IZOD INDYCAR SERIES
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
97TH INDIANAPOLIS 500 MILE RACE
THURSDAY MEDIA DAY DRIVER QUOTES
MAY 23, 2013
Below are selected quotes from Chevrolet IndyCar V6 drivers gathered during Media Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
SELECT DRIVER QUOTES:
E.J. VISO, NO. 5 TEAM VENEZUELA PDVSA CITGO ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT/HVM CHEVROLET:
WHAT KIND OF RACING DO YOU EXPECT ON SUNDAY?
“It’s such a long race. It’s a very difficult race; it’s very mental and very physical. It’s a lot of the way how you interact with the team, with engineers, with all the strategy going on. It’s a race where it is very easy to make mistakes so you need to be very calm and study the situation, understand what it going on. Then at the very last part is when you are going to go for what you are looking for.”
IN REGARDS TO HIS OPPORTUNITY TO WIN THIS YEAR’S INDY 500:
“It’s going to be a very exciting race for me. I feel that it’s the first time I truly have something I can have fun with. I think I never had so many days at this track that I have been smiling after practice. I normally am upset, frustrated at the way things have been going, but this team has been very refreshing. Not only these two weeks, but also the previous races.”
IS THIS THE BEST OPPORTUNITY YOU FEEL YOU HAVE EVER HAD?
“In Indy? Yeah for sure of course, big time.”
ALL FIVE ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CARS ARE STARTING IN THE FIRST THREE ROWS. AT THE LAST FIVE LAPS IS IT EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF?
“I mean this race is all about respect. I believe if we have something as a team it’s that we respect each other probably even more than what I have ever respected another of my teammates because I feel that is reciprocal. But it’s Indy and I don’t know what is going to happen the last five laps. It’s not going to make much of a difference who I am racing with. I’m sure it’s the same for them. I think if we get to that point and that is the problem then, that is a good problem to have.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET:
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO HAVE WON TWO RACES ALREADY THIS YEAR? I GUESS YOU ARE NOT THE SAME DRIVER YOU WERE A YEAR AGO:
“I’m probably more relaxed than I was a year ago certainly. There is always pressure when you join a team like Andretti Autosport to win races. There was pressure from GoDaddy to win races. I really wanted to win a race for myself and for Canada. Having done that now I think I sleep a bit better at night knowing that I will never had to answer that question again. When is the win coming?”
YOU HAVE A FINAL PRACTICE TOMORROW WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING TO DO ONE FINAL TIME OUT ON THE TRACK BEFORE THE 500?
“We are really hoping that ‘Carb day’ is just going to be confirmation of what we learned last Sunday. When we put the car away at the end of last week we were very happy with it. The conditions are quite different now. Temperature is quite a bit cooler than it was on Sunday. Normally that makes the car better, so we are hoping that with the cooler temperatures and we are going to see cooler temperatures on race day that the car is still good. We have one or two tiny little things we want to try, but by and large it’s just confirming that we still have a strong race car.”
LAST YEAR WAS A VERY HOT INDY 500. A LOT OF PEOPLE FELT THAT PLAYED INTO THE HONDA HAND THAT THEY RAN BETTER IN THE HEAT. THIS YEAR IT IS ALMOST TOTALLY THE OPPOSITE. IS THAT GOOD FOR THE CHEVROLET TEAMS?
“I guess time will tell. Certainly they have been performing well in qualifying, but we have seen this movie before. This is the same story of last year and Honda had the advantage on race day. I think cooler temperatures and lower humidity definitely helps the engines in general and hopefully we will still have the edge that we had all month.”
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO BECOME THE FIRST CANADIAN SINCE JACQUES VILLENEUVE TO WIN THE INDY 500?
“It would mean everything. It would mean the world to me. Not just personally as a driver, but for Canada and for my team and for GoDaddy. It takes so many people to get a driver to this point. It would be for all of them. Every single person involved. I was actually in a museum at the start of the month and drooling over Jacques’ (Villeneuve) car. Somebody asked me of all the cars in there which one would I like to drive the most. Without hesitation I pointed out the No. 27. I said I would love to take that thing for a spin because Jacque winning that race is one of my earliest racing memories. Watching that race on TV and understanding that a Canadian had won and all the rest of it. It’s literally one of my first memories of watching racing. As a result it’s quite special to me.”
TALK ABOUT THE CONFIDENCE YOU HAVE AS A TEAM (ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT) GOING INTO SUNDAYS’ RACE:
“You would be surprised. With the way the week went in practice and then obviously getting all five cars into the top nine you would think that we are kind of walking around on a cloud. At the same time we qualified just as strong last year and we got out classed in the race. The Honda’s were quick and a couple of different teams did a very good job on their race cars. You can’t be confident here. That is the problem. Indy is such a unique place you never know what it is going to throw at you.”
BUDDY LAZIER, NO. 91 LAZIER PARTNERS CHEVROLET:
ALL THESE YEARS SINCE THE ALL-TIME FEEL GOOD WIN IN THE INDY 500 CAN YOU EVEN QUANTIFY HOW GOOD IT WOULD FEEL AFTER ALL THIS TIME TO FIND YOURSELF IN THAT SITUATION?
“I’m not even trying to think about it. But you know what I am trying to do is… I was here as a 19 year-old. I was the youngest driver by a lot. It was quite an experience. Every year I have been here it’s a different experience. You think it’s going to be one way, but is always a little different than you expect, but it’s always enjoyable. It always tests you as a driver. I really enjoy the process. I’m just enjoying the process right now. Where that process puts me on race day with everything, such a late start, small team, no teammates, no notes, we are just going to maximize what we have. If we hit it on race day when it comes to this place the cream, car wise, will always find their way to the front. If we hit it, the car will go to the front it will go good. If we don’t I will make the best of it. I’m not even trying to think about anything other than that. You are in it to win it always when you’re racing. There have been so many times here where I felt like we ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’. We wound up second twice here. There were years when we finished fifth here where I feel like we really ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda’ won it. So certainly I will know right away if I’ve got that kind of car. I remember there was one year when I took second when we had both me and the one who won the race weren’t competitive all day and we still found ourselves in that position. That is pretty rare. You have got to have a good car here or you are not going to the front.”
WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF THE NEW CAR?
“I love it, I do. It reminds me actually it’s funny if you stay around long enough you get back to where you sort of began. It reminds me of the Lola era which was good for an era that was good for me. That probably helped me adapt a little bit. The cars actually do remind me a little bit of that. There is still more… it’s just so hard to control the weight on this car for some reason. There is a
lot of rear weight in the car. That is still sort of an engineering conundrum we are trying to solve. But, I’m really blessed I’ve got a great engineer in Mike Colliver and a great crew chief with Dennis (LaCava) so it maybe a small crew but there is a lot of experience there. We have been leaning on each other and it’s been good. Every time we try to tap the car for a little more speed it’s come up speed. I think it’s an extremely good car.”
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 25 RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET:
HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK IT IS FOR AN AVERAGE RACE FAN IN THIS COUNTRY THAT AN AMERICAN WIN THIS RACE SUNDAY?
“Forget American they need an Andretti to win (laughs). I think it could be a big deal. I know the fourth-time club and everything with Helio (Castroneves) could be pretty cool story. But that is going to be the biggest story especially with this curse that the media has drawn up on me. That would be huge to be able to break.”
HOW MUCH MORE CONFIDENT ARE YOU COMING INTO THIS YEAR’S 500?
“Obviously being in contention the overall picture helps. This race is a championship in itself. Last year we did have to come from the back twice and actually the second time that is what ended up biting me. Hopefully, this year we can stay towards the front most of the day.”
YOU HAD CHEVROLET’S UP FRONT LAST YEAR IN QUALIFYING BUT IT WAS THE HONDA’S THAT WON. DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE FIGURED OUT WHAT YOU CAN DO TO GET THOSE GUYS? ARE YOU STILL CONFIDENT A CHEVY CAN GET TO THE FRONT AND WIN THIS YEAR?
“Yeah, I mean honestly if you look at last year I don’t see Honda beating us I see us beating ourselves because of our approach. I’m talking at the time the No. 26 car that team. That was the first time where I was even close to being in contention for the pole so we got off track last year in chasing a qualifying car. I think it hurt our chance in the race. I wasn’t pleased with my race car last year. I think this year I am.”
IS MAYBE YOUR BEST CHANCE YET TO WIN THIS RACE?
“I think so. I just want to make sure I’m not getting over confident, because I know how many elements can take you out of this race. In my experience, my driving, my guys, my race car, I think if we execute we can win. Having said that, I haven’t been sleeping because of just picturing the last restart. Because these cars tow so well and I can lead 190 laps around this place and then have a restart with five to go and just be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We will leave that part to the man upstairs, but I think everything is in line so far that has been in our control. I’ve been really pleased with our race car. This year as a team we really attacked getting a good solid race car and I think we have that.”
DOES THE ANDRETTI HISTORY KIND OF SETTLE IN MORE AND MORE ON YOU?
“When you are out front leading this race you always think about it. You just hope that there is not an element that is going to take us out of it. Last year up front cruising, it was early in the race and that is all we knew is that it’s early, it’s early. But having said that I think as a family as a whole as competitors it’s frustrating 70 plus tries with one victory, but I think as human beings we are lucky. We are fortunate; we are all healthy and still have a great shot at winning this race at a young age.”
TOWNSEND BELL, NO. 60 SUNOCO ‘TURBO’ PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET:
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE KEYS THAT ALLOWS YOU TO DO SO WELL EVEN THOUGH LATELY INDY HAS BEEN YOUR ONLY RACE OF THE YEAR?
“I think there are two schools of thought about how to come here. Generally I try to go fast early when I get here and try to just get that out of the way. I feel like the quicker I’m up to speed even though I’m not totally relaxed and everything is not totally right. If I just kind of… as long as I’m confident in the car and trust in what I’ve got the quicker I can get up to speed the sooner I can really start drilling into the fine details. Some guys come and sometimes it takes several outings or a couple of days to get going. I try to go big early and then be working on just the finer points.”
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO, NO. 78 NUCLEAR ENTERGY AREVA KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET:
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE LITTLE THINGS THAT NEED TO BE TWEAKED?
“Right now it’s hard to say. I think for example on Sunday we rolled off pretty well and kind of had a little few things to make it a little bit better. Just a little bit of understeer. I think I’m pretty comfortable with the car so it’s just like little things that just makes it a little bit better in traffic. Those are the important ones.”
YOU ARE ONE OF FOUR WOMEN TO QUALIFY FOR THE INDY 500 WHAT IS THAT FEELING LIKE?
“Well, I don’t know to me it’s never really been a big thing. At the end of the day I feel like we are all wearing helmets and we are all trying to do the best job we can. For sure I think it’s nice that there are so many women that qualified for the race and hopefully we are going to take the banner pretty high up at the end of the day.”
WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST COMPETITION IN THIS RACE?
“I think everybody. Pretty much all the drivers are. It’s not somebody or somebody else. I think all the other 32 drivers are your competition because our goal is all to win this race. That is the biggest competition you want to end up being the best one out there.”
DO YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT YOUR STRESS LEVEL WAS LIKE LAST YEAR VERSUS THIS YEAR?
“I think I wasn’t really stressed just kind of more frustration last year. I think as a driver you always want to be competitive. When you are in a situation like I was you are just there. What are you going to tell people? You can’t be saying ‘I don’t deserve this’ or anything like that. It is the situation you are in. You just try to do the best thing you can. This year it has totally changed because I feel like I have the tools. We are competitive and there are things I have to work on, on my side. It’s different you kind of have a different outlook to it because you as a driver can improve yourself. Because you have the tools and sometimes you didn’t do something right so you know that has to be better and that is what I actually really like about this year. Because I see that I can improve in somethings.”
WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR RACE DAY?
“For me it has always been hard to put a result out there any races. I feel like if do our job right we should be able to end up like up front pretty high up. I think we have a really good race car for sure. I feel like I’m still not where I am for example on a road course. On an oval I think there are still things that I kind of have to learn and kind of get my rhythm in especially last year I didn’t pass any cars last year because of the Lotus situation. Just getting the timing right to get by people and things like that. That is what I’ve been working on for this whole week. Hopefully, things are going to click in the race and we can move forward.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 1 DHL ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET
HOW DO YOU FEEL GOING INTO SUNDAY’S RACE?
“I think like last year, we feel confident. We don’t know what race day brings yet. We had some surprises last year from our competition that hopefully we don’t have this year, but we’ve been working really hard on the race car this year and I think that any one of the Andretti cars has a good opportunity, a chance, at being a contender for the race in the final 10 laps.”
THERE IS A CHANCE OF RAIN. DO YOU HAVE A HANDLE ON WHAT
YOU MIGHT EXPECT FOR A SET-UP?
“Yeah, we started the practice week with cooler temperatures and I think we have an opportunity to look back at those days. But, we’ll see. It’s 20 percent chance of rain and who knows how that will pan out. One way or another, we’re going to race this race. It might be cooler than expected, but it’s the same for everybody.”
TWO YEARS AGO YOU STRUGGLED AT THIS RACE. BUT NOW, THE ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT TEAM IS AS STOUT AS EVER. TALK A LITTLE ABOUT THAT
“Starting out with your first point in 2011, we just missed it entirely. You’re only as fast as the horse you’re riding and we just didn’t have a horse in the show. The horse didn’t show-up that day. Since then, it’s been a complete turnaround for Andretti AutoSport. We came back and won a race that year in New Hampshire and then came out in 2012 and won the championship, winning the most races and winning the oval championship as well. This year we’ve gotten off to a great start. I think the chemistry and the atmosphere within team is the best it’s been in a long time. We have constant communication between the teammates and the engineers. So things are going in the right direction and the engineering department is certainly doing a great job in what they put on the race cars as we an see with the speeds we’ve been turning.”
NOW THAT YOU HAVE THE CHAMPIONSHIP, DO YOU FEEL ANY NEED TO WIN THE INDY 500 AND ADD THAT TO YOUR RACING RESUME?
“I think the pressure just comes naturally with being the series champion. You now have the bar raised and you have to live up to a certain standard on-track and off. But it’s a good pressure. I feel like I’m more relaxed this year. What I’ve always tried to achieve my entire career, which is the IndyCar championship, we’ve now achieved. We still have so much work to do. We still have races to win, the biggest one of all being the Indy 500. But I actually feel more relaxed. I’m not sure if that’s because we’ve won a championship or because I’m more comfortable in the environment that I’m in at Andretti AutoSport, with basically a home around me and guys I’m very comfortable with. It’s a good atmosphere right now and I’m looking forward to Sunday.”
ON YOUR RACE DAY PREPARATIONS, ARE THOSE ANY DIFFERENT FOR THE INDY 500 THAN FOR OTHER RACES?
“Yeah, I can’t step on any cracks all the way out to the car. No, I’m joking. I don’t have any superstitions. I eat responsibly. I hydrate and make sure that I get in my calm space before the race where I can kind of zone out and just focus on the job at hand, because there are so many distractions on race day. We’ve got so many people at this event. We have so many sponsors and fans and everything else. There can be quite a few distractions when the biggest job of the year is coming ahead. So, you’ve just got to make sure you keep the blinders on and stay focused because what really matters is getting a result on Sunday.”
WOULD YOU RATHER WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP OR THE INDY 500?
“Now having had a championship, I’d rather win the Indy 500 for sure. But, the Indy 500 is such a special event that you really can’t put a price tag on it. It’s where heroes are made. I remember watching it as a fan growing up that the guy that won this race might as well as had a Superman cape on. It’s so much different and it’s a part of history. And yeah, the Indy 500 is the top of the list.”
DO YOU EXPECT THE SAME RACING STYLE AND DRAFT AS LAST YEAR?
“I do. I think we’re going to rival the amount of lead changes that we had last year. It’s going to be very similar.”
AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 2 IZOD TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET:
WHEN YOU WENT INTO NASCAR, YOU SAID YOU WERE MAKING A PRACTICAL DECISION WITH ALL THE MONEY YOUR PARENTS HAD INVESTED IN YOUR CAREER THAT YOU BASICALLY HAD TO DO THAT AS A PLACE TO GET PAID. ARE YOU BACK IN THE FORM OF RACING THAT YOU LOVE?
“It didn’t move to NASCAR to get paid. I went there because at the time the split was bad. You didn’t know what was going to happen. The writing was on the wall that CHAMP car was going to go away. At that point, the IRL schedule didn’t really excite me. It was just all ovals and not a lot of road courses and at that point I was on a team and they didn’t know if they were going to go to the IRL because Jerry Forsythe was so against it. So, I just did it for a job, honestly. I think people just thought that I made the decision; ahh, the money is there and it’s easy to go. It was hard. I love open wheel racing. Right now, I’m just looking at things that give me the best opportunity in my life just to be happy and have fun and we all know money helps, but it’s not the most important thing. I’m just kind of taking it all in, one day at a time. I look at it as a simple decision for me. If Roger Penske wants to offer me a job and offer me races and keep doing that, I’m not going to turn him down, no matter what series it’s in. So, that’s just kind of where I stick at and everything else, I just kind of go along with it and see what happens.”
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE BACK HOME WHERE YOU WANT TO BE IN THIS FORM OF RACING?
“No, for me it’s just having the chance to do this gets the enjoyment back really. It’s not like I’m back home. I feel like the reception that I’ve gotten here has been great with the fans and the other drivers and other teams. I feel like I’ve been welcomed here and that’s been really nice to have. Ultimately is it back home? I don’t even know what that feeling is. I don’t know what that’s supposed to feel like. I just know right now I’ve enjoyed being here so much and to be here as a Roger Penske driver is just a dream come true and I really haven’t even experienced it yet. I can’t wait until Sunday when I finally get introduced.”
DOES YOUR NASCAR EXPERIENCE TRANSLATE TO INDYCAR RACING?
“I don’t think it translates at all. These guys had this race last year but for me, it’s kind of just flying by the seat of my pants and learning each lap that I go. The start is going to be hectic because that’s something that you really can’t practice. In traffic, we’ve practice that for the last week and a half, but the start is going to be a little bit hectic in trying to take that as it comes. From there, it’s no different than any other Indianapolis 500. You’ve just got to settle in. It’s 500 miles. A lot of things can happen. I guess the way I look at it is if I do everything right and I can run a perfect race or close to a perfect race and make no mistakes, if the team makes no mistakes and we have good pit stops and everything goes with that, we will have a chance to win this race. That’s how fast our car is. And that’s how good I feel about it. And that’s all you can ask for.”
ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THE RACE CAR?
“I’m fairly comfortable. I think we have a really good balance in general on our race car. I feel like we’re in a real small box now but we know what we want. The questions downforce-wise; that will be kind of determined by conditions coming into Sunday. That’s probably my biggest question it’s like okay, how much downforce do I want in the car? When I’m out leading the pack I feel really good. I can run wide-open pretty easy and feel like I’ve got good speed in the car when I do that. I generally feel like if we do all the right things, we’re going to give ourselves a really good shot to win this race and that’s all you can do. But I feel good about the car.”
WHAT’S THE HARDEST PART OF PREPARING FOR THIS RACE?
“I think the hardest part is going through the daily process of it. It’s a long week and a half. I don’t know how these guys used to do it when it was a month, honestly. But It’s just like the process of waking up every day with no pre-conceived ideas of what I finished the day before and that’s how it’s going to be today you know, with the weather conditions and wind and
everything that can change. It’s just almost like starting all over again from day to day. That was tough. I was always having those nerves getting back in the car. Those first couple of laps out to kind of see where the balance was but other than that, I felt like the week and a half went probably better than I could have hoped. It was better than I expected. But I really didn’t have any expectations. But just how comfortable I feel in the car and how good I feel I traffic and things like that, went really well. On race day, for me, I just want to give us the best chance to win and just be smart (and) be patient when I have to be patient and be aggressive when I have to be aggressive and just try to limit mistakes. And if there is a mistake, make it a very small one because you don’t have a lot of room for error here; and run all 500 miles. If at the end, that’s our chance to win, then great. And if not, and I can get out of the car and say you know what, I did everything I could. And that’s all I can do and be happy with it.”
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET:
REGARDING ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT AND PANTHER RACING
“We’ve made a pretty conservative effort, especially with the No. 4 car, running with those guys as much as possible through practice. It’s easy to go out and run in traffic, but it’s not that easy to go out and run in traffic with guys that you’re actually going to be racing with and have those guys racing with each other. For us, it’s made it much easier to target a time of day to run or whatever because all the Andretti AutoSport cars are good. So, if they’re all going out, then we’ll just tag on and run with them. And they’ve been pretty good about letting us do that. In fact, on Sunday, they wanted us to go out first and they wanted to follow us around.
“So, I think we’ve been more aggressive than usual building a race car that’s just going to be fast on Sunday. We’ve taken some risks that I think we wouldn’t normally take or didn’t take last year or the year before that Panther hasn’t taken in a few other years because I think with the car formula and the way the cars work and the way racing goes right not, if you want to know that you’ve got a shot at it at the end of the day, you’ve got to have a car that you can pass 10 guys in 20 or 30 laps. Just the nature of the way the race goes, there’s a lot of yellows and there are a lot of cars running close together. So you don’t ever get out in front and take off. And so for sure, I think the Andretti AutoSport cars are fast. The Penske cars are really good. I’d be shocked if the Ganassi cars aren’t in the mix by the end of the race, but we feel like we definitely have those guys number when it comes down to it.”
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 SHELL V-P0WER PENNZOIL ULTRA TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: CAN YOU ADDRESS HOW DIFFICULT IT WAS FOR YOU TO WIN MULTIPLE INDY 500 RACES GIVEN HOW HARD IT IS TO DO IT THE FIRST TIME? “The competition…I feel especially today we have at least 20 cars that are able to win this race. The level of the speed, the level of the teams today…you have one car on the pole position beating the great names – Penske, Ganassi, Andretti – rising stars. A lot of things change. But because you are so limited on what you can do on the cars, everybody is on the same level. What I think is going to be the different is experience; team experience; those things for sure I believe are going to make a difference. We have a great team, and hopefully that will be a factor so we can continue and try to get the fourth one.”
ARE YOU THINKING AT ALL ABOUT GETTING YOUR FOURTH WIN, AND IF SO, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? “I dream every night about it, but there is so many other drivers, unfortunately, that are thinking they want to get their first. I’m not thinking about the end of the result. I am thinking about how I am going to get the result. Right now we are trying to prepare as much as we can. There is so many things that can go wrong, but it so little things that can go right. That is why we are trying to eliminate the bad stuff. We have the speed; we have the experience. We just have got to put ourselves in the right place at the right time. Doing those things, I believe, we can make it happen.”
ARE YOU MORE COMFORTABLE NOW COMING TO INDY WITH ALL YOUR EXPERIENCE AND SUCCESS? “Every time I come here, I always start from zero. My notes start from zero. I mean I read everything so that I can understand what basics where we are, and what level are we on. If you change the weather, if you change a little bit on the engine; the tires; it has changed it all already completely. That is why you always have to respect this place. When you do that, good things happen to you.”
ARE ALL THREE OF YOUR WINS DIFFERENT? “Each one is special. The first one you never forget. The second one – you can’t believe you just did it; and the third one – the circumstance that happened to me was just absolutely amazing.”
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO WIN FOUR, LIKE ANOTHER MEMBR OF TEAM PENSKE – RICK MEARS? “Well, I’m the lucky on here. He’s not only a mentor to all of us at Team Penske, but he is also my spotter. When I ask him ‘What do I do now?” He says “I don’t know, you are the one driving.” It is one of those lines that I love it. He is so cool. Sometimes I don’t think it is fair that they call him a four-time winner. I think they should say five and a half or something like that because he helped me win all the other ones.”
WHAT WOULD YOUR THOUGHTS BE ABOUT SEVERAL NASCAR CUP SERIES DRIVERS COMING HERE TO RACE THE INDIANAPOLIS 500? “I believe that is what it is all about. This place is about racing against the best. When you mix NASCAR drivers, IndyCar drivers, Sprint Car drivers, I feel that this is the place we should have. Hopefully in the near future we would be able to see that.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: SOME DRIVERS HAVE SAID THAT AJ (ALLMENDINGER) HAS A SHOT AT WINNING THIS RACE. DOES HE? “I think he does, yes definitely. He’s been the strongest of the three of us this month. So, yes he does.”
WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM TO BE SUCCESSFUL? “Actually we are making some changes. They car hasn’t been very good in traffic, so, we need to get that right. We need to have good pit stops. It’s got to be a day where everything flows your way. That’s how you win.”
WOULD IT BE COOL, IS YOU AREN’T THE WINNER, FOR EITHER HELIO OR DARIO TO WIN AND JOIN THE FOUR-TIME WINNER CLUB? “Yes, I think it would be especially cool for them. LAUGHS. I don’t know how cool it would be for everyone else. LAUGHS. But, yes, it is a pretty big accomplishment to win one of these things really.”
WHAT DOES THE INDY 500 NEED TO CONTINUE TO BE THE TREMENDOUS EVENT THAT IT IS? “I think it will always be big. It is a tradition for people to come here, actually robably more than about the race. If you fan come here and have a good time, you see people in the infield, a lot of repeat people. It’s not like it’s a whole new set each year. It just becomes a tradition to come to this race”
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 7 MCAFEE DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET: DID YOU SPEND MOST OF PRACTICE LAST WEEK GETTING A GOOD CAR FOR THE RACE, OR DID YOU WORK ON QUALIFYING? “We spent a bit of time trying to get the car faster, but we did that we just didn’t want to take massive chances, so we trimmed the car to minus 10 on the rear wing, and we kept the sidewalls on the wing. A lot of guys took everything out. The conditions got a little cooler than we thought they’d be, and guys just trimmed out massively, and they picked up more. The air got a little thicker, so we picked up drag. Ultimately we were hoping for a 227.5 mph, and we did 226 mph so we were disappointed. But, we decided too late to try to give another go at it, and tr
im the car some more. We didn’t get a chance to practice it, so we didn’t get in line, and we didn’t want to do something stupid. The car is very solidly in the show in P 15. You don’t want to pull the time, and not go any faster and look real stupid, and then you go again the next day. We just basically took the pill and said see what happens.”
HOW IS THE RACE CAR? “We spent a lot of time on the race car on Sunday. We had some good, some bad and some ugly, but I think we finished the day fairly strong. At the end, we did a full stint, hooking up with different people, at the end with Scott (Dixon). The car looked pretty good. We’ll see. The conditions are going to be so different. I hope we aren’t going to have to go and do the yard sale, but could be. You never know what you get here. Sometimes 10 degrees, 15 degrees makes a massive different. It will probably be 40 degrees different track temp between what we practiced, and what we are going to run tomorrow.”
WHAT IS YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE RACE? “I didn’t really set anything. I think from where we start, anything is possible actually from anywhere. Anything is possible in this race. It is just a matter of us having the setup nailed. Hopefully we can run tomorrow and have a good surprise, and feel like we can run strong again. But until we do it, you don’t know what you are going to get.”
ORIOL SERVIA, NO. 22 MECUM AUCTIONS PANTHER DREYER AND REINBOLD RACING CHEVROLET: HOW DO YOU FEEL GOING INTO THE RACE? “Very good. Not over-confident because in this race, so many things happen in a 500-mile race that you just can’t feel super confident. I don’t’ think anybody can or should. But I feel very well prepared. I feel like this time I am best prepared ever for this race. I am definitely looking forward to it.”
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WORRY ABOUT THAT COULD COST YOU THE RACE? “It is a race where pit stops play a big part because there are going to be seven or eight pit stops. But I do have a very strong crew; we show it every race. Last year we finished second in the Pit Stop Competition and I hope we win it tomorrow. Pit stops can go wrong for anybody. We’ve seen that with even Penske. How many times have they had issues in the pits at this race which they care so much about. So pit stops are always a problem. Or, basically just making a mistake and crashing. When you are going at these speeds, you are racing 32 other guys who all want to win. Cars moving around, when the cars move around, they take the air away from you. You don’t take any risks, but you hit the wall because you lost the downforce. There are a lot of things that can go wrong. Everything has to go right for you to9 be able to win. You have to have a sharp day and make best decisions.”
HOW DO YOU TOP THE INCREDIBLE FINISHES WE HAVE SEEN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS? “I think it is going to be amazing because last year, this car provided a great race. This year we’ve seen through all the races so far, it’s even more competitive. We are all more equal to each other. I really think there at least 20 guys out there with a total legitimate shot at winning on Sunday which is unthinkable in most of the history of the race. That is going to provide an amazing race.”
TALK ABOUT THE CHEVY PERFORMANCE SO FAR: “I am very proud of the work they have done. Chevy over the winter, they worked very hard. Honda did too, but obviously Chevy did a better job, at least when it comes down to the boost level we used in qualifying, Chevy was definitely superior. On race day, I hope we still have the edge.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 HYDROXYCUT KV RACING TECHNOLOGY SH RACING CHEVROLET: TALK ABOUT YOUR 12 YEARS AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY: “My biggest motivation is the fans. It’s crazy how big I became here without winning. You take yourself for granted. You don’t think about this kind of thing like ‘oh I’m famous’ or ‘oh I’m a fan favorite’. Every time I’m here, it is unbelievable the warm welcome I get from the fans. So that is my biggest boost to keep coming back.
“Every year if I don’t win, I try not to let myself down or get mad or something. I just try to understand why. Quite honestly I was in a position to win, but then it rained or someone hit me. Or we got the yellow flag at the wrong time. Those are things I can’t control. So to me what keeps me coming back and having motivation is I know how good at this track. If I am going to win it or not, a lot of things have to happen for me to accomplish that, but my motivation is always the same. I am totally fine with the position I have at this place. Some people make history because they win a lot and some people make history because they never won this thing.”
WHAT PART OF YOUR SKILL SET MAKES YOU GOOD HERE? “I don’t know. To have a good car here, you have to drive a neutral to a loose car, and that is something I really like. That is how I like my car. That suits me quite well. Apart from that I really like the place, it helps a lot. I wouldn’t be able to answer why. Maybe somebody else. I feel it, definitely and the results speak for themselves. My view, it’s the kind of setup that you have to run here that makes you go fast.”