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IZOD IndyCar Series: IZOD IndyCar World Championship Presented by Honda

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Open Wheel Racing Topics:  IZOD IndyCar World Championship Presented by Honda

IZOD IndyCar Series: IZOD IndyCar World Championship Presented by Honda

Dario Franchitti
October 14, 2011


LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

THE MODERATOR: We also have with us our points leader, Dario Franchitti. Dario is going to start 18th in the race. Just kind of talk about your lap and where you're starting. I'm sure it's not what you were hoping for.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Geez, my lap, my weekend, I don't know what to tell you. From the moment the car rolled off the truck unfortunately it's been slow. We don't know why. If we knew why, we'd fix it. It has a good balance. Both in race trim and qualifying trim it felt good, it just -- as far as balance there was just no speed there, and that's not something -- we weren't expecting to qualify that well quite honestly just with the speed that had been in the car yesterday and today.
If there's any silver lining, it's the fact that Will is back there with me. Him and I were joking out there saying we couldn't have scripted it better. We're wonder if Randy has got like a volume control for the power on each of our engines and turning them down.
Whatever happens, it's going to be a tough race for us both on Sunday. I'm glad, especially qualifying back here, I'm glad I don't have to try and find those 18 points. But I think both the Target team and the Penske teams are very capable of getting us from that point to close to the front if we can find where the speed has gone in the car. I think anything is still possible.

Q. Before you came on, Oriol Servia said that he thought we could see three- and four-wide racing on Sunday. Will that cause a problem from where you're starting in terms of getting past those cars if they're running that wide?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Absolutely. When they're too wide in front, it's effectively a road block, so then you've got to go three wide, which is a very risky proposition. Four wide I think might be pushing it. I'm sure somebody will try it, but four wide is going to be -- I think you've got to go very, very high, and the distance factor will make it -- will probably mean that you won't be passing anybody if you try that. I think if everybody gets checked up in front, that might be the way to go.
But it's definitely not ideal starting that far back with the road blocking aspect of it, and we'll be definitely doing our best to move forward on the track and in the pits and the strategy and all the things we can do and see how we can go from there.

Q. What about marbles? Have you seen much of that buildup this weekend at all? Normally it would be a factor in this tight a group.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think dust is a bigger problem than the marbles right now. I haven't seen any marbles yet. I think the tire is too hard. The tire is probably as hard as that desk actually, but haven't seen any marbles. I think the first people out there, though, will definitely have to deal with some dust and some crap, so that will eventually clean itself off as the race goes on.

Q. You've often talked about how the season -- when a season starts, you're 24/7 racing and you don't think anything about it, but following up on what was said earlier, what is the next couple of days like for you? Is it really stressful? You've been through it so many times.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: No, I think there's a difference between thinking about it all the time and being stressed about it. I think that's something I didn't make clear the other day. Just because I think about it all the time doesn't mean I'm stressed, especially looking at where we're qualifying. We'll go out there, we'll do our best, we'll put absolutely our best effort into finding a problem with the car, and we'll go from there. And if it works out, great, and if it doesn't, we'll be -- that's it. Not much you can do.
But you go out there, you do your absolute best, and it's probably not the most exciting answer, but that's the way we go about it. That's all we can do. Myself and every member of the Target team just give it our best shot and see if we can win it. When I say give it our best shot, our focus is to win. That's absolutely -- don't misunderstand it, our focus is absolutely to win, but we find the best way to do that is with things within our control, do our best with those.
No use getting stressed about it. Doesn't make you any quicker. But definitely thinking about it a lot, and I know Simmons is going to have a busy couple of days and so are the mechanics, trying to figure out what the problem is.

Q. There's four Ganassi cars in the race. Has there been any discussion of teamwork in terms of drafting to get you up front?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Well, again, as we were saying with the road blocks and stuff, it's doing to be difficult to do that. But I have a lot of confidence with Scott, Graham and Charlie that if they can help me in any way, they will. Scott did that for me last year.
Obviously things are a little different now, the fact that we're starting so far back. But no, I'm happy I've got those guys, and obviously Will has got Ryan and Helio. But if you look, as teammates we're all over the map, all over the grid. At some point I'm sure we'll be running together, so hopefully we can -- they can help a little bit.

Q. I know you're surprised that you qualified so poorly. Are you surprised that Will qualified so poorly?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: No, I wasn't surprised that I qualified poorly at all.

Q. Coming into the weekend you wouldn't have expected that?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I was worried about it after Kentucky I must admit, but really, I was not -- we were sitting in the truck earlier, and I said to Ashley, I said, I think, if we get inside the top 20 here we'll be doing well, and they were saying, no, no, no. Trust me, this thing, there's a problem here. So when I saw Will do his lap, how do I put this? I was pleasantly surprised, I guess. I thought, okay.
So yeah, that definitely makes my life a little easier to start with. How we finish is a whole different story.

Q. What did you think of Tony Kanaan's answer to the question about how this was the last race with the Dallara? And what do you think about this being the last race with the Dallara?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I agree with Tony that it's time for a change, absolutely. It's time for all kinds of reasons. It's something for the teams and the drivers and the engineers to really get their teeth into a whole new development process, for the fans something that looks different, performs different, something that's going to have a bit more power.
Engine manufacturers are coming in again, so that's a really good thing, with Honda, with Chevy and with Lotus. I think Tony said it well; for him and I, Dan, there's a bunch of us that have won a lot of stuff in this car, and it's something I'll always -- a lot of people don't like -- I'll look back at it fondly. It would have been nice if it had another 200 horsepower or whatever, but this car really helped the series when people couldn't go buy new cars every year, and Honda did the same. When all the manufacturers got fed up getting beaten by Honda, they all left.
This package has served us well, but I think it's time for something new. As Tony said, he says Jimmy is going to give him a car. Chip tells me he's giving me a car, but we'll see.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Dario. Good luck on Sunday.



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