CHAMPCAR/CART: Denver: Top three finishers transcript (part 2)

Continued from part 1 Q: Sebastien and Eric, you might want to confirm this, but my understanding is that you set the fastest lap of the race, two laps from the end, which isn't too bad for a car where the steering wasn't straight. I think...

Continued from part 1

Q: Sebastien and Eric, you might want to confirm this, but my understanding is that you set the fastest lap of the race, two laps from the end, which isn't too bad for a car where the steering wasn't straight. I think that's right.

MAUK: That's correct. 61.256 on lap 89 of 90.

BOURDAIS: I didn't say the car wasn't handling fine. I said the steering wheel wasn't straight. I think it probably put some torque in on the left front. But it kind of reduced from the understeer of the car, so it was helping me out a bit. But something definitely broke just before the last turn of the race and I think I got pretty lucky on that one.

Q: Paul, your pitstop on lap 40 did you short-fill there or what?

TRACY: I don't think so. I think maybe just a hair short-filled, but I was making very good fuel mileage. Obviously I was running in Bruno's draft the whole time, was trying to save fuel the whole time. Our goal was to go long, Bruno started to get away from me a little bit because of some traffic, in the first few instances he got through traffic well and I just kind of caught it at the wrong place on the track and held me up a little bit. So at one point he got two and a half seconds ahead, but then towards the end, five laps before we were going to pit, there was quite a line of cars, I was able to close right on his gearbox and we just had -- I think we had more fuel in the tank. We probably could have gone a lap more, but didn't want to risk it.

Q: This is for Sebastien and Bruno, is this a result from a grudge match that might have started a week ago in Road America?

BOURDAIS: I think we said it is enough comments about it so let's not talk about it. It's enough I think.

Q: Sebastien, before you passed Paul, did you just get a run on him from the previous corner or did you need to push to pass to catch up to him?

BOURDAIS: I think we both used the push to pass.

TRACY: Yeah, we both did. I was really struggling. We both used it. My rear tires came up to temperature quite quickly but the fronts just wouldn't grip. I couldn't get the car to turn. The thing was going straight for the wall, coming on the back straight-a-way. I had to slow down and then he was coming and I hit the push to pass to try to defend without blocking or moving over and there wasn't really anything I could do about it.

BOURDAIS: Have to thank Paul, he has been very fair. He didn't move at all. He gave me plenty of room to try my move and I braked later and it's been very, very fair with Paul.

Q: Paul, can you talk about how much the yellow flag really hurt your chances of winning this thing. You were leading at the time or do you think Sebastien was running so well that he might have caught you anyway?

TRACY: I think it would have been very difficult at that point of the race with 15 laps to go, with no yellow I think at that point I had a 20-second lead on Sebastien and he was fourth or fifth at that point. So I think it would have been extremely difficult to make up that ground. Basically he would have to go a second and a half faster a lap to catch me. This was after the pitstop. At that same point if the yellow hadn't of come out and we had done our pit stops and there was no yellow, I think we would have been in good shape, but it just kind of bad luck. And you know, that's kind of how things go.

It just didn't go our way today and right now, Sebastien has got -- everything he touches turns into a Golden Arch, so it's just kind of the way it is. I had some of that last year and you know, a lot of times I was very lucky when reds came out during qualifying and I always seemed to get my lap right before the red came out. It's just not happening that way this year. It's his turn right now. We just have to keep focused and try to -- hopefully it will come our way.

Q: How would you assess the changes in the track this year and how it drove compared to previous years here?

TRACY: I think for sure it makes for an interesting race. This is the type of track where there's so little downforce and the grip level is so low that it's really -- it's all about driving. I would say it's probably 80% the driver and 20% the car because the car is never going to handle well in these conditions with the lack of downforce and the lack of grip, so really it comes down to driving and that makes for an entertaining race. You see guys slipping and sliding all over the place, sideways and locking brakes, it's really an exercise in driver control and discipline not to make a mistake. It shows there's a lot of passing, guy makes a little mistake and another guy can get by. Some of the other tracks we go to, even if you make a little mistake the guy can't get by you even if there's a little grip that he can defend.

JUNQUEIRA: As I said before, really good at the people that organized the Grand Prix here, improved the track again they improved from 2002 to now. This year they did all the changes I think Turn 1 was better, turn 5 is better as well. Turn 9, as PT said the angle that you brake is always kind of dangerous still. But maybe they should return the way it was last year. For sure, the great thing is the push to pass, I think that extra power gave the opportunity to have more pass in the race and I think it was exciting race today.

TRACY: I just want to reiterate what Bruno said, this race has in three years they have basically set the standard for promotion for our series. This race rivals any track that we go to, whether it's Australia, everybody talks how great the Australian race is as an event, the Molson Indys in Canada. This is, by far, rivals or is better than any of the races that we put on. They have just gotten better every year and the fans love it, and the local sponsors in town here whether it's Coors and Centrix, you know, car dealers, all have displays here, everybody supports it. I think it's a fantastic job that they do.

BOURDAIS: As the last guy, it is difficult to say something new, but I think the big point also the big progress this year was the Bridgestone tires. I think it gave us more grip and also more mechanical grip so more passing opportunities because you are not so much on the edge, on the tires and so much slip, sliding all over the place so you kind of able to try something at least. Last year it was very difficult. For sure the changes to open a bit, the apex and to push the walls and everything helped a lot to try something.

Q: Given the recent tension between the two gentlemen on your left and the tension that's clearly continuing were you sitting back there something might happen at the start of the race?

TRACY: That's what I said yesterday. I think something is going to happen. So I can't really comment on how they feel. From my standpoint, I mean, it's difficult racing. We're all racing for the Championship. I have been in the same situation, me and me teammate Dario we had plenty of run-ins with each other but we seemed to be able to give each other a hug at the end of the day.

Q: Paul, what did you see at the start?

TRACY: To me, it was clear that Bruno was gauging the start and made a better start. He hung back and before Sebastien went, he went and got off the line better and looked to me like he was ahead going into the braking zone and left room on the inside. Not the whole track, but he left some room and it looked like they just touched at the apex and Sebastien was, you know, spinning.

Q: You probably heard this because you are always starting up front so it seems like you are always leading the race and not really put in the position that you have to pass. Now you have shown everybody what happens when you are in a different situation. Can you comment about that.

BOURDAIS: I think I have not been in that position so many times, but last year it happened like two or three times, I guess, Monterey, when I worked my way from 16th to 5th in like 15 laps something like that, and also Portland when we had the puncture at the beginning of the race and worked our way back to third and unfortunately couldn't put together a win because of the rear wing failure. I think I proved today that it's possible to come back. It's obviously very difficult and when I have to do it, I think I showed that I can do it.

MAUK: That will wrap up our press conference. Our next race will take place two weeks from now in Montreal, although the teams will go testing Wednesday on the superspeedway oval at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

-ccws-

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Series IndyCar