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IndyCar Series: Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma

IndyCar Series: Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma

Ryan Briscoe
August 22, 2009


SONOMA, CALIFORNIA

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by second-place qualifier Ryan Briscoe. Ryan, how did things go out there for you today?
RYAN BRISCOE: Wasn't bad actually. I was going into qualifying not the most confident driver out there, I don't think. I didn't have a good practice session this morning. Seemed to spend more time in the dirt than on the tarmac. I certainly went into qualifying with a very big question mark over my head.
The first run I sort of worked up to it, really came together. We made a few small changes to the car between practice and qualifying, and I think I adjusted my driving -- I was used to driving here at the test last week. We had a really strong wind last week. It was in the complete opposite direction. I don't think I really adjusted my driving to the wind as well as I could have in practice. I really focused on that for qualifying.
The car was good. So from that point, you know, we just focused on the strategy with the tires and making adjustments to move forward. It was going really smoothly. Actually, the whole thing went very smoothly. You know, it was much like the previous few road courses we've done.
We were debating whether to save a new set of reds going into 2-3, but it looked like the times were just a bit too close. I went out, did a few laps on reds at the end of Q2. We didn't need to. And I didn't go faster. Allowed us to address a bit after braking we've had going into three. So it was all right. I'm a little frustrated because there were a couple laps where we were quicker and I was just really struggling up in seven with the braking. I was moving the bias to counter the rear locking. Just struggled a little bit with the braking at the end there. Had a couple of laps which were quicker than Dario's final time. It was a little bit frustrating, but he was definitely I think the quickest one here today and did a good job for the pole.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.

Q. Ryan, coming off the hairpin, I think I'm seeing on the red tires a much tighter exit and you can get the power down a lot faster. Is that going to be enough to get you into turn two to make a pass?
RYAN BRISCOE: Passing up into two is going to be tough. You know, the fast racing line is pretty much a defensive line anyway, and it's a short straight. I think we've seen here in the past some passing. It's easy to make a mistake, especially on the black tires. We'll see in the race, even with the red tires, if they start going off, we're not sure how the degradation is going to be, but it could be severe. It's easy to lock a wheel going into the hairpin. Someone will get a tight line, come off side-by-side, have a race up into two.
The reds today definitely had a lot more grip. You could carry a little bit of a tighter line and get the power down a bit sooner.

Q. At Mid-Ohio, the blacks seemed to be the way to go. What are you seeing here, feeling here in terms of difference between the blacks and the reds in performance and what you felt over longer stints?
RYAN BRISCOE: No, it's a good question. We're still not all that sure from Mid-Ohio. At Mid-Ohio we replaced a right front tire on a used set of red tires. Halfway through the race, we actually believed that the red tire was going to be the better option. In the final stint, in Mid-Ohio, went for red tires, but we had a brand-new sticker right front. What happened, I think just 'cause it was sticker, the others weren't, we cooked it on the first couple of laps, just blistered that tire. So that really hurt us. The other three tires were pretty good. We blistered a right front tire in the final stint. It was clearly worse than blacks.
But we're gonna have to weigh that up I think as we move forward through warmup tomorrow, maybe do some long runs on red tires, see how they last. Outright performance is clear that new reds are quicker than new blacks. But in the race, you know, it's probably a three-stint race, two-stop race, so we have to do reds, we have to do blacks, then we just see for the final stint whether we go for another black or red.

Q. Ryan, with the points right now only separating you and Scott, three points, we have four races, there's not a whole lot of points in between the top 10 drivers, how do you see the rest of the season shaking out for yourself?
RYAN BRISCOE: Well, I mean, we're going for it. I think it's really coming down to between us three for the championship. It's been a tough one. I mean, maybe whoever's coming second going into Homestead is the one to put your money on. Looking at how this championship's gone so far, no one can hang on to the lead.
I think we're seeing that wins reward greatly, and I think whoever's going to win this championship needs to go out and win races. Obviously you need to finish and collect points. But getting those 50 points is always really important.

Q. I hear Will is going to be okay. (Indiscernible) change your team strategy?
RYAN BRISCOE: It doesn't change my strategy whether we've got one car, two cars or three cars. Definitely hoping Will is going to be all right. I heard he fractured his back. So pretty serious. I think we definitely need to look at the safety over here and what can be done differently with, you know, spotting or whatever. Turn three is a dangerous corner. Definitely wishing him the best at the moment.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Ryan.

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