Editor’s note: This is a transcribed version of an interview Pit Lane Parley conducted with Racecraft1 Principal Kelly Jones, Bell Helmets Director of Motorsports Chris Wheeler and Xtrac General Manager Jeff Kitchen. All interview were conducted during the Performance Racing Industry show in Indianapolis in early December. We are putting the interview in the blog due to background noise and sound quality issues. Enjoy!
Mike Joachim: [00:00:28] Welcome to another episode of pit lane parley.
Mike Joachim: [00:00:44] Welcome to the first play parlay live at PRI. We are with Kelly Jones from RaceCraft 1 KELLY How you doing?
Kelly Jones: [00:00:51] Hey doing excellent.
Mike Joachim: [00:00:52] Blogger Mike Knapp is joining me. Mike. Great. Good. All right so Kelly as you know, I have spent time at Racecraft1 and it is an amazing place.
Mike Joachim: [00:01:03] You’ve got a simulator here at PRI right.
Mike Joachim: [00:01:06] What is the Kelly Jones story and how did you get into you know building the really awesome I’m going to call it simulator studio.
Kelly Jones: [00:01:16] Well let’s see my story. Graduated near Force Academy studied aerospace engineering flew off 16 jets for about 10 years after that instructor pilot mission commander. You know teaching you know coaching survival instructor boxing boxing coach all that stuff through those years and then towards the end of my duty career I got into motorsports and worked my way up to club racing motorcycles and cars and carts as well. And whilst flying for FedEx and then some folks asked me about simulation and how I was using it and if I could set it up for them and I’d start coaching their son and so that was my first student who went on the race in the blimp and G.G. series over in Europe. So and then I wanted dedicated some for myself that I call also uses a workstation side to design one week of engineering company did that. And so you had the same I had the curriculum from that first that first student and then everything just kind of kind of gel together from there.
Kelly Jones: [00:02:19] I realized that there was a a mission in motorsports industry for for expert instruction motor sports is very we guard our speed secrets very very much versus in the aviation world. It’s completely the opposite. Anything I can do to make my wingman better. I’ll tell him all the secrets I have because you know we’re a team working together. And so a century of aviation history and that tradition we’ve refined our instructional techniques and now race one just takes that in a desk at the motorsports. Yeah yeah yeah. The end as far as just the engineering that goes into all of this stuff I mean
Mike Knapp: [00:03:01] How much I guess or what does it take I guess to get it to be as realistic as possible in terms of the software and all the other things you have to put in there. What what’s involved in getting all of that put together. Well you mentioned the word realism which and when people think of simulation when you say the word simulation
Kelly Jones: [00:03:24] Everyone wants to think immediately how real is it. How much is it just like the real thing. And so I would say that if you want something you know as close to reals what you personally drive you know your track that day those conditions with whatever Tyre where degradation you have and the weather and all that you need to you know make a super computers like you know world championship teams have. Fortunately you know the power of consumer pieces has come along where we have access you know it’s everyday person to something that that is a a great semblance and a great representation of what we drive on track. So so we’re talking about you know food for the consumer level you know an entry level complete Sim would be something around 5000 dollars but you can go all the way up to the processor level to you know sixty seventy five thousand dollars for you know something a sizable love seat that would fit into your living room or your or your record straight for the most part. I just you know for racers especially junior series and stuff you don’t obviously need the super equipment member just to get them
Kelly Jones: [00:04:35] Just to get them you know some experience with the track itself. And so they can kind of get the visuals and the breaking points and all that kind of stuff and
Mike Knapp: [00:04:47] What kind of feedback do you get from drivers who after they use your stuff and they go to a track what what are they saying as to how it compares or how it helped them now across the board it’s a raving positive reviews.
Kelly Jones: [00:05:02] Our approach is that you know it’s similar what we use in our approach that we use in Air Force and in commercial aviation the same as a training device. And so you want to figure out what tasks and what skills you want to develop and then build into the sand out into the sand those scenarios to develop those tasks. And so so just circle back to realism. It isn’t necessary for it to be exactly like your car exactly like you know it’s like Barnum but a friend’s car. Once you get used to those controls and how they operate then you as a driver you now you know
Kelly Jones: [00:05:34] Now you know what to do to place the car where you need to place it. So then from that point restore our skills developed from for from a driver’s active is OK. It’s the study of where and within this situation. Do I want to place the car in the desert. I kind of sort of answer your question there. Yeah yeah yeah
Mike Joachim: [00:05:51] I know just from being in your shop and seeing the pictures on the wall. You’ve had some you know Indy Car current stars. Been there and naturally now that I’m talking about it I can’t remember any of who they are. Who comes in your shop on on a regular basis and they off season. Obviously you know Kristian who’s a good friend of mine we see him there a lot. And I know Michai Stephens is there quite a bit and travels to help you out. What are some other big names that that our fans might might recognize.
Kelly Jones: [00:06:21] Well in years past we’ve had Josef Newgarden Spencer Pigott Stefan Wilson, etc…
Kelly Jones: [00:06:31] Charlie Kimball James Hinchcliffe Sebastian Saavedra Gabby Chaves. You know as far as for the open wheel open wheel racing side thinks Pippa Mann. So those are folks that have come in in years past when they were not necessarily Indy Car level because once they reach there they have access to. You can imagine they have access to you. So those those are some of the names some of the folks that we’ve consulted with over the years and which has been a blessing being co-located with PitFit. So you know Scott Dixon annual and current top level IndyCar racers
Kelly Jones: [00:07:09] We can walk right down the hall and ask them what does a developing racer what is attracting developing racer what skills they need. What what do we need to provide for them.
Kelly Jones: [00:07:20] How helpful is it having guys like Kristian and Michai who we’ll talk to at some point later today. Having them you know not only you know the availability to practice but you know help you out.
Kelly Jones: [00:07:33] I can’t say enough good things about Kristian as far as how personable and our energetic he is and what he brings as far as for introductions and networking and that sort of thing.
Kelly Jones: [00:07:44] So he’s that that’s that’s been a very strong relationship over the past couple of years working with him from that perspective. Michai Stephens started in 2013 with no prior racing experience and after 2014 we recognized that he needed seasoning against folks you know in the racing. Back then the Skip Barber summer series who had seven eight years of karting background so all through 2014 we worked with him hand in hand throughout that year about about 300 hours worth of training. Throughout that year. Which led him to you know to scholarship earnings plus USF 2012 Annual. And the result of that is with RaceCraft1 pouring so much of what we do into what he you done to him now he’s giving back as one of our instructors you know back to our racers who are now up and coming.
Mike Joachim: [00:08:36] You mentioned how energetic Kristian is. I’ll never forget it took me out to a bar in Indianapolis the first time I was here back in May and 3:00 in the morning we got back and at seven in the morning he was energetic so energetic is putting it lightly with Kristian I don’t know how he has that much energy and I can say that now because he’s not near me but I would probably make fun of them anyway. So you’re talking from a developmental standpoint and coaching and everything. At the track it’s one thing because you’re not with the drug user on the head side or you’re just showing him video maybe after a session but how much does that enhance your coaching when you can sit right next to them. At the simulator and do it in real time
Mike Knapp: [00:09:23] Just how much does that enhance what you want to do.
Kelly Jones: [00:09:26] You can tell silently I’m not in my head very strongly because that is the huge advantage you’re right there seeing every turn every part of the track as the driver is driving every control and put that they make.
Kelly Jones: [00:09:38] And when you want to pause and drive drive home a lesson or say or say hey let’s explore this different technique you know you can pause talk about that and and then and then take it off pause and continue when it comes to the debrief and then getting back into the car or maybe making a set of changes or condition changes that really tightens up that logistics loop and that time that it takes you know to adjust to different to adjust to different things. So it’s huge it’s about about as far as per unit time about three to four times as effective being there seeing everything the driver is doing in real time and also being able to pause and make adjustments in real time.
Mike Joachim: [00:10:19] Well we’ll wrap it up with one more question here to give you back the rest of your morning. I lost my train of thought. Thank you Where can everybody find more information about race craft one website social media.
Mike Joachim: [00:10:39] What’s what’s the best place to go. Hey you listed social media Facebook is is large there.
Kelly Jones: [00:10:44] Our Web site and then also contacting us.
Kelly Jones: [00:10:47] We schedule by appointment most of the training that we do is one on one one on one coaching with customers nine programs for each client. Thank you very much. All right
Mike Joachim: [00:10:57] Welcome to another special PR episode here from pit lane parlay. I have Chris Wheeler from Bell helmets with me and we have a surprise guest coming up shortly. Chris how are you doing.
Chris Wheeler: [00:11:10] Fantastic. How are you. Yes I’m great. You know just taking everything in walking around there’s a car horn in the background. So if everybody hears that we apologize. Hopefully that can be edited out by the Communists. Yeah. Yeah exactly. So. So let’s see where shall we start.
Mike Joachim: [00:11:28] Tell us about your career when you know how you got involved with Bell and and we’ll take things from there.
Chris Wheeler: [00:11:34] So we’ll go. Well we will start we’ll start like like OG stuff here from Southern California. My dad raced off road desert cars and scored. He’s always looking to diversify the business and it makes more money and he ended up getting into graphics. And when he started getting into graphics next thing you know his accountant says Hey that same sticker that you saw on off road racing for a dollar you could sell an Indy car for three. Well my dad’s family comes from a long line of roofers and a roofing company. He had a CDL since he was a young kid. He was how do I do that. How do I get in. And they said well the best way for me to do this is take a job as a truck driver and put your decals equipment on the trailer with you. Makes sense. About nineteen ninety one starting in nineteen ninety two for the next twenty two years they were onsite at every IndyCar race even during the split. Providing decals at one point they had about 95 percent of this of the entire market. You’re the first to rapid IndyCar the first a rapid transporter the first rapid stock car and the first rappel the equipment. That process moved me here when I was about eight years old in Indianapolis. And I mean I start traveling all six. Who knows if people like Taylor Kyle who’s now the general manager of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports one of my best friends for over a quarter century. Graham Ray Hall the three of us as kids. That’s what we did. We went racing with Indy car. You know our parents would give us 10 bucks in the morning to say see you after final practice. Yeah we’d go to Penske from breakfast.
Chris Wheeler: [00:12:59] We’d go to rehab for lunch go to Newman Haas dinner. Sounds like good day. You know so that’s what we did and this is the world that I grew up in. Funny enough at the time you know I was we would do things like Gilson Robert Gordon’s motor home and play Sega Genesis Sega Rally. With the very same wheel that I was actually would come down straight as a T and you would sit on it you would put it under your legs and drive while sitting in a chair. That’s where I met Kyle Kietzman who is our president and CEO here at Bell. We grew up after every session cop got to use violence kind of gotten used visors given to us and we could get them autographs then we’d barter and trade it with our friends or we got very drunk. You know I really wanted this kid’s bike. Well he really was Dad really liked Al Unser Jr. You can’t give me a sign outside adviser. Van. So I really gotta give Kyle the full circle credit here and teach me the art of the hustle. There’s a lot of years where it was the hustle. I fell in love with dirt track racing. To me it’s. I’m a baseball guy. Personally I think baseball’s the greatest work in the world. But after that I’m gonna go with not knowing sprint cars. I mean. I love IndyCar. I love motorsports in general as a whole but. You know you’re in Indiana in the middle of the summer. On any given night you’re going to see some of the some of the best most bad ass dudes. Tops 900 horsepower with eight inches stagger sideways into a corner. To me there’s nothing greater in this world.
Mike Joachim: [00:14:23] Did I hear earlier before we started recording the air Dodgers fan.
Chris Wheeler: [00:14:26] Absolutely through and through
Chris Wheeler: [00:14:28] It’s all about the Dodgers. It’s been a bit of a rough go as far as closing the deal in the world series. But I’ve got to tell you I’m the only guy in Speedway Indiana the flies the Dodgers
Chris Wheeler: [00:14:39] That’s there.
Mike Joachim: [00:14:40] Yeah that’s why I’m the only person in Philadelphia that likes the Yankees so I don’t openly admit that very often especially when I’m at home but not especially in Philly I don’t blame you.
Chris Wheeler: [00:14:52] Yeah I had a chance to go to a Dodgers for his game in Philadelphia and I turned it down. I heard they throw people off the top of the bleachers there. So I was like Nah I’m good. Yeah it said the cheese steaks great. But I was I will stay away from everything else.
Mike Joachim: [00:15:04] You know it’s it’s it’s funny.
Mike Joachim: [00:15:06] Philly fans get a really bad rap. And I always say listen it’s not that bad as out of flyers Leafs game when I was 14 and there was a fight above me and I got hit with a shoe in the back of the head. And then. As an Eagles game a couple of years ago with my wife and two eagles fans fought each other. Oh. And so it’s really not that inaccurate when they say all that stuff about it. So yeah.
Mike Joachim: [00:15:35] Anyway I’ll turn it over to Mike for a while.
Chris Wheeler: [00:15:43] I got really lucky. It started with with Pancho Carter. When I was in junior high school and is in a relationship our families have. And his boys call a date and they don’t got me to go short Treasuries. Sure. And then I met Casey Shuman here in Indianapolis. And I got to tell him and the opportunities that I had then to go. And live that that lifestyle. Now I’m not going to recommend anybody because not everybody can be able to pull it off. I can tell you that. But those years especially you know go and racing. Waking up at noon. First stop you’re doing is Mexican food for lunch then you’re headed to the shop. You’re gonna work work until you realize you’ve got to get to the bar. And closing that down again. Those years have gone racing four days a week and go into to and be with your guys all the time and. It wasn’t about how much money you made it wasn’t about you know what kind of deductible your insurance had. It wasn’t about anything. It was it was. It was truly about what does it take to go racing week to week. And have enough money to just survive and. Write those years at the truest form.
Chris Wheeler: [00:16:50] And what I consider when the best forms of motorsports in the world. Those years is really put a lot of it into perspective for me. So I started to motor sports consulting firm. We’re just doing some low key stuff. At this point cow gets when I become the president of Bell. It was not just the racing guy that I knew when I was six seven eight years old. I was also I was also very active in the go kart team spirit racing stuff right. So I was a top part USA here in Indianapolis and ran their their junior program for a while and then I got I was fortunate to work with Martin Kino from from Europe and Mike Reed who was actually Canadian but lose in Indianapolis to the USA the Tony Clark team North America. At the same time I was always plug in and working with Kyle on the consulting side here Bill as far as who’s the next generation who did we got get the call records all of our asses etc.. And it was it was right 2015 I talked to Brooke Rowden who’s on our staff now. Who is engaged married whatever you want to call it with Casey Schulman now. And Brooke was you know
Chris Wheeler: [00:17:57] Awesome. She’s said that you know that that tone in the dirt track world
Chris Wheeler: [00:18:02] And Kyle talked about how we needed to have. We needed to have. Better social about how we wanted to really change program around and Brooke and I sat here at this show in 2015 and pitched him on a concept that we thought we knew. And in reality everything about. And he said I believe in you guys. And that led to the conversations that kept me coming on board in May of 2016 as the director motorsports. I’m still here Brooke is still here. Everything you’ve seen from that point forward all is all credit to him Because without that without him literally looking at us and saying. Let’s do it. We’re not here today what you see it. Bell isn’t here today. Right.
Chris Wheeler: [00:18:46] Social media the bell speed support brigade everything that turns people on about this company what we’re doing. None of that’s here. So it really all goes to Kyle because that guy is the one that really made all this happen. He took the he took the journeyman the wonder the kid didn’t care about for one case and I’ll raise and you know all these things. And he he turned me into an adult. Along with my wife who about the same time all this is happening. And if it wasn’t for it for that group in that time prior to my life like none of this happens. So it’s been it’s been a great journey. Elissa
Mike Knapp: [00:19:24] Feel like you might too. My two passions are baseball racing and I’ve been a sportswriter for a number of years and I was a beat writer for minor league baseball team and and one thing that you kind of talked about and what’s hard to get. People to understand is that when I talk to somebody who isn’t in race anymore it’s me who played pro sports and retired and stuff. They don’t talk about. The races or the games or this or that. They always say I miss the guys and I think that’s one of the things for especially those two sports because the season is so long and you spend so much time together that to explain to an outsider about what you know how it all comes together and what kind of bond you guys have no it is is you know kind of difficult but that’s what it is and that’s what makes it a little catch to the people. I mean
Chris Wheeler: [00:20:17] There’s a lot of people have a lot of choice words to describe me. Those are all just opinions whether they’re good or they’re bad. Lucky is one thing I would like to say because I’ll be honest. The one thing I’ll agree with Leslie was it’s hard to find somebody like myself
Chris Wheeler: [00:20:35] Taylor Kiel my best friend or his stepdad is my call but the managing director Tim Gunn SC racing for more than 30 years. That’s the house I grew up in as a kid right. So. When I got to the next level when I was doing good legendary scenes with T.J. Stevo I wasn’t thinking about it like a kid learning how to go legendaries. I was looking at that with Michael and my dad taught me. Taylor and I we got to grow up in a very unique environment and nobody really ever gets a chance to do. You. Know. So I tell people time I’ve got more connections in Chicago Midway and that’s true. But that’s because of all of the things that I’ve been blessed with and given over the years and the opportunities and so. It all comes back to the people you know believe me in today’s world as so many times I want to get on Twitter. And be the guy. And just just just call a spade a spade. But for the personal gain that I’m going to have. The overall damage that it does. Our sport to do that. You know those are lessons not to be guys like Michael. Wright smashing Morty who I worked with in IndyCar. Who at times has called me said Bro you’ve got to take it down. And Brooke. Here Bill. I mean. Believe me there have been multiple times where I’ve literally typed the tweet screenshot and text is that I just wanted to like stop. Cozy app. Take a walk around the circle do something and breathe. Sounds like my life. Have a drink you know mix up Captain and coke slowly whatever you’ve got to do. But it’s all those people that. You know. It took me probably a little longer than some would have liked you know to grow up and learn this stuff but. Now being and still having that opportunity take all that knowledge and those things those tendencies that I’ve learned from everybody else. It’s what’s really allowed me to to do what I do.
Chris Wheeler: [00:22:20] And it comes it comes right back to the people.
Mike Joachim: [00:22:23] And I know you mention Sebastian Bourdais you know spotting for him for the last handful of years and you know we we pretty much know you know what’s fashion where day is like what is something maybe you know you as a as an insider know about Sebastian that you’re not everybody knows you know maybe a secret hobby or a funny story or something along those lines.
Chris Wheeler: [00:22:46] I’ve got to tell you man Sebastian
Chris Wheeler: [00:22:48] Actually gets a bad rap from people that because lot of people don’t know him. You know he’s he comes. He can come across at times as you know just another Frenchman you know a guy that. You know. Is whiny or because. Because sometimes the media doesn’t always feel right the picture that that’s true. But at the end of the day the man wears his heart on his sleeve and he does anything for anybody. He was in my wedding. We go on vacations together. He’s a very terrible golfer. When I say terrible I mean he’s actually quite pretty good. Before his accident in Indy he was actually hit the ball really well and now he’s still getting that back. But you know we have a lot of fun golfing together we have a lot of fun when I’m down down there in St. Petersburg jumping on his boat and smoking over the islands. For his amazing talent as he isn’t a race car the most important thing in his life is his wife and his two kids. There is nothing that man would not do for those three people. He’s like myself. He’s a massive advocate of common sense. It’s hard to find that these days. He puts more pressure on himself than anybody else would ever put on him. He strives to be perfect. I look I really enjoy the things that I can do better than him because it’s not much. He’s smart enough to know what he doesn’t know and he avoids shit that he does he’s not good at that. That’s a skill that is that that you’ve got to be real with yourself to know and be honest about. So. I’ve had an absolute pleasure with him the last eight years on the radio. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We’ve had our ups and downs as anybody but he’s truly he truly is a very very special person to me.
Chris Wheeler: [00:24:30] I wish the entire world to know Sebastian away from the racetrack. It’s not easy for a guy to win four championships and go into F1 and have what most to look at as an unsuccessful journey. A lot of people don’t know that you know that when he was at Renault and the Toro Rosso the deal the engine program was absolute s**t. Yeah you know and like they were born him up and warming warming him up in the garage. And then he gets to put it gets push the sports car program. He gets on the pole in his hometown all the more. Everything’s looking up. He. Built buys a beautiful home there. This is where it’s going to be. He gets a phone call on a Monday morning that just shuts down. He comes back with Dale Coyne Racing in a split right with Alex Lloyd. It’s not the same Dale Coyne Racing that we sat on the pole with at Phoenix this year I can tell you that. You know. And credit to Dale Dale stuck with it you know all these years and. You know so it’s not easy. Right. So. So in today’s world when you’ve got powerhouses the Penske is the ask you the Smiths the dresses. And we have an opportunity to run up front and we don’t get to execute. You know yeah he’s frustrated. Because it’s not easy. You know it’s like throwing and getting three or four Cy Young’s and it been in four or five years back in the minors.
Chris Wheeler: [00:25:42] Recovering from injury and injury. And doing everything you can to get back to get back to not just that Cy Young. But to relive that thrill you know to throw that no no. You know to get the big saved whatever your situation is and. It’s that endless search to fulfill it just like any addict you could say has you know the first time you do anything you get such a rush and a buzz that you’re never ever gonna replicate it. But that’s what he’s doing. You know he’s literally putting everything in he’s all in on this. And the sports car stuff is great. I know he enjoys it. But I can tell you that you’re in Indianapolis when he has crash. I have no doubt in my mind for as many years having been around that place. We were not. You can ever say you’re going to win but it was going to take a damn miracle to keep us out of victory lane and everybody all 32 other cars the start of that race for us for as sad as they were and felt bad for Sebastian as he was out with his injuries. They all had a big sigh of relief because there was nobody better that month May this massive day in that deal going through.
Mike Joachim: [00:26:42] I mean I remember I was in a bar watching qualifying at my friend’s birthday party and
Mike Joachim: [00:26:48] Wow the first lap was you know what two thirty one to thirty two. Yeah yeah. And I I looked at my wife who at the time. Really wanted nothing to do with watching any sort of racing and Alan neck. This guy’s gonna get the pole He’s gonna crush it and then the accident happened and I ignored everybody that was near me all my friends you know I was with the group of 20 people and I went oh OK I’ll get back to you guys later I want to know what’s going on here. Called my dad at home watching in and you know thankfully he was
Mike Joachim: [00:27:21] Ok. Obviously injured but. Knock on wood. You know it wasn’t it wasn’t a
Mike Joachim: [00:27:29] Career ending sort of thing as it as it looked at first.
Chris Wheeler: [00:27:32] It was crazy what happened to that car. You know for years I took a corner I wanted to go to the north end where he throws the flags of the car owner
Chris Wheeler: [00:27:39] And for whatever reason that day said hey come on. Absolutely. You know we’d worked around the clock with solar and Jimmy. So Sullivan Jimmy Vasser they had locked in the Geico deal. Kelley at the time was it impacts receipts. She she called workers in. They took a suit. They made Geico panels we’ve got the details on the car right before tech. I mean this man had a Geico suit on in less than nine hours from the deal being signed. We were we’re all in and. Everything was just everything was just really working. You know in
Chris Wheeler: [00:28:12] Indianapolis is a place that you’ve got to respect 100 percent and Mike Young the you know the track knew he was there and he caught me in pit lane and said Hey do you guys really got a side of this thing I said Yeah you know we’ll see.
Chris Wheeler: [00:28:25] I’m not. I like to let things play out. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and. Matt. Matt Long he’s my he’s my turn 3 spotter has been with Sebastian for a long time and one of my closest friends and he comes up and says Oh my God what happened. And I’m like well what was it. Mike Young goes I think was slow.
Chris Wheeler: [00:28:43] I look up I see the board and I see the woman when I was t 30 and I’m like Mike man I gotta go. And Matt Long’s jumper next to me and next thing I know. The first lap matt jumped might come down and we’ve got to get around it three more times. Lap to be jumping up and down and like to come down like we’ve got we got two more laps you like when you say a prayer for anything. And all I heard was that
Chris Wheeler: [00:29:07] I looked up and I see you see when your best friend finds in the air and then the next the next 48 hours the problem was 48 most traumatic 48 hours of my life.
Chris Wheeler: [00:29:17] But again there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for the guy I can say that. And so we’re we’re definitely blessed he’s still here and look forward to a long time in a long future with him making surviving
Chris Wheeler: [00:29:26] Racing is such an up and down gig. Obviously when you talk about even Sebastian’s journey but
Chris Wheeler: [00:29:35] How good is it. And I’m thinking about I’m thinking about mid Ohio this year. How good is it to be you on the headset with him when he’s really locked in and he’s really got it roll and you’re like man.
Mike Knapp: [00:29:52] Do you ever just sit there and go This guy is just unbelievable.
Chris Wheeler: [00:29:55] And I got to tell you we’ve had some experiences together
Chris Wheeler: [00:29:59] St. Pete two years ago. You know we started last. St. Pete I don’t really do much right to do a radio check. So stuff and turn one two three there. Mainly it’s about put out. Talk talk to the crew guys a lot. You know that that’s where I have most my back you know on the road courses. Unless it’s about if it’s a bad day I’m really busy because I’m just trying to keep his keep his head back in it. And. You know Craig Hampson was back for the first time in years with Sebastian and that was new for me right because of the six years prior five years prior. It was just Sebastian and I. You know we had Olivia boys on as well. But for the most part Olivia he did what he had to do to make the car work and he let seven I kind of controlled radio and so it was a new element you know with Craig there. And it was really kind of it was kind of cool to see you know how they fell right back can do it that day and then a couple close calls a pit lane and. The most humble human being ever is when he’s crying on a radio or just thinking his guys a wow I can’t believe this. And. You know he he just like anybody he wants to be perfect.
Chris Wheeler: [00:31:06] So he he’ll lose his s**t every now and then. But man I got to say he’s on more than he’s off and I’ve seen a lot of his programs to me. I will never disagree with that. I will never ever give up on the fact that to me the most talented man I’ve ever met behind the wheel of anything is Robby Gordon. That is through and through that’s from when I was a child to now. I’ve put very few people in his skill set. You know I put I put one problem until you with him. I put a Kyle Larson Christopher Bell Kristen Bell says a lot of story to tell. Kyle said enough. To me to know. When it comes to perfectionists. And people that really do take everything and make the most of every situation. You got to smash more day. There’s no doubt in my mind that if he’s in one of the top three team cars that he’s won in four or five races here I mean it’s hands down it’s not even a question. It’s nothing negative to what Dale Coyne Racing has done. But no matter what Dale does and solely and Jimmie and all these efforts and they’re building working hard every day to make it better and better
Chris Wheeler: [00:32:07] It takes time. This stuff didn’t happen overnight. I just had an interview with Donnie Schatz. Ten times. What about La champion Knoxville champion. That didn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t stay that way. With complacency right. So the 18 guard they’re doing a lot to get to those guys level. There’s no doubt in my mind if that man steps in a racecar. That’s just equally. I’m not even I don’t even want anything better than what those guys have. Give me something that’s equal. With all those all those back in resources there’s no doubt in my mind. He’s he’s a champion again.
Mike Joachim: [00:32:35] Well we’ll wrap it up with one more question here. Now you’ve got a busy day. You mentioned in Oliver Eskew Kyle Kirkwood some of the younger guys. Out of your you know younger stable of Bell drivers that are in the you know Mazda Road to Indy which which one do you think stands out as you know this guy is for sure going to be a star in IndyCar one day.
Chris Wheeler: [00:32:56] It’s those two. There’s no doubt in my mind. We were really lucky to see this year Hinch and Robby (Wickens). Compete together as teammates best friends as teammates with almost identical driving styles. And that’s something that’s very raw and very rare and you don’t get to see that very often. If the chips fall where they were they were they were they hope. I hope they they are and we have the opportunity one day to see Kyle Kirkwood and Oliver Askew’s teammates in the IndyCar series. Be ready. Because those two right there are two of the most talented individuals at their age that I’ve ever seen and that is. That’s not just because they wear a bell. That’s that’s why they wear a bell. I mean if it wasn’t for those reasons I would have gone after when there nine ten eleven years old. Right. Right. They stay at my house when they when it comes to Indy because they’re just a couple of broke kids from Florida. I mean they’re on the money to go do this if it’s not for their partners and their sponsors and their group of people just got amazing scholarships and sponsors put together last summer years. These kids aren’t here. If it’s not for Jeremy Shaw. Team USA these kids aren’t here. Rescue Rescue’s looking at that looking at hey man I’m back. Give me a go cart mechanic. He got into the team USA sheet out. That. Propelled him. He went over he ran the Formula Ford came over went to the shoot out here for the road Indy Moscow gave him a check he won the championship Mazda gave him a check. Had had a bit of an off year last year but that was not a non-issue in his record. Meanwhile Kirkwood one step behind him dominates. So if the things align and allow those two to compete together look out because that right there folks is your future of IndyCar.
Mike Joachim: [00:34:31] We’ll wrap this up. Thank you very much for the time.
[00:34:34] Welcome back to another lane parley live at all right.
Jeff Kitchen: [00:34:38] We are with Jeff Kitchen from extract transmissions the transmission supplier for IndyCar.
Mike Joachim: [00:34:45] Hopefully I got that right Jeff.
Jeff Kitchen: [00:34:47] Hey. I’m doing well. How are you. Good.
Mike Joachim: [00:34:49] And Mr. Knapp rejoining me Mike. How are you doing. Well it’s great show so far.
Mike Knapp: [00:34:54] Good. So let’s let’s start with the basics. Who is Xtrack.
Jeff Kitchen: [00:34:59] You know it’s it’s you know some Indy car fans that maybe are more casual don’t know about all the different companies that make up an Indy car so a little bit about X track and your you know your role in IndyCar. Well we’re a fairly young company as far as motor sports entities go we were founded in 1984 which is young motorsport years when a gentleman from another transmission company
Jeff Kitchen: [00:35:24] Pursued the offer to rally business and thus the extract is you know all wheel drive and even from the early days we got involved with Indy cars supplying some some parts as early as 1985. We actually had Graham Rahal at our facility. We recently expanded he was at the facility for the grand opening and he was excited to find that we had some parts on his dad’s car when he won in 86. We did little bits and pieces and then finally started doing complete gearboxes. About 89 90 and then really took off for us 2000 on with IndyCar becoming the sole supplier to any car but we’re why we’re pretty much in every series it’s a professional race series.
Mike Joachim: [00:36:12] So I know you and I talked about it yesterday.
Mike Joachim: [00:36:15] You’re expanding into the Australian supercars but there’s no known series are is extract found.
Jeff Kitchen: [00:36:23] And again pretty much anything else on television but it’s been interesting we’ve recently had a lot of success on the off road market by Baha markets or truck racing. So both in the closed course laws and some other close call series and baha one thousand five 500 has really taken off for us a lot of money in there a lot of a lot of great equipment in there. I was just looking at a vehicle this morning and just because it’s off road racing I don’t think it’s not technically advanced because it is super impressive. It’s a very very impressive especially when you consider the conditions are running in and we were just talking about your flat out in the desert mill. It’s awesome until something breaks because you’re you’re in the middle of desert broken down but it’s great racing.
Mike Joachim: [00:37:08] Before I turn over this over to Mike here…Did you see the video of the jeep going the wrong wa?
Jeff Kitchen: [00:37:12] Alex Rossi did. I did. I’m I’m sure Mr. Michael Andretti had a oh s**t moment wherever he was watching that because that was pretty incredible. I just found out yesterday that when that happened they didn’t realise they even clipped the window the rear view mirror. They didn’t they didn’t realize it till they saw it on video later. But yeah it’s crazy out here it’s crazy. It’s people when he says I had to get out there for the for the whole race. But you know glad glad no one got hurt. Yeah you know it’s it’s it’s a crazy event. Every year it seems like it’s something not happens so I like the good stories as long as no one gets hurt. We like to get stories funny.
Mike Joachim: [00:37:47] I know Rossi said on his Ask off track podcast he didn’t even know it happened. Yeah yeah. And apparently down there for those who maybe don’t know what the Baja 1000 is there is there’s really you know the police try to control the track as best they can but it doesn’t really. Obviously as you can tell with the jeep going the wrong way it doesn’t really work that well. But anyway I will turn it over to Mike for the next question here.
Jeff Kitchen: [00:38:10] So when you look at the evolution of gearboxes and the way they’ve changed over time and especially racing gearboxes you’re talking about so much abuse like in the course of a race weekend compared to what maybe winning a weekend what a road car does any year. What kind of engineering goes into what you guys do to make to make this stuff so reliable that it can get through even a 24 hour racer or anything like that. I mean what about the engineering a little bit.
Jeff Kitchen: [00:38:48] We’ve got a lot of smart people back in the UK. Where are our factories. And one of the few if not the only racing gearbox supplier that that has our own metal made for us. So a lot of people get metal off the shelf and they they change their specs to fit the metal they get. We design and specify exactly what materials we need to build it. So that’s one that gives us a performance advantage and durability advantage. The biggest thing is making the components big enough to handle the horsepower and talk yet light enough. You don’t want extra material in there it’s rotating mass. The more you can get out of it the more efficient it’s going to be. Over time the fact that we’ve been involved in everything from off road rally. Formula 1 WBC. We rarely see anything we haven’t been up against previously. You’ve got each of those presents challenges and then you throw on top of that cost constraint. That’s where most of the industry is going now is even Formula One’s got cost constraints on how many races a gearbox can go and engines and all that. So it’s not as wide open say WBC which is still fairly wide open but even within those constraints you have to engineer with the rules in the Indy car box was a great exercise in trying to. When we introduced the current box in 2012. Any car came to us said we want a box it’s better faster more and more reliable and cheaper. And so you it sounds kind of counterintuitive but really it’s a good practice because not only are you
Jeff Kitchen: [00:40:27] Designing the gearbox in the materials and everything that you think of to get performance and durability but you’re getting more creative and better at manufacturing it to reducing manufacturing costs because you’re building it better. You’ve been more efficient and how you put it together you’re more efficient in how you machine the parts.
Jeff Kitchen: [00:40:44] So it is a really good exercise and since we have a lot of series at our cost conscious it’s put us in a good position to stay ahead of the game.
Mike Knapp: [00:40:54] So you take for instance say a modern or Rolex 24. How many how many shifts will a car go with on the entire period. Thousands. I don’t know.
Jeff Kitchen: [00:41:08] I can’t quote the exact number in my mind that sports car races are biggest misses. Without doubt I think the mind. We had 70 percent of the field parts and 70 percent of field through through GC class all the way up to LMP1 and the number of shifts in a 24 hour race is tremendous. And so obviously that durability is important. I think that’s another reason why we’re so good at another series. If you if running a 24 hour race and running a car you can run anywhere theoretically but it is thousands of shifts when you see the internals and what they’re doing that many times in a given lap let alone 24 hours. It’s pretty impressive. There’s not more failures. Obviously there’s so many there’s so many computer control there’s so much that helps us out to make sure the engine doesn’t well make sure the transmission doesn’t blow up. So we’ve piggybacked on a lot of the evolution of the electronics the sensors that go on these these cars. So we had a fail safe mode. If something does go wrong it could go on to learn about bringing in the pits. Either we set something clear something out fix it and get it back out on the track unlike the old days when it would just completely destroy itself just like this lock up and to say bad things happen. I know
Jeff Kitchen: [00:42:30] We talked about what’s coming in IndyCar gearboxes in the near future. How as an Indy car gearbox changed from 1990 or even from the year 2000. Once you got started you’re really getting IndyCar and then the second part of that is what we discussed before is the new you know electronics and in a in a in a gearbox and how does that all work. It’s been it’s been interesting you know you go back to the early 90s
Jeff Kitchen: [00:43:01] When there was multiple gearbox manufacturers which keeps you on your toes. Competition is always a good thing. Racing’s all about competition. We’ve had everything from inline gearboxes to transfers gearboxes any cars unique in some ways in that. A lot of the design is based on the need to change be able to change gears bit side. A lot of race series the cars will be loaded up the generations will be selected put in the car and the car leaves and they never touch it. Any car we’ve had you know cluster changes during during races. We had I think was 2012 2013 a car had an issue with a gearbox came in under yellow. They they took off the rear wing and the rear bumper at the time got the clustering and got the car back down without losing a lap. That’s that’s pretty impressive. Now it was a yellow flag but still considering if it was a transverse box you could do that. And that’s basically been the challenge of introducing technology that’s that’s relevant but also keeping the serviceability. So the two have kept each other in check. We saw a period where transverse gearboxes were in vogue in lines kind of got back in vogue a lot because of the crash structure because the gearbox after the attenuate or is the next big part right. And believe it or not that’s a big part of how he designed the gearbox as they do crash we want we want to absorb the energy before it gets to the driver transverse.
Jeff Kitchen: [00:44:32] If you can imagine a box we’ve got the round part of the gear north to south on the car and it doesn’t collapse as much as if we rotated and you’ve got those gears kind of collapsing on each other. So that’s pretty much why we’ve stuck to the inline as far as technology you know back in the day or race week and we’d be selling lots of dog rings lots lots of dog damage different drivers do different things in different engines different torque is all over the place now everything’s fly by wire the throttle is control can be controlled. It’s not one to one with the foot. We can make a lot softer chefs we’ve got so many sensors that we’ve pretty much ensured you know proper dog to dog engagement dog rings laughs You know it could go a whole season if you will right now it’s suit. So I know from a pure standpoint some people don’t like electronics but it really helps the teams because you’re going from a time when you were buying you know 10 times more dog rings or even 20 times more dog rings and you are now because right now your life in a mountain is not in a. They were out
Mike Joachim: [00:45:40] And I know we talked about electronics a little bit yesterday for a potential you know new piece of the gearbox. Can you expand on that a little bit.
Jeff Kitchen: [00:45:50] Yeah.
Jeff Kitchen: [00:45:50] There is is historically the past 10 years or so we’ve used new pneumatic so we have a pneumatic shift system so the driver hits the paddle there’s a pump on board and and the barrel is actually rotated using it’s using air. It’s been it’s been popular. We liked it. We preferred it over a draw it’s just because it was really reliable data on the 24 hour mind type racing you can over design the compressor if there’s a leak apart from the atmosphere so a lot of benefits of it. Obviously. Doing things quickly and faster is is what you want in racing. So it’s all about there’s there’s a move afoot to go to more e shift which would basically is what it is it’s a a motor doing the shift in the sit in you Mannix we have introduced a new clutch controller for any car that is an option for 2019 tour where before we add pneumatic over hydraulic which was great except you have to compress herbal fluids you’ve got the hydraulic fluids compressing all and obviously air is compressed Oval with the clutch we can do things a little quicker because you only have one compressor all fluid there’s some there’s some other benefits some quick being able to control it quicker anti star condition for example.
Jeff Kitchen: [00:47:12] So there’s say the industry’s kind of going that way. We are working with some people have done some shift so again removing the pneumatic. The other thing that that does is it takes the boxes off the car you no longer need a compressor you know no one no longer need valve box and basically it’s just an actuate or unit that’s an E actuator and that is becoming pretty popular it has quite hit it hasn’t quite displaced pneumatic and we’re still weighing our options on you to be honest you could both almost either one two hour hour gearbox so we were working with we don’t make those bets we do make one for the pneumatic in partnership with another company but we’re trying to make our gearboxes available so they can accept pneumatic shifts the players that people have some names after that people have heard of before that have been involved in this type of thing and they could be coming to different series in the future.
Mike Joachim: [00:48:12] Last question for me before I turn it over to make one more question. Have you gotten good feedback from IndyCar teams on this e shift are there going to be some teams that potentially transfer over to the E shift in 2019.
Jeff Kitchen: [00:48:29] You mean the eclutch?
Jeff Kitchen: [00:48:32] That’s okay. Yeah. Well we’ve only tested that we haven’t delivered the product yet but he did tests and started testing this year at MIT Ohio it tested at Pocono it tested out Portland tested at Sonoma and it just did a test Sebring feedbacks went fantastic pretty. The two teams that have tested it are switching it to next year. So that’s a good sign. They like it. What’s been interesting the mechanics really like it. It’s an easier system and so you’ve got you don’t have to deal with aero airlines and hydraulic lines really it’s hydraulic line and the cable plug into it. So from that standpoint I was surprised. I knew the engineers were going to like it. Any cars. He’s been very supportive of it but the mechanics have really embraced it. We had mechanics at Gateway going down to talk to the teams that ran it.
Jeff Kitchen: [00:49:25] The team that ran it at Portland and they’ve shared information and the other the other team came away said We can’t wait to get on the car. So definitely good I mean they’ll be running in fury. We’re expecting the delivery is probably late January but we expect to have him on the cars for the open test code. Is a plan. All right.
Mike Joachim: [00:49:47] Well we’re going to wrap things up here with Jeff Xtrac Transmissions. Thank you very much for the time today. And hope you enjoy the rest of the show as well. Thank you
Abel Motorsports Press Announcer: [00:49:57] Want to welcome you to our gathering this morning where you’ll able will make an important announcement against one of the team’s drivers that has been with them in 2018 a very accomplished young man in Kirkwood. It was worth has had a strong few years history in this sport after starting as a vintage racing team for Bill. A couple of years ago they decided to get their feet wet and open wheel racing at two years ago in another series to had a very successful opening campaign and then in 2018 naval motor sports was able to win a championship. It was called F 3 Americans and for 2019 and beyond even motor sports is entering the road to indeed. So with that I’d like to see Principal Bill Abel up for a few words on what this is all about in 2009.
Bill Abel: [00:50:44] All right we’re glad to be here.
Abel Motorsports Press Announcer: [00:50:49] Thank you. Thanks for everybody that is here in attendance. We appreciate it.
Abel Motorsports Press Announcer: [00:50:54] Our thanks to Anderson with the idea Anderson promotions.
Bill Abel: [00:50:57] We’re excited to be headed to the road and for 20 19 my drivers Jacob Abel and then we’re still trying to work out the second spot.
Bill Abel: [00:51:06] But Kyle Kirkwood has been testing with us so far this year and so things are looking promising in that direction.
Bill Abel: [00:51:12] But as Rick said we’re fairly new open wheel team are just starting at 50 with the road game.
Bill Abel: [00:51:19] So that was our first year and so we’re very excited to be here.
Bill Abel: [00:51:23] We’re looking forward to the year with love the proposed car is a great car for us and our drivers are able to step right in from where they’ve been horsepower with USF 2000 champion for 2018. Easy transition has been an easy transition for him so far. So let’s get to where our backing private motorsports is our parent company construction company so that we’re 80 year old third generation family business.
Bill Abel: [00:51:50] We carry those same family values that we run our companies with into our sports team and operation and we’re glad to do that and bring it bring forward for 2019.
Abel Motorsports Press Announcer: [00:52:03] And Bill before you leave I know you’d have talked about this you have intentions and aspirations to advance in the sport.
Bill Abel: [00:52:09] This is not the final resting place and the proposal like this.
Bill Abel: [00:52:14] That’s a great point we’re always regard in the last several years we really don’t see it and we’re going to continue as our drivers and develop our team will hopefully develop also and move up through the road to Indy as well as other series out there where we really like the road in India and the professionalism and the competition level in the cars that we see there and so we would like to continue on that path.
Abel Motorsports Press Announcer: [00:52:38] Looking forward to it it’s going to be an exciting 2019 and beyond. Bill will be available for someone one time if any of you would like to have that a lot of valuable motorsports folks are with this year.
Abel Motorsports Press Announcer: [00:52:48] Marc Rich who oversees things in the race shop is a longtime friend of Bill’s or gadgets competition department is here Scott Harrington who has a sister driver coach for the team over the years. And I want to bring up Kyle Kirkwood who is our guy you may have heard of but you may not know much of him at this point is to speak a little bit about his time with a motorsports in 2018. But those of you who don’t know GALLAGHER We’re gonna put together an amazing resumé. He’s won three championships in a calendar year. The EF 4 championship the 3 championship this past year and the U.S. have thousand GM each in Road to Indy is a vast and incredible record. Twenty eight wins and thirty two starts in two thousand eighteen across three series. He was a driver at the recent insta exhibition race secret before our bureau when it would be three.
Abel Motorsports Press Announcer: [00:53:37] You know during a sports car or had jumped out of a car on Friday and they wanted a twenty five second lead at one point I looked down until we got him. Yeah. So this young man is a guy. This is a Jeff Gordon asked resident here and you’re going to hear a lot from this young man in the years to come. What was it like to be an eight wheel driver in F3 2008.
Abel Motorsports Press Announcer: [00:53:56] You know it’s fantastic. They definitely proven and they’ve proven themselves in the past two years and have grown exponentially as a team. And so as Jacob says Bill got a great group of people behind him tons of knowledge and I think that they’re taking a big challenge by going into his promos and rightfully so has proven themselves and have three or four that’s a couple years and I’m really looking forward and they also did very well in Ohio in 2008 was one of the biggest test there and the race then go on to your guys and Spader but they’ve proven themselves in the red handed and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do the following year
Abel Motorsports Press Announcer: [00:54:37] As we all are looking forward to seeing what you could do as well. All right your plans for next year aren’t for the average you test to be able to support group homes.
Kyle Kirkwood: [00:54:45] I guess I did and we did another task that really proud. I think the road on the road test which was our initial test.
Kyle Kirkwood: [00:54:51] Well what about said test stages and Reynolds mentioned very knowledgeable I said it did half the year without it. Everyone sees it at three and this is basically half this year. And that same characteristic carried over into the proviso we finally get set up right away. Wrote and carry that to to sunset and fortunately we were very quick in the process. There are a couple issues but nonetheless we have an emphasis on those issues that arise. So it’s like I said the group themselves said it’s going to be really good. All right.
Abel Motorsports Press Announcer: [00:55:30] Holiday you’ve got other things going on. All the best. Thanks. Congratulations on that incredible 2018 if you get them all. Be sure to check with corporate. We’ll talk again you’ll enjoy hearing what he has to say.
Abel Motorsports Press Announcer: [00:55:40] I’d like to bring Dan Andersen to the podium. I’ll be able to see your principal at Andersen promotions on the road to any new team coming into this series any of the Robie any series Dan is always a big bonus.
Dan Andersen: [00:55:52] Thank you Richard. Now when he talks about it which basically I think about you know what I thought about. Yes on the edge of the roads indeed we’re delighted to have people motorsports make this announcement today. They are a championship caliber team and I expect that they will be at the front of the pack competitive series so I’m going to be easy I wish I could tell you Bill it’s automatic but it’s not. But the roads and the trains drivers and teams and mechanics engineers PR people we will do a lot of people up the ladder job courage to hear those plans to possibly continue to grow as team and continue expanding and all that. So we’re happy to have them. Very glad to welcome them to the series. Thank you very much.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [00:56:38] We’re already almost to the preseason for 2019. How’s the offseason been for you. To start with.
Jack Harvey: [00:56:44] I mean honestly has been it’s been okay. I think most drivers gonna get bored a bit and then you’re looking at how quickly can you get back in the car. Licenses are going to look like next year. We haven’t got any official word word yet but so honest everything’s you know ticking away nicely not sure we’ll end up a full season but I mean it’s you know it’s race in the Indy Car Series I mean that’s a dream on its own so absolutely we’re making progress.
Dan Andersen: [00:57:10] We can’t be nowhere near grinding trying to get away while trying to get to where we’re going.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [00:57:15] I would listen to you read the phone book. You have a doctoral voice and I’m very happy you’re here using it to talk to us today. Let me ask you government is going to go right to the heart of the matter the big important heavy stuff. Exactly you calm down. We’ll be in a minute Jack. That hair is phenomenal. How do you keep it looking sharp while wearing your bell helmet while going to honor miles an hour. Tell us now please.
Jack Harvey: [00:57:38] I’d say this is a process. I believe it is a process slow process and it starts from the moment you hop out of the shower drivers license or take a shower key number one shower and shampoo the days that after or during the shower during a shower game shampoo had good hair dryer. People do not put an emphasis on a good hair dryer. OK.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [00:57:58] Ok. I don’t buy that I want anything to dry but keep going. Well what are you up in half. Let’s keep hearing about this helmet hair.
Jack Harvey: [00:58:07] That’s it. This. People on the way. This is an optimal. Dryness to your hair was not completely dry but it’s not dumb either somewhere between dump and dry mean that’s when you need it. That’s when you apply your product. OK. That’s where you get your shave. I see the gentleman you know
Jack Harvey: [00:58:29] Jack’s like this guy knows this guy knows. And then so when you have applied your product at the right air density you can put on a helmet a head song. Okay. Sorry. Sorry. OK. I’m getting ahead of myself. So you get that you’ve got the shape. Lock that down. With as good a hairspray as you can get hairspray hairspray hairspray not just a great movie
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [00:58:51] But how Jack Harvey keeps his hair together.
[00:58:55] I think so. Wasn’t that musical. It was a musical and a movie. Oh yeah. Basically I saw Jack on it doesn’t so then after all that process is Donald’s process first crossover process.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [00:59:07] How would you say a process process process like my food is and then when you put your balaclava on you have to make sure that you put it on to get the flow back. OK. And just put it on anyway and it comes forward. I mean this. You’ve lost there at that point I mean even though the all that were to get knives under the way they’re going to be honest I’ve lost count of the steps to make my hair like it’s.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [00:59:29] It’s like a six when do you end up in the house. What more do you have to do anything specific once you put the belt helmet on. Or does the helmet just accommodate your hair and how it looks natural as the icing on the cake. Well you know that’s just the bit way I just go from thinking Yeah I’m looking pretty good today to know when you’re looking good today. Well. Thinking you’re looking good to know when you’re your guest Jack. If I had hair like yours and I was an IndyCar racer I’d say no helmet.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [00:59:50] That’s I’m going out there. It’s going to allow free flow. Yeah. Just let it go. Now Zack you’re a rock and a hard I’ve seen you rock all kinds of different. You had the J.R. Hildebrand style going on for a little while a couple years ago.
Zach Veach: [01:00:01] I don’t know why I did that. I really don’t.
Zach Veach: [01:00:04] I look back at photos everybody brings me photos from the first Indy 500 design and I’m just like man someone you guys should have been better friends. It’s all right. He said I just stopped and said Dude you’re here.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [01:00:20] Yeah yeah yeah we’re here. We’re here in the world’s greatest sporting event it’s the largest single day sporting event. And I got to say it’s like your hair just does not look great. No of course we’re not going to do that to you. You were living your dream young man. You were an Indy 500 racer. Appreciate it. But you were on fire. You were in that same America this year I want to get a haircut during a pit stop exactly because it would have burned off. Exactly. But so was there a moment of seriousness because I have to or I’ll get fired. Got it.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [01:00:47] I want to ask both you guys. Obviously you’ve raised your whole lives. It’s an incredibly difficult sport because there’s so many decisions that go into everyday life as a racecar driver. I want to know what Zack for you first and Jack I’ll come to you. What is the decision process to determine the fact that you’re going to wear a belt helmet when you go racing in the Indianapolis 500 Why do you choose to wear a belt when there’s so many manufacturers to choose from.
Zach Veach: [01:01:09] Honestly for me it comes down to the product.
Zach Veach: [01:01:12] Obviously it’s great but that American pride you know I want to be wearing a product in that you know the biggest event in American history that’s built by someone like me and Americans no bell has been a part of my life for six years now and I’ve enjoyed every year from that starting from Indy Lights all the way through IndyCar now and there’s a lot of pride when I have that logo on my helmet and you know that’s when it comes down to just being a part of you know my home.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [01:01:39] I mean honestly Zack I haven’t cried in ten years but I got really close right there. That was wonderful. That was there’s pride and there’s American heritage that was beautiful. He’s going to be an eagle on top of his home at night to somebody. OK. There you go. So now Jack can you can you even come close to that. Why do you choose to wear the great American product that is.
Zach Veach: [01:02:02] Let us know. I mean I don’t have anything as insightful as that. I mean honestly I’m proud for you being right. Honestly I think that’s why we’ve ended up here. You know this it goes by for me anyway goes back to two very simple reasons.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [01:02:15] One I’ve always gone extremely well with the people who were wrong about racing helmets number one.
Zach Veach: [01:02:21] So it’s been relationships actually above all of that the safety of the actual product itself. I don’t there’s nothing else I would feel safer in. And honestly I’m trying to protect this. Absolutely and anything else I’m trying to protect this hair as much as I can. You know when you have me there’s nothing that’s you on the market and I think I love all the guys and go to work. But even more than that I have thousands and believe in what they produce.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [01:02:47] Absolutely and like I said you guys have been racing your whole lives I’m confident you’ve gone through and worn so many different types of safety material from suits to shoes to gloves to helmets that you both are obviously experts on why it’s important to be safe and you’re experts on what is going to be the best for you. So now I want to ask you some we’ve got some new product you’re at the 2018 show. I knew you guys were sitting and waiting. Well we got our fancy camera here lined up. Did you get a chance to view the new interiors in the brand new bells the multicolored interiors. Jack
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [01:03:17] If you could choose a color for your next helmet next year. I know you’ve got a chance looking over there we’ve got red. We’ve got Flo yellow like yellow that’ll put your eye out. There’s blue there’s white. What’s the interior color your theme are going with this is confirmed.
Jack Harvey: [01:03:31] You heard it first. Here we go. Purple purple purple. I’ve got to say it that way as well. Does you have that beautiful
Jack Harvey: [01:03:38] Michael Shank car. Yes. And it’s got a serious XM all over it that you know fluorescent purple and purple interior on the bell helmet would go so well with that.
Jack Harvey: [01:03:47] Yeah. I mean honestly it fits in fairly well too. What about the primary sponsors automation in their job pink campaign. It’s just honestly I texted Carson was I. Have you made that for me. And if you say the answer to that is no you haven’t. I’m going to lie and tell people you the way you did.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [01:04:04] I love that Chris has done that for me. Absolutely. What about you my man. What do you think of when you see those colored in tears almost brand new bells What are you thinking. I don’t want man.
Zach Veach: [01:04:12] I love him. I was so excited when I saw it on Instagram. You know we we’ve been seeing you know things like that for a while. So finally being able to get that is amazing and I’m going to go yellow. Really. Yeah. I thought you were going to red white and blue. Now I’m going to the American side. Bright yellow. I’m hoping it’ll keep the flames. Well you just gotta know that like you know that soliloquy on your pride of winning an American helmet is it’s so bright that even though I have a chrome visor people are going to still be able to see my cheeks just.
Zach Veach: [01:04:42] Oh yeah. I got the American flag on the back though. Yeah.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [01:04:46] So I’m proud. So is this is this is where I bring up a personal issue and I hope this doesn’t like you know offend anybody. I mean you talk about it. It’s I’m offended you talked about seeing the helmet interiors going to die. You talked about seeing the interiors on Instagram. Yeah it’s interesting to know that you still check your Instagram because I messaged you like once in a while and I get left on red every single time. It’s like talking to any female I’ve ever spoken to.
Jack Harvey: [01:05:14] I just get left on a red jet I reply to you. No I don’t. I was cold about. He actually does replied to me. Nothing. Nothing here. It’s like a cold Indiana morning. I thought I did. I love you. Well we had a great golfing.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [01:05:31] Yeah we went golfing I out art Iowa that’s right. Iowa. So you remember better than I do. I do it because it matters. So when you guys go racing next year we’re gonna just move on. I’m so hurt by the no replies. I don’t want to think about it but I will show you later. So when you guys go racing next year the 2018 Indianapolis 500 you’re going to pull that Bell helmet down and again not to make fun of the pride you have in everything you do Zach but I know how emotional you get and pre race for the Indy 500 this year and you can sit in that car with your bell helmet on.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [01:05:59] What’s it feel like hearing back home again in Indiana with a bell on your head knowing you’re about to go race in the Indianapolis 500.
Zach Veach: [01:06:06] Yeah for sure. Last year obviously in 2017 being my first Indy 500 when I heard that come on that was such a a part of any Indy 500 I went to before that I actually did hear up on the grid because you know when I hear that song and think about all the hours that it took to get just to be sitting right there you know you you think about starting when you’re 12 racing go karts to all the years and fifty thousand and Indy Lights and just the multiple times or at the end of the euro and you’re like this isn’t gonna happen and somehow things went together to to make it happen and you know I think anytime you hear that song it’s just it’s a thankfulness that kind of comes over you that you know you’re going to do something that’s really really cool and that’s it’s something that you’ve always dreamed about and that song feels it in that we’re getting ready to go do the Indy 500 beautiful words if we need some of the marketing team we’re gonna call you Jack.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [01:06:57] I know you do a lot of racing you do racing all around the world is it always the same back home and the variations or are you always put on the same model bell no matter what you’re driving I’m always in the same model my I’m I’m a creature of habit I don’t like when I find something that works I don’t I don’t deviate from it. That ain’t broke don’t fix it am I right. I’m saying that’s an old American saying we’ll catch up to speed on those later and then it’s got to feel cool you guys both talked about having the trackside support and guys like Chris and tacky that are at the events take care of you guys and then you know we’re surrounded on both sides of us here by helmets of other Bell athletes. I mean you’ve got one of your guys competitors and Sebastian for day one of your competitors coming up next season Fernando Alonso Lewis Hamilton Donny shots Joey Logano. So you’re obviously in a really rare group of fantastic race car drivers. Is that any added benefit to wearing the helmet or do you not really think about that jacket.
Zach Veach: [01:07:48] Well you know I’ve I’ve already given it apart from you know to some degree if it’s good enough for the five time world champion and Lewis Hamilton it’s probably good enough for Jack off in his head. You know I think like you mentioned the trackside cycle is fantastic. And you know he looks after all the drivers there’s times that come back and honestly not even knowing.
Zach Veach: [01:08:08] But he had been in and you know fresh buys a fresh tear was kind of creepy. I mean it was like a disappearing train.
[01:08:17] You know I don’t know I don’t see is the great bit about the weekend but I mean he’s you know what. I don’t know. I don’t I think honestly when you see all the drivers there is confirmation of what a great product
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [01:08:28] Is producing. And then Zach kind of same question to you. You know you look at these moments are around us. It’s obviously a fantastic group of athletes. What’s it feel like to know you’re a part of that tradition.
Zach Veach: [01:08:37] Yeah. It’s like being a part of a really close family in a way. You look at these guys and I know Jack is growing the same way as I am. We want to have our helmets and one of these display cases for winning the Indy 500 or an IndyCar championship. And knowing the company that you’re in it it says these guys are good enough to know what they want and they know what’s best and if they’re choosing Bell helmets that says something and I think we feel the exact same way if we want the best on her head especially when you’re doing 230 miles an hour with it out there exposed. We know that everyone here is committed for us to be home at the end of every day.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [01:09:11] Now last question for you Zach I know forgive me if I’m misremembering and you’re not the driver that said this story. Jack’s just a giggle hut over here. Honestly Jack is laughing at anything the wind changes direction. Yes. I’ll pay you to read the phone book. We should look into that later anyway. Zach did you. I think once told a story maybe it was your first time at the Speedway going down the backstretch at speed and you went to go adjust a mirror or something. I might think of the right guy. That’s me. Do you want to finish the story. So. Does it involves your bell helmet turns out so
Zach Veach: [01:09:45] I learned how strong a bell helmet is because it almost broke my hand. It’s like third day at the speedway. You know when we’re starting to trim out and actually go pretty fast in and last year or two on 17. So I got the turn one go through turn to you know you’re doing two twenty three twenty four. And I look up and I notice my right mirror from the vibration and started to turn back in and I can see myself. And I’m like well that’s not doing me any good. So I pull a gear and I’m like I’m just gonna push that back out and I put my hand up to just touch the mayor. And as soon as I do. Two hundred and thirty mile an hour wind just rips the hand and throws it against the helmet it’s hard than possibly can. And I was bruised for two or three days. My hand looked like I slapped it against a brick wall. So no to anyone. Wait wait for pit lane before you stick your hand inside the car.
Jack Harvey/Zach Veach Press Conference: [01:10:37] So the next time all of you are going to 30 down the backstretch at Indianapolis and you see that mirror is starting to come in on you. Yeah wait to get the pit lane. If you’re gonna be done be tough I guess that is like a great way to end this. Ladies and gentlemen if you’re gonna be dumb you’ve got gotta be tough but most importantly you’ve got to wear a bell helmet again. Indy car. Just great is at the beach and Jack Harvey. Zach thanks for being with us. Jack. Don’t laugh about something somewhere else because we’re trying to do business here. All right. All right let’s it. How about a round of applause for Indy car driver. Thanks so much for hanging out with us guys and having a great rest your PR folks wear a bell racing USA 19 15 we’ve got drivers coming through the rest of the day and as well as tomorrow. So enjoy the show but stick with us. We got a lot more great interviews