Watkins Glen: Post qualifying press conference

Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen Post-Qualifying Transcript Saturday, July 4, 2009 AN INTERVIEW WITH RYAN BRISCOE, JUSTIN WILSON, SCOTT DIXON, MARIO MORAES, GRAHAM RAHAL, DARIO FRANCHITTI THE MODERATOR: First to join us Justin Wilson.

Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen Post-Qualifying Transcript
Saturday, July 4, 2009

AN INTERVIEW WITH RYAN BRISCOE, JUSTIN WILSON, SCOTT DIXON, MARIO MORAES, GRAHAM RAHAL, DARIO FRANCHITTI

THE MODERATOR: First to join us Justin Wilson. Justin, you got a real flyer there towards the end of what turned out to be the end of the session. Could you have kept on going past if you had the full time?

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, that's something that all of the guys are going to say, the more time, you're going to go faster. I was hopeful because we had a new set of Red Optional Firestone tires left, and I had not wanted to use them in the first session. And so I was hopeful that new tire run was really going to help us, but unfortunately never got the opportunity. So that's how it goes.

And Ryan (Briscoe) was doing a great job today, he was very fast, and I'm not sure on equal terms if we got anything to match that, but just really pleased that we got the front row and it's great for Dale Coyne Racing. I'm very pleased and feel like it's been a good day so far.

THE MODERATOR: We are also joined by Mario Moraes from KV Racing Technology, effectively losing basically the second half of the fast six session, comment on your team's strategy.

MARIO MORAES: Well, I didn't have time to use -- I was going to choose the second one on the second sets, and I need to just put the first set of sets that it was already hot. And so I think the team did a great job and the result today, fourth place, is the result that we got on the test here two weeks ago, and like Justin said, Briscoe, he was very quick today. I don't know if we were able to get him but I'm happy with fourth place.

Q. How much more options do you have new on race day with two sets of Reds?

JUSTIN WILSON: I think that's definitely going to help us a little bit. It definitely seems like they are faster. So whether we run them back-to-back or at the start or at the end, it's really going to open things up. We'll go back and study that tonight and try to get the right combination. But it's all easier to guess in hindsight what we should have done with the tires. I mean two, sets, I think will be a big advantage.

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the two Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers who are in the Fast Six session, Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon. Dario, I guess the question was obvious: What happened?

DARIO FRANCHITTI: I just tried too hard, the pull-away car was doing really good. We made some changes between the session before the Firestone Fast Six, and we tried to get rid of some mid-corner understeer and unfortunately loosened up a little bit on entry. I was feeling good grip from the tires going into the last corner there and as soon as I turned, I lost the back and I knew I was in trouble, and that was it. It was a pretty good hit. So, we'll start sixth tomorrow. A little disappointed obviously, but we felt we had a very good car but we can still win from there.

THE MODERATOR: Is that car repairable for tomorrow?

DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, yeah.

THE MODERATOR: Scott, how about your qualifying session?

SCOTT DIXON: Mine was kind of up-and-down. The car was fairly decent in some corners and I think I was overdriving it a lot in a lot of sections. So I think I had to calm down a fair bit, and I think we found a good combination towards the end there, and I think we got lucky with one lap kind of timing. And we typically always qualify a lot worse than we race, so I still need to work on that.

THE MODERATOR: And we have got Graham Rahal has joined us. And Graham, quick summary of your session.

GRAHAM RAHAL: The McDonald's car felt really good and we were working pretty hard, didn't have the pace in the last group but it was pretty tough. There were obviously a lot of people really close, and I didn't expect to be. We obviously pushed as hard as we can.

We had to use a set of Reds in that first outing as (Mike) Conway and guys like that were pushing us pretty hard. Fortunately, made it through and got to the last run but felt like that's about all we had.

We had one set of Reds that seemed to be a little bit slower than the others and had to throw them it back on, already had like 15 laps or something back on it. Still felt good, but didn't have quite pace.

But happy to start right up there, at least in the front three rows and it still feels pretty good and surrounded by good guys and hoping to move forward in the race.

Q: Justin had the two sets of Reds, what is the situation for the rest of the drivers as far as the Reds, and do you have any sort of a plan worked out with the team as far as how you'll use those or when?

MARIO MORAES: Well, for my team, we don't know how the Red is going to hold the pace. We didn't make long stints with the Red set. So I think we are going to choose to use the Red sets just one Red set during the race, because the Black ones, for sure, we know are going to feel good for more laps.

Q: Scott and Dario, you are both flanked by two guys that are only 20. (Laughter). They have done a pretty good job all season, but you know, especially here on road courses, talk about how good they are for their age and about how big of a threat they will both be in the race.

SCOTT DIXON: Trying to say we are old?

DARIO FRANCHITTI: Thanks, appreciate that.

I think with a lot of the guys on the grid now, everybody is starting younger and younger. So by the time everybody gets to this level, they know what they are doing, and, you know, both Mario and Graham have proved very, very fast this year.

So it's no surprise at all, and definitely they are the guys we have to fight hard tomorrow.

SCOTT DIXON: Thanks, Bruce. I'm still in my 20s, so I can't classify myself as too old.

Yeah, it's definitely -- it just shows how competitive the series is, and what a great talent is coming through the ranks. It's been tough since the merge last year and a lot of the teams and younger drivers are picking it up and being more competitive.

So it's nothing that I certainly didn't expect, and I think any formula, they are going to start younger. I've been around for a little while now, so obviously they are going to be younger.

Q: Could a couple of you guys describe why the road courses are the great equalizer between the Penske Ganassis and everybody else?

SCOTT DIXON: It seems like Penske is still in a league of their own, but I would say, I think

the biggest thing is that really the better drivers kind of show through here. On an oval, at least from my perspective, you certainly can make a car do more or make it better; and on a road course, the driver has more to do with it, and so I think the better ones show through.

Naturally, you start with -- of course, development is something that you can do on a road course but far less on a road course than you can on the ovals.

So the dollars spent don't need to be nearly as high for people to compete on the road courses, and if you've got a good driver, you've got a chance and I think that that's, at least from my perspective, that's the biggest thing and that's what we certainly look forward to.

THE MODERATOR: We have our pole winner, Ryan Briscoe, and you got a hot one on the board real quick, was it strategic or did it just work out that way?

RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, because I had hot tires and I wasn't sure how long they would last, and I wanted to try to get one ride out before they started going too much. Found out the Red tires were awesome, and especially Q2 (qualifying session 2) on the Reds, it was just unbelievable, so it was a lot of fun.

Q: For everybody, the Red and the Black, seems like sometimes you don't want to be on the reds but they are pretty good here.

DARIO FRANCHITTI: They certainly give you grip. It seems like a good performance, but I don't know how long they are going to last. They seem to last fine for a couple of runs, but whether they will last. I don't even know what a few runs are in here, I don't know how long they will last, but might be an interesting gamble to try and take.

RYAN BRISCOE: I think from my perspective, I did 15 qualifying laps on one set of Reds and they felt darned near as good at the end as they did at the start. They don't have quite the same pace but the grip is certainly -- it seems to be far better than the Black.

So I think Justin was pretty impressive on the Black set at the end. But still it seems to be pretty good.

Q: Question for Ryan, given the gap you have on these other guys, you jumped out, can you walk away tomorrow?

RYAN BRISCOE: Qualifying was a bit circumstantial at the end, but you know, it's hard to break away. There are long straits here, and there's a lot of stiff competition. Justin is sitting there with a couple of sets of new Reds, as well, so I think he's going to be tough.

But it's a long race, and a lot can happen, and we'll probably get a couple of cautions and it will just pack the field up again. That's usually the case whenever someone gets away a little bit, there's a caution and you're like, that sucks, now what was I doing that for.

I think it's going to be a tough one tomorrow, but first we'll just go try to get a good start and then go from there.

Q: Was that hit as hard as it looked?

DARIO FRANCHITTI: It felt -- it was a big one. It was a big one. I knew it was coming. I saw Helio (Castroneves) hit there a couple of years ago, so I kind of knew it was coming. Yeah, it was rather large.

Q: Just to clarify, Wilson's team was the only one with two sets of Reds for tomorrow among the Top-6 here? (Laughter).

JUSTIN WILSON: Yes.

RYAN BRISCOE: We've got three, I think. (Laughter).

THE MODERATOR: A couple statistics, second pole this year for Ryan Briscoe, his sixth career Indy Series pole, and second consecutive pole for this event, and it is a new track record.

-credit: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Scott Dixon , Graham Rahal , Ryan Briscoe , Chip Ganassi , Mario Moraes , Dale Coyne
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , KV Racing Technology , Dale Coyne Racing