Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Six Quick Questions With Brandon Wagner

Brandon Wagner hasn't been around Indy Lights for very long, but the 23 year-old USAC veteran and Purdue grad already claimed his first victory at last year's season finale at Homestead, and is looking to move up the ladder in 2011. Despite only running a partial schedule in 2009-2010, Wagner already has a pole position to go along with his victory in Lights. A native Hoosier, Brandon was kind enough to participate in our latest round of Six Quick Questions. Read on to find out more about Brandon and his future plans.

Hello, Brandon, and thanks in advance for visiting with us today. You won your first Firestone Indy Lights race at Homestead last year after only 13 races in that series. Do you see yourself as having improved over that span of races, or do you feel like things finally all just came together?

BW: I feel like it was both factors that helped us win the Miami Homestead race. We always had a fast car last year but had some engine issues at the beginning of the year. The seat time I had in the 2009 season gave me a lot of confidence for the 2010 season. The team and I were able to grow together and show the series that we can win. I believe we can win many more races this season.

How was your partnership with Kingdom Racing? What's it like working with a long-time racing veteran like Davey Hamilton?

BW: The partnership with Kingdom Racing was only for the 2009 season. I still respect George Del Canto a lot and we remain good friends. Davey has helped me grow so much on and off the track. He's helped me transition over to the Lights car as well as helping me with the marketing side. There's no doubt that without his guidance, we would not have had our success. We work very well together and I look forward to continue working with him for a very long time.

You're also attending Purdue University right now. How does that fit in with your racing career, and do you see a full-time racing program in your future anytime soon?

BW: Taking classes and racing is definitely a challenge. However I do plan on finishing school and racing at the same time. It's just something I've become used too. I would love to be a full-time driver, we are working very hard to make that happen.

Wagner celebrating his win at Homestead
As a driver, how do you deal with adversity on and off the track? What keeps you going when things aren't going your way?

BW: Adversity can get the best of you on and off the track. It's how you deal with it that matters. When you have a bad day on track the worst thing to do is dwell on it. I try to learn from my mistakes then move on as soon as possible. It is good to show emotion, but keep your emotion in check. Having a supportive family like I do helps me to keep going.

You raced in USAC at various levels for a number of years. What do you think of the current USAC/INDYCAR connection in the Mazda Road To Indy?

BW: I think its about time they worked together again. A lot of the IRL great drivers were first USAC greats. With fans being able to relate more to the local short track drivers, the fan base will increase for both series. I feel like that is why NASCAR is so popular. Bryan Clauson will be a great example of that and I look forward to seeing BC on track.

Your name has been kicked around here and there as possibly someone who might see a race or two in the IZOD Indy Car Series this year (as well as any races in Indy Lights). Any chance we see you at the Centennial Indy 500, for example?

BW: Davey, my father, and myself are all working diligently to land an IndyCar ride for me. The Indianapolis 500 isn't completely out of the question yet but it looks more promising that I will be testing an IndyCar this summer with hopes of a few races this season. If not the 500 this year then next year we will be ready. It would be an awesome privilege to race the Centennial 500. I'm going to continue to work hard on and off the track to prove to everyone that an IndyCar is where I belong.

(Image courtesy of IndyCar Media)

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