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IndyCar Series: Rexall Edmonton Indy

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Rexall Edmonton Indy

IndyCar Series: Rexall Edmonton Indy

Ryan Briscoe
Helio Castroneves
Scott Dixon
Will Power
Oriol Servia
Justin Wilson
July 25, 2008


EDMONTON, ALBERTA

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with our post qualifying press conference. Justin Wilson will be starting sixth in tomorrow's race. Justin, tell us about your run out there today.
JUSTIN WILSON: It was pretty good right up until near the end of that second session. We were just getting more confident, being able to attack more. I was pleased with the progress. Unfortunately in that second session, I pushed the car too hard and lost the back going into turn six. Didn't catch it in time, so I hit the wall at seven.
It was disappointing. But, you know, that's how it goes. You know, I'm sure the guys will do a good job tonight putting it back together and we'll be challenging for the win in the McDonald's car tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by Scott Dixon. He'll be starting fourth tomorrow. Scott, talk about your afternoon out there in the qualifying session.
SCOTT DIXON: It was definitely much better than this morning. We were struggling a lot with the car. We made a lot of changes. It seemed to be more drivable. Just in the end it came down to the car was just too loose. It was very hard to hold on to, very hard to string a lap together.
Considering how tight it was, you know, maybe a 10th or a 10th and a half from pole, and we finished fourth. Almost identical times to the two guys ahead of us. So it was very close.
I think we were just plain too loose.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for either driver.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN WILSON: I think it's about right. It comes down to those drivers and teams working it out, putting the car together that suits this track. A good driver and team can do that.
We felt our information from previous years has not counted for a lot this weekend. We've had to change a lot of things. So we've been starting from scratch in many ways. We felt like we've had to catch up, as well.
It's interesting to see when we start from a clean sheet, you know, that it's pretty even like that.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined now by Helio Castroneves, starting second tomorrow. Helio, talk about your day.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Sure. Wow, I mean, we had a great day today. Team Penske did an awesome job putting another front row. And it was great. Definitely I would like to start on the pole position, but Ryan did an incredible job. We were pushing out there. I could see everybody was really pushing. I probably found a little bit of an easy way to find time as the track was getting better. I think it's easier to play catch-up, the people know what time you have to go for it, so they taking chances. One lap might be in, and that's it.
Unfortunately, the last time, like I said, on the second group, those guys just finished running. So they're still like with -- I was waiting for my opportunity. When I went out there, just one of those laps you don't want to make a mistake, things like that. I was already pushing to a certain limit. Just couldn't quite make it.
We were like many laps ahead quite a lot, but it's one of those things, Okay, let me just make a safe and comfortable and not losing the whole, you know, advantage that you had. So it's one of those things. I'm extremely happy again for the team to do another front row, hopefully come my way this time. Last week was Mid-Ohio. Ryan started second, won the race. Maybe my luck changed (laughter).

Q. (No microphone.)
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Well, I don't know what to say. He's gonna -- he might play a different strategy, which is what happened to Ryan last weekend. He ended up being very good. Obviously the rain a factor.
But I don't know. It's wide enough to make an overtake, but there is only one line, you know. It's so fast that you just have to go in that lane because of the grip level.
It will be interesting. It will be interesting to see him coming from the back.
SCOTT DIXON: I think what Helio said, the biggest thing when you're starting back there, your options get a lot bigger. You're starting back in 26th or 27th. But strategy-wise, you can play it out pretty decent.
As Helio was saying last week with Ryan, he came probably from 15th or worse and still came back to win the race. It's tough doing it that way. But obviously it's still, you know, a way you can win the race.

Q. (No microphone.)
HELIO CASTRONEVES: It was just amazing. To be in place, the first day, yesterday's action you see the grandstand almost full. Today actually it was pretty full. In practice, I mean, now I understand that's why we're here. You can ask any driver, any team, you know, we love to come to a place where people welcome us. Certainly this is the place to be. I kind of enjoy it.
So I'm very happy the Canadians enjoy racing. I think it's no secret. The Canadians love racing. But definitely Edmonton turned out to be one of the greatest fan bases on the series. So I think it's going to be here to stay.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN WILSON: We'd like to know what you do for your setup (laughter).
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Certainly it wasn't Cleveland.
JUSTIN WILSON: I'll get my notebook here. Hold on (laughter).
HELIO CASTRONEVES: The way I see it, it is an airport. But honestly I think Cleveland was a little tougher than this one, you know. Especially the transition with the main, where the airplane lands, the main road, it was much bigger. It was much bumpier in some areas, and long turns.
Here at least it's fast. You know, you're like on the throttle or off the throttle. So there is not much monkey business here. Again, you go off the line here, there is no way to go back. Unfortunately, it's just because the track is really dirty. But it was the same thing at Cleveland, as well.
I would say that I like here a little bit better because of the high corners. It's pretty encouraging for you to go for it. Sometimes it does not come out the way you want.
THE MODERATOR: Two other drivers joined us. Oriol Servia will be starting third. Will Power will be fifth. Oriol, talk about your day.
ORIOL SERVIA: Yeah, it was as tough and tight as we all expected. I almost didn't make the second cut. I kept catching traffic. I just couldn't put the lap together. So I was really happy at the end to have the one lap. And I knew the car was fast.
No, it was a lot of fun from the beginning. As I said yesterday, I think this way of having qualifying is really good for the fans and extremely tough and demanding for us. And it wasn't different this time. It was a lot of fun. For us, for the team, it's really good to have both cars in the top six. We keep showing every weekend that we keep getting closer to the front. So it was a great performance.
THE MODERATOR: Will, how about you?
WILL POWER: Yeah, it was a very good day for the team to have two cars qualify in the top six. But obviously we've got the race tomorrow. You know, we want to finish well and get points while we can, because we have a couple of ovals coming up. Very happy to get through all the sessions. Really tough physically, but a good day.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by Ryan Briscoe, who has earned his second PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award of the year. Ryan, talk about your run out there.
RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, I was feeling blessed I could make it to the Fast Six. We only just got in getting a single lap in that second segment. But we had to dial the car in a bit. Throughout the three segments, we were loose to begin every time I tried to be aggressive, I'd go wide with oversteer. So we had to work on the car a bit throughout the whole qualifying session.
Really, just unbelievable to get the pole. I really didn't think that was going to happen of halfway through qualifying today.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: That would mean a lot for us. I think, especially if it was on an oval. But, yeah, we're closing the gap and getting closer. You know, if we could get a win tomorrow, if everything went well... . But we're working hard. We want to come back next year really strong.
ORIOL SERVIA: Yeah, it would be awesome. Obviously for whoever would get it, it would be great. But for anybody. The whole amount of work that a Champ Car team, Justin could say the same, the amount of work our guys are working, working hours, the engineers just trying to figure out these cars, if we would be able to win or even be on the podium, it would just mean so much to them and their efforts. You know, it would be great.

Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, I don't know. I mean, in the end you're talking about hundredths of a second. Really if you saw today, any one of us could have gotten the pole. You know, it was so close. But definitely Team Penske has been working really hard all season long.
I think out of the box this year, we've been competitive on the road courses definitely anywhere we've been. You know, that's been really good for us. We've definitely got very good setups, good engineers. We're able to put down, you know, fast laps and consistent laps.
But the team's been working so hard and always working on improving the car and so on. We see the results.

Q. (No microphone.)
SCOTT DIXON: The surface definitely this morning was very slippery. I think now the grip's got a lot better. I think, you know, as soon as you get offline, it's pretty bad. You know, it's going to make it tough to pass tomorrow. There's definitely enough track to pass. When you do get offline, it's very slippery.
The track, I think it's got some bumps in occasional spots. But it's not as bumpy as I thought it was going to be. It's a fun track. You don't get much rest, but it's enjoyable.

Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, I mean, it's definitely been a bit of a rollercoaster year. You know, I think even through the first part of the season, a lot of ovals where I feel as though I was still learning a lot and gaining confidence and so on. And, for sure, this latter part sort of came a little bit more into my domain.
You know, I think we've been showing potential from the first race of the year. From Homestead, we were running consistently top five, top four, looking at a good result. So it's been up and down. But I think from the word go, definitely been showing potential.

Q. (No microphone.)
ORIOL SERVIA: Yes, it is. Like usually in qualifying, I think every driver thinks that he's able to pull some magic and put a lap together. But the problem in this kind of qualifying is you have to find magic like five or six times. So towards the third or fourth time you put stickers, you're out of imagination and you don't even know how to get it.
It's really demanding. I think it's part of what makes it tough on us, but at the same time really challenging and I think when you get it right, you know, very satisfying.
RYAN BRISCOE: I think it's interesting for the fans and everything. Maybe other options could be considered, whether it's maybe just two segments rather than three segments.
It definitely mixes it up a bit. Single-lap qualifying is really fun for a driver. You know, you put it on the line. You've just got that chance. But I think for spectators with a 26-car field, this is a good option. But maybe it could be tweaked a little bit in time.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I was pushing too hard my last lap in the previous section. I went through turn six with a little understeer, so I stayed hard on the throttle and got the car to rotate on the power. As I started to straighten the car up, it caught me out, I steered hard left toward the wall. I hit the wall, bent the suspension on the left-hand side. That just meant we were out. Fortunately I got into the safety area and didn't cause a yellow, so I kept my lap time and advanced to the Fast Six.
It's kind of disappointing. This is what it all comes down to. You really want to go out there and push hard, and you don't get a chance. It's just how it is. You know, it was my mistake at the end of the day. I was trying too hard.

Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN BRISCOE: You know, not really. I don't know what you mean. But it didn't come easy, you know. There might be two newcomers on the track on the front row. But you're talking about by, you know, hardly anything at all. And maybe if Justin was out there, he'd have gotten the pole. Who knows.
You know, it was really close. I mean, we came here not coming into it for sure saying, Well, we haven't been here before, we've got no chance. I think St. Petersburg where it was new to call the Champ Car guys, Will put down the quickest lap of the weekend in qualifying the second segment. We knew if we just dialed it in in practice and everything, we'd be able to have fast cars.
It was always a question mark, you know. I think we were lucky to come out of the truck and have reasonably good setups, you know, to go on. I think that's a lot of credit to our engineers and the research they did on the circuit.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN WILSON: In past years, yes. But so far I've been quite pleasantly surprised how little beat up I've got. Maybe we got the seat right before we got here. But so far I'm very comfortable.

Q. (No microphone.)
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I have to say I like it. As I mentioned earlier, it is fast. You know, it doesn't have much straightaway, so you're constantly working. Like many of the other drivers already mentioned that.
Yes, we can improve a little bit some areas, you know, because it's tough when it's so wide to find the apex. But in the end of the day, you have to see the overall package. I mean, the crowd is just unbelievable. Everybody's really seem to enjoy it having us here. It feels like a big race. So it's nice to be in a place that they enjoy having us.

Q. (No microphone.)
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Going to be the first time. Ask us after the race, then we see (laughter).



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