May 19, 2013 | By Paul Kelly
97th Indianapolis 500 Press Conference - Katherine Legge
MODERATOR: Do you have more time this time? You're ready to go back there and work on the race car, and does that say it was a long day?
KATHERINE LEGGE: Oh, yeah. I haven't slept in like three days, so I'm going sleep tonight, which is good. It's been a long day, but it's been a great day and a great opportunity. So just happy now, relieved to be in the field.
MODERATOR: I would suspect when we come around to a final practice session on Carb Day you're going to try to take full advantage of that, I would guess. What, you've got 50 laps or so in today?
LEGGE: Yeah, I had less than 20 when I went out to qualify. But apparently so the team tell me I was flat on Lap 4 of being in after not being in one of these cars for several months. So, whatever, I was aware there was a condensed schedule, so I had to get after it, and we have done a bit today. Our race car is really nice. I feel really comfortable, ran in traffic a bit. We didn't have to trim out, so I have no idea what the car is like trimmed out. We'll have to go and do that, and there would have been another couple of miles an hour in it, so I think we were confident we were in the field. But it's never nice to get there like that. I just feel bad for Michel because he had problems. It wasn't -- yeah.
MODERATOR: But he did have those problems, and it was evident he was having problems the longer they continued, I would think that your comfort level continued to increase because it just didn't look like he was going to be able to find the speed.
LEGGE: Yeah. I was kind of hoping for him that he would because it's always nicer when it's a fair fight, safe to say. Then I could see Buddy would be on the bubble and then it would be -- it would have been a hell of a Bump Day. As it is we created a ton of drama. But it's never nice to see somebody not get the opportunity to go out there and do that. So, I feel very bad for him, he must be devastated. Yeah.
MODERATOR: Questions for Katherine?
Q: Katherine, I spoke to you this morning, and obviously you were just in the moment of the whirlwind of what was going on. How much confidence would you have had to go back out there if you had to trim your car out some more and start competing in the 225s for the first up?
LEGGE: I think that's what we thought. When we came into today and we thought if we get 225, we're in the show for sure; it's comfortable. We trimmed out one stage, so we were nowhere near what these guys were running all week. To be honest with you, we would start there, ready to go out at full qualifying trim, and I was a little bit like, ‘It's going to be fine, it's going to be fine, the car's going to be fine.’ But because I hadn't done it, you know, these guys had 10, 12, 15 runs like that. And it would have been go out, keep it flat, and I would have got it done, and we would have been in the 225s, I think. But that's not like that's a really easy thing to just go do, so it's not that comfortable.
MODERATOR: Engineers often tell you how much speed there is in the car, but interestingly enough, sometimes it's the driver that's holding the wheel. I suspect that conversation sometimes gets interesting.
LEGGE: My engineers have been phenomenal. I think between the team and the engineers and the other drivers are interested. I mean they gave me a really good car so I haven't had to worry about any final setup issues. You know, I haven't gone more than a couple clicks with the weight-jacker, so that was a really nice part. I could just kind of get in. And the whole team have been amazing. They just worked so hard to get me out there, and they have been so supportive. I'm super-impressed. It's so nice to be driving in that team, to be honest. I'm one happy camper at the moment. I'm a happy girl.
Q: Katherine, you say you had been talking with Sam since 2011. How did this come together? How quickly and when did you start talking with him about doing this race?
LEGGE: I was talking to him since 2011. I put my name on his radar and bugged him for a while, and I think for this particular race I was working really hard since things blew up at the beginning of the year for me. I was working really hard to find a ride for the ‘500’ at the very least, and possibly with other races and the sports car thing.
So I was trying to create opportunities for myself. I was very fortunate that I got to be the DeltaWing; that was very cool. I will do more races with them, as well.
But, I was racing at Laguna in the DeltaWing, and I said I have to come back on the red-eye to Indy. It was Sunday, Opening Day. And I was traipsing around the paddock talking to all the team owners and sponsor and everybody and, you know, trying to get myself an opportunity to get in the field. And I'm so grateful to Sam and Ric Peterson for giving me the opportunity. And now we have Angie's List on the car, which is like super-cool, which is Indiana-based.
Yeah, it's just -- it's awesome. Reminds me of Sarah. Sarah had Angie's List on the car before. She gave me away today. She's like, ‘You got that.’ I thought that was really nice.
It's -- it's one big happy family at the moment, and I'm really enjoying that.
MODERATOR: I would imagine with both the sheer physical exhaustion and the lack of sleep and the adrenaline that has to go with today, I suspect that this will be a rather substantial crash that's just around the corner for you, and it will take a while to recover?
LEGGE: Yeah. I will sleep well tonight, that's for sure. But I'm going to enjoy a glass of wine; I'm not going to lie (Laughter).
MODERATOR: How many?
LEGGE: You know, one, two -- bottles. No, I'm kidding (Laughter).
MODERATOR: Well, now that you're safely in, we obviously move our attention to the race. And your thoughts, in your mind, for you, leading, what would be just -- winning is one thing, but beyond that, what's just a great outcome in your mind?
LEGGE: You know, stranger things have happened. I'm not under any illusions that we're likely to win, but stranger things have happened, and I have a really good race car. It's going to be about being smart; it's going to be about getting through the field. We ran in traffic today for 10, 15 laps. The car feels pretty very good. If we have a decent Carb Day, I think top 10 has to be our goal. I really think the car is capable of that, so then it's just down to me.
MODERATOR: Hot day. Did that make the racetrack a little slippery?
LEGGE: It did. And it made me a little smelly. (Laughter)
MODERATOR: It happens to all of us.
LEGGE: I sat in that car for like an hour, in all black, waiting to see. Nervous, sat in the sunshine and wearing black. I must have lost about 10 pounds.
MODERATOR: I think I'm getting the picture. That doesn't sound very comfortable.
LEGGE: It's fine. Like I said. I'm just happy to be here. So everything's just amazing at the moment.
MODERATOR: Open it up to any more questions for you. Let her have her one, two, three bottles of wine.
LEGGE: That's a joke, by the way.
MODERATOR: We understand. Even Americans can understand that.
LEGGE: You got that. That wasn't sarcasm.
MODERATOR: We'll see you. Thank you very much.
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