NASCAR Nationwide Series: Indiana 250
Topics: Indiana 250
Sam Hornish, Jr.
July 28, 2012
KERRY THARP: We're getting ready to hear from our third place finisher, and that is Ty Dillon, and he drove the No.51 WESCO Chevrolet, and he's joined by his brother, Austin Dillon, who finished fifth and is the highest finishing Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate with his fifth place finish, and I believe right now I'm told you are one point out of the championship points race behind Elliott Sadler, Austin. So congratulations to the Dillon brothers. We had you guys in here about 48 hours ago.
For both of you guys, first time at the big track. You've both come in in the top 5. Pretty impressive. Austin with a fifth place finish, one point out of the race, what were your impressions of today's race, drove the No.3 AdvoCare Chevrolet?
AUSTIN DILLON: Well, it was pretty interesting. You know, as the race went on, you saw a lot of, I guess, important track position played. Definitely in our situation we had to get some track position, and it worked out for us.
I had a good race car early, was racing up there near the top 5 and smacked the wall after we made our last adjustment getting into Turn 1, and that just hurt us pretty bad, lost quite a few positions when I did that, and it was just a driver error there.
We were able to recover and come down pit road and take two tires at the end when we needed to, loosen it up just enough to maintain and fought them off there on the restarts.
It was pretty wild. Those last restarts were crazy, and it was a fun day, though, and congratulations to Ty for kicking my butt. That was pretty impressive. He's got a lot to look forward to, and his new sponsor WESCO, it's great for them, too.
KERRY THARP: And Ty, certainly coming here to the famous Brickyard for the first time, and you come in third and you beat‑‑ you're ahead of a lot of accomplished drivers. That had to be something that you feel good about, and like you said, you beat your older brother there a little bit, too. Talk about your performance out there today.
TY DILLON: Yeah, I was just so excited to‑‑ first of all, got to thank WESCO for giving me the opportunity to run in this race, and Nationwide Insurance, too, for allowing us to put the Nationwide Series here at the big track in Indianapolis. Just coming here if you would have given me a top 10 I would have been ecstatic. I kind of learned a little bit about myself this week. I did this last year with the Truck Series and just went into those last three races in the Truck Series last year with an open attitude, just wanting to have fun and drive a race car. I had no pressure with the points.
And then the same thing this year with no pressure with the points, just wanted to have fun here at a historic track like Indy. It made me a better driver and opened my mind more to adjust in the race car.
I think this weekend did a lot for me in confidence and how I'm going to approach the Camping World Truck Series from this point on. But I'm just so happy for my guys. My truck team was pitting my car all weekend, and Gil Martin, the legendary crew chief, he's done a lot of good things in our sport, crew chiefed it and did an awesome job.
Q. For both of you but specifically for Ty, you seemed to unload fast, and I know you've run ARCA on a couple big tracks, but how can you explain coming to a track that's as unique as this and unloading and taking to it so easily?
TY DILLON: I think a lot of the credit is to the Truck Series. Every time you unload in the Truck Series you're wide open for the first 20 laps and you have to drive as hard as you can in that series, and just having that attitude that I've been able to have all year with the Truck Series and driving that and unloading here with an open attitude and knowing I was going to have to drive real hard with these Nationwide cars, and after talking to Paul and Max and all the people who have raced here before, it sounded like we were really going to have to hustle these Nationwide cars.
And I couldn't have done it without amazing equipment. Gil Martin and everybody at RCR put together this car for me. I think all the teams were putting it together at the shop last week, and I couldn't have done it without a great car. So with that and then just having an open attitude and driving as hard as I could from the moment we unloaded.
Q. I didn't want to pick on you, Austin, but Ty, what are you going to remember more, third place or beating your older brother?
TY DILLON: Both. I won't let him live either one down.
No, he did an awesome job. I was hoping he would get the points lead, too. That would have been really cool. They've got a lot of steam coming, and they've been doing really well in this second half. Heck, just racing here at Indy is awesome, so I'll remember everything about this day.
Q. What was the competition like between you two when you were younger?
AUSTIN DILLON: We've always been really competitive in anything we've done, no matter what it is, sports‑‑ anything except school.
TY DILLON: That was reverse psychology.
AUSTIN DILLON: No, we've always been competitive, whatever it took to win or to be the best, and I think that's what pushes us each and every day. It's nice having a brother that's very competitive and very talented. I know he pushes me, and I hope I push him.
Q. Austin, what did you see in that last restart where Elliott got black flagged?
AUSTIN DILLON: I don't know if I want to answer after that last question (laughing).
No, anyways, the last restart, all I remember‑‑ it's so important right now that you have to go on restarts. Restarts are where all your passing is done, and especially at a big track like this, momentum is huge. I feel like that's everything is restarts.
Going into that last restart, I loaded for Bear to go. The 22, I could hear‑‑ I felt like I heard him go. We went. I pushed Elliott. The 22 spun his tires I felt like. I think the 12 was pushing him, too. I don't know past that. I just went.
So I kind of have to see the replay to really give you more information. I just know we went when‑‑ I just went when the green was out.
KERRY THARP: Guys, thank you very much.
Now we're going to hear from our race runner‑up, and that's Sam Hornish, Jr. He drove the No.12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge for Penske Racing. Congratulations on a good finish out there today. Can you talk about your race.
SAM HORNISH, JR.: Car was pretty good right from the start, and really to be honest with you, after practice on Thursday, if you would have told me that we would have finished 15th I would have been somewhat happy with that. We didn't feel like the car was very good. We made some solid changes on it overnight and really made the car quite a bit better. I was happy with it right from the beginning of the race, was able to make passes on people and be able to kind of put my car where I wanted it, where on Thursday I was just kind of holding on for dear life for quite a bit of the practice.
Really happy with the pit stops that the other guys did on the Alliance Truck Parts Dodge. They were able to gain us spots every time we came down pit road. We took two tires there at the end to try to get the track position hoping that we'd get some green flag running towards the end, and then lo and behold, Brad takes four and gets by us. That was probably the difference between being able to battle him‑‑ I don't know that I would have ever been able to hold him off. He was really strong all day long and just had a little bit more speed than what we did.
But to be able to come out of here with a one‑two for Penske Racing was great. Just wish the captain was here to enjoy it with us, but the guys at Penske Racing did a wonderful job. They brought two new cars here for Brad and I, put a lot of work into this race, and to be able to get a one‑two finish feels pretty good.
I guess if there's a guy that I can handle losing to, it's Brad. But I want to win. To be that close, you know, would have been real nice to be able to do that. But there's always next week. But there's never a chance to win the inaugural Nationwide race again. If I seem a little bit disappointed, I guess that's probably why.
Q. How important was it for you to come back after last week in Chicago to have a good finish here? Does that help? And also, could you take us through when Kyle spun?
SAM HORNISH, JR.: For us to be able to come back and to have a good weekend, it was really good for the team's morale. I mean, there was a lot of the guys that were pretty disappointed after last week, and mostly on how our strategy played out. But for them to be able to come back and to have a good strategy today, we felt like we had‑‑ at Penske Racing we basically had both strategies covered there towards the end, which is always a good thing to do, gives you two shots to win, depending on how the yellows come.
That restart, Brad always‑‑ almost always seems like he slows down the restart, and that one he went before he ever got to the thing. I don't know what it was, but I was going to file in third there, and I haven't seen a replay of it yet, but left the lane to the inside because they said the 54 was looking down there, and I just‑‑ next thing I felt him bump into me and saw him spinning.
I would have done anything to not be around that, regardless if it's my fault or not. I would have much rather not been around that, but we put it behind us and tried to do the last restart, and man, it was‑‑ it's a little bit tough knowing what to do. I wanted to push Brad. It was unbelievable how that all played out there at the end, and I was going to be happy to finish third and got a little bit of a bonus.
Q. You've had a pretty hectic three weeks here, flying in unexpectedly and jumping in a car to get out there and race and then coming here, then Chicago.
SAM HORNISH, JR.: Yeah, we've really had a busy couple weeks, that's for sure. But look at how we've ran over that couple weeks. Daytona really wasn't‑‑ we didn't finish the way we wanted to, but we were really points racing and making sure we kept ourselves out of trouble. And then obviously you have‑‑ we were fourth at Loudon, we were seventh last week or eighth last week; we should have been first to fourth at worst. To come out of there with an eighth place finish or whatever it ended up being was not a good day for us.
There was no real infighting amongst our team. I think all of us just wanted to bury our head for a while, all for different reasons, whether it was for what happened or getting us in that position. But the thing that we did was we all manned up and said what we could do better, tried to figure out a way to get everybody back on board.
I guess the way that I look at it is a lot of teams could have fallen apart after the weekend that we had last weekend, and we did the best that we could do to try to come a little bit closer together.
With the way that everything has been going, it seems like a lot longer than three weeks. It seems like about three months since Daytona, and mostly because I keep getting all these answers‑‑ not that I can't answer, but I have no idea what the answer is. I don't know how many more races I'm going to get to run the Shell‑Pennzoil car on the Cup side. I don't know what I'm doing next weekend as far as how we're getting back and forth, which practice sessions we're going to run, things like that.
Well, I guess I do know I'm flying on Brad's plane back and forth, but I don't know what our itinerary is going to be. But I know that we're going to go try to do the best that we can tomorrow with the Shell‑Pennzoil car, keep those guys on the right track. They're a hard‑core team. Those guys are all veterans and know how to keep moving forward, so we're going to try to do the best that we can with that. We go test on Monday up at Michigan, and then we'll head off to Pocono or Iowa or wherever we're going.
Q. You won here in an IndyCar before and you did it on a last lap pass. When Brad was out ahead of you with say 10 to go, were you trying to envision if you could get back to him that you might be able to take advantage, or was the draft not going to give you a chance at that?
SAM HORNISH, JR.: Well, it took me a bit to get around the 3 and to be able to kind of go after Brad even, and I felt like, yeah, I'm catching up to him a little bit, and I'm sitting there going, yeah, I'm catching up to him, but as soon as I get there it's going to be, A, tougher because of the aero, and B, he's probably just going to push the gas pedal down a little bit harder. He's probably saving a little something there. Brad is pretty darned good.
I didn't have any dreams of grandeur or whatever of going out there and passing him on the last lap. It would have been awesome if we did, but I felt like as soon as I got within 10 car lengths he was going to step it back up a little bit. It's really tough racing your teammate like that because you can't make a mistake because all of a sudden we go from finishing one‑two to I'm the guy that couldn't finish second.
I knew it was going to have to be one of those deals where he made a mistake for me to be able to get the job done and to feel comfortable about doing it.
He had the four tires and he had a good car and had a good restart on‑‑ not the next‑to‑last one but I think two from the end and somehow figured out how to get from seventh to second in about a lap and a quarter. I knew he was going to be tough to beat.
Q. You got a win at Phoenix, you got a second here, both flat tracks. What makes you good on flat?
SAM HORNISH, JR.: I don't know. I think that Chicago has got some banking to it. We were decent there last week. But I think that a little bit of the mentality of what I grew up racing. I did mostly road courses, so I mean, that's generally pretty flat. I like tracks like Phoenix that are different from end to end because they're what I call compromise racetracks. You're never going to get your car perfect at both ends, so you try to work on one end that you think is going to be more beneficial for you to get passes done and then you kind of try to maintain on the other end. Pocono is another place that's like that. That's if you really look at it.
This is a lot of a‑‑ in my opinion, a compromise racetrack. You've got to be really free into 1 and 3 to have any kind of a shot to get the car to turn off of 2 and 4, so I just did the best that I could to get the car freed up enough to be able to turn off of 3 and 4 and try to guide it in the best I could in the other end, so this is a compromise racetrack. I think flat tracks are just‑‑ I don't know why, but maybe it's because you have to let off and you have to be gentle with the throttle. But there's some other guys that are pretty darned good at that, too.
I don't know why it seems like we run well at these ones. But I like them. I was scared to death a couple times the other day in the practice and really was wanting to pull my hair out, but I'm like, we'll get it better or we won't; there's not that much to think about here. And we tried to make good changes over our day off and get ready for today.
Man, I was so happy when I got out there and started that race, and I'm like, man, I can drive close to people, I can pass people. Just a good feeling to be able to get in the car and it does what you want it to do.
KERRY THARP: Sam, thank you, and good luck tomorrow.
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