Chevy Racing–IndyCar–Mid-Ohio–Sebastien Bourdais Puts Chevrolet IndyCar V6 Power on the Pole at Mid-Ohio

AUGUST 2, 2014

Sebastien Bourdais Puts Chevrolet IndyCar V6 Power on the Pole at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, OHIO (August 2, 2014) – Sebastien Bourdais carefully navigated his Chevrolet-powered No. 11 Team Mistic KVSH Racing Indy car through very wet to semi-dry conditions during the Firestone Fast Six qualifying sessions to come away with the pole position for Sunday’s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

It is the second pole winning performance of the 2014 season, and the 33rd of the four-time champion’s career.

“Hats off to Sebastien Bourdais and the Chevy-powered KVSH contingent for putting together another pole position in some very tricky driving conditions,” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, Verizon IndyCar Series. “Finesse and focus have certainly been paying off for Seb and he will be a tough to beat in the race tomorrow.”

Tony Kanaan, No. 10 Glad Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, will start third in the 90-lap/203.22-mile race. Will Power was the third Team Chevy driver in the Firestone Fast Six, and will start sixth in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

Josef Newgarden (Honda), Carolos Munoz (Honda) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (Honda) completed the top-six starters for the race on the 2.258-mile/13-turn permanent road course.

Points leader Helio Castroneves, No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet will start 15th in the 15th race of the 18-race Verizon IndyCar Series season.

Live television coverage will start at 3:00 p.m. ET Sunday with the field set to take the green flag at 3:50 p.m. ET. Live radio coverage will be provided by IMS Radio Network XM209/Sirius 213 as well as timing and scoring.


SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 11 TEAM MISTIC KVSH RACING CHEVROLET, POLE WINNER: YOU GUYS ARE ON A ROLL RIGHT NOW WITH BACK-TO-BACK POLES: “Yeah definitely things are finally starting to align for us. It’s the difference between things going your way and things not going your way. I like it a lot better like that. So hopefully the wheel keeps on our side and we keep on piling poles and wins. It’s a lot of fun and these guys deserve a lot of respect for all the hard work they have put in. It’s great when it finally turns into results.”
HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT OUT THERE? “It was a totally different Q3 than the first two segments because there was a developing drying line. We went from totally outside to having to venture in not really well known territory with wet tires which was really difficult to know when to make the switch. The last lap I knew I was shy and needed some more. I just went for it and made it stick. That Mistic machine gave me everything it got and it was enough. Thanks to Chevy and all the sponsors we are on pole today.”

TELL ME HOW THIS TEAM HAS COME TOGETHER: “I think honestly we had a little bit of luck or things going our way earlier it would have been a lot easier. We had the group, we had the spirits, everybody was pumped up and we had some potential we had some pace. We just couldn’t get a break and hopefully we have put all the bad luck behind us and start getting on a roll with a bit of success. Right now it’s the way it is and I hope that we can keep it that way.”

TONY KANAAN, NO. 10 GLAD TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 3RD: “It was a good day for the Glad car after all. We struggled in the morning practice session when it was dry, but were able to put the laps together in the end when it counted in the wet. This series is so tight from the top to the bottom of the grid. You really have to get the most out of the car at any opportunity you have out there and that’s what we were able to do today.”

WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 6TH: “It’s definitely better to start closer to the front. Pole is a big deal here because it’s so difficult to pass. I was really happy to make it to the Fast Six. The toughest possible conditions at this track, it’s just so slippery. It’s typical IndyCar, it’s all mixed up, you don’t know who is going to be pole one week to the next. It’s great racing. Hopefully we can get together and get a podium tomorrow, maybe a win.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 2 HAWK TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 11TH: “The No. 2 Hawk Performance Chevrolet was actually pretty good. I was really enjoying myself, but then again I love to be sliding around. When I’m sideways I’m comfortable. For me I was just trying to get two laps in that were quicker than my first lap to try to get into the next round. I got to (Simon) Pagenaud and tried to get around him, but I got a little too greedy. The spin and the red flag meant that we were going to lose our two fastest laps of the session so there wasn’t much we could do at that point. But the Hawk Performance Chevy was good. We finished P1 in the first session so I know it has good speed.”

MIKE CONWAY, NO. 20 FUZZY’S PREMIUM ULTRA VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 12TH: “I thought our car was coming into a similar feeling like the test when we practiced this morning. And that is good. Then the rain came and we haven’t had a good grip level on the rain tires this year. I tried to push the car harder and it was sliding around too much. So we’ll hope to get back to the earlier setup and get a good car in the morning warm-up. This place is always difficult to get a proper lap. And it’s physical on the driver too. It won’t be an easy race.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO. 17 AUTOMATIC FIRE SPRINKLERS KV AFS RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 14TH: “I am excited for the team for securing their third pole of the season. I’m a bit disappointed as we should of had both cars in the Firestone Fast Six as we had a strong car but unfortunately we had limited laps because of the red. We showed in the final practice session this morning the strength we have so with the better weather tomorrow we should be able to prove that again in the race. Congratulations to Bourdais on his pole and look forward to the race tomorrow.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 HITACHI TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 15TH: “The No. 3 Hitachi Chevy has been improving each time we got on the track; getting better in each session. Unfortunately the qualifying session was a bit crazy. Not only was it wet there were so many yellows that we only got one timed lap in. At the end of the day it was the same for everyone. We were the first car out and tried some different lines. Sometimes that is not the best place to be. It gives the other guys some direction on where to run. It is what it is, though. We’ll just have to keep working and hope the race tomorrow is better than qualifying.”

RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 8 NTT DATA CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 19TH: “Qualifying today definitely wasn’t what we were hoping for. We’ve been so fast in all of the practices and the car has felt really good, unfortunately the track was just so slippery that first time out and I spun out in the first lap to cause a red flag. I wasn’t able to turn any laps that counted, so NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing will have to start in the back for the race tomorrow. I still feel really optimistic about the race, especially since I know what the car can do.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL, NO. 83 NOVOLOG FLEXPEN CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 20TH: “Obviously our qualifying efforts were really disappointing. The rain threw a wrench into everyone’s day. It’s disheartening especially because practice three was good and we came out with a really good car. I just wasn’t able to get the lap time that we needed. I know some of my teammates struggled as well, so hopefully we can all regroup tonight and see what we need to do to make things right for tomorrow. We’ll do everything we can to get the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet back up to the front where it needs to be.”

SCOTT DIXON, NO. 9 TARGET CHIP GANASSI RACING CHEVROLET, QUALIFIED 22ND: “Not the best qualifying session we’ve had this year I can tell you that. Unfortunately it was dry yesterday and this morning and we were fast, then it rained for qualifying. I had an off in the second session and lost my two fastest laps. After that we had one more chance to advance the Target car on our final lap but there just wasn’t any grip to be found out there. We’ll have to come up with a great strategy for tomorrow to dig us out of this hole.”

An Interview with Sebastien Bourdais, Tony Kanaan and Will Power

THE MODERATOR: We’ll get started with today’s Verizon IndyCar Series post qualifying press conference.. We’re pleased to be joined by our pole winner Sebastien Bourdais.

Sebastien, another great weekend for you in terms of qualifying, finishing on pole in Toronto race one. What is it? Is it the momentum from Toronto or a development in the team that helped you figure out these road and street courses?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I don’t know. It’s quite clear that we have pace this year. We got it wrong more often than not for one reason or another. Finally it’s kind of going our way. Definitely the fact that we had a test here was a big help. We managed to get the car about where we wanted it to be.

I don’t know if we were going to have it in dry conditions in qualifying, but definitely in the wet the car was really, really strong. I had really great power down. It was doing just about everything I wanted it to do.

I felt like, Oh, boy, we got this. Sure enough, it started drying. It was not drying where we were on the racetrack around the outside, it was drying on the dry line where there is a whole bunch of patches, sealer, this and that, which makes it evil when you hit it with wet tires. It’s still a little damp.

The last lap I knew we were not on pole. It was going to take a little bit more. I just went for it, started to kind of drift the car from the apex to the exit. It worked out.

Couldn’t be any happier for the guys. Jimmy was saying, All we need is a couple to go our way and maybe we’ll be on a roll. I don’t know, I hope so.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Sebastien.

Q. History shows you need to be in the top six to get a win here. How much did you put into qualifying? When it rained, how much did that screw up your plan?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, the big thing really is that you always get a big shift between the blacks and the reds, and you try and anticipate what it’s going to be.
We were really happy with the car on old tires. We couldn’t seem to get anything out of the new tires. We’re not the only ones.

Clearly on blacks it was a bit of a struggle to really get the new tire effect. There’s a couple of guys that managed to do that, then they were dropping off. We just seemed to be able to run around 66 laps 90 something, but maybe not get it to the next step.

I was a little unsure of what we were going to face, if it was going to be dry in qualifying. Then you saw the reds on that, Okay, maybe it’s going to work out, maybe not. We’ll find out.

That’s the whole thing about that two-year program really, you really want to be able to build a database with that kind of setup and know how the tires react in two different track conditions and tire types.

We didn’t really change anything for qualifying because we kind of got what we got. We were going to see. Obviously, when the rain arrived, it threw everything even more up in the air.

I was like, Okay, let’s see what we got. Just really happy it worked out. Like you said, you have to start at the front here if you want to have a good weekend. Unless it rains tomorrow, in which case probably everything is going to be out the window, might be somebody coming from the back wins it.

On a straightforward dry race, it’s a must to start at the front. Hopefully it’s going to be like that.

Q. Sebastien, based on what happened in Toronto and here, is there more of a bounce in your step? Explain your demeanor right now from the standpoint of confidence.

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, confidence obviously and serenity obviously is very important when you’re in the car and you’re not desperate to try to get a result. You’re probably more clear mind and making steady and right choices.

But Toronto has always been a place where I’ve been fast. I kind of know what I need from the car to be good at these places. Then here, like I said, the first time I was at a media conference yesterday, so I’ve never enjoyed that much success. We only came once in Champ Car in ’03. Since I came back to IndyCar, I’ve been up there not so much. 2012 was good, but we still missed the podium.

I don’t know. We’ll see how it goes. But for sure right now the spirits are high and everybody is pumped up and we’re figuring more and more things out of the car, what works, what doesn’t. Hopefully it keeps going our way like that.

Q. Obviously you haven’t had a chance to run on the reds yet. Is that going to be a big part of who wins the race tomorrow, who figures out the setup?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, yeah, that’s the thing. I mean, obviously we have no clue what’s going to happen to our car when we do that. We tried to use the black tires the best we could. I think we got to a decent place. Typically it’s a place where everybody uses every set of red tires and spends most of the time on them.

Definitely the fact that the car needs to be very competitive on reds is key. We don’t know. But maybe it’s better not to know. We’ll find out.

Q. For tomorrow for the race, will you start the race in the same trim or you have some ideas what to change, make the car even better?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: No, like I said, we’ll obviously monitor the weather. If it’s dry, I think the car is in really good shape for the race. It seems to be taking care of the tires and everything, very consistent. Hopefully it holds true and we can have a great day.

Q. When you’re out there qualifying in those kind of conditions, how much of it is a crapshoot from corner to corner almost of how much you can push it? Can you explain what’s going on in your brain as you’re turning a lap in that situation?

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Well, the trickiest part is always to know how far you can push it on the braking, how much speed you can roll until you run out of racetrack.

Because the car, you crank the wheel, you wait for the understeer to settle. Sometimes the white line comes a bit too quick.

It’s happened couple of times to guys in front of me. It happened to me behind Marco. Then you have to kind of guess very fast because I knew there were going to be like lots of red flags. Obviously, the first group was like that. I knew the second group was going to be the same. And Q2, as well.

You know you have to produce a lap time real quick, but there’s a big guessing game. If you slightly overshoot it, hit a patch, you’re off. That’s game over.

It’s a big rollercoaster emotionally because you never know exactly how you’re going to fare. I guess after the first run, I felt pretty comfortable. The car was giving me good feedback on the braking. I didn’t have to dare it to the very last yard or whatever to really figure out how much I needed to go to produce a good lap time.

We’re always in the mix, P1, P2. That was going to be good enough to advance. It was really only in the Fast Six where you had to give it everything you got. That’s when the conditions changed. That really changed the whole game because we went from using the outsides to having to go on the dry line, but it was not quite ready at every corner. There were corners where you needed to be on it, some corners where you needed not to be on it.

In the final act of the whole thing, you say, Okay, I’m going to do this here, this there, you pick your stuff. If you’re right, it’s going to be great. If you’re wrong, you’re either going to spin or it’s not going to be such a good lap.

Yeah, it’s a big guessing game basically.

THE MODERATOR: Sebastien, congratulations.


THE MODERATOR: Will Power, fighting for a championship, starting sixth tomorrow, how does that track position for the race help you in that championship fight?

WILL POWER: Yeah, it’s definitely better to start closer to the front. Pole is a big deal here because it’s so difficult to pass.

I was really happy to make it to the Fast Six. The toughest possible conditions at this track. It’s just so slippery. Yeah, it’s typical IndyCar, it’s all mixed up, you don’t know who is going to be pole one week to the next.

It’s great racing. Hopefully we can get together and get a podium tomorrow, maybe a win.

THE MODERATOR: Tony Kanaan matches his best start here at Mid-Ohio of third.
Tony, another great start for a weekend for you. Tell us about your qualifying run.

TONY KANAAN: Well, actually we struggled over the last two days I think a little bit. This morning I felt confident we had a good car. Then I couldn’t put a lap together, so it was a little bit frustrating.

But the rain helped us. We kept it on the track. Like Will said, it was extremely slippery out there. Towards the end, started to get dry. I was tempted to go to slicks, but I think I was going to be too brave on that one. So I picked not to.

Great start for us. I think track position, it’s so important here that third is not bad.

THE MODERATOR: We’ll open it up for questions.

Q. How close were any of you guys to jumping on slicks?

TONY KANAAN: I thought about it. Then on the first part of the track was actually fairly dry. I drove in. I was behind Carlos and Ryan at the time. I said, Maybe I’m going to come in for slicks. As soon as I thought about that, I went to break into turn 12, I almost lost it. I just turned it around, didn’t come in, it’s not ready to go.

But I think the only way that it would have worked was if you actually got out of the pits with slicks right away, struggled through, tried to stay on the track for the first five, six minutes, then it would have worked.

The thing is, all the red flags we got during the previous sessions, how could you predict the Fast Six we’re not going to have any reds? It would cost you a lot because the tires would get cold, so forth. I would say I wasn’t that close.

Q. Will, the guy you’re chasing in the championship didn’t advance to the top 12. Does that give you a little bit of an edge going into tomorrow?

WILL POWER: Yeah, that’s very good that he’s starting back there. Who knows what’s going to happen with strategy in this series. You could start last and basically be first off the first stint if the yellow falls right.

Yeah, but still great that he’s back there. Hopefully gives me a chance to get some points. Hopefully this bloke here does something that costs him some points and it’s all good, you know.

I rely on other people’s mistakes. I don’t rely on my own talent. I’m not quite good enough for that (laughter).