Firestone Indy Lights: Milwaukee IndyFest
Topics: Milwaukee IndyFest
June 15, 2013
WEST ALLIS, WISCONSIN
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started with our post-race press conference. We're pleased to be joined by two of our podium finishers, Carlos Munoz, who finished second.
You maintain the championship points lead. Congratulations on a great race. Talk about the race.
CARLOS MUNOZ: We were struggling through the whole day. Perfect car like the last few races. But anyway, was a really smart race from my part. Going step by step. I knew the last laps were a fight for the win. Because of the lapped guys, the traffic and all this stuff, it was quite tough.
More championship points now, so we have to continue like this in the same way, podium finishes in the races.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by Zach Veach.
Zach, talk about that pass on the first lap there to take the lead.
ZACH VEACH: Yeah, the start was a little late. Instead of being set off by Sage, I (indiscernible) the green. I guess I had my head up more than Sage at that point.
Looking back, I made a little mistake my first time leading the series. As a driver, you want to push and get to the finish line as fast as possible. I used up my tires the first half of the race, and the end was just hanging on.
Moving on to Iowa, we have to look at some things about lapped traffic. Hopefully we'll be a couple steps ahead.
THE MODERATOR: How do you feel about going to Iowa?
ZACH VEACH: Being teammates with Carlos, his year of experience, he's so quick now, it's really helped me mature in the Firestone Indy Lights Series. Being on the team with Andretti Motorsports, they provide us with the best things.
I think we have a really good shot of coming out with more wins further in the year.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. It rained overnight. How different was the track from your experience yesterday?
CARLOS MUNOZ: Was more slippery than yesterday. Was hard to drive the car. Was pretty unpredictable.
Q. Zach, the four or five laps you spent trying to pass somebody who did exactly what he was supposed to do, held his line, unfortunately it looked like you struggled on the low side, if you would have been on the high side you would have gotten by him.
ZACH VEACH: At that point we were struggling with the rear of the car. I don't think we ran enough in traffic to get the car where I wanted to in dirty air. I was just trying to run kind of a higher line. I kept getting cut off and going up into the dirty air. That was a struggle for us. A lot of learning goes with it.
We adjusted a lot of things in the car. As a mindset, we've got more going into Iowa now.
Q. Carlos, coming from Indianapolis, the fantastic race you ran there, what did you bring there that would help you here? Or is it the other way around?
CARLOS MUNOZ: I think I learn a lot in IndyCar, just to be patient. I overtake the traffic really good. It helped me. Last year we struggled here. In Iowa, I think we have the perfect car for this year.
THE MODERATOR: Zach, Carlos, congratulations on a great race.
And we'll now bring up our race winner, Sage Karam.
This is Sage's first career Firestone Indy Lights victory, fourth podium of the season for Sage. Second in the championship points standings.
Sage, talk to us about today's race, especially the pass to regain the lead.
SAGE KARAM: Yeah, I didn't get the start I was looking for. Kind of got jumped. Zach went before the green, before the start came. I was kind of mad about that because usually when you qualify first, it's your pace, you go, then the field goes.
I was kind of upset about that, but I knew I couldn't get down about it. I knew I had to chase him down and get him for the win.
I was in the back, trying to save my car. I knew he couldn't go out that fast and keep his tires under him. He caught lap traffic. When he caught lap traffic, when he used the tires a little bit extra, I knew that was my turn to pounce.
That's what we did. I had my tires underneath me. I had enough to make the move. Just kept my head down, got through traffic. The lap traffic guys out there were really respectful. They raced good.
THE MODERATOR: You've had a great season to date with a lot of strong finishes. Talk about getting the first win.
SAGE KARAM: Good getting the monkey off your back. The first one is always big. Star Mazda, my first win was Milwaukee also. Hopefully we can keep going. Got Iowa coming up. Won there the last three years. Hopefully we can make it a four-peat.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. What were your thoughts when the late yellow came out?
SAGE KARAM: I got on the radio and said, Oh, crap, just my luck. I knew it was going to be more of a struggle, but I was pretty confident in the car and in my team that we had the car to win, if it was a yellow, he was right on my rear wing.
I was pretty confident. You got to stay mentally strong when things like that happen. I'm a high school wrestler, that's one of the things that gives me an unfair advantage to some of my opponents, I go through some of the hardest stuff. Wrestling is such a mental sport. I knew I had to stay mentally tough out there. That's what we did.
In all honesty, I think I didn't win this race just off of being physical in the car, it was all mental.
Q. Do you have a preference for short tracks? You said you've done well at Iowa. Do you prefer ovals, short ovals, or do you like street and road courses as well?
SAGE KARAM: Ovals have always been good to me. They're always good to come to. I like these ovals like Milwaukee where you have to drive them a little bit more instead of holding it wide open. I think that brings out the true driver.
I do like the ovals, but I have to say my favorite tracks to go to are street circuits like Toronto, Three Rivers, St. Pete. I'm a big street course fan. I can't say I dislike ovals, considering I've podium-ed on every oval I drove on and have a lot of wins. Yeah, definitely ovals are good to me.
THE MODERATOR: Is your mindset now on the championship?
SAGE KARAM: Yeah, we've shown we can do it. Carlos is a really respected driver out there. Everybody followed his performance in the end of the month of May there, getting second at the Indy 500. To race against him is a great feeling.
We're chasing him now, slowly chipping into his lead. One of my favorites coming up, Iowa, hopefully we can chip more into it.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for your time today. Congratulations on the win. Best of luck in Iowa.
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