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IZOD IndyCar Series: Edmonton Indy

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Edmonton Indy

IZOD IndyCar Series: Edmonton Indy

Will Power
Takuma Sato
July 22, 2012


THE MODERATOR:  We'll go ahead and get started with today's post race press conference.  We're pleased to be joined by our second- and third-place finishers, Takuma Sato and Will Power. 
Will, clearly you were one of the bigger movers in today's race, coming from 17th to finish on the podium.  Talk about how you got up there. 
WILL POWER:  Yeah, I mean, we made the choice to use the harder compound black tires in the first stint.  Few guys sprinkled in there with the softer compound.  Thought we'd mix things up.  Made good ground in the first stint and were able to save fuel and go a few laps longer than everyone.  During the pit stop sequence we jumped them. 
Similar in the second stint, made places on the track and in the pits. 
Again, for the third stint, came out and were able to pass people up to third. 
Just good strategy, good racing.  It was a good car we had.  Good day all around.  If I thought that the race would go fully green starting 17th, I would have taken third any day. 
THE MODERATOR:  Takuma, a strong finish with you with your second podium of the year.  Talk about the great battle with Helio at the end. 
TAKUMA SATO:  In the end, I really enjoyed it.  I should have enjoyed it a little bit more if I could overtake.  We were not quite yet there. 
He did a great job, no mistake at all.  I could see our tires start to degradate [sic] a little bit.  That's part of racing.  I knew he had a little bit longer sequence of the 'push to pass'. 
I used it bit by bit, but also he reacting all the time and the last few laps he use everything.  Was very difficult to catch it. 
Once we were very close, but not enough close to make a maneuver. 
THE MODERATOR:  We'll open it up for questions. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
WILL POWER:  Yeah, definitely.  Considering it was all green.  There's no such thing as a lucky yellow or restart, gaining on restarts.  Those are the sort of days you love.  We don't get them very often in IndyCar to be full green on tracks that you can pass. 
Yeah, very happy.  Would have been much more happy if I could have at least caught up to these guys and had a battle.  But they were running fast.  I could see them battling.  I was hoping they would come together (laughter). 
But great day anyway. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
WILL POWER:  Yeah, he's stronger than ever this year.  He's been really consistent on days that he can't win.  When he can win, he absolutely executes.  He's strong, Hunter-Reay is strong.  I thought Dixon might be there in the mix.  I don't know where he ended up. 
Man, it's going to be a fight to the very end.  Yeah, Helio is definitely doing a good job.  He's going to be tough to beat. 

Q.  Do you think a lot of people going into the season might have overlooked him as a legitimate championship threat?
WILL POWER:  Yeah, considering the year he had last year, I think people probably did.  He was a bit erratic.  He's had a few incidents.  He's had an all-around bad year. 
If you go back a couple years, you understand he's always a guy in contention for a championship.  To me it's not a surprise.  He's definitely worked on driving details, adopted some of what I do, and I take some of what he does.  So collectively we're faster. 
What I was impressed with this year, he actually switched to be a left-foot braker, which might have helped him actually.  That's pretty impressive because that's hard to do. 

Q.  Takuma, you started on the pole here last year.  Frustrating for you? 
TAKUMA SATO:  You could argue there was a little bit disappointed, the winning was just there, very close by.  We tried.  We challenged.  We attacked.  You know, it didn't outcome like that. 
It's okay.  We take a second place, especially after the Indy 500.  Indeed, we had a difficult race that we needed a good result.  And today was the day. 
In practice we weren't necessarily happy with all the balance and speed-wise.  Yesterday was a little bit lucky by weather, so we were up for the very fast group.  That was a very, very lucky situation. 
This morning we back to where we are.  But we try all the details working, and obviously car improved, so we made progress.  I'm very, very happy. 
Especially at the beginning when Tagliani led the race, Dario, I overtook him.  I made a few good places.  In the end, yes, Helio and Penske was strong.  One stage, when he come by, me and Tag coming out of the pit together, we was all three cars together in one second.  That was very exciting.  Shame we couldn't catch him up.  But nevertheless it was a great result. 

Q.  Will, talk about the physicality of this event. 
WILL POWER:  It wasn't actually because you have three long straights to recover on.  The old track you never, ever stopped turning so it was much more physical. 
To me, this car, no question, is easier to drive.  It has a lot of grip.  It's too easy to drive.  You can tell, because there is no yellows, there is no mistakes.  I would love another 200 horsepower or so, a bit less downforce, tires that go off more. 
All in all, at the end of the day, what an easy car to drive.  It compresses the field.  You have to find small details of speed, so it does make things more competitive. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
WILL POWER:  I don't know whether it's a setup philosophy.  You know, it's hard to say.  I would say in the past it actually was.  I would say we actually had a pretty good setup here.  You know, this is a very different track.  We still came here and won last year, won this year, too. 
Some places just click for you.  Some, every single time you go there, you get punished.  But this one is a good one for me and the team. 

Q.  Takuma, how emotional were you when you got out of the car and finished the race? 
TAKUMA SATO:  It was a mixed bag, to be honest.  It was pleased about the result, but it was frustrated.  We were challenge for the win.  No, it was a little bit disappointed just pure driver's point of view because just simply didn't win it. 
But it's great, still great.  The guys and boys did a great job.  Rahal Letterman Lanigan team is coming back for the IndyCar Series, relatively new team.  We have tons to learn, catching these guys up.  Happy to be very there.  You know, it's a great result. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
WILL POWER:  I would expect that to be the case going into the last race.  You know, I think he's going to be there right at the end.  What do you do?  You just race him hard.  I'm sure Penske has been in that position before, probably not for a long time, though. 
But, you know, it's basically competition on the track.  There are no team orders in this team.  You know, I am sure that will be the case.  I suspect there will be three or four drivers able to win in the last race. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
TAKUMA SATO:  There is always argument.  With the first guy, is difficult.  Formula Ford, Formula One, IndyCar, it's all difficult.  Don't get wrong, Will says easy.  Not easy.  Is very sophisticated car.  Very technical situation, like computer last year, so if the car goes off you can feel it a little bit more, maybe you can catch it.  Last year the car was different because it was nine years old, whatever the reason. 
Will is right.  Has more downforce and great tires, a lot of grip.  We need a little bit more power.  Now it's obviously engine competition, we see bit by bit coming together, the 'push to pass'.  Compared to some of the older, big-powered cars, it may be easier, but it doesn't represent you can go faster.  You still have to drive absolute on the limit. 
I think it shows the good car because obviously somehow making much more tolerance, therefore you can get in the tow.  Good example, the 500, or any race you can see passing.  Even the street course, yesterday was difficult, but some of the course you can overtake.  I think it's fantastic from that point of view. 
WILL POWER:  When it is so tightly packed, I'm looking for driver details I've never looked for in my life, just like minute little bits of time to find on someone, because the field is so compressed.  To me it's the most competitive field I've ever raced in.  I've never had to search so hard for speed in my life. 
When I say 'easy,' I would say more forgiving because it's a good tire, a lot of downforce, you have a higher (indiscernible) angle.  When you lose it, easier to fall off track in the old car.  That doesn't mean it's easier to be fast.  In fact, it's harder when you have almost the whole field covered by a second.  1/10th moves you a lot. 
It's a good formula, creating good racing.  As a driver, you always want more power.  He's driven things about 1,000 horsepower, the Honda F1 car, so he knows what horsepower feels like (laughter). 

Q.  (No microphone.)
WILL POWER:  No, yeah, after a couple laps, I felt, I'm fine.  It wasn't a hard hit.  I would have been surprised if there was damage.  I kind of went wide, spun a bit, got the wheel.  But it wasn't a problem. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
WILL POWER:  In a way it's funny.  In this sport, or life in general, what goes around comes around.  You generally get what you deserve. 
He was right there last year, almost won it.  He won it this year.  So, you know, when something unjust happens to you, usually something comes back to replace that or make up for it.  That's what I understand. 
It's the same as you do something bad to someone on the track, you know something is coming for you. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
TAKUMA SATO:  No, I mean, I couldn't push him any harder than that.  To be honest, simply there was not enough opportunity. 
I get close to the area, but by the time he pull away, too.  He was obviously saving the tires, waiting for the moment that I'm catching up. 
I had about 50 seconds to of the 'push to pass'.  He had about 70 seconds.  I knew it was always difficult battle, indeed it was getting close, but every time he was using the defensive.  It did work really well. 
We both drive absolutely on the limit.  There simply wasn't opportunity. 
The opportunity with Dario was there because I could see we both saved the fuel at the same time because it was first and second stint.  I could see he was just sliding, I was just sliding.  I saw the opportunity and made the move through turn one.  We both come out this time, so it was good. 
No, I'm happy with the position I made because I did make move to Tagliani, too.  But for Helio, unfortunately we weren't there. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
TAKUMA SATO:  I think the June was for everyone so tough and busy, difficult weekends.  Like I said, this team has a long history in IndyCar Series, but unfortunately we effectively new team, new engineers, new drivers, new package.  So once you lost it, not really lost it, but once we have a difficult race weekend, it's very difficult to catch it. 
Like Will said, it's so competitive.  We couldn't go to the testing where everyone went to.  So every time you go there, the engineer doesn't know the track, the team doesn't have data from previous years.  I only know the feeling, but the car's different.  It's so difficult to catch up. 
Once you have a week break, like this month two Canada race, you can study things, back to the office, you know, just reengineered.  Obviously we always have a motivation.  Team did great job over the course of the season.  We always progress.  I'm very, very proud of what they're doing.  We just looking for the one goal, of course.  We're getting there, getting closer by. 
So I think it's still long way from second to actual win the race.  It isn't easy at all.  In fact, is probably greater distance.  But we never give up, so I think we will push on. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
WILL POWER:  No, I could see them fighting.  You know, for the most part, I know Takuma, there's a gap, he likes to go for it, he's brave.  More than not he pulls it off.  To me he's one of the fastest guys in the series.  He's a great racer. 
I could see he was sitting there.  If there was an opportunity he could take, he would.  He knows the game.  He's been around a long time.  He's bloody strong.  He doesn't often make mistakes. 
THE MODERATOR:  Takuma, Will, thank you so much for your time today.  Congratulations on the podium finishes. 

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