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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

J.R. Hildebrand
James Hinchcliffe
Sebastian Saavedra
July 11, 2009


TORONTO, ONTARIO

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with our top three press conference. Our race winner, Sebastien Saavedra. Second win of the season. His previous win this year was on the oval at Kansas Speedway. Second place, J.R. Hildebrand. His sixth podium finish of the season. Then James Hinchcliffe, local guy here, his fourth third-place finish of the year.
Sebastien, why don't we start with you. Talk about your day out there.
SEBASTIEN SAAVEDRA: I think not only today, I think it's an amazing weekend. The team has improved the car since we arrived. We've done a great job in the team to try to be the best.
It was a completely different deal today when the rain came. We were completely blind. We didn't know what way to go. We didn't know if we were going to go dry. But I think we did a great job thinking on what was going to happen.
THE MODERATOR: J.R., how about your day out there?
J.R. HILDEBRAND: A bit like Seb said. I certainly owe a lot of the speed to the team. The boys in the pits, they did an awesome job. Got into the wall probably five or six laps into the race, took out the left rear suspension pretty good. I was fighting it a little bit through the race. I was able to get out ahead of Seb on the pit stops, but at that point was having to run as hard as I could just to kind of keep it together.
He got by. I was able to keep up for a bit. But I don't think I quite had the speed at that point. At the end of the race, it was starting to get away from me pretty good. I just decided to back it down and come home second.
Awesome finish for the guys. Good recovery from qualifying. So head to Edmonton in a couple weeks.
THE MODERATOR: And J.R. does retain the lead in the championships points battle for the Firestone Indy Lights Series. Sebastien is second, 51 points behind, and James is in sixth, 84 points behind.
James, talk about your day out there.
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: Yeah, I mean, a bit of a tough day with the weather change, starting on the wet tires, moving to the dries a little bit into the race. At the beginning we settled into third, sort of tiptoeing around there. Firestones were really good in the wet.
As the track sort of dried out, it was obvious we were going to have to make the switch to slicks. We lost just a little bit of time to the AGR guys in the pits. Congratulations to them for a great finish. I think it was probably my fault. I think I might have held up my guys out a little bit there. From there we got out in third place respectively. I could sort of keep pace with them, we were sort of doing lap for lap in the low 16s. At that point the gap was so large, there was no way I was going to close it up without a yellow. I drove around praying for a yellow. Podium is still good. Great finish here in Toronto. It's great to be here in your home town, all your friends and family. Thanks to the all fans who sort of braved through the weather and stayed for the race.

Q. (No microphone.)
SEBASTIEN SAAVEDRA: It was a tough decision to make because we didn't know if we wanted to try to pull it a little bit longer, the gap. At the end of the rain tires were not holding as we were expecting. With this dry weather, they were destroying pretty easily. I just called in to give the information that the track was pretty much dry from the line. We decided to come in. It was pretty tough. I think I did a mistake. Well, I did a mistake in the pit lane when I stopped earlier than I should. I needed to move at least five feet to start working on the car. We lost about five to ten seconds.
They still did an awesome job, but it was not as quick as J.R.'s crew, who changed the position. But it was for sure tough. We worked together really good to take it on.

Q. Sebastien, can you talk about passing J.R. after the pit stops. Looked like you were basically all over him and obviously finally found a way by.
SEBASTIEN SAAVEDRA: It was for sure a really tough moment, knowing that your teammate, you cannot crash with him or do anything to him. So for sure it was lots of thinking, lots of measuring.
At the end I was just trying to push him as hard as I could, waiting for the mistake. It never came. So I noticed it was just going to have to be by myself. I measured as best as I could, going out from turn six, trying to not lose any gap from him. Exiting turn 11, I was already in his tow. As soon as I saw the braking point, I didn't doubt it. I just went for it.

Q. (No microphone.)
SEBASTIEN SAAVEDRA: It's been a heritage thing for me since go-karting. It's always been in my pocket. Like it's not always wanting to take it out. It's something I feel proud of, of my country. Today I had the chance and I didn't doubt it. I wanted to show everyone how proud I am.

Q. (No microphone.)
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE: I think any day you leave the podium it's not a bad day. But when you're third for the fourth time this year, it's sort of getting a bit old. It would be nice to be on one of the other steps, preferably the top one.
Qualifying on the front row, you never like finishing off worse than you qualify. I think we had a really good car. There's no doubt that Sebastien was the class of the field this weekend. But maybe if we had a little bit quicker pit stop we could have been running with those guys at the front and capitalized on J.R.'s misfortune there.
At the end of the day, I think it was always going to be Sebastien's race to lose and he didn't make any mistakes. I think with all things considered, with the way things played out, having a pit stop thrown in there, which we don't normally do, my guys held together pretty well, the car was quick, and I think leaving with a podium is still a really good weekend.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you very much. Appreciate your time.



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