IZOD IndyCar Series: Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit
Topics: Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit
June 1, 2013
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and begin with today's post-race press conference. We're joined by our second-place finisher, Ryan Hunter-Reay. It's the best finish for Ryan in his previous starts here. This is also Ryan's third podium finish of the season. Most importantly today's podium puts you second in the points.
Talk about today's race.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: It was a tough one. The track was constantly changing all day because it was so green to start with. It had barely any rubber down because of the on-and-off rain. As we got going, it was almost like a motorcross track. The grip was changing. It would change the balance of the car, which was fun in a way to try to stay on top of it.
We lost the race in the middle stint when we used alternate tires. I'm not sure why, what's happening, but we're just beating up our rear tires more than some of the others.
I know other guys out there really struggled on the alternates. Man, when Conway went primary, primary, alternate. So black, black, red. We went black, red, black, and we lost the race in the middle stint.
I was catching him two seconds a lap at the end. It wasn't enough. He built up a big-enough lead. He said he was even taking care of his reds at the end.
The Firestone reds are designed to do that. This is the biggest discrepancy we've ever seen between the two. It's tough, I'll tell you.
What a weekend for Conway to show up (laughter). It's good to have the best out there, though. You know Mike can really get it done when he's got the car, and he showed that today. Congratulations to him and the Dale Coyne team.
Really wanted to win it for Chevy today, though. Bummed about that.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. Ryan, it seemed like most teams were caught off guard by the reds and how quickly they degraded. Did you go into the race having a feeling for how long they would last?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: We had a feeling from qualifying they were going to drop off pretty quick. We had no idea what they were going to do after six laps. You have no idea if they're going to drop off and plateau or fall off a cliff.
The reds, if you have a little bit of an imbalance, they're magnifying the imbalance. If you're really beating up the rears, if you have an aggressively rotating car, mid corner, then you're going to beat the rears up pretty quickly.
I think that's where we came up short. We were as quick as Mike on the primaries, though. Just the difference between us in the middle stint was enough for him to win the race.
Q. On the final stint, it looked like about the first half of your final stint in terms of lap time, there might have been a bit of an imbalance.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: It took a little bit for me to get into a rhythm with them. I had to deal with I think Jakes was behind me at the time. I was trying to get around Vautier. I was dealing with a lot, some that were off sequence a little bit from me. I think that sidetracked things a little bit. Once I got a clear track, we were off and sailing. Too little, too late.
Pleased with second and pleased with second in points. But to come up short when it was looking so promising, especially for Chevy, they put so much into this, hopefully tomorrow we'll go out and get 'em.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by Justin Wilson of Dale Coyne Racing.
Justin, talk about today's race.
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, it was pretty hectic. The initial start was interesting. I'm not sure quite what happened. There was a bit of a stack-up at turn three. I got squared up, came out on the inside. I was on the inside of A.J. I was all the way up against the grass on the right. I saw him swerve, bounce. I turned hard right, locked them up, I thought I was going to hit the wall on the outside. Fortunately the car gripped when it landed.
I hope he's okay. I know it's pretty rough. But as far as my race goes, from then on, just trying to pick people off, attack, get by. It all worked out to plan. Had a lot of fun out there. The last few laps were pretty intense with Scott breathing down my neck. He was pushing hard. I didn't think I was going to hold him off, but fortunately had just enough.
Great to get Dale's one or two cars on the podium, that's pretty neat. It's also great for Mike. I'm really pleased for him to come back. He didn't think he was driving five days ago, and here he is winning the race. I think it's been a great day.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions.
Q. After what you learned in today's race, what can we expect of how you're going to put that to use in tomorrow's race?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: You get an understanding of where the pace needs to be, what you need to do with the tires. Other than that, we have a race to race tomorrow. I'm not going to say too much with this guy in the room.
JUSTIN WILSON: Good chance we could even screw it up more tomorrow.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Just give us time, we'll definitely screw it up (laughter).
JUSTIN WILSON: There's things we'll want to change to our car setup and see if there's anything we learned from the strategy. I'm not sure there was a right thing to do. We'll just go and study that. I'm sure the engineers have a better picture than we have on how things played out, where we were quick and where we were slow.
Q. Ryan, when you lost the lead, 44, was that a matter of tires?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Yeah, he was breathing down my neck. As the tires were going off, he was all over me. I thought I was turning some decent times at the time and he was still under my gearbox at every corner.
When he went down inside, I could have made it tough for him there. I'm definitely big-picture racing at that point because it's early in the race, we'll still have time to go after him. We're on the reds, he's on the blacks, he's going to have to get on the reds at the end, at which time we'd have another shot at him. But that never came.
It's unfortunate but it was a good, clean pass by Mike. He had a good run. Man, once he got by me, he was gone. There really wasn't much to think about. The whole time I was thinking I would be on the primaries at the end while he was on the red and that would be the time to come back.
Q. Justin, can you talk a bit more about how big a result this is for a little team and how it was achieved.
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I don't know how to answer that. It's just fantastic for Dale. He put so much into this race team. Like I said, he called Mike up on Tuesday and asked him to come and drive.
I think it's just a really cool story how he didn't think he was going to be doing anything this weekend and here he is winning the race. To get two cars on the podium is just so satisfying for everyone on the team. There's been a lot of hard work. Everyone has a lot to prove, that we were capable of winning at the front, trying to be more consistent, just working on every area.
We got a lot of good people on the team who put so many hours into this, their hearts and souls. It's down to them, everything they do, that gives us good cars.
Q. What about your drive? You must be pretty satisfied.
JUSTIN WILSON: I kind of sat here thinking, How did we get here? I remember passing some guys when they were on the reds early on. We were able to pass them, open up a nice gap. I think we were just ahead far enough when we put our reds on that they weren't able to come back.
I'm really pleased. Just want to go back and study it and try to understand it a little bit more from what everyone else was doing around me and see what I can learn.
Q. Since the doubleheaders were announced, there's been concerns from the drivers with two races in two days. Is that going to be a big drain? Do you think today's race will impact your physical performance tomorrow?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: I mean, we all train a lot for this. These cars are really physical on street courses. Anyone that hasn't been in one, you can't describe it. No power steering, hardly any suspension movement, and you're on city streets powering around with 650 horsepower. It's very physical.
The biggest beating you get, right now, later on, I'll still have a headache just from the constant pounding. All your joints in the morning hurt from street courses. We could do a double at Indianapolis and be fresh as a rose the next morning. Here it's a different deal.
Then we have Toronto, which is one of the more physical street courses as well.
JUSTIN WILSON: Houston is no cakewalk.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: That's what I hear. I never raced there.
It's tough. Something we're trying. We'll see what it does.
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, it's going to be tough. Like Ryan says, it's not so much your muscles. You can work on that, try to recover overnight. It's the joints, bumps and bruises. I have them on my elbows, lacking a little skin on the hands.
The car is fighting you. It's not the weight as you're steering through the corner, it's the bumps that literally rips the steering wheel through your hands. I remember looking down, the steering wheel is moving, I can't grip the wheel any harder. That starts to drain you and wear you out.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: I experienced that, too. The gloves were sliding on the wheel. You're gripping as hard as you can. Just kind of how this car is. This car does have a lot of kickback. It's been known for that. Pretty heavy steering when the track gets rubbered in.
Q. Justin, how similar in setup are you to Mike? Is there stuff that you can take today?
JUSTIN WILSON: The cars were very, very similar. I think made a couple small changes, just driver preference stuff. Otherwise we came here with identical cars. I like a slightly different feel, so I went a slightly different way.
It's within a hundred pounds on the springs, and everything else is identical.
Q. You've had a race on this track now. Did it pass the test?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: It was much better passing, for sure. Big difference, yeah.
Q. The whole track, though.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: It was a pretty action-packed race. I can't really comment. I made two passes today in the new section, so I was pretty happy with it.
JUSTIN WILSON: I think the track did fantastic. Considering what happened last year, it's still a rough track, it's physical, but it's a street circuit. It's got the same characteristics and same feel as the old one.
I like the extra straight, what does that for the track and the flow. I think it's great.
Q. Ryan, it seemed like Mike Conway really took off, you stayed with him, but the rest of the field didn't. If you had been leading the race, Mike wasn't here, what kind of pace would you have run?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: I kept saying that, If Mike wasn't here (laughter). Ruin the party, bro.
Yeah, it would have been similar. I think everything would have been similar. You're still pedaling as hard as you can because you know these guys are coming hard from behind. You have to save fuel when you can and go like hell when you can. We were doing a bit of both today.
I think it would have been very similar.
Q. A couple years ago Sebastien Bourdais ran road and street courses only. With the split championships they have in this series, talk about if a guy like Mike Conway was able to put together a package where he ran street and road courses, he could be a legitimate threat for the Mario Andretti Award.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: I wish Mike was here for all the road and street circuits. He shows every time he's in a car he deserves it. We were teammates in '11.
Yeah, absolutely, that would be great to see. The hard part is putting a program together that's not a full program.
JUSTIN WILSON: I definitely think it's doable. It comes down to, yes, sponsorship, but also talent. Mike's got the talent to do that. He can pull it off.
THE MODERATOR: Justin and Ryan, thank you for your time today. Congratulations on the podium.
JUSTIN WILSON: Now that Mike is here, we're leaving (laughter).
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