Saturday Post Final Qualifying Press Conference Lexmark Indy 300 WILL POWER ORIOL SERVIA PAUL TRACY THE MODERATOR: We'll start with Mr. Paul Tracy, who finished third today. Former champion here at this race. Paul, tell us a little ...
Saturday Post Final Qualifying Press Conference
Lexmark Indy 300
THE MODERATOR: We'll start with Mr. Paul Tracy, who finished third today. Former champion here at this race. Paul, tell us a little bit about what it takes to win on this circuit.
PAUL TRACY: I think, you know, this is a very difficult track, and it takes having a trouble-free day. That's pretty difficult to achieve around here 'cause there always seems to be a lot of accidents. This track is very, very tough, very physical, very hard open a car. Small mistakes on a chicane section can turn into a catastrophe. As we saw with Sebastien yesterday. Just a little small mistake ends up being a huge mistake.
Today was great. We've been working very hard for this all year to get back into the fold of being able to contend. It's been a lot of work, and a lot of help from Oriol. When he came to the team, it was a big help for us. It's a shame he's not there with us today because the team, the attitude, is a lot better. But he's also up here, too. We're going to have to fight with him tomorrow.
I'm very happy for the team, all the work we've done to be up here.
THE MODERATOR: You'll be on the second row, side by side with your best friend Sebastien Bourdais. How do you think that will play out?
PAUL TRACY: Well, I mean, I have nothing to lose and he has everything to lose. That's gonna be my goal to go into the race. Oriol and myself are not really fighting for this championship. I know how Oriol races and how I'm going to race tomorrow, and that's going for the win. If Sebastien wants to fight for the first corner, you know, I'm going to fight for it.
THE MODERATOR: Oriol, your provisional pole from yesterday, but you had a very fast lap. Until Mr. Tracy came along, you were second fastest for a while. You were obviously pushing it full out today. Was that your plan going in?
ORIOL SERVIA: Yeah, yeah, of course. Actually in the morning the car was great, even better than yesterday. The lap time came very easy. In qualifying, in my first run, I had some engine trouble. I had to change the ECU for the second run, and still was not running very well, but good enough. I had actually a good lap at the end and I just made a mistake in turn five that cost me the lap.
But anyway, I think Will had a tremendous lap going, and it was going to be tough to beat. We'll see. I mean, I'm very happy with the car. As I said, starting front row, it's great. As Paul said, it's just great to be out there and just go for the win.
I think my rookie year was 2000, and I think I've learned a lot. I'm hoping Paul has learned a lot since then, too, and we have a better race than we had in 2000. We put a good show in the back chicane eight years ago, we both crash together. Hopefully we learn and tomorrow we put up a good show and we both end up on the podium.
THE MODERATOR: Our pole winner, Will Power. You're surrounded by a couple of savvy veterans on your left and right, and another one in Bourdais, who will be right behind you. How does a second-year driver handle this position? You were in the pole last year. How is it going to be a different result for you this year?
WILL POWER: Well, hopefully Sebastien is not behind me, that's how it will be a different result.
But, no, great job by the team. Not getting too excited because it's a long race. I think the key to tomorrow is to get a good start. We have a really good race car which we practiced in practice today. We practiced with full loads and everything. So looking forward to tomorrow. Just have a good strategy and get it done.
THE MODERATOR: Obviously you had a fast time early in the session. It certainly didn't look like you took your foot off the pedal. You were going full out that last 10 minutes.
WILL POWER: Yeah, that's probably the hardest four laps I've ever done in my life. I pushed super hard because I knew we had the car to do it. Just had to get the lap together. I was even on a quicker one in the last lap, but Dominguez blocked me.
Yeah, it's a very small part of the weekend, qualifying. We've got to get the race right this time and win it.
THE MODERATOR: Questions from the media.
Q: I take it from your comments that the first corner is going to be interesting. You're certainly not going to yield to Sebastien at all.
PAUL TRACY: No, I mean, I'm here to try to win the race. I mean, for me the season -- you know, there's been so many low points, this is obviously one of the high points for us. I think you're the guy at the press conference that asked me when I was going to retire, I was getting a little bit too old. Hopefully I proved to you today that the old man still has some speed in him.
I'm excited for tomorrow. I've always been really good here. I've always been quick in qualifying. I don't think I've ever started worse than fifth except once, and that was the year I won. I started from P9 and won the race. We've had ourselves in position many times to win this race.
But to start up front, for all the struggles that we've been through this year as a team, the confidence of the team has been down, so it's good to see all the smiles on everybody's face and we're excited about tomorrow.
Q: Have you spoken to Craig at all today, Will? If so, what was said?
WILL POWER: No, I haven't spoken to him. He hasn't got any ears (laughter). No, I haven't spoken to him. No doubt I will tonight. I think he'll be pretty happy. He'll be a lot happier if I win the race.
PAUL TRACY: Maybe that means he can't hear himself talk then, too (laughter).
WILL POWER: That's right.
Q: Have you got a strategy with the 'push to pass' situation you're in tomorrow? Have you worked something out?
WILL POWER: We'll just be conservative with it. I think if you get out in the lead, you have a really quick car, you don't need 'push to pass'. It's only when someone attacks you, if you have someone slower in front of you or you need to pass someone. Hoping not to have that problem tomorrow.
Q: Will, given that you're in pole position, does that mean you're going to be defending that lead all the way through tomorrow in the race? Is that part of the strategy, full-on defense?
WILL POWER: Yeah, that would be nice. But Champ Car racing is pretty mixed up, especially this year with the way the yellows have fallen. You can have a perfect strategy, but if the yellows don't go your way, you don't get the right fuel strategy, you can end up absolutely nowhere.
I must say it is easier when you're leading because you have control whether to come in or not to come in. But, yeah, it's a long day tomorrow.
Q: Will, you say it will be a long day tomorrow. Has it been a long week? Have you felt all the attention? Has it been like living in a bit of a fishbowl?
WILL POWER: Yeah, it has. It's been really stressful, to be honest, this week. I've had so much PR to do, hardly any time to myself. I look forward to this part of the weekend when I actually get to jump in the car. You know, I don't have to do so much media. I'm hoping I'll sleep well tonight and be fresh for tomorrow.
Q: Not just the media surely, but the public.
WILL POWER: Expectation, yeah.
Q: Have people been approaching you in the streets?
WILL POWER: No, not so much in the streets. I haven't been really out in the streets very much. I ran the track a little bit. Probably a lot of expectation after last year, and also how well we've done this year. You know, that adds a little bit of pressure. I perform well under pressure all the time. Ask Derrick Walker, he knows. He always winds me up if I'm starting to feel comfortable, saying that my job's in jeopardy (laughter).
Q: Oriol, are you surprised to be in the top three both days? You were very quick yesterday. Obviously quick again today. Given the season you've had at Forsythe, now back with PKV, are you surprised to be where you are?
ORIOL SERVIA: I mean, it's not ideal, right, what's happened. But the truth is with Forsythe already every street race I've been up there. The road courses we had more of a tough time. On the street races, we've been competitive. So I knew with the Panoz, I could do well. It's the team I worked last year. It's not ideal, but I was definitely hoping and expecting to be up here, yes.
Q: Has Tony allowed whether you're able to bust the chicane on the first lap or do you all have to make it through?
ORIOL SERVIA: As far as I know, unless Paul decides to help us to go straight at the start, I think we're supposed to make the chicane.
Q: Can we confirm it was a new lap record for qualifying?
WILL POWER: It was the lap record, yeah. I'm pretty sure.
THE MODERATOR: Yes, it was a lap record. It was a course record.
Actually, I have a question for all three of you guys. Tell us a little bit about this event and the vibe you're feeling here this year, what you think about how it's progressing.
PAUL TRACY: I mean, I've been here nearly every year of this race except two. Really, this is probably the biggest event of any motor racing event in terms of the show and the crowd support. And the atmosphere is probably better than any event that I've ever attended in my life. Maybe some people have seen something different than me. But, you know, they bring new race promotors and venues. They bring them to this event. This is the model that Champ Car wants to achieve.
I mean, there's so much crazy sh** that goes on here that legally in the United States you can't do the things that they do here. It just doesn't work that way in other countries, in the United States. You can't have helicopters flying 300 feet off the ground, people doing burn-outs with dragsters and doughnuts. You just can't get insurance to do things like that. If something happens, the lawsuits would be horrendous.
ORIOL SERVIA: Are you talking about the skin in the balconies?
PAUL TRACY: This race is just really unique to itself. I think everybody wants to have an event like this, but you just can't replicate it.
THE MODERATOR: Will, your experience over the last couple years in Champ Car?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, 'cause our team and myself are such a big part of this event, I really feel the atmosphere. Out of all the races you do all year, no matter who you ask in the paddock, they all say this is the best race. I mean, on a beach, it's a very difficult circuit for drivers. You ask any of the rookies, they say it's the toughest street circuit they've ever been to. It's unforgiving. It's a great event.
ORIOL SERVIA: Yeah, I was saying before we got here, I think it's the best race in the planet. It's not just to give you headlines. But it's the truth. From a driver, from a fan. I've been to many European races, I attend many Formula One races. I been in Monaco for the Formula One race. I think it is the best race in the planet. From the driver point of view, as Paul was saying, Neel Jani is my teammate this weekend, was a test driver in F1, was just telling me that he thinks this is much more challenging and difficult than Monaco in the Formula One. So that's a good test.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys.