Chevy Racing–IndyCar–Houston–Helio Castronevese

OCTOBER 4, 2013
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 SHELL PENNZOIL TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston and discussed his outlook for the races this weekend, his mindset entering the final three races and other topics.  Full Transcript:
WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF THE RACE TRACK?:  “We didn’t have a chance yet to go around.  Certainly, they did a great job after the NFL game here in putting everything together in such a short notice.  Big credit to the city for organization and everyone.  Right now the only way I was able to learn the track was through YouTube videos and things like that.  Excited, excited to be here.  It’s a big one and very busy for us for Shell — it’s going to be the colors on our car this weekend so we’re looking forward to a great result.  Looks like the weather is going to hold up pretty well so that’s another good thing.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE SHELL ON YOUR CAR AND REPRESENT THEM IN HOUSTON?:  “It’s great to be here in the backyard of the Shell/Pennzoil home basically.  Sounds like everyone is really looking forward to it I believe.  I remember when I came here a long time ago; the Latin community seemed to be very supportive, which is great.  I’m excited to have that kind of support to be back again at a place where they welcome us here.”
WHAT IS YOUR MINDSET ENTERING THESE FINAL RACES?:  “It’s pretty much the same as what we’ve been doing.  At this point we have to go with the flow, depends on the setup how the car is going to be and we feel like the car is hopefully out of the box going to be in great shape.  Right now, just go with the flow.  I want to have a very good car so we can attack, but at the same time if we don’t then we just have to see where we are.  At this point, we just have to keep doing what we’re doing.”
HOW IMPORTANT HAS RESILIENCE BEEN TO YOUR SEASON?:  “I give the credit not only for the team, but I think sometimes when it’s your day it’s your day and there’s not much that can go against that.  I give the credit to the team to keep not only good equipment and reliable equipment of also Chevy so when you put all those things together it’s a perfect fit.”
IS THERE SOMETHING THAT HAS CLICKED THIS YEAR TO ALLOW YOU THE CONSISTENCY ACROSS THE WHOLE SEASON?:  “I don’t think we changed anything to be honest.  Last year we were up to the last race of the season, we were third in the championship and past years was pretty much like that.  We have always been very consistent and I believe this year it’s more about how tight this series is and how competitive the series is and the way the rules are.  They make the smaller teams or other teams able to catch up with the bigger teams.  All of the sudden the key was to be consistent, but I don’t think it was anything that I changed or anything I planned or my driving style.  To be honest, it was just the same thing that’s been happening.  Finding the key of the season and it seems to be the consistency.”
IS THERE A SPOT ON THIS COURSE THAT SEEMS A HOT SPOT FOR PASSING OR FOR TROUBLE?:  “Yeah, I believe the front straightaway, I just ran out over there and was looking at the cars running and it sounds like it’s very bumpy.  It’s no different than a lot of street courses that we go to so it’s just the same old thing.  I believe the front straightaway and turn four or five I think seem to be the points for you to pass.  Also they changed from the YouTube video, they changed, it used to be much wide and somehow they were able to put the curves or make the corner tight.  It’s a little bit different, but I think the layout is good, it’s fun or seems to be fun so I’m excited to try it and go out there and have fun.”
DID GETTING BACK IN THE CAR AT FONTANA HELP YOU GET BACK IN THE RHYTHM?:  “It did.  It was not very fun to be like four weeks away from the car, but it’s the same for everyone and everybody is trying to find things to get back in the rhythm.  The good news is you recharge the battery from everyone.”
DO YOU LIKE BEING IN THE POINTS LEAD AND DO YOU HAVE TO BE MORE CONSERVATIVE?:  “As long as the car gives me the opportunity to be competitive.  I have a good car and most of the time I do then I just go for it.  But I think in this position with previous experience of my teammates and things like that, I feel that it’s more for us to lose than actually to gain.  The people that are in the attack mode are the guys behind us.  At the same time we’re not going to drive like just an old lady out there trying to finish the race, that’s not the case for us.  We have to be rough when we have to be rough.  We’ve got to be smart when we’ve got to be smart and that’s the way I am approaching right now.  Plus you have to go according to what the car is given to you to do and that’s the way I’m approaching this weekend.”
ARE YOU CONCERNED THAT THIS COULD BE ANOTHER BIG WEEKEND FOR SCOTT DIXON?:  “I’m not looking at what Scott (Dixon) or anyone is thinking to do; I’m not looking at all of them.  I am looking at what I can do.  Whatever happens during the race, we have two races now, which is a big, big deal.  At the same time we can lose a lot of points and at the same time you can win or make things happen here.  Just have to be on the conservative side, but we’re not too conservative or on the side where we can just show up.  We still have to do our job and have great pit stops and you have to still push it because as you said they are not going to go easy on us.”
DO YOU FEEL THIS IS ONE OF YOUR BEST SEASONS OR DO YOU THINK YOU CAN BE A CHAMPION THIS YEAR AND THIS NOT BE ONE OF YOUR BEST SEASONS OVERALL?:  “No, I don’t think that.  I feel this has been an amazing comeback season to be honest.  Especially after a few years and especially the way the series are going.  As I said, if you analyze how many winners they have this year, previous winners and previous champions — if you start putting all of the things together and we still are doing what we’re doing then it shows that I feel that I’m getting better and better.  For me, it’s finally been everything that’s been accomplished, but no question many wins and things like that yes you might end up winning a lot of races in one season, but not getting what you want.  This year I feel that as a complete driver I am much better.”
DO YOU FEEL AS A COMPLETE DRIVER THINGS HAVE REALLY CHANGED FOR YOU?:  “Absolutely, I learn along the way with all my teammates and obviously the people alongside me.  I think things happen for a reason.  Since we were apart ways, it was good that I was with him because I was able to understand a lot of the techniques and today I have a lot of knowledge from it and I have to thank all the other teammates that are able to make my driving style better, updating my ways to come up to approaching some of the weekends.  That’s why maybe you think at the end of the results in terms of many wins and breaking the records and things like that, but I’m not thinking that way.  I think as a complete driver, I feel much better.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE DRIVER ADDITIONS FOR NEXT YEAR?:  “Very happy for Tony (Kanaan) to be honest.  He deserved that.  That kind of soap opera between Ganassi and him finally it can end or it’s the beginning and I’m extremely happy for him.  He deserves and that shows again what I’m talking about as experienced drivers as myself, Tony, Dario (Franchitti), Scott (Dixon)
and now (Juan Pablo) Montoya coming back to the series, it shows that this is not about being aggressive or being sporadic.  You have a strategy and I’m excited as well for next year.  At this point, to start next year we have to finish this year and that’s the way I’m looking.”