JAY PENSKE: "Certainly we have got over 150 years of open‑wheel experience in terms of the crew. Even though we had a tough off‑season, we were able to retain almost 70 percent of our core team, our chief mechanic, our team manager; the core group stayed in place. It's great that Paul has been able to work with Eric Zeto, our race engineer before.We are bringing the best people that we can bring this upcoming weekend and I think it's difficult without having any time to test. But we spent an awful lot of time in the off‑season trying to get this car ready for the season and we hope the results will show on Sunday."
With your last name being Penske, it would be easy for people to think, since your dad has been such a legacy in open‑wheel and the success he's had, people say if his dad is good, his son is probably going to be good, as well. Just talk about striking out on your own and making sure that you get your stamp and your footprint on this team.
"Listen, there's a lot of different ways to go about these things. You see a lot of families and the legacies and traditions in racing, whether it be Andrettis or Rahals and Foyts and people working together over time.
"I think I started my own business when I was at the Wharton School and continued to venture out, and in the automotive business, per se, or trucking business like my father is. But built my own successful business on the publishing and media side, and I think the race team with Steve Luczo is something that I started at the beginning, trying to create a championship team; these things don't happen overnight. But it's finding the right people and investing in the right kind of drivers and this is something we are building for the long term."
Paul, obviously it was difficult to find sponsors. What kept you motivated to go through all of this and deal with all of this? You are such an accomplished racecar driver, why even bother? Why not say I'm happy being at home and relaxing.
PAUL TRACY: "I'm not happy being at home and relaxing, that's the problem. I haven't been able to find anything in my life that gives me the satisfaction and fills my needs of what it is – what is my being. Trust me, I've got plenty of toys. I have motorcycles and boats and sand rails and you name any go‑fast thing, I've got it, and nothing fills my needs like driving a racecar.
"I'm not at the point where I'm ready to stay home and watch TV. I get frustrated watching. I want to be on the track and I want to be competing. And I know that I can compete at a high level. So you know, like I said, this is a great opportunity; of the last three years, to be with drag on is the best team and best level of equipment I've had to date. So I'm real fired up."
Jay, were [former partners] Gil de Ferran and Steve Luczo given the option to rejoin you this time or were they just burned out by the whole off‑season?
JAY PENSKE: "Well, it's a good question. Two things: One, although Steve Luczo's name is not on the car in terms of being with Dragon Racing any longer, I think he and I will remain partners for many years to come. He's one of my closest friends in the world, and I'm the godfather to his kid and anything I do in racing will likely involve Steve Luczo in some way.
"I think Gil and I still remain very close friends, and I think he's out pursuing other opportunities. You know, it was a tough off‑season for everyone. We were all of close to putting together a tremendous deal. The market is tough, as you heard the other questions in regard to Paul, this is a difficult market to raise sponsorship in. But I think the series is improving; the amount of cars on track is a great testament to that. I think the idea here is Dragon Racing, this is a kind of new beginning for us. And we are hoping that Paul ends his career with us next year, we can put together a full‑time program and continue to build for the future."
On your sponsorship deal, were these sponsors that you had like waiting in the wings? It seems to have come together pretty quick after the team announced they were not going to have Tony. Is this a whole new slate of sponsors, in other words?
"Yeah, Paul had been working hard. Brian Marks from top seed management had done a great job working with Paul to get these leads and activations happening. Paul had a few that he had brought in from last year. So I think a combination of the two is going to get us, not through even this season, but into next season, as well."
It's going to be a novelty to see three Canadians at the Indy race in Toronto, now that James Hinchcliffe is going to be joining the ranks. What are your impressions of James so far?
PAUL TRACY: "Well, obviously, he got off to a little bit of a rocky start but he is a rookie. It's his first race. So you know, you can't really judge somebody on their first time out. He obviously showed speed in qualifying. He qualified quite well. I've been around James for quite a long time. The whole time I was in the Forsythe organization, he was a junior driver on the team for a large part of that in the Atlantics. I've been a little bit of a mentor to him, giving him advice and know his father quite well.
"It's a much different environment than Atlantic or Indy Lights. You know, now you're competing against guys who are not going to give you an inch. So he's definitely got a learning curve but I think he's a great young driver and I think he's still only about 22 or 23 years old, so he's got plenty of time."
How important is it for you to see another Canadian driver just make it in – or is Hinchcliffe just competition, basically?
"It's great to see another Canadian driver make it in but I'm not ready – it's competition, as well. I'm out there to beat him as much as the next guy. So I'm not ready to hand over the reins yet."