IndyCar Series: Bombardier Learjet 550
Topics: Bombardier Learjet 550
June 6, 2009
FORT WORTH, TEXAS
THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by tonight's second-place finisher, Ryan Briscoe. His second top-three finish at TMS. You're the new points leader by three points ahead of Scott Dixon. Talk about tonight.
RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, it was a great race. Frustrating result. Probably one of the most frustrating I've experienced. But it was a fantastic race. The guys in the pits did an awesome job all night long. Had a very fast car. You know, we just got caught out on that last yellow there.
The pit out there has such an advantage. That's what killed us.
Q. Talk about gaining the points lead tonight, what that means for the team right now.
RYAN BRISCOE: It's awesome. I guess Helio is up there in the points, too. You know, it's great. That's what it's all about, the championship. It's just, you know, when you're so close to winning it, it feels a bit bitter.
But, you know, it's good to be points leader right now. We just need to keep moving forward as we're doing.
Q. Could you talk a little bit about coming out second on that last pit stop and what was going through your head. Were you trying to maybe get a little bit of a lead, then settle it between the two of you? Could you even tried to have passed Helio? Did you have the opportunity to?
RYAN BRISCOE: Right. No, I mean, after I came out of the pits behind him, my first objective was to try to pass him on the restart. So I tried that for a couple of laps. But, you know, I just couldn't get it done around the outside. It was so evenly matched. Trying to go around the outside just wasn't working tonight.
Scott was right there behind us. I didn't want to lose my position to him. So, you know, I opted to tuck in behind Helio for a while and just try to stay single file, which is definitely quicker, then have another couple of go's later on.
That's kind of how we played out. We caught some lap traffic. Scott got caught out a little bit. It gave me the opportunity to try to attack a little bit more. But just didn't have enough speed to get around Helio at the end.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by tonight's third-place finisher, Scott Dixon. His fourth top five finish at Texas Motor Speedway, third top five finish on the season. Scott, you're second in the points. Talk about tonight.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, tonight the Target car was decent at best. I think we definitely didn't have the speed that Briscoe did. I'd say over a long distance and through traffic, we were better than Helio and Dario, but definitely not a touch on Briscoe.
So it was an all right night. I think when you got close to people you were matched with in speed, there was no such thing as racing, it was follow the leader, you could draft up. As Ryan mentioned, you couldn't use the high line like you used to be able to around here. All the cars I think, wherever they're placed in the race, are so close on the speed that you just can't do anything. Maybe they need to look at opening up the rules a little bit more so we can have a bit of racing again here.
Pretty happy with the finish, considering. I think the Target team, we definitely need to try and step it up a little bit to match the Penskes, especially on these flat-out tracks. I think towards the end when we lost Briscoe, Tagliani was coming out of the pits, pushed me wide, I had to lift in three.
Q. Ryan, can you talk about the cautions. How much did that play a role? You had a 10-second lead. Did that change your strategy at all? The second caution, how much did that hurt your chances?
RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, I didn't see any debris. I don't know if you did. That's what killed us. We really built up a big lead. The car was awesome over the long runs. Then just in the pits, you know, we got beat by Helio. It wasn't because we did a slow pit stop or anything. It's a very tight pit box there. Pit out has a bit of an advantage.
Doesn't change the strategy. We're still trying to win. Just didn't have enough to get the lead at the end.
Q. Scott, you mentioned you'd like to see some changes in the rules. This race tonight was a lot different than last year, where you saw two and three cars running wide around the high banks. What could be done to make the racing closer?
SCOTT DIXON: I think over the last years, they've definitely tightened them up. You used to be able to run a lot of different things, even down to mirrors. You have to specify your mirrors. Wheel base is the same. Used to be a lot more options.
I think that opened up where people were quite quick maybe for the first half of the stint, then others would be quicker towards the end. Now you're just running flat out the whole time. I think Honda does a fantastic job to keep all the engines extremely close. But the racing used to be a lot better around here.
I don't know if they need to maybe trim the cars out. The cars are going a lot slower now. I remember when I first came here, we were running 223s here. Now we're down to 210s in the race. I think we need to open a few things up and see how it works.
I know it's a growing process with the series and the drivers. But I think at the moment it just doesn't put on the show it should and has done before.
Q. Both of you mentioned the outside line wasn't what it's been here in the past. Is that a function of the aging of the track, the car?
RYAN BRISCOE: I think it's not that the outside line wasn't working. It's just that the bottom line worked so well. It's so easy to run the bottom line. You really set the car up to run the bottom line. It's a lot shorter distance. So when you run the high line, you end up just doing a longer distance and can't gain any advantage.
SCOTT DIXON: Totally the same. I think that's the problem now, is you're fighting track distances. Your speed equalizer is such, the person on the bottom probably travels a ton shorter in feet, then that transpires obviously to average speed. It used to be different. When you got a guy pinned on the bottom, maybe had to lift sometimes. The cars were quicker. When you ran up top, it would maybe run a bit freer, you could carry more speed around the whole track consistently, finish a pass.
I don't know. I think it's a mix of a lot of things. It's nothing that anybody's changed recently that's made it that way. It's just the combination at the moment makes it tough.
Q. Does the driver drive the car here or just put the pedal to the floor and turn? Is there any driving involved?
RYAN BRISCOE: It's become quite an engineering exercise. It's about, first of all, making the car as easy to drive as possible, make it turn. Tonight I had a great car where I could really keep my foot down and go for it.
SCOTT DIXON: The traffic I think is still a bit of a tough part obviously. You can run the bottom part of the track all day long. When you have to get up top, run across some of the different bumps, maybe it's not as grippy up there. That definitely makes it exciting. I made a few mistakes running up high tonight and lost a bit of ground, especially towards the end when I kind of got moved up there. It makes it tough.
The cars by all means aren't easy to drive. Your grandma couldn't get in and go out there. But it's too even, I think.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys.
RYAN BRISCOE: Thank you.
SCOTT DIXON: Thank you.
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