IZOD IndyCar Series: Honda Indy Toronto
Topics: Honda Indy Toronto
July 7, 2012
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started with today's post qualifying press conference. We're pleased to be joined by several of our qualifiers. Alex Tagliani, who qualified sixth. Alex has qualified in the top 10 in Toronto in his last four recent starts at the track.
We're also joined by Scott Dixon who qualified fifth. Scott qualified in the top 10 in every road event this season.
We're also joined by Will Power who qualified second. Will sat on the pole in 2011.
Alex, talk about today's qualifying run here in front of your adopted hometown crowd.
ALEX TAGLIANI: Yeah, very, very pleased. You know, obviously this is a Honda event. I think it was important to us to do a good showing. I mean, since we went back with the Honda power, obviously Detroit, see familiar faces. Scotty and Will were in the Fast Six. Always really tough qualifying. 2/10ths of a second separate the Fast Six cars. It's really a deep field.
But our guys are working really hard. Slowly but surely we're making improvements to the car. It's always good to always consistently be in the front and fight with those guys. That's what we need to be doing to give ourself a chance to score some better results in the season.
THE MODERATOR: We've also been joined by several of our top qualifiers today. Dario Franchitti, our polesitter. This is Dario's fourth pole here at Toronto. This is his 29th IndyCar pole and third consecutive this season.
We're joined by Justin Wilson who qualified third, a two-time polesitter here at Toronto.
Finally we're joined by Sebastien Bourdais, who qualified fourth. Sebastien is a three-time polesitter here at Toronto. This is his best start of the season. His previous best start was ninth this year at Belle Isle.
Scott, we'll continue with questions. Walk us through today's qualifying. Physically demanding out there.
SCOTT DIXON: It was definitely pretty hard work. Q1 wasn't too bad. Had quite a bit of understeer. Then we moved on to Q2. The car, we didn't change much on the car but the balance got better. Our second lap we put in a pretty quick time and came in.
Q3, the car was just really good. I think I messed up a little too much. Two laps I was up 2 or 3/10ths from Q2 and didn't put it together. A bit frustrated, but at least the car is strong. It's good to see Dario take the pole on the last lap, which is definitely handy for the points championship.
Looking forward to tomorrow. Hopefully we can get it together a bit better tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Will, another great qualifying effort from you. Looked like you might have had something there at the end for Dario.
WILL POWER: No, I didn't have anything. I was very happy to be second. We kind of struggled to get through every round actually. We just made it in each time. Yeah, I just had one good lap. I just put everything together. That was as good as we could possibly do.
We're happy to start on the front row. Obviously we all know what this race is about. Plenty of crashing and bashing. If we can survive that, be in good shape.
THE MODERATOR: Justin, obviously yesterday was a very difficult day for you and the team. Talk about bouncing back.
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, the car was good in qualifying. The first round, thought we had a pretty good balance. Made a couple of small changes. In the second round it was great. I was really happy we didn't change anything into the third. Didn't just quite get the lap I was looking for.
I think it was there, but we just didn't get it all together. Start third, and I think that's good enough for tomorrow. As we just heard, it's all about the crashing and bashing, so hopefully we can stay out of that from now on and keep our heads down, have a good, solid race and see what happens at the end.
THE MODERATOR: Dario, congratulations on another pole, a very important bonus point for you.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah. As much the satisfaction as anything is beating guys of this caliber. Putting one together, we're all capable of it. You look at the spread between getting past the first round, it's so close. It doesn't even take a mistake, it just takes leaving something on the table.
The fact I was able to get that lap in at the end, I'm proud of that, proud of my Target guys and Honda, too. Done a great job.
Yeah, I was breathing hard after that one. It doesn't get any easier, I'll tell you that.
THE MODERATOR: Sebastien, obviously yesterday was a rough day for your team to bounce back with a good qualifying effort. Walk us through today's round.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Talking about banging and bashing, I think Justin tried to take out half my team. He did for a few hours.
I'm glad all the guys are okay and we could put together one today. It's been a heck of a season so far. To get to the Fast Six is always an achievement. I was really happy about that.
The car has been brilliant since this morning. We put the options on, picked up massive understeer. Holy hell, we're not going to make it. That was close. The groups, I think I made it by 3/100ths. We worked on it a little more, the car came to us. Had a great time. Thank Dragon Racing and the car was fast today.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. If any of you can weigh in on the fact that Hunter-Reay said with the repavement, it's going to create new lines going down Lakeshore Boulevard. How is that going to go?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Nobody is going to be able to block.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Everybody was fighting for the same thing. It's going to be interesting with the 'push to pass', but also the defending rule. It depends how the defending rule is explained. I've had a couple different explanations this year. Defend to the wall, then to the car within an inch. Interesting to see what happens. Will has some good experience in turn three. Not from last year, but from this morning (laughter).
JUSTIN WILSON: Like Dario said, it all depends what the defending rules are going to be at this track. We'll just try to drive accordingly and react to that.
I think the 'push to pass' might create some overtaking. We've seen you can go on the outside down into three, around there. So I think it's going to be an interesting race.
ALEX TAGLIANI: I think last year we were going to the right to avoid the bumps. This year we're allowed to block, so it's going to be pretty much the same as last year.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I think everybody is happy with having no bump.
Q. Dario, Will, not because of what happened last year, but you said yesterday, except for Lakeshore Boulevard, it's the same old Toronto. A little while ago, Will, you talked about this track inviting the crash-and-bang kind of racing. Why is that in Toronto? Close quarters, the walls, what is it?
WILL POWER: I think it's just the long straights that lead into a tight braking zone. And probably the lack of grip out of the corners. No one gets a big jump off the corner.
Yeah, I don't know what happens to everyone at the end of the race here. I guess everyone just gets really aggressive, get yellow after yellow. This year someone takes me out, going to get a smack across the chops (laughter).
Q. Dario, you've been in this position before several times now this year, winning the pole. How do you now proceed to finish and erase what's happened?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: If you can find a way for me to fix the suspension and having a failure, I don't know. All we can do is show up with a fast car and play with the hand we're dealt in the race. That's all we can do. I'm trying to think of any races we haven't had some form of issue this year. Maybe Barber. Apart from that we've had some kind of thing going. You have to roll with the punches, get on with it. At least the Target cars are fast.
Q. Will, did Simon try to apologize? Is there maybe day two of something going on here?
WILL POWER: I gave him the Australian 'go away' when he came to apologize.
But it's all good. He blocked me down the back straight, kind of ran into me. It's all good for me. I'm not out to get him or anything. I just want a good, clean race, do the best I can with what I got.
Q. Justin, how much of a contrast is today compared to yesterday? Were you able to wake up this morning with a clear mind or does it still linger on?
JUSTIN WILSON: It still lingers on. It's never a nice experience. Went round this morning. I actually was texting backwards and forwards with Chuck last night, used to be at Dale Coyne Racing. He was back at his hotel, told me not to worry about it. I went around this morning, see the guys, make sure everybody was okay.
It's never a nice experience. We had to pick up and carry on with the job. The job was to be in the top six today. So I'm really pleased we made it and I'm also really happy Sebastien made it, as well. I think it's fitting for the weekend.
Q. Will, we talked about Simon. Can you talk about what happened between you and Taku.
WILL POWER: I gave him the Australian hello (laughter).
Yeah, I don't know. I don't know whether it was coming out of the pits or what, but that was lucky to get in that session. I was up on that lap. Luckily did it again the next lap. He got in my way. Ruined his day. I don't know who was on his radio, but they should have been telling him who was coming.
Q. Alex, with your qualifying result, did you see some vindication for your team?
ALEX TAGLIANI: I think you always try to do the best thing you can do in qualifying. First of all, the pit selection is important in every race. You have to get everything you can out of the car.
The 10-grid penalty, people had it in the past. But this race is a race of survival. You can still make it to the front with different strategy, tires. So I don't think, you know, like we can count ourself out of the race because we have the penalty.
Q. I know you still have the drivers meeting coming up. I'm curious if you could clarify for me what the policy is.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think you have to ask Beau on blocking. Right now, we don't know.
Q. Going into turn three, it's it possible to use the outside or inside?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: We don't know.
Q. But you can defend your line, right, as in previous races this season?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Maybe.
Q. You can't keep moving back and forth. You can't do what Helio did to Justin at Detroit a couple years ago.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Right.
Q. Justin, a couple years ago you were in contention to win this race and ended up in the tire barrier. I know no track ever owes you anything, but do you almost feel like you have an excellent chance tomorrow of winning this thing?
JUSTIN WILSON: I think we've got a good chance, but so does everybody that is sat up here. It's going to be down to strategy, not making any mistakes, staying out of trouble, good pit stops. It's going to take the perfect day to be on top.
The competition level is so high this year, it needs that perfect day. Seems so far this year it's been mixed up who has that everything, go the way they need it to on race day.
I'm not expecting to win, but I think we've got a good chance.
Q. Did any of you come up behind E.J. Viso when he slowed at the end of the round two?
WILL POWER: (No microphone.)
Q. (No microphone.)
DARIO FRANCHITTI: There's a bunch of guys each week that you have to compete with. Most of them are up here. That group is getting bigger and bigger, it's getting tougher. We've definitely been fighting tooth and nail for three years now.
WILL POWER: Yeah, good fun (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and wrap it up. Thanks for coming in and best of luck in tomorrow's race.
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