Mazda Road to Indy
ASHLEY ASKS….. Lucas Kohl
Following a third-place finish at St. Petersburg, Lucas Kohl hopes to carry the momentum into the second round of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But first, the Pabst Racing driver shared his thoughts with POPULAR OPEN WHEEL.
POPULAR OPEN WHEEL: What are your thoughts going to the IMS road course?
LUCAS KOHL: Well, for me, it’s really nice to be back at Indy. It’s a nice place to me. I’m actually really excited to get back into the car. It’s been awhile since St. Pete. I just hope that we can carry our momentum going into the GP. We finished with a podium in St. Pete – could’ve been a double podium but we had some issues. So I just need to carry our momentum into the race and get some good points.
POW: What is the toughest part of IMS?
LUCAS: Right now, we’ve been away from the car for a long time, so I think that’ll be the toughest part heading there. But we tested there last year at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test, and we have a couple extra sessions for the promotor’s test. But I think the way the corners are that you have to just maximize the braking zones to get good straightaway speed. You have to find a fine balance in the set-up to make sure you have good speed on the straightaways, but also are strong in the corners.
POW: Looking back on St. Pete, what are your thoughts?
LUCAS: We could’ve done better there. We had more speed there than we showed. We got it back in the second race, but I had some incidents that I should’ve avoided in the first race. So that was my part. Then the second race, we got a much better position to start in fourth and I knew I had to do something on the start if I wanted to fight for podium positions. So I jumped out on the start and I didn’t have the fastest car, but I did a good job hanging on to my position, which was great.
POW: How would you rate your team’s program right now in comparison to others?
LUCAS: Well, this is my second year with Pabst Racing. So for me, it’s been great. I’ve fit so well there, and we know each other from last year. So for me, personally, it’s the best place for me to be this year. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I think every driver has to find a place that they’re comfortable, and they can work hard, and for me, Pabst Racing is the team right now.
POW: Looking ahead, what track are you most looking forward to beyond IMS?
LUCAS: I think Road America is one of my favorities because it’s the home track for Pabst. We had a great result there last year, so I just hope we can get the win.
POW: Who is your racing hero?
LUCAS: I grew up watching Formula 1, so of course I watched Michael Schumacher watch all the titles in Formula 1. So he’d be one of them. I then remember the first (Indianapolis) 5oo that I watched in 2011 when Dan Wheldon won. So I’ve got Dan on my mind, too. He’s kind of a guy that I look towards. I also look at the drivers in IndyCar right now, because we’re trying to get there, so we’re trying to mold ourselves to what they’re doing right now. But I think those two will be my two guys that I most remember from my childhood.
POW: What would it mean to you one day to race in IndyCar?
LUCAS: It’d mean the world, because I come from Brazil so it’s really hard for us to come to the US here and get the sponsors and race here. It takes a lot of sponsorship money that you have to find so we dedicate all of our time to racing. That’s my life, and that’s been my life for the past 10, 12 years. So that’d be my life achievement. That’s what I’ve worked for through my whole childhood, teenager years, and now here in the US the past two years.
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