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IZOD IndyCar Series: Indy Japan 300

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Indy Japan 300

IZOD IndyCar Series: Indy Japan 300

Dario Franchitti
September 19, 2010


MOTEGI, JAPAN

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on the podium here and we'll see you in Miami.
We are now joined by our second place finish, Dario Franchitti City of Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
A couple notes, the second-place finish, matched a career best for Dario, he finished second here in 2000 and 2009, and the second place finish also earned Dario the inaugural IZOD IndyCar Series A.J. Foyt Oval Championship title. And as we mentioned earlier, Dario now sits second in the overall championship, 12 points behind Will.
Talk about today's race and how important it was to finish ahead of Will.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, it was an interesting race. This is a great track. It always produces pretty good racing, especially on the starts and the restarts. You know, both Ryan and Helio were clearly very fast today. I was able to -- I was a bit better than those guys on the restarts, but then they were a bit quicker after that, certainly Helio was.
But I had some very interesting times with Ryan through turns three and four running side-by-side and that was pretty exciting and he was absolutely -- well it was great, 100% fair and we were inches apart.
That's what it's all about. That's part of the fun of being here and doing that.
Yeah, through the race, I managed to get up to second, and Helio was clearly very, very quick. And it was looking, at one point under a yellow, will told me it was ninth or tenth, and I thought, that's a pretty good points spread and see if we can get Helio and make even more points up but it wasn't possible.
I think Will's crew did a pretty good job and got him back into the running there. And at the end there I was kind of trying to manage the tire a little bit, and I was able to kind of stay about four car lengths ahead. He got a little close one time, but then he was back.
Yeah, not a bad day. Not a bad day. I think the Target guys did a good job. I think we made one small mistake with the setup that maybe ultimately cost us some overall lap time, but it's all to -- it's now all to play for in Homestead.
THE MODERATOR: And I know that right now you guys are focused on the overall championship but I do want to get your thoughts, especially someone who appreciates the history of the sport, winning the inaugural A.J. Foyt Oval Championship.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, I'm very proud of that. It's a great thing to share with my team and especially something with -- the fans voted for A.J. for the oval trophy and Mario Andretti for the road course, and I can't think of two better champions to name the trophies after. So I'm very privileged to have won that award, and now we have got to go after the big one.

Q. You talk about managing the tires, can you describe more about how you do that?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Just the balance of the car. The tire works very, very well but if the tire is slightly out of balance, if the front is sliding or the rear is sliding it can cost you a lap time. So the trick is really to get the car as close to neutral balance as you can and I was just working with that and trying not to sort of abuse the tire when the car was slightly out of balance today.
So yeah, that was a challenge, and then it the back markers were pretty interesting, they seemed to want to let you through right in the middle of turns three and four, the one place in the track you can't go side-by-side, so I'm not quite sure what some of them were thinking, but anyway. That was the hardest part of the day.
It's funny with, this track, it's every time you come down turns three and four, you're trying to make it as perfect as you possibly can, the perfect entry, the perfect line, get back on the power, exactly the right spot, and then just balance the car all the way out to the wall. And every single lap you come down and you're just focused on making it right and that's the key to this track. Great track. A lot of fun.

Q. Will Power never raced here before and was able to get a third place finish? What do you think of that?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, I think Will did a good job today.

Q. But I mean, this is a tough track, for a guy to come here the first time out. What was it like when you came here the first out?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: The first time I came here there was though hotel here. I came here in 1997, the first time I ever drove for Team KOOL Green was here, we tested when the track was first opened. So been coming here a while.

Q. As far as Ryan, how big of a relief was it to have him behind you, because there was more points that Penske could have probably helped Will with?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Would have been nice if he was between Will and I.
No, you're just going for every single position, aren't you, and that was key today. Ryan and I, as I said, had some great races today and some really close battles. Yeah, it was a lot of fun.

Q. Will has never actually raced at Homestead, and you've got experience there. I mean, I know anything can happen, but how confident are you and will that give you much of an advantage?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I don't think it will. You know, when you get to this level, you've got to be -- you've got to be able to speed up very quickly. It was like last year I went to Edmonton, first time I had been there and a lot of guys had done quite a lot of races there, so you've just got to get out there and get on the pace quickly and Will has done that here. I don't see any reason he wouldn't do that at Homestead. We've just got to make sure we beat him.

Q. 12 points, does that make you feel better going into there?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Better than 17, not as good -- it is what it is, and you've just got to -- it's a mountain to climb. It's an obstacle to jump over, or whatever. It's there in front of us and we are going to try and get ahead of him by the end of the race at Homestead.

Q. Those qualifying points could be huge --
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Who knows. Who knows.

Q. You have a lot of experience at Homestead, do you have big advantage for Will Power?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think we already answered that.

Q. How do you need something to do for Homestead, for your team?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: We are testing there a week -- a week tomorrow, actually, we are testing there. Hopefully we'll get the answers then.

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