Firestone Indy Lights: Grand Prix of Houston
Topics: Grand Prix of Houston
October 5, 2013
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with today's post‑race press conference for our Firestone Indy Lights Grand Prix of Houston.
We are pleased to be joined by two of our podium finishers from today's race, Gabby Chaves of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports who finished second. This is Gabby's ninth podium finish of the season and he now sits second in the championship points standings behind his teammate. Gabby, talk about today's race.
GABBY CHAVES: Yeah, I think the race itself was awesome. I had a good start, and after that, I felt like I was the quickest car on the grid and I ran down Carlos Munoz, got by him and I was maybe two and a half seconds behind Sage and caught him, made a silly mistake, trying to push for the pass, and got gapped again. Ran him down again and then we got a yellow flag, and after that I think I might have let the tires cool down a little bit too much, because then I felt like I didn't have the pace that I did at the beginning of the race.
But really happy. Had qualifying not been cancelled, I think we would have had an even better shot of winning the race. It is what it is. We'll take it, we'll keep fighting very hard for the championship win at Fontana.
THE MODERATOR: Great, thank you. We are also joined by Conor Daly of Team Moore Racing who finished third. This is Conor's first Firestone Indy Lights start of the season, I think the first since 2011, and Conor started tenth today to finish third. Talk about your race.
CONOR DALY: It was exciting. It was unfortunate to not get qualifying. I haven't driven a car in two years, so I was just excited for practice, but we didn't get that, either. (Laughter) It was interesting.
I think the Team Moore cars were fast. I mean, we proved that, me and Peter, we fought through. I got lucky for sure in a few situations, but it's just, you know, Team Moore wanted to come here and prove his statement, their cars are fast, and they are. I think if we would have been able to qualify, we would have had a legitimate shot at the win.
But during the race, I just kept learning the track and the car itself and I found when I passed Goncalvez, I was like, oh, all right, I didn't know I could do that.
It was cool for me to just come in here and do this. Yeah, I can't turn down racing in good 'ole Texas.
THE MODERATOR: We also now are joined by our race winner, Sage Karam. This is the third win for Sage this season. He also won earlier this year at Milwaukee and Iowa, his first win of the year on a temporary street circuit as well. Sage maintains his championship points lead now by 16 over Gabby.
Sage, talk about today's race and maintaining that points lead.
SAGE KARAM: I knew that today was going to be a crucial race for the championship. We came in here knowing that it was‑‑ no one else has been near, knowing that it was going to be a fair fight to the end, and you know, I like this track.
It's a pretty physical track and really tests the drivers. My engineer told me before the race that it was going to be 90 percent me, ten percent him, and he thought that there would just be no‑‑ set up was going to be really hard to set this place up with all the concrete and all the bumps.
But we figured the place out pretty early in the weekend, leading the first practice session. The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports just give me an awesome car every week and it's showing that the car is top‑notch, when last month in Baltimore we swept the podium and now we get first and second here in Houston.
I think the championship now is between me and Gabby, and it's going to be a good fight. I think it's good going against my teammate, I get to see his data and see what he's doing. I know he's got the same car as me, and you know, it's going to be a good fight.
Q. You've been successful in ovals, what's it mean to get your first road course win in this circumstance for the championship?
SAGE KARAM: One of my goals this year was coming into the race was getting a road course or street circuit win. I haven't had the best of luck in Star Mazda on them and I didn't get a win on one of them in my first year in Star Mazda, so I really wanted to win one my rookie season.
I thought this would be the best chance for me to win one, like I said, when no one else has been here, and you know, just to learn the place, everyone else has the fair advantages I do.
It's good, and also, you know, I've been pretty successful in ovals and knowing we end on an oval is also a good feeling, as well. We are just going to train hard for the oval and get ready for it and prepare as much as we can.
Q. You are one race away from possibly winning the title, I think you are only 18 years old. There's money that goes with that title to go up to IndyCar. Is there any chance you would attempt at your Sage to make that move?
SAGE KARAM: You know, I don't know, knowing that IndyCar is the next step is just such a cool feeling, knowing that's what I've wanted to do ever since I grew up. Started racing when I was four years old, and to know that the dream is to close, to being obtained is just an awesome feeling.
The Mazda Road to Indy provides a great ladder program to get there, and they have a great prize package of a million dollar scholarship to go to IndyCar if we win. So it's going to help out a lot. I think if we win it, you'll see me in a few IndyCar races next year; don't know how many, don't know if it's a full season, but yeah, I think you'll definitely see me out there.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, congratulations on a great race, thanks a lot.
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