Chevy Racing–IndyCar–Texas–Helio Castroneves

JUNE 7, 2013
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 AAA INSURANCE TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Texas Motor Speedway, and discussed racing at Texas, the championship battle and other topics. Full transcript:
WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND?:  “Certainly now we have new colors again on the car with the AAA machine and colors are going to be on the No. 3 for Penske.  We feel great coming from two big races in Detroit where a lot of things happened and coming back to this place tied for the points and that is always very good.  Last year we felt like we had a good car as well.  It was difficult circumstances and we were able to finish in the top-five.  We feel that with a good strategy and good teamwork we can continue to be where we are.”
WHAT DOES BEING TIED FOR THE POINTS LEAD SAY ABOUT YOUR CONSISTENCY?:  “Consistency seems to be paying off right now at this point.  You want to win a race.  We’ve seen this in the past, it’s 50 points to win races and today the separation from first to 10th is about 50 points or close.  It’s always good to come out with a win, but at the end of the day everybody is thinking the same way and you just have to be a little more heads up on that.  Last year we had a very consistent season, we won two races and had the opportunity to win more, but my teammate will end up winning more races and he didn’t take the championship by circumstances, but certainly we know that it is extremely important to win races.  We going like with this attitude, we are going in the mode attack and get to the front and if it’s mean to be will be.  We cannot be desperate.  If this is showing how, we have so many different drivers that win a race this year and new drivers winning races for the first time.  It shows that the series is very competitive.  When you have that kind of thing, some races you have the guys with just the desire to win races and stuff like that and sometimes experience paid off and my mind right now is championship and I want to win as bad as anybody probably and I will do everything I can even if I don’t have to win a race, but if we can win this championship without a win, which is unlikely, but I will be very happy.”
WOULD YOU EVER CONSIDER CROSSING OVER TO NASCAR?:  “Good question.  If there is an opportunity, yes I would like to try the car first.  I remember talking to Rick Mears a long time ago and asked about different series and he said you should try before you just make a decision.  The closest that I got was in the IROC and I loved it.  It was actually a lot of fun and very difficult, but a lot of fun.  If the opportunity presents itself then certainly would love to try, but right now I only have one thing on my mind and that is trying to win as much races as possible here and hopefully bring this championship to Roger (Penske, team owner).  Dancing I think I am putting a little time off.  I did my time in terms of 2007 and then went back last year, it was great and it was kind of different things with my life.  Have my little girl and my life this time was great because I wanted to see how fun it is to dance, but I still am a big fan of the show and still keep in touch with a lot of people, especially back stage.  I love it.”
ON THE BLOCKING RULE:  “The blocking rule, everybody has a different opinion on it.  Right now we understand that if you move when the guy moves, obviously this is the situation where you are trying to pass, it’s tough because sometimes I see my colleague waiting until the last minute to do a movement and they judge myself when I do a move before they do.  It’s two different ways, but I guess Beaux Barfield is trying everything he can to make the races go in a nice way so people can be excited about racing.  We just trying to sometimes it’s just too many opinions trying to get in the room and one time we are going to say one thing and the next day we’re going to say another thing because we’re drivers, we always change our opinions.  But I do understand what it is.  You have to leave a car length in these tight lanes and that’s so far what’s being determined.  So far that is my understanding.  There is anything else then I don’t know anything about it.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE SEASON MARCO ANDRETTI IS HAVING AND CAN HE BE A STAR IN THIS SERIES?:  “Marco (Andretti), he started very young and he’s still a very young driver, but I believe that with the experience that he can accumulate over the years finally he is paying off.  He is being very aggressive, but conservative at the same time.  Probably that’s why he’s sharing the top spot in the championship with me because it looks like he understand that even if you sometimes don’t have a car to win, it’s good to be patient.  He certainly is a talent, you can’t deny that.  The whole family, it’s difficult for the guy to do something else besides racing.  I believe all the teammates that he had in the past, he has been able to learn from it and it’s paid off.  Good for him.  I think finally he’s understanding the chemistry here and right now he is doing very well.”
COULD YOU WIN THIS CHAMPIONSHIP WITHOUT WINNING A RACE?:  “Yeah, that’s not our goal, but the goal is the win the championship.  If it takes more second places than first to win the championship, then sign me in and I’m ready to do that.  A win certainly is a great feeling, a championship I don’t know yet and I would love to have that feeling at the end of the season.”
HOW DO THE DOUBLEHEADER RACES IMPACT YOUR PERFORMANCE AND ENDURANCE?:  “The doubleheader was something that IndyCar needed to try and I like it when they try because we are able to know what is good and what is bad.  There was a lot of positive in having the doubleheader in my opinion.  I believe the timing probably was a little bit tough not only on the driver, but I think most on the team perspective because we just came from Brazil, Indianapolis and Indianapolis have to convert the cars to less than a week to convert the car for the street course.  After the first race, they stay until 11 o’clock fixing the cars or make sure the car is ready to race the next day.  If you put it combined, all this month it was very tough.  But I think financial for the teams, it’s a positive way and for promoters it’s very positive as well.  You have to pick and choose.  It’s pick the battles I guess and my opinion, our performance was average.  We were able to finish in the top-10 in both, which is actually very good especially being involved in the second race in the big accident that I still can’t believe we were able to finish the race after we were hit from the back, from the side and hit the wall.  My opinion, it’s always good to try, but I do have other opinions that I feel could improve and people could take more importance to the doubleheader.  When you talk about it, it’s two races that are very special not only for championship-wise because it’s double points, but also for the fans because you are able to go check out twice the race.  Right now the series has a great product.  All the competitiveness that we have, the chemistry that we have, it’s been just absolutely amazing.  We just need to now organize a little bit in that area.  I like the fact that we try and I’m looking forward to the other two doubleheaders.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT AMERICAN DRIVERS INFLUENCE ON INDYCAR?:  “Right now the current champion is an American and I feel that for us being foreign and racing here so many years in America, it’s great because giving a different view from the fans.  Havin
g even the IndyCar Series, it’s an international series.  We race not only here, but in Brazil, Canada, I know you sometimes don’t consider Canada too far, but still.  It’s great.  It’s just like it used to be in the past.  We have to have this type of variety of drivers, variety of countries and it’s great and our sport is doing very well.  Carry on from last year to this year.  I feel when drivers or future drivers see American drivers doing well, they want to do the same thing.  You’re going to see that more often and hopefully that’s what’s going to happen in the future.  Right now I think of the whole financial scenario, not only in our series, but in every series.  It’s going through a process.  I don’t think it’s just reorganizing things.  I see the bright future and really looking forward to continue growing and see a lot of good things to happen for the series.”
WHAT IS YOUR FEELING ON THE TRACK SURFACE IN TEXAS?:  “We are very different from NASCAR obviously, they are so heavy and even the aerodynamic for them is very important.  For us, we’re so more light and we do have more downforce.  What we try to do is take away that much downforce so we don’t have a pack race.  We try to stay away, we know what happens when you race too close to each other.  Even the cars right now, they are safer than what they used to be.  It’s tough, but that’s what distinguishes when a team has a better setup or a driver is a little better then they just go flat out for 200 laps.  The fans has a little bit more of a view.  Maybe they want to see that kind of competitiveness, but even when we have the slippery side of it, you’re still going to see two or three cars be very close and that’s where it’s going to be fun.  For me, that’s the type we should keep looking.  I know the asphalt is important, but the tracks are working hard with the drivers and teams so we can have first a safe tire and second an exciting race in a safe way so we can adjust in the pits and stuff like that and make fun for the fans as well.”
HAVE YOU HAD TO MAKE ANY PHYSICAL ADJUSTMENTS HAVING THREE RACES IN A WEEK BASICALLY?:  “Coming from Brazil and going to Indy, normally it was our last physical in terms of shoulders, neck and things like that.  You still lose a lot of liquid.  You have to hydrate a lot.  When you are going to street course that is becoming very tough.  That is what happened, we went straight from Indianapolis to Detroit and having a doubleheader, we didn’t have time to prepare ourselves because you spend 15 days in Indianapolis and you focus on everything on the race car, the different muscle that you use and stuff like that plus the PR that you have when you go to places.  Basically, you put a stop for a month in your normal training and go straight to a track that is very challenging like Detroit, very bumpy, which is normal street course and things like that.  It was very hard, very, very tough and I think anxiety played a little bit more part of it because people went a little bit easy on the first day, but the second day they put their knife in their teeth and everybody decided to go crazy, but that’s part of it.  That is one suggestion that I would like to have.  With the Indy 500, you spend so many days there and have one weekend off so that everybody charge their battery and come back with the doubleheader that could be a good opportunity or better way.”
ON WEATHER IMPACTING THE RACE TRACK:  “The weather was very sensitive to our cars.  When it’s a little cooler, you have more downforce and more power.  At the same time, you have a little more drag, which means people behind you catch you faster.  Being a night race, it changed.  We start in daylight and as you transition to night, the car does change.  For us, it’s typical because it is more like mental strain, but over the weekend you still lose about four or five pounds of water.  It’s a great diet way if you want to try it.  Certainly, it’s still fatigue at the end of the race.  You still have the ringing because it’s such a high rpm and stuff like that.  It doesn’t bother us, in a few days you will go onto the next and be ready to go again.”