IZOD IndyCar Series: Edmonton Indy
Topics: Edmonton Indy
July 24, 2011
THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by the podium finishers from today's IZOD IndyCar Series Edmonton Indy. Helio Castroneves, this is his best finish of the season, previous best finish was at the Texas race. And Dario Franchitti finished third at Edmonton in 2010. This is his sixth podium finish of the season and he now leads the championship standings by 38 points over Will Power.
Dario, good for the points, but looked like you had a close call with Takuma Sato.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Was it Takuma? It was Viso. Yeah, that was a close call.
You know, the first part of the race, we were all running pretty much where we started. Takuma made the slightest mistake, then Will got him, Scott got him and I got him. We were running 1-2-3. Had the first pit stop, guys did a great job. Came out. Then we had the second of the restarts. Turned out to be the last one.
For some reason I had it in my head I had to stay in line of the restarts until I crossed the finish line of the car in front. Conway was cruising along and I got a really good restart. I can't pass. I can't pass. These guys came wailing on past, as they should do.
I screwed up. Lost a bunch of track position. Passing Viso back into five, which he didn't seem to like, braked later, speared into my poor teammate Scott. At that point I was lucky because I was sitting there with two cars sideways on the track pretty much stopped waiting for someone to hit me. I didn't get hit. That was good. But I was back to 10.
Started working my way up a bit. Passed a couple of cars. Really was stuck from traffic. I was able to save some fuel, able to go longer than the guys in front of me. Went a second a lap quicker once I was in clean air.
Last lap was good. I could see these guys ahead and I could catch them, Will and Helio, really quickly. Unfortunately, once I got there I couldn't do anything with them.
A nice recovery for the whole team for being back there. I put my hand up to that one. I totally screwed up. I'm disappointed in myself.
THE MODERATOR: Helio, today looked like one of the best races of the season for you. Talk about the closing laps. The final 10 laps, you, Will and Dario were cruising close to identical lap times.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Certainly I have to thank my guys. They did a helluva job fixing the car from the warmup. The entire weekend I was having issues with the braking. We did some changes that certainly fixed. I was able to avoid a lot of crashes in the beginning of the race. For the first time the double-file restart played in my favor. I'm so glad that finally this momentum, it's changing.
Once we were up there, it was just like good old times. I was really catching Will. I don't know what happened. He had a pretty good lead. As soon as we put the reds on, I was just going for it, going for it. Suddenly he just started locking the wheels and stuff like that. I had one or two chances, but it's one of those things I wanted to pass, but the way my season was going, it was hard.
He was just smart enough to be in the right place, use the 'push to pass' for not give me a slight chance. With that, he was able to win a very good race.
But for us it was awesome. Penske Truck Rental, our sponsor this weekend, it was great to have them onboard.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. Helio, this is your third second at this track, plus what happened last year, just all that together with you and whatever your relationship is with Edmonton...
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, you know, I actually enjoy this place. The other layout was very tough for the drivers. This is not so much physical because you have a lot of straightaways and braking points. Very tough for the car.
But, yeah, you're right. At least we're up there. This season, the way it's going, like I said, it's a great result for the team. You know, it's similar to what happened last year, Will and I and Dario running the same situation. So hopefully one day the door in Edmonton will be open and we're going to win a race and climb the fence that this place owes me so bad.
Q. Dario, you still come out of here with a pretty decent points lead. Talk about being able to maintain that. And, Helio, yesterday you were talking about having brake issues on the street courses. It looked like you solved that today.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, the points are going to ebb and flow, aren't they? That's going to happen throughout the rest of the season. You know, Will did a great job today. He fully deserved to win and the points that go with it.
For me it was more about trying to win the race than worrying about any of the points and stuff. I'll tell you this, I'm a lot happier third than when I was running 10th earlier in the race. You want to win every race, but each time you come to the track, all you can do is your absolute best.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: We did fix. We changed everything from the warmup. Even the warmup, we could not be able to fix it. We change everything from the braking area, and certainly improve a lot. So I was able to be much more safe and I was able to not hit anybody and not have myself in trouble.
I do believe from now on we're going to have different results on the racetrack.
Q. There were four drivers cited for drive-through penalties for avoidable contact. Was stuff not being called in Toronto being called here? More of a zero tolerance policy here?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I think so. It's time for it to start happening. It's always when they have a tough race, difficult to call. It's good for them to impose. It's tough because for us it's one of those things, the rule is still a little bit unclear to see what you can and what you cannot.
I just hope for next year we'll be able to find something that it's clear for the drivers so that we don't have that kind of scenario of bumping and putting the nose. Sometimes the guy that's passing you, he doesn't want to do anything. He just see an opportunity and he just go for it. But then, you know, you don't know which lane to pick.
So hopefully we're going to have a better way next year of rules, and that will be better not only for us but for everybody else.
Q. Can you both give us a review of what you thought on this track.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I thought the infrastructure, the grandstands and everything offered great viewing points it looked like for the fans. The promoter did a good job of that. Looked like a good crowd, as usual, enthusiastic. Canadian crowd on the back of the truck there, the reception they gave the drivers, that was cool.
The track, I think it certainly produces more passing than the old track, but it's maybe taken some of the character out. There's some really fast - what's the word - very aggressive corners. You had to really hang on. This is more of a technical track the whole way. Almost as physical, though, because it's so easy to make a mistake you're on edge the whole time.
I thought it was a good race. I could see there was a lot of situations where I would pass someone and they would pass me back the next corner when I was back in the pack. The track seemed to promote passing.
Q. Dario, the question about the zero tolerance. Do you feel it's different than Toronto? If so, is it making it difficult for the drivers to figure out which rule is on week-to-week?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I wouldn't have Brian or Al's job, Tony Cotman's job, it's a very difficult one. I didn't see any of the incidents today. There was a lot, including Will and I's incident, were I would say were racing incidents at Toronto. There were a couple that weren't. It's a very fine line. I'd have to see the incidents before I commented on them, today's ones.
But I think all the drivers are kind of looking for more of a - I don't know how to say it - but we want to know what's acceptable and what's not. I think Brian and the guys, they're trying to address that. Hopefully we'll get back to what we know is acceptable and what isn't.
Q. Helio, the track, the crowd?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, I agree with Dario in terms of the other layout. It was very difficult. You really got to push to get a lap here. Now we thought we created opportunities for passing because of the straightaways. First, the straightaways are not long enough, like Brazil, for example. Second, all those corners that anticipate the straightaways are first gear. It's like whoever gets a good traction is in good shape, and braking, you know. So that was the only thing.
But in terms of the fans, you know, I thought we were going to have an issue with the rain. Wow, oh my God, all the kids, everybody came back. I'm very, very happy with the promoters as well. I can see the town, that flags are all over the place. People don't realize, but this is a big thing. Everybody knew that the race is happening.
Unfortunately you go to some other places and they don't even know that IndyCar is there. So I'm glad for that. Other places should learn from this. Every event that's new, you got to find a little bit of a fix here, fix there. So it's normal. But big thumbs up for the organizers and for the town of Edmonton.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It's like the whole town, the whole city of Edmonton got behind it. That's something we've seen in Toronto and Vancouver before. It's good to see it here.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I felt actually when they said the race is not happening, I was like, Man, that is a great place, a place that people really want us. I'm glad they saved this place. Now we got to keep working. Got to keep still working even now and next year it will be even better.
Q. You may not have known it, but for the fans, 1-2-3, we were all anticipating somebody was going to be able to do something. The last few laps were tight. Tell us about 'push to pass'. Is it helping you on this track? Are you using it to defend? I'd like to hear you comment about that a little bit.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: What happens is if I get on the 'push to pass' and Helio gets on the 'push to pass', it's a zero gain. Will gets on the 'push to pass', none of us are going anywhere. You have to be strategic on your use of it. A couple times I used it, got pretty close, but wasn't able to make it stick.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: You can see this guy is going to go for it. It's one of those things you start picking up, you start understanding.
But today for me I could use it to pass Will, but I was running short because I was using the entire race to put me up there. If a yellow would have come up, for example, I would have to have some reserve. Sometimes you got to plan well.
In the end of the day, it turned out to be I used all of it and it was perfect.
Q. It's a great track for the fans. If you could make one change to the track, aside from the bump on 10, what would it be?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I'd like a couple of changes. A slightly longer straight and a fast corner. A slightly longer straight and a fast corner.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Maybe turn 13, instead of where it is right now, it could be a little bit further. And instead of a first gear, it could be something more with a second or third gear even. So that means you do create opportunities for passing, you know. That would be the only thing, I guess.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: But we do tend to moan as drivers. It comes down to the difference between the cars in the IndyCar Series and the drivers are so small that sometimes there's just not enough difference to make a pass the way it is. When these guys don't make mistakes, there's nothing you can do.
Q. Dario, can you give a little bit more of a clarification on EJ, where everyone was.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I got a run out of turn one, coming up to turn five there. I moved to the inside. EJ moved to the inside, too, like he was going to pass I think it was Scott. Maybe Scott was even further up the road. When I braked, I was on the limit. EJ went sailing past. At that point he speared into the side of Scott.
I don't know if it became unsighted. The innocent victim in the whole deal was Scott again. Yeah, it sucks.
Q. I believe prior to that was the Mike Conway slow restart, didn't do the restart, came up again, it was slow. Did that all trigger the later incidents?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I didn't know who was in front.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I don't know if it triggered it. Some of my problems that got me back there was I made a mistake. That was my mistake.
Did that cause the jam-up in five? I don't think you can really blame what happened four corners before.
Q. Where were you during that?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Going past me (laughter).
HELIO CASTRONEVES: The first restart, which was a ways off, I have no idea how I was avoid a crash. Everybody stopped. They were saying green, green, green. Everybody stopped. I hit somebody. I think it was my teammate. But thank God, again, nothing happened.
But then we went again. Still kind of like everybody stopped. It was so slow, the start. We can't have that kind of scenario. It's going to cause a claustrophobic scenario.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Good word.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Thank you.
I was able to choose the outside. I stayed away of trouble. All of a sudden turn five was just a mess. I was able to jump from whatever I was to fifth. It was good to finish.
Q. After the start of the race, it looked like it settled down. Do your teams get on and say, If you make contact, you'll have a penalty?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: No.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: No. I didn't have any of that. They generally leave the driving up to me.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on a great race, both of you.
We are joined by Will Power. This is Will's fourth win of the season. He previously won at Barber, Sao Paulo and Texas, too. This is Will's sixth podium finish of the season.
I know coming off of Toronto last weekend, you're on a high with this win. It's really the first full race with you with Tim Cindric calling the strategy. Talk about that.
WILL POWER: Yeah, it was an interesting race. I think the track provided chances to get by people. We had the restart with Conway, he went late, I got a really good run. I think that pass right there was the pass for the race win.
So as far as strategy went, car setup and everything, I think we did everything right. Struggled a little bit at the end, but I was able to keep the guys behind. Yes, it's exactly the day we needed.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Will.
Q. Will, how much did the pass you made on Takuma to take the lead, how much was that you pressuring him or him making a mistake?
WILL POWER: I could see him starting to weaken and struggle. I kept pressuring him more and more. Then he made a little mistake and I got a run on him. I think Dixon must have tried to get him as well. We all went down the front straight. Yeah, that was important, I think, to get in there.
Q. Will, you had some concerns about the driving in Toronto in terms of the crashes. Do you feel like this race with four drivers getting drive-through penalties there was more of a zero tolerance policy out there?
WILL POWER: I had no clue what happened in the race. I don't know about any penalties. I can't accurately answer the question.
But, you know, I think that's what needed to happen because it will deter people from doing it again. They know if they're going to hit someone, they're going to get a drive-through and end up at the back, as well.
I think all the drivers, all the drivers I spoke to, they all feel the same: it needs to be more strict in every way.
Q. What are you doing making up with Dario?
WILL POWER: I know. I know if I looked the guy in the eye, I was going a to smile or laugh. That's why he sat there and didn't look (laughter).
Yeah, I think it broke the ice this morning after warmup. He walked by. That was the first time we made eye contact (laughter). I started sort of smiling.
I put it behind me. I guess we were both playing a bit of mind games with each other there. But at the end of the day you go out there and race how you race.
Q. Do you think you put too much mental thought into this, maybe it was getting to be a little bit of a mind game going on?
WILL POWER: No, it wasn't affecting me. I was kind of laughing about it. It's sort of funny to me. I wasn't putting any emotional energy into it. Yeah, we just basically didn't talk. That was that. I was very focused on the weekend. I felt great today.
I find it tough to be nasty to people. I can't help it. If I'm angry at someone, I look them in the eye, I'll start laughing. Even if he came up to me after Toronto, maybe I would have laughed about it, too.
I can definitely be angry behind their back (laughter).
Q. So you're saying deep down you're a big cuddly Koala bear?
WILL POWER: No. I think I was definitely upset with what happened, no question. But you do have to put it behind you. There's no better way than to come back with a win like this.
Q. The restart where Conway was leading the field, it didn't happen. Did you get pretty close to getting stacked up and running into anybody?
WILL POWER: I was just going to go by him. We were told in the drivers meeting if you haven't gone by that fence, go on green. They went green, I just drive on by him. He must have been listening in the drivers meeting, and he didn't realize you had to go by then. I didn't understand why he was going late. The only reason you'd do that is because he thought he had till the start/finish line to go.
Q. With 80 laps under your belt, what did you like about the track, what did you not like?
WILL POWER: I think it was most definitely good for racing. It wasn't quite as physical as the old track. I think the old track was a pure driver's track. But this was good. I think it was plenty physical for me. I was mentally drained after that race. Physically I wasn't too bad.
Q. Will, can you talk about what it took to keep Helio off your back there. He was tucked under your wing for half the race there.
WILL POWER: Yeah, that was really hard. They caught me by surprise. I went out and I thought, I'm going to really save my tires, we've got a gap. I was being way too conservative, to be honest. When they were at me, I was at 100% the whole time trying to keep them behind. I couldn't gap them. We just had a bit of a braking problem, and that was where we were losing all the time.
Q. Any thoughts of last year's race go through your head?
WILL POWER: It did actually. I thought, Wow, it's Helio. I was happy to see that we were both having a good day. I thought after last year, you know, it was very unfortunate for him because he did win the race, then sort of taken away from him. I ended up second.
So for both of us to finish 1-2 I think is great. I was really happy to see him there.
Q. Can you talk about in terms of your prerace strategy you might have had yesterday and this morning, how much of that you actually wound up executing today and how much might have changed in the race?
WILL POWER: Today our strategy was basically what we thought it would be in the first stint, except it went yellow on lap 25. Very straightforward from there on.
Q. Moving forward, today was kind of a big day for you to whittle away on the championship lead. Dario said earlier the points are going to ebb and flow from here on out.
WILL POWER: Yes, I predict that's exactly what's going to happen. We need to keep finishing ahead of him to keep the points down. In reality it can come down to if there's 10 points between us, it's whoever wins the last race sort of thing.
Plenty of racing to go. We just got to stay on track. As you see in these races, so much carnage and mayhem that happens. I'm glad the officials are coming down harder on the guys who are doing dive bomb moves who are not coming off.
Q. Can you compare your first win here and this win in terms of degree of difficulty?
WILL POWER: My first win was very pivotal in keeping my ride at Penske. This win was I guess very pivotal in keeping in the championship points race. Both had pressure. I knew I had to execute that day if I had any chance of keeping my ride.
THE MODERATOR: Will, congratulations on a great win. Best of luck in Mid-Ohio.
WILL POWER: Thank you.
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