One of my favorite drivers to interview is Jay Howard. He’s direct, funny, and lets you know how things stand. We managed to track him down for an encore round of Six Quick Questions, where we talk about marriage, sponsors, the 2012 season, and kicking NASCAR’s tail. Read on!
First off, Jay, congratulations! We understand you’re a married man now! You didn’t get a bunch of fondue sets or anything as wedding gifts, did you?
JH: Thanks! Mate, I got more cooking material than Hell's Kitchen! Problem is, how do I put this.... Courtney is not much of a cooking expert, sooooo...
It looks like it’s going to be a busy offseason. Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (your team this year) is coming back full-time in the Series for 2012. Based on your time with that team, how do you think they’ll do in the transition from part-time to full-time IZOD IndyCar Series entrants?
JH: I think they will do a good job, considering we were a part-time team this year, although on paper the results didn't reflect our performance, we had very good race cars. Everything didn't quite go to plan with the races I ran with them and this is one of the problems being part-time.
Speaking of your time with RLLR in 2011, what’s your best memory from this past season?
JH: Every start of each race, I passed a lot of cars, it was a ton of fun! At Indy, I moved up from 20th to 10th before the first pit stop. At Texas, I moved from 28th to 11th and in Vegas I went from 28th to 14th in 11 laps. That's exactly what you want to be able to do, move up through the field.
Obviously, I know you can’t discuss particulars, but do you have any sort of feeling on how your plans for 2012 are progressing?
JH: Things are looking good, I am very optimistic to be full-time, which is what I need, part-time is just so tough for many reasons, fingers crossed!
Do you have any feel for how potential sponsors are reacting to INDYCAR in general? In a tough market, are things getting easier or even tougher in terms of securing sponsorship?
JH: For me, we are on the right track; it’s been a little easier for me personally to find sponsors, so I am very happy with how things are going. Randy does an awesome job, the future is bright for us all!
Finally, we understand you’ll be one of the drivers representing INDYCAR versus NASCAR in December’s Indy Karting Classic, along with drivers such as Alex Tagliani and Tomas Scheckter. Be honest: you’re going to beat the crap out of the NASCAR guys, aren’t you?
JH: Is grass green? Yes of course we are!!!! Got to fly that IndyCar flag for sure! It will be a great event. I can't wait to be there and don't you worry, I am going there to win!