IndyCar Series: Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone
Topics: Detroit Indy Grand Prix presented by Firestone
September 2, 2007
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by our sixth-place finisher, Dario Franchitti. Combined with his sixth place points and the bonus points for leading the most laps, he is now in the championship points lead by three points over Scott Dixon. Tony Kanaan remains in third place in the championship, 39 points behind. He is still mathematically eligible.
Dario, talk about your day out there.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: All right. First of all, the Canadian Club car was very fast today. Had a good balance. I got in a good rhythm with it. You know, whether it was running behind Helio, saving fuel, or running up front, you know, I was quite happy with it.
We got back in traffic at one point and we couldn't make anything happen. I don't think anybody could. It was so difficult to pass. Just had to wait for the guys in front to pit, save as much fuel as we could at that point.
Tony took one strategy. I think he was maybe low on fuel for his last stop they said. We got that yellow just when we didn't need it. Got beaten out of the pits by Scott. We were running lap times three seconds slower than my fastest, but couldn't pass. Just couldn't do anything.
Scott, he blocked me a couple of times. But then, you know, coming down to turn I guess 13, Buddy ran in front of him, Scott went for the gap, had contact with Buddy, spun it round and collected me. It was kind of a bizarre situation. We were sitting there staring at each other. No yellow flag was displayed, to my knowledge, so therefore the safety guys couldn't come on the track to help me. No reverse gear, so I'm just sitting there. That upset me more than the incident itself.
I would like to say Tony Kanaan drove a hell of a race today yet again. He did a good job.
THE MODERATOR: One other note before we start on questions. This is the second consecutive year and third time in league history that the championship points lead has changed both with two races and one race remaining in the schedule.
Q. Do you think Scott could have gotten on the brakes, you could have gotten by? Was that intentional? Did you consider it that?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: You know, some people think it was intentional. I just know that, apart from the blocking thing, Scott has raced me cleanly all year and I've raced him cleanly. So going on past form this season, I don't think he would have done it intentionally. I don't know, though. As I say, my owners have a different opinion of it.
Q. What is your opinion of the track, the ability to pass, the ability to be passed?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: You know, it's very tough. It's very tough. I think the long layout, that long straight followed by a 90-degree right that we used here in '98, '99, 2000, I think that would produce better passing. So it's maybe an option to run that in the future.
This is one of those tracks that's very, very difficult to pass. But to go out there and drive the car when the car's working as well as my car was today, it's so much fun. It's a real joy. When the car is floating from bump to bump, you're in that rhythm, you see the guys disappearing in your mirror, it's like, yeah, that's cool.
Q. Do you see the acrimony of the last two weekends going between the teams leaving a distasteful impression on the final race?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: No, I don't. You know, I think if you saw Scott and Tony talking yesterday or the day before about last weekend, you see there's no hard feelings there. As Tony said, Hey, I could have taken Scott out of the race twice. There was one time he pushed me on the grass one way, one time another.
I've got a lot of respect for Scott and his whole team. They're really good guys. I said this was going to be a hell of a championship battle, and it's gonna be. You know, but we want to win and they want to win. There's always going to be some... On the track, we don't take any prisoners, either team.
Q. Did you actually make contact with Scott?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, I was just about to go by him when he came back. He bent the right front wishbone and snapped the front wing. But, as I say, it was the most bizarre situation. We're sitting there and staring at each other. There's no yellow flag. Yet again, to go with yesterday's thing in qualifying when there was a car parked in a blind sixth-gear corner, where the car stuck to the ground so hard it's coming off the ground, yet somebody takes pole position. And then today with the two cars blocking the track and there's no yellow, to my knowledge, it's bizarre.
Q. You were leading. You held the lead comfortably. Buddy Rice got out in the lead, started pulling away. Danica was in the lead, pulled away. These cars are pretty equal.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think in fairness to Buddy and Danica, when those guys were in the lead, I was behind Dan, and Dan was slowing me down a lot. As soon as Dan pitted, I caught Danica in about two laps, I think. That was the problem for anybody. Dan was running somewhat off the pace, allowed the guys to gap. We couldn't do anything about it because we were stuck behind him.
Q. You were able to get restarted and limp across the finish.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: The engine never stopped. That was the bizarre thing.
Q. By doing that, did you pick up an extra position?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I have no idea. I don't know. Sorry.
Q. Were you surprised to see Buddy Rice up there that long and running that well?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Not really. Buddy's a good driver. You know, he's been struggling this weekend at the track. Him and I have talked about it. You know, the strategy worked out for him. He was doing a good job up there.
THE MODERATOR: Dario, thank you.
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