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IndyCar Series: ABC Supply Company A.J. Foyt 225

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  ABC Supply Company A.J. Foyt 225

IndyCar Series: ABC Supply Company A.J. Foyt 225

Danica Patrick
July 23, 2006


THE MODERATOR: We will bring in fourth-finishing Danica Patrick, finishes fourth for the second consecutive week. Another one of those drivers that at one point was a lap down. Danica, tell us about your day.
DANICA PATRICK: Well, as I was saying earlier today, (No microphone.) -- you tend to fall into the safest strategy. I don't know for sure if that's what happened to the guys up front, the AGR guys. You know, we were able to take a few gambles with our pit stops. You know, we were doing things like topping up, you know, at the end of a yellow so we could have more options when our fuel window opened up or when a yellow flag came out. We just played with that.
My engineer, Ray, all the guys in the stand, are really smart with that. They always seem to make all the right decisions there. Knock on wood, it keeps on going, they keep making those good decisions.
That's a lot of what put us to the front. I suppose if you want me to keep blabbering on, I could talk about the car. You know, the car was pretty good. I think I had a fairly fast car. I'm not sure what fastest laps were in the race. At one point in time, I think my engineer Ray told us that we were, you know, Sam and I were the fastest cars on the track.
I think we double-stinted a set of cars, which is great. It was good to see that. They were really good at the end. We stickered up for the end and fueled up, which is what gave us such an advantage to the cars that stayed on the track.
You know, on the second to last stint, I had a little bit of trouble with some wheel imbalance that could have been from a burnout. These are the things that I don't know if you know. You do something to damage one of these tires, you lock up the brakes, smoke a right front. I mean, that happens on road courses more often. If you do a burnout or something, you can flat spot the tires and make them unbalanced, then it vibrates.
I had something to that effect happen. That's kind of what made me drop back from Sam when we got back on the track for the second to last stint. But we were able to run hard at the end.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: Yeah (laughter). Well, I've been saying all weekend -- and to be honest, any short course we go to, any short oval we go to, it's great racing and it's so much fun because cars don't stay the same. Your car will not go as fast at the beginning of the stint necessarily as it does at the end. If it does, you better win the race because it's not a normal thing.
You know, your tires get old, especially with the heat out there. You know, it makes it difficult to stay consistent. That's what makes for -- that's what makes for overtaking maneuvers. We all have the same engine, Honda. We all have the same chassis, Dallara. It's very difficult to find anywhere else that you're faster. You just have to work extremely hard with your guys and your pit crew and your engineer to make the car faster. That's all you've got.
So, yeah, short ovals do make for good racing. I wish that we had more of those instances where, you know, it's a big difference in speed at certain points, and even to some effect, let's say Indy this year, when there was lots of slower cars, we were lapping all the time, that's good for the fans. I don't care if you're only lapping them or not. The fans don't really know, they just want to see passing.
I hope our car count goes up. I hope that we can find some ways to make there be some differences in speed, because that's I think what keeps the fans excited when you're watching. Follow the leader isn't exciting.

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: Especially when you're the faster one. I have been the slower one before, so I know the difficulty in that. I had my fair share of that last year. Sometimes it was like a whole race that I was the slower car. Sometimes -- I remember Pikes Peak last year. I had sometimes really good, sometimes really bad stints. Like I said, good racing then.

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: Well, I think it's very nice to be able to do well, especially for the crew. Those guys, and I've said it, I will say it again, they have been working flat out since Motegi basically. Once we got back from Motegi, we went to Indy. Indy, they started -- as if we didn't have enough work to do at Indy since we were about the slowest cars at a couple points during the month, the guys started building Dallaras. We went to Watkins Glen right after that, and then we're still building Dallaras. Then we showed up at Texas the next weekend with our cars.
These guys have just been working so hard. You know, it's okay to work really hard and get results. At least it's paid off, right? But since we had so long that we were just in the back with cars at first, it was disappointing and discouraging. It's always good to do well, and most importantly I feel good for the guys, that they can have something to smile about at the end of the day for working so hard.

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: We qualified like 14th in qualifying. Yeah, we weren't close in qualifying. You only got here today, didn't you? So your question is, am I getting comfortable?
To be honest, I don't feel like we're doing that much different than what we did when we first got the cars. I don't know if the car is settling in. I don't know if Ray is making changes based on, you know, kind of the things that he's been learning. But I just am like, yeah, just drive the car.
You know, our changes seem to be affecting it in a predictable way. That's something that you really need to have when you're making changes, especially on the fly. We made changes before the race in Nashville, right before, without trying it. I looked at them before the race and I was like, I'm really nervous. I don't know what the car's going to do. You know, every race before that, we'd go out and the car was completely different or opposite of what we had tested. We didn't really even change much.
You know, for this race and the last race, the car has done more what we hoped. I think a lot of that is just talking things out. I'm helping a lot more at least with kind of my gut feeling on what changes to make 'cause I have that seat-of-the-pants feel.
Ray is the ultimate decision maker. I think that we're all just finding changes that work with the car instead of -- or obviously don't work.

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: Scott's a wonderful guy. He's a great guy. I'm glad to see him at the track. I'm glad to see him healthy. He looks good. Anybody that has seen him I think can say the same. He's a huge part of the team. He's a cheerleader, but yet he's sort of a disciplinarian. He keeps people in order. He makes sure everything is going in the right direction and reminds people of the simple things in racing.
It's really not that complicated, racing, it's just a matter of choosing the things that end up working. He's good. He's good for morale. He's good for everything.

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: I don't think so.

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: Yes, it is actually, believe it or not. The more pressure, I seem to do better. It's the weirdest thing. It's a wonderful gift, too, because that's a difficult situation. You know, a lot of people crumble or break under it. I seem to work better. You know, for all of you out there that know how that big butterfly in your stomach feels, that's how I work best.
I can work myself up to it, too.

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: Oh, I can come up with all kinds of ways. So can you guys, right? What's the new story?

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: You heard it here (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Danica. We're joined by winning car owner, Michael Andretti. Congratulations.

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