Saturday, March 26, 2011

Snippet of Paul Dana interview, March 24, 2006

On moving to a three-car team for the first time

Right now my learning curve is so steep. Just now starting to get to a point where I can contribute to the set-up of the car.
The adjustment has actually been pretty easy. The team (Rahal Letterman) is so successful and so organized. There’s enough going on driving the car at this level, they want to make your job as easy as possible because this series is s so competitive, they just try to free you from distraction. The team was been very welcoming. They obviously had a very successful rookie campaign last year with Danica. They know how to do it. They know how to bring a new driver into this sport at the top level. They’ve been very supportive and they’ve seemed to be happy with my performance so far.
In general, it’s awesome to be back in the series and to have come back from the injury last year. Awesome to be doing it with a bigger team.

Will you be able to compete?
Last year Panther was a one-car team and they won a race. You need everything. You need budget, development time and testing time and an awesome driver and engineering staff. It can be done, but that was with a veteran driver. That same team had a rookie a few years ago and that same rookie isn’t in the sport anymore because he had a very difficult season he wasn’t able to come back from. It can go either way. It’s a tough deal. This is far more competitive than Formula One in that the cars are so identical and people are even on a spec car. Today something like the top 12 cars were within the first second, second and a half, especially on ovals. You’re not screwing around. You can get seriously hurt or killed. I learned that first-hand last year (suffering a spinal fracture practicing for the Indianapolis 500). There are better things to do in life than drive an Indy Car on an oval unless you think you can be competitive. Unless you’re out there to go to the front, it’s a very volatile thing. It’s a very dangerous thing. I’m very confident in my abilities.

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