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IZOD IndyCar Series: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

IZOD IndyCar Series: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

Simon Pagenaud
Will Power
August 5, 2012


LEXINGTON, OHIO

THE MODERATOR:  We're pleased to be joined by Will Power of Team Penske, who finished second.  Will matched a career best finish here at the track. 
Talk about today's race and taking that top spot back away from Ryan Hunter‑Reay in the standings.
WILL POWER:  That was definitely good points today.  I mean, it was going to plan.  That stop, I knew when Dixon was behind us, was going to be tough.  Pitting the same lap because I had to get around his guys to get in my box.  That really slows up my entryway.  He has a clean in.  And my fuel has to kind of stand back as my front wing swings around. 
All that combination made for a slower start, and that's where he got us.  And then obviously it's so difficult to pass around this joint. 
Still a very good day, though.  Really happy to score the points we did.  And that was everything we had.  We can't ask for anything more.  We couldn't have done anything better, I don't think. 
THE MODERATOR:  We've also been joined by Simon Pagenaud.  And this is Simon's third podium finish of the season. 
Talk about that great battle, especially among the top four, and in the closing laps for third with Bourdais.
SIMON PAGENAUD:  It was an awesome day.  I would say even an awesome weekend.  I think it was a massive step forward for the HP team.  The guys, after the test last week, we came back home and after Edmonton already we sat down at the shop and it was a problem. 
We didn't work well in the red ties.  And obviously quite fine being so important in IndyCar, you have to make it work.  And we sat down and we tried to analyze what we needed.  And the guys just gave me that.  So hat off to them.  The complex they've been working on the HP computer, they did an awesome job. 
THE MODERATOR:  Questions? 

Q.  Your final pit stop leaving the pit (indiscernible)?
SIMON PAGENAUD:  We had to save fuel.  Obviously he burned more early.  And we kind of just immediately went into a fuel save mode. 
Knowing how difficult it is to pass to ensure that maybe we can push hard at the end.  But at the end of the day it's so hard to pass.  It probably wasn't worth the risk really pushing hard on cold tires considering the championship, the state that it's in. 
And the team obviously informs me over the radio, hey, had a problem so just be careful.  And you take that all into account.  So, yeah, and he's not going to take anything away from Dixon, he did a good job on cold tires, sure.

Q.  But that moment, you had to go around the tires, go straight in.  Obviously that made a huge difference.  Did you believe or are you bummed out‑‑ what's your feeling you're suddenly in second after leading the first (indiscernible)?
SIMON PAGENAUD:  You realize as you're coming in you it's going to be tight when he's sitting right behind you.  You know, man, it's all about the stop.  There's nothing you can do about it.  All you can do is move on and try, make sure you get the miles you need to get to the end. 
And hopefully it's yellow, maybe it will rain, you don't know.  So you just keep executing and there's things you can't do anything about.  That's racing.  These guys‑‑ our guys did a good job, too.
It's just the circumstance it was.  So, you know, he won the race.

Q.  How did the push pass help you (indiscernible)?
WILL POWER:  I think it was stupid, honestly.  Because the way they got it, you have to have a certain throttle percentage.  You'd hit it and get in the corner and it would unclick itself and another‑‑ it was useless.  Honestly.  I didn't find it useful at all.
SIMON PAGENAUD:  The problem is the previous push pass we had was good.  You could use it in a defensive way.  But the problem is when your people are coming out of the pits and you're fighting with them, you know you hit push pass, going into turn 2, if you touch the throttle half, come back off of it of it just a touch, it shuts itself down.  So you can't pass, because we got back on the power so early in 2, everybody does it.  And you can't make any difference.
So the push to pass thing, because you couldn't actuate where you wanted to, and then you couldn't time your pass.  So that was a bit tricky. 
But I think the previous version was much better for racing.  But that's just an adjustment.  IndyCar will figure it out.

Q.  Simon, (Question about splitting team and funding)?
SIMON PAGENAUD:  That's a good guess.  I think what she thinks.  I'm sure that was coming up.  I think the guys are just doing an awesome job. 
The engineers we have are pretty smart.  They come out of, I don't know, they have quite a lot of experience.  Brett and Nick Snyder.  And the nice thing about it is they have full trust in my feedback. 
When I say I need this, they don't try to say, yeah, but you should drive a little bit differently.  They say, okay, we're going to fix it.  We're going to make the car the way as you want. 
And we went the other way.  Now we're really good on reds.  We were good on blacks before.  We're not so good on blacks anymore.  So there's still a little bit of room for improvement.  But definitely I would say I think there's just hit the switch pretty much every time.

Q.  Will, what's the biggest reason for that kind of success here?
WILL POWER:  You get very good fuel mileage.  Going a lap longer here is really important because it's just such a penalty on cold tires.  And just good around this place.  I mean, he's quick.  The car's got a good setup, the whole package.  It makes it so difficult to beat him.

Q.  Will, what is it about your pit crew this season, last season you had (indiscernible) and this season before that this year things are 100percent better?
WILL POWER:  Yeah, I think our pit stops have been really good all year.  Look at Edmonton.  It will be the quickest on pit lane.  Today, the circumstances made it difficult.  It would be unfair to say that they didn't do a good job, because I think they did.  It just happened to be that Dixon was the guy we're finding was right behind us, he's laid out as we're coming in. 
Nothing you can do about it. 

Q.  Simon, is it possible you compare Ohio to (indiscernible)?
SIMON PAGENAUD:  That's funny, I thought about it during the race.  I thought what are we doing together, we're doing pretty well this weekend. 
Actually I didn't answer your question earlier on.  We said we had pretty good racing.  As said early on, it was like a French war on the racetrack.  But the nice thing we said is you know he's going to race you hard but he always races you clean.
So he went really, really deep in 3 and across him.  So it was good racing there.  He was on blacks.  So I knew on reds I would have a little bit of an advantage.  I don't know if‑‑ it's probably a bit more like the track in England.  I don't know.  I just think it suits our driving style.  I don't know, group level is different. 

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
SIMON PAGENAUD:  I raced my dad's BMW M3, caught the brake on fire.  Didn't like it.  He didn't like it. 

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
WILL POWER:  I wasn't surprised.  I think the caliber of driver is a lot higher.  And it's slowly getting more and more intense.  You can see it from qualifying. 
If you look at Q2 it was like eight cars covered by almost a tenth, a tenth and a half.  It's insane how close everything is and how many good drivers there are and people just don't make mistakes now.  And that's why there's no yellows.

Q.  Simon, can you talk about the difference between Mid‑Ohio (indiscernible)?
SIMON PAGENAUD:  It's actually not very different for some reason.  I think turn 1 and turn 11 with the new car, the platform control is very important because we've got a steady flow.  Sports car is similar.  Any pitch, excess pitch on the corner was a problem. 
So the new car really suits my driving style.  And the transition between sports car to IndyCar was because of that.  But the biggest, the toughest thing for me is getting used to the fact I've got a real light car.  And you can slide it around, put five dozen slides, it's all about downforce keeping the grip an issue and using the downforce where these guys are a bit like that in high speed but user speed will be a slide as well.

Q.  Talk about the difference between Sonoma, Balitmore, and California is a toss up, how do see these last three races in terms of the way you need to go after them and what your competition is?
WILL POWER:  It's simple for us.  We just gotta do the best with the things that we can control.  Obviously there's a lot of other factors in racing.  But you can't‑‑ nothing you can do about that.  It's not worth worrying. 
Sonoma's been good for me.  I enjoy street courses.  So Baltimore should be good.  And like you said, who you knows, at Fontana, we'll just keep our heads down.  If everything goes right, I really think we'll be competitive.  I think that we need to win a race here soon if we're going to win the championship.  We'll do our best to do that.

Q.  Do you see Fontana being similar to Texas or a little different than Texas?
SIMON PAGENAUD:  I haven't run there.  So I don't know.  I'm hoping it will be like Texas.  It's just a wide open race.  Total (indiscernible) ‑‑ you may as well throw things up and grab one and it might be you.

Q.  Will, what was the race like from a physical standpoint?  Was it what you thought it would be? 
WILL POWER:  Yeah, it was.  Like physically steering got really heavy at the end.  I could have done it with power steering.  It's pretty cool.  You have to be fit.  I find at the end I could push hard still.  No question, if you're not fit, definitely drop in lap time, no question.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you so much. 

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