Honda Indy Edmonton - Firestone Fast 6 Press Conference THE MODERATOR: We are joined by two of our Firestone Fast Six qualifiers from today's qualifying session, E.J. Viso and Ryan Briscoe. Just a couple notes coming out of today's qualifying...
Honda Indy Edmonton - Firestone Fast 6 Press Conference
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by two of our Firestone Fast Six qualifiers from today's qualifying session, E.J. Viso and Ryan Briscoe.
Just a couple notes coming out of today's qualifying session. This is Will Power's sixth pole of the season. His fast lap was a new IZOD IndyCar Series record here at Edmonton.
Helio Castroneves, who qualified second, has started no worse than third in his three appearances here at Edmonton.
This is Scott Dixon's 43rd consecutive top 10 start, further extending a series record.
Dario Franchitti is making his seventh consecutive top-five start of the season.
Ryan Briscoe is making his sixth top-five start of the season.
This is E.J. Viso's first appearance in the Firestone Fast Six this season.
E.J., talk about qualifying out there today.
E.J. VISO: It's definitely a very tough place, extremely bumpy. Not the kind of bumpiness as Toronto. It feels like the bumps are in high frequency. You get into some braking points, the thing just gets in your helmet. This is definitely a tough place to set up the car.
Really we did a good job, KV Racing, they've been working so hard. Just proud of them. We were just a little off this morning. We couldn't use a second set of tires as everybody else did, but we knew we had the potential to make it up, and that's what we did in the qualifying.
THE MODERATOR: Ryan, another top-five start here. Tell us your thoughts about today.
RYAN BRISCOE: It's really exciting as usual. This track, it's exciting. I mean, to put it in one word, it's really fast and bumpy, but you can really attack the bumps and push the car hard.
It's a lot of fun out there. My car wasn't really to my liking. We made probably too many changes going into qualifying just trying to find an extra couple of 10ths. Sort of went backwards a bit.
It was a little disappointing for me. I thought we would have a shot at pole today, but we didn't have the speed. It was good to get in the Fast Six. It was tough to get through Q1. It was just really good. I mean, no yellow flags at all, so the whole field was very consistent on such a challenging track.
But fifth is good. I started on the front row the last two years and it didn't work out for me, so maybe starting fifth will help.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
Q: What do you think of Simona's run?
RYAN BRISCOE: I think she did great. I wasn't watching. I saw she was quickest in Q1. I know Dixon didn't run tires that session. She's doing a good job.
E.J. VISO: She just kept red tires for that session. They pushed hard. She's very fast. They've been doing a good job.
I've been on that team and I know they're working every time hard. Need to give a lot of the credit to the team and Simona being new in the series. They're doing a good job.
Q: (No microphone - Good drivers starting in the back.)
RYAN BRISCOE: Honestly, I haven't looked at the grid. I have no idea what it looks like outside the top-six. We've got the championship contenders all right there at the front, bar (Ryan) Hunter-Reay, I think, and (Tony) Kanaan.
Yeah, it's going to be a really hard-fought battle tomorrow for sure. Another epic one between Penske and Ganassi. I think Will and Helio will be strong off the front. My goal is going to try to get by the Ganassi guys and go from there.
Q: Was there a little bit of drama in the Fast Six, all the lightning coming at you?
RYAN BRISCOE: It was a bit distracting coming down to Turn 13. You'd all of a sudden see a massive bolt. You would go, "Holy crap." Keeping focused on the track, it was difficult.
E.J. VISO: It was pretty fun. We really rush to put some good lap times together at the very beginning of the session because there's always a chance that the rain was coming. Obviously we didn't have a new set of tires, a new set of stickers as the other guys did, except Ryan. Is tough just to be in not equal conditions with them. We just used our set of tires in the previous run.
Q: Scott, could you talk about your qualifying effort today.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it was not too bad. We've been struggling with balance I think on both cars this weekend. We kind of started in an opposite direction and went more in an opposite direction. I'm sort of quite surprised we were able to throw some lap times. Completely different.
First session, we were lucky enough to have, you know, a group of cars that maybe weren't as quick as group one, so we could save a set of red tires, which definitely helped us I think later on. But generally didn't seem to be much difference between a used set of reds and a new set for us.
We really didn't really get the laps together towards the end. We kept focusing too much on my split sections. See a big split, then lose it all in the next corner.
It's a pretty good starting position. I think we tend to have a lot better racecars through the race than qualifying speed. Hopefully we can continue on with that tradition, try and beat one of these Penskes that have been extremely quick.
THE MODERATOR: Dario, talk about your fast lap out there today.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: We were in that first group there, which was fairly stout, fairly stacked with quick cars. Was fairly happy with the job we did in that one.
The second group, to get into the Firestone Fast Six, I didn't really do a clear lap. I said to Chris, "If I do a clear lap, there's a couple of three 10ths in it. Firestone Fast Six, we actually used both our sets of reds already getting through Group 1 and Group 2." By the time I came to the Fast Six, I only had used tires.
The quickest lap of the weekend, pretty close to Scott here, so that wasn't a bad job. I think the whole Target team did a good job in the Firestone Fast Six. But we're still searching for just a little bit, yeah.
THE MODERATOR: We've also been joined by our polesitter Will Power. Will, your thoughts on qualifying today.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, we started with a pretty tough group, so we had to use reds in the first round. The car was pretty good on used reds actually in the second round. I only had to do one run. I did a time quick enough to get through a new set for the Fast Six.
I knew Helio was going to be real close, so I gave it everything I got. Yeah, it was close. I mean, that's right, Castroneves, I beat you, you sneaky little bugger. I don't trust you, man (laughter).
HELIO CASTRONEVES: That's wise.
WILL POWER: It was good. It was a good battle. We've been pushing each other all weekend and came down to the final details.
I'm happy to be on pole. I know this is a tough track to pass on. I think track position's important. See if we can get that Verizon car another win.
THE MODERATOR: Helio, for you, if you can talk about the importance of track position here at Edmonton.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, it was certainly very tough qualifying, as always. Looks like every weekend we are repeating ourselves. It's tough, it's tough, pretty darn tough. Will certainly put a good lap out there with the reds. Probably were able to save the red tires. When we went for it, we really went for it.
Unfortunately the car was really loose. I was just trying to wait for the big one. But good job from Team Penske. They gave us a great car. Now we just got to keep going fast, got to keep going, you know, in conservative mode. Unfortunately last weekend it didn't work out pretty much.
We're going to collect some points. That's our mentality. Hopefully we're going to have a good race and see if we can beat this sneaky little William Power.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and open it up for questions.
Q: Scott, Dario, you both had streaks in your career. What is it like for what Will is going through right now?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: You should ask Will that.
Things just seem to flow. Yeah, I wouldn't say it's easier, but it just flows. Little pit calls, little risks you take sometimes. Everything seems to pay off. It's a bloody good feeling.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, you know, Dario is right. It's just kind of a wave and you've got to ride it for as long as possible. It can turn quickly and go the other way.
I don't know. It's never one thing. If it was one thing you knew you were doing wrong, you'd be able to turn it around quite drastically.
As Dario said, you get a little bit of luck, you have to have great speed, and especially the competition level it is now, you've got to enjoy it and definitely keep trying to ride it.
Q: Will, can you talk about what it's like?
WILL POWER: Yeah, to me it's not really focusing on what sort of streak you're on, it's just getting all the little details right and making no mistakes, just understanding as you go into each race what sort of race it generally is. I knew in Toronto in general a lot of action happens. It's easy to get taken out. It's easy to make mistakes.
You know, it's just all those things in motorsport comes together: if the team doesn't make any mistakes, you don't make any mistakes. You obviously have to get fast and, yeah, get everything right. That's how you win championships.
Q: Will, can you expand on the 'sneaky' bit.
WILL POWER: You would ask that (laughter). We are always playing around. You know, he calls me sneaky. I call him sneaky, too. We're pushing each other, looking at each other's data, trying to hide little details from each other, so...
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Every time we go on the track, we're like, "Hey, did you take that curb? Yeah, sure. You got to take that curb, man (laughter)." Kind of play each other like that.
It's a good atmosphere because this guy is certainly pushing to the limit. It's good for all of us, especially for Team Penske. It makes me a better driver. So it makes me look for some areas that I never was able to see.
So for me it's great. It's great for the team. Now we got to keep going.
In the end of the day, as Roger (Penske) always says, only one car's gonna win, but the team is gonna win. We got to take that as it comes.
Q: Was there a 'little bugger' incident out there today?
WILL POWER: No, just the fact he was so fast.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: It was so, so close. I had a very good one. Like he said, it's about not making mistakes. Unfortunately, I did. He ended up taking the pole position.
Q: Can you talk about the drama of the lightning out there?
WILL POWER: It was very pretty.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Tried not to focus on it (laughter).
WILL POWER: I was looking at it going into Turn 1. Wow, I got to turn (laughter).
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I was hoping the lightning would strike this guy (laughter).
Q: Talk a little bit about how the red tires, 'push to pass', might work here at this track.
WILL POWER: I think it will be tough to pass here. I think someone will have to make a mistake.
I just know last year it was almost a full green race. You come up on backmarkers, you can't even pass a second and a half slower. It actually makes for great racing. It closes the field up. Marco (Andretti), he let us pass in the end. But he has a right to stay on the lead lap. There's nothing wrong with that.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Pretty much the same. Unfortunately it's a wider track. People think you can go and pass. Not sure if the 'push to pass' might help that because, you know, you have -- hopefully with that being so wide, you be able to pass some of those guys.
It might be interesting. First time for everyone. So it will definitely be interesting. We're hoping so.
Q: The red tires, I don't know if you know how long they will last. If you're on blacks, you come up on someone on reds, is that going to help?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: It's going to be tough. They always drop more than the blacks. The track changes a lot here. As you see, we started turning 63 the first session, now we're 61, 60. It changes quite a bit. So it's going to happen in the race.
Q: (No microphone.)
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think everybody is looking for the limit. Look at Toronto, there was actually more rubber on the runoff areas than on the track. It was unbelievable. People are just looking, trying to get a limit.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I left a big one there, buddy.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: You did. Your tires weren't on the ground when you went down there.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: True.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think that's what it is, people finding that limit. The incidents tomorrow will be through frustration.
Q: Could you talk about Simona barely missing the Fast Six.
WILL POWER: I mean, she's really fast. I remember when I was driving for Derrick Walker in Champ Car. She was in Atlantic. I was very impressed with how fast she was. Good feedback. When you follow her, she's impressive definitely. It definitely doesn't surprise me she almost got in the Fast Six.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Certainly she seemed to show aggressiveness on the track. Maybe the car does not match the ability that she has. But certainly she's a strong driver, no question about it.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think she's done a great job, no doubt about it. She's really done a great job. She definitely hustles the car. I think the guys, with limited resources, are doing a good job of giving her good cars at times. Very impressed all around.
SCOTT DIXON: I totally agree with all these guys. She's done a hell of a job on her first season in a field like this. Especially with the merge in 2008, the competition's extremely tough. Obviously to almost get into the Fast Six at a track like this, I don't know if she'd been here before in any other car, maybe Atlantics, but it's certainly a different circuit in IndyCar. She's done a good job.
Q: (No microphone - One what is the toughest part of the track.)
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It's a compromise.
WILL POWER: Turn 1 is pretty tough to get the braking.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It's all weight.
WILL POWER: Reference points are a bit tough here.
Q: (No microphone - on Milka Duno not qualifying.)
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I don't know. What happened?
WILL POWER: That's been happening for a while.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Good luck tomorrow.