IZOD INDYCAR SERIES
INDY POCONO 400
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JULY 6, 2013
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, MARCO ANDRETTI AND E.J. VISO, met with members of the media at Pocono Raceway and discussed racing at the historic venue, their seasons thus far and other topics. Full Transcript:
THIS TRACK IS SO FULL OF INDYCAR HISTORY AND THE ANDRETTI’S ARE SUCH A LARGER PART OF IT WHAT IS IT LIKE FOR YOU TO KIND OF BE RACING IN YOUR TEAMS BACKYARD?
E.J. VISO: “It’s fun. The first time I drove into the track my GPS said Andretti drive or something like that it was. It was really cool. I know what history means and even if this is also the first time for Michael (Andretti) being in this track same as for me. This track has a lot of history for all the Andretti’s. It’s fun. I’m pretty new in all the American racing history, but little by little I’m catching up. Definitely at some point start being part of the history. It’s something that is really amazing just being with this team and being next year to the actual champion. It’s fun. I think Pocono is an amazing track. Really fast track every corner is very different. Whatever happens in one corner probably happens the opposite in the other corner. I’m talking about corner one, corner three, so there is a big contrast when you are driving a lot of thoughts while you are driving. It’s tough to the engineers to give us a fast car, a complete balanced car because corners are extremely different.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WHAT HAS BEEN A REALLY STRONG SEASON FOR YOU SO FAR:
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: “I think the season is wide open. The championship is going to come down to the last race again. It will probably come down to three or four drivers. Hopefully of course all the guys you see sitting up here today are probably going to be a part of it. You really don’t know who is going to win any race. It’s kind of a mystery every weekend. You really have to be on top of your game to make sure you score maximum points. It’s a lot of fun and typical IndyCar. It’s been a good season, a very long way to go still. Everything can change pretty quickly. We realize that and we are just trying to stick to what matters and that’s practice this morning and we go onto the next one.
“The ESPY’s it’s a huge honor going up against Tony Kanaan and the Brazilian contingent (laughs). It’s very cool just to be nominated is like I said it’s an honor. It goes to show how much work went into last year and our championship.”
TALK ABOUT YOUR STRONG START TO THE SEASON:
MARCO ANDRETTI: “Yeah, a lot better than last year for me I really worked on my consistency in the off-season. Where I used to struggle was actually the strong part of this year on the street circuits are my best results. Where I thought we would be able to string a couple wins together that has been my worst results. That is the way it goes. I think as long as we can keep showing up every weekend no matter what type of track it is hopefully like Ryan (Hunter-Reay) said we could all be in it at the end. That’s what we are trying to do. Yeah, good start here this weekend. We will have to see what is going to happen.”
THERE HAVE BEEN SOME UP’S AND DOWN’S TO THE SEASON, BUT ALL IN ALL YOU HAVE THREE WINS THE MOST OF ANY DRIVER AND COMING OFF SUCH A DOMINATING PERFORMANCE IN IOWA HAS TO BE GREAT FOR YOU COMING INTO POCONO:
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: “Yeah, obviously it has been a very up and down year. The highs very high the lows very low, it’s nice to have the wins certainly. You look and we are still fourth in points. It’s actually if you look at how many results we have outside the top 10 it’s a miracle we are fourth in points. It’s good we have had those wins to stay in the fight keeping up with the rest of the guys up here. In Iowa you don’t get days in racing like that very often especially when the series is as competitive as it is. You have to take them when you get them because that’s a day of great execution by the whole team. The car obviously was great and pit stops were great. Strategy was great and we just tried to be smart out on track and it worked out. In a sport where it’s sort of ‘what have you done for me lately’ it’s nice coming into a weekend off a performance like that. In two days it won’t mean anything. The focus now is Pocono and it’s great to be back here. Hopefully, we can have another strong performance for the team like we did at Indianapolis and just try and get all four of the Andretti Autosport cars up there.”
HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT FOR YOU TO WIN ON AN OVAL?
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: “Well, I mean it’s a huge part. To be successful and to be a champion in IndyCar you have got to be able to perform on all different types of race tracks. Personally as a driver, yeah, that was a big goal. If you look at my two previous season in IndyCar I’ve matched my best road course and street course performance with an oval race. So right after St. Pete I had the goal of trying to win an oval race this year to kind of keep that streak alive and prove that we can be competitive on all types of tracks. It was definitely a big day in that respect.”
IS YOUR SET-UP VERY SIMILAR? CAN YOU HELP EACH OTHER OR DO YOU APPROACH THE RACE TRACK IN A TOTALLY DIFFERENT WAY?
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: “Ryan (Hunter-Reay) likes putting the front tires on the back and the back tires on the front which none of us have been able to master, but he is that good (laughs).”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: “Yeah, somehow we make that work I’m not quite sure how. I am just that good I guess, no, it’s non-stop with these clowns up here. We all for the most part we like maybe a few things differently. Especially on the ovals we can take something very similar, but on race day sometimes some of us will branch out and try something different just to see what comes up. So, yeah I think it’s in the same neighborhood.”
MARCO ANDRETTI: “I couldn’t have answered that better if I tried.”
WITH THE TWO LONG STRAIGHTAWAYS HERE IS THERE ANY ADVANTAGE AS A FOUR CAR TEAM TO SLINGSHOT EACH OTHER BACK AND FORTH AND BACK AND FORTH AROUND THE LAP TO GAIN TIME? WOULD THAT BE A STRATEGY THAT A TEAM LIKE YOURS MIGHT USE?
MARCO ANDRETTI: “I don’t know it would be so tough to coordinate really because normally when you overtake somebody you can gap them for that lap. It takes a lap to catch back up so it’s really hard to switch once a lap let alone twice. No, it’s probably a tough strategy.”
E.J. VISO: “Saying that it’s important to mention that I think we were all expecting that this track was going to have the same nature as Indianapolis that we were able to draft pretty easily, but for some reason it is not happening that way. It does happen, but not in that magnitude. I believe that the amount of overtaking is going to be good, but I think not as much as we expect.”
THIS IS THE FIRST YEAR BACK AFTER 20 PLUS YEARS AWAY. HOW IMPORTANT TO THE INDYCAR SERIES IS IT THAT POCONO BE SUCCESSFUL?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: “I think we will see this is our first year here and it all depends on the promotion and the fan turn out and if it works that’s great because we would certainly love to be here. But if it’s not well received I guess we will look at other options. I’m not sure, it’s a new event so you have to unfortunately you have to get it going for a little bit and get some momentum rolling to get the attendance numbers up. We will see. I
think hopefully we have a pretty good first year attendance. We shouldn’t expect everything this weekend.”
THE TRACK PRESIDENT SAID THE DRIVER’S WOULDN’T LIKE THE THREE ABREAST STARTS. DO ANY OF YOU HAVE ANY ISSUES WITH THEM?
MARCO ANDRETTI: “No, this straightaway is pretty long and honestly I’m all about tradition myself. Honestly, that one is probably up to the fans because I think we can get hopefully get it sorted out by turn one.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT EVEN THOUGH THIS IS CLOSE TO HOME THIS ISN’T A PLACE YOU’VE BEEN A LOT CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH OR HOW LITTLE YOU’VE BEEN HERE AND HOW CLOSE THE LAKE PROPERTY IS TO HERE:
MARCO ANDRETTI: “It’s actually closer to my house than the lake. It’s about 40 minutes from our lake house and James (Hinchcliffe) said we did it in 25 the other day to my house.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: “That doesn’t mean it’s 25 minutes away though (laughs).”
MARCO ANDRETTI: “That is obviously the speed limit. Obviously, we are going to have a nice hometown support, but all that matters is the on track stuff and there are a lot of elements that could help us or take us out of it. We just need to do everything in our power to be in contention when it counts. Yeah, I don’t know I think this is going to be a fun race. We will have to see.”
HAVE YOU SEEN MANY RACES HERE?
MARCO ANDRETTI: “I didn’t really look back and study it religiously because it’s so long ago. Even though race cars are still race cars it’s quite different. It was different from when we tested here because of the tire. It’s changing all the time. I think you just need to adapt. Yeah, I mean I think it’s going to produce an awesome race I really do.”
TWITTER ACCIDENT WITH THE THUMB?
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: “Yes, yes, I was trying to gain as many followers as my teammates have and I just over did it. That is the price you pay for not being quite as popular as these guys.”