IndyCar Series: 35th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
Topics: 35th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach
April 19, 2009
LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA
THE MODERATOR: I eavesdropped on your conversation coming in here, and I heard you say, I could have won this race, or we could have won this race.
DANICA PATRICK: Well, Dario clearly won, but still.
THE MODERATOR: Your thoughts on today?
DANICA PATRICK: I wasn't aware of really what could have been, and what could have happened with being able to win the race but they just said when I came into the pit. My kid said if the yellow would have come out at a slightly different time that we'd have had the lead. So I don't really know how that all would have shook out exactly.
But the bottom line is we made incredible strides through being sort of calm with the car in the last couple of runs, and just said let's get something comfortable underneath me, and then also with strategy as well. Was Dario the only other one that pitted like I did?
THE MODERATOR: Yes.
DANICA PATRICK: Yeah, so that's pretty good from the new guy in the pit box, right?
THE MODERATOR: Absolutely.
THE MODERATOR: Then you run from 22nd to 4th. I guess you were upset with your qualifying run yesterday and the charge there?
DANICA PATRICK: Yeah, well, you know, we obviously had our moment in qualifying with spinning out and hitting the wall, and taking out the front wing at the beginning of the qualifying run. After being in the Top 10 in the morning practice we thought, man, we've got a shot to on move out of our group and see what we can do.
But once we hit the wall and got back out there it's been very easy to tip the car over and make it hard to drive and not very fast. So, what's felt good hasn't been good for a lap time unfortunately, either.
So with those two things combined, it's been a tricky weekend. You know, but the bottom line is that my engineer, Eddie, put a good car underneath me for the race. And if you're going to get to pick one session, you hope it's the race.
So we'd obviously like to improve qualifying on so we can have a race from the front but all the points are the same in the end when you finish.
THE MODERATOR: Okay, questions, please.
Q. On your way up to IndyCar, you were always a good road racer. Are you a little surprised with the good results on the road circuits have been a little slower coming?
DANICA PATRICK: I'm a little surprised that I can't seem to figure qualifying out. Can't seem to pull the time out of the car when I need to. But to be honest, my race pace from the beginning has never been that bad.
I think that showed again in the race today when probably my favorite part of the race was being able to hang there with Dario. I'm sure he was saving fuel because we were doing the same thing. And he was saving fuel, too.
I think that was good though. I just need to learn. Whether they're holding back, I don't know. I highly doubt it, to be honest, because I have three teammates. But to be able to just have that left in you to know how to get speed out.
But other than that, you know, to be honest, we've been doing well on road courses. We finished well at Sonoma last year, obviously, Detroit the year before. Couple front row starts in '07. It hasn't been horrible, but, my goodness, if you look at the field now, the whole field is good. So it's really hard.
Q. You were featured prominently in the IRL spots during the TV broadcast interview clips, showing sort of your determination. I'm wondering if you had any say in what sort of direction those things would go? If you had a chance to see them before they aired and what you thought about them?
DANICA PATRICK: The GoDaddy commercials?
Q. No, the IRL.
THE MODERATOR: It was the VERSUS spot, and at the end you talk about some girls went to proms, I went to the racetrack.
DANICA PATRICK: Right, actually, the way it was done, they had a really sort of young and amazing director come in and investigate a bunch of us drivers. There was some direction that they wanted to take it, and maybe they wanted to elevate moods a little bit and messages of the but it was really interview style.
We took a clip of maybe what my answer was and sort of boldly said it or said it individually. That was the interview of the you know, I mean, things are a little dramatized a little bit. For the most part, it's true. I never went to prom. I went to the racetrack.
I've had guys ask me to prom since then, though. That I don't know. (Laughing)
Q. You're talking about the guy on the box there calling your strategy. How has that been working out for you? You seem you've got a little confidence going into Kansas now with the boss, you know, calling a little bit of the shots there.
DANICA PATRICK: Well, he's done a good job. Mike is -- it's his first time. I mean, he's definitely called it from the sidelines a little more so with the radio on his head, making that exact call.
But he's so passionate. I mean, he lives it every day of his life racing. So it's nice to have somebody that's that passionate like you are. And also, maybe more specifically, understands it from a driving perspective but, you know, Mike's done a great job.
We were on a great strategy at St. Petersburg, as well. We were on a two-stopper which was first, second, third, fourth, fifth finished. And so presuming that would have put me in that mix, that would have been another good mix for us. So Mike's done a great job, and I'm sure he'll only continue to improve.
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