IndyCar Series: Honda Indy 225
Topics: Honda Indy 225
MODERATOR: Congratulations for a good run out there today. Gil, your car seemed very strong at the beginning of the race, backed off the pace towards the middle, but right at the end it looked like you might have had something there for the end.
GIL de FERRAN: We had a good car I think all day. Just sometimes late in the stint I was having a little bit of trouble. You know, that's the way it goes. The first stint was very, very long. My car was strong. Then it started to tail off a little bit right at the end. That's when, relatively speaking, I think both Dixon and Scheckter were stronger. Then we had a good pit stop, went back onto the lead. Just the same sort of thing happened. As we wore on, as the stint wore on, you know, relatively speaking, Dixon got a little bit stronger again and I got progressively weaker. Then my friend here seemed to be going pretty strong, as well. That was that. I think I was able to make a position back on that last restart, come out with the third place. I think there's good and bad in the result. Certainly third place is a good result. Slightly disappointing after leading so much of the race not to be able to come up with the win. But, you know, that's okay (inaudible).
MODERATOR: Questions for Gil.
Q. You did some testing here recently. Was that a factor or did you not learn as much as you might have hoped?
GIL de FERRAN: We had a good test here, just one day. It's always helpful when you test. But I guess we didn't get it just right. You know, it's always good when you test.
Q. You were out there side by side with Helio early in the race.
GIL de FERRAN: Who, Helio?
Q. Yes. Were you almost thinking you were going a little too hard, too soon?
GIL de FERRAN: No, it was okay. Helio was starting to struggle early in the race. I was just looking for a good opportunity to pass him. I had a lot of understeer in turn four, so when he went outside of me in turn four, I had to get out of the gas really, not to push up into him. Then we just waited for another opportunity which eventually came in traffic. But we weren't like, "Now or never." How can I say, getting into position, as our relative strengths changed through the race.
Q. We will be writing a lot about Sam today. Sam had a great race. Were you surprised when he came blowing by you?
GIL de FERRAN: Man, I tell you, we have to have a look to see there's no pins that sort of glued it to the track (laughter). He was very, very, very strong. I mean, I can't emphasize that enough. I think what happened is he must have set up his car to run a very high line. He was running really high. He must have been wide open, you know. So everybody was running a little bit lower. He was really passing a lot. He passed me like I was stopping.
TONY KANAAN: (Inaudible.)
GIL de FERRAN: That's right. I had two concussions, give me a break (laughter). I didn't think about that. He did an unbelievable job, unbelievable job. Very, very good job.
Q. There was an instance there before the last pit stop under caution where they kind of miscalculated the fuel mileage. Had Sam been able to remain in that group that pitted all at once, do you believe he would have been fighting for the victory?
GIL de FERRAN: He was already fighting for the victory. He was right there. He was just a couple seconds behind me. I knew when he came by earlier on in the race, he was going to be a threat, no doubt about that.
Q. You come out of the restart, there's another immediate yellow flag. I want to know what's going through your heads in terms of hoping that there's one more green flag between then and the finish of the race, and when reality hits...
GIL de FERRAN: From my standpoint, I wanted another restart because I had 15 cars between me and Dario, only one car between me and Tony. The restart is always an opportunity, you know, for you to get by somebody. I'm sure Tony also wanted another restart. You know, I don't dwell upon it. It is what it is. I also don't believe that the IRL should start adding laps to the race and stuff like that just to finish on the green. You know, it is what it is. The sport is the sport. The race finish in the yellow. It's a shame, but I think, nevertheless, it was a great, spectacular race, at least from where I was sitting.
TONY KANAAN: I agree with Gil. (Inaudible). We're the only ones driving the car. If we crash into each other, it's our fault.
GIL de FERRAN: You can see how bad is a crash. Lap 223, I mean, the track is clean, but the truck is not out of the track yet, so we knew it.
Q. Pretty much one way or another, the Target cars have been setting the pace every race. Is it now a chase for the rest of the season?
GIL de FERRAN: I don't know. I certainly know both Scheckter and Dixon have been very strong, you know. My read on it is their speed don't seem to be any stronger, but they seem to last longer during the stint. We saw that in Homestead, and we saw that here today (inaudible). I mean, I've been racing against I guess Chip Ganassi team since '95, and they have always been a factor.
GIL de FERRAN: Scheckter came out of the pits right in front of me. If people watched the race, you can probably figure out what happened. I don't think it was a good, how can I say -- I don't agree with what he did, but I guess that's racing. When you're a lap down and you're behind the leader, you should give the guy way. He was strong anyway. I was fighting for the race lead with 20 laps to go. That's what he decide to do, that's okay. We have 10 more races to go. What goes around comes around. He's going to find me one day.
Q. Do you have any thoughts on Sam Hornish? Were you concerned at all?
GIL de FERRAN: We already talked about that. Well, why don't you talk about it because I talked about it.
TONY KANAAN: I was running third, and he was a lap down, so my team was telling me, "Sam is running pretty strong, he's coming up." As soon as Kim stopped talking on the radio, two seconds afterwards, he comes outside of me and he's (inaudible). I'm looking, he went through Dixon went, Gil, just disappear. I start to ask on the radio, "Where is Sam?" "He is coming." He did a superb job. I think the guy is proving one more time that he's the two-time IRL champion. People used to say this and that. But he's a great driver. Unfortunately, he's not having the right package right now, but you have to count on this guy all the time. I think he did a great job. I don't know what was going to happen later on. He came from a lap down to finish fourth. If I was him, I felt that I won the race today. I think he's feeling the same thing.
Q. Being out front today, you can sense that somebody is really going to run away with the race. I never got that sense. Didn't seem like it was a cake walk.
GIL de FERRAN: I think everybody was, you know, sliding around in the end of every stint. It's a matter of how much. It was never a cake walk. I saw everybody twitching around, moving, understeer, oversteer, this guy, everybody. It was a matter of how much understeer and oversteer you had. Certainly I didn't see anybody just cruising along. It was a very, very exciting race. It was anybody's race all the way to the end. It could have been Tony, with an outside chance it could have been me, it could have been Sam's. It ended up being Dixon. It could have been Scheckter, for that matter.
Q. Are you getting a bit tired of finishing second all the time?
TONY KANAAN: If it was in the past, I would be extremely happy. You start to get a little upset. In the big picture, when you know you have a part to win every race you go, it makes you feel good. It's just a matter of opportunity. I think the last two races, we didn't have the car. It was just the opportunity never came up. We're going to have to work really hard to fight these guys over here and Target cars. I mean, they've been running really strong. So the best thing I can do in days like this is take the highest position I can, and the highest position I could do today was second. I'm 50 points ahead of the second right now. I mean, I can build up. As long as I can build up, I don't care if I don't win any single race until the end of the year. If I finish second every time, I can win the championship. I mean, we're going for one thing. So we'll see. Still very open. Don't count those guys... Gil is really the guy you least expect sometimes. Here he comes. I mean, he's always fast. Both Ganassis I think are really strong. It's going to be a matter of trying to get between them all the time.
TONY KANAAN: Would be better if I won the Honda. I think they're happy with the championship lead as well. We have a lot of work to do, from the team's standpoint and Honda's standpoint. So we'll keep working.
Q. Can you both comment on Dixon's effort today?
TONY KANAAN: I think he had an easy day for him. To me look easier than me and Gil, for sure. So I think the guy did a great job, and his team as well. Like Gil said earlier, he did have the car that seemed to last longer than my car and everybody else but Gil's car. So he was just pacing himself. It looked like his tires never went away. That's a matter of setup; it's not a matter of the tire. I mean, the tires were perfect. It's just the way they had their car, they lasted longer than us. He drove smart, gave the right passes at the right time, just got a little help from his teammate at the end, and here he is.
Q. (Inaudible) Pennsylvania owner championship this year?
GIL de FERRAN: I don't know. You know, I don't know. I haven't calculated who else is in the running. I wouldn't know.
TONY KANAAN: Wide open. I mean, right now, yeah, between us, the three teams. But anything can happen. The way they have the points in the series, you can't afford to miss anything. You miss one race, you're back there, so I don't know.
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