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IZOD IndyCar Series: Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit

IZOD IndyCar Series: Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit

Dario Franchitti
May 31, 2013


THE MODERATOR: We are now pleased to be joined by our polesitter, Dario Franchitti. This is his 31st career IndyCar pole.
Dario, walk us through qualifying today.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, I'll start at the beginning of the day because four laps into practice this morning, I got caught out, the brakes were heating up, didn't catch the car fast enough when it sort of turned about 90 right into the wall going into I think turn eight. I just wasn't fast enough to catch it. Took the right front corner off.
The Target boys had a busy morning rebuilding the car. So I really had no experience of the track really apart from what I had when he last raced here, that layout.
I'm sitting in the car, it starts raining. I'm like, Okay, this is going to be really interesting. Managed to get through that. The second session was drying. Got through that one.
At the end I had no expectation. 10-spot grid penalty, just went out and pushed as hard as I could every lap. Through turn eight the last lap I got crossed up in the middle, almost hit the wall, lost a bit of time. Ultimately it was good enough. Got to thank the Target boys for turning the car.
I'm delighted to have gotten the pole here, especially after this morning.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions for Dario.

Q. What will the style of racing be like in the Saturday race considering you're going to have to use the same car on Sunday? Do you think guys might be a little more careful in the race on Saturday?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Doubtful. Very doubtful. These things can be rebuilt quite quickly. I think both races will be aggressive.
This track, I heard Ryan say it, by its nature requires quite an aggressive style all the time. You're really on edge the whole way round. So I don't see one race being more aggressive than the other. I think they're both going to be pretty full on.

Q. You qualified for a race. You are going to have to have another qualification session for another race.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I haven't thought about that too much. Yeah, obviously that's something new. A little confusing I think for everybody.
Yeah, we'll see what we can do tomorrow. It's a different format of qualifying tomorrow, as well.
Again, really proud of the job the whole team did there to get that pole. Feeling pretty good about that. Looking forward to racing again on this format of track. I think for several reasons we had to use the small layout. Roger Penske and Bud and Charles got back to the extended layout. It's a lot of hard work gone into this venue. It's really cool to work with a promotor that you point something out on the track walk and it's literally done an hour later. You get a phone call, Mate, sorry about that. It's really been cool.

Q. The areas that did come up last year have been repaired, the track extended. Did you find anything weird out there today or is it all good?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Changing conditions with the wet to start with, some standing water in several points, then just the different grip levels and different surfaces as it dries out. Typical street court stuff really.
Bud is here. How many millions did you spend resurfacing this joint (laughter)? There you go, $2 million. It's bloody impressive, and there's more improvements on the way. We should be racing here. It's the Motor City, isn't it?

Q. How different was your car from the first round of qualifying going into the final round? Were you able to adapt?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Crashing on the standing water first, finding where the grip was, where the grip wasn't. Each lap it got a little bit different. First lap a lot of standing water. Amazing how much standing water these cars clear.
Last lap in P1 was a little ruined, Charlie spun in exit one. Actually, it was turn two. Wasn't there anymore, but I slowed down, so it kind of ruined two. He was limping back to the pits and I had to pass him. Ruined that lap.
Just finding the limit in the changeable conditions. Second practice track was drying. The guys made a good tactical call to see exactly how the track had changed from our first run, how it changed through group two with Dixie and all those guys.
The last one, I would say it was fully dry, but pretty slippery with no rubber down. The car obviously was good enough in all of them, but it's a handful. It's all arms and elbows. That's not my traditional style. Just channeling my inner Colin McRae.

Q. Did you get any advanced notification when Helio spun in the second session and it went yellow, then red?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: On the radio I got that there was a yellow in three, but the car is not on the racing line, it's off to one side, isn't a factor. We didn't know what was going to happen. Then the red came out after that, yeah.
I think it could have got pretty interesting there had it run the whole session.

Q. As you said before, this being Motor City, as a member of the Honda contingent, how do you feel about coming in here in a Chevrolet race in Detroit having a chance to take some of their glory away from them?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think the Chevy guys did a brilliant job last year winning the championship. Also last week at Indianapolis they won it.
As Honda we came and won Indy, came in here with a one, two, three. We love that competition with them. When they win a Honda race, they're the first ones... It's a fierce rivalry, but very respectful.
We would love nothing better than to win here on Saturday and Sunday at their home race. At the same time very thankful for the fact they're supporting the championship as Honda did. We're lucky to have two such committed manufacturers.

Q. Given you were nowhere last Sunday, now you're looming larger-than-life, did Honda step it up?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: There's a combination of many factors. Some were definitely at our door as far as the Target team, aero setup, we didn't get it right. Honda was at a disadvantage last week at Indy. We were just never in the hunt.
It's a much different track here. Kind of like Brazil was different. Street course tire, mechanical thing, the engines, a lot different. I'm glad we're up front there.
But last week, as I say, yeah, we weren't happy. We were not happy in any way, shape or form with our performance.
But that's what it takes to win a race or certainly a championship. You've got to be strong on all these types of tracks and you've got to have perfect days, and we didn't.

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