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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

Simona de Silvestro
October 5, 2013


THE MODERATOR: We're also pleased to be joined by Simona deSilvestro, KB Racing Technology, who finished second today. This is a career‑best IndyCar finish for Simona. Her previous best finish was fourth in St.Pete in 2011. Simona, talk about today's race, a strong weekend starting with qualifying today.
SIMONA de SILVESTRO: Yeah, I think we rolled off actually kind of okay, I think, and we haven't done that before on a double‑header, so that was really nice to see. I think whatever we learned in Baltimore kind of really helped us here, and we had a lot of momentum coming into the race.
Yeah, I think we made our lives a little bit easier by qualifying higher up and qualifying fifth, and the race, I think it was really tough, but I passed Pagenaud for 3rd and we looked pretty good, and then the first yellow didn't go really our way, and I think we ended up in seventh. But then kind of kept my head in it and kind of managed the car a little bit with the brakes I think is a big issue a little bit more everybody, and I think that was really important to kind of stay on top of the car when we have a little bit of time to cool things and things like that to try to do that, and towards the end during the last yellow things kind of played out and we came out in second, and then I tried to keep up with Dixie, didn't quite have his pace, but I think we were pretty good on cold tires actually, and then I could pull a little bit of a gap from Justin and then kind of work from there.
Just really happy to be here. We've been waiting for a long time for this podium, and everybody, all my sponsors that have been supporting me for all these years, it's really cool that we can be together and celebrate this.

Q. Simona, over the last three weeks, you've had some pretty good drives from what I'm looking at. That uptick in performance, how much of that comes down to, I guess, for lack of a better phrase, maybe selling in with KB and everybody on the team kind of figuring out like what you prefer as far as car setup is concerned?
SIMONA de SILVESTRO: Yeah, I think when I look at the season, I think we started off really well with the 78 car, and then in the middle we kind of had kind of a slump, and later I think the biggest key we did is we just focused on what I needed in the race car. We really sat down and kind of tried to get what I wanted in a race car, and the results have been coming, so that's really nice to have kind of put our heads into it and just kind of do it a little bit our way and that the results are coming. I think it's great.

Q. This comes at a good time for you because you've got to negotiate a contract or pick a team for next year. How important is that in this?
SIMONA de SILVESTRO: Well, it's huge, because yeah, like you said, this was only a one‑year deal, and I felt like going into this year, things would go much smoother, but it kind of didn't really until now. Things have been going really well.
Pressure was there for sure to get this done, but you know, I'm really happy that it's actually coming together now, and we've had a lot of momentum since the last three races. I think that's really cool, and I think it just shows that we can be up there and fight in the front.

Q. How much did the tires vary, because in the middle stint you kind of struggled and dropped back. Was that simply down to tire compound, or how much tire pressure you had or whatever?
SIMONA de SILVESTRO: Yeah, we put the reds on in the middle, and a little bit like what Justin was saying, I think because the track is so bumpy, I think the car is a little bit more out of control. I felt like on the blacks like the balance was much better and I could be much more consistent with the car, and you think that was the biggest thing.
Now, we'll have to see into what we can do for that tomorrow, but I kind of like the blacks more. Even right away on cold tires it felt grippier, so I really liked that.

Q. It seemed a very bumpy track, very hot, very taxing on the drivers, probably your body is a little beat up. How are you going to go into the race tomorrow? How do you feel, again, to do another 90‑lap race?
SIMONA de SILVESTRO: Yeah, I think it was really tough because I tried to drink like half the time during the race, and I couldn't because it's so bumpy and like my hands are all over the wheel.
I think for everybody it's the same, and I think we train enough to be ready for this. But for sure I think double headers are really taxing, and especially on a track like this where you really can't relax, and mentally if you kind of stop focusing, you can end up in the wall really quickly.
I think tomorrow is going to be interesting, but right now I think the biggest thing tonight is kind of really close this chapter and everything starts again tomorrow. Looking into qualifying and then see how the race goes.

Q. As you kind of alluded to, not much time to kind of look back on this podium finish, but still, it's a pretty big accomplishment. Can you talk a little bit about that and where it stands as far as like the other accomplishments that you've had in your career?
SIMONA de SILVESTRO: Well, yeah. I think I've been‑‑ all the Jr. series I've been in, I've been able to win races, and you know, that's how I kind of earned my way into IndyCar. I think the last three years we've been fast, but it seemed like we never really could get it together or we had a bad pit stop or something didn't go our way. You know, I think I've learned a lot how to manage a race now, and I think that's really important. I feel like everything is kind of really starting to come together, and hopefully we can be as successful as I used to be in Atlantics and Formula BMW here in IndyCars.

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