IZOD IndyCar Series: Pocono IndyCar 400
Topics: Pocono IndyCar 400
July 7, 2013
LONG POND, PENNSYLVANIA
THE MODERATOR: We'll start with Dario Franchitti who started 20th for today's race and finished third. Talk about that drive.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I don't remember much about it to be honest. Really it's one of those races where you're just taking it every lap, every car you've got to try to pass, every pit stop, just taking it one lap at a time. Every time coming into turn three, so were on the limit of the car. We ran a very aggressive downforce today and didn't have much downforce on the car, so it was quicker in a straight line but don't want to go spinning into the corners. You're trying to keep the momentum up, the whole car is sliding. So every lap through turn three was an adventure.
And trying to get close to Charlie and Scott there at the end pushing through there, but not quite enough to get close enough. But I mean, crikey, to start 20th and end up with a third was great. Ended up a one, two, three for Chip; Target's 100th win, Honda's 200th.
We got a lot of help today obviously. The fuel mileage of the Honda engine was exceptional. We are still a little shy on the horsepower but in race conditions there, it was really the thing to have. We, as I said, pushed every single lap, had some very close moments out there. Such a momentum track; you're always trying to keep momentum up. Your brain is telling you to lift, because the whole car is sliding; you've got to keep the foot down, and a couple of times, the walls on exit one and three came up pretty quick.
It was a good day, fought‑‑ as I said, fought every lap, and after the run we've had recently on the ovals, it feels very good.
THE MODERATOR: How big of a boost is it for the team to have a one, two, three finish?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Huge boost for the team, huge boost for Honda. The team, really, we haven't had the cars we've needed on the ovals this year. On the road and street courses, I think we are pretty good, but on the ovals, we've struggled every single one of them.
And I think Iowa as certainly a low point for the 10 car. So to be able to have this result today, you know, you could see it on all the guys' faces, whether it was on the 10 car or the 83, or certainly the 9, everybody is pretty bloody happy.
Q. When it was clear for Chip that you would finish one, two, three, was there any special order?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Try and pass the 83 car, keep pushing; try to get the 2 in front. That's Chip's attitude, come on, man, keep pushing. That's what I was getting on the radio; I'm pushing, I can't get any closer, but I'm trying.
I was trying to set up Charlie first, make a move on him through three down into one, and then out 1 and into 3, and I just couldn't get close enough to make a move and Charlie couldn't get close enough to Scott to make a move, so we are all kind of backing each other up a bit, not to get really checked up in the middle of the corner.
All three of us were pushing. There was no team orders there. There's no championship at stake. We know that if we had taken our teammates out, there would be hell to pay, but we were going for the win. Charlie was going for the win and Scott was going for the win.
But it was, as I said, a great feeling, and great to see such a big crowd; to come back to Pocono, it's a big grandstand to fill and it was pretty sold today and that was great, great to see. So thanks to all the fans here in Pennsylvania for coming to the race, hope it was a good show.
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Charlie Kimball, who finished second in today's race, matching a career a best of second at Toronto's race. Talk about today's race.
CHARLIE KIMBALL: It was a lot of fun. Obviously coming home one, two, three, as part of the Chip Ganassi podium, is always going to be fun.
The car was really good. We focused a lot on the race car on Thursday, and yesterday even, and so we were not exactly sure what we were going to have in qualifying, but came out all right.
I think a lot of credit for today has to go to the team, because we have had a few tough races and to be able to bounce back and be as resilient as we are and they are, to come through with this great a result, is a huge credit to them, and also a lot to Honda working really hard day‑in and day‑out to make improvements for us. You know, we came here and we had equal horsepower and a lot better fuel mileage, using less fuel to do it. I think that was key.
And the guys in pit lane, especially the 83 car, I know they did a great job, and we just kept making the car better over the day. Passing was kind of at a premium because when you're up front like that and the cars are that evenly matched through three, it's pretty hard work just to run close.
So we had to make moves when they were there, and a couple of times h to back out, discretion was the better part of value or. I know once we went into two, which although most of the time is flat; when Dario and I and somebody else were three‑wide, I think all of us had the instinct‑‑
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I heard you‑‑
CHARLIE KIMBALL: I wasn't going to say that.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: And I gave it first.
CHARLIE KIMBALL: So it was a really good race and we all had to pay attention. That last stint, we knew what we had to do, and I knew when Scott had stopped a lap earlier, and just had a little bit more momentum than I did when I came out of pit lane, meant that I knew he was going to be the race leader. And that was my shot and he just was able to get a little more momentum on me into 3.
And once he had the spot‑‑ we all were doing everything we could. My engineer, I think every lap was telling me to be careful at 3, because we were all sideways through the middle of 3 through about the last 25 laps.
So a great racetrack, great fans on a holiday weekend. It's awesome to see that, the grandstands full, the infield full, and to see the line of traffic coming in this morning was pretty neat, especially after 24 years.
Q. This goes for both of you, works out pretty well, just out of curiosity, yesterday you had a great early practice session and while it didn't really transfer into a great qualifying session, per se, it seems like you found something during that session yesterday and that probably benefitted the team overall today, and just curious, also, since this is a three‑car operation, for both of you, did that benefit you guys, having that third teammate to feed off of, figuring a place like this out where it's going to be very difficult to get a setup and figuring things out?
CHARLIE KIMBALL: I think, firstly, that time yesterday morning was just kind of right place, right time, as far as a total lap with a bit of a qualifying simulation with less downforce. The lap wasn't exactly representative of where we were but we knew our race pace was really good.
As far as learning from each other, you know, I know that I definitely benefitted from a change that Dario and his engineer made late last night in the practice session. We just put it off for the race because we knew he liked it and we believed it was going to help us, and right away I had more confidence at the start of the race. So I think it definitely helps.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Thank God we made that change. Could you imagine through three if we hadn't. (Laughing).
Q. Either one of you, when did the mileage advantage really start to come into play in terms of the adjustment; I think the first pit stop was when you got a feel, and how did that affect the rest of the race, did you feel like you needed to charge ‑‑ or the Chevys ran themselves out.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: We were charging every lap. But yeah, it became apparent, when they started pitting, I looked down at how much fuel I had left and I was like, okay, leaders are starting to pit. Maybe it was because they were out front and we were in the draft.
Next stop, leaders are pitting and I thought, we've definitely got something here, so we just kept pushing and each time we would come out of the pit, we would be further up, and we caught that yellow right, and that helped. My guys were really good, man, they made some cracking stops, and we were gaining time, every time in the pits, and that was helpful, too.
That fuel advantage, fuel mileage advantage, definitely helped. We were very aggressive, too, on downforce level. I don't know if you looked around the grid, but we were looking and we were seeing people with whickers on and all this, and there's us all trimmed out, and I think we all kind of looked at each other and went, it could be interesting.
It was tough in traffic but it was good on fuel, and it was bloody quick when you got the right distance with you and the car in front.
Q. Talk about the race from a diabetic standpoint, in this heat and humidity.
CHARLIE KIMBALL: Well, the nice thing was that it didn't even factor. You know, all the preparation I did today, and every day on race day, any day I'm in the car, the tools I use: My NovoLog FlexPen, my monitor, all that, meant that in the car today, I looked at it once or twice just about as much as I pulled a tear off, which wasn't very often.
So I looked at it, I was good, and all I had to focus on was trying to get past Dixon on that last stint. From my side, it wasn't an issue.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: On that note, what happened to all the Pocono bugs? We were talking about the bugs ‑‑ going to be tear‑offs ‑‑ I had two tear‑offs all day.
CHARLIE KIMBALL: I went through three, through that last stint, I guess, oh, maybe I should see here.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: We were talking three races‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ might have gotten them, those fireworks were cool.
Q. For both of you, Chevy has had a bit of a strangle hold in the series this season; Honda give you a great car today. You both spoke to it a little bit. Tell me about the confidence that you feel moving forward into the rest of the season, and as a follow‑up, what courses are you looking forward to getting to next?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: You know, how many races have Honda won this year? More than last year, correct? I think the Chevy guys obviously have done a good job. We saw in qualifying we are at a slight horsepower disadvantage but when push came to shove today, the fuel mileage really‑‑ thank God we finished one, two, three more Honda, so that was pretty good.
The engine we have in the car now should suit the tracks we are going to, whether it be Toronto, Mid‑Ohio, Sonoma, Baltimore, all those places coming up. Probably this wasn't going to be its strongest track, so we are pretty excited moving forward.
CHARLIE KIMBALL: Yeah, especially coming off, I think the last Honda victory was a one, two, three at Detroit; is that right? One, two, three, four, five at Detroit, excuse me, I stand corrected.
So I'm looking forward to going back to the temporary street circuits because it's where we've shown previously that the engines are good, and I have no doubt that while the Chevys have probably taken a step, I have no doubt that Honda has taken a bigger step. So I'm looking forward to the street and road courses coming up.
Q. Tomorrow will be the one‑year anniversary of your second‑place finish at Toronto. What is it about Fourth of July weekends that seems to suit you so well?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Gets so patriotic ‑‑
CHARLIE KIMBALL: Well, I didn't get quite patriotic enough. I let a kiwi win (Laughter).
But I don't know, I think it's part of where the experience and the momentum hits its stride. We knew that after Indy, while we had not a great result, still a Top‑10; we overcame a lot of challenges during that race.
Coming to Pocono, it was one we targeted as having a good opportunity to get a great result, all things coming good. So it's nice to get that result and head to Toronto where we have that confidence, we have that momentum, and we are starting to fill in tracks on the schedule where when we go back next year, we expecting to back fighting for the podium.
Q. I think you drove this track for awhile with NASCAR, correct?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: For a while; I think I did three quarters of it‑‑ actually, make half of a Cup race.
Q. Compare driving an IndyCar at this track to driving a NASCAR.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Well, it was pre‑resurfacing when I drove it here, so it was a lot bumpier here. What is the average speed here in a stock car, 170 average, 178? And they were averaging 220 yesterday. It's completely different.
When you go into turn one there, and it maybe gets a little bit loose, you've got to be so fast on the reaction to catch it, because everything happens so quickly.
Turn three, there were times during that last stint, we were moving wide open through traffic through turn three with the whole car sliding and you look down and you're going 225 miles an hour and you're thinking, this is mind betting. The G‑forces and G‑loadings are phenomenal and that's what makes the difference. When you're under so much car when the car does break away, it breaks away so quickly. It's a pretty intense experience driving an IndyCar around here, as it is on most tracks.
Q. We have had Chris Simmons, and we've also hadMr. Brett (ph) on suicide watch for most of the races this year; what does this do for them knowing that a big weight has been relieved?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, it was great to see Simmons smiling. On the ovals we have struggled.
Scott in some ways I think has fared a little better, but in my opinion, when the car is not quite right, there's nobody better in a car than Scott Dixon. I think when the car is‑‑ when I can get the car close to where I like, I can do more than hold my own. But when it's just a little bit out, Scott is the master at hanging on I think.
You know, Chris and I have been working to make it close to what we need, and you know, it's been tough. Yesterday obviously we had the issue in qualifying. The car was actually handling very well. Then we changed the motor and it was great in warm up. So, good to see him smile.
Everybody in the paddock works so hard, and when it's not going your way, it's tough, and Simmons, I think we have a similar personality; we take it very personally when it's not going well. So it's great to see him a little happier.
But I know come tomorrow morning, he's going to be on the phone talking about Toronto, and he's going to get me into shape for that one, our first standing start. It's going to be interesting, isn't it.
Q. You mentioned earlier it's the first IndyCar race in 24 years, and that means all the drivers have never raced here before. How did you personally prepare when you saw that Pocono is part of the schedule, read history reports or race reports?
CHARLIE KIMBALL: Well, I watched some of the YouTube video of the '89 race, to have an idea of what it looked like. And then Wednesday when I got here, I rode my scooter around.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: How long did that take?
CHARLIE KIMBALL: I had to stop and refuel at two. (Laughter) I actually called the guys like, hey, bring the van.
But other than that, Thursday morning, we knew we had a test day. We knew we had as many hours as we could set the tires in the day, so we sort of‑‑ we didn't want to be the first guys out, but we knew we needed to get out, settle in.
Actually, my spotter, Lee, was here spotting the race 24 years ago in '89, so we had some hands‑on or eyes‑on experience to help, and he was instrumental in sort of making sure that I wasn't doing anything too crazy.
And then having Scott and Dario, who while they have not raced here, have raced a lot of different places, places that we don't go any more, Nashville, Richmond, Nazareth, places that are different than a traditional oval. So to be able to learn from them, as well, was very helpful.
Q. I don't know if you know this, but Dixon career wins, you have 31, things are starting to get a little tight there‑‑
DARIO FRANCHITTI: He deserves every one of his 30 wins. I've said it before; I think Scott, with his age, with how good he is, he can put up some really stout numbers going forward.
So, yeah, I'd like to win a couple here soon, stretch that a little again. I don't know a number but I can see Scott getting into the 40s going forward. How old is he, 31, 32? He's got a few years on the clock yet, so I really think he can put big numbers up in terms of championships, race wins, and he deserves every one of them.
Q. What about the standing start, are you looking forward to it?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Not particularly. I mean, I don't know, I like the traditional rolling starts. We'll see. It might be good. Who knows? I might be completely wrong. But it's going to be bloody interesting, let's put it that way.
THE MODERATOR: Dario, Charlie, congratulations on the podium and thanks for your time today.
|Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library|