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IZOD IndyCar Series: Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit

IZOD IndyCar Series: Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit

Mike Conway
James Jakes
June 2, 2013


THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by James Jakes. James finished second today.
Walk us through today's race for you, James.
JAMES JAKES: It was entertaining, that's for sure. We obviously started second. Didn't get the best of starts. We always seem to struggle on the restarts. Seem to be in between gears too much.
Whenever we managed to get into a rhythm, fourth or fifth position, yellow flags kept coming out. It was very difficult to kind of plan a strategy from then on.
Then we got into, I'm not sure which lap, but there was quite a big wreck in turn one. Lost my front wing, had to come in and pit. Actually hurt my wrist, the one I hurt a couple years ago, so I was worried a bit about that.
We had a window towards the end of the race where everyone pitted in front of us, the track opened up, we were able to leapfrog a lot of people. That's what put us in the position really.
I always knew that if that opportunity came along, we had the pace to do it on the blacks. It was a question of whether the reds would hold up. We did great work with the reds this morning. When we put them on, they didn't fall off as much. They did fall off the last couple laps, we had Mike breathing down our neck, but we were able to save a couple 'push to passes' and that's what kept us in second position.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by Mike Conway, who finished third.
Talk about today's race.
MIKE CONWAY: Yeah, it was fun, lots of fun actually. Didn't quite go our way in terms of when the yellows fell. A couple guys pitted. We lost out a little bit there. On each restart, we were trying to gap, get a couple-second gap lead, then the yellow would fall again. We kind of shuffled back.
Then on the reds towards the end, we lost position to Kimball and Pagenaud. But as soon as we got the blacks on, just pushed as hard as I could. On the restarts, got a mega restart on the last one and followed through. I think I passed something like six guys or something in one lap. The car was so hooked up.
Pushed all the way to the end. Didn't have quite enough for James at the end. Used my last 'push to pass' a little bit too early. He had some left.
Great job by all the guys. James and Simon for a mega result. Thank my team for giving me the opportunity this weekend. First and third, I couldn't imagine that really coming into this weekend. Big credit to them.
Yeah, hopefully there's some more races for me. I think maybe Toronto. Dale is looking at doing that. That should be a lot of fun, another doubleheader. I can't wait for that now.
JAMES JAKES: Also a big thanks to Honda. They've put in a lot of work since the start of the year. To do it again here in Detroit, have three Hondas on the podium, a tribute to the work the guys put in. We didn't have the month of May we wanted, but the guys came back in great fashion.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Mike, a lot of the drivers talked about the physical training they did to prepare for this. You didn't even know you were coming here till a few days ago. How did you feel physically? How grueling was it?
MIKE CONWAY: Fine, yeah. I feel good. Felt good all the way through the race.
I've been kind of preparing (indiscernible) and training hard, not much rest for me. Yeah, felt good out there.
It wasn't easy. I think every driver must have woken up this morning with a few aches and pains, as you always have after a race. Just kind of have to get on with it and knuckle down.
It just shows the fitness of all the guys here, how hard we train to be good in the car. It's very physical out there. Especially this track, quite a lot of grip. Just makes it even harder. Constantly working the wheel. But I feel good.

Q. James, yesterday when you took on reds, I don't know if it was just 'cause they were falling off, you came over the radio and said the car was virtually undrivable on reds. What was the change that was made overnight, to the extent you can tell us? Did it affect the handling on blacks at all?
JAMES JAKES: Yeah, you're correct. We qualified on blacks this week. The car was working so well on them. We really, really struggled on the reds. The game plan yesterday was to put them on and get them out of the way as quick as possible. We did that. But we lost so much ground.
It was very frustrating. I mean, we knew we wanted a chance at a podium today, maintaining a position where we started, we had to find a bit of consistency on the reds. This morning we filled the thing up with fuel and went out on red tires. I'm not sure if people treated it like a normal warmup or practice session. Big credit to the guys because we found a lot.
Yesterday in the race we couldn't get in the 79s on reds. Today we got in the 77s or low 78s. Without that we wouldn't have been able to do that.

Q. The style of today's race seemed to be a lot different than yesterday. Today was a lot of crashes. Both of you talk about the difference of the race today compared to yesterday.
MIKE CONWAY: Makes it quite stop/start especially when you're trying to pull a gap and get a lead.
I thought today there might be a few more yellows. Thought people might be trying a bit harder. The track is that little bit quicker. A mistake can happen.
Yeah, it was unfortunate there were so many really at the beginning because it was when we were trying to gap everybody. That's when we kind of lost out a bit with guys pitting.
That's just the nature of it sometimes. Sometimes you have a really quiet race, no yellows, and other times you have a lot. So I don't know. Doesn't really depend on a circuit or a day really, it just goes that way sometimes.
JAMES JAKES: Like Mike said, it was hard to get into a rhythm. In the beginning part of the race, four or five laps where it was green, settle in a little bit, the caution came out. I think the biggest thing, we had a practice session before the race. Yesterday we went qualifying straight to the race so nobody ran on full tanks.
Everybody had a better idea of how their car was going to handle. You had a few guys at the mid to back of the pack that thought they had to be more aggressive to get to the front. The driving was definitely interesting out there today. There were a lot of wrecks.
I don't know what happened at turn one, but I got hit from every angle. How I didn't bend anything, I don't know. I think Simon lost his front wing as well. We both came in on the same lap to change our wings.

Q. Mike, how much time do you reckon you lost trying to get past Dario? Do you think that was the difference?
MIKE CONWAY: No, I think it was when the rear tire was going down, the reds. I had a chunk of a lead to Charlie, all of a sudden just gone. He overtook me. Tried to hold off Simon. He got by. I think that's what did it.
I think it held up a little bit with Dario. Got by within a couple laps. I think more the damage was done at the end of the red stint.

Q. Have you had any more dialogue about returning with Dale?
MIKE CONWAY: He said definitely Toronto is in the cards. That should be fun.

Q. Mike, I think it was just as you got past T.K. at one point, it looked like you hit the wall with your right rear. I was surprised to see your left rear go down later. Did you actually hit the wall?
MIKE CONWAY: No, I didn't feel like it. I think it was through turn five. Yeah, no, the rear spun out. I think it just kissed that little curb. More trying to hang out to get a gap.
But, yeah, it's like that 'round here. You can have the rear-end step out pretty quick. This is one of the, I don't know, toughest tracks here. You've really got to hang it out for a quick lap. It's enjoyable, for sure.

Q. After Will Power crashed he said it's time for IndyCar to rethink double-file restarts on street races. Do you both agree with that?
MIKE CONWAY: I don't know. Been doing it for a couple years now. When we first started doing it, it was a bit of a disaster. Once we all got used to what it took to stay clean, stay out of trouble, then it was all right. So I don't know.
Just some circuits I suppose it's harder because of the nature of the circuit. Depends on how it's going to be on the double-file restarts. Some circuits it's good, some it's harder for sure.
I think it's like that anywhere. One small mistake from anyone can create that domino effect. I'm not sure what happened at that corner.
JAMES JAKES: I think the biggest thing is the inconsistency of the starts. If the sweepers haven't been out there, you're on the outside, it is impossible to stay with the guy on the inside. You just spin the wheels and lose two positions. You get people that are frustrated, they try to make up those two positions again.
The last corner here, if the sweepers aren't out, the guys have such an advantage on the guys on the left. You have so many chunks of rubber, it's impossible to get the power down.
I can see Will's point a bit. If we could get the sweepers out there on every caution, it would help. Obviously that's going to take up too much time. It's a tough one.

Q. James, about three or four laps to go you had a moment, how bad were the reds falling off and how did you manage to save it from almost contacting the wall?
JAMES JAKES: I actually bounced off the wall on turn six. It was kind of two options with the reds: either try to preserve them the whole way through or push like crazy in the beginning and try to build a gap, see how much they fall off.
The team told me that obviously Simon and Mike only had one 'push to pass' left. We were catching Simon. But we held off too much. The priority was trying to keep Mike behind. I just made sure I had two 'push to passes' left. I used one coming out of two and used another one coming out of seven, the right-hander. They were dropping off quite badly.
But, like I said, we made some massive improvements compared to yesterday because we were able to use the reds initially, get a good pace out of it, then it would drop off.
There were a lot of guys out there struggling. I remember in the middle stint passing Dixon. He was just hanging it out everywhere, and he was on the reds.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, guys, on a great race and a great weekend.
MIKE CONWAY: Thank you.
JAMES JAKES: Thank you.

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