IZOD IndyCar Series: Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma
Topics: Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma
August 28, 2011
THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by today's race winner, Will Power of Team Penske. This is Will's fifth win of the season. This is his 14th career win. Will is the first repeat IZOD IndyCar Series here at Infineon Raceway. He led 71 of 75 laps to clinch the bonus points led in addition to the points for the pole.
Will, it was a great day for points for you.
WILL POWER: Uh-huh (laughter).
No, like I said before the race, if we could finish how we started, it would be a perfect weekend. You know, now we have a legitimate shot at the championship. I think we're 26 points out. Two more road courses, two more ovals, we can get this.
Great momentum for the team. Just really happy for just the team effort overall. To have a 1-2-3 is something we've been working hard for for the last two years and we finally got it.
THE MODERATOR: A question we asked Dario on Friday. If you look at the four remaining races, three are new courses. Does that give you more confidence knowing it's new territory for everyone?
WILL POWER: It does actually. I always enjoy going to a new circuit. Usually do well on new circuits. I think that potentially could play into our strength. These races, especially the street courses, it's hard to predict what can happen with double-file restarts, how much mayhem happens. If you just keep it clean, have a good day, you can end up winning the thing.
That's got to be our focus. We've just got to go for it.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. We know what you thought of the last race. Do you give today's race two thumbs up?
WILL POWER: Two fingers up, but not the middle ones (laughter).
Yeah, there was one yellow. Just shows the caliber of driver in this series now. Everyone is fast, in good cars. If you watch the race, you watch all through the field, I'm sure there were fierce battles all the way to last place. It's great to be part of something so competitive amongst so many talented drivers.
Q. Will, like I was telling Ryan and Helio, Penske has 12 top fives here since 2006. You won the two races you've ran here. What made you so dominant here at Sonoma?
WILL POWER: This is actually my fourth time here. In 2009, I had a nasty accident, left here in a helicopter. Came back last year and won, came back this year and won.
I can't tell you. I mean, it's just one of those tracks that I seem to click with. But in general on road courses and street courses it's what I know, it's what I'm good at. I understand very much what I need to get out of the car to be fast.
Q. After your win last year, coming into this year's race, how much did you learn that played a part in your win today?
WILL POWER: Actually the tires have changed quite a bit. Last year the fronts went off really badly. This year the rears started to go off.
I think around this place it's quite abrasive. You have to be really smart about what end of the car is going to go off and then react accordingly because if you keep passing, the end is going to go off, you're going to head backwards. That's something I was very mindful of going into that first stint on red tires.
Q. After Mid-Ohio, you said you thought the Penske boys had found something. Dario was up here and said he thinks you guys found something. After nine years, what the hell is left to find on these cars?
WILL POWER: It is amazing, yeah. I'm sure Ganassi has definitely improved on road and street courses.
I think coming here, we went back to some older setups. I can honestly say my setup from last year to this year is hardly different. It's funny, you know, we came here, and when we tested we worked out why we were slow at Mid-Ohio. That's what we learned. I think if we went back to Mid-Ohio, we'd be a bit stronger than we were.
Q. Can you talk about the restart with seven laps to go, how much of a charge did you expect from Helio? How comforting was it to look back and see your two teammates back there behind you?
WILL POWER: Yeah, it was very comforting to have Helio and Ryan behind me on the last restart, two guys that you could totally rely on. I was sure, if I got a jump, there's no question, if I had clear air, I could go, I knew I could pull a gap no problem. When I was behind lapped cars, I was thinking it would be hard to hold Helio off and somehow get behind the guys battling for position, so I was happy to see the yellow.
Q. Was there any question on which tire you would go to on the last pit stop?
WILL POWER: No, I knew halfway through that second stint, there was no way I was going to use black tires. The reds were just that much better. I thought if you go on blacks, you'd be a sitting duck.
Q. If this championship goes down to the wire, the fact that those two drivers separated you and Dario, that could be the key to winning your championship. Talk about the value of what they were able to do today.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, it's invaluable to have guys like that performing at the top level, taking points away from Dario. I expect them to be the same the next four races now that we've got a bit of momentum, we understand what we want from the car. I'm hoping that this is going to be the case every weekend.
Q. Did you feel like you had the tires figured out through the practice runs and qualifying or were you still figuring it out during the race?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, after the morning warmup, I had some idea. But probably 15 laps into the stint I'm thinking that the rear tires do go off. I'm actually pretty smart here to look after them. The track gains grip, so it's evolving. That sometimes helps the tire. Sometimes it helps one end more than the other. You're always reacting to what the condition is.
THE MODERATOR: Will, congratulations on a great win and best of luck in Baltimore. Thank you very much.
WILL POWER: Thank you.
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