IZOD IndyCar Series: Firestone 550K
Topics: Firestone 550K
June 5, 2010
FORT WORTH, TEXAS
THE MODERATOR: We're joined in the media center by tonight's second-place finisher, Danica Patrick. It's Danica's career-best finish at Texas Motor Speedway and fourth consecutive top-10 finish at TMS. It's her first top-five finish of the season. You led your first laps of the season. Talk about your run tonight.
DANICA PATRICK: Shoot, I thought there would be more people in here (laughter).
You know, it was a really good night for me. I dropped back a little bit in the beginning, then as the stint was a really long one, we had a good setup on the car, we had good grip through the whole run. I was able to really make up a lot of positions in that first stint.
Unfortunately, none of the stints were extremely long after that, and there wasn't much pack running. But the car was really good. We just made a couple little wing adjustments in the race. I mean, I was just glued to the white line on that last stint.
You know, the guys did such a good job on the pit stops, I know it's easy under pressure like that to feel that, but they did a great job. In our pit stop, you know, we came out ahead. Just drove around the outside of me and there's not much I can do except swerve and drive into the side of him, but that doesn't get you real far.
He did a good job. He was fast. He won it. But it was a good day.
THE MODERATOR: Open it up for questions.
Q. How does it feel to be in here with some good news for once?
DANICA PATRICK: Well, I think there's been good news throughout the season really. You know, it was a good weekend last weekend in Indy. It's a good weekend here in Texas.
You know, sometimes the little victories that I have throughout the season are not necessarily obvious on the track. Maybe they're another aspect of what I'm doing, winning little victories here and there to get everything in line to be able to perform from top to bottom on race day.
I've been working hard all season. I think that it's just really nice to have a result to show for how hard I've been working and how hard all the team has been working, as well.
Q. Danica, two weeks ago people were booing you at the Speedway. This week you got them on their feet cheering. How does that make you feel?
DANICA PATRICK: You know, there were a few boos. But I don't get to hear that. I'm trying to think. There's a movie. I'm not going to get long-winded and tell you my stupid story. But as a driver, you never get to hear those things out there.
But when you get out of the car, you do. You know, the fans were great after Indy, as well. I heard them cheering and chanting my name. The fans were excited before we even came down the steps to go out onto the track and race today.
The fans are always really excited at Texas and it's always nice to be loved.
THE MODERATOR: We're now joined by tonight's third-place finisher, Marco Andretti. Career best finish for Marco at Texas Motor Speedway, second consecutive top-five finish at TMS. Your third top-five finish of the season. Marco, talk about your run tonight.
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, it was a long night. You know, I think the good thing about places like this, good cars, no matter how many times you go to the back, you can keep bringing it to the front.
Fortunately the high groove was working again for me tonight or else it would have been a lot tougher to come back through.
A great team effort for Andretti Autosport. The Venom car was good all night. We were front back, front back. But good job to the team, congratulations to Danica and obviously Briscoe.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions.
Q. Danica, I wasn't in Japan, but that is as good as I have ever seen you run any race. The car was obviously dead on tonight. I thought you made some fantastic moves out there beyond that. Has something changed for you with everything you had to go through at Indy? That was a remarkable run I thought.
DANICA PATRICK: Thank you.
You know, I think that my engineer and I, we really thought about what it was going to take here to run well. Sometimes it takes looking at the past to really be able to move forward and learn from it. Really looked at last year, looked at what it was that I didn't do right. I don't want to overlook the fact that he did a really great job with the car, too. We made some really good improvements with the car in the first one or two changes. I think that really sort of set up our whole weekend.
We had a great car in the race. No matter how good you are, how brave you are or anything, it comes down to that car so many times. Not every time, but so many times. It was a good car tonight. The stops were good.
It was probably my best, cleanest race. I've had races where there have been sort of awesome things that have happened. It gets overlooked because you're not in the lead. But tonight was probably my best race as far as top to bottom, not making any mistakes, being good in the pits, being good in and out of the pits, being good on the track.
Q. I don't know where you were on the track. Did either of you come by Simona's situation? What did you see?
MARCO ANDRETTI: I was glad she was out of the car. At first I'm like, Please, tell me she's out of that car. It's going to be hard for those guys to get in there and pull her out. I'm sure it looked a lot worse than it was. It looked pretty frightening.
DANICA PATRICK: I actually didn't ask because I didn't want to know. I thought I would ask after the race. I heard she was okay. That's such a relief. Well, you know, if it can happen to her, it can happen to any one of us. It's not a comforting feeling.
But the safety team is really good. They are always looking at how they can make it safer for us.
Q. Could you both comment on it seemed like this turned into more of a handling race than we would expect at Texas. Dario went to junk for a while. Helio dropped to 15th at one point. Was it the way the tires were built and did you like it that way?
MARCO ANDRETTI: I think it favored us. Myself, I struggled in the heat yesterday, in the practice. We really I think as a team really put our heads together last night and just tried to come up with a really sensible car that I could stay flat with all night because, like you said, it did come down to a handling race. As long as you could keep your foot in it, we knew we were going to be somewhere towards the front.
We had to pile on a little bit of downforce, which seemed to favor us in long runs. They probably figured they would stay in clean air, which Briscoe was able to do. If you're able to do that, you're going to be faster. The moment they're shuffled back, they're human. We needed long stints today.
DANICA PATRICK: I agree.
Q. Marco, I was up with IMS Radio in turn two. You got by Scott Dixon. I didn't see how you did that. Did you use the 'push to pass'? Do you like the 'push to pass' business?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, I mean, for once I actually timed it right. I had zero at the end of the race.
But, no, I mean, I just took advantage of his misfortune because obviously he had to go, he had to lift, so... Got around him.
Q. Marco, this is the second straight race where you said 'push to pass' wasn't going to matter and you use them up before everybody else. How does that happen?
MARCO ANDRETTI: They're there; you might as well use them. We're trying to draft a fly down the back straightaway. I think the 'push to pass' is something. It's not going to set up a pass for you, but it might help you complete one.
DANICA PATRICK: Yeah.
Q. Do you feel Andretti Autosport is catching the two big teams of Penske and Ganassi? You ran well at Indy after a tough time and you've run well here tonight. Do you feel like you're gaining some ground on them?
DANICA PATRICK: Well, I think that we've definitely proven that when it comes to the race, that we're strong. I think it's a big accomplishment tonight, four cars in the top seven, especially as far as back as Ryan started, that's really good.
If I can be critical, we weren't very fast, we were slow in qualifying. I was thinking to myself last night, I was watching the truck race, I was like, Man, it's so great for the leader, he just puts his foot down, you have to go around the long way. If we can put ourselves in that position, these great runs we have in the race will become race wins. I think we need to figure out qualifying so we can be on the front row and get on some pole positions and be able to lead and win some of these.
But I think what you see in the race is you see good strategies, you see good pit stops, and you see good driving. You see good cars. We work really hard on our racecars. You know, we're always thinking about that as the main goal. There's so many more miles to go than in qualifying.
I think if we can find that speed, we start up front, these turn into race wins.
Q. Could you comment a little bit on the new caution lights they have in the frontstretch. Could you see that in the cockpit? Was it a distraction?
MARCO ANDRETTI: I think that's really important because you need to know as soon as there's a yellow because it could end up -- you could be in three and it could be right in the exit of four or something. It alerts us. It's not too much. As long as it just tells us to slow down, that's important.
DANICA PATRICK: I think the more yellows, the more lights, the better. It alerts everybody. I mean, I guess I'm always a little bit afraid when the yellow comes out, we all get out of it, that someone won't notice it, pile into the back of you. That's good.
But those lights on the back of our cars are pretty darn bright, too. Those are probably the best things.
Q. Danica, if you could talk about the effect that Ziggy has kind of had. Couple of weeks ago you were working with Tom. Resulted in two pretty good finishes for you.
DANICA PATRICK: I don't know if I want to necessarily say that it was Ziggy that made the difference and Tom didn't, you know, do a good job. I don't think that's the case. I think that, you know, it's kind of been not only putting someone in the position to be on the radio with me that I get along with and understand and gives me the exact information I'm looking for, but everything else that we've been working on is falling into line, too.
So I think it's just kind of everything has come more to a head right now and you're seeing the product of what we've been working on for the last couple of months.
But he has done a really good job and he gives me what I need on the radio.
Q. For a long time you were stuck together. That seems to be the case a lot. Do you eventually get tired of racing with your teammate?
MARCO ANDRETTI: I'd rather be racing with my teammate than some of these guys out here.
No, that's Texas, man. You're glued to anybody who's around you. Especially at the beginning after a restart, with new tires, it's so easy for everybody to stay flat.
Like I said, we're all so close around there. Basically comes down to who wants to take the biggest chance at some points, which isn't always fun.
Q. Danica, at what point did you realize that you probably didn't have enough to keep up with Ryan and he was starting to move away from you?
DANICA PATRICK: I was actually just hoping that there was going to be a whole bunch of lap traffic that showed up. That was what I was hoping for. It wasn't quite the case. One here and one there isn't gonna do it.
I guess I knew when he just drove around the outside of me when I had my foot down that he's probably pretty fast. I knew I was going to have to have some picks out there to get by him, but that didn't happen. He was just fast.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.
DANICA PATRICK: Thanks.
MARCO ANDRETTI: Thank you.
|Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library|