Toronto: Post-race press conference

Honda Indy Toronto Post-Race Transcript July 12, 2009 An interview with Dario Franchitti, Ryan Briscoe and Will Power THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with our post race media briefings. We're joined by Ryan Briscoe, who finished second today.

Honda Indy Toronto Post-Race Transcript
July 12, 2009

An interview with Dario Franchitti, Ryan Briscoe and Will Power

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with our post race media briefings. We're joined by Ryan Briscoe, who finished second today. This is Ryan's fifth time in his last six races that he's finished second. Just as a side note, his teammate, Helio Castroneves, finished second eight times last year. Don't know if Ryan is trying to chase that record or not.

Then we're joined by Will Power, his second podium finish of the year. Will has finished in the top six in all four of his starts this season.

Ryan, we'll start with you. Talk about your day out there.

RYAN BRISCOE: It was exciting. I thought the track really provided a lot of really good racing today. Also the large pit windows for fuel didn't require us really to save a lot today. So I thought the racing was good.

You know, it was unfortunate on the first lap somebody cut my rear tire down into Turn 3. I guess probably not entirely unexpected just with where I was starting and the nature of the track and everything. But we had to pit on the first lap, change tires. That really set us back. Probably close to a lap down.

We caught a caution during that stint. That packed us back up. We were at the back of the field. But we just went off strategy a bit. We had some good pit stops today. We made some pretty big changes to the setup coming into the race today, guessing a little bit with it. I think it was all positive and the car felt the best it's been all weekend.

When I was out there on my own, I was able to put in some fast lap times, make up ground on the alternate strategy. I think that's where we made up the track position and found ourselves racing at the front at the end of the race.

It was good. It was one of the few street courses I've ever been at where you could actually pass cars and really go racing. So it was a lot of fun.

THE MODERATOR: And, Will, for you, how about your day?

WILL POWER: It was similar to Ryan actually. I cut my tire right at the start. Graham Rahal's front wing got into it. We went to the back, almost a lap down. From that point, we ran real hard and had a lot of fun. That's what I call a race.

Actually, I didn't realize that I hadn't done two laps on my red tires, so we had to put reds on at the end. That was good. They held up well.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.

Q: A lot was made going into this race about these type of cars on this track. Don't you think the package kind of allowed for the ability for you to pass anywhere on the course?

RYAN BRISCOE: It looked good. Maybe Will is a better one to answer. Go ahead, Will.

WILL POWER: Yeah, it made for great racing. The track, having a really long straight going into a tight hairpin-style corner with heaps of room to pass is what tracks need. It just makes for great racing. If you're fast, you can get through the field, you don't have to sit behind and save fuel. That's what the fans want to see.

Yeah, all those tracks out there, start extending.

Q: A question about local yellow, full caution yellow, that really helped Dario in the race. It might have helped you also, because, Ryan, you indicated you had to pit early. You actually pitted three times.

RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, I don't know. Dario did get a bit lucky on that caution. Similar to what happened to me in Watkins Glen, but they didn't let me pit.

Q: Will, can you take us through the last restart. Looked like the guys ahead of you, Dario and Ryan, got a pretty good jump on you on the last restart.

WILL POWER: Yeah, they did. Caught me off guard and took off (laughter).

Q: Ryan, can you talk about you and Justin (Wilson) had a pretty close moment there in turn one close to the end. Talk me through that.

RYAN BRISCOE: I was a bit annoyed because we were running so well. I don't know what happened. I think he was maybe a little bit quicker in turn one and just carried too much speed. We were on sort of cold tires. I felt him sort of whack my rear tire. I was just thinking about what happened on the first lap when that happened, and it cut my tire. I was just scared to death that my tire was going to go down.

When I saw Will slot in in front of him and pass him, I thought, "That will be the safest for me going to the finish." Luckily it didn't cause any damage and we were able to continue on, no problem.

Q: Ryan, you've been pretty calm about finishing second all these times. To win the championship, you're going to have to win or your rival has to have bad luck. What do you think about all these second places? When do you start to worry about it?

RYAN BRISCOE: I'm trying to win, don't worry. I'm just getting these second places. I think in the last two races I've gained 13 points in the championship to the lead. So, you know, it's not going all bad by far. Obviously, I'd like to go out and win races. I'm doing my best. Hopefully we'll get some.

Q: (Question about the last lap.)

WILL POWER: I didn't want to attack Ryan. He's my teammate. I was happy with third. I just wanted to stay there, considering the day we had.

RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, no, I certainly was going to expect Will in the closing stages of the race not to make any bonsai moves on me, which could come from guys that aren't my teammates. I thought Dario was a little bit better right off the bat on cold tires. It looked like I had at least as much speed as him once the tires came up to temperature, so I was just working hard on trying to keep the pressure on Dario.

I could see Will was back there, had his hands pretty full. I think (Scott) Dixon had some good Reds on, had come through the field and was pretty fast. But we were definitely -- if I couldn't pass Dario, certainly just trying to bring it home and get the points.

Q: A couple of words of back-to-back races in Canada, looking to the race in Edmonton.

RYAN BRISCOE: I'm very excited to be here. I think there's a lot of enthusiasm when we come here to Canada. Fans are great. Edmonton is another challenging track. But it seems like the fans really get into it up there. Last year the three-day weekend, even the Friday, you just couldn't move in the paddock. It's really great to see.

I think Canada has a lot of open-wheel knowledge and there's a big fan base for open-wheel racing in general, which is really nice to see when we come here.

So, yeah, it's good. We'll take this weekend off and then be ready to go get 'em in Edmonton.

WILL POWER: Yeah, same. I love coming here. It's great racing, great fans. I've won here before. I've been on pole in Edmonton. I'm really looking forward to that. It's awesome to come back after having not driven since May and start here. I hope we continually come here. It's good fun.

THE MODERATOR: Guys, looks like that is it. Appreciate your time. Enjoy your off weekend.

We're joined by race winner Dario Franchitti, his third victory of the season, the sixth for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Dario, walk us through your day.

DARIO FRANCHITTI: The start went very well for us. I was able to check out to a lead I was pretty happy, just controlling the pace from there, not pushing too hard. Then we had some yellows. The guys said, "Right, we want you to go here." I went for a number of laps and really struggled the last five laps I was on track with the grip. The rear tires went away, the Reds. They had amazing grip through the first half of the stint. But then I was asking a bit much of them towards the end there. We pitted early and made a mistake in pit road, lost some seconds there.

I came out behind I guess a couple of slower car. I passed a couple of them. I got stuck behind one that I couldn't pass. Miss a corner, make a move, they'd chop you. So that was reasonably frustrating. But I couldn't make a move and risk taking the wing off or something because then I'd have no chance of winning the race.

So that was a tough point in the race, to just keep pushing as hard as I could. Then I don't know what happened, if the guys saw it was going to go yellow. A third of the way down pit lane, it went yellow. We had a great second pit stop. We headed out; I think I was heading second. Paul Tracy and I were really close, someone tracked me in the pits. I guess the timing showed I was ahead, so they put me ahead of Paul. I was behind Helio. I pressured him. He looked like he was in trouble, so I was able to pass him.

From that point on, it was really about controlling the pace, getting out in the restarts, getting a good restart, controlling the pace from there.

The track seemed to get a lot faster towards the end. I did my fastest lap on my second to last lap, and I wasn't pushing hard. I thought, I don't want to push any harder, because if I do my fastest lap on the last lap of the race, I'll get in trouble from the guys pushing too hard. As usual, the Target guys gave me great cars. Scott and I and the engineering guys worked hard on the cars Friday and Saturday. We had an awesome car in qualifying yesterday. The Target team just keeps doing a great job for me.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it for questions.

Q: Did it feel a bit like d?j? vu with yourself, Tracy, Castroneves with 20 laps to go?

DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, I remember '98 when I had a massive lead and made a mistake pushing too hard. I lost the brakes going into (Turn) 1, but had I not been pushing so hard in '98, I wouldn't have had the problem. When P.T. and I were up there, I was hoping he would get by and we would have finished 1-2 because we did that 10 years ago as teammates. He did a good job today, but unfortunately ended in the barriers.

He's coming back at Edmonton. Hopefully we'll see him full-time again because it's great to have him back in the series.

Q: When P.T. got into it with Helio out there and they both got taken out, Helio was kind of a guy who is a title contender, now he's kind of dropped back a little bit because of that. Just talk about how instances like that are really land mines for a title and how you've been able to avoid them.

DARIO FRANCHITTI: Well, everybody makes mistakes. Everybody also gets caught up in other people's problems. Last week in Watkins Glen, I got caught up trying to avoid two cars crashing in the bus stop and it put me in the gravel, destroyed my race. These things happen when you're at a race. It's about risk, how much risk do you want to take. There were a couple instances today I felt if I'd have taken a bigger risk, there was a good chance I was going to end up with a bent racecar. So I wasn't prepared to take that because we've got to finish, we've got to keep finishing.

Q: You took a pretty good thump in practice at the Glen last weekend. Any effects from that this week? Again, a lot of guys got a little wild there today. You didn't. Talk about the discipline that's required, what you might have seen from some of those incidents in general.

DARIO FRANCHITTI: I had no effects from The Glen. I got bitten by a tick a couple weeks ago and got an infection from that. Kind of fighting that off. That's been a pain. I've been on some pretty strong antibiotics. Apart from that, I'm fine. In fact, we're testing tomorrow at Mid-Ohio. I'm glad I'm not too physically tired after today.

With this place, I felt today when I got into a rhythm. The start of Saturday morning I felt I got into a rhythm with the track, and it really flowed from there. But very changeable conditions with temperature and also on restarts, building temperature in the tires and stuff, it was very, very tricky on cold tires on the concrete patches. It's probably as tricky as I remember it here. I think the concrete patches instead of rubbering in, they almost shine up and become like ice. But it's part of the challenge of Toronto.

Q: Your second pit stop, were you not expecting to be called in?

DARIO FRANCHITTI: Well, in a situation like that, they call -- when they say pit, you pit. The strategy is a constantly changing thing depending what other people do, what's happening on the track as well. Those guys manage it. They just tell me what to do. I try and do it to the best of my ability.

Q: You and Scott are getting along pretty good as teammates. Points race is very close now. I'm wondering how will that affect things coming up.

DARIO FRANCHITTI: I don't think there's a better thing than to be fighting for the championship than with your teammate. It's cool. You're in the same equipment. One week Scott is going to be better than me, I'm going to be better than him, and we'll go out there and we'll have fun and we'll go racing and we'll try and beat each other.

You know, everybody on Team Target is happy about it. Him and I are having a good time. Long may it continue.

Q: Are the cautions more indicative of the type of course Toronto is or the driving style?

DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think a bit of both. There was some very aggressive stuff going on. But it's a very, very challenging course here. I think it's easy to get frustrated here, too.

Q: You mentioned something about obviously seeing that Helio was in trouble when you were behind him. Can you talk about what you could see was not so good with his car.

DARIO FRANCHITTI: He just looked like he didn't have any grip. It looked like he was struggling. Whether that was my car building tire temperature better than his, I don't know. He was trying to brake late. He was just sliding about all over the place. He was definitely pushing hard.

In '98 the reason I went straight on was because I hit a bump and lost the brakes. As I said before, had I not been pushing as hard, I had like a 10-second plus lead, I would have got in trouble. But you learn these things with experience.

Q: Can you tell me what happened, it seemed like you came into pits when something was happening, a local yellow, and I think you finished your pit stop, exited, then full course yellow. When you came out of the pits, I don't know if Paul Tracy passed you as you were coming out of the pits, but I know race control asked him to get behind you.

DARIO FRANCHITTI: As I pitted, it went full course yellow, when I was about a third of the way down pit lane for my second stop, which I think that helped us get back up towards the front.

We came out of the pits, must have got (indiscernible) there from the cars on the track. According to electronic data, I was ahead. As I understand it, the guys on the timing stand were arguing about it and they hadn't told Paul about it. As soon as they told Paul, Paul let me through there into the position. That definitely helped.

THE MODERATOR: Both the electronic timing scoring and the video replay proved the point with Dario's position over P.T.

DARIO FRANCHITTI: When P.T. actually wrecked, he was getting out of his car, I went by and he gave me kind of a 'get on with it' signal. That was a bit of motivation, nice to see.

Q: (No microphone.)

DARIO FRANCHITTI: My first thought was, from a selfish point of view, I didn't want a yellow because my car was getting better with every lap and I was managing to stretch the gap. You never like to see your friend, you never like to see P.T. in that position. I was hoping he was going to get a good result today. But he did a great job at Edmonton last year. That's next on the schedule. So expect him to be all fireworks there.

Q: (Question regarding the tick bite.)

DARIO FRANCHITTI: Actually, the seat belt on my hip rubbed the skin off, I was running in the forest, I got back and there was a tick there. That was it. I got an infection and went to IRL medical. They gave me some rather large antibiotics (laughter).

THE MODERATOR: Dario, we appreciate your time. Thank you very much. Enjoy your off weekend.

DARIO FRANCHITTI: Thank you.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Helio Castroneves , Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Graham Rahal , Ryan Briscoe , Chip Ganassi , Will Power
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing