Chevy Racing–Milwaukee IndyFest–Helio Castroneves

JUNE 14, 2013
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 PPG AUTOMOTIVE REFINISH TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at the Milwaukee Mile and discussed racing on Milwaukee Mile, winning at Texas, the championship battle and other subjects.  Full transcript:
TALK ABOUT RACING HERE IN MILWAUKEE THIS WEEKEND: “This place here, for me, I got my first pole position ever, but it did not give me a win yet. So, it will be very good, and very fast. Hopefully it will be this weekend that we can get the number one spot. We are going to continue doing what we do, because certainly we know that what we are doing we are right. It is just circumstances out of our control that happens. Hopefully this year it will be a different way.
“We have the new colors, as you can see, we have PPG, who have had a partnership with Team Penske for a long time. It is great to have new colors on the car, and I am excited to represent them. Hopefully we will be putting them on the podium as well.”
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WE YOU FOUND OUT THE CAR HAD FAILED INSPECTION (FOLLOWING THE TEXAS RACE)? “I was very shocked because the team did an absolutely amazing job. For me, I will not allow this scenario to out-shine what we did because even that made my car go actually slower. For us, a simple mistake, does not (inaudible) what we did. For us it’s great to have the win; to have this momentum and put all these things behind, because we know unfortunately was a little mistake which I sometimes apply, which I’ve been talking about, the schedule has been very busy for everybody. Maybe details like that happens, not because….just because people are so tired from turning cars from street course, to road course. Anyway, for me, I was very shocked.”
THE TEAM STATEMENT SAID THEY RAN TESTS ON THE CAR TO MAKE SURE IT DIDN’T CREATE A PERFORMANCE (INAUDIBLE).  IS THAT WHY THEY DID IT WAS BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO KNOW? “Correct. I believe just to show that Team Penske didn’t have…when people start making noice…did not have any intention to do what happened. It was just a simple mistake. And with that mistake, they spent the money to put the car in the wind tunnel to prove that it didn’t go to improve the performance. One pound of drag, believe it or not, it cost a lot, especially at Texas Speedway. I’m glad that the setup was so good that even that didn’t let our car go in a bad way.”
IF YOU ARE SECOND, AND YOU ARE TOLD THE WINNER’S CAR IS ACTUALLY AT A DISADVANTAGE – HOW DO YOU RECEIVE THAT INFORMATION? “It would be shocking as well because it would be unexpected. We had a winning car, I don’t think we had the fastest car to be honest. I think we had a consistent car. While people were doing 215s (mph), we were doing 214s (mph). And when people were doing 205 (mph), we were doing 207 (mph). We kept a little more consistent. And it would have been a disappointment. Mistakes happen, and we shouldn’t judge that because of a simple mistake.”
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE TEXAS RACE? “I think there was two things here. I think there was a lot of passing. Unfortunately editing on the race probably did not catch that. I watched the race afterwards, and there was a lot of passing, and some of there is that it probably didn’t get picked up. With that, it is very difficult. You have to drive the car. It wasn’t the typical race that we try and avoid, which is flat out. I feel that the cars that had a better setup went better. That cars that was thinking about the speed did not go so good. In my view, it was very difficult because you have to think a lot, you have to plan a lot in passing something. And, trying something that you normally don’t do; different lanes; running high; running low. I thought as a driver it was a big challenge. For me, that is why what we did – winning the race – it’s a big reward because my experience I think it paid off in that race. I wish we have something like. Sometimes if people didn’t see a lot of passing, it wasn’t because of that. It was because, unfortunately, producers miss a lot of action in the back pack.”
DID YOU THINK THE FIRESTONE TIRES DID WHAT THEY WERE DESIGNED TO DO (AT TEXAS)? “Firestone is always trying to make a better tire; trying to make a safe tire first of all, and a good performance. The combination with the low downforce and the tires, to be honest, it was actually in a good way. Last year the rears (tires) were going off pretty bad, and that was becoming very tough. We didn’t have a crash actually in the last race at Texas. We had a spin, but I don’t think it was a crash. So that shows that at least what Firestone designed the tires to do, it was the fronts coming off a little bit. So which warned the driver that you have to change your style to drive, or you have to change your setup, or something like that. I have to say Firestone did a great job.”
WHAT IS THE SECRET TO MILWAUKEE? “It is interesting this place because you carry a lot of downforce. Inside the car, it looks like you are going over 200 miles an hour, but we’re not. Actually we are going about 180 to 190. It shows you have to drive the car here as well. Plus, because we don’t have banking, you know your car change quite a lot. When the tires start going away after about 20-25 laps, you still have 30 more to go, and it is still very tough because of the turbulence here. Because of the lines people are running are the same as yours. It’s like a road course in ovals, and that is why it is so much fun. The secret? I won’t tell you because then it won’t be secret anymore.”
HOW IS IT TO HAVE DIFFERENT STRATEGISTS AT CERTAIN RACES? “Roger (Penske) is just incredible. He does give you a lot of information, which is good. Which I have to say helped me a lot in the last race. Right now we should be win and win (with Roger) because in St. Pete unfortunately I made a mistake. So we finished second in St. Pete and finished first last race. Hopefully we keep the conditions. But, it is not about the strategy. It helps a lot, but it is about team combination. I feel Roger, his experience, you can’t buy that. Sometimes he forgets about the computers. I think what he does…because so many times he been through those circumstances he remembers that kind of thing. His database is pretty good for unique circumstances. That’s why it is important to have him as well.
John (Erickson) is (inaudible) actually…it is a great group of guys that brings everybody together. We have a good group this year and hopefully we keep going that way.”
IS TOO MUCH MADE OF THE FACT THAT YOUR WIN AT TEXAS IS THE FIRST FOR EITHER A PENSKE OR GANASSI TEAM THIS SEASON? (SMILES) “You guys in the press obviously want to sell news and this is a way to sell news…Penske didn’t win. But, you have got to say we’ve been competitive. I made a mistake in the first race of the season. It’s circumstances. All the teams are improving. You have to say it is not about Team Penske or Team Ganassi; other teams step up their game. The rules not allow you to change much, so basically there is only so much you can do. A big credit for the small teams. It shows that the series is very, very competitive. It gives an opportunity for a guy – rookie – to win races. That is why our series is one of the best.”