Firestone Indy Lights: Grand Prix of Baltimore
Topics: Grand Prix of Baltimore
September 1, 2013
THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by our podium finishers from today's Firestone Indy Lights Grand Prix of Baltimore. Our winner, Jack Hawksworth. Sage Karam finished second. Then Gabby Chaves finished third. It was a one, two, three for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Gabby, talk about today's race.
GABBY CHAVES: Well, what can I say? First of all, I want to congratulate all my teammates and the team. The crew definitely did a fantastic job giving us a car good enough to finish in the top three. So congrats.
We knew it was going to be a crazy race. Everyone was talking about it. We had the top five guys in the championship starting in the top five positions. We know everyone wants to win, lead the race, go for it. We knew it was going to be a good battle.
Got a good run on the start. Didn't get the pass done in turn one over Carlos, but got a good pass on the outside in turn three. Karam had a good move. For a good part of the race had a good battle with Sage. Wheel-to-wheel, wheel-to-wall many times.
Hard racing is good racing. Great battle out there. I really tried pushing him, getting him to make a mistake. Toward the end I really just lost my tires and couldn't keep up anymore.
Focused on trying to keep the podium. But congrats to everyone here.
THE MODERATOR: Sage, an important day for you with the points, taking over the points lead. Talk about today's race.
SAGE KARAM: Like Gabby said, people said it was going to be a crazy race. If anybody is going to race anybody hard, it's going to be the guys going for the championship.
My engineer, we were joking around before the race, he's like, You better have the lead. Turn three on the first lap, we came close. Got up to second from fourth. I managed to slot into the inside in turn one in front of Dempsey which set us up. Able to get a good run through turn one.
Gabby and Muñoz, I don't know if they hit. They didn't have as good of a run. I was able to close a little bit, ran down the inside, took second.
Really Gabby was pushing me hard throughout the whole race. I had to defend a little bit. He's a great competitor. He knows how to pass. But I know there's no team orders or anything. Every man for himself. He was a tough guy to hold off.
We missed the setup just a little bit. I think we had a little bit too much understeer to start the race. Didn't have anything for Jack. Once I knew that, it was pretty much secure as many points as we could, try to get second.
THE MODERATOR: Jack, you started from the pole, led flag to flag. Talk about today's race.
JACK HAWKSWORTH: It was the perfect weekend for us from start to finish. We rolled off the truck, we were quick straight from the off. When it's like that it makes your life a lot easier.
We did the hard work yesterday in qualifying putting ourselves on the pole. These guys were racing behind. Sage had a look at me on one of the restarts certainly. I was able to hold him off. After that, it was getting consistent laps.
The car was hooked up, I could push when I needed. It was just a perfect weekend for us. It was an important one, as well. Got the points to 13 now. Certainly momentum is with us at the minute.
I feel good, feel I'm driving well. They're giving me a good car. Happy days. Try to get up to it in the next few as well.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. Jack, you have three wins this year all on street courses. What will you need to add wins at places that aren't street circuits?
JACK HAWKSWORTH: Well, I think the natural terrain courses, we got a second and third this year. One of the races we had an issue. I don't think we're off the pace on the road courses. Have as many chance as anybody to win on those. I struggled a little bit on the ovals this year. I think we know the reasons for that.
I certainly am going to work very hard between the last oval and Fontana to make sure I come out there and put in a good performance. I want to go to Fontana and prove I can win on an oval as well. That's the plan.
I think it's just a little bit of experience and also just working on a couple of things myself. I think it will come together and I think we'll be good. I'm relishing getting back on an oval again. I think it should be good.
Q. Jack, as someone who has never lost here, would you be disappointed if the event did not happen next year?
JACK HAWKSWORTH: This guy actually beat me last year. But we have a pretty good record here.
It's a pretty good event. I said yesterday, it's one of the best. Right in the middle of the city. Everybody is having a good time. I would be disappointed if it's not on the calendar.
Q. Sage, in terms of now being in first place in points, does that change your mindset for the rest of the season? You've always said that's what you're seeking.
SAGE KARAM: You know, earlier in the season I took the points lead in Iowa, after Iowa. When I did, you know, it was all on my mind and I made a lot of mistakes after that. I learned from that.
So now, you know, I don't care about points right now. We have the lead, that's great. That's not what I'm looking at right now. Right now I'm looking at Houston. Hopefully we can just go and get as many points as we can there. I know there's an oval to finish off the season. I love ovals. We'll see how it goes.
Q. Sage, your pass you said you thought was one of the best you've made. Incredibly high risk. It could have been disastrous. Were you weighing that in your mind when you saw that opportunity or was it pure instinct?
SAGE KARAM: I talked about it with my engineer. He said if I didn't push the issue and I didn't improve my position, he was just going to leave pit lane, be very disappointed with me (laughter).
At Mid-Ohio, I was starting ninth, I went back to tenth on the first turn. That's not like me at all. Usually I like to mix everything up. I knew I had to prove something today. There's been a lot of talk saying if I had the ability to get a good race in on the street circuits and road courses, I just had to prove myself.
I was going to go for it. Before I went to bed last night, that was my main goal, I was thinking about it, I was going to make that move. I didn't know it was going to be three-wide. Kind of sketchy.
Q. Gabby, when you were running third, Carlos was running fourth, did you see what happened in your mirrors? Were you notified he'd gone out? Did that change your approach at all?
GABBY CHAVES: Not really. I mean, I didn't really see what happened in my mirror. I was busy with what was going on in front. I really had to figure out a way around Sage. I was much quicker than him in the beginning. Maybe that's what kind of hurt us at the end. We were pushing him, trying to get around him. Maybe might have hurt the tires a little bit. We didn't have anything at the end of the race.
But, yeah, once my engineer told me Carlos was out of the race, I knew all I had to do to take over the points lead was finish ahead of Sage. That was our goal. I put 110% out there. Pushed as much as I could, gave it a couple tries. There was just never enough room. I always found the wall. I couldn't get around him. I did what I could.
At the end of the day, I'm not leaving disappointed because I know that's all I had for him today.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, congratulations on a great race, podium finishes. We'll see you in Houston.
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