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IndyCar Series: Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Ethanol

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Ethanol

IndyCar Series: Iowa Corn Indy 250 presented by Ethanol

Dario Franchitti
June 24, 2007


DARIO FRANCHITTI: Things were looking good running second to Helio for most of the first stint, and then he pitted and as I was -- I guess I was leaving the pit when he spun and that put us back a bit, because I guess other people had pitted earlier in the day.
So then the madness started. It was one restart after another, one yellow after another, and then at one point I was four-wide going across the start/finish straight there and I guess the three people on the inside didn't take any further part. So I was pretty lucky.
And then from then on, it was just really -- I saw that most of the contenders that were pushing me in the championship had had their problems. So we knew we couldn't do anything stupid and we played a conservative game. We managed to run with Vitor, and then we passed him in the pits and then the last pit stop we didn't take tires. We left the Firestones on because they were really performing so well; a great call by the crew, as well.
All in all a great day for the Canadian Club car and the team, Andretti Green as a whole with a 1, 2, with Marco and yeah, a lot of fun to race here in Iowa.

Q. I know you were fortunate to get by at four-wide, but making the turn --
DARIO FRANCHITTI: No, I was kind of looking forward and just trying to pick a spot. So I'm not quite sure what happened there. But it was -- it was certainly close. There was some people weaving around a little bit, as well, obviously looking for gaps of their own and just one of those deals. It was so critical to make places up on starts and restarts if you wanted to move forward; because the pace of the cars, we could all run within thousandths of each other.

Q. What did you think of the track?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think it's a great track. The track was in good condition. There's a couple of small bumps, but that makes it interesting. If it was too smooth, I think it could be boring. The track was very well laid out.
I think in my opinion we need to sit down. I'm sure Brian Barnhardt and the IndyCar Series guys are going to make some changes to the specification of car we bring back here next year. We obviously have a short oval specification, super speedway and some stuff in between. I'd like to see some more in between than the super speedway package and the short oval package and I think that will help us.

Q. How surprising was it to see Tony and Dan having problems?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: When Tony and Dan and guys like that have problems, it's always surprising because they do such a consistent job not only week-in, week-out, but year-in, year-out so. That was a little bit of a surprise. I don't know the full reasons why they had their problems, but it's always a surprise when you see those guys run into trouble.

Q. Was this course tougher than --
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It's about the same. It's about the same. We did things in the car to make it a little bit easier for us. We knew it was going to be a physical race. I didn't find it anywhere near as physical as a road course. I think Mid-Ohio and Sonoma are going to be the tough ones for us this year. But this was a good workout for us today.

Q. (About Marco during the race).
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, we've seen that in the one-and-a-half-miles that you can come out of the outside out of the last corner and get that sort of slingshot and it didn't appear to be working here for whatever reason.
So I knew if I stopped at the yellow line, Marco was going to have a hard time getting around me. He was very smart. He just sat behind and we tried to pull away from the pack which is exactly what we talked about before. And so he was smart doing that and then he had a go when we were clear from the guys from behind and it didn't work.

Q. Talk about the fan support --
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think the biggest boost is the fact the enthusiasm of the fans and the people of Iowa love the racing, they love their oval track racing. What can you say? They come out, they show their enthusiasm and they are passionate about it and that's what makes events I think. It was great to see it out there today and also all throughout the weekend.

Q. Like you said, the bottom line -- inaudible.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It's difficult to criticize people unless you're in their shoes. I'm not going to say the guys were overaggressive. I was pretty aggressive on restarts as well because I knew that was my big chance when I was further back in the pack to make those places up.
So, yeah, I would say it's difficult. I haven't seen anything of any other incidents, so I can't comment too much.

Q. Restarts a big factor today?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: You would say it was definitely more critical today. You always push hard on restarts but obviously there is only so hard you can push before you run out of problems. But it was definitely critical to make good restarts and try and place for that time.

Q. (About engine).
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It's funny you mentioned that. I was running around with about ten laps to go and it just doesn't enter my head about the engine. It doesn't enter your head anymore. They run all day, every day and everybody's does and Honda don't get enough credit for the fact that they do that. They just put these engines and they just keep running.
I've been a Honda driver now for ten years and I really enjoy the challenge of the manufacturer wars, that's always a lot of fun, especially when you're winning.
But they have got a new challenge now which they have taken up with providing engines that are all the same and that just run all day. That's very impressive and they are obviously running on the ethanol, as well. We haven't noticed any change with it. We've just been so seamless and it's really -- the IndyCar Series need to be applauded for what they are doing with that and so do the ethanol guys for supporting our series.

Q. Good start to the season --
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, probably. Probably. It's been good, no doubt, it's been a good start to the season. Are we halfway yet? I don't even think we are halfway, so there you go. It's too early. We're just going to keep week-in, week-out trying to do a good job and see how it goes.

Q. (About Marco using the same setup for his car).
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Marco, he likes a different feeling in the car from me but he wasn't too happy yesterday at the end of practice. So I think we sort of went to my setup because I was really comfortable, and he likes slightly different things from the car. Maybe he likes a slightly looser car than I do.
So I think it will be good for him to come back with a bit more experience off the track and dial the car into what he likes.
He did a good job today. He needed that finish just because of bad luck and the trials and tribulations of his seasons.

Q. (About importance of Marco finishing second.)
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, it was cool. He wasn't feeling good today, he was pretty sick. Some problems with his throat and sinuses and everything. So with the physical aspect of this track, I think he did a fantastic job. I'm just sorry that TK and Danica had their problems because it would have been good to have us all up there. I do think the cars were very, very good today.

Q. (About problems on the track).
DARIO FRANCHITTI: We were aware of that, for sure. I saw the guys -- I saw Tony have his problems with Dan Dixon very early -- what happened to Dan? Oh, crickey. I saw the guys having issues and it wasn't lost on me that we had to at some point today, even if we didn't win it, we just had to finish as well as we could and not do anything stupid. We've just got to keep doing that week-in, week-out and maximize what we've got. If the team can keep doing their job, talking about Andretti Green as a whole and show up with fast cars, my Canadian Club boys will keep doing what they are doing and just take one race at a time.
THE MODERATOR: Dario, thank you, appreciate it.

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