Firestone Fast Six Qualifying Transcript Saturday, July 25, 2009 An interview with Will Power, Ryan Briscoe, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Graham Rahal and Dario Franchitti THE MODERATOR: Ryan Briscoe and Graham Rahal, second and ...
Firestone Fast Six Qualifying Transcript
Saturday, July 25, 2009
An interview with Will Power, Ryan Briscoe, Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon, Graham Rahal and Dario Franchitti
THE MODERATOR: Ryan Briscoe and Graham Rahal, second and fifth, respectively. First of all, congratulations. Ryan, can we start with you. Go through the day. How was it?
RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, it was good. Had really good cars. You could see all Penske cars are really fast here. It's fantastic. Since we took the cars off the truck, they've been feeling really good. Just been fine tuning a little bit.
But qualifying was good. I was able to get through Q1 without using reds. That sort of gave me a bit of an advantage moving forward. The car was good. We got in the Fast Six. You know, I'm a little bit frustrated. I don't think I got everything out of it in the Fast Six. I was probably a little bit conservative and was feeling as though there was more to lose than to gain by really hanging it out there. It's one of those tracks where it's pretty crazy with all the bumps and jumps we're making.
Yeah, so I just didn't get everything out of the new tire. Wasn't quite enough at the end of the day. But still fantastic. We got 1-2-3 for Penske. It's just awesome.
THE MODERATOR: Graham, how was your day?
GRAHAM RAHAL: Yeah, I mean, I think overall the McDonald's boys worked extremely hard this weekend. We didn't really show up where we wanted to be yesterday morning. Cars were quite a handful for both of us. I think we were like 14th or something. We definitely weren't feeling very good about it. For us to kind of bounce back the way we did, it feels awful nice.
This morning, kind of making a mistake, hitting the tires in Turn 7, certainly had to bounce back from that as well. I think the guys worked extremely hard. My engineer and everybody on the entire team has tried to really put their heads down and focus on how to make us competitive.
This is a circuit where we feel -- obviously our team has had a lot of success here, the McDonald's car in particular has had a lot of success here. Want to try to keep that going. With all that pressure on our shoulders, keep focused. Certainly happy to be in the Fast Six yet again.
THE MODERATOR: Open it up to questions.
Q: (No microphone.)
RYAN BRISCOE: It's a tough track, definitely. There's not a lot of recovery time around the lap. On the other side of it, the tires come right in. We don't end up doing a whole lot of laps out there either.
So it's probably one of your more demanding tracks. But I think it's not too bad. The race will be a challenge, for sure, if there are no yellows. I think a fast car makes life a little bit easier out there, too.
GRAHAM RAHAL: I think this circuit definitely with the bumps and everything you have, it's one of the more demanding tracks we go to. I would absolutely say a lot of that is because people think there's a lot of room for error here, but it also invites you to push extremely hard. By doing that, it creates a lot of errors.
So to go fast, keep it on the circuit, it's very tough. By that, it becomes -- your heart rate gets high, it becomes physically demanding in its own way, even though it's not necessarily hard to turn the wheel, so to speak.
THE MODERATOR: As you can see, Helio Castroneves has joined us, as well. I'll ask you how your day was out there today.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: It was actually exciting. I have to say those guys here, it's putting us to work, you know. Certainly first qualifying, it was okay. But we still didn't want to have the same issues we had unfortunately in Watkins Glen, waiting and taking a chance, then all of a sudden be bumped out just because trying to be greedy. I'm happy at least we took that decision.
We were pushing very hard all the time. Man, that was a lot of fun. For at least three or four laps, I was probably not breathing at all. I was just like trying everything I could.
But, you know, that's just to show that Team Penske, when they have a similar equipment, two, three guys, it's very exciting. Great job. They did a great job.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions.
Q: (No microphone.)
HELIO CASTRONEVES: No question the talent is there. That's probably one of the reasons, unfortunately with the situation when Team Penske saw it, there was no doubt, and probably was one of the guy that accept as well the challenge. I would have no doubt he would be battling with us, as well, for the championship points.
It's great because it's helping us out to improve obviously the cars. But, again, it's speculation as well. But certainly there was no doubt about his ability.
RYAN BRISCOE: I agree. Yeah, no, for sure, there's no doubt.
Q: (No microphone.)
GRAHAM RAHAL: Well, I mean, if you look at the big picture, the championship, they do make very few mistakes. That's something we're trying to learn here. We've had a couple races where we have made mistakes. I said it just a minute ago when we were down in the pits. The guy that's going to win this race is the guy that's going to make the least amount of mistakes. As I said just a second ago, it invites you to make a lot of mistakes because in areas there is just a lot of green grass. You know if you go off, you're going to be OK. It invites you to push extremely hard.
I'm hoping that for the McDonald's team we can kind of turn our bad luck around tomorrow, just kind of have a trouble-free race, save some fuel, get to the front.
We're not far away. And if we can just work on our racecar just a little bit more, I have no doubt that we can run with these guys. There's a lot of fine tuning to do. That's what we're trying to figure out as we go.
Q: (No microphone.)
RYAN BRISCOE: It's been good. It's been a very strong year for both teams. I think experience has a lot to do with it. I'm not sure, you know. I can only speak for Team Penske. They do everything right. No pages left unturned. The preparation is one of the most important things to the success, especially with the limited testing we get and track time on a race weekend. I think the preparation that happens back in Mooresville (N.C.) has a lot to do with the success we have.
THE MODERATOR: Our other three drivers have joined us. Polesitter Will Power, and Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti. Thank you for coming over. Will, can you go through your day quickly, please.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, the first session was uneventful for me. I just did one run, probably three or four laps. The second session, I thought I'd saved a set of reds for the final six, but I spun on my first set. I was on throttle. I thought these guys didn't have power. They obviously do, they've got me (laughter).
Yeah, you know, that final six, I used two sets of used reds. I think the track kept getting a better grip. I think every driver agrees, man, that is exhausting, getting to those final laps when you're going for pole. It's tough.
But great job for the team. Penske 1-2-3. It's exactly how we want to be. Hopefully we can finish that tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Scott, how was your afternoon?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, not too bad. It's definitely a circuit our team struggles at a bit for pure flat out speed. Been back and forth throughout the weekend, in and out of the top five or six positions. It's been tough. Qualifying, especially in the first group, was pretty tough for me.
As the qualifying went on, especially for the last one, I didn't even think we could get close to the time we did on our second set of reds. To put that time in and get within a 10th was pretty nice.
I think we've worked pretty hard on both sides of the team to try and make some gains. But we're still working really, really hard at this place.
THE MODERATOR: And, Dario, please, your thoughts about today.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, we've struggled all weekend with the car. We've been sort of 12th and 13th. It's been a lot of work, like Scott said. Both teams trying to get me a balance I'm comfortable with. I like certain things out of the car a bit different from the balance Scott likes. We could get one end working, but not the other. Either the front or the back end was working well. We couldn't get both of them working well together.
We made some fairly big changes for qualifying. They seemed to work a bit. We managed to get through to the top 12 runoff. Then the lap, I put on my second set of reds, coming around, I was about to come in with a 1.6 as a time. I said I'm coming in. They said, You have time for one more lap. I kind of dragged the thing round. It wasn't a pretty lap at all. It was absolute aggression, just hanging it out. Got me a couple 10ths and got me in the top six. After that, in the top six, we didn't have the balance that we needed. I think we were living on the newness of the tires in the run before.
We've got a lot of work to do for tomorrow. I agree with these guys, it's bloody physical and it's hard work, but it's a lot of fun.
Continued in part 2