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IZOD IndyCar Series: Kentucky Indy 300

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Kentucky Indy 300

IZOD IndyCar Series: Kentucky Indy 300

Helio Castroneves
September 4, 2010


THE MODERATOR: Congratulations.
We're now joined by tonight's race winner Helio Castroneves of Team Penske. It is Helio's second win of the 2010 season. He previously won this year at Barber Motorsports Park. This is Helio's first win at Kentucky. He has finished in the top 5 eight of nine starts at the track. Helio, talk about that fuel gamble tonight.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Just a little correction, it was the third win. (Laughter.)
Anyway, man, let me tell you, incredible job from Team Penske. We started the race, basically the crowd wasn't the fastest but it wasn't the slowest. It actually was a pretty good balance, just kind of like feel it to see what's going to happen, especially when you're coming from a day practice and go straight to the cool temperatures, so the car normally changes a little bit.
But we were right there. You know, it was very tough, a lot of people kind of like trying to choose their line, and those are the times that you've got to be really careful.
We had a little -- we came to the pits, I'm not sure if it was the first pit stop. I think it was the first pit stop, and we had a miscommunication there because the right rear, he actually put the wheel on, but the crew chief saw it wasn't on, so we kind of like -- one people were screaming they're ready to go, go, go, and the guy on top of me is like, no, stay, so I'm kind of like -- I thought it was with the fuel, and man, thanks God nobody -- it was just a miscommunication. Actually we ended up losing about ten positions.
And again, the genius Tim Cindric came with a great idea, and he said, let's stop at the end of this yellow and hope for the best in the end. But this is what it takes. You know, the guy already making a bet right at the beginning.
We went back, we stayed about there, about tenth position I would say, kind of saving fuel, and all of a sudden he's just like, try to make this number. I was like, that's going to be impossible, man. He was already thinking to make a number that would be very difficult. But when we pitted the last time, he just said you've got to make this number because we have nothing to lose, and we're definitely going to pay off.
And then flashes of the race in 2008 started coming back to me, and when we started saving fuel, and from the voice of Cindric I know that we've got to save fuel. So I started making the number, and from there on it was just like slowing down even more. We were about 207, 205. I know I was probably 12 miles an hour slower than the leaders.
But towards the end when he said you're the leader, go for it, I could not believe it. I'm like, can I use the Push-to-Pass? He's like, yeah. And then we started back on 215s, 216s, I think.
What people don't realize, when you start running that slow the balance of the car changes quite a bit, so it becomes harder driving slower than actually faster. What a great day, situation. Misfortune that happened in the pits turned out to be the key of this win, and I'm so thankful for my group, especially having so many injuries throughout the entire season, they deserve that. I'm extremely happy.
Unfortunately the championship chances are, right now for us, it's not -- it's gone, I believe. And now for Will, we just want to make sure we bring this Championship to Team Penske, and that's going to be our goal.

Q.. What did you actually believe Tim?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: That's a very good question. You know me very well. Even he was telling me, trust me. It was about lap 25, 20 when started to be able to making the fuel. As soon as I started making that number -- and he mentioned something that was the key of like, listen, if the yellow comes then we'll deal with it. And it was true. Thank God from the pass, the yellow not coming in the end, it ended up paying off. So about 20 laps I was -- I believed it, too.

Q.. (Indiscernible.)
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, that proved that sometimes you've got to do everything you can to save the fuel and to save enough -- to finish. When you're running back there about ten cars or nine cars, whatever, in front of you, you create this pocket of air that actually helps you to save fuel. And amazing, we were right there, just taking it easy. I saw Dixon there. I saw Will -- I thought Will was doing the same thing, and I'm like, okay, everybody is being smart here.
But I actually -- I was already lifting back there and still following everyone, doing about 212s, 213s, saving fuel, but to a point that we need to have to make this number, and I used exactly the same experience in 2008 to save enough fuel, and this time it paid off.

Q.. (Indiscernible.)
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yep, and today we proved that.

Q.. You've lost a couple of these races. How does it feel to win one?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Oh, it's a great feeling in the world, because you've got to bet this strategy very early, and that's what happened to us. You've got to believe it. All the chips end up playing in our favor. But again, at the end of the day, I also believed it towards the end.
When I saw the numbers and when I saw the meter in my car, I said, wow, it looks really good. When he said five laps to go, I'm like, I think I do have enough fuel to push a little bit harder. But at the end of the day you still want to make sure because sometimes the numbers say something and it might be wrong. But thank God it was not wrong, and it feels great. I'm very happy for the entire team.

Q.. (Indiscernible.)
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I saw him grab his shirt, but I'm on probation, so I couldn't do anything. It was great to see Charles there again, as I said, Charles in Edmonton, he was the key guy to calm me down. Unfortunately people saw the TV and had a different opinion, even that it looks like I was arguing with him, but I was just asking for some answers.
And Charles is here to protect us, and that's -- I prefer to see Charles back there on the racetrack helping me and kind of like saving me from the fans. It was a great feeling.

Q.. Kind of a follow-up to that, you talked about Charles protecting you (indiscernible).
HELIO CASTRONEVES: True, and again, I have to thank him to be right there. And I do believe myself and all the drivers appreciate his presence on the racetrack, because he is experienced on the police and all the experience that he has being a guy on the other side, on the security side, it's really valuable to us, and I really appreciate that. So today was a great day to see him there, like I always want to see him.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, Helio, and see you in Motegi. Oh, one more.

Q.. Where do you see the next 200 races taking the series?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: The series definitely is getting better. Maybe it was a rough start, but I see a big light at the end of the tunnel here, and it's not the train coming at us. It's certainly -- IZOD have come on board, and you can see how many cars we already have. You can see how the buzz is around. I thought it was a pretty good crowd today.
And with Randy understanding how the series is and understanding -- taking his steps which I believe will benefit everybody, now the drivers are getting together trying to make it better to everybody else, everyone. When you see that kind of system, that kind of way going, I mean, it's just for better.
So 200 is great. I hope we will be here many more. And just, as I said, I see a very bright future on the IZOD IndyCar Series and hope that I will be part of it.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Helio. Congratulations.

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