Firestone Indy Lights: Auto Club Speedway Foundation 100
Topics: Auto Club Speedway Foundation 100
September 15, 2012
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started with our Firestone Indy Lights post-race press conference. We're pleased to be joined by today's race winner, Carlos Munoz of Andretti Autosport and today's third place finisher, Esteban Guerrieri who also finished second in the championship in the second consecutive season. Carlos, we'll go ahead and start with you. This is your second Indy Lights win. You scored your first win at Edmonton earlier this season, and it's also your fifth podium finish of the season. Also finished on the podium at Indianapolis, Belle Isle, Edmonton, and Trois‑Rivieres. Talk about this race win, and how important it is to you?
CARLOS MUNOZ: Yeah, it was a race from the beginning to the end. It was straight up. I could make a gap from the second and third guys. My car was really incredible. It was perfect and my team Andretti. Mostly was a shame that Sebastian had some mechanical problems in the first lap, so we couldn't do a nice race.
But, anyways, it was the best way to finish the season with a victory. It's been a learning year this year, a couple of mistakes. After half a season to the end it was good racing last week, the last two weeks. In Baltimore we had problems after a really nice race starting from the back.
Anyways, I have to congratulate Sam Schmidt for the championship, and hopefully next year we'll be the ones who take the championship.
THE MODERATOR: Esteban, this is your ninth podium finish of the season en route to finishing second in the championship and third today. It's also your second season in Firestone Indy Lights, finishing second in the championship last season to Josef Newgarden. Three wins, 94 laps led, a really great season. Talk about ending your season here today with another podium.
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI: Yeah, thanks, all those numbers sound great, but I didn't win the championship. Obviously, I'm disappointed because in order to win this championship, we work so hard. I wanted more consistency when I came here this year. Even though I didn't do any testing, I knew the consistency was going to be the key factor, so I tried to finish all the race, which I did though not all the podiums.
Obviously we didn't lose the championship here. We were not quick enough in the last two or three races. We lost a couple of points there. We came here and we thought that the track was going to be harder on the tires, and they were not. So it was quite surprising. I tried to save my tires in the beginning, but it was not worth it because in the end when I started to push, I was flat out all the way. I tried to catch the guys.
I thought I had a chance when I overtook Tristan, and I was a little bit catching him there. But then they started to pull away, and I was doing everything I could just flat out, and they had a better car than us, definitely.
So congrats to Andretti, but big congrats to my team, because in the end I'm part of Sam Schmidt. So they did an excellent job in the championship, and they won three in a row. So big congrats to my team. I'm proud to be part of this.
But as I said, it's one that's going to be hard to digest because we were‑‑ I really felt confident for the championship win, but that's how it is. To end up, congrats to Tristan. He's not here, but he has done a fantastic job. A very tough teammate, and if there was one that deserves it other than me, then for sure it was him.
Because I tried to do everything I could, and if I wasn't winning it, he was the one that should have done it. So he did a very good job. Now we have to look forward. It's time to work hard out of the car, and try to raise some money and get attention from IndyCar teams.
Obviously, winning the championship is important, but it's not everything. Now all that we can do is swallow this one, and then go for the next one for next year and start to work from now. As I said, hopefully we are there, and we will see you in IndyCar next year.
Q. Carlos, yesterday you said that you were a little bit sad. How much does this make up for today? You said that you ran practically the whole session.
CARLOS MUNOZ: Yeah, when I say I was sad, I just was really sad because it's always nice to make the pole position. But I knew that in the oval races, anything can happen. Yesterday through practice I was not feeling really good with the car with some traffic, so we worked a lot yesterday night with my engineer.
Just today I have a fantastic car all over the race, the 50 laps I had an incredible car. I think I've never seen an Indy Lights driver pull away on these kind of ovals. So it was great, and now I'm pretty happy, so of course to making the decision in the first place.
Q. (No microphone)?
CARLOS MUNOZ: It was pulling out. In the beginning I was doing like qualifying. Then I was pulling away. I knew I had to save some tires, so I was running really high to save tires and to keep my speed up. Then it was close, for sure. In the second Ostella was catching me lap by lap of course. Then we won, and that's nice.
Q. Esteban, you're obviously disappointed, but looking back at the season now that it's completed, is there any one moment that you look back at and wish you could do it over again and maybe have a different outcome on your season and the championship?
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI: Yeah, I think the last two races. I think in Trois‑Rivieres and Baltimore, we should have been better at race pace, and we were not up there. I tried just to reduce damage, as you say. If we were not quick, just try to get the points you can, and this, at this time, Tristan won both races, so that was great. I think all the other races we played out quite well. We were right up there.
Maybe Detroit we were not quick, but we were not fast as a team, not just me. But, yeah, I think we've gone with the set‑up the last two races which we were confident in one way and that was it. I think those two were the bad ones.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, congratulations on a great season, and we're looking forward to seeing you next year, wherever that may be.
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