IZOD IndyCar Series: Indianapolis 500
Topics: Indianapolis 500
May 30, 2010
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, Alex. Talk about your day.
ALEX LLOYD: What a day. I knew we had a good car. You know, I was optimistic before the race because I knew we worked basically solidly all month on race setup. People say, Your speeds are okay, you made it in the field, that's a great job. I knew we were certainly a lot quicker than where we qualified. I knew our biggest forté would be racing.
We were conservative with our setup. We started our first run of the day and had a good car. From that moment we never really tried to reinvent the wheel. Kept tweaking on it, playing with it, worked on our racecars, didn't try to take downforce off. Today we were conservative with downforce. We knew it was hot. Turned out hotter than anybody imagined yesterday by a few degrees. We saw on the grid a few people trimmed out. I thought, from my few years of experience now, that just doesn't seem like the way to go.
So, yeah, I mean, the car was great from the beginning. I knew we had to be patient and work our way through. We did that bit by bit. Great work by the Boy Scouts guys in the pits. Good restarts. My spotter did an excellent job calling it for me. I have to thank the Boy Scouts of America. A lot of key people, individuals, that have come for this event. We've had a stuff start to the year, no doubt about it. I'm glad the fact that Dale Coyne and Gail put me in, getting in these cars, we showed we're a small team, but we can fight with the big guns and go knocking on the door of an Indy 500 win.
Big day for all of us. We're truly thrilled. Maybe better than I even anticipated. If I thought about the perfect day with no mistakes, I thought we could be solidly in the top 10. Great strategy by the guys. Here we are. Pretty amazing day.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Alex, you said the other day you were keen on a top-10 finish. Were you ever close to an accident?
ALEX LLOYD: No, I never had any close moments. Normally in this case there's always some close moments. The first year I didn't finish the race. Second year I did. Had a pretty solid day. There were some pretty close moments.
In this, no major dramas. The car was really that good. We didn't have any dramas. I could be very patient. The accidents come in this racetrack when you're not quick enough and you're trying to hold it flat behind somebody in the dirty air, it washes up. When you're quick enough, you don't need to drive it over the limit, you can just drive it to that limit, things come a lot smoother.
It was a real smooth day for us out there. Nothing major. A couple times I tried to go around the outside and the restart after they swept the track. It was still a few marbles down there. Lost a little bit of grip, a couple of guys went by. But it was a matter of staying patient.
If something happened like that, you got to back out of it, just back out of it. Lose the spots, go work on it again. I think that's what paid off for us today, we didn't get carried away, kept working, kept saving fuel. We saved a lot of fuel.
I figured out a way of how I could save fuel and still get good runs on people at the end. It was lifting a lot going into turns one and three, saving the fuel, but then keeping it hammered through the exit of one, exit of two, and saving through three and four, get a good run out. Meant I could jump some spots while saving fuel. That was really the key for us. We were going to have a pretty good day up until then anyway. When I kind of figured out how to do that, how to get through, that was really where we started to charge through. A couple laps ago I got the green light to go race. That was a nice feeling. All this work, you're so worried if we have to pit now, it's for nothing. But the guys did a great job. They called it perfectly. We had just enough fuel to get ourselves in it pits. That's all we needed. Didn't need any more. That was a great job.
I think just as I got past Dixon on that straight that I passed him, going into turn one, I got, Go, you have the green light, race this thing to the finish. At that point I could shift down a gear, get the car really working. I knew it was hooked up, I could stand on it, chase down as many as I could. It was one of those days where things work out. Went perfect for us. We didn't make any mistakes. Key to this race: Make no mistakes, drive hard.
I tried to find the balance of driving as aggressively as I could and being patient, too. I think we found that pretty well today. That enabled us to make positions when we needed to, enabled us to not take any silly chances, too. Great day for the Boy Scouts guys.
Q. Your IndyCar career has been a little bit of an exercise in frustration for you the last few years. Here you are with a team that doesn't have the resources and you're in the press center. Do you feel vindicated? Are you going to go home tonight and pump your fists a little bit more than you are right now?
ALEX LLOYD: I think I probably am. About 20 laps to go, maybe 15, when we started making some moves, we were coming through pretty quickly, I tell you, I started shouting in my helmet a little bit, C'mon. I was getting excited. I was really pumped up, ready to go. Not the best thing to do when you're trying to save fuel. The guys don't want that. I felt like I figured something out that I could save the fuel, make positions. I was pumped.
Like I say, it's been a tough road since the Indy Lights championship in '07. I've kept my head high and I kept working hard. I think a big part of that is my family. I've got my wife, my two daughters now, which is even more motivation to work hard and get results like this because at the end of the day I've got to figure out how to put food on the table. When you're not getting many drives, it's not the easiest thing in the world.
This is an exciting day for us. I have to thank my mum and my dad, my whole family. I've had a lot of support these last few years and I've needed it. As I said, when you have two young children, you're scrounging around for a drive, after 2007 when everything went perfect, the start of this year, things didn't go as planned for the first few races, you just have to keep digging.
They try and teach in the Scouts, never give up, all these great morals. It's kind of pretty fitting today that that's what we've been through as a family the last couple years. Now we're here on the podium of the Indy 500. It's a great feeling. Again, I just got to thank Gail and Dale Coyne for giving me this opportunity. Haven't done many races the last couple years. Three IndyCar races in two years. There's a lot of other guys out there he could have picked over me, guys with more experience. But he didn't. He picked me. I'm thrilled to be able to deliver him a result of the biggest race in the world.
Q. When you took off and owned the Firestone Indy Lights Series, I know you had in mind the next step is right there. Did you ever have doubts that people thought it was luck what you did in Indy Lights in 2007? Did you doubt yourself?
ALEX LLOYD: I didn't doubt myself. You always have your up-and-down points. That's where family come back in to pick you back up. If I was doing this on my own, probably would have had some tough moments. But at the end of the day it's about bouncing back from those tough moments.
I've been working as hard as I can possibly work. I just figured, if I keep working, if I do everything to the best of my ability, I know I can do the job. I just need that opportunity. The opportunity came this year. Today we really had a great car. The guys worked so hard since Kansas we struggled. We didn't have our best car. We realized that we needed to step up our game.
But the difference in two, three weeks' time is unbelievable. You know, I think it's going to take a little while to sink in, how this race has gone. You wouldn't have predicted it given the start to the year that we had. I knew the quality of people we had on the team, the motivation we have, you can achieve a lot of things with willpower. The Boy Scouts, we have millions of scouts out there, 50 million alumni cheering us on. I can feel that excitement from all the Boy Scouts, all the people I've met over the last few months. That definitely helps motivate me, motivates the whole team to produce a result like this.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
ALEX LLOYD: Thank you.
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