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Jan 26, 2014 - 04:00 PM
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Sage Karam - No 01 Telcel/Target/Comfort Revolution Ford Ecoboost Riley
Posted by: ASkyler on Jan 26, 2014 - 03:55 PM
Grand Am News
Sage Karam - No 01 Telcel/Target/Comfort Revolution Ford Ecoboost Riley


CHIP GANASSI RACING WITH FELIX SABATES

IT’S BEEN A PRETTY EVENTFUL FIRST ROLEX 24 FOR YOU. TELL US ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE. This is my first Rolex 24, and to do with a team like CG is an honor. I had a lot of fun. I drove from like 2 to 4 this morning and I just got out of the car, so like 8 to 10. I did a lot of driving and I'm really tired actually. Those are some graveyard hours right there. We had some misfortune in the beginning there. The team is such a cool unit to work with, they're so together, they really worked well just to get the car back together and get some laps. Even though we're really far behind, everybody is still pushing like we are in the lead. That's just the attitude of this team, that's why I really love working with these guys is they never give up and they always want to win.

THIS IS YOUR FIRST INTERNATIONAL RACE. IN A SENSE, THE BIGGEST RACE YOU'VE EVER BEEN IN. WHAT'S THAT BEEN LIKE? Before this race, I'd driven Indy Lights and I'd only really been in the car at one point for about an hour so this is the first time I've been in the car for more than an hour at a time and also its the first time I've ever done pit stops, the first time I've ever shared a car with people. It's a completely new experience for me. I look at it as the more cars you drive, the more tools you start to become familiar with and can use in different types of racing. It's almost like when I'm wrestling, you've got four different types of wrestling. You've got grecko, free style, folk style, all those things can transfer over to all the other things. That' show i look at it and I really love the sports car experience. It was a lot of fun and it's definitely not boring because you're passing like 10 cars a lap so definitely really cool and I think it's on to something. I think you're going to see the series grow in the next few years and become really popular.

 

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I THINK THIS WAS YOUR FIRST RACE WITH FENDERS, AND I THINK IN A CAR WITH A ROOF. LARSON TALKED YESTERDAY ABOUT HIS FIRST STINT AND ALL THE DIFFICULTIES HE FACED ADAPTING TO THE CAR. DID YOU HAVE ANY THINGS THAT WENT WRONG OR THAT SURPRISED YOU? It was the first time with a roof over my head besides my street car so everything was really new to me. As far as the driving I picked it up pretty good because I have such great teammates I can go to for information. Scott, Memo and Jamie, and then I have all the IndyCar guys, Tony and Dixon and Even Kyle. I have great resources around me, and even though I hadn't driven the car I felt like they got me so prepared I felt like I had driven it. That's just another thing I love about this team is that they are so prepared. My first pit stop, they told me I had to do a driver change and I was so caught up in doing a pit stop, there's so much going on I actually forgot to undo my belts and tried to jump out of the car still strapped in. I was like 'Oh gosh, what am I doing?'I practiced it like 20 times before that but so much is going on in the race, it's just non-stop thinking.

TONY KANAAN - NO. 02 TARGET/TELCEL/BIG MACHINE RECORDS FORD ECOBOOST RILEY

CHIP GANASSI RACING WITH FELIX SABATES

DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE FORD PACKAGE ISN'T QUITE THERE? There are many ways to look at it. It's quite obvious that we don't have as much (speed) as the Chevy. That could happen, or we could have come here and had a lot more. The biggest props will be that we are still in the race. It's not over yet, it is more difficult for sure, but for the first race for the EcoBoost, I can tell you three weeks ago that there were a lot of people in this paddock thinking that we're not even going to run for three hours because we struggled at the test. That shows the capability of this team. Nobody gives up until the checkered flag. Yeah, I wish we could have a little more but drivers are never happy. We always want more.

BUT WITH 5 OR 6 HOURS TO GO, DIXON'S RUNNING SECOND AND WITHOUT THE FLAT TIRE, YOU'RE RIGHT THERE. Yeah, you have to look at it like that. If you look at this race or the 500, everybody is going to have an ‘if’. But yes, that's a shame, because that's not something mechanical, he didn't hit anything. It's like a NASCAR race. People blow tires, and yes we're fourth, but I think realistically we could be top-three easy. I want to see when it comes down to an hour left if we're in the fight, are they going to turn it up. That I don't know, because we're not up there yet. We were in the fight all day. Things could have happened to them as well and didn't, and that's how you win races. I'm pleased. I had a lot of fun. I've done this race before. Once you've done it with an organization like this, it's going to be hard to come back and do it with anybody else because for me at this point in my career, it's very overwhelming and I'm just overwhelmed with how everything works. I had a rough three years with my friend Jimmy, it's nobody's fault, but things are different.

DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE ANY SHOT AT GETTING BACK ON THE LEAD LAP? The thing is, for us to get back on the lead lap, we need to pass Taylor, and I don't know if we have it right now. I tried so hard, he even played a little bit with me on the first restart, which is part of the game, but i think he had a lot more to lose by doing that. He accelerated and then braked. The thing is, if somebody does that to you leading the race, it means they're worried about you. So i like that. I'm not complaining I think it's part of the game, so I kind of smiled and said 'Ah, you really care then that we're a lap down eh? All right.' We were playing on twitter before then, he said "My Dad just held Tony Kanaan off for two laps." and he did. It was fun to race Wayne today. But it's going to be hard.

DID WAYNE HONESTLY HOLD YOU UP FOR TWO LAPS? Yeah, I mean he was ahead of me already and I had to pass him. With the restart the way it was, there was a bunch of cars in front of us so he was being extra cautious. It took a lap and a half, I don't wanna say two laps, but it was fun. I didn't know who was driving at the time, so I asked Mike (Hall) and he says Wayne and I'm like ‘Woah.’ DID HE SEEM LIKE A 58 YEAR OLD OUT THERE? "Not at all. You know, that's the beauty of sports car. It gives me some hope. People call me old. I'm only 39. I don't know what that's all about. Obviously he was a little slower than his teammates, but while he was up there he was driving it.

KYLE LARSON GOT OUT OF THE CAR AFTER HIS FIRST STINT LAST NIGHT AND HE WAS REALLY HARD ON HIMSELF. "It's so hard. You have so many good teammates. We all want to do so well. And then you get a kid who's done what? Four road course races in his life? And you put him in a car like this? I mean, I would have taken it hard on myself as well. His NASCAR steering wheel has what? One button? This one has 18. He missed one of the buttons and got the penalty. But he went out on his second stint and was pretty good. No one wants to let the team down. A guy that has skills like him, and is such a talent, he never wants to be the one. Not that we blame him, because this team isn't like that. But you blame yourself. I said to him 'The good thing about it is, the first stint wasn't good, but you have another to make it up." HE WAS EVEN WORRIED ABOUT HIS PACE. You always worry about that but the thing is, you don't know when you're going to catch traffic. I told him you have to play with traffic. It's not about how fast you can go, it's about how quickly you can pass people without hitting anybody or getting hit and i think he got it. I had fun with him. I had only known him a couple months but we spent a few days together and the kid has a bright future.


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