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IZOD IndyCar Series: Iowa Corn Indy 250

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Iowa Corn Indy 250

IZOD IndyCar Series: Iowa Corn Indy 250

Dario Franchitti
June 22, 2012


THE MODERATOR:  Helio thank you so much for your time today.  Appreciate it.
We are pleased to be joined by the winner of today's qualifying heat race No. 3 and the pole sitter for tomorrow's Iowa corn Indy 250, Dario Franchitti at Target Chip Ganassi Racing.  So this is Dario's his first pole at Iowa Speedway, and this is the second consecutive pole for Dario.  He started the pole last week at Milwaukee, as well.  Great start for Dario in Iowa.  Previously your best start was third in 2007, and this is also the 75th IndyCar pole for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
So Dario, congratulations on a great heat race.  If you can, walk us through those 30 laps.
DARIO FRANCHITTI:  Thank you.  I think it start the during the second practice session, trying to get laps to start in the fast eight.  I must say, after watching practice, I thought there's nothing much faster than these heat races.  The first one, straight out‑‑ and the second race, I watched Tony making some of those moves and I thought, well, just rubber in.  I figured that's all we need here at Iowa for a good race, two lanes opened up, two lanes rubbered in, some grip, and that was definitely the case.
Quite early in our heat, I was able to move up the track and the Target car reallywas able to make that pass on Marco to gain on him and then the next lap, he was just outside and he gave me more than enough room, and didn't need any extra to pass him, and then I was able to gap the guys behind him, controlled it from about a second and a half so really happy with that.  There was not much fall‑off for the tire, and happy with the balance.
So half a stint on the tires tomorrow, it will be very interesting to see what happens as the grip goes away a little bit.  But no, really happy with that and looking forward to tomorrow.

Q.  When is the last time you had a heat race?
DARIO FRANCHITTI:  I just got asked that.  1989, go‑karts back in Scotland.

Q.  Do you like this format?
DARIO FRANCHITTI:  Well, I think it could always take some tweaking, but in my view, what I remember from years previous, there was more people in the stands than any other qualifying day I've seen.
So that is a bonus.  I think the races, certainly the second two were much more exciting than single‑car qualifying.  I would like to see some tweaking, I there are some things I think we could change but I thought it was a really good start.  Get Randy to open his wallet a little bit‑‑ he looked up as soon as I said "wallet" ‑‑ get some money for them to do this, because all of the team others are risk their cars and stuff.  We could do a little modifying, but I thought it was a really good start.

Q.  I think Briscoe Tweeted it would be more exciting if the winners of the first two heat earned their way into the final heat.
DARIO FRANCHITTI:  It's definitely an idea.  I think‑‑ I'm sure the guys at IndyCar will go home and think, okay, what can we do to spice it up and that was something we actually talked about, as well, it would be great if you saw TK and Graham stuck on the back of that final race.  But as a first stab at it, I thought it was really good.

Q.  Would you like to see Michael Andretti try this in Milwaukee next year?
DARIO FRANCHITTI:  I don't know, I would have to say single car at Milwaukee has been pretty good to me.  I don't know.  I think we've got to look at this one first and see how it went and what we‑‑ but I don't think we need to do it every week.  It's nice to have it as kind of something different, but I don't think to do it every week would be right.
Well, I still think we have to have some single cars on the short ovals, too, as I say, Milwaukee is pretty challenging.  But it's not up to me.  I think we have to analyze this weekend first, and the guy at the back of the room will make a decision‑‑ he's not paying attention.  (Laughter).

Q.  There has been some rumors about possibly adding Road America to the schedule.  Do you have any comments about that or how your feelings would be?
DARIO FRANCHITTI:  I would love to go to Road America.  It's a track that I love driving.  I think it's one of the classic road courses in the world, not only North America.  I was lucky enough to win my first race there back in 1998.  And I would love to go back there.
So if we can make that happen, it would be fantastic.  Whether it's this year, I don't know, or next year, would be fantastic.  But hopefully we can get back there, and I think if you did a pole on all of the drivers, they would all say the same thing.  It's one of the very few things we all agree on I think is to go back there.

Q.  What was key for to you make that jump in the second practice session there late and to be so dominant in the heat race?
DARIO FRANCHITTI:  Well, the key was actually getting a clear lap in that second practice.  That's maybe one thing to look at for next year, maybe split that second.  If we are going to do that, split the second practice session, because it was me and him at the end, because Graham pulled out of the pits in front of me and proceeded to go ahead.  So I had to come in with two sets of tires, and luckily it's only a 17‑second lap here, so I was able to get back up to speed and get one clear lap and that was enough to get me in.
I thought the guys, Chris Simmons and the guys on the Target team did a good job.  We sat there for a long time after practice‑‑ a lot longer than we normally do just talking through what the car needed, what it was missing.  And that's what we came up with.  So it was a good start and I think we've got a couple more changes to make overnight to go racing tomorrow night.
THE MODERATOR:  Well, Dario, thank you very much.  Congratulations.  Best of luck tomorrow.

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