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IZOD IndyCar Series: Honda Indy Toronto

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Honda Indy Toronto

IZOD IndyCar Series: Honda Indy Toronto

Helio Castroneves
Scott Dixon
Dario Franchitti
Ryan Hunter-Reay
Will Power
Justin Wilson
July 17, 2010


TORONTO, ONTARIO

THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the Fast Six press conference. Justin Wilson is the polesitter for tomorrow's Honda Indy Toronto. This is Justin's first IZOD IndyCar Series pole. New IZOD IndyCar Series track record.
Will Power qualified second. His third consecutive front row start. This is Power's and Dario's top five start of the season.
Helio Castroneves will start third.
Ryan Hunter-Reay, best start since Long Beach, and we have Scott Dixon.
Second place, Will, can you give us your impression of your place, your ranking, what to expect for tomorrow.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, after practice, I'm pretty happy with second place. Yeah, it's a strange track. You got really fast on some used tires. Justin made an incredibly quick time, Fast Six was tough to beat.
There's a little mayhem in turn one and three. I think we'll have a good race tomorrow. I'm not sure if it's going to rain or what the weather is going to be. That will mix things up if it happens. We just got to be solid, keep getting these points and beat all these guys here.
THE MODERATOR: Helio, we'll ask the same for you.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, certainly follow up what William or Billy Power said (laughter). Certainly the track helps a lot on old tires. For us, we ended up being more safe than taking a chance using our second sets of reds on qualifying. We could have taken a chance and have a chance for the pole position. Sometimes, with these kind of conditions so close, it's better to start P3 than P7.
We're quite happy with the balance of the car, especially on the long run.
THE MODERATOR: Ryan Hunter-Reay, tell us how things have evolved, already once on the podium this weekend.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: We're a little disappointed with fourth. I was hoping with a front-row start. We can work from fourth. These street and road course qualifyings have been so intense in IndyCar. The competition this year, it's so much fun to finally have it back to where it should be. I remember a few years ago you put in a good lap, you thought it was good enough. Now you put in a good lap, you know it's not good enough, you cannot dig deep enough.
It's good to be up here with these guys. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have a clean race and get a lot of passing done. Long straights, get down in the hairpin, make it a good show for the fans.
THE MODERATOR: Dario, tell us about your run today and how you feel.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Normally wouldn't be happy with fifth, but had a difficult practice yesterday. A great turnaround by the guys at Team Target to get the cars up there. Each of the qualifying segments, I felt like they were some of my best laps ever around here.
Unfortunately, when it came to the Fast Six, we had already used our reds, much like Helio said, to make sure we got ourselves in the Fast Six, or give ourselves the best chance to get in the Fast Six. It was as good as we could get.
I think Ryan's point was very well made. The competition level is so tough. On the one hand it's a pain in the butt because you're constantly just pushing, pushing, but it's great for the IndyCar Series.
THE MODERATOR: Scott?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, you know, the sessions, first one went pretty smooth. I think three of us in the top six used our red sets before the final qualifying. So that made it a little bit tougher.
But, yeah, this track, it's a ton of fun. When you have your cumulative set, up and down, up and down, up and down, it gets quite frustrating because the track is so technical and it's easy to make a little mistakes when you can be up a couple of 10ths.
Not too bad. I think sixth is still a good starting position for the Team Target, which is good. Definitely a lot of hard work. With the competition being so close, I think it was a 10th of a second to third place today. Definitely very tight, but pretty happy.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, questions.

Q. Dario, when you won here in '99, you started second. Last year you won from the pole. How difficult is it going to be to try to defend your championship from fifth?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It's going to be very tough, you know, not only because of the qualifying position but because of the competition as well. It's so difficult for this track anyway. Like Scott said, very technical, very easy to make a mistake.
Fighting against these guys, it's going to be a tough day. We hope we can do that. That's why we're here. Team Target, we'll see what we can do.

Q. How much are you guys driving blind around here in terms of which corner is really the worst in terms of going into a blind corner?
WILL POWER: Six.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: But that's part of the fun of street course racing, figuring out what's on the other side of it, figuring out the line.

Q. What is it about six that is so difficult?
WILL POWER: It's jagged. I think Matos hit it in practice. It's hard to judge how close you can go.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Especially with that sponsor logo. It's a funny color. Difficult to see the wall. Easy to do what Matos did. Long wall. You're in it for a ton of time. Three quarters of the way through it you can see the exit, but by that time you've committed to full throttle.

Q. Dario, you talk about tough competition, but these street races sometimes turn out to be fuel mileage events.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: That's part of the balancing act. I think looking at the fuel mileage we're getting with the Honda engine, I don't think tomorrow will be a fuel mileage race. I think in the past you could take an extreme strategy, but I don't see that right now.

Q. Helio, you talked about running a safe lap in qualifying. Last year you weren't able to finish. What are you going to do differently? Are you going to keep it safe during the race or what do you have to do?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Well, I certainly want to stay away from P.T. (laughter). I'm sure he's going to try as hard as he can. I'm sure he will be there at the end of the race competing for the victory.
But, you know, top three. Seeing the way these guys are going, it's going to be a tough race. As Dario said, last year I was going for fuel strategy, when you have the opportunity to save fuel. Now everybody is in the same boat. It might be much harder to do something like that.
I don't think this year is going to forgive somebody that just is playing safe because it's so hard. You've got to push all the time, but stay out of trouble, otherwise somebody going to end up push you. It's a fun place. It's going to be tough. You can see everybody here, sweat. But hopefully it will be an exciting, fun race for everyone.

Q. Ryan, your team owner, Michael Andretti, won here several times. Has he given you any pointers on how to win here?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Yeah, he gave me some insights into a couple of the corners. Unfortunately I wasn't able to do the track walk on Thursday. But, yeah, he didn't come over and have a little session. He keeps to himself on his own. When you want to ask, we get it from him. He knows his way around here probably better than anybody. I got some insight on two corners.
THE MODERATOR: Polesitter for tomorrow's race, Justin Wilson. This is Justin's first IZOD IndyCar Series pole. His lap was a track record also. Congratulations.

Q. Justin, it seems to do well at this track you have to have some experience on it. When you won here in 2006, you started from the pole. In 2005 you finished third here. How much of that experience helps what you did today?
JUSTIN WILSON: I think it's very useful to know what you're looking for in the car. I've experienced how to make the car work around here. I've experienced how to make it not work. I've made mistakes here. I've gone the one direction and not gotten the lap time you're expecting. It's hard to focus on what's going to give you the best results. I think it's the straights we're going to focus on.

Q. Can all of you talk about the car for 2012?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I haven't seen that much information about it. I think it's a little bit lighter, is that correct? If we could get the power up, that's good. I like the idea of the body being open. Good to get some more freedom in the suspension and the mechanical side of things. I think it's a step in the right direction.
I don't think we can take a short-term view of this. We'll know it's a success if we look two, three, four years down the road. Again, with one thing I said the other day when I was asked that question, you have to take your hat off to the delta wing guys. Obviously Chip, our boss, was involved in it. It got people thinking, concept car, coming up with some decent ideas again rather than being happy with the status quo.

Q. Justin, it's been a while since Dennis has won an IndyCar race. Tomorrow you're in a good place to get Dennis his first win. Talk about how you've been able to bring some of these back-of-the-pack teams up to the front.
JUSTIN WILSON: It's one step at a time. There's still a lot we can get caught out on tomorrow. We have to do our homework tonight. Make sure we understand the car, get the car to work on full tanks, red tires, black tires. We want the whole package.
You know, we'll just take it one step at a time. We have a good car now, but I don't want to get into the pattern of relaxing tonight, thinking we've done our job for the weekend. Still a long way to go.
I think we can find more speed yet. So the car is always going to be a handful around this track. It still is. It's just we have a little bit better handle than some of the others. But they're not going to sit still tonight. We have to work hard.
It would be great to get a win, but I'd say one step at a time.
THE MODERATOR: Your Firestone Fast Six for tomorrow. Have a good race tomorrow.



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