With two DNFs from the first two 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series races, and standing 26th and last in points, Tony Kanaan's 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series couldn't have started much worse, and looks for Long Beach to be the turning point. He spoke with RACER web editor Tony DiZinno about what's happened so far and hopefully what's to come.
Q: Well, I'm guessing you certainly didn't expect to be 26th in points after two races!
Tony Kanaan: It's been a tough beginning, obviously. Having the troubles we had in the first two races, being dead last wasn't something I expected. It's the circumstances that they are. To be honest it is what it is.
It's really easy to lose the patience, and go crazy. As in last year, we were a new team, we didn't test, and we were good straight out of the box. Now we have engineer, mechanics you want, the teammate that you want, and doing a lot worse? You can't really compare those, though.
I'm trying to keep the atmosphere up. It's easier having Eric around. We trust each other, we've worked together for so long. We're not doubting that we can do better. To be honest we can't do any worse!
Q: Still, it has to fit like a glove having your longtime engineer, Eric Cowdin, back.
TK: Oh yeah, big time. As a normal human being, if I was this bad in the beginning, if it was anyone else, I'd be second guessing a lot of things and people. It's human nature. But having him back, I know the results are coming. We're addressing the things we need to.
Q: Has Rubens Barrichello's influence and integration been what you expected so far?
TK: Well, yeah, the obvious is that we'll mingle and build the team. We know each other so well, it's been great. That does a lot to keep my spirits up. I took him to Vegas for the first time the last two days. We didn't go crazy, but the guy has traveled the world in everything he's done. And yet there, he has no clue! What's the strategy? What's the Strip like? It's always been a plus, and as a friend, you can share things from either perspective.
He was busting my balls because he's 10th in the championship, only 37 points ahead, but if it's an advantage for him being there and me 26th – I can rub it in and say, in 2004 who was the champion?
Q: I'm guessing the mentality is basically that you have nothing to lose this weekend?
TK: Oh definitely. We already lost 10 spots to begin with! Honestly it's just, like you said, more people around me will be more worried about that than we are. I can only move forward. I'm not sure I'd go crazy about it.
Q: Lastly, this has been a special place for you, going back to your first pole in 1999. Looking back, what was that weekend like?
TK: It really is. I had a bet with all my mechanics at the time. I said, “If I put on pole, you'll all give me your watches.” And I won like 19 watches that day.
It was such great memories for my first pole on that day. That night I went to dinner at a place across the street, and Mario Andretti comes over to me – my second year in Champ Car – and says, “Son, very good job. It's a very tough track. You did well.” I was impressed. It was one-off for that track, and then they changed it, so I have the record.