Continued from part 1 Q: We saw yesterday in qualifying that almost everybody either spun or went off the track, and today it didn't really happen that much. Can you talk a little bit about that; what changed, or were the drivers being a...
Continued from part 1
Q: We saw yesterday in qualifying that almost everybody either spun or went off the track, and today it didn't really happen that much. Can you talk a little bit about that; what changed, or were the drivers being a little bit more cautious because of the race?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Certainly they were being more cautious. To finish well, you have got to finish. In qualifying things are different. You've got to push, you've got to try. Sometimes the cars are not the way you want it. You've got to realize, 'okay, this is what I have and that's it.'
But certainly people behave better, and I guess the track was getting better, as well. So they kept the same rhythm even though at the beginning of the weekend it was hard.
Q: The Team Penske crews came over the wall and extinguished the cockpit fire of Tony Kanaan. Can you just talk about the kind of pride you have --
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Is Tony okay?
Q: He's got a few burns on his thumbs, but he's pretty good.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: No, I just heard about it when we were coming over here. This is a community. Everybody here has been together for a whole season. Everybody knows each other. Some of the people sometimes switch teams or places, but are still friends with others.
In a situation like that when somebody is in danger, you've got to help. And I understand my guys, Ryan (Briscoe)'s guys, I don't know whose guys they were, but you've got to help. I hope that if he's burned only on the hands, he will be okay to drive in Kentucky.
Q: There's so much domination by Penske and Ganassi in this circuit right now. Sometimes it can be difficult to break through that. Other teams are struggling obviously to find an answer for you guys, and occasionally it affects the race, and this one there wasn't much doubt from the beginning that Penske was going to take this away. Because you don't make very many mistakes, what will it take for somebody to break through?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Well, it will take a lot of effort. I understand it's a lot of effort for all of the teams. My opinion with my car since 2003 has been that small details end making a big difference, and I think that's what happened. When everybody has the same equipment, you have to start looking for small changes to make.
There are positives and negatives - The good thing is small teams can catch up and can get a good setup and can make good things happen.
The bad thing is when obviously one of those teams finds a small detail to change, it's going to make a big difference in the racetrack.
So it's a balance right now, a balance with so many things, including testing. There are limits to testing. They give you two day events sometimes and things like that. It just shows that it brings the field tight.
In the end, it comes down to great strategy, good drivers and good equipment. If you put everything together it certainly makes a big difference.
Plus you've got to understand, the team puts forth a lot of effort and a lot of investment - changing every bit. If you find a bolt that looks funny, they don't use that one, they replace it. So that makes a big difference.
THE MODERATOR: Helio, thank you very much. We'll see you next week.
This is our race winner Will Power's first win in the IndyCar Series and the fourth of his North America open-wheel career. His previous best finish was second in Long Beach. In his five races this season, he has finished no worse than sixth.
Will, your previous best finish prior to here was a sixth. Take us through your day out there.
WILL POWER: Well, it was an unusual day to remain green the whole time, and that's what we needed because of where we pitted.
It was a great day. Penske Racing had a really good car. It was very fast. In that first stint we pulled a big lead while saving fuel and it was a very good day. It was a very good weekend to get pole position and the race win, so I'm very happy.
Q: Do you think you're passing your audition to get a full-time ride with this team?
WILL POWER: I'm not sure what more I can do, my friend. (Laughter.)
I haven't been thinking forward, I've just been taking things one day at a time. That's one reason I'm enjoying my racing this year. In the last three years I've always been stressing about not having a ride the next year. This year I don't have a full-time ride but I'm enjoying my racing more than ever.
I think the situation and atmosphere within the team also contributes to that. You know, I've got two really good teammates. We all get along really well, and these guys look after you. It's just a fantastic place to be driving.
Q: You went 94 laps cruising. Everything was going perfectly, and then the yellow comes out and you spend the last lap behind the pace car. How long did that feel for you to get that win?
WILL POWER: That last stint felt like it went forever. I remember John Erickson saying, "25 to go," and it just dragged on. I'm thought 'Come on, man, this thing has got to finish soon.'
I guess when you're leading, you just want it to be over with. But it was good. I knew I had a big gap so I wasn't too stressed. I was saving a bit of fuel to be on the safe side. It was very good day for Penske Racing.
I knew whenever we had clear track we'd be quicker than everyone.
Q: The lap traffic seemed to affect everybody toward the end of the race and held you up a little bit. What did you think overall?
WILL POWER: Yes, in the middle there Marco Andretti was very aggressive. I was trying to lap him and he blocked me and chopped me. I don't know what he was doing, but once I realized he wasn't going to make it easy, I just went to fuel save, and I lost the seven-second lead that I had. But that's racing.
Q: Just talk about the crew you've got. They don't know where they're going to be from one week to the other, but it sounds like you do.
WILL POWER: Yeah, they're a great group of guys. I love working with the Penske Racing crew. Every time we're together we're having success, you know. I would love to be with those guys in a full-time manner next year. But that's a long way away.
We've never talked about it. I've just got to keep my head down and do a good job, and hopefully next year I can end up in a full-time ride somewhere.
Q: Obviously in the pole, the strategy I'm assuming you take is get to the front and stay there. Was there any point during the race where you were concerned by anybody behind you?
WILL POWER: Yeah, when I was getting held up, I really thought, 'Man, this is going to be tough. I've got to hold these guys off behind me, and I can't pass the two cars that are in front of me.' Yeah, that was the only time in the race that I was concerned, because I wasn't sure how much those guys would save, and if they went a lap longer, chances are they would get around me.
When I pitted that time from behind Danica (Patrick), I pushed on my out lap. My first three laps were really the hardest I've pushed all race to ensure that I had a handy lead.
Q: Was there anything you could compare and contrast your victory here to a couple years ago?
WILL POWER: I didn't win here. I was on pole. The last two years I've had mechanical failures. In 2007 I was leading and the steering rack broke. Last year the car broke on the first probably seven, eight laps. So I came back to finish the job.
Q: We talked yesterday about your fitness, and you said that the track fitness is something you just can't train for, and now you went 94 laps green. How do you feel, and was that a tough time for you?
WILL POWER: No, I had plenty of energy all the way through. I'm very fit off the track; I do a lot of every exercise in the gym, on the bike, running and swimming. So my fitness is part of my being able to pull away a bit. I didn't fatigue and I just kept trucking on. I felt really good.
Q: You have a part-time crew that's bouncing back and forth - Do you think the regular full-time guys are going to owe them dinner now or are you going to have bragging rights with the full-time guys?
WILL POWER: I think so. Everyone works so well within this team. Anyone they put on your car is a good guy, because Penske Racing keeps people for a long time, and they're all good people. So it's by no means just a weekend crew. These guys are very good.
Q: Can you talk about what happened with the Penske crews coming over the wall to extinguish the fire with Tony (Kanaan)? I'm not even sure you know what happened there.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I was out on the track. (Laughter.) I tried to look over but I was going so fast I couldn't see it.
Q: And the other thing is can you give us a clue about when you might race again?
WILL POWER: I will race next weekend in Kentucky.
Q: For sure?
WILL POWER: Yeah.
Q: Do you know the rest of the year?
WILL POWER: Yes, I will be in Sonoma and Homestead.
Q: Were you at all concerned about the possibility of a full caution during this race that might come right in the pit window, because you did not have a very favorable pit location?
WILL POWER: Exactly. That's what I was saying at the beginning; I was concerned of that. I was really hoping it would stay green when the pit window was open, and that's what happened. If you're leading and you come in and you're way back in pit position where we are, chances are there will be some cars coming in from the tail end as you're leaving.
That's exactly what happened to me at Surfers Paradise when we had a bad pit station - I got hit and it ruined my day.
Q: I've got to ask you, in Toronto, I don't think you were the most comfortable walking around with a yellow race suit but you've done pretty well for two races.
WILL POWER: I love it. It might look a little bit bright, but if I'm ever around and there's someone unloading a Penske Truck rental truck, I walk up in this suit and say, 'Need a hand?' They usually say, 'Get out of here, Mate.' Stand-up comedy is not my thing.