Indy Racing League Media Conference
Topics: Indy Racing League
July 2, 2013
THE MODERATOR: Welcome everyone to today's IndyCar conference call.
First we'll start with Firestone Indy Lights driver Gabby Chaves of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Thanks for joining us.
Gabby is currently third in the Firestone Indy Lights pointing standings and is 30 points behind his teammate, Sage Karam.
Talk about the season so far, I know you've had six straight finishes in the top four but still looking for the first win. Are you happy with the way things have gone so far.
GABBY CHAVES: Yeah, I think so. I think we had a great start to the season and almost had the first win in St. Pete, we led about a quarter of the race and had an incident that took us out of the race.
But I think we've had a strong comeback and had four podiums in the last six races, so we are pretty happy but we won't be completely satisfied until we get that first win, which we are hoping for will be here in Pocono.
THE MODERATOR: I know the test day isn't until Friday, but what do you know about the track, and how do you prepare for a track like Pocono?
GABBY CHAVES: Well, I mean, I've heard a lot of things. I know no one's been there and IndyCar has not been there I think in over 20 years or so. So no one's really sure what to expect.
But we expect and we kind of think that it will be a very fast, high‑speed track, kind of like IMS, averaging somewhere around 180 miles per lap, is kind of what we are thinking we'll be doing more or less.
So you know, speaking with my engineers and all the crew and everyone on the team, we might think that we might have another big finish like we did at Indianapolis with three or four‑wide finish.
THE MODERATOR: When you have not seen a track, do you just rely on what other people tell you? Is it something that you jump on a thing like iRacing or something just to see what the track looks like?
GABBY CHAVES: Yeah, absolutely, you have some resources you can use like the simulators in iRacing, and some of the IndyCar teams have some footage that they have tested there, you get and you use what you can to get yourself a step ahead of the competition.
But I think the biggest thing will be that test day on Friday. That's going to give us some track time and really get us going.
Q. I just wanted to get your impressions so far of the competition in Indy Lights. Obviously Indianapolis was a great finish and it seems looking at the points standings that everyone is fairly close. Just that, and also the opportunity‑‑ I know in Star Mazda, you got a chance to race with the IZOD IndyCar Series, but in Indy Lights, even more so, you get to be with those teams week‑in and week‑out, and how that impacts your experience in Indy Lights, as well.
GABBY CHAVES: Yeah, I think that's a very strong point that we have got to use to our advantage as Indy Lights driver. We are competing every weekend with IndyCar and all of the big teams, they are watching us out there.
You know, if you put on a good show and a strong performance, it's not long before you get the bigger teams interested in you as a driver, and hopefully you start getting your career set up for the big leagues.
Q. And then what are you looking‑‑ as we are entering the second half of the season, what races do you think will be your strongest? What are the ones that you kind of have your eye on as able to get you closer in the championship points standings?
GABBY CHAVES: Well, so far, I think we've had a very consistent championship, and I think we need to kind of step it up a little bit and maybe‑‑ I know that we get that risk going a little bit more to try to get some wins, because really I think at the end of the championship, the winner will be the guy who has the most wins. If you look at how the points are being awarded, there's a big gap from first to second in racing.
So what we need to do is we really need to step it up and try to start winning some races. I think we will be very strong in Pocono like we were in Indianapolis, and we just need to take it one race at a time. So for now we'll focus on Pocono, and after that on Toronto.
Q. Tell me your impressions of these one‑day shows, kind of like you had in Iowa, and even though you had that test day the day before, it is still kind of like a one‑day show in the fact that you practice, qualifying, race, all in the same day?
GABBY CHAVES: Sure, I don't mind it at all. As long as no one has an advantage over you, then everyone's competing with the same amount of practice and same conditions.
So it is a little bit tricky, because you have to get everything sorted out really quick after practice to get your car ready for qualifying, and you can't go out there and make a mistake and get your car, you know, wrecked before the race, because there is no time to fix it or anything.
So you've got to really be at the top of your game, and be really well in tune with your team and your car.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for your time today and wish you the best of luck this weekend at Pocono and for the rest of the season.
GABBY CHAVES: Thanks so much for having me and I'll see you guys there.
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