THE MODERATOR: Here is Takuma Sato to talk about this new team, Dale Coyne Racing. They’ve been very successful in a lot of iterations. Engineering staff continues to change, but the consistency of the program continues to be punching above its weight. How do you feel about it?
TAKUMA SATO: Yeah, absolutely. I’m thrilled and really excited, not just because of the new season with new team, but the Dale, someone who really dedicated for the organization and driver.
Of course, no offense, all other teams do same things, too. But in particular Dale. I’m purely excited to go to the new season with Dale Coyne Racing. It’s resource-wise not one of the biggest team. In fact, it’s one of the smallest team. I’ve been there with A.J. Foyt. It’s really family oriented.
Also Dale’s team has a very competitive in any field. Superspeedway, we observed couple times just speed in speedway, which is very excited, as well as street course, road course. Very successful in the last few seasons with Dale.
Once again, there is no reason why we can’t be competitive again. With new organization I’m entirely excited about it.
THE MODERATOR: I suppose you know Dale’s history as a race caller, his strategy usually as good as anybody in the paddock.
TAKUMA SATO: Yes. I’m fully aware of that. That’s something, of course, that’s quite looking forward to, working with Dale himself. He will be on my pit stand. He will call my race, which is, yes, always exciting.
THE MODERATOR: You could win a third Indy 500 with three different teams.
TAKUMA SATO: Nothing is impossible. Showing that Dale Coyne Racing is always showing a pure road speed in Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Very, very excited.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. I believe you’re the first two-time winner that Dale has ever had drive one of his race cars. What kind of a symbiotic relationship can you have, what you bring to his team?
TAKUMA SATO: Let’s see. It’s natural bonding we bring on the table with both sides of the experience. Dale, the car is extremely competitive in terms of road speed. What I’ve experienced in the past few years, in particular with the winnings on the 500, that’s something that I can support to the Dale. We will see if that’s a magical, chemical reaction starts.
Q. Dale’s ability to sometimes pull the rabbit out of the hat with his pit strategy, he got Carlos to Victory Lane. If you can do that, that’s pretty good strategy. Do you marvel sometimes at how smart he is for the resources that he’s got to work with that he can be that competitive?
TAKUMA SATO: Yeah, absolutely. Dale himself, too, driving until recently, 1991, which sounds really like yesterday. He knows about the business in the cockpit as well as just like you, Martin said, his ability to see the race the whole race and stories. That’s something out of the pocket. Suddenly Dale Coyne Racing has become very competitive in the field.
That’s something special bonus to me. I’m not expecting everything race like that way. At least we have a great partners and boys, the new challenge with the kind of very positive feeling, it’s always helping me.
Q. You have a rookie teammate this year. He is less than half your age. Are you going to take up kind of a mentor role with him? What are you expecting from him this year?
TAKUMA SATO: I’m here to support him as well probably the biggest competitor from him, too, that he can be as a target. He see me as a target as well as we need to work together to bring the whole team level.
I’m do anything for the team and David to get up to the speed. But talking about speed, he’s already fastest at the winter testing including some of the veterans there. I’m not worried about his speed because he already showed tremendous as well as maturity of the good race craft in INDYCAR, Indy Lights Series.
I’m sure he needs to learn so many things, but I’m really looking forward to working with David, like you said, not even half of my age (smiling). Yeah, working together, we’ll be a good combination from my side, too.
Q. What can you tell fans and media that might not know a lot about David?
TAKUMA SATO: We’ll find out together. David is obviously nice guy. Initial feeling is very, very nice guy, very dedicated. When we have a dinner together with Dale and I, Dale just called David, Why don’t you come in? He was on the gymnasium. He just jumped to the showers, come to the dinner. That sort of guy. He’s very humble, good attitude.
Again, I haven’t actually watched him on the racetrack yet. Again, I feel a very positive feeling. We help or support each other. Our intention is one goal: to bring Dale’s car to the winner’s circle.
THE MODERATOR: David is 20. How old is your oldest?
TAKUMA SATO: He’s 20 years old.
Q. When you won your second Indy 500, the team had a lot of its history in Chicago because at that time Bobby Rahal was still living there, Michael Lanigan is from Chicago. Now you’re driving for a team based there. How much time have you had to spend up there?
TAKUMA SATO: Chicago, like you said, really Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing organization is just to come from the Chicago. Its actual race team isn’t in Chicago.
Now that Dale Coyne Racing is just in Chicago, I spend so many times over there, really looking forward to, all the international flight, sometimes I have to go back to Japan, is always go to the Chicago O’Hare Airport. It’s convenient in terms of that point of view as well as the great Japanese community down there.
I’m looking forward to spend some time more in Chicago. Yeah, first and foremost Dale Coyne Racing is such a good, small, compact team I’m extremely excited about working together.
Q. What do you think of Dale Coyne Racing require decision?
TAKUMA SATO: Sorry, I need to understand the question more specifically.
Q. I’m sorry. What do you think you were racing for decision?
THE MODERATOR: Expectations for the season.
TAKUMA SATO: Expectation?
TAKUMA SATO: Sorry.
Yeah, expectation. It’s obviously positive and high even myself. Those things, we don’t do the expectation too much because just pointless for me. We want to focus. We need to get know each other first before put 100% commitment. On track everything has to be perfect to win the race. Before that we need lots of listen, tons of things to get it done before the season. But we have one single day physical testing allowed to. Incredibly challenging.
I’m very positive, very excited. You can tell that I’m very, very excited. Hopefully we will be showing the speed immediately to compete one of the toughest in the field at the moment in INDYCAR.
Expectation shouldn’t be too much high, but I certainly feel it’s very, very positive to get out of top content as soon as we could.
Q. All these years you already have explained a lot of things of how to drive the car in the Indy 500. I want to know in your point of view what are the steps that you can do to accelerate to a new team?
TAKUMA SATO: I think a lot of things has to be done when you get to the new team. Honestly, we don’t have much time to integrate together. You have to use your experience a lot.
But not only for that, just the feeling. With the boys, for example, at Dale Coyne Racing, boys extremely dedicated and so passionate. Everything is in a reachable distance by good meaning.
I think we can be tied up very, very quickly. Dale Coyne Racing showing tremendous speed at the Speedway, have some good experience in the 500, so does Dale. With combined everything, I can see only very, very positive.
Certainly challenging but looking forward to. I’m sure with the testing, very limited, but I’m sure we can find a good speed and a competitiveness as soon as we could.
Q. Can you tell me a bit about the excitement level of joining a new team. Is it sort of like a new beginning in your career?
TAKUMA SATO: Yeah, I mean, just exciting. Just like a kid have a new Christmas present. It’s just excitement as well a little bit nervous in what’s going on. We just don’t know. Moving to the new team isn’t necessarily always easy thing.
The flipside, it’s always dramatically exciting because the future we can make it together. That hope and excitement is the same level between team and myself. We both very, very, yeah, looking forward to the first race.
Q. August of 2020 as you’re pounding down the milk after the win, empty grandstands. Eight months later you walk out to some cheers. What were the feelings like coming out in May?
TAKUMA SATO: Absolutely, 2020 was a difficult season for entire world, right? But we have to be appreciated actually we race there, even there’s no spectators, for the sake of safety for everyone else.
Still win is a special day for me. It was a fantastic day. But the last year, 2021, when we come back to see even 50%, 150,000 people, looked like full. It just feel the joy of this is how we supposed to be as just name of the sport. Indy 500 has to have a spectators with that.
Coming to 2022 season, hopefully with the situation obviously challenging again, but hopefully we will see 100% of spectators. We are super excited as the fan will be.
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Ed Carpenter. Welcome back. Another year. You got a busy plate of drivers, races, goals are probably still the same. Rinus VeeKay. You signed Conor Daly. You’re in a driver suit still yourself.
ED CARPENTER: Still got it on somehow (smiling).
THE MODERATOR: What are your thoughts coming into this one?
ED CARPENTER: I’m excited. It’s nice to have some continuity, expand the continuity a little bit. For me obviously still chasing Indianapolis and as many other races and wins as I can compete in.
With Rinus, looking forward to year three. He had a lot of success over his first two seasons, had a breakthrough win last year. Also had some inconsistency last year which you can see at times in year two.
I think he’s entering the phase of his career where he’s starting to mature as a driver and also a person, becoming more independent. At the end of the day he’s still a kid, he’s so young. So I think you’re just going to see him come into his own skin and talent even more so this year.
I know Conor, having worked with him, I think he’ll benefit from being able to focus a little better on one team, one home, not bouncing around, looking for his next opportunity. Looking forward to that continuity.
The two of them did work well together over the past two years. Having a good understanding of each other to be able to carry that forward I think will be a good thing for the team.
THE MODERATOR: You’ll run two cars at all the races except Indianapolis?
ED CARPENTER: That’s what we’re confirmed for today. That could change.
THE MODERATOR: Is it difficult to say or you’re really pursuing yourself in some oval races?
ED CARPENTER: No, we’re definitely working towards me doing some more, but just not to a point we’re going to lock it in yet. I have a desire to race more. This opportunity came about that kind of steered us that direction as a team and business. When you get those, to me it was very similar to the process of me not running full-time in 2014.
This is a great opportunity for our business with a new partner coming in to transition the 20 car to one full-time driver. I know I’ll be at Indy. Maybe you’ll see me at some or all of the other ovals.
THE MODERATOR: That means a different car number for you?
ED CARPENTER: Yeah, I think so.
THE MODERATOR: Do we know?
ED CARPENTER: There’s a couple candidates. We haven’t fully come to agreement yet, but…
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Was the decision to make the 20 car full-time based purely on financials or were there other reasons behind it?
ED CARPENTER: The 20’s been full-time. Moving it to one driver versus a split role I think is what you’re alluding to.
Yeah, I mean, everything we do at some level is partnership related. We had the fortune to bring on BitNile as a partner. They were looking for one driver to go behind for the season. I’m definitely not going to go back to running road courses outside of an emergency sub situation if required.
Definitely sponsor, business driven for sure.
Q. Obviously Rinus has already been discussed as a future champion, multiple race wins across a season. How do you feel about keeping hold of him in the long-term? If he has a good season, it’s great for the team, but means he’s more talked about as well.
ED CARPENTER: Yeah, that’s natural. I think some years there’s more movement than others. Every team’s after talent, whether it’s behind the wheel or on the car, the engineering office. I don’t remember an off-season that’s gone by where I haven’t had to defend myself from within from someone wanting to get a driver, engineer, mechanic.
It’s the nature of the beast, what we do. You can’t prevent it. You just have to try to provide an environment and opportunity from within that makes them want to stay with Ed Carpenter Racing.
I know Rinus enjoys his environment right now. It’s our job to make sure we’re providing him with opportunity to meet his goals that he has personally and professionally, give him a place where he can accomplish those.
We both want the same thing. If we have a successful year, I think we’ll be positioned well to carry on. If he feels like he needs something else, he’ll be able to pursue that when he can.
The goal is for him to be with Ed Carpenter Racing for a long time.
Q. You mentioned a couple minutes ago putting Conor in a car with one team. He tweeted this was a multi-year deal. You said maybe the comfort that might bring him. What do you hope to see more of from Conor this year knowing he’s going to have a full season in the car, planning and scheming for what his future in 2023 is going to look like?
ED CARPENTER: Yeah, I think we have a good feel for each other. Conor knows where we’ve struggled and what our emphasis has been as a team to improve. We’ve been working with him long enough that we know what his strengths are and areas for improvement on his end as well.
For sure Conor, he’s fast, he’s been able to produce good qualifying results and have some good runs. I think the goal for him this season is to maintain that pace that he’s shown throughout the rest of a weekend. That’s not pointing the finger at him and saying he needs to do that, it’s a group effort. That will be the collective focus, to finish off weekends a little better than we were able to last year.
Q. You’ve seen INDYCAR on this upward swing, growth arc. We have 14 races on network TV, some added momentum in some other areas. What would you like to see the series do to continue on this upward swing and take advantage of some of these opportunities you have this year?
ED CARPENTER: I think we need to do everything in our power, which I believe that everyone is, to make sure the product we’re putting out there with this opportunity that we have, with the growing number of network races, to be putting the right product out to market to continue the growth, not only cater to the great fans that we have but to draw in more fans and grow the base.
At the end of the day that’s going to be the thing that continues to drive us forward. We have a great product, but it can always be better. That needs to be the goal.
Q. With regards to the upcoming year, you came close to getting a podium at Indianapolis. What would it mean to get back to the podium this season?
ED CARPENTER: That’s the plan. Indy was a tough one last year. We had a great car. We were right where we wanted to be the first stint, had a pit lane stall for some reason. I thought I made a mistake, but there was a bit of an anomaly that caused that. Spent the rest of the 450 miles catching up just to get to the lead pack for the race to end.
I still feel really good about the cars that we have for there. Just need to be able to get through with a clean execution the whole way, be in position for it.
We just got back to the front too late last year.
Q. What impressed you about Rinus as a driver?
ED CARPENTER: I mean, he’s just one of those rare guys that comes along that is an exceptionally talented, naturally gifted driving a car, maximizing the car. He never gives up. He’s pretty strong at all types of circuits that we go to, whether it’s short oval, speedway, road course, street course, he’s pretty versatile.
He definitely has all the tools to develop into a champion. That’s the goal with him, is to get a championship.
THE MODERATOR: Rinus VeeKay had an injury last year mid-season after Indianapolis. Never really found his stride afterwards. Do you have some commonalities that help explain that?
ED CARPENTER: That’s been a big topic of conversation internally and a lot of other people have asked that, as well.
Certainly I think it was a setback in preparation training, et cetera. The other thing that I think factored in a little bit late in the year, he went to a couple venues that he hadn’t been to or raced at in the past with the way the previous season was. I think there’s a combination of factors that took place. In some instances we just didn’t do a good enough job executing through an event.
At the end of the day it’s not something that’s making me lose sleep at night. I’m pretty confident that as a group we’ll get back on track.
THE MODERATOR: You talked about your problems early in the Indy 500 last year. The second half of the race was one of your best segments. Is that as good as it’s been except for the year maybe you finished second?
ED CARPENTER: In its entirety, yeah. I think we had a really good car, we were fast, not quite good enough in traffic. Had we not had that issue, could have just been in the top five all day, I think it would have given us an opportunity to finish higher than what we did.
Yeah, I think the team collectively, we had really good cars. Conor led the most laps, Rinus was up there leading as well. We had what we needed. We just didn’t put together a complete race with any of the three cars.
THE MODERATOR: Back to the Zoom for more questions.
Q. For 2023 there’s quite a radical difference coming both with the power unit, other parts of the car. How much time can you focus on the 2022 car when you’re also having to have people off to the side investigating all your possibilities for the ’23 machine?
ED CARPENTER: I would say for the most part right now with the information that we currently have access to, we’re really focused on the now and this coming season. There’s going to be a point in time probably after we get through the month of May where we’ll start getting more information and getting more involved directly with the next season’s changes.
But as we sit here today, the ball’s not really in our court, so to speak, on that side of things, on the preparation. It’s going to come before the season’s over. I feel like we’re prepared as a group to manage that. But right now everyone’s focus is on 2022.
Q. As a part-time driver, you’re eligible to be Chevrolet’s test driver for the 2023 spec engines.
ED CARPENTER: Yeah, I don’t know how all that’s going to shake out yet. I’ll definitely do whatever I’m asked to do.
Q. Conor had a really good run at the 500 last year. Obviously you want to win it as a driver. What would it mean to you to win it as a team owner? Was there a point when you looked up and said, Oh, crap, I have a good chance to win this with one of my other cars?
ED CARPENTER: First off, I’ll be happy, for sure be happy, if any of our team cars can win. Everything we do is as a group and a unit. That doesn’t mean that I would not want to win it myself if I got to pick.
We definitely go there with the same intention on every one of our cars and every one of our drivers. It’s hard to say what my emotions would be like as far as happy meter personally and professionally. Either way it’s an accomplishment.
I know from seeing how Bryan Herta, for example, reacted with winning it as an owner, it’s equally as impactful for what we’re doing, which is on a different level.
As far as it goes in the race, I don’t really pay attention to that so much or think about that. Obviously I’ll see and know when they’re up there, but really just focus on my own race and cockpit at that point, not thinking about scenarios like that, just staying focused on my job at that moment.
Q. There’s a lot of popular drivers that have been in this race, but you’ll always go down as the hometown boy, hometown hero. You get great cheers from the fans in qualifying and in the race. How important is that to you?
ED CARPENTER: I mean, it makes it fun. At the end of the day what we’re doing is fun. We’re all extremely lucky to be able to drive race cars for a living, to be able to drive INDYCARS for a living, compete in the Indy 500, the greatest race in the world. It definitely makes it more fun.
The year there was no one there, it was awful. It wasn’t the same. I think it was an eye opener for everybody. Once we got going, you move past it. The energy level and the excitement just wasn’t the same with no one there.
Yeah, it’s gratifying. When you’re around a long time, people eventually like you, so… Thankful for that (smiling).
Q. What is your approach to training during that time and staying in shape? What kind of guidance do you give to the other guys to be able to put up with the season?
ED CARPENTER: I’ve worked with the same trainer for quite a while. We have our routine kind of that’s evolved over the years as my schedule has changed and I have to balance my driver schedule and owner schedule. Conor and I actually work with the same trainer so we train together I would say 75% of the time, schedule permitting.
Rinus himself, he’s had someone that he’s worked with in the past. He just made a change in working with the same trainer as me somewhat now as well.
I don’t question any of our guys’ preparation.
THE MODERATOR: Thought your training was chasing children.
ED CARPENTER: That’s what I do from 4:30 to whenever I go to sleep.
THE MODERATOR: Asher, you’re on, brother.
Q. Is there still any contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay on getting in?
ED CARPENTER: I talk to Ryan still because we’re friends. We have been for a long time. I’m not sure that there’s really an opportunity at the here and now, which Ryan and I have talked about. But I will always continue to talk to Ryan because he’s a good guy. I’m sure he’ll end up being around at some point, whether it’s with us or someone else because he definitely still has a desire to be here.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll start off the afternoon session with the 2021NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion, the driver of the No. 10NTT Data Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing, Alex Palou.
The first question will be the easy one: how tough do you think it will be to defend the championship?
ALEX PALOU: It’s always tough. 2021 was really, really tough what we went through learning with a new team, learning still some racetracks, still learning how to race with the INDYCAR.
Yeah, it was a good year. I think we’ll have a lot of competition this year. We have new drivers in different teams. We have new drivers from other places. It’s going to be challenging. But, yeah, we’ve been working as if last year we lost it and I think we’ll be ready to try and fight again.
THE MODERATOR: You walk into the room, you’re not going to sneak up on anybody now. Last year I think winning the first race, putting yourself in title contention, may have been a surprise. Do you feel any extra pressure this year coming in as the defending champion?
ALEX PALOU: No. I think we always have pressure in all kind of sports, but especially motorsport where you need to show your potential in order to get a new contract, right? We always have pressure, but I don’t think I have added pressure from last year. I would say I even have less.
But I don’t think that’s a good or bad thing. We already showed we’re capable of winning a championship, winning races and being up there. We just need to do it again.
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Your off-season, what has it been like? I know some of the championship things you got to do. What has it been like for you? A bit of a whirlwind or have you had time to let it soak in?
ALEX PALOU: Oh, yeah. I think three weeks or four weeks after Long Beach it was really busy. I didn’t really have time to sit down and just relax.
But, yeah, then I flew to Spain with the family. I did some trips over there. I had some vacation. So, yeah, it was good time, good family time, good relaxing time. Was good for preparation.
Q. How were you celebrated in Spain? How did the Spanish media and fans celebrate your accomplishment? Was it a big deal to them?
ALEX PALOU: It was good. It was great. I think it was great. I think it’s growing over there. Obviously having somebody from Spain winning the championship makes INDYCAR a bit more known in Spain. Yeah, hopefully we can keep it going and getting even more fans.
Q. Last year you said having Jimmie Johnson to be able to bounce ideas off of is very important to you because he knows how to be a champion, helped you become a champion. Now he’s going to be full-time. How much are you going to be able to use that to your benefit, to have a guy like that?
ALEX PALOU: Yeah, I would say same as what we did in 2021. He only skipped like three or four races, so it was not much. He was always on the racetrack or at the phone. I see him a lot. It’s great.
But not only him, also having T.K., he’s going for another Indy 500. And having Scott Dixon there also. As I said, it’s a great group of guys. I think it’s even stronger than last year because we didn’t really know each other. Yeah, should be a good year.
Q. You said towards the end of last season when Scott has been helping you out that you hoped that winning the championship he would continue to answer your questions. Has that been the case so far?
ALEX PALOU: Yeah, we didn’t really talk too much. Yeah, we did, but not about racing.
But, yeah, as soon as we get back to racing in Daytona this week and next week, I’ll continue. Now we are like sharing the car. He’s going to be more interested on teaching me.
Yeah, I think it’s really good. I still have a lot to learn from Scott Dixon.
Q. I have to ask, did you acquire any new KFC sponsorship on your outfit or on the car this year?
ALEX PALOU: Not yet. We are working on it, yeah (smiling).
Q. At Long Beach last year you cited three or four potential areas where you still reckon there’s room for improvement. Speaking to Julian over the winter, he said the only thing you really need to do is gain more experience on ovals. Are you able to share what any of the other two or three things that you still want to improve on are or is that still a secret?
ALEX PALOU: I’m not going to get a lot into details obviously.
But, yeah, I think ovals obviously. I think I’ve done maybe a bit less than 10 oval races during my career between 2020 and 2021. Maybe just 10. I have a long way of getting more experience, knowing how to race, getting the confidence once we get to a new or different track.
Yeah, oval is a good part. Qualifying, I think it’s another part. Starting more up front, getting one-lap speed should be a priority for us. We’ve always been able – not always – but constantly able to be around Fast 6 or top 10, which is great. We only got one pole position.
Hopefully that’s going to improve and make our life easier during the races.
Q. Did you feel your performance at both Indy and when you were going through the field at Gateway like a rocket, does that give you a lot of encouragement that the ovals will come quickly to you?
ALEX PALOU: Yeah, for sure. Indy was a really big learning curve for me since I started with crash in qualifying. We got the confidence back. Suddenly we were leading the Indy 500 not knowing how.
I think having a bit more experience would have made the position one a little bit better. It was great. I think it was good to learn from Helio.
Gateway was really good. I was surprised with how the car was handling and how easy it was to get through the field. Yeah, hopefully when we go to Texas, Iowa and again Indy, I’m going to have more confidence and we’re going to be able to start more up front and try and win my first oval race.
Q. Obviously you’re going into the season as defending champion. Does that give you added pressure or are you relaxed a little bit going into the season knowing you’ve already won the championship?
ALEX PALOU: No, as I said before, it doesn’t really add pressure. It’s not that I’m relaxed either. Just winning one championship, it means but it doesn’t mean a lot. You need to continue winning races and championships to still be valued as a champion.
Yeah, I think it’s going to be good having the target in our car. It’s always good when people is chasing you. But 2022 is going to be brand-new. We’re going to start everybody with zero points, with new people around us, new teams, new tracks that we’ll go to as well.
Yeah, should be a fun year.
Q. What are you expecting from the Rolex? It usually draws a big field. You’re going to go as the INDYCAR champion. Is that going to give you some swagger in that paddock?
ALEX PALOU: I’m really excited. It’s going to be my first 24 hour race. It’s going to be big. Having my first 24 hours being in Daytona with DPi and the team I am, with the drivers I’m sharing, it’s going to be pretty awesome. I’m really, really excited. I think it’s going to be a great event. I cannot wait to be there on track and start doing laps.
Q. You’ve raced some other stuff since INDYCAR ended, right?
ALEX PALOU: Yes. I only did one race just because there was no more. I did one race, I don’t know how you call it here, but it was dirt, it was on dirt. It was my first race on dirt in Spain. Yeah, I didn’t do really well. I was fast, but I didn’t know how to race. It was fun. We’ll do more at the end of the year.
Q. You had some adversity last year with some engine penalties, second GP at IMS, what happened at Gateway. Where did you learn to rebound from that? Each time you came back from having those poor events.
ALEX PALOU: I don’t know. I guess I’ve been through tough times when I was a kid in go-kart racing. I don’t mean personal, I mean professionally. You learn that it’s about perseverance and always being up there willing to work, working harder.
At the end of the day we do, what, 17 races. We won the championship and only won three races. You’re going to have a lot of bad days before you win the championship or before the great days come.
Yeah, I don’t know. It’s been working good. I’m living my dream and doing what I love to do. Yeah, that’s not going to change.
Q. Last year on these calls someone asked you whether you (indiscernible) Fernando Alonso to be the first Spaniard to win a race. You got some pushback saying it was you. A year later you delivered most of the wins. You talked about how you were received in Spain. I would be curious if you could expand what returning to your home country was like, if you feel you’ve been starting to get a little bit more respect in the motorsports world in America or back home?
ALEX PALOU: Yeah, I remember that question. The day after was like, Alex is saying he’s going to be the only Spanish guy to win a race next year.
I was like, No.
Yeah, I think it worked out. I just said that because I was convinced that I had a great team around me and that we had the chance to win the first one. INDYCAR was starting before F1.
I think it’s going to be still the same this year. INDYCAR is growing in Spain and Europe, I think also in the U.S. People are realizing how challenging and how fun the races are.
Yeah, hopefully we can do it again and we can have a good year.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Alex, for your time.
ALEX PALOU: Thank you.