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NASCAR MEDIA CONFERENCE
August 7, 2007
HERB BRANHAM: Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the weekly NASCAR teleconference in advance of this weekend's events at Watkins Glen International and Watkins Glen New York. We have two races on tap, Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series race, the Zippo 200, and Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup series event, the Centurian Boats at the Glen.
I have a couple of very special guests today, which collectively gives us a teleconference with truly international flavor. First off with a Colombian native entered in both events this week, Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the No. 42 Texaco Havoline Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing. Juan already has two road course wins this season. He won the NASCAR Busch Series race in Mexico City and the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway.
Following Juan on the call, we'll have Patrick Carpentier, the Frenchman who made his NASCAR debut this past weekend, taking the pole and finishing second in the NASCAR Busch Series event in Montreal. Patrick is also entered in both Glen events. He's slated to drive the No. 22 Supercuts Dodge on Saturday, then he'll aim to make his NASCAR Nextel Cup debut on Sunday driving the No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge.
Thank you for joining us today. No driver has ever won three road course races in a single season at NASCAR's national series level. How do you feel about your chances of making that history, and in the process, starting a rally toward making the chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Well, I think it's pretty exciting. I've got to say we've been having a pretty good season lately. The last few races we've been getting better, getting very good results. I think it should be exciting.
We're actually driving this week the Wrigley's Big Red car both in the Busch Series and in the Nextel Cup, so it should be pretty exciting.
Q. You have considerable experience on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in a Formula 1 car. I'd like to ask if you can give us your impressions on the stock cars having won the circuit up here in the Busch Series last Saturday and whether Chip leaned on you heavily at all to run the 42 up here?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: No, he didn't. He was pretty relaxed about it. I think the position we were in in the championship it was very important to get all the running we could in Pocono to get a good result, and I think it helped us. When we went into Saturday's practice we were quite a way off in our race setup, so we definitely needed the practice. He knew that we still had a chance of getting to the Chase and we couldn't waste it.
I think the race went pretty well. It was pretty exciting to watch. I knew there was going to be a lot of trouble in those first two corners, there always is, even in Formula One cars.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about the talk about people are surprised at how well you're doing, even at tracks like Pocono and Indy and the road course races?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I've got to say, with last year's races I'm starting to get the hang of the car, I'm getting more comfortable, to drive a little freer, a little bit looser, and I think that's helping a lot. I think Donnie (Wingo), my crew chief, is starting to understand what I want out of the car and what do I like and what I don't like, and that really helps.
Q. You're 267 points out of 12th place and there's five races left. At this point how would you size up your chance of making the Chase?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Being realistic the only way to get up there is having a bit of luck, and you've got to be in at least the top five every race. I think it's a little bit out of my hands whether we get in or not. It's more if everybody else is around. I think realistically it's very difficult to make it, especially last week having guys that we're fighting with finishing 1st or 2nd.
Q. I think I'm correct in saying you haven't been to Watkins Glen before. Is that correct first of all? And just talk a little bit about what you expect from the track and what you know of it already and your expectations.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: No, I was there in '94 in the big circuit driving Barber SAAB. That's the only experience I have. In the shorter circuit I haven't been around that place.
I don't know, it's exciting. I'm looking forward to it. I think driving the Busch race is going to be a big help to get much more track time before the Cup race, and hopefully we can get really good results. It's going to be I think my last Busch race this year, so hopefully we can make something happen and have a really good weekend. It would be very important.
Q. When you look back now, other than Watkins Glen, you've seen every course offered by NASCAR. Which course do you say, man, I really like that, and which track do you say, oh, I hate going back there?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: (Laughing) I don't know. I've got to say I really enjoy the big tracks. Pocono -- I've got to be honest with you, Pocono was a little too long for my taste, that race. It's just so long. The race circuit is very exciting to drive and the racing is really good, but it's still a little too long.
I don't know, I don't think I have one that I say I don't want to go back there. I don't know, I'm trying to think. There's been always -- there's been racetracks -- going back to Michigan, I'm not too excited about going back to Michigan, I can tell you that, not because it's not a great racetrack, it's just because we really sucked the last time we were there. Hopefully we can improve from that.
Q. What's been the biggest challenge you've faced since you started racing in NASCAR?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I think the biggest challenge is first of all getting used to the cars and getting to know the people that I have to work with and understand how the roles work, how everybody races, learn to overtake people. Still, that's very hard. It's so different from open-wheel racing, so it makes it pretty tough.
I don't know, there's a lot of little things like that. When things run smooth then you can have a very good result, but that's where you can show the lack of experience. And things like that, that's where we need to improve a lot.
Q. Do you look at yourself as sort of a trend setter? Do you think there will be other foreign drivers that will give NASCAR a try now? You've kind of taken the first step.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I know I'm probably not the first one. I know Paul Tracy tried it before, now Patrick is going to be running the car this week, going to be running the two races, and as well maybe people will look at him.
I don't know, I think NASCAR is a great sport, and I'm just happy to be part of it. I'm happy to -- that Chip gave me a chance to race for him here. I'm happy -- I'm actually really happy that I've been able to perform so far.
Do we want to be more consistent every race and be able to be competitive every week? Yeah, but not even the good guys can do that. So we've just got to learn to -- when things don't go great, to get the maximum amount of points. I think that's where we missed it a little bit.
Q. I think you've raced against Patrick in Champ Car. How surprised are you with the success he's had, and how much are you looking forward to racing against him at the Glen?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Well, I don't know how much testing he had before going to the race in Montreal, but I think he did an amazing job. I know he knows the racetrack, but I think there were a few guys there that knew the racetrack, as well. I think he did a hell of a job, to be honest.
Q. You're no longer running the Busch Series after this weekend. Don't you think that the extra seat time would only help your chances and improve your learning curve, and why aren't you running the Busch Series anymore after this weekend?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: It wasn't really my decision, it was Chip's decision, that he didn't think it was going to help me as much as it did before. I think he thought it maybe was better to take part of that program and invest more into the Car of Tomorrow to make ourselves more competitive.
I think the move that people have made to the Car of Tomorrow, I'm not sure exactly how it's going to work, but I think there was a lot that went into it. I think you've got to ask Chip the question, not me. He made the decision, this is what I want to do, and I said it's your team, I'll drive whatever you tell me to drive. And here we are.
Q. Describe some of the differences in the sense of community between Formula One and other kinds of racing that you've been in. It seems to me like you've forged a bunch of friendships with the Cup drivers.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Well, I think it's nice to see that. In F1 it's really hard to get to see people and hang with people, with other drivers, because you never -- most of the people stay in different hotels. You're so lonely, each team is so separate.
Here -- it's not like the whole team Ganassi is separate; it's by owner points that you park in the garage. Pretty much during the season every week you've got somebody different beside you. You just get to know people.
Guys here are really friendly, too. It's nice.
Q. I was just wondering how you felt about racing Patrick at the Glen.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: I think it'll be exciting. We've had good races together back in '99 and 2000, when he was driving the Player's car then. I think it'll be exciting. It'll be nice to see him again. I haven't seen him in like six years, so that should be pretty nice, and I'm sure he'll perform pretty well there.
Q. It's not just you who's doing real well these days, it looks like Sorenson is doing a lot better. Can you talk about how the team is improving?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: It's not really myself. I think I'm doing better because the whole team is doing better. I think the whole organization, the whole Ganassi organization, are getting more results, and I think the whole team is pumped up about getting good results every week, and it's just exciting to see that. It's exciting to be part of it.
I'm proud to be driving for Chip Ganassi Racing. It's just -- everything is set up to get good results. Look at how the whole front row at Indy was huge and being competitive over in Indy was huge, being good in road courses last week, we're good again.
It feels good, and the spirit of the team is really high right now, and we've just got to keep going. We have really good momentum right now, and we can't waste it. At this point is the point we can't plateau and please ourselves with where we are. I think we have to keep pushing harder to make sure we're good every week.
HERB BRANHAM: I want to introduce now NASCAR's manager for Eastern Media Outreach, Laz Benitez. He's going to conduct the Spanish speaking portion of today's conference with Juan Pablo Montoya.
(Spanish portion not transcribed.)
HERB BRANHAM: Thank you very much for joining us, and best of luck this weekend as you try to make some history winning a third national series NASCAR road race in one season.
We're joined now by Patrick Carpentier. He'll try to qualify for his first NASCAR Nextel Cup Series event this weekend at Watkins Glen. Thanks for joining us.
After your great effort at Montreal where you had the pole and you finished second, how are you feeling about this week's NASCAR challenge, racing both races, and as I said, trying to make a NASCAR Nextel Series event?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: I'm extremely excited. The last couple weeks have been fantastic. It's been kind of a dream. We've been knocking on the door and been meeting with people for the last year and a half to try to get into NASCAR, and last weekend went perfect. The car was good, Paul Wolfe, my chief mechanic, did a super job, and the team, Fitz Motorsport, did fantastic in the pits, and we ended up pretty much at the front at the end of the race. So it was a fun race, great race, packed with fans, and I enjoyed it.
I'm hoping this weekend we'll get a little bit of the same. I've already heard the TV channels that shows the NASCAR races in Canada, they're going to be coming down to Watkins Glen and there's going to be some people coming down. So it should be great.
But I'm even more excited I'm going to do the Busch race in the 22, and the NASCAR and Nextel Cup race in the No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley with Evernham Motorsports. I'm really excited, and I just saw Scott, he was just here, and he just left, and I just want to say thanks for him for stepping aside and giving me the support.
Q. Watkins Glen is not too far away from Quebec. What kind of turnout do you expect? You heard about people that are planning on coming down and watching the race now that you've garnered a Cup, right?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah, quite a few people -- some of my friends want to come down and watch the race in Watkins Glen, probably a six-hour drive from Montreal, so hopefully a lot of people show up and come and enjoy the race. Any NASCAR race is pretty exciting, and like we saw in Montreal, you never have any idea how it's going to finish or how it's going to end up. So I'm really looking forward to it, and I hope that people from Toronto and Montreal and all the surroundings will come and watch the race.
Q. I'm wondering, did you have plans to run the Busch race this week, and how did the deal with the No. 10 car come about?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: No, everything came about on Monday morning, actually. I was washing my tools from the week in Montreal. I have to put them in the dryer because Robert worked together and he put the deal together with Armando Fitz in Montreal, and he called me and he said, well, buddy, get some plane tickets because we're racing in Watkins Glen this weekend. He said I think you're not only going to race one series, but we're going to race both the Busch and the Nextel Cup Series, so I was really excited.
The deal with Evernham Motorsports to drive the No. 10 Dodge was not finalized, and we took some plane tickets and we decided to come down here anyway, and then we finally finalized everything, and with George part of the team and the Montreal Canadiens there was a few tie-ins. I'm really excited, and also I want to say thanks to Supercuts and Family Dollar for putting me in their car for the Busch race.
And also another thing is the team I was supposed to race, the Rolex DP Series, and the team gave me a break and just said, well, go on and try and make the best of it. We'll give you an off weekend this weekend. No, everything worked out really well, and I'm so excited.
Hopefully we can give these guys some points and they can come back in the championship and come back to 35th position so they have a guaranteed spot, closer to it anyway.
Q. One year ago when you were doing other things besides NASCAR, did you dream about something like this, two races in a row?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: No, I'll be honest. Even last week, the week before Montreal, we did a test and we only had 20 laps and it was raining and we put the car together, and at first, my first one was three, four seconds off, and I was struggling a little bit. Then I talked to Paul, and Ruben was there, which drives also for Fitz Motorsport, and we made a change in the car at the rear and got better power down and suddenly gained over three seconds, and we did it pretty much at the same time as Robby Gordon, and from there we knew we had a good car.
We just left it like that, went to Montreal, which was a very similar track. The first day when I was first on the first morning, after the first morning of testing because there was a test in Montreal, I couldn't believe it. Even though if you would have told me you're going to get the pole and finish second in the race, I wouldn't have believed it. It was like a fairytale unfolding in front of me. It was really exciting.
I mean, the race was over three hours and it was getting a little bit late on Saturday night at 7:00 o'clock, and people just stayed in the grandstands. The place was sold out and they were yelling and cheering and I had a great race with Kevin Harvick at the end. It got really wild the last 15 laps, and at a couple of points I was kind of laughing in the car. I couldn't believe it, but it was so much fun.
Q. Last Wednesday you were standing at a press conference wearing a Montreal Canadiens jersey and today the guy that owns that jersey also is the owner of your team. I wanted to ask you if -- I don't want to put you on the spot here, but with George now being the majority owner in the Evernham team, if he put you in the car, if you got some kind of a longer term drive, what kind of potential do you see for crossover marketing and crossover exposure for stock car racing and the Montreal Canadiens? Is there some synergy there that could work?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah, there's a lot of stuff that could work, and at one point we were talking about an oval somewhere in Toronto, and the road course in Montreal, and Canadians love racing and they've learned to discover NASCAR this weekend. From all the critics and everything I read everybody fell in love with it.
But sometimes in life things happen for a reason, and they gave us a Montreal Canadiens shirt with our name on it at the press conference. I met George a few years back when I was racing Champ Car and IRL and we talked briefly and had fun, and that was it.
And now George is right here today, and we -- he owns the team, and with everything put together, I guess I end up here this weekend to race the Nextel Cup series for the Valvoline/Stanley No. 10.
No, I'm really excited. Maybe things happen for a reason. So hopefully it'll keep going. But for me it's the same thing. I don't really look too far, but I want to do a good job this weekend. I'll focus on that and drive the car like I did in Montreal. I had such a good time, and I'm a believer if you have fun and enjoy what you do and have fun at the wheel, it always turns out to the best. That's all we'll do this weekend.
And then also I had talks with Armando Fitz, and I'm going to do an oval in the Busch Series this year, which I'm really happy about because I don't want to be labeled just as a road course racer. For me, my first pole position victory and everything always came on an oval and the track records, and I would like to get a shot on that and see where it goes. For certain now we're going to do an oval with Supercuts and Family Dollar. So all of that, it's like a dream.
I'm still flying high and looking forward to it, and I've never been so excited to go racing.
Q. I think we sort of had the discussion a long time ago, you talked about thinking about going to NASCAR I think at the end of 2005. Did you ever get to a point where you thought it wasn't going to happen, and now that it has, is your head kind of spinning because it all seemed to happen so fast?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah, it was -- it's fast. I was with my wife on Monday. It's the 12th birthday that we have been married together, and we were supposed to have dinner at night. And I said after Montreal we'll take it easy, have a week for ourselves and go back home to Vegas. Everything changed on Monday. But you know what, I'm so happy, and she's really happy and excited.
No, it's been going fast. I mean, things changed in a hurry, and we'll take everything we can. You know, we do everything we can and try to make the best of it.
But I've got to thank Robert Desrosiers, who put the Montreal deal together. We had a few fights here in between and before the race in Montreal. At one point I was like, it's crazy, Robert. It's a lot of work, and it seems like an impossible thing. He said, no, I need to put you in one of these cars, I need to put you in one of these cars, and we're going to find a good team and you're going to sit in one of the good cars.
We had help from Brett Bodine and everybody helped in, and Brett said, you know, you've got to start -- I wanted to start on an oval, and he said, no, you've got to start where you know the place, where people know you and where you have a chance to make a strong mark, and he was absolutely right about it.
No, it's been hard work. We've been knocking on doors for quite some time. I have been to quite a few NASCAR races, and the one in Vegas, also, and it finally worked out. We had one shot at it for that race, and it paid off. We'll see how it goes this weekend, and hopefully it goes well and it will keep going.
Q. Living in Vegas, have you had a chance to log any laps at the speedway with the Richard Petty Experience, or do you think you might do that?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: (Laughing) yeah, maybe. I don't know, I've never driven one of these cars before last week, so I did CASCAR in Canada for one weekend last year. But no, it was the first time for me last week at Kershaw when we did the test. I don't know why, I really, really felt at home in the Busch Car, and I felt like I have been driving this thing for a long time, and I just felt comfortable.
I told Paul what to do -- not what to do because he knew what to do, but what I needed to go faster. I said, I need a little bit more front right here from mid to exit and the car behaved this way and he would change something right away and it would improve every time and everything clicked.
No, I've never doing anything anywhere basically besides Kershaw and Montreal, and for sure I think I'm going to go and try one of the Petty Experiences and see if we get to race on the oval over there. But I live in Vegas so I always have time to go there and knock on the door and sit in one of these cars.
Q. You talked about not having any experience anywhere except Montreal and otherwise. Talk a little bit about what you're going to try to do this weekend because you said you're living a dream after the Busch race last weekend, getting familiar and what you're going to try to do at Watkins Glen in both races.
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah, like I said in Montreal, I know I'm not going to be on pole and finish second every race. It's so competitive. You've got some good guys, you need a little bit of everything, a little bit of luck and good timing and everything, and we had everything going for us in Montreal. Sometimes it seems like you cannot go wrong.
We'll see how it goes this weekend, but I want to be up front having fun and battling with these guys at the front. I mean, take both teams, the Busch and the Nextel Cup team, they're both very competitive teams, and I think I'm going to have two good cars for the week. So hopefully in the Top 10 battling with the guys, even Top 15.
Montreal we were 14 or 13 with eight laps to go, and we ended up second. So you never know what's going to happen with these races, and if we're right up there and just battling with these guys for the whole race, maybe we'll be there at the end. So that's what I want is more to be part of the fast group there and battle with these guys.
Q. I'm wondering, when you are asked to replace a guy in the seat of his race car because you are a road course specialist, and like you said, you like to do ovals, and you will, how much more pressure for anybody to show what they've got, much less have to jump in someone else's car and do it at a road course where you're depended on to be extra special?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: (Laughing) that's right. Honestly, for me in Montreal there was a lot of pressure because we only had the budget, the money to do one shot, one race, and it had to work. If that race wouldn't have been good, that was the end of it for me for NASCAR pretty much. It went really well.
One thing I find is with these cars, with the Busch Car anyway, it just seems like you just let the car do what it wants to, let the car enter and take the corner at the speed it wants to, and if the car can do it, then it'll do it.
I don't see it as pressure because two weeks ago I never even imagined that I would be racing the Busch again in Watkins Glen. It was not even a question, and even less the Nextel Cup car with the Valvoline/Stanley car. So it's a dream come true, and I'll get a chance to try it. But for me if it doesn't work out, really it doesn't change much for me.
I'm hoping it's going to work out. That's what I want to do, and I love driving these cars. But I don't want to put pressure. For me it's more just focus on the driving, do what I need to do, and I'll talk with Rodney Childers, who's the team director at Evernham, and same thing with Tom Wolfe at the Fitz Motorsport, and we'll just try and make the best out of it and the best of the car.
For me, I feel like I'm just coming in and let's see what's going to happen, but I know I don't have a lot of experience. Like in Montreal they had to teach me everything down pit lane and how it works and the restarts, and I kept talking to them, talking to them, how do you do this and do this and do what, and I broke a gear box over the weekend because I was downshifting a little bit too early and the wheels kept hopping at the back and we bent the drive shaft or something like that. But it's all part of learning.
But for me I don't feel the pressure. I feel like I'm the new guy coming in, and if it goes really, really well, it's a bonus. And if it doesn't go all that well, well, maybe it's a bit normal, and with the experience maybe it'll improve.
But I also know I'm coming into this without any laps. At least I had 20 laps with the Busch Car the week before, so now I'm just going to sit right in and go right on the track with the guys. We'll see how it goes, but I'm always confident and I'm always enjoying it.
I don't know why, I drive IndyCars for many years, and for me it was more stressful. These cars I don't see it as stressful, I just see it as so much fun and enjoying it. Like the race in Montreal, I was 13 a few laps from the end, and I was so disappointed it was going to end right there because I enjoyed it so much. Hopefully it'll be the same this weekend.
But I think when you just have fun, focus on driving the car and hitting the spots and not making any mistakes on the track, things turn out normally pretty good.
Q. Try to compare for me, because you and I go back for so many years, to your start in IndyCar -- well, it was then called the CART series. Talk about when you first started then, you said you would get on the plane and play drums to Elvis music just to release the energy because you were so excited. Compare today to that point.
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah, you know what it reminds me of, I remember the first day we won the Atlantic Championship, and I was trying to get to IndyCars at the time, or CART, whatever it was called, but trying to get to CART, and I couldn't get a ride and I was trying.
And I learned -- a reporter called me and actually told me, I know Bettenhausen is testing a few drivers in Indianapolis, and I gave him a call, and he already had three days scheduled with three drivers, and I begged him. And we met with him and I begged him to add a fourth day and just give it a shot and see what it is, and he didn't want to. And he finally added a fourth day, and we did the test on the fourth day, and Tom Brown was the engineer at the time, and the test went really well, and it kind of makes me think of what's happening now, and they just signed me up the same night after the test. I was in the hotel room, and these cars were pulling so many Gs on the braking that I was sick actually in the room, in the hotel room.
I get a phone call and it was Tony Bettenhausen, and he said, we kind of liked the test today, and we're supposed to wait a little bit to give the answer, but we're going to give it now. You're going to drive for us next year, congratulations, you're making your debut in CART, and I was crying and I was jumping on the bed.
It was a little bit similar feeling when we did Montreal this week, and when Robert called me Monday morning to tell me that, I came up and I was listening to -- actually Pink Floyd was playing on the radio, and I was pretty emotional in the car. I was so happy. I couldn't believe it, that I was getting that chance. There's hundreds of thousands of kids who would like to drive a Nextel Cup car and a Busch Car on the same weekend, and I get a chance to do it this weekend, so it's fantastic. I really appreciate it and am looking forward to it.
Q. Can you give us an idea what your most memorable moment out of this whole last week has been, and can you also tell us when you finally did get away from the track Saturday night and how you managed to celebrate what was obviously a remarkable week for you?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: (Laughing) we had been doing promotions and things for like three weeks, and with a couple of races in Montreal with interviews and stuff, I didn't even have time to have lunch on Thursday. It was a bit hectic at times. But when it goes so well, it makes it so much easier.
But I just went to sushi. There was like a sushi place in Montreal with my wife, and I had not seen my wife too much in the last few weeks. So we said, oh, let's go have sushi, and my kids were at the hotel sleeping. I got out of the track I think it was 10:00 o'clock at night.
We got out and went and had sushi and had a small drink and went right back to the hotel and to bed and expecting to have a week off, and I went back home on Sunday.
I'm very excited about it. For me the most memorable moment is definitely the pole. I didn't expect to get the pole in Montreal. I said to the team, if we start top five, top eight, I think we have a good car and we stand a good chance of finishing top three or finishing this race if all goes well, and boom, we got the pole on Saturday.
And then in the race for me everything was a bonus. I had already done what I wanted and I proved we can be fast and I can drive these cars. I was relaxed and in the race and just enjoying the race. I kept talking with Paul the whole race, and for me the pole was a great moment.
And honestly, the battle with Kevin Harvick on the last couple of laps was pretty good. That was a good moment for me.
Q. You mentioned how much fun you had in Montreal, and it got good reviews from local fans. What do you think drivers like yourself and Juan Pablo Montoya can bring to NASCAR? Do you think it can help expose NASCAR to different fans, whether it's open-wheel fans or fans from different backgrounds and different countries?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah, I think especially in Canada, there was a lot of dirt track and a lot of racing around in Canada, a little bit everywhere, in Cayuga, and they've got a lot of tracks around, more sport and short oval and road course and this and that.
I think to see NASCAR this weekend, people just loved it. The event was sold out, and on Friday, Saturday, I think they had close to 130,000 people for the Busch race and practices.
It worked out really well, and I think it's good. What I would hope is we'd get a road course and an oval down in Canada. I'm sure we'd pack the place, and Toronto would be a good place to have another race like that.
It just brings more awareness to the Series, and what a great show it is with marketing, and anything they do, they cannot go wrong. And they do a good job of it. You look at the commercials for the Nextel Cup, and they're all pretty funny. We always say, oh, this one is pretty funny, this one is good. And I think people love the attitude.
Sometimes after the race, I know it doesn't always end up with people smiling and stuff like that, but Kevin Harvick came down from the podium and shook my hand and had a great time. And same with Carl Edwards; I talked to him all weekend, did a few PR things with him.
To me it's just simple, and it's great racing, and it's unbelievable action, and that's what people came to see last weekend and they fell in love with it.
I think what it brings to NASCAR is just more awareness, more people in different countries and around the world, and hopefully more TV viewers at the same time and more everything.
Q. You told me weeks ago that you were considering something like semi-retirement, concentrating on your real estate career in Vegas. Do you still consider yourself semi-retired?
PATRICK CARPENTIER: Yeah, that kind of went out the window, didn't it (laughing)? But I was doing the -- for me I'm not going to go back to open-wheel racing, so I've done it quite a few years and didn't feel like doing it anymore, and I was doing the Rolex and having a good time with the Rolex, and I thought, well, I'll do the Rolex for quite a few more years and just enjoy it because I can because it's fun racing.
This came along, and Robert was working on it, and we have been trying to work with NASCAR and trying to get a race. A couple of times we thought it was going to work out and the deal fell through. It's very hard to get the license first of all and to get involved with NASCAR, and everybody is trying to go there now. I'm not inventing nothing or something new. Right now that's the place to be, and that's where the show is.
At one point even a few weeks ago I was almost arguing with Robert, I said, you're spending too much time on that. It almost seems like an impossible thing. He said, no, we're going to do it, we're going to put it together, you're going to do Montreal, and we finally ended up putting it together, and we did Montreal.
And then also I have to mention the one sponsor who's been helping me for quite a few years is Mecachrome. They build engine parts and they actually helped me in a few meetings with Evernham Motorsports, and they've been with me since I've been with the IRL, and they actually hired Robert who's working with me now to go and knock on every door in the NASCAR family. They sent him to almost every race, and he's been working very hard at it.
At one point I was kind of like, that's kind of like semi-retirement, I'll do the Rolex and that's it. But Montreal came, we had this result in Montreal, and believe me, I'm not going to say no to anything, anything that comes back, especially with great teams like Armando Fitz, Fitz Motorsports, and Evernham Motorsports.
I'm never going to refuse that. It doesn't matter if I'm retired, semi-retired, and if I have to run there to do it, I will. I am looking forward to it. Hopefully it'll be a second start of a different career.
HERB BRANHAM: Patrick, thank you very much for taking time out from your schedule and getting ready for the Glen this weekend to spend some time with us. I think it's a reflection of the interest and your participation in NASCAR. We had one of the largest media turnouts of the year, so thank you very much for this.
PATRICK CARPENTIER: I appreciate it very much, and thanks, everybody, for joining in. Hopefully we'll have some more fun this weekend.
HERB BRANHAM: Thanks to all the media. As always, here at NASCAR, we appreciate the coverage, and for those of you who will be at the Watkins Glen International events, we'll see you there.
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