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IZOD IndyCar Series: Shell-Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Shell-Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston

IZOD IndyCar Series: Shell-Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston

Justin Wilson
October 5, 2013


THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with today's post‑race press conference for the Shell and PENNZOIL Grand Prix of Houston Race 1. We are pleased to be joined by Justin Wilson of Dale Coyne Racing, who finished second in today's event. He finished fifth in 2006 here, and this is also Justin's sixth top 5 finish of the 2013 season. Justin, talk about today's race.
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, it was interesting. We had a reasonable start. There was nowhere to go, and obviously there was that yellow. But then we just‑‑ I don't even know what position it was, and just cruising along, clicking off the laps, and then I felt the right rear start to slow down and start to get a little loose every time I turned left. I got on the radio to the team, I think I've got a flat right rear, and they said no, the pressures look good. Half a lap later they came back on and said, no, we need to pit.
Just pretty fortunate. We got close to our window, we weren't there but we got close to it, and we managed to dive in the pits and not make an extra pit stop. Sometimes that's the way it goes. We managed to save fuel and still pretty quick after that, pushing hard, trying to limit the damage, and try and get back to the front. But it was tough. There was some great racing out there, some side‑by‑side action, and I had a lot of fun.
I was hoping I could get Simona at the end there, but she did a great job on those restarts and pulled away, and it took a few laps for me to get some tire temp and some grip and then I could start to run her down again.
But pleased with third. I think the Boy Scouts of America car worked great, and the team has done a fantastic job.

Q. Can you just tell me what you thought of the track? I know that a lot of racers were talking about how bumpy it is. How did you feel the track was?
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, the track is bumpy. It's kind of what we're used to on a street circuit. It's very physical, though, because you've got all these long corners. We never stop turning. Even on every straight we're turning, so it's a really demanding track. It's hard enough trying to get a drink. We've got a drink tube in the helmet and you're trying to circle that drink tube, and there's just no chance to really take a breath.
It's a tough track. It's hot, it's humid. It's going to be very difficult tomorrow. I know we've all got to try and rehydrate and eat well tonight before we go and do it all again.
It's fun when the car is working well. It's a fun track. It's got a good flow to it. But it's tough to get it just right, so when you go over these bumps, the car lands and turns. If it lands and doesn't turn or it turns too much, then it's a long day.

Q. Were you surprised at the number of passing places, and if so, what was it that caused that? Was it just the constant battling with cold tires and battling with cold brakes? What suddenly opened this up to make it such a racy track?
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, there was more overtaking spots than we experienced last time we raced here. I think it's this car. You can get closer. But also it's very hard to get those perfect exits, so the guy behind can get a run or you can get a run on the guy ahead. You get closer in places, and we've all learnt that to finish on the podium, you've got to give each of the racers room. That's got better in the series so when guys get halfway alongside people are leaving room instead of just turning down and causing a crash.
Generally there's a lot more give and take because we know there's going to be times when you have to give it up and there's times when you get it back.

Q. Were you one of the drivers advocating for single file restarts? They seemed to work reasonably well today.
JUSTIN WILSON: I think it was universal. Somebody suggested it, I don't know who suggested it, and we just bumped right just after the start‑finish line, nobody really wanted to go through there side by side. I tried it once, and it wasn't good. I think it was a smart thing to do.
This weekend it's been difficult. There's been quite a few curve balls throw at all us, and I think everyone has dealt with it pretty well.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about you're trying to challenge Simona as a driver for second place, and also I hear it's going to be a little cooler tomorrow, so will you be making any changes to your car?
JUSTIN WILSON: Definitely got ideas and things I want to change to the car overnight, but we go straight into qualifying tomorrow so you don't want to mess things up here, though. It's tough. The way the schedule is, you have such limited time to test things. You've pretty much got to run what you've got. There's more chance of getting it wrong than there is getting it right.
That's something tonight to study and think about and come back tomorrow and see what we can do.

Q. By the end of the race it seemed like just about everybody had given up on the red tires. Was it the heat or the roughness of the track or was it just that the compound was not right for this one?
JUSTIN WILSON: I'm not sure. I just felt that my car was a lot better balanced and a lot faster on the blacks. Mainly to me, I don't know what the difference is, whether it's just grip, but on the red tire I get a lot more heave and pitch, so in the braking when you go over these bumps the car starts to dive more, and it's a lot more unstable. We opted to put the blacks back on, I could go in much later, deeper and have a better balanced car in the corner.

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