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IndyCar Series: AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300

IndyCar Series: AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300

Vitor Meira
August 14, 2005


SPARTA, KENTUCKY

THE MODERATOR: We have the AMBER Alert Portal Indy 300 second-place finisher, Vitor Meira. For Vitor this season, this is his fifth Top-5, his seventh Top-10 and equalling season best today which was second at Indianapolis. You had a pretty strong run through the Top-5, talk about the run through the field those last laps with Scotty Sharp.

VITOR MEIRA: Everything was pretty good. We started to be a little conservative just trying to save everything and be there at the end. We knew we had a good car. I mean, it was just, the car was good. Honda supplied us with very good engines again. We hanged on, we were leading at I think with 120 left or so. We were leading with a really good car. The next stop came on, I got a little bit too loose and kind of lost the first spot and hang on from there on. Again, we just had to position ourselves a little better to have the win. I mean, again, we gave it a shot, we positioned ourselves good enough and we'll see if it works next time.

Q. Any shot in those last laps, did you feel you had a chance to get around Scott at any time?

VITOR MEIRA: No, it was pretty quick on the bottom. I tried inside on the last lap in sixth gear but he was pretty quick. He was doing a good job just holding his line inside and protecting his position, because he had a little less drag than us and that's what cost us, the little things.

Q. Any frustration involved; you're always in some of these tight races and this one decided by 7/100ths of a second, any frustration involved?

VITOR MEIRA: I want to win. Of course I want to win. Everybody wants to. I think we are doing the right thing. We are positioning ourselves to win all the time. We like this race, we are always in the Top-5 if nothing weird happens; we are letting the chance to win come to us. I don't think -- you can't do anything else. You can't do anything more than that. That's what everybody does, you just position yourself and give the win a chance to come to you. We are doing that; one day or another it's going to come.

Q. Did you think on that last stop there you would make a charge there?

VITOR MEIRA: I was already above the white line, and as the rules say, you can't improve your position below the white line. If I could, yeah, I think I would have had him, but I tried this in Kansas and I had to talk with Barnhart afterward, so it didn't work pretty good.

Q. Scott Sharp was holding his line, but you don't hear that a lot with him and do you do anything aggressive to keep him from taking over?

VITOR MEIRA: Scott is aggressive, but in his words, aggressive holding his line, but nothing beyond being aggressive, I'm not saying he didn't use any unsportman movements there. Everything was according to what he could, and he did. The next one he carried, and the next one I carried, also, protecting myself from third place and the beginning. Everybody plays hard there. He was playing hard, I was playing hard outside, and I mean, this close of a race, everybody is going to be unhappy with some guys at some point. Just because you're going to find a weird situation there that it's going to come to you and cross, take off your air or whatever. It's a close race; everybody's got to behave and push up to a point.

Q. Were you surprised Scott was able to run down there?

VITOR MEIRA: Yes, I think the good thing for him was that he had new tires and not a full tank because of the last stop. We just put half a tank or so and brand new tires. That helped him help me and helped him, and I think that's why he was also capable of keeping it so tight.

Q. Gear selection, you didn't start using the top gear until the last --

VITOR MEIRA: Actually, we were talking about it; me and Bobby Rahal, we were talking about it. Well, I couldn't really pull a last look on his draft, on fifth, I tried on the last lap going the east side, which is kind of downhill and on his draft. So then I could pull fifth gear there. I should have, I think I should have tried a little bit earlier that move just to see if it worked or not. But I wanted to surprise him. I mean, I was outside, outside for like 10, 20 laps always outside and I wanted to just suddenly go inside and surprise him. I mean, it worked for a while but then we were too low and then, I mean, I had to give up.

Q. Any close calls with wheel bearings with you today?

VITOR MEIRA: Not that I know of. We're going to disassemble everything. We're going to disassemble everything and check, but I'm pretty sure we're not going to have problems. What Tony had -- I don't know if it was wheel bearing. I know it was out of his right rear, like lap 50 or so; he was smoking a lot. That's why I kept inside because when the right rear goes, normally the guy goes outside and crashes outside. That's why I kept inside. I thought that it was happening for a lap already and, I mean, it was close, it was pretty close. I mean, actually it reminded me a little bit of when he crashed, but at the beginning of the race, we were cautious not to take any more chances.

Q. What's the difference between coming in first and second?

VITOR MEIRA: Well, .0051, eight inches, whatever, I think the difference is positioning yourself on the middle of the race, having a little bit of luck or whatever it is, position ourselves a little better. I think we could have had the little -- a little better luck on the pits -- not on the pit stops, but we had some stuff going on with the pit stops. Coming in and out I had some difficulties and I think that's -- we could have got Sharp in one of the pit stops for sure. It didn't happen. It's just these kind of things. Almost if I knew I was going to be dying trying to correct it, but we are doing everything we can. I mean, we are doing everything we can to win, and one day, it's going to come.

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