Q & A with Tim Cindric and Mike Hull
Q. Did you expect the season to be another championship that goes down to the final race?
MIKE HULL: You know what, it would be great to be in a position to go to the last race and just know that by completing the first lap you would win the championship. But based on the way we have raced all year, that wouldn't be fair. It wouldn't do it the positive service that it needs.
I think racing to win, and racing to win against all three guys, Ryan, Dario and Scott, that's the way you should race for a title. So we are excited about it.
TIM CINDRIC: From our end, without a doubt. I'm a little different than Mike. Certainly we can come in there after Japan, with the lead we had in there, and walk into this thing and be ready to start and say that the next step is how to celebrate, but certainly things change.
You look at it all year long; you look at Indianapolis – that was another example where it looked like the Target guys had that race under control and things changed. It looked, until Japan, as if we finally had somewhat of a leg up on this championship and fate changed dramatically there.
So without a doubt, coming into this last race, if you look at the three guys there, it's all going to come down to the three of those guys trying to win this race, which is what it should be for the fans.
Q. You guys are normally set up close to each other on pit road, how much of a professional rivalry is there between the two teams? And when I say "professional rivalry," I mean that in a positive way.
TIM CINDRIC: Although Mike yells at me once in a while, I think the key to that really is watching not what Mike and I talk about, or what the drivers look at each other and talk about. It's more I think you can see it through the body language of the teams. I think that over the years of racing each other and being in that close proximity, especially in those pit boxes, you watch the Rickys (Davis) and the (Rick) Rinamans and those kind of guys that are leading their peers there, those are the ones that have a pretty huge mutual respect for one another. And I think that at the end of the day, they know what it takes to compete at this level.
MIKE HULL: I think you aspire to race with the best people, and with the way that our pits are chosen for us presently, we are racing against a race team in Penske Racing that in my estimation is the best team in racing to be racing against. And as Tim said, you get to see everybody firsthand. You see what happens. And our guys practice and practice and practice and practice to be the best, and I think if we knew how many hours the Penske guys logged, I bet it would be pretty close to the same.
So it's enjoyable to race with them, and in terms of being next to them, that's where we want to be.
Q. What was Ryan Briscoe's mindset after Japan, and everything that happened, and do you have to work with him to bring his mood back up, just stay focused on the big picture? And I guess for both of you, the kind of racing that you expect at Homestead now with it being later in the year, and with so much at stake and the intensity.
TIM CINDRIC: In terms of Ryan and Japan, without a doubt, he's certainly one of those guys, and Roger (Penske) is not in those situations the one that's going to stand up and yell at you about what has already obviously occurred. Silence tells you everything in our camp.
But Ryan, No. 1, he's a class act to actually go and do some of the interviews that he did after the race and try and at least give the people what they wanted to know in his own words. But his comments to me were, ‘All I can do is promise you that I'm going to give everything I have to finish this thing off, and I'm focused on Homestead and what happened here today happened here today,' and that's all you can do.
I think when we went there to test, and his preparation is all about looking forward, what's done is done is kind of our approach.
MIKE HULL: I think, in motor racing, you continually prove to yourself that you have to work hard to get the most out of today. And if you do that enough, you get the results that get you to have the opportunity to win championships. It would be great to trade, like in Monopoly, with Tim on a couple of things that he's gotten to do that I haven't gotten to do.
But what you try to do is you try to get the most out of the day, and that's what we have proved. Dario won at Long Beach, Scott has won this year since then, and guess what, we have got a chance to win a championship. And so that's really the most important thing.