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IndyCar Series: Bombardier Learjet 550

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Bombardier Learjet 550

IndyCar Series: Bombardier Learjet 550

Helio Castroneves
June 7, 2008


THE MODERATOR: We're also joined in the media center by tonight's second-place finisher in the Bombardier Learjet 550K, Helio Castroneves, third second-place finish of the season, sixth top-5 finish at Texas Motor Speedway. Helio, take us through your night.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Wow, I mean, the car was incredible. I had a fantastic car. Team did a fantastic job. Fortunately I came a little bit too hot, I guess, in the pits. It was probably one mile-an-hour over. It was really close. It's a shame that unfortunately it was, so got caught in that situation.
My guys did an incredible job. Call them black knights because they're warriors. They keep fighting and keep putting me back in those scenarios, and that's the way you win championships. We actually made a lap back on the green flag, which is pretty incredible, and that proves that we had definitely a fast car and a winner car.
So I feel kind of like upset because we had a great chance, but obviously it's just the moment right now, but second place is a great place, it's great points, a lot of points in the championship, and that's what we need to focus on.

Q. You spent a long time side by side with Scott and then it got three wide with Marco. That seemed like almost a battle for the three lead lap points. Is that what you were thinking?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, since the beginning I told them I want to take the lead and I want to keep going. Scott made a lot of points on that, even though he didn't win the race, some of it. I said, I've got to fight back. Today we had a very good car. So it's not that we tried to take a stupid chance. Today we had a very good car, we were able to run in the front. We definitely had a challenge with the Ganassi cars and Andretti Green, so we were strong, and it's just a shame that I came up a little bit short.

Q. Helio, I mentioned this the other day when I talked to you, you seem to be able to tell when you have a winning car and you try to get to the front, or if you don't have one you try and get the points. Obviously you've got your eye on the title at this point, and finishing second and leading the most laps gets you three bonus points; that doesn't hurt at all.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Thank you. Obviously it's just the moment. When you have cars like that, it's not very often you have opportunities like that, and with a silly mistake you can't just throw away. We never gave up, that's obviously our philosophy, and it paid off, obviously fighting and saving fuel and doing everything we could to make sure we keep in the lead lap. And when we did that, we just went for it. Just came a little bit too short, but it's good for the championship.

Q. This is the second week in a row that the race has ended under caution. It's kind of a downer for all the people in the stands and watching at home, too, I guess. Would you like to see the league adopt something similar to what NASCAR does where you might have a green and white checkered or just red flag it where all you guys stop and then restart and try to finish the race under green?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Today I was thinking about that (laughing). I definitely had a car to make it happen. But you know, you can't compare both series. NASCAR, you're stopping the racetrack, turn it off, turn it on. For us it would be a little bit of a mess, stopping in the pits, turning off the cars. You'd have to have everybody checking the cars to make sure nobody touched the cars. It would be a mess.
But hey, it is the rules. It's something that you cannot change. But right now, to be honest, it was a shame. I mean, that that crash happened in the end, and definitely I was in a position that I had a good car, but unfortunately it didn't happen.

Q. Any kind of mixed emotions there at the end, though? If the crash doesn't happen you might not finish two, but then you also want to be racing under green there at the end?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Well, definitely they were fighting for it, and we were saving a lot of fuel at that point, saving a lot of fuel. I'm not sure if we would be able to finish -- they were probably battling and trying to go for it. I don't know. It's difficult for me to tell what strategy they were playing. I unfortunately have to save lots of fuel to make sure that I was in the lead lap, and certainly no question I had a car to win. So for me it doesn't matter if I was fourth or second, I'm positive of that. Again, it was something that was unexpected, but we were able to overcome and finish second. It's a positive thing.

Q. Real quick, did you have enough fuel to make it?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, definitely. We were saving. Until that point we were saving a lot. Like I said, he keeps telling me not to worry about those other guys in front of me. In fact, Wheldon and Tony and a lot of guys were doing 202s, 203s, and we were doing 209s, so definitely we were going to be close to everyone, but we were playing like safe, and we definitely had fuel, for sure we had fuel.

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