I also want to pay tribute to Graham Rahal for his excellent performance in Baltimore, even if the result didn't reflect it. But I have to say, we weren't surprised by it because he's shown quite a few flashes of brilliance this year, actually. But he put it all together as a racer and his Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing team put it all together for him. He did what everyone expects him to do. I thought it was a fantastic performance. What you saw was a young guy who has a lot of natural ability and a great resource to draw from, and he took full advantage of it. We were all excited about it to be honest.
Our NASCAR team, as you'll be aware, has had a tougher time lately, even though they were running particularly well in Atlanta a couple of races ago and had great racecars in Richmond on Saturday night. But a friend of mine (who is in a different kind of racing and will remain nameless) was in North Carolina last week, and he was given a tour of the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing facility there. Afterward he called me and said, “I can't believe how well prepared and how good the cars are that your guys race in NASCAR. The attention to detail both in the fabrication shop and in the way the cars are put together is as good as anything I've ever seen.”
I have to say, I agree, especially compared to the way our cars were years ago. Those guys down there have a massive sense of pride for how important it is to have the best product on the racetrack. That's the first step to get where you want to go, because it creates a culture where everybody then participates equally and that's the next step. You've got to get that right as a team. It can't be all about one driver: it has to be about all the drivers and all the team members as they all have to pull together as one. When you get that part of it right, combined with world-class drivers, the next thing you work on is racecraft. That's what builds the momentum you need to win championships. That's the direction those guys are working in now together. I think you'll see great things from those guys.
People wonder about how a two-car team can compete with the multi-car outfits at say a Roush Fenway Racing or Hendrick Motorsports. Well I'd say that Hendrick appears to operate as two two-car teams and seems to do a pretty good job with at least one set of their drivers all the time. So I think a two-car team, when properly managed, can run and race with those guys; the depth of information is probably the discussion point.
On the IndyCar side, we have benefited from having that extra data from running Graham and Charlie Kimball alongside the Target drivers. That has really helped Dario and Scott. We look at what they do, we look at their information and look at what they do with the information we provide them and what they can do with Dario's setup or Scott's setup. We also look to see what direction they went in during practice or qualifying because they may have tried some things we wanted to try and never got to.
So, four cars can help, but how you manage the extra data will decide whether you gain from it. If you can't make positive use of what you're learning, having four cars is not going to do you any good. Managed correctly it can be a huge help, and Graham's and Charlie's efforts can prove vital first to how they perform in the final three rounds of the IndyCar championship, but also enhance how Scott finishes in the championship and Dario's quest for three consecutive IndyCar titles.
In the meantime, let's hope our TELMEX BMW Grand-Am team can scoop us three titles on Saturday at Mid-Ohio!
Thanks for reading.