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IZOD IndyCar Series: Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestlé

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestlé

IZOD IndyCar Series: Itaipava São Paulo Indy 300 presented by Nestlé

Ryan Briscoe
Will Power
Graham Rahal
May 2, 2011


SAO PAULO, SAO PAULO

THE MODERATOR: Graham, I would like you to start talking to us about your weekend and if the second place was a surprise for you.
GRAHAM RAHAL: Well, I mean, I certainly hope it's not a surprise. All weekend the Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing car has been really good.
In the dry, in the qualifying, we were very competitive, very happy to start fifth. We ran pretty well yesterday. Obviously we only ran a few laps of green, but we stayed out of trouble.
Of course, today, the guys did a great job. We had a spin early on in the race, but we recovered from that very well. I think at the end of the day we needed a good result for our team going into Indianapolis, which is coming up in only a couple of weeks.
It feels really good to be here right now.
THE MODERATOR: When you spun, you faced all the traffic. How scary was that?
GRAHAM RAHAL: It wasn't too bad because I knew that no one would hit me. What I was trying to do is I spun, then I let the car roll backwards because I was trying to get into turn number nine and be able to pull straight out.
Well, I wasn't able to do that fully, so I ended up having to spin around anyway. But it was fine. I was trying to strategically do it so I could get out of the corner fine without losing too much time.
THE MODERATOR: We welcome Ryan Briscoe, third place for the weekend. Will Power, winner of the race. Second win here, 11th in his IZOD IndyCar career. This is very important because he also got the first place in the championship.
But just to finish with Graham. How did you feel about the conditions for the race?
GRAHAM RAHAL: It was tricky, very slippery. Everybody was on dry tires at the start of the race. It began to rain hard. That was pretty tricky. Certainly for the first couple laps after the yellow, the cars really didn't have much grip at all, so you saw a lot of people spinning and stuff.
Overall I love the track, particularly in the dry over the last two days, it was a lot of fun. I certainly look forward to coming back here next year.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Do you have some thoughts about the win for Will Power?
WILL POWER: It wasn't that straightforward a win. We had to go back in the pack a little bit there in the middle pit stop. Like Graham said, I love this track. They've done such a good job of resurfacing it. It's a world-class street circuit now. It sets the standard for the street circuits we go to. It's so much fun to drive, easy to pass, good racing. So, yeah, I was really happy.
Yeah, it was a great day for us. You had to push very hard at the end to get through the pack. I bent my car earlier in the race, so I had a steering wheel was all in the pits most of the race. Didn't seem to affect it too badly. I was just worried. I was hoping it wasn't going to break or something.
But very good day for Verizon. Took the lead back in the championship. Not that it really matters this early in the season, but you just have to keep getting points every race.
THE MODERATOR: After four races on the street and road courses, it's important to go to the four races we have on ovals ahead.
WILL POWER: Yeah, every race is important. I don't think it matters oval or road. I've been thinking about ovals a lot. Really looking forward to it this year. Really got the hang of it last year. On paper it doesn't show, but we were strong most of the time last year. Looking forward to that stint.
THE MODERATOR: Ryan, how was it for you to get the third place? We saw the pit stop, you kind of had a chance to pass your teammate at that point. Was that a matter of the team?
RYAN BRISCOE: No. We were trying. We did a different strategy, didn't take tires. So our stop was a little bit quicker. I think we were just a couple of inches from getting in front of the 12 car.
But at that point still there was a lot of racing to go, back in the pack as Will said. Good we were able to get past Franchitti and bring home a third place. With so much going on, cars going off, red flags and so on, it's good to come out of here with a podium finish.
THE MODERATOR: How was the track for you?
RYAN BRISCOE: The track is awesome. Really a phenomenal job by everyone preparing the track. It was very clean from the first day. The pavement was very smooth, especially compared to last year. It's a great racing track, I'd say probably one of the best street courses we'll go to all year.
THE MODERATOR: We'd like to start with questions.

Q. (Question in Portuguese.)
WILL POWER: Actually, yeah, this has happened a couple of times. This is the third time it's happened to me where we had to delay a race because of the rain.
Yeah, I'm just disappointed for the fans, all the people that turned out yesterday. Unfortunately, we couldn't run. It was just too much water.
They put on such a good show here, the promotors have done such a good job with the track, the stands, the whole layout is great. Disappointed we couldn't put a show on yesterday in front of the crowd.
Yeah, it was pretty you could say lonely on the podium compared to last year. Last year was great. The fans were going crazy. It was a really good atmosphere.

Q. (Question in Portuguese.)
GRAHAM RAHAL: No, I never had anything, so I don't know if it was me. No, our race was pretty straightforward. I never really hit anybody or had anybody hit me, so no problem.

Q. Will, can we say you managed to find the shortcuts of the Brazilian track?
WILL POWER: No, I couldn't find any shortcuts (laughter).

Q. This is your second win here.
WILL POWER: No, I mean, we just did a mistake prerace, right strategy. As usual, the Penske cars are always good. Just had to drive the thing the best I can. No shortcuts. Sometimes I find them in tracks, no one knows, like surface.

Q. (Question in Portuguese.)
RYAN BRISCOE: Well, you know, it was a little bit disappointing I guess just 'cause I was excited to have a race here on the slicks, especially having good track position at the end. When it started raining, we were on the slicks. From that point, it was just you need absolute concentration to get through the first chick. On slick tires in the rain, it's very difficult. You just hope that nobody behind you locks up and makes a mistake and takes you out.
Straight away on the strategy we were being told to pit and come in for wets. That was it. Then you just concentrate on having a good race.
Actually, I thought the conditions were really good today for racing. Just a good, light rain. Raced like that many times in Europe. It was a lot of fun.
WILL POWER: Yeah, the same basically.

Q. (Question in Portuguese.)
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, obviously nothing relays over as far as driving and car setup from the first four races. I think my team's more focused this year, very determined to get every stop right. I'm determined not to make any mistakes as a driver.
Yeah, we're expecting to do really well on the ovals, especially Indy. I really want to do a good job there. I know it's tough to win that race, it really is, to be the one in the right position on the day. But we just need to go through the process to put ourselves in that position.
Very good start to the season. Indy is just a separate race almost. Don't think of it as part of the championship.

Q. Will, the overtaking maneuver on Takuma, can you describe that? Did you expect that? Can you talk about the time you were in the middle of the bunch, if the team kept you informed that people would still make pit stops and it made you feel okay, you were comfortable?
WILL POWER: Yeah, Takuma, he braked pretty late. I was conservative, he was aggressive. It was a good move on his behalf. You know, I was able to keep pace with him. I think he was pretty quick in the wet anyway.
As far as getting put back in the pack, my mind was just to slowly pick people off without making mistakes. Yes, the team did inform me of who I was racing and who was having to stop again.
But really, you know, I just kept trying to get through as many people as possible, even if they weren't for position and they were going to pit just to put enough gap between me and people behind anyway.
Yeah, that's basically how it went.

Q. (Question in Portuguese.)
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, something that I do all the time. I always have a beer to get up, then I have milk in my cereal. It was normal for me. I did that this morning actually. Made me quite relaxed before the race.

Q. (Question in Portuguese.)
GRAHAM RAHAL: I didn't hear about that. I don't know. I guess it affects all of us, not just me. I mean, the joy of second place is a joy just because we've had a terrible start to our season. The first three races haven't gone our way. We've had some good runs going, then everything got thrown out the window.
To be here, just have a solid finish, as Will talked about, when you go into Indianapolis, the team needs to have a lot of confidence. For us to go in there and feel really good about ourselves, knowing that this entire weekend we were competitive.
Of course, Indy is completely different being an oval. But there's no doubt that the Chip Ganassi cars will be extremely fast there. So that feels better than anything else.

Q. (Question in Portuguese.)
WILL POWER: Yeah, I did damage the car. I bent the rear suspension enough to make the steering wheel quite off to the left. In the wet, I think you can drive around problems.
As first I was worried. I thought, Man, this might be tough to drive. I just put my head down and kept plodding away. I adjusted to the imbalance in the car. It was fine.

Q. (Question in Portuguese.)
WILL POWER: Yeah, I was fine. The car was fine. It was fine to drive. I think that we picked the more conservative strategy because Dario, he'd already pitted. In my mind, it wasn't going to dry or anything, so why not pit under yellow? Almost have to be crazy not to.
Yeah, that's why we did that strategy.

Q. (Question in Portuguese.)
WILL POWER: Well, actually, on Saturday night I got to drive around with a police officer. He was probably quicker than I was in qualifying (laughter). No wonder Brazilian drivers are so good, because the way they're allowed to drive through the city. There were people even passing the cop, too. I was like, Wow, doesn't matter he here. Might hire a car, go around and take a few people out (smiling).

Q. (Question in Portuguese.)
GRAHAM RAHAL: I hope that it's getting closer. It's been since 2008 since I won. This is my best finish since then, I think. You know, it feels good to be back here. I think we're knocking on the door. I think this weekend we showed we had the pace. We're going to keep working hard.
Our side of the team is brand-new, all new people, new cars. We've had to basically build up in only a couple months' time. We knew it would take some time to get the momentum. Now we have it. I hope it's coming soon.
We'll be extremely fast on the ovals I think. So we'll work very hard to make sure we have a good next few races, then back onto the road courses and street courses. We'll feel pretty confident.

Q. (Question in Portuguese.)
WILL POWER: Yeah, I'm sure people can beat me here. We could have got beaten today.
I praised the track because they've done such a good job. We all expected to come back here to a really bumpy track. They said they resurfaced it. We still thought it was going to be bumpy. It was smooth as the road courses, like the nicest street course we've been on. Long straights where you can pass, really smooth through all the corners. Just made it a pleasure to drive, a lot of fun.
Yeah, I mean, every year we come here it's tough, competition gets tougher in this series, you have so many good drivers, good teams. I don't think anyone is unbeatable ever in this series.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys, for your time. Congratulations for the podium positions.

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