HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 SHELL-PENNZOIL TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – WINNER: CONSIDERING THE STRUGGLES OF A YEAR AGO AND ALL THE EMOTIONS THAT CAME WITH THE FINALE LAST YEAR, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO WIN THIS RACE TODAY? “This is a great effort for everyone. First I want to thank the Shell V- power team, Pennzoil which was awesome. I want to thank Verizon, IZOD, SKF Group and Chevy. No question about it our friend upstairs Dan Wheldon. Certainly coming back last year was a big struggle. Now to be here in Victory Circle it is a dream come true. I just have to thank, obviously, Roger Penske, Tim Cindric and this time John Erickson and Ron Ruzewki and my group here they did a hell of a job this whole entire week. Thanks again. Thanks for all the support.”
AFTER THE FINAL PIT STOP YOU CAME OUT AND YOU MADE THAT OUTSIDE PASS ON (SCOTT) DIXON IN TURN ONE, TAKE US THROUGH THAT: “As soon as we came out (of the pits) I kind of went right in front of (Scott) Dixon. I couldn’t make a move because he was already making a move and the rules are you can’t block. He passed me and I said ‘you know what let’s see what’s going to happen on the straight-a-way.’ As soon as he moved he gave me an option to go on the outside. I made it stick and I made it turn. It was great. It was a fair race. Great start for this group No. 3 and a great start for Team Penske, no question.”
ROGER PENSKE, TEAM OWNER, NO. 3 SHELL V-POWER/PENNZOIL TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, RACE WINNER: “This is a great day for General Motors and obviously for Chevrolet who made the commitment to come back into IndyCar racing. This is really an event that shows the commitment in the automobile industry in the U.S. All the engineers within Chevrolet teaming with Ilmor to bring a product to the marketplace like this car in one year is amazing.
“I can tell you that is a terrific run. With the new Chevy engine, the new cars and John Erickson at the wheel there along with Helio (Castroneves) and (Ron) Ruzewski it’s great. We had three good cars today. It’s going to be a great season. I want to thank our sponsors Shell-Pennzoil for putting us up front. It’s great to be back racing.”
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 28 DHL/SUN DROP CITRUS SODA ANDRETTI ATUOSPORT CHEVROLET – FINISHED 3RD: YOU WERE ON A FUEL STRATEGY, INSTEAD OF GOING FOR IT YOU HAD TO GO FOR MILEAGE THAT IS FRUSTRATING: “I thought we had something for Scott (Dixon) on old tires, but that is the way it is sometimes. That Chevy engine made great fuel mileage and we are happy to get a podium to start out the year. This certainly had bigger things in mind that is for sure.”
IF YOU HADN’T OF BEEN PLAYING FUEL STRATEGY, DID YOU HAVE WHAT IT WOULD HAVE TAKEN TO GET HIM? “I think so. He was really good on cold tires and at the beginning of stints. Then I would reel him back in as the tires would get hot. Scott (Dixon) did a great job today. We are happy to have two Chevy’s on the podium. Great showing for DHL and Sun Drop, but most of all we are missing Dan (Wheldon). That wound is still fresh and this race would have been better with him in it that’s for sure. He was just such a great ambassador for our sport. He was a champion and all of us want to emulate him. We all want to be like him. We love the Wheldon family; this is their city and thank you to all the fans that came out.”
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 4TH: ON HIS RACE: DID YOU HAVE ANY ISSUES WITH THE BATTERY? “Obviously when we are trying to save fuel under caution, you are running very low on the RPMs and the alternator only charges over a certain RPM. A couple of guys were running a little bit too low and actually drained- out the battery. But, my guys on this team were keeping me up-to-date on where my battery was and I needed to raise the revs; when I could conserve more fuel, I did. It was a really big team effort there. I lost my dash for a little bit of the second stint there, so they were my eyes and ears even more than normal. We got that all sorted. It was just a great effort.”
ON THE RACE: “It was a great race. A great way to start the season for the GoDaddy car. Happy for Ryan (Hunter-Reay) to get on the podium there. We were so close there. We keep knocking on the door. It was great, but I kept getting hosed by being on the outside for those double-file restarts and losing places. The guys did a great job with the strategy and the pit stops were flawless. We were able to do that; conserve just enough fuel. The thing ran out of fuel coming into the pits. Just all around a great effort. Can’t thank the boys, Chevy and GoDaddy enough.”
RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 2 IZOD TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 5TH: ON HIS RACE: “Not bad. We just got beat by the two-stop strategy today. The team did an amazing job battling some electrical issues since qualifying yesterday. Saving fuel wasn’t an option for me. I had to run high RPM under all the yellows. So we basically just committed to a three-stop strategy. Race was good. It was a lot of fun. The Chevy engine did an awesome job all day long and had plenty of power. Definitely more power than any of the competition. Really pleased with that. Not a bad top-five way to start the championship. We’ll just keep pulling on these points.”
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET, FINISHED 7TH: ON HIS RACE: “I just got swamped on that first restart and that kind of screwed us. The strategy, we could have ended up good, but man, my restarts were atrocious. I just kind of was too conservative, but its just impossoble to pass. You cannot pass. You just cannot pass, man. Everybody gets about the same drive out of the corner. Impossible. I could not pass. I was two seconds a lap quicker than guys in front of me and couldn’t get by. Great job for Helio, he hasn’t had a win in a long time.Maybe these cars just have a lot of grip. It’s so hard to pass. It really is. You can’t pass in these things, so you have to make hay when you get a restart. First restart I was just conservative and getting in the wrong spot. Just one of those days when nothing seemed to right until the end there. We got a clear track and got a chunk of track position back.”
E.J. VISO – NO. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, FINISHED 8TH: “I was very sick last night, so I had very little energy during the race. Despite that we had a pretty good event. The team gave me a good and consistent car and I was able to keep a good pace all through the race. This was the first time Jimmy (KV Racing Technology co-owner Jimmy Vasser) called one of my races and he was a big help. I really liked what he did. He was a key person today. I am excited how we started the season and am looking forward to next weekend at Barber.
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 26 TEAM RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET, FINISHED 14TH: "We were short on fuel on the last run and had to make an extra pit stop. I'm not happy to finish 14th, but, considering how I did here last year (knocked-out in lap one crash), it's an improvement. We ran in the top-five early on, and I think we'll have the speed to be at the front at Barber (Motorsports Park, home of next week's IndyCar race)."
RUBENS BARRICHELLO – NO. 8 BMC | EMBRASE – KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET, FINISHED 17TH: “I had fun out there. Unfortunately we had a meter reading problem so I ran out of fuel at the end. However, I enjoyed the race and dicing with other cars, but would have liked to have been able to push more. It has been a good learning experince this weekend and I look forward to being back in the car in a few days for the next race.”
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S ULTRA PREMIUM VODKA CHEVROLET, FINISHED 18TH: “I’m a little disappointed to come home 18th because we had good pace for a lot of race. We were off on the balance in the first half of the race, but we made the car better with each stop. The last stint was very good and we set some pretty quick laps. It’s good to see a Chevy in victory lane today, but I can’t say I appreciated the way Helio (Castroneves) moved me out of the way when I was trying to get to the pits. Without doing much road racing last year, I think it was a good start for me. I felt we had a better car than 18th and it is the best car I have ever had at St. Pete. With the little track time we have had so far, I think this is a good start for us. I think we found something we can improve on as the year goes on. I’m really proud of the team this weekend. I’m just disappointed we lost a couple of laps due to the spin because I felt we could have finished on the lead lap. It would have shown how we ran today. Overall, we know how we ran and the improvement we gained this weekend. Now, we gather ourselves and get ready for Barber next week.”
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 20 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET, FINISHED 19TH: “In that last stint we passed Dario (Franchitti), Marco (Andretti) and were going to be able to easily get by Will (Power) and Simon (Pagenaud) for a potential Top Five. As frustrating as it is that we don’t have anything on a piece of paper to show how well we performed today, I’m really jacked up about the pace we had all race and that the National Guard car felt really good the whole time. I’m just ready to keep this moving, and the National Guard boys did so well all day in the pits, even after we had a mechanical issue on a stop that sent us all the way back to dead last. We knew our Chevy was good all through practice and we learned a lot about the racecar today because it didn’t matter what tire we were on, we were fast as the leaders the entire time. This gives all of us the confidence that we can be doing this on a more regular basis on any type of track. Panther has always been known for their oval package, but I think we’re here to show everybody this year that on any type of track we can get up there with the guys at the front and beat anybody.”
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS – KV RACING TECHNOLOGY W/SH CHEVROLET, FINISHED 25TH: Sidelined on lap 22 with suspected electrical issues:
TV INTERVIEW - DID YOU HAVE ANY WARNING SOMETHING WAS GOING WRONG? “It was a shame today because I think we could have had a good result. We had an electrical problem. We are not really sure right now what it was or what caused it, but my dashboard just went blank and the car shut down. Looking around it is a beautiful day with everyone remembering Dan (Wheldon). It reminds you that there are a lot more important things in life than dropping out of a race.”