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IZOD IndyCar Series: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

IZOD IndyCar Series: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

Will Power
Justin Wilson
April 18, 2010


LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by two of our podium finishers from today's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Justin Wilson, of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, who finished second, and Will Power, of Verizon Team Penske, who finished third. This is Justin's second, second-place finish of the season. Justin was the runner-up at St. Petersburg earlier. The second place finishes by Justin Wilson this season are the best finishes for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing since team owner Robbie Buhl won in 2000 at Walt Disney World. Will Power has finished fourth and better in all four Izod IndyCar Series races. He won at Sao Paulo, St. Petersburg, was third today and finished fourth at Barber. Justin, it was quite an exciting race for you. You had a change in the front wing after contact, and then you made the pass on Will Power, lap 67 to take second. Can you talk about the race today.
JUSTIN WILSON: It was an eventful race, for a while. Going straight forward, we caught traffic and Ryan got held up a lot, and a couple of times he had his nose nearly taken off by one of the cars that gave him no room.
Even though he was the leader, he got halfway alongside and the door was closed, so that allowed me to catch up, and when he got by, I tried to capitalize and follow him and I found the same thing. I got the door slammed in my face, no room to back out of it. The guy came across the apex, clipped the curve even. I was frustrated. I thought it was poor racing, and we lost the front nose.
Everyone on the Z-line Designs car did a great job switching out the nose. We did have a pit stop at the same time and it was tight for the fuel on the end, but we managed to make it, ran out of fuel on the warm-down lap. I think it was a pretty good day, all the success he's had this year, that made me feel good. I think it was a positive day for everyone at Dreyer & Reinbold, and we've worked hard and keep feeling like we make improvements.
THE MODERATOR: Will, this is your fourth top-four finish of the season. Can you tell us about it.
WILL POWER: Everything was going straightforward for us. For the first time all year there hasn't been a yellow before the first stop, and that's what I needed, but what I didn't need was to get stuck in gear. I don't know why it happened, it only happened once, and I went along that straight for quite a while in first gear, trying to shift up and then, you know, cars went past and then "bam," it went in gear. I thought I would lose more positions; I was surprised to see how much of a gap we pulled and I'm still happy.
When things go wrong you've got to keep your cool and make the best of a bad situation. To finish up third, to finish up third was, yeah, very good result for us. Really good to see that we're still ahead on points, in fact, increased our lead a little bit from second place and, you know, got to keep at it. It's going to be a tough championship as you can see, you know?
Andretti Green's caught up, you've got Dreyer & Reinbold right there, and instead of complaining about the competition you've got to work hard.

Q. Justin take us through the incident with Alex, because it looked like you were -- you thought he let Ryan through and you thought you were going to get through.
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, once he lost the lead lap to the leader and the corner was compromised, he didn't get a great exit, so I stoved it down to an 8, as deep as I could possibly go on the inside, and I was shocked when I saw him turning in so early and going for the apex. I stood on the brakes, I got locked up, locked the rears and managed to get sideways, which took some angle out of it but still caught the front wing, so it was frustrating but it's great how we recovered and came back and got second out of it.
I think it shows the pace that the front three cars had, and I'm just -- all weekend I said the Z-line Design car has been really quick. We've had the potential to win this race, and we showed today we're in the battle, and unfortunately we didn't get first but it was a good day.

Q. Will Power, I wanted to see, just to clarify, what happened when you got passed over here. The television feed as well as the race printout said your crew reported that you accidentally hit the "pit" button. Was it that or you got stuck?
WILL POWER: No, it got stuck in first gear, had nothing to do with the pit button, I've never had to press it off so definitely not. It just -- I don't know, it's never happened before and it didn't happen again after. It just got stuck in first. Yeah. I don't know why.

Q. Will Power, being the racer that you are and the realist that you are, you knew this man wasn't going to go on forever and you're still getting a good finish out of it. Talk about heading to the ovals with the points lead you've got.
WILL POWER: I'm looking forward to Kansas. It will be -- I'm sure we'll have a pretty good car and, you know, I'm well aware the guys I'll be racing will have more experience than me racing actually in the race. So, um, you know, I'll be disappointed if I'm not running at the front, and I expect to be. We'll see when we get there.

Q. Justin you've had some tough luck in Long Beach. Do you think about that, all the situations where you had the best car and something has gone wrong?
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I think the one that stands out was '08 when the engine let go. I was chuckling to myself when I saw Will struggling out of the hairpin this time, wow, it's turned around! But it was only stuck in gear. That's just how it goes, you can't get too wound up about it. You've got to keep battling and giving yourself the opportunities, and today could have, you know, easily gone our way as well, so you've got to keep pushing every time and eventually it will turn right.
I'm pleased with the result. Also, I think it's great for Ryan. He's done a great job all weekend. He's been quick from the first lap we did on Friday, so congratulations to him. He's done the work and he got everything right.
I thought I had a good car but he definitely did a great job.

Q. As drivers who have changed teams in recent memories, can you describe can you describe what it's like for Ryan who doesn't have a full-time ride yet to have the pressure to perform and maybe a little relief at getting a win while he has an uncertain future?
WILL POWER: Yeah, he's doing the job; he's quick enough and I was in a similar situation last year with only selected races, and you've got to do a good job every time you're in the car and not push past the limit and end up in the wall. He's doing that and he deserved the win today. He was very fast and like Justin said, he was quick all weekend. Andretti picked up the pace, and they're right there now. Like I predicted, the championship is going to be tight, and you're going to see a lot of different race winners, and Ryan deserves a full-time ride, and I'm pretty sure he will get one, you know, the way he's going.
JUSTIN WILSON: He can't do much more. He's getting stronger, working with the race team every weekend, and here he is winning the race. He's a professional, doing the perfect job and somebody has to pick him up.

Q. Justin, had you not had that incident with the wing and had not got out of sequence from your pit stop would you have had anything for Ryan?
JUSTIN WILSON: I don't know. Ryan was quick and we seemed to be on the same fuel strategy. We pitted three or four laps early because we got stuck behind traffic. Ryan managed to get by one of the lap cars and, again, the guy didn't want to let me by. He was making life very hard, so we decided to dive in the pits rather than keep losing time. Other than that, you know, we were running a similar pace all the race, it seemed like we were getting similar fuel mileage. I don't know if I had anything for him today; he did a great job. That's just how it goes.

Q. Justin, you've proven how good you are on street and road courses. How much do you think you've elevated your competitiveness as you head into the oval course of the season?
JUSTIN WILSON: I'm looking forward to the ovals, like Will, looking forward to it. I think we have an opportunity of being close to the front, maybe not challenging for the win but I think we can be much further up, and I feel I've got a lot more confidence. I know what I want from the car and how to get it.
I'm looking forward to learning from Dreyer & Reinbold. They've done a lot of oval racing, and my engineer is more in tune with the oval racing, that's where his background is, so I think the two of us working together is quite a good combination, so a lot to learn and I'm looking forward to it.

Q. Justin, particularly with your performance, when do we stop thinking of Dreyer & Reinbold as a little team and that they're in the next echelon?
JUSTIN WILSON: For me it happened about four months ago when I went to the workshop; I saw the potential there and everything they were working on. It's a great team. Everything is coming together. A little bit of continuity is going a long ways because I think we have all the right parts and the pieces to the puzzle, the personnel and the work that they do.
It's just going to take a little bit of time for us all to get used to each other and, you know, we go through the weekend and develop the car and you think, well, if only we could start the weekend like this, so that's where the continuity is going to come in.

Q. Justin, and Will, if you want to comment, the difference between the reds and the blacks today and also marbles off line? Were there fewer opportunities to pass? Were the track conditions good?
JUSTIN WILSON: I found both tires to be very similar, first when we put the black Firestones on I was a little bit off on time and then about five, six laps later I went quicker, and it kept getting stronger and stronger, so I was reasonably happy with my black tires, and we opted to run a second set of blacks for the last part, so there was quite a few marbles off line, so I think that shows the pace and the number of cars.
There was no time to sweep the track or anything, and most of it was clear.
WILL POWER: He covered it all, man, what can I say? The black took a long time to come on for me, and they stayed pretty strong. The reds, yeah, I considered using reds in the last stint but I didn't want to take the risk. Our car was a little too much on the nose so, yeah. I think next year they'll come back with a softer black, actually, because they took a little bit too long to come on.

Q. Is Ryan the best American driver in this series? What is his potential to be the next American star?
JUSTIN WILSON: Definitely today, he won the race, so I would say he's very, very good. You know, I've seen how he's matured over the last couple of years in difficult situations and kept his head up and when he got the opportunities making the most of it.
I don't know if I'm the right person to say he's the best American driver but definitely feel like it today.
WILL POWER: He's doing a really good job, you know, he's just -- I think as a driver you've just got to keep working away at it and keep learning and getting better because everyone else is. If you don't, you're going to get passed, because that's how the sport is, it's ever-evolving, and he's right there.

Q. Will, did you find out what turned your tongue orange?
WILL POWER: I don't know, I don't know if they --
JUSTIN WILSON: I reckon it was Helio.
WILL POWER: Probably was. I see it's all stained, yeah, yeah. (Laughter.)

Q. What lap did your car stick in first gear?
WILL POWER: It must have been lap 15 --
THE MODERATOR: 18.
WILL POWER: Yeah.

Q. Who was the driver that cut you off?
JUSTIN WILSON: That was Alex.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on the podium finishes for Justin and Will Power. We'll see you at Kansas.

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