IZOD IndyCar Series: Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix presented by ShopAutoWeek.com
Topics: Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix presented by ShopAutoWeek.com
June 2, 2012
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with today's press conference. We are pleased to be joined by three of our top drivers. Will Power, this is his third front row spot. We're also joined by Simon Pagenaud, and we're joined by Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Q. Is this harder to pass than Long Beach?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: It's very hard to pass. Feels like you're never straight. Even the straights are turning. Yeah, it's extremely busy. I think that's going to create some impatience, as well.
Q. Will, do you want to answer that?
WILL POWER: Passing? I can't see a spot without taking a massive risk, but you can pass. It's going to be a strategy race. Passing pit lane basically. People always seem to find a way. Nudging people out of the way or whatever.
Yeah, man, I don't know.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: We need that one section where we used to go down.
WILL POWER: I think they're going to do that next year.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: That was a good passing lane.
THE MODERATOR: We've been joined by E.J. Viso. We are also joined by Alex Tagliani, who will start third. His first appearance in the Firestone Fast Six this season.
Alex, just talk about today's qualifying result. Great boost for the team.
ALEX TAGLIANI: Yeah, for sure. Yesterday we had a pretty slow start. We had some issues with the gearbox. Sometimes when you start the weekend and you lose the day, it's really difficult to recover.
But today right away from the get-go this morning, the car was a bit better. We made some improvements and we got it spot on for qualifying.
For our first street course back with Honda, I think we're very pleased. I mean, it was a lot of work in the last couple of weeks from the whole team to get us back into the competition.
So very, very pleased with the boys, the work they did, all their dedication the last couple of weeks. For us to be in the Fast Six, you know, on our first street course, it's quite good because I think there's more to come from our car. Hopefully we can contribute to this Chevy/Honda fight in the next couple races.
THE MODERATOR: E.J., walk us through your qualifying run today.
E.J. VISO: Well, it was very pleasing, the qualifying position we got. Yesterday, we were really off the pace. We really had a pretty busy night. Yeah, so we went through the days, found the things to fix, which we did. The car was better today. I really need to thanks the whole team.
It was a little analyzing, we found out little issues that were costing us a lot of time. We put all our stuff together and qualifying was pretty good.
Race is going to be tough. As they all said, it's going to be difficult to overtake. I think strategy, pit stops, being fast in the pits is going to make the biggest difference.
THE MODERATOR: We've also been joined by our polesitter for tomorrow's race, Scott Dixon.
Scott, we keep talking about track position. How important was it to get this top spot for tomorrow's race?
SCOTT DIXON: I think it's definitely very important. I think it's one of the toughest tracks we come to as far as passing opportunities, outside of strategy and maybe the pits.
We come to every weekend trying to get the pole. But this weekend, we started pretty rough and worked on the car. This morning definitely made some big headway. It was pretty close.
The car was decent. I wouldn't say it's great. It's definitely a handful to get around here. I think we had some overboost issues in Q 3 which we couldn't really get going for the first three or four laps. We seemed to fix it with a map change which helped us later on.
It's a fun track. But it's crazy out there. Crazy out there.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with our media questions.
Q. Scott, Will said he's probably going to take you out in turn one. Seriously, though, how much do you take a chance to get up there and fight for position in the opening lap, couple of turns? And, Simon, if we didn't know you really before this year, you've been a great surprise. Talk about that.
SCOTT DIXON: I missed obviously what Will said about taking me out. All right. Whatever works.
But, no, I think we're obviously looking for a clean race. Will has a good lead in the championship. It's definitely a time for us to try to rebound. It's important to get the lead. We'll be pushing for it just as much as anybody else.
We're not going to be doing anything crazy. I don't think anybody around us is going to be doing anything crazy either.
SIMON PAGENAUD: Thank you for the compliment.
I think, you know, it has been a good surprise for me, as well, and the team. The car is behaving really well. I enjoy driving it. We made it suit my driving style straightaway. It puts us in a good position. We've been consistent.
But the main thing is that I've got my engineer who has been with me for several years. We came together in IndyCar with Sam Schmidt Racing. There's a good combination, good chemistry. The whole group is really work together. Sam has been working really hard to get the right people at the right place.
It's no secret, he knows how to do his job because of the success he's had in Indy Lights. I would say that's the main reason, if there is a reason. At the end of the day, it's racing, so it's going well for us.
Q. You were crossed up a lot of times in the Fast Six. How much of that was the car and how much was that you, just maximum attack?
WILL POWER: Yeah, it was maximum attack. The car was kind of loose in the last segment of the Fast Six. But, man, yeah, I don't think there was anywhere you could push so hard. You keep going faster the harder you pushed. They kept saying P2, P2. That bloody Dixon, I tell you (laughter).
Q. Will, here is it more important to just go for it and try and extend your points lead or maybe play it safe?
WILL POWER: Yeah, it's that balance, you know. If you don't take a risk, you take a risk with the guy you're fighting for the championship with. You go into every weekend to win. If you know you have a 50/50 move on, you usually don't go for it.
You just got to be smart, see how things play out. Yeah, I just race the way I race, which is to win. That means trying not to do anything stupid.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much. Best of luck tomorrow with the race.
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