IndyCar Series: Firestone Indy 200
Topics: Firestone Indy 200
July 16, 2005
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with Danica Patrick. She had a great run here at Nashville her first time here, finishing seventh today. Danica, would you talk to our press corps about your run today, please.
DANICA PATRICK: We'll start from the top. You know, I started in the front. I dropped back at the start. Seems to happen frequently. I think it's a matter of, you know, me trying to make sure I keep my momentum through the first few laps and not lift really at all, if that's possible. You know, I think maybe for the beginning of each run, we need to figure something out to make the car hook up a little bit better. Initially it seems like I'm not able to keep up quite as well when we put new tires on and full fuel. Maybe there's something there. But I definitely have to work on keeping momentum up. Then once you settle in, you settle in. It was single file for a long time. You guys watched it. I watched it. It's difficult to pass. I think a lot of people were suffering from understeer out there, which was preventing them to overtake. I was definitely in that boat. As the run went on, I got to the end of the fuel run, picked off a few people. The balance of the car came back to me as I think I wore the right rear off. Then what happened? Geez, 200 laps. We made, you know, some fuel strategy gambles and it paid off. We were going to pit in one more lap and the yellow flag came out, so someone was looking out for me out there. We pitted under that yellow and lost a few more spots under that yellow flag, but that was because we had to put more fuel in than everybody else because we hadn't stopped for so long. We put all four set of tires on which was a plus compared to everyone. I think they left their old tires on. Then we were kind of back in the game. Went back for that restart. Went high. Saw Sam high. I thought, "Heck, let's go high," not to know that he was sailing towards the wall, soon to find out I would be, too. I lost a bunch of spots doing that. In all the rest of the restarts, it had been fine. The outside line on the restarts was fine. You could run there. But there was just a ton of marbles up there. I'm surprised both of us didn't go into the wall. So we dropped back. You know, that was pretty much -- other than the last restart where I got one more, that was about it. I felt like the car was pretty fast, but I think we had the second fastest lap time of the race. When you drop back at the start on a track that's difficult to pass on, you're just hurting yourself. Over all, the team did a great job on strategy. There's still some things to work on; there's going to be for a long time. But over all it was good gambles, good payoffs, a lot was learned, another fairly good result.
THE MODERATOR: We have time for a couple of questions.
Q. There were marbles up high?
DANICA PATRICK: I just said that we were fine. All the rest of the race was fine. For some reason, I think they were trying to get us to go green again fast, they didn't sweep the track and there was marbles.
Q. Sounds like a couple of restarts are memorable, the one with Wheldon at Indy, then the one with Dario.
DANICA PATRICK: Yeah, you know, the restarts are fine. I think that I have the timing down. I think that the team does a good job with the way we set the gears up and everything. I think that that's fine. But for some reason, like I said, when the first green flag hits and we've got fresh tires and a full tank of fuel, it's just tough. I don't know what it is. You know, I mean -- I'm sure it's a lot me and keeping momentum up. The restarts are okay. If we could just start single file each time, I would be fine. Let's talk about that.
Q. When you battled with Sam, is there anything more you need to do? Do you feel like your respect level is up there with Sam with the battles you were having?
DANICA PATRICK: I thought Sam raced very fair. I thought he raced close. But I know there was one lap I went into three and four had just, just got up just a stitch, to the point where most people most of the time probably would have not called inside. So I don't know. He gave me room. He raced me very fair. Obviously, was paying attention to his spotter, listening to that, respecting the space, which is in turn respecting me I think. You know, I respect him. We've raced with each other for a long time. He knows when push comes to shove, we're both pretty darn tough. That goes back to our preteenage years even. I hope he respects me. I respect him. I think that's probably a question for Sam.
Q. First time on this concrete track, any adjusting you had to make during the race?
DANICA PATRICK: I don't know if I'm just stupid, but I don't think there's any difference between concrete and whatever else. It's absolutely no difference to me. I don't care. It's not a big deal. I don't notice it. A track is a track. All the different tracks have different grip levels, different characteristics. You know, all I was dealing with was normal race stuff, which is the car does this, changes does this, goes back to that, new tires again, it starts all over. Then over the course of that, from beginning to end of the race, there's an entire change in the track as well. So you have your tire life and your fuel levels, then you have your entire track for the race. Everything is constantly kind of, you know, changing. Just normal race stuff.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Danica.
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