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Firestone Indy Lights: Toronto 100

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Toronto 100

Firestone Indy Lights: Toronto 100

Peter Dempsey
Stefan Wilson
Gustavo Yacaman
July 10, 2011


TORONTO, ONTARIO

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by our podium finishers from today's Firestone Indy Lights Toronto 100. We are joined by Peter Dempsey of Andretti Autosport and Gustavo Yacamán of Team Moore Racing. Today's second place finisher, Peter, is a career best. He finished on the podium three times this season.
Peter, if you can, talk about this is your first race with Andretti Autosport this weekend. Talk about finishing one-two in your first outing with the team
PETER DEMPSEY: It's a fantastic result for everybody at Andretti Autosport. The reason I came into the team this weekend was to try and help Stefan as much as possible, and for him to come away this weekend with his first win in the series is an absolutely great result. You know, the name of the game is to try to come home first and second, and a few guys were working hard all weekend and Stefan drove a great race, and with Gustavo behind me, we just didn't make any mistakes.
THE MODERATOR: Gustavo, this is your second podium here at Toronto and second consecutive podium, finishing second at our last race in Iowa. You had a great battle going there today with Anders and Josef. Can you talk about that?
GUSTAVO YACAMÁN: Yeah, I mean, it was a really fun race to put it in a couple words. That wasn't when I had the most fun, though. When I had the most fun was watching Dempsey and Josef have a run for their money there. That was the only reason I didn't go past them, I think, was because I was having so much fun watching them.
I think Peter drove just an amazing race, and to be able to get out a second with all the pressure that Josef was putting on him was pretty good. Yeah, I'm pretty happy with my two podiums in a row. It's really, really good for me. We need to keep carrying this momentum. We need to keep working. It took him three years to get a win; it's about time I get one, as well.
The series is really competitive. There's really, really fast guys out there, and you can't only race with what you've got in the middle of your body, you've got to race with your head a little bit, as well. And that's what I did today. My nose kept clean, I didn't get in any trouble, and I knew I had a really good car, especially there at the end.
You know, with Anders, he was having some pressure -- it wasn't bad keeping him behind, but then I saw a white nose come charging by. I was like, oops, got to pick it up, and instantly I dropped half a second there and started going a little bit faster. Good thing the race was over.
I can't say if I could have kept him behind or not. I think I could because my car was really good. Definitely he was coming real quick. But you know, the end of the race, three of us here, weird to not see a Schmidt car up here, but also good.
THE MODERATOR: We've also been joined by Stefan Wilson, today's winner from Andretti Autosport. This is Stef's first career Firestone Indy Lights victory. His brother Justin won here at Toronto in 2005, and his team owner Michael Andretti is a seven-time winner here at Toronto. The Firestone Indy Lights win here makes Andretti Autosport the only team to claim victories in all four series that make up the Mazda Road to Indy this season.
Talk about what was going through your mind there when you saw Esteban make that error.
STEFAN WILSON: Yeah, it was obviously disappointing for Esteban to do that, but at the same time I felt like we were quick enough to get by him, and we were pushing him the whole first five laps, and a couple of times I felt like I was blocked by him and was kind of upset that nothing was done about it. You know, when it happened, it felt good to actually get by and be leading the race.
You know, at that point it was just concentrate on hitting your marks and getting some clean, quick lap times. You know, I felt like we were the quickest car, and I have no doubt in my mind that we would have passed him even if he hadn't made that mistake. I had a mess-up where one of my adjustments in the car moved itself to full soft, and we weren't as fast as what we thought we would be, and it was kind of confusing, and then I realized. And when I got that back into the position it should have been in, we were fine.
We were probably one of the quickest cars on the track at some point there. I think I ran the fastest at 64.0 so pretty close to fastest lap.
Just really pleased. It's great to come back here, and I love the Streets of Toronto. I love the city and I love this race. 25th anniversary is very special to claim victory here in Firestone Indy Lights. It's a track I've always done well on, and I was confident coming in here, and it's nice to rebound after the last two weekends.
I had a lot of criticism after the last two ovals, and for whatever reason I don't doubt my abilities to drive the ovals, and I don't doubt Andretti Autosport's setup. For whatever reason at Milwaukee and Iowa, and it didn't gel, and we didn't get the best out of the car. It's nice to come back here and show them and put on a good performance like this.
If it hadn't gone yellow there at the end, we could have had almost a 15-second lead, so very pleased with that.

Q. Stefan, talk about the confidence and stuff coming back. The points battle, now you're pretty much back in it now. Do you feel confident you can keep it up?
STEFAN WILSON: Yeah, I mean, I don't know if we're quite back in it. I haven't seen the points.
THE MODERATOR: You're 46 points behind Josef.
STEFAN WILSON: Yeah, 46 points is still a long way out. We're just going to have to have some good performances again. Right now for me it's just about getting race wins. Now I've got the monkey off my back, I just want to get as many as I can.
The best help was Peter this weekend. It's been so good having a very competitive teammate, and I respect Peter a lot. He's a very, very good driver, and he's pushed me really hard. We actually gel really well. We push each other hard, but we've got a mutual respect where it pushes us forward and moves us forward and moves the whole team forward. You know, it's just been nice to have another driver in the car next to me and moving in the same direction with the setup. It moves the whole team forward.
It tells you something when Sam Schmidt has three cars; it moved the whole team forward into a very dominant state in the championship. It's nice to have a teammate to work with. We've got to keep this momentum going, and hopefully we can -- Edmonton is an important race weekend. If everything goes well there, we could try and get ourselves back in the championship points. But I'm not going to get my hopes up too far. I just want to concentrate on getting race wins and worry about the points later.

Q. Peter, you had a great day today with Josef there. Were you a little concerned when he hit the back of you that he broke something, a wheel or something.
PETER DEMPSEY: To be honest I couldn't believe how hard he was pushing me for someone that's in the championship points position that he's in, leading the championship by a pretty substantial margin. I thought he was going to sit there and just take the points back home.
But when I saw him come driving down my inside at turn 3, I thought, this guy is crazy. I'm glad I could outsmart him a little bit and take it back underneath him at turn 5. I missed a shift; that happened to me coming out of turn 1, and he got a really good run on. But I knew we had a drivers meeting this morning, and Tony said you're not letting him to the inside, so I had plan B in the back of my mind, just leave it in fifth gear and make sure he went to the outside pretty early, and he just goes right in the back of me, so he lost his wing and took the pressure off me a lot.

Q. Did you get any advice from the boss before this race?
PETER DEMPSEY: Make sure I don't take him out. No, he just wished us the best of luck. My main aim is to make sure Stefan got the race win and I followed up with a strong second place, and that's what we did.
STEFAN WILSON: No, not much advice, no. I got a bit of advice from Justin. It's nice having that there and to tap into you. Having Justin here, he's won here, and Michael, like you said, they're pretty successful around here.
You know, it was great to just bring home a one-two finish for Andretti Autosport and get back into being competitive.

Q. Stefan, what did Justin say to you?
STEFAN WILSON: He said great job and patted me on the back pretty hard, knocked the wind out of me. I just said to him go and do the same this afternoon. Let's make it a Wilson double.

Q. Who's taller, you or him?
STEFAN WILSON: That's a great question. If you ask him, he's going to say I'm taller, but if you ask me, he's taller. No, we always have this battle. Normally a battle between siblings on height is on who ends up being the tallest, and unfortunately we're interested in being the shortest.
It's never good to be tall, but luckily over here in America and the United States, they're a little bit more forgiving on your height. In Europe they'll just disregard you completely if you're over six foot, if you're 6'3" like we are, and that's what happened to him in his career. They tolerate a lot more and they give us more allowances with the car, like you say. The new car is going to be more tall friendly, and we've embraced it a little bit more. Whoever is tallest is probably the tallest driver in the world, I think, so that's pretty cool.

Q. Gustavo, seeing Stefan win, does that really give you hope that you can make it to the next level?
GUSTAVO YACAMÁN: Yeah, we've had so many troubles during the whole season, and especially this weekend, I just had something go wrong on every session including qualifying. Coming out with a third place is just really unbelievable, how our weekend started, brake failure coming into turn 3, and then in the practice, too, I had the steering locked up in turn 3, as well. In qualifying the brakes were sticking, and just so many issues during the whole weekend. The team did a great job to get it past it, fix it, and my car was perfect during the race, and I was able to move up a lot of spots.
And two podiums in a row is pretty good. We've just got to keep working at it. Like I said, the series is really competitive. Now you've got these two guys working together. Victor sadly lately hasn't been up there. I try and help him out, and if he's running up here, up near the front, there's going to be corners where he's going to be quicker and we can compare and we can both be better, right?
So you know, I lacked that a little bit this weekend, but hopefully he'll be on his game. We have a really good car, and we just need to keep building upon it. Nothing is impossible, and like I say, you've just got to race with your head.

Q. Peter, what is it about this series that we've seen drivers spinning out in the lead? Do you have to try that hard?
PETER DEMPSEY: Why are you addressing this to me? Yeah, for sure. Obviously I made a huge mistake at Long Beach leading the race and putting it in the wall. These street courses, to be fair, they're just so bumpy, it makes driving on them very difficult to be consistent every lap because the car just reacts different every time you hit the bump. You're braking in a slightly different place or position in the track and the car reacts different every time, and that's what's caught a few people out.
You saw Esteban, as well, a guy with his experience, I was surprised he made that mistake. I certainly wasn't complaining about it, but I got caught out at Long Beach just because I braked in a slightly different position and missed a downshift and I was in the wall, as well.
They're very demanding, and you need to be very focused on the street courses. It certainly takes a lot out of you. I was knackered at the end of the race, that's for sure. You just need to stay focused, and as Gustavo said, you have to race with your head.
THE MODERATOR: We're heading into Edmonton in a few weeks on a new course there. How important was it to get these strong finishes heading to a new course where everyone is starting from scratch pretty much? How much does that momentum help you guys?
PETER DEMPSEY: Well, for sure this is a new track for me, as well. I'm quite happy just where I am on the podium right now with two guys who have previous experience here, so that's a pretty good achievement. I'd love to have the opportunity to be at Edmonton alongside Stefan because I'm pretty sure we could put in a real strong team performance again and hopefully finish first and second and Andretti Autosport have a fantastic car there from previous years. I'm going to talk to Michael first thing in the morning. Hopefully an Andretti car wins the IndyCar race so it can be a bit sweeter in the morning.
STEFAN WILSON: Yeah, I mean, it's super important for me from my standpoint. It's nice to get my first win. Edmonton is a very physical track. I think the track actually looks a lot more fun than the previous years. It's a little bit more technical, a few more sort of corners, but that gives more of a passing zone. In previous years it was all about qualifying. If you qualified out front then you could just control the race. But this year it looks like you can recover, and that's important.
With two races, nothing can ever go your way perfectly, and it's nice to know that you can make some moves and improve your position if you do have a bad qualifying session. But hopefully that won't be the case, and we'll be able to show this kind of performance at Edmonton, too.
In past years the Andretti cars have been pretty strong there. I know it's a different track layout, but some of that carries over. There's a few parts that are similar, and I'm sure that the new layout will follow some of the characteristics of the old track.
No, very pleased to have this performance and it gives us some momentum going into the next race, and the Andretti one-two is very nice.
GUSTAVO YACAMÁN: As soon as I heard that they changed the Edmonton track, I almost went in tears. That track was just amazing. I really liked it. It had really fast corners. I think the average speed there was like 140 miles an hour. You were just flying all over the place, flying over curves and really fast corners. I'm going to miss that.
But a new track is always exciting. This year we've got, what, two tracks, Baltimore and Edmonton, and that's always exciting to get a new track on the schedule. Obviously getting my first road course podium of the season is going to push me a little bit. Just the confidence, just you don't have to tell yourself I know I can do this; you already know. You've done it; you know you can do it again. So it's really important.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, and great finishes today.



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