my visa.

But I saw so many Colombians. The fans are coming so much to the race. I remember last year there were more Colombians than Americans in Pocono. You only see Colombian flags in Pocono. More Colombians coming to the races. The media is more active there.

The only problem now, Colombia is not going through a good phase because of the oil price, the peso versus dollars. But the good thing is the fans we have there are great, especially after Juan Pablo's win last year, the 500. It makes the people that used to watch the races when he was in Formula One awake. Me with my win in Detroit, as well, give new fans.

Last year was four Colombians. That's a lot of Colombians.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Carlos.

Q. Aside from the obvious winning, what personal goals do you have for yourself this upcoming season?
CARLOS MUNOZ: Personal goals, I love to go race by race. I like to personally do the best job as I can. Outside the track I've been training physically, mentally, working with my team, with my engineers, with my new staff this year. A couple new people on my team.

The team, as well, does a good job. Try to win all the races, fighting for the win. That's the main goal, be up front, be competitive. At the end of the year, win a lot of races. Of course I want to win the 500, but as well I want to be more competitive and to be more in front.

THE MODERATOR: Carlos, thank you.

CARLOS MUNOZ: Thank you.

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