IRL: Gateway: Castroneves, Barron press conference

Moderator: Let's get started with Helio Castroneves and Alex Barron. Helio, if you could start again with a little bit on your day. Helio Castroneves: Obviously I enjoyed very much this track. Again, it's a tough circuit because in one turn...

Moderator: Let's get started with Helio Castroneves and Alex Barron. Helio, if you could start again with a little bit on your day.

Helio Castroneves: Obviously I enjoyed very much this track. Again, it's a tough circuit because in one turn you're lifting off a lot, and on the other hand you have to go flat out. It's very challenging for the engineers, for the drivers, because sometimes you find you're very well set up on one turn, and the other one is not so good. But bottom line, today was a very good race. I'm extremely happy and disappointed at the same time, I guess. As a race car driver, you want to win everything. Unfortunately, it never happens. Again, we're really going fast, close, side by side, a lot of passing. When I was leading, I got caught in traffic. Obviously Gil came really fast, I tried to find space, push a little bit. When you're challenging for the lead, you have to go as hard as you can. It's a great moment to finish first and second just to show how good this team effort is, first-class effort. Pit stops fantastic, I'm very pleased. I'll keep working hard. It's not that we finished second that we have to be disappointed. It's actually more points. We still have two more races on this championship. Like I learned with my teammate two years that he won in CART, because he has been consistent, that's the way I'll be now. Looks like it's working right now.

Moderator: Alex, I would imagine "career year" would come to mind when you go to bed at night.

Alex Barron: Since I signed on with Larry, he put together a really good program in that short amount of time. He's a great individual to work for. I really hope that we can continue this effort next year. We're working really hard to do that. You know, our big breakthrough this year is when we signed a deal with Chevrolet and Speedway Engines and BDS. That was our breakthrough. We've been running strong ever since. It's a lot easier to race when you have power (laughter).

Castroneves: Let me tell you, this guy did well. He was very strong today. He pass. You were on rails today. I was wondering, 'Are you going to brake?' What happened there? What are you going to do?

Barron: You told me I could go fast.

Castroneves: 'Where are you going? Track is this way.'

Barron: You said you were going to wait for me (laughter). This year has been an extraordinary experience. I think things are going to go better from here on out. We got a lot of guys on our team that have a lot of experience, they push very hard. You know, having Rayovac on board, and Indy and getting co-Rookie of the Year. It's been a lifelong dream. It's taken me a long time to get here. I'm trying to take full advantage of it and really enjoy myself. It's one thing I've learned, because it's been hard for me the last three years, is learn how to have fun. This year it's been that way. Met a lot of great people. I'm looking forward to try ﷓﷓ it's going to be hard to catch these guys in the championship, but we'll do everything we can to at least move one or two positions forward.

Moderator: Open it up for questions.

Q: (Inaudible)?

Barron: Actually, Helio gives me room, I give him room. We were racing clean. I went in there pretty hot. I knew cold tires were going to be a bit of an issue. I think more than anything, when you go in hard, you drift up a little bit. I think the shavings on the track were starting to get pretty severe. At the same time with the cold tires, moved up a little too far. Took too long to get it back down. It was unfortunate. Obviously, we lost the momentum we needed to go for the win.

Q: (Inaudible)?

Barron: It took about two turns to get that off. You know, we've been on quite a bit of downforce, so you can lean on it at that point. The car was moving around quite a bit. It doesn't take much to pick up quite a bit when you move up high.

Q: (Inaudible)?

Barron: I could tell you stories about the past. When you have a car like that, it's just amazing. You really just enjoy yourself. You're going fast and it's easy. I've been looking to drive car like that for a long time. Fortunately this year I have that opportunity. I was really enjoying myself, really loved the race. We were running very good. We had incredible power today. I haven't been in a race in a long time where I've had that kind of power. I felt we had the car to beat. Just when Helio went into (Turn) 1, we ran up high, we lost all the momentum. We had a really good car.

Q: (Inaudible)?

Castroneves: Too close to call. No offense, but I'm much better looking than that guy (laughter).

Q: (Inaudible)?

Castroneves: It's a lot of points, and anything can happen. Again, we're going to Chicago and Texas, which I believe ﷓﷓ I've never been in Chicago. Only time I've been was with IROC. Right now I do believe those type of track, it's horsepower, and it's going to be a really tight type of situation. I'm sure it's going to be really challenging. That's why I'm saying I'm very happy to at least get a lot of points, finish second, because I know one position, it's going to be important. What's been happening between three of us, even Felipe, we always been having one position ahead of each other. And I guess I don't think it's going to be different on the last race, especially for the guys that battle for the championship. So I'm sure it's going to be like that. I have no idea how it's going to be for the next race. Let's see what's going to happen.

Q: (Inaudible)?

Castroneves: That's right. I'm really looking for it. It's a fantastic team. It's been different obviously in the past. But, again, I can't count yet, not because I'm in the middle of the battle that I have to feel great. No, I just have to keep focused the same way we're doing, work the same way we're doing. What I most know on that team, because everybody is tied together, Gil's group, my group, both of us, each supports each other. I guess that's why our car in a situation like this, handling circuit, we always on top.

Q: (Inaudible)?

Barron: Secret (laughter).

Q: (Inaudible)?

Castroneves: I knew there was still plenty of race. I remember in Phoenix, he got caught in traffic is when I passed him. I guess it was revenge today. But I was extremely upset with those backmarkers. Started really piss me off. All of a sudden they're not fighting with anyone, they're just there. I wasn't understanding. I'm seeing the flag. But unfortunately it's a very tight series. If you don't have the momentum ... He got the momentum, came outside. Particularly that corner my car was a little loose. Alex did a very brave move going outside. I was really pushing hard. It's one of those situations. If you lose the momentum, nothing that you can do. That's what happened.

Q: This year went so long without a repeat winner. What were you thinking?

Castroneves: Well, everybody was saying, I remember, that we will dominate the championship. We were the first one to say: 'Hold on a minute. It's going to be a tight championship.' First of all, you don't know all the tracks, the equipment. We know only in Phoenix and Indianapolis, but that's not enough. I guess with this attitude that we've been doing, I believe other teams, as well, really putting a lot of effort, work and competition, the level is extremely high. As you just mentioned, a lot of different drivers winning. I guess that's the result of a lot of teams working. Again, it's a lot of credit for the series. Those cars are very limited on the rules, very limited on the engines. I guess with those situations, not much you can do. It's a great package for this type of circuit. We just saw a fantastic race, passing, 15 laps to go. Other races, the last laps. With these situations, you just showing the strength, the power of the series. Again, I'm just going to get -- I just think it's going to get better and better.

Q: (Inaudible)?

Barron: Actually, we've been quite competitive on every circuit except the mile-and-a-half and 2-mile ovals. You know, we're still trying to work on that, on trying to be competitive there. On the short tracks, Indianapolis, places like that, we've been very quick. We still have a little bit of work to do on those particular circuits. Again, it's easy to run in the front when you have power. You know, Chevrolet has been working hard with us. We're happy with everything that has come on board. Looking forward to running the last two races. We have a lot of momentum. I wish we could go out for the championship. The last couple races, we got it back. Unfortunately there's only two races to go, but you always have to push hard because you're always auditioning for sponsorship and a job. You have to make sure you do the best you can.

Q: (Inaudible)?

Barron: I don't know. You come in, you pit, you put tires on, it's a little bit different car. I definitely thought we had a strong car. As you saw today, if lap traffic didn't get in the way, a lot of the guys ran really quick laps. I thought that's what we needed to do to do it. Helio and Gil, they run very consistent laps. If you start checking up on traffic and stuff, they run right up on you. Sam a couple times got a run on me, too. You know, at the end, I would catch Helio and Gil, I would catch them, then I would get backed up by the traffic. There were about three cars I felt as though probably could have been pulled off about halfway through the race. You know, you're trying so hard to win a race. You know, you break out into a lead, you're dicing, then somebody checks you up so hard that it messes up the whole routine. I know it's narrow around here, but there were a couple of cars that I think got lapped quite a few times. It was very difficult because of that. I think some of the outcome that happened today, you know, happened because of that. But, again, I'm happy to finish on the podium, and I think that we could possibly maybe try to win a race before the end of the season.

Q: You throw a guy in there like Buddy Rice. How do you feel about (inaudible)?

Barron: Buddy actually came up like right after I did. He did a lot of the steps that I did from Formula 2000 to Atlantic. He ran a lot on the team. I know Buddy quite well. I know he's capable of running strong. In this business, it's about getting a good race car and the right opportunity. Even then you have to have good pit stops. I knew he could do it. He doesn't have much time in the car, but he's doing a very good job.

Castroneves: Yes, I don't know much about it. Obviously, he come in Michigan. He did a good job. Again, it's like many other drivers out there. I guess the drivers are understanding obviously a little bit in the beginning of the year, till you know each other, 'til you know the competition, you never know where you going to be. Once we start knowing each other, which style that driver has, how aggressive, how smooth, you start understanding. I guess that's why it's getting better and better towards the end of the season.

Q. We have two mile-and-a-half tracks coming up. Are you going to be adjusting between now and then?

Barron: I'll do testing I think 20 days before then, like Penske does, and I think we'll be competitive (laughter). No, we'll test. I know they are, too. All the good teams are. We definitely have a lot more to find than they do as far as speed in the car. But we've been doing a lot of research. We have a lot of things to try when we go there. I think we have a pretty good insight on what we need to do. You know, it changes so much. You can be off a 10th of a second and qualify 10th instead of 1st. It's very competitive. We're going to try to find the little things when we go and test.

Moderator: Good to have good friends come back to see us. Congratulations and we hope to see you soon.

-irl-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Alex Barron , Buddy Rice