Q: Derrick, a couple fans had pretty good questions the last couple weeks to me and said, "Look, the competition has never been better and everybody is clamoring, we've got to have more innovations, we've got to go back to the old days of breaking the speed record." It's a fine line and delicate balance. Where do you stand on innovation and how far it can be taken? You really probably have to lean on Will Phillips as far as aerodynamics and things like that.
WALKER: Well, as I said earlier, Indianapolis and the Indy cars was and should be about innovation. The thing that's happened over the years, if you look at the evolution of racing, we got very smart, we got very good at doing the things, and we made cars better and better and we went faster and faster. One day, you know, there were less people in the stands for whatever reasons, and the cost of racing became a major talking point. A major concern is survival and the cost. So it's a delicate balance between innovation, the speed, the cost of racing. Any number of factors that you've got to take into account.
But I think if you look at what our goal has to be or should be, is to open up that door just enough to allow it to grow and improve and innovate, but yet keep it in a measurable amount, not only the teams but the manufacturers, every supplier that is involved in our business. It doesn't price them out of the market. We can't have in the U.S. – maybe in other parts of the world it works, but we can't have such a super-expensive series that the fans can't afford to come along and buy a ticket. And we're racing in front of, you know, lots and lots of people that don't turn up. So getting that balance I think is going to be key.
Q: Mark, can you talk a little bit about what, if anything, is going to change for Beaux Barfield, Brian Barnhart and Will Phillips with this?
MILES: Well, we don't anticipate changes in that team. They are committed to us and we to them. They will continue to add value, but they will report to Derrick. And I have no doubt that they can be more stitched together as a team. I think one of the things our organization can improve on across the board is the extent to which we work closely together and communicate better and break down silos and plan a little farther ahead. Without any way meaning to be critical of those folks who we will count on going forward, I think Derrick brings a practical approach that's so well grounded in the technical aspects of it, that they will be a higher-performing team under his leadership.
Q: Derrick, after what was arguably the best street race in the history of street races at Brazil, there's a lot of comments about the push-to-pass being a gimmick, you know, the limited numbers and all that. What's your feeling about that and what direction would you like to see it go in the future, with, without?
WALKER: Well, push-to-pass is maybe perceived as a gimmick, but in actual fact it's a response to today's world and reality that racecars become incredibly close because the technology and the know-how that migrates from team to team or the way teams structure their racing, that the cars become very even.
Q: Mark, do you foresee you and Derrick working together collaborating on some of the things you've mentioned in the press, your desires to see not just technology but speed become more of IndyCar's future, and is it more of a collaborative process you're looking at for 2014 and beyond, or do you think that's something you can jump start right away?
MILES: Our relationship, in general, will be collaborative. Derrick is a good communicator; he's an early riser, as am I. So there will be lots of contact on a daily basis, I'm sure, and I'm looking forward to that.
On the particular question of speed, I would have said -- I would reframe the question, if I could, to talk about speed and safety, which to me have to go hand in hand. I'm sure that's a widely held view. It's something that we've talked about; it's something that I believe is part of IndyCar. We're the fastest series, and it's part of our brand, it's part of what we're about. But we're not quite as fast as we used to be, so if we can work through Derrick and through the paddock to think of ways to make incremental improvements in that, I think that's a good thing. We'll be talking more about that perhaps before long. So, yeah, I think it will be a team effort. But we're going to count on Derrick to help shepherd us through that process.
Q: Brian Barnhart has been director or president of competition. Will he still be that and work with Derrick on that, or will Derrick be at the racetrack and director of competition? Is that the on-track product as opposed to putting it to the track?
MILES: So Brian – it will be a team, but Brian's primary job will be what we think of as operations. Beaux (Barfield) is the guy at race control and Will (Phillips) is the guy at engineering and Jon (Koskey) is the guy scoring and timing, etc. They'll each have their specific responsibilities reporting to Derrick, and they'll operate as a team so that I think they'll have the ability to contribute to the broader challenges that they face. But Brian's primary responsibility will be with respect to operations.
Q: And Derrick, you had mentioned the push-to-pass, you were talking about that and using it to pass in areas where cars can't. Well, I'm sure you've been observant enough to realize even though the drivers say in Brazil there's no place to pass, sure as hell they found it. At Birmingham, they found it. It seems that this new car races extremely well, and where in the past, the older car, they had one line through a corner, they've got now two and sometimes three. The racing, it seems to me, is wide open; if you're a good enough driver you get by. You don't need the push-to-pass, maybe.
No, there was other technical reasons that went with that, which was good. And that's what racing is all about and should be about. But like I say, I don't think it's, you know, necessary that you use it every time, either.