CHEVROLET RACING IN THE VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES
101ST RUNNING OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM PENSKE PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
MAY 19, 2017
An interview with team owner Roger Penske, consultant Rick Mears, and drivers Simon Pagenaud (No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet), Josef Newgarden (No. 2 hum by Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet), Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Shell Fuel Rewards Team Penske Chevrolet), Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet), and Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Team Penske Chevrolet):
MODERATOR: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I’m Jerry Punch with ESPN on ABC, and we are glad to have you here this morning. It is my pleasure to be a moderator for this Team Penske media event today. And for those of you who may not understand or appreciate, before we begin, the historical significance of these gentlemen sitting here, the six drivers and one legendary car owner, think about it, combined these guys have been a part of 25 Indianapolis 500 victories, if you count them up. That’s pretty special, considering the race has been run 100 times.
So what I am going to do here to start this morning, I’m going to individually introduce each one on the panel, and I’m going to ask each one a single question, and we’ll open it up to your questions.
So we will start out this morning with the founder and chairman of Penske Corporation, Roger Penske. And for those of you who may not know Roger Penske, if you’re new here, they celebrated the 50th anniversary of Team Penske a year ago in grand style with 11 poles, 10 wins, sweeping the top three in the point standings. And in 2017, they have won all five poles thus far in the last three races in a row, so they sort of picked up where they left off a year ago.
Q: Roger, no one has had the success at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that you have with 16 wins among 11 different drivers. So how would you weigh the importance of driver versus team versus luck in winning this race?
ROGER PENSKE: Well, I think from our perspective the driver makes a big difference. There’s no question that we’ve been fortunate to attract the best drivers in the garage area year after year. I think the continuity of our people, if you look at — very low turnover. Drivers stay with us typically throughout their career, which is important. You know, we’re really a family — we might look different from the outside, but I think inside there’s a lot of collaboration with the drivers and teams. When one is in trouble, the others obviously work together to get them back on track. To me that’s been the key.
I think our sponsorships that have been so significant over the years have made a difference. We have been able to invest not only in people but also in equipment. And to me, it’s the human capital side of it. It’s the crews, it’s the drivers. And luck is certainly very important. We’ve had maybe a couple of those. But if you really look at it, time and time again, the people that win this race are prepared, they’ve got good cars, and they execute on Race Day. Six Sigma is not good enough on Race Day when it comes to pit stops. You have to have all our stops perfect. There are so many chances that you have to take or maybe you could take that the drivers have got to say: ‘Hey, I’ve got to be ready. I’ve got to be there at the end of the race.’ We say in that last 50 laps you’ve got to be able to see the front. That’s kind of been our motto.
With Rick, certainly when you think about his four wins and Helio and Juan and you look at the other guys sitting up here, I’m assuming they joined the team because they’d like to win the Indy 500. I remember when (Sam) Hornish came on board here, that was a goal we had, and we certainly have that with Will and Simon and Josef.
And, to me, it’s great to come back here. I see so many changes when you drive in in the Speedway. It’s getting better. I think safety is so much more in focus today than it was many years ago. And the speeds, we know we’ve gone faster, but I can tell you the guys still have a hard time driving the car around here wide open every lap. So I think the technology is pushing us, and we’ve got to figure out how to get our arms around it.
It’s going to be a great weekend next week when we have the race. It will be interesting to see how it comes out at the end.
MODERATOR: Well said. I love that phrase “human capital.” When you read Fortune Magazine talk about Fortune 50 CEOs talking about Roger Penske does it with human capital, and I think that’s a prime example of those sitting in front of you today. Sitting to his right — oh, by the way, before I go there, the president of Team Penske, Tim Cindric is not here with us today in case you’re wondering. He’s back in Charlotte.
PENSKE: His son was graduating from school. We figured it was probably a better thing that he was in school with his son. That’s his excuse. So I gave him a pass.
MODERATOR: But Austin graduating, and Tim will be back later in the afternoon, just in case you’re wondering. Sitting beside Roger, the oval-meister, Rick Mears, one of only three drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 four times. He’s also a six-time Indy 500 pole sitter. And if you didn’t know, Rick started on the front row an amazing 11 times in Indianapolis. And, Rick, you’re a major part of this team as an adviser and spotter, but a lot of times not only these guys but others come to you for advice. What’s the best piece of advice you offer these guys or anyone who comes to you and asks you about what it takes to win at Indy?
RICK MEARS: Well, I think first and foremost, Roger touched on it a while ago, being there at the last 50 to see the end of it. That’s usually the main thing. You’ve got to get the checkered flag before you can do anything. If you don’t finish that last lap, you can’t win it, period.
So it’s always kind spend the first half getting to the second half and working with the car, working with the team and getting things organized and to gear up for that shootout at the end, to be ready for the shootout, to have the car the best it can be for the final few laps. And that’s the only lap you need to lead, is the last one. That’s the critical one. So make sure you get to that point. That’s usually the main advice.
MODERATOR: And the guy beside you has done that three times in leading the last lap. We’re talking about the driver of the Shell Fuel Rewards Team Penske Chevrolet, Helio Castroneves, who was a four-time pole sitter and hopes to become a four-time Indy 500 winner. He’s won it three times. Helio, how do you compare the stress and the pressure of Pole Day versus that of Race Day here for a driver?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Well, certainly, again a quote from Rick, there are two kind of races here. It’s the actual 500 and the Pole Day. And the Pole Day, to be honest, it’s thrilling. There is a lot in hand. And over the years they changed a lot of the rules, but even with that, it’s still very, very challenging. You put 33 drivers running to the limit. We’re talking about knife edge. We’re going through four corners for four laps and absolutely doing everything you can to hang onto the last lap, or the last two laps, basically, because you’re running so low downforce.
So any kind of a wind or distraction, it becomes very difficult to drive the car for those four laps. So that’s the intensity of the Pole Day, which is fun. I have to say it’s a lot of, lot of fun. There is a lot of strategy, as well. And I enjoy it very much.
MODERATOR: Well said, Helio. To your right is a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. He will be driving the No. 22 Fitzgerald Glider Kits Team Penske Chevrolet, Juan Pablo Montoya. And, Juan, welcome back to Indy. Your sponsor, Fitzgerald Glider Kits, they’re new to the sport, but they seem to be very excited about their involvement, as well they should be, and are going to be hanging around for quite a bit. Tell us about this unique program they put together that will allow them to make a donation to the Paralyzed Veterans of America should you be able to win this a third time.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Something they come up with, and I thought it was really good, being Memorial Weekend and everything, they decided if I don’t win the race, they’re going to donate $22,222, and if I get to win the race, it’s going to be $222,222. So I think it’s really good. They’re a great family there, they’re a great sponsor. They’re passionate about the sport, they’re passionate about the country, and they really like giving back and supporting. And I’m very proud to have them on my car. And to be honest with you, I feel we have a really good shot at this, so I’m pretty happy.
MODERATOR: Great to have you back here. We’ll go down toward the other direction. The side to Roger’s immediate left is the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series champion, and now as of last Saturday, a two-time winner of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis. He drives a Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, Will Power. Will, last weekend, your 30th win, but a record 250th pole for Team Penske and a 190th IndyCar Series victory for Team Penske. What does that weekend, considering how well your team did in terms of record setting pole, dominating the race and getting the victory, what does that do for you in the team in terms of the psyche headed to the 500?
WILL POWER: It’s a fantastic start to the month. It always helps, all the guys on your car, and obviously gives the drivers some confidence. But you quickly forget about that weekend and move on to the process of, you know, understanding and getting a good race car for the 500 because that’s the most important thing.
So, yeah, it gives you the opportunity to maybe sweep the month. That would be fantastic. Obviously, there’s a lot of very good cars and drivers and teams out there. So I think it’s going to be a really, really tough race next weekend. But we’ve done a lot of preparation. The team’s got a group of very, very good experienced drivers, and I have to say it’s great, the information exchange that goes on if you’re struggling a little bit, how quickly you can get yourself back on track. So it’s a great situation.
MODERATOR: Certainly is, and obviously the results speak for themselves. To your immediate left is the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion, who drives the No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, Simon Pagenaud. And Simon got the first oval win of his career at Phoenix, so obviously ready to win on ovals now. This is the next oval in line. But you talked about winning, getting that championship, and next in line for you was the Indianapolis 500. How was it growing up as a young man in France? How much did you notice the Indianapolis 500 and what were your thoughts about maybe being able to be a part of this some day?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, Indy has always been one of the biggest race in the world. Personally, I was, as a kid, watching the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Indy 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix. Those were the three crown jewels of racing. And as a kid growing up just wanting to be a race car driver, this was a very far dream.
So being here today is very special, and you need to remind yourself of that every morning. But that’s pretty easy when you drive a Penske car. You just feel like it’s your birthday every day. So, you know, it’s very enjoyable. I mean, obviously, like Will said, we’re five teammates that work really well together, and it really helps us to get all the kinks out and get ready for the weekend.
So I just love this race. Every time the checkered flag flies, it’s like, you know, when is next year already. But for sure, after one championship, the goal is now, priority number one, to win the Indianapolis 500, keeping the championship in mind, obviously. But, yeah, it’s just an incredible event.
MODERATOR: Thank you, champ. Beside you now is the newest member of Team Penske. He drives the No. 2 hum by Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, Josef Newgarden. Josef, it took you only two races as part of this organization to get your first podium and three races to get your first victory. They say when you move into Team Penske, there’s a bit of an adjustment in terms of the philosophy and environment you’re surrounded by. Explain to us how that is.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: With Team Penske you have a lot of people around you, a lot of amazing people. I think the people, as Roger speaks to, is what really makes this team what it is. You know, it’s everyone from the top to the bottom, from the bottom to the top. It’s amazing the amount of people that you get to work with and how detailed and talented they all are. For me it kind of starts from the driver side. That’s the biggest difference I’ve noticed. Coming from ECR, I had talented and very experienced drivers to work with there, but then it kind of gets magnified here. You have more teammates with even more years of experience, getting to work with guys like Juan Pablo and Helio and Will and Simon. So that’s the first thing that’s been noticeable to me, is that, you know, if you find yourself off — kind of like Simon said, if you find yourself off in the wrong path, it’s pretty easy to find your way back. And vice-versa, you know, that goes around for everybody. So it’s a different working environment for me. I’ve had to learn to adjust to that throughout the year, but it’s been pretty easy to transition. The team has been phenomenal at figuring out, you know, how to get me transitioned to the team. So just trying to understand the process through the month, how we’re working these race cars and what we’re prioritizing. That’s where Rick really comes in pretty handy, is helping understand how you prioritize the car for qualifying for the race and then how you apply those two different situations. So once you get on top of that, hopefully you can make it count when it really, really matters during the two weekends.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Josef. Now we’ll open up to the questions. If you raise your hand, we will hand you a microphone.
Q: Is your business model drawn from an existing business model or is this something completely unique to you and to the sport?
PENSKE: Well, I think what I’ve had the opportunity to do is take our transportation business, you know, which is about cars and about trucks and, you know, we have a lot of people who we engage with from a business perspective, and we’ve drawn them into the sport from a sponsorship perspective. So on the business side, business to business has been very important to us.
On the other hand, we look at having it be tough to get in the organization. I say it many times in our normal business, I want it to be tough to join our organization, but I want it to be tough to leave. And I think that’s why you see the same people with the same probably white shirts and black pants on, you know, year after year at these races, because once you’re here — and we don’t have drivers pay for a ride to get on our team. We’re going to pay our people to do the job from top to bottom. And I think Simon or Will said, the guys driving the truck is just as important to me, and when I go to our dealership or I go to a truck location, I don’t go in a conference room and look at a bunch of numbers. I go out and talk to the people. I think that’s been something my dad taught me, you know, many, many years ago, remember the people that work for you. If you’re worried about what’s going to happen to yourself, you’re probably not going to make it. Think about the organization you work for, and I’ve taken that kind of mission statement throughout the company for many years.
Q: Just one question for Rick Mears. Roger said earlier when you started to talk about the team, he assembled one of the best drivers in the IndyCar garage, they’re quick, they’re experienced, a lot of success, et cetera. Nevertheless, do you still have some secrets for them to make them even faster?
MEARS: Absolutely. But I forgot them. It’s been a while. No, no, it’s an open book, it really is. It always has been. That’s the way this team works. That’s what helps make the team work. That’s just a big part of it. I actually grew up with my brother, he and I racing together, so I learned the team concept before I ever got here. That helped me fit in right away. You know, we’d go home at night and pick each other’s brains and say, what are you doing in Turn 1, what are you doing over here in this corner, what are you doing to the car? We realized if we could elevate each other to another level and get a step ahead of everybody else, all we had to do was race each other, that would be a lot of fun. That’s kind of the team concept in a nutshell, and I understood that coming in. So it’s always been pretty much an open book.
Now, early on before we started collecting all the data and everything, I might not necessarily lay it out there unless they asked me for it. If they asked me, I would tell them. But if not, I might keep it in my pocket. I learned that from Bobby Unser.
Q: Helio, Rick is the only driver to get his fourth victory from his third victory in less than eight years. It took Al Unser nine years to get his fourth from his third. Took A.J. 10 years. You’re on your eighth year now between your third victory. Do you feel the intensity level or the immediacy of trying to get win number four increasing as each year goes by?
CASTRONEVES: Yes, I understand that. But it’s not something that keeps in my mind, the numbers and statistics and things like that. It’s outside of my control. The only thing I can do is make a better car, race car, and obviously make sure that everything fits. As you just said, Rick, you don’t win the race in the first lap. To finish first, first you have to finish. And we try to do not only for the Indy 500, but every race. And, yes, we’re looking for it. It’s not something that — I always say this place picks who the winner is, and last year who would have thought, you know, in the few races situation, that Rossi ended up getting his win, credit to his team playing their strategy.
So it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. And that’s what we’re going to do again, try to put ourselves in the best position as possible to win this race.
Q: For Will, Simon or Josef, you guys started living here in Indy for the start of your guys’ careers, and then you moved to Charlotte when you joined Team Penske. What has that change meant for you in kind of how you guys integrated into the Team Penske atmosphere being so close to the shop?
POWER: I thought it was important to be around the team. I’ve always — whatever team I’ve driven for, I think it’s important to be close because you need to go in, spend time with the people that you work with, spend time with your engineer, you know. After races you need to go in and be face-to-face talking about, you know, which way you should go forward. Yeah, I think if you’re not living around the team, you’re not serious about winning. That’s as simple as that, and that’s what I thought at the time.
Q: Rick, I think Helio said after one of his qualifying runs that that impressed you and that you told him, I must have done something good if it impressed Rick Mears to qualify here that well. How does qualifying today compare to when you got into the car to qualify? Do you want a piece of that, or what do you think of it?
MEARS: Well, I think it’s — you know, the basics are still there. The basics are always the same. It’s how do I get through that corner faster than everybody else? And to get that, you’ve got to get all four footprints on the ground working the best they can, get the thing turned out as best you can, get it up on its tiptoes. If it’s sitting down solid on the track, to me, there’s more left on the table. You have to get it up on tiptoes, up on the right rear, freed up, and hold your breath. And if you can hold your breath a little longer than the other guys and make it out the other side, you’re fortunate, you’ve done your job. So those — I think the basics are still the same today as it was a long time ago. And that’s what you’re always trying to achieve to do.
Q: For Roger, you were kind of an early adopter of McLaren, if you will, ran their cars for several years, including the winner with Mark Donohue. Just want to get your thoughts about their return and involvement with the 500 this year.
PENSKE: Well, as you know, Bruce McLaren and I were great friends. In fact, a Formula One car that Jack Brabham drove here in the race, I guess it was a Formula One car that Hansen had and it was the engine that Brabham had that I put into a sports car and sold to Bruce. So we became very good friends. And I was racing a Cooper Monaco back in those days, and when he started McLaren with Teddy Mayer and the group, we were close, and we talked about going to Indy. I think it was ’71 when we came here the first time. Revson was driving their car. It was great to see on the track this past week the McLaren orange because that was the outfit that — the way they came to the track back in ’71, and the car was fast. I remember I told Rick this, we took the car to Phoenix and took the wings off, in fact, and drove it around, and then put them on to realize how fast the cars were. That was really the time when we went 180 miles an hour, I think, for the first time. We didn’t even have it on our sheets that we had that was the speed.
But McLaren set the standard in Formula One. It’s a shame he didn’t see the success of his team. Then to come back here, I think Zak Brown, who is from Indianapolis and really is interested in the sport here and he knows how big this race is, and to be able to take Alonso and bring him here. I think about Graham Hill when he was here, talking to him, and Jackie Stewart, and just all the people that have been here to drive.
This is an international race, and I think we’ve missed some of these, you know, great stars in other sports. You saw Busch came last year. I know Kyle would like to come. And Tony Stewart, obviously, was a great competitor here.
So that’s what this is all about. You want to win here against the best. I think people like Alonso that are taking — and I don’t say risk from a personal standpoint. I say taking the risk to come here and race for the first time without racing in ovals is a big step. But I think this is a race that can be won. It’s about strategy. The teams that are competing here all have experience now, and I think it’s just tougher and tougher to win. But having McLaren back, I think is a honor for all of us to race against that car. And certainly Bruce, I hope he sees, you know, this is a big day for the Indy 500 next week.
Q: My question is for Josef and Roger. Americans won this race twice since 2014, but it’s been a while since there was that dominant American driver that won the series as a whole. Is that something that you think this series needs, Roger, and for you, Josef, being an American on this team, have you internalized that and just what are your thoughts on that?
NEWGARDEN: Well, I mean, I think it’s a huge honor to be a part of the team, regardless. Roger has had great drivers from all over the world, and, you know, certainly being an American, I take pride in that, but I try not to bring it to something that it’s not. I think if you really want to look at it, look at the Indianapolis 500 and exactly what Roger was just talking about. We want to have the best from around the world here. That’s what I take pride in in running in the IndyCar Series. It is the most diverse series on the planet, with, I think, the most diverse drivers and the best drivers in the world. So just being an American and flying the American flag for the team, it is special, but I think just being a part of Team Penske is even more special. To me, I don’t think about it too much, but if it’s good for the series, then that’s all the better.
PENSKE: You know, from my perspective, I think diversity is something we deal with every single day. I don’t look where someone’s from or what color they are or where they came from. I’m looking at their capability and have they been a race winner? How do they fit into the team? Look, I’ve got some — when you look at this group of drivers here, there’s not anybody in this garage area who wouldn’t take any one of them in five minutes, two minutes to have them on their team, and that’s what I wanted to have. So we get the best drivers. To me, we want to bring them on the team and help them grow. When you look at the success we’ve had — I’ve said so many times it’s about this whole group. You look at Clive Howell, who has been with us for 30 or 40 years, and Kyle Moyer comes on board with all of that experience from Andretti. So these are guys that are really committed to the sport. I look up and down here, and these are just the best guys you can have. So wherever they’re from doesn’t make any difference to me.
Q: I’ve got a question for Helio and Rick. Helio, I know a lot of athletes are superstitious, follow trends. How much does this mean to you or as far as do you follow that? If trends hold true, you should be the next pole winner and race winner because, coincidentally enough, you guys are all three — or all of you are sitting in order that have won the last three races, from Josef, Simon and Will. You’re next. Do you follow that at all?
CASTRONEVES: I like it. Yeah, I planned all of that. Anything helps in this place, to be honest. I want it more than anybody, to be honest. To be in this position, to be so close to Rick, Al Unser, Sr., and A.J. Foyt, it’s an honor. It’s a privilege. It’s a very incredible opportunity. So if you’ve got to count all these little details, the numbers or the facts or the statistics, hey, I love it. At the end of the day, we’ve still got to go out there and do your job and execute. And that’s what we’re going to do tomorrow and Sunday next week.
MEARS: I’ve never been superstitious or any of that, but always felt like why take a chance? If I think it might help, I’ll do it, whatever it is. And if the numbers work out, I quit a year too soon because I think the way my wins and, you know, between years, the next year was my turn. But, hey, if it wasn’t to be, it wasn’t to be.
Q: This is for Helio or Juan Pablo. You guys have won here. What kind of mental edge does that give you during qualifying and coming up to the race?
MONTOYA: I think the experience of getting the job done here, I think it helps. I don’t play big into qualifying, I never have here. You know what I mean? For me I proved it two years ago when I won, after eight laps, I was dead last. It doesn’t really matter where you qualify. It’s nice to be up front to run good here. I think we’ve got good cars. But the main focus, you know, yeah, you remember who was on pole here when you come back a year or two after, but the people I remember are the people that win the race. So you know what I mean? That’s what you want to do. Personally, I’ve come here for myself just doing this race for Team Penske is to win it. You know what I mean? I feel a good shot. I feel I’ve got a really good car. So, you know, and I don’t believe in numbers either, you know. It’s what it is.
CASTRONEVES: For me it’s kind of mental strategy, obviously, because I love both. Qualifying for me is awesome because you’re really push to the limit, a limit to how you can save yourself for four laps. And when you do, you’re like woo. As Rick said, I think I really train a lot to hold my breath for four laps, and it probably helps a lot. But it’s 200 in the race. You can’t hold it for that long. But the same situation with Juan Pablo, I started in the back, I started in the front. That’s why the approach, you go by steps. So first you start with qualifying, and after you’re done with qualifying, I switch, change completely the mentality and go for the race. It’s kind of unique. That’s why this race or this month or these two weeks it’s really fun because you really push to — in one way and another, and it’s a lot of fun.
Q: Josef, did you guys learn anything or figure out anything about the crash? Does that linger with you at all, especially at a place like this?
NEWGARDEN: Yeah, I think it’s hard not to. I lost some sleep last night over it for sure. I think it’s unfortunate to have an incident like that. You know, I think we prep probably the best race cars on the planet here at Team Penske. So for me to have a mistake yesterday is tough to swallow, but it’s one of those deals where I think you have to learn from it. Any type of incident, anything that goes on around this place, you have to learn from. It’s unfortunate to learn something on a practice day coming into the pits. I didn’t really expect it to happen but it did. So I’ve looked at it, I’ve analyzed it. Hopefully it will make me better for the month and try not to do it again. That’s the only thing you can really work on. It lingers for a bit, I won’t lie to you, but you’ve got to get back on the horse pretty quick and get going because this place doesn’t wait for you.
Q: We have — with our parents or with coaches, they all have ways of motivating us or phrases that they look at us and say, hey, we’ve got to get going here. What’s Roger’s phrase? Does he have a phrase where he looks at you and says, hey, we need to pick it up and do a little bit better? Is there one?
MEARS: All he has to do is look.
POWER: It’s basically win.
CASTRONEVES: For me, I think Roger has always been very upfront, and he understands. For example, yesterday with Josef, right away he wanted to make sure that Josef was fine, you know. I believe one of the things that really makes us confident to go back out there is he really cares and makes sure we’re good to go again. It gives us the time. It gives us the confidence. When we’re ready to go, we’re ready to go. And that’s what we do. I remember a few years ago I was upside down, and I was back on the horse and no problem because, obviously, we know how the guys do a phenomenal job back there. I don’t see any issues on that. That’s probably why it gives us the confidence to go without a problem.
MODERATOR: Let me finish it up here by asking one quick question. Just a quick phrase from each of the drivers. That is, we hear all the time Team Penske, team this, team that, sharing, camaraderie, being unselfish. At what point — let me start with the newest members up here with Josef and Simon. At what point in the Indianapolis 500 do you stop being a teammate? Do you look over and say, wait a minute, if I pass Helio and Roger’s the Captain, as he’s called, he’s probably not going to like that.
MEARS: You’re fired.
MODERATOR: You’ll get your chance. At what point — let’s start with Josef. At what point is it about Josef Newgarden or Simon Pagenaud or Will Power? Josef.
NEWGARDEN: I’m probably the wrong guy to ask. I think you should ask the experienced guys first. I’ve not been in a situation where I’ve had to race a teammate at the end of the race. Last year was probably the best opportunity that I had at potentially winning it, and I didn’t have any teammates around me. That point is pretty straightforward, what you’re going to try and do. You have to race your teammates as far as possible. I think we expect to race each other as hard as we can. Why would you not? You have to, but I think with absolute respect and thinking about the team at the end of the day. Because you have to understand, this is such a monumental effort from everyone involved, not just from the drivers but from everyone at the shop that makes these cars turn for this whole month and everything it takes to get to the race and to run it and to run those 200 laps. You have to think about that. If you’re running with teammates, you don’t want to do something silly that jeopardizes the opportunity for the team. So, yeah, I think you’re going to be a little bit selfish as a driver to try and win it, but you really have to think about the team at the end of the day just because of everything that’s been put into it. That’s how I’m going to approach it. I’m going to race my teammates hard, but I’m going to try and be as fair and as clean as possible.
PAGENAUD: That’s a tough question, Jerry. Up until the race, we share everything. It’s an open book, we have cameras, we have data. The engineers actually get together with Roger and Tim in the morning and they have their meeting. Everything is a complete open book, and the cars can be exactly the same if you want to be. Then when comes the race, obviously, Roger wants us to win. And I do believe Roger likes us to race. So, you know, you’re going to go racing, but the keyword is not to crash each other. That’s the key. And that’s respect as well, which I think we’ve shown a lot of respect between each other even though we race each other hard. That’s what’s fun on this team. There are no team orders. That makes a big difference. You guys do think there are team orders but there isn’t. We are allowed to race, and that’s what makes this team very special, I think.
POWER: Yeah, it’s obviously when you’re getting down to the last ten laps — I had a great battle with Juan, you know, and Tim Cindric was on my radio and always made me aware, remember, it’s one-two right now. So you’ve got to keep that in mind. You both don’t want to end up in the wall. Like Simon said, Roger likes us to push each other, not off the track, but push each other to be faster. You know, it’s a simple rule. Don’t take your teammate out. That’s always got to be in your mind, you know, because it is ultimately the team that wins when one of us wins.
MODERATOR: We’ll let Roger be last. We’ll go with Helio.
CASTRONEVES: The only thing I can say is that’s a very good problem to have. There’s going to be five of us fighting at the end of the race. I think Roger is going to be like, go ahead, just make sure that you guys finish. But it’s very similar to what they said. We race hard like any other competitor, but you want to make sure that at the end of the day, you’re the one to deliver. But you want to make sure that all the cars finish like you would be another competitor as well.
MONTOYA: Yeah, for me, as Will said, two years ago we went through that, both of us going for the win. You always keep it in the back of your mind that it’s your teammate, and you want to be fair. You know what I mean? I’m a big believer in being fair, but at the same time, you’re the guy that wants to win it. So you’ll do whatever you can to make it happen, but you’re not going to risk taking each other out either. You know what I mean? To be honest, whether it’s my teammate or not, you’ll go as far as you think it’s safe to do so. You know what I mean? And you’ve got to learn when they’re ahead of you and when they’re behind you. You know what I mean? And when you can have the corner and when you can’t. We’re all experienced guys, we’ve all done it. Hopefully we’re in that situation in eight days from now. You know what I mean? Eight or nine days from now we can be in that situation. It’s a good problem.
MODERATOR: Roger, you’ve got Helio Castroneves leading in the final laps of Indianapolis, but he’s under attack from your four other drivers. What are you thinking?
PENSKE: Well, as Will said, it’s a good problem to have. I think just to put the record straight, we don’t have team orders. The only thing we do say is that, look, you know, the first part of the race let’s take care of each other. I guess I’ve said that a number of times. When we qualify one-two, we don’t need to be knocking each other off the track going into the first corner. You’ve got to give the guy that’s had the fast time and is the pole sitter. But I think I’ve said it before, the last ten laps these guys should go at it as hard as they can. If we wreck, we wreck. You know, that happens. It’s happened to us a couple times. But I think they know that. They know how to race. I’ve just never been anybody with team orders. If it was a championship and something going on, not the Indy 500, then there might be another set of circumstances and we would talk about it. But I can tell you on Race Day, I’m working as hard as I can to beat Cindric, he’s trying to beat me, and all the way down the line, these five guys. If we don’t race that way, we’ll never get up to the front. To me, smart drivers know how to take care of themselves, and we’ll see what happens.