Chevy Racing–IndyCar–Belle Isle Practice

DETROIT (May 30, 2014) – After two practice sessions, the Chevrolet IndyCar V6 powered drivers showed strength with three drivers in the top-four fastest on the combined practice time sheet to kick off the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit.
Mike Conway, No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, turned in the second fastest time of the day. However, the winner of the 2013 Saturday race in the Raceway at Belle Isle Park, was atop the leaderboard for most of both the morning and afternoon sessions.
Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, posted the third fastest in today’s combined practice session. He was followed closely by his Team Penske teammate, Will Power in the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet.
Qualifying for Race Number One of the Dual in Detroit will take place on Saturday May 31 at 8:35 a.m. The format will be the familiar Firestone Fast Six to determine the Verizon P1 Award winner for Saturday afternoon’s race.
MIKE CONWAY, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, 2ND IN PRACTICE: “It felt good to come off the trailer and run well here.  I really like this track and the ECR/Fuzzy’s team has worked hard in the last eight to nine weeks on the engineering program.  Ed (Carpenter, team owner and oval driver for ECR) had a very good month at Indy except for the last 25 laps Sunday.  We came here with the setup we had at Long Beach when we won.  So things have been progressing well with our street program.  I really like sliding the car around here and it is fun.  The surface changing from pavement to concrete makes the car jump around and you really have to be on your toes at all times here at Detroit.  It is very encouraging to be in the top six in the first practice and we only ran one set of tires.  I think qualifying will be very exciting with the Firestone red tires added to the mix.  You could see some low 76s (seconds) laps.”
THE MODERATOR:  We’ll continue with Mike Conway.  Mike finished second fastest in today’s combined practices.  He won race one in 2013.
Mike, obviously very successful at this track here.  Coming back it seems like you’ve been able to pick up where you left off.
MIKE CONWAY:  Yeah, seems that way.  Obviously couldn’t do that without a good car from Ed Carpenter Racing.  I think we picked up where we left off at Long Beach.  Seemed to be a good base to start with here.
Haven’t touched it much.  All credit to the team.
I do love this place.  It’s a lot of fun.  Each lap gets your attention, that’s for sure.  Non-stop action around here.  Yeah, pretty happy so far.  Obviously a bit different tomorrow with the reds and stuff.
THE MODERATOR:  Any significant changes you noticed?  I believe last year it was actually warmer than it was today.  Anything different about the track that you noticed?
MIKE CONWAY:  No, not really.  To start with, I thought there was more grip than there was last year.  Felt pretty hooked up to start with.  Just some curve changes down in three and seven were really the biggest things.  Opened up seven a lot more now.  Entry speed is a lot quicker than last year.  Maybe a bit of time gained there.
I don’t know.  Just the grip laid down, I suppose, helped us out too.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions.
Q.        (No microphone.)
MIKE CONWAY:  No, I mean, no ambitions to be out there really at all.  I felt like I was a bit out of the loop, a bit of a spare part.
It’s still good to be there, a great place to be, the Speedway, especially when the 500 is on.  Good to see Ed doing so well.  A shame it didn’t end too well.  But they ran well all month.  I think they’ll be a threat on all the ovals coming up.
But, yeah, still good to be there.
Q.        Mike, two different years, two different teams, but still showing success.  What do you bring as a driver to be successful at a track that you like?
MIKE CONWAY:  Just tried to bring as much back from last year as I could this year.  The car rolled out.  As soon as I went out on pit lane I felt like the car had a lot of grip.  Small input in terms of setup from where we started back in Sebring.
We’ve been trying to push the car as much as possible, developing things, dampers.  We come to this point where we can roll out and be in the top six, which is where you always want to be.  It’s always where you want to be, especially with the doubleheaders.
All credit to the team though.  They’ve been working hard, flat out.  Late night last night.  Non-stop, big effort from the boys.  They’ve been flat out for the last eight, nine weeks.  They’re still pushing all the time.  They’re so competitive.  It’s good.
Q.        How much more is left in the car?  What is your favorite passing place here?
MIKE CONWAY:  We started on new tires.  Didn’t get to run a second set in the first practice.  We did run a second set in this practice, but didn’t get a time out of it with the yellows.  Hopefully more time to be had.  Little tweaks to the car, I don’t want to change it too much.  Always a risk.
But, yeah, I think it should be pretty quick tomorrow on the reds.  It’s going to be, I don’t know, 76 or something.
And passing, down into three.  Get a good run through one and two, car is pretty hooked up through there.  Down into seven as well.  That’s always harder because you sweep over to the right anyway to approach the corner.  You can make your car a bit wider than it needs to be sometimes.
Q.        What do you like about this track?  It seems to be made to order for you.
MIKE CONWAY:  Yeah, I don’t know.  It’s a real challenge around this place.  Every lap, as I said, gets your attention.  Very bumpy, very challenging.  There’s some corners that have got a lot of grip.  Sometimes you go into corners and you’re like, Oh, am I going to make it?  You come through it.
It’s always like that around here really.  Just because of the bumps, quick change of direction, it’s a lot of fun.
Q.        It seems like watching the cars in general, they look like they’re sliding, then at the last second the driver catches it.  Is that part of the problem with the bumps?  Do you expect problems during the race?
MIKE CONWAY:  I wouldn’t expect any problems.  You can easily get caught out here, cold tires, restarts, stuff like that.  You’ve got to keep your wits about you.
It’s all part and parcel of the circuit, the way the bumps are.  You can get your car set afterwards.  That’s the biggest thing with the dampers, getting the thing to catch afterwards.  A lot of corners, you’re going in, the car is very neutral on entry, then you catch the bumps.  You got to make sure you’re going to make the corner, then get out.
Even on a quick lap around here, you seem to have quite a few slides.  Most circuits don’t seem to get as much as that.  But it’s fun though.
Q.        (No microphone.)
MIKE CONWAY:  Simon is standing next to me.  I can’t say too much.  I don’t want to give him any secrets (laughter).
But Simon was bloody quick around here last year, too.
Q.        (No micro
MIKE CONWAY:  I don’t know.  I think it’s being comfortable with letting the car slide on you.  If you don’t like a car loose on entry or sliding around, if you drive it in too much, you’ll get a lot of understeer around here.  That’s something you don’t want.
True or not?
THE MODERATOR:  Mike, we’ll let you go.  Thank you for joining us.
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 3RD IN PRACTICE: “Today was a good day for the Hitachi team. We were quick in both practice sessions and were able to try some new things in the terms of our pit stops which I think will be very beneficial to us during the race. Hopefully our speed will carry over into tomorrow’s qualifying and then race.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 4TH IN PRACTICE: “The No. 12 Verizon Chevy is slowly making progress. We definitely have to put everything together so we can get it done for qualifying tomorrow.  We’ll be ready.”
SCOTT DIXON, NO. 9 TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, 6TH IN PRACTICE: “I wasn’t too happy with the car in the session this morning.  Traffic was a bit of an issue and it was hard to get a clear lap.  We made some changes to the Target car and picked up some speed in the afternoon session. We still need to get the car better though.  It looks like we’re about six tenths of a second off still.”
RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 8 NTT DATA CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, 9TH IN PRACTICE: “Today was a pretty solid day of practice for the No. 8 NTT DATA Chevrolet.  It’s always a bit of a challenge after the month of May to make sure that you’re in a street course mindset, just because we’ve spent almost a month thinking about nothing but ovals.  We used today to tweak a few things and just make sure that we’re ready to go for the doubleheader.  You don’t get as much time to prepare for doubleheaders, so we made sure to take advantage of the few hours we did have on-track today.”
TONY KANAAN, NO.10 ENERGIZER CHIP GANASSI CHEVROLET, 11TH IN PRACTICE:  “Obviously this is the way we should be starting each race weekend – in the top five.  We know we have the team and personnel to do it, it just takes time working together to get to know each other and making it all happen.  We have a good Energizer car so far this weekend in Detroit and we’ll start working to move up further on the speed chart for qualifying tomorrow.”
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO. AFS 17 KV AFS RACING CHEVROLET, 13TH IN PRACTICE: “Welcome to Detroit and the home of Chevrolet. It’s an amazing track….very bumpy and tricky, which makes it hard for the drivers to put a fast lap together. With it being a doubleheader this weekend, double points are on offer so we need to stay focused all weekend. Today’s practice session wasn’t too bad, we were a little looser than we would want especially when we have to drive so close to the walls but with a little bit of work with the engineers tonight, I think we are going to have a nicely balanced car for qualifying and race one tomorrow.”
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 2 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, 19TH IN PRACTICE:    “A tough day for the No. 2 Verizon Chevy. We are fighting some shifting issues that have kept us from really focusing on making the car faster. It’s not bad, just a bit of understeer in the second session. Unfortunately the red flags fell at bad times for us as well. We’ll just have to put our heads down tonight and come out with a plan to qualify well tomorrow.”
CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 83 NOVO NORDISK CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, 20TH IN PRACTICE: “Overall I think today’s practice sessions went pretty well for the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet.  It felt good to get back in the car after the disappointing 500 we had.  We don’t have a ton of time to prepare for doubleheaders, especially when we come straight from the 500 so we made sure that we worked everything out today that we needed to.  We have a really good car, and I’m very confident about our chances here.”