IZOD IndyCar Series: Honda Indy Toronto
Topics: Honda Indy Toronto
July 18, 2010
THE MODERATOR: We're now join by our second- and third-place finishers, Dario Franchitti and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
2009 race winner Dario Franchitti finished second, his fifth podium finish in the 2010 season. He remains second in the championship standings, 42 points behind Will Power. Ryan Hunter-Reay finished third, his sixth top-10 finish of the season. Ryan surpassed Helio Castroneves to move into fifth in the overall points standings.
We'll start with you, Ryan. Talk about today's race and particularly the contact with Scott Dixon towards the end.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: It was a really tough race today from the word 'go.' It was like a football game out there. Everybody was hitting each other, getting nasty for a while.
But we were struggling with the car for a while. Seems like everybody was at some point other than Wilson and Power at times. Seems like Power was even struggling. It was just doing what you could do to keep it off the walls. I was backing the car into the corners quite often, thought I lost it four or five times.
It came down to with Dixon on a restart. He just blocked the inside all the way down, left barely a car width in there. I just shoved it in there and got it done clean. But he tried to run side-by-side with me through there and there just wasn't any room. He ended up going over my left front tire, getting airborne. I don't know if he continued or not.
It knocked the left rear tow out, for sure, because I had a hard timekeeping it in line. We were lucky to finish third considering that.
For the most part the racing was pretty clean with these guys. With Helio, Dario, Wilson, the racing ends up being clean and good for the show.
THE MODERATOR: Dario, if you could talk about today's race, the physical nature of this event.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, it was pretty physical out there. It seemed especially when the tires were new, there was a lot of grip. Then as you started to lose grip, you had to really start catching the car and chasing the car around a bit.
We were, and I think everybody pretty much was, but when I was racing with Will and Justin were just pushing a hundred percent. You know, that's tough to do all day. But it's the level you've got to work at.
The key moments really were those last restarts. Justin looked like he was struggling to get up to speed on the reds. Will almost crashed in one. I thought I'd get him there, but he kind of carted me a bit down the back straight into three. I would have done the same to him, so it wasn't anything too bad (laughter).
But, yeah, that point was one of the keys. Also when we thought we were leading the race, we thought we'd gain an advantage by pitting as we approached traffic that was running a lot slower. We pitted a lap before Justin. Will and Justin both jumped me in that sequence, so that didn't work out so well.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.
Q. After today's physical race where there was a lot of contact out there, now you go to a physically demanding course next week at Edmonton. Talk about how tough that track is one week after here.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: It's certainly tough. This place, though, with the bumps... I mean, Edmonton is pretty physical, but this place is darn physical, too. I would think just as physical with all the bumps here, how you got to hold onto the car. It's extremely tough.
You know, we're going into Edmonton. There's some big curves you got to hop there. I'm not looking forward to that with the thumb thing going on. But it is what it is. We'll have to head there and hope for another good finish.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, it's just part of it. You got to get on with it, you know. That's why we work so hard in the gym. That's one of the reasons we get paid to do this. You've got to be physically fit enough to keep on going, yeah.
But next week will be very tough. I don't think there's many tracks as physical as Edmonton. I think it reminds me a little of Cleveland somewhat, so bumpy, those long, long corners that keep pulling on your muscles.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Never ends.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Wears you out.
Q. When you have so many cautions, do you have a hard time keeping your frustrations down? Is that why we saw so much action towards the end of the race?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: The only time I got frustrated with the cautions was when I'm leading and got a gap (laughter). Otherwise I see it as an opportunity to pass the guys in front. I wasn't too worried about that.
Today, it was so difficult to get back up to speed once you put a heat cycle through the tires. We saw everybody just really hanging on. That made it a little bit different than usual maybe.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: The first two or three laps after a caution, it was literally like driving on ice out there. We definitely earned the money today doing that because it was so tough.
I couldn't really figure out why it was that bad. All weekend it's taken like six, seven laps to get a lap time in. So at one bit I was frustrated, but I also looked at it as an opportunity. You knew everybody was just going to be sliding around. There was a good chance for another pile-up.
But the yellows are frustrating and they break up the show a bit. But also it's good action, you know, because you get a lot of guys going for those passes.
I'm not sure what's best for the crowd or TV, but I'm sure everybody would like to see the field stacked up and everybody shoving it down the inside of each other.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Ultimately there's no choice. The way the cars were parked and all those things, there was no choice but to throw a yellow. There was not any sort of soft yellows or debris yellows or those phantom things. It was because cars, normally because multiple cars, were parked somewhere.
Q. Will Power seems to own road courses and street courses. There are ovals at the end of the year. Do you need to stay close to him and try to get it out on ovals at the end?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: We're trying to beat him. I think today we had as good a car as he did. We just made that gamble on the strategy. That allowed him to get back past us in the pits. For me, that was all there was to it.
Last year it worked out for us. The strategy we chose today, it didn't, and that's the way it is sometimes. But he's done a helluva job. We need to do at least as well as we did today with the car. We've got to keep making progress, because if you stand still, you're going to get passed by four or five different cars just the next week because the speed of development in the series is pretty intense right now, even though we've had cars for such a long time.
Q. When you look at the track, they're going to make improvements next year, what would you like as drivers to see improvements here to the Honda Indy Toronto?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: I kind of like it.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I was going to say, I like it. The curb in turn 10 was starting to come up a little bit during the race today. It was a new one, it was starting to flake up. Maybe the backstretch because you're kind of avoiding the bumps. By avoiding the bumps, you're naturally blocking the car behind you.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: That's true.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: If they did that, improve the runoff into five maybe. Apart from that, have at it. I like it.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Yeah, it's part of the show. This place is known for that. You've got to set the car up that way. The guys that take more risk in qualifying end up qualifying up front. It's part of it.
I don't think it would be a good show if every track we went to was nice and smooth.
THE MODERATOR: We'll wrap things up. Thank you very much and we'll see you in Edmonton.
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