Our first two IndyCar races, by contrast, have been tough – it's been a case of what could have been. That applies particularly in St. Pete, where we were very competitive. I don't know if we would have won, but we certainly had a top-five car. A race like that gives you a lot of hope and enthusiasm for the year, but you'd like to come out of the box strong with a result.
Last weekend at Barber, we got held up by another car in qualifying, so we didn't make the top 12. I have no doubt we would have been in without the problem. In the race, we had another mechanical failure, and it happens. There's nothing you can do about it. You just have to take the good things away from the performance. We need to solve the bad things.
There's a lot left for us. What's been good is that Takuma has shown he's a real racer, and a real racecar driver. He'll run in the top six, I have no doubt. Am I disappointed? Well yes, but I'm still hopeful with what's ahead.
I think Honda and Chevrolet are pretty close overall. The trap speeds are about within a mile an hour of each other. I don't think we'll really know until Indy, where it's all about power, and see what happens.
That's one element that has added to the racing, but the competition this year is great. People have criticized IndyCar these days saying the drivers aren't as good as they were in the '80s and '90s. I think that's nonsense. I think the quality of our drivers today is as good, if not better.
It's very competitive, and you saw that by witnessing such a great race at Barber. It's supposed to be difficult to pass, but there was passing everywhere. The tires had great variations in performance, and that meant you really had to set the car up for a balance. Some became tougher to drive as a result. In the end, I think the guys earned their money last Sunday!
We're just now starting our oval testing. The new oval aero kit is interesting looking, I can tell you that!
Now we've got Long Beach for both teams next weekend. I love going to Long Beach; I always have. It's such a great event, and great weekend. If you love racing and California, it doesn't get better.
We feel pretty good about our repeat chances with our BMW by just keeping doing what we're doing. To be back in the IndyCar race again is great, as it was always one of my favorites as a driver.
With Takuma we should be competitive, and we will be in ALMS. It gets your blood pumping when you're in a place like that, with the opportunity to do really well.
Bobby Rahal and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing competes with Takuma Sato in the No. 15 Dallara-Honda in the IZOD IndyCar Series and with two BMW M3s in the American Le Mans Series. To learn more about the team, go to www.rahal.com. Rahal is also on Twitter at @BobRahal.