Edmonton: Post-race press conference, part 1

Rexall Edmonton Indy postrace transcript Sunday, July 26, 2009 An Interview With: WILL POWER HELIO CASTRONEVES SCOTT DIXON THE MODERATOR: We're joined by our third place finisher Scott Dixon. This is his eighth top five of the season and ...

Rexall Edmonton Indy postrace transcript
Sunday, July 26, 2009

An Interview With:

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by our third place finisher Scott Dixon. This is his eighth top five of the season and seventh in a row. Scott is the defending race winner here and with his finish today now moves into the championship points lead with 380, Dario Franchitti is second at 377 and Ryan Briscoe third at 366.

Scott, talk about your day out there.

SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it was not too bad. I definitely think the # 9 Target Car was quick; it probably on new tires. The later parts of the stint we really struggled to hold onto the grip of the car, particularly in the last sort of ten laps. So it made it definitely a long day and a very physical day to try and hold onto it.

I think strategy-wise we were fairly decent. I got out ahead of the two Penske cars on the first stop and unfortunately I cooked it a bit going into Turn 11 which allowed Briscoe to get by at that point.

From there on it was just a lot of lap traffic. Lap traffic was very annoying today. There were lots of guys that just shouldn't have been racing with us and they made it very tough. We had Marco (Andretti) and (Alex) Tagliani and that was just appalling for me. I don't know why they do it. But I guess in some ways it made the racing a little bit more exciting. There was lots of dodging going on.

And in the end that's how we lost the position to Helio (Castroneves). We got kind of caught up with the 14 and the 20 car that were fighting for position, and he got a run on us into Turn 11, and that was it.

It was a good points day for us. I'm pretty happy and unfortunately we would have liked to have won, but Will Power definitely had a fantastic weekend, and he should be very proud of that.

Q: Can you just comment on the idea that you went all but one lap on green today?

SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it was physical. I think for some of the guys, it probably was not so much because they might have had slightly better cars. Will (Power) seemed to be pretty fresh after the race. I think he was kind of cruising for the most part at the last stint for sure.

The only thing that I was really sore with were my feet, which I'm not really sure why, but pushing on the pedals, I might have to ask for a softer brake pad or something to ease the pain on that.

Apart from that, it's just holding on. The grip level wasn't super high, which I thought would have come into play a little bit more towards the end of the race. But physically I don't know if we've ever had pretty much a green flag race, and man, it was tough. I'm glad it work out.

THE MODERATOR: That was the fewest caution laps in an IndyCar Series race history, one lap.

Q: You mentioned Marco Tagliani. Did you mean Marco Andretti or Alex Tagliani, or did you mean both when you were talking about lap cars?

SCOTT DIXON: Yeah I meant both; there were lots of them. I think a few of the others actually had more of a problem with Marco (Andretti), which actually helped me. They had eight seconds. I was able to close that gap when they were stuck behind him. It's just frustrating when you see even Marco (Andretti) racing Will (Power) into a corner into Turn 1 and kind of putting a block on. You know, it just doesn't need to be done. I don't think I would do it to anybody, and maybe it shouldn't be done that way before, ever.

I think Tagliani really hurt my race, especially in the middle stint there. I was running fairly well until I got stuck behind him, and it took him probably eight or ten laps to let me by. It's a wide track, but really there's only one line where the grip is. If you get off line it's very slippery, and we just didn't really have the chance to try and dive under some of these guys and try to pass.

It's racing. It's part of it, and what goes around comes around, and there might be a day where they need some help, and they're not going to get it.

Q: I think the last four weeks, the championship has gone back and forth, back and forth. Can you talk a little bit about your pressure and battling your teammate, and mentally how difficult is that?

SCOTT DIXON: I still think at this point that we have six races to go after today. It's still very early days. We've gone back and forth. I haven't really started thinking about it.

For me I just want to be leading the championship at Homestead. It's good for pit position sometimes throughout the season and may come into play at some of these races that are coming up. You've just got to make sure that you're consistent and don't fall out of the chase or out of the championship part of it with two races to go.

I don't think it's played too much on the mind of the team or Dario or I to be honest. Every race if you treat it like a single race you're trying to do the best and you're trying to win it. We got caught up in trying to drive for points last year, and we definitely lost a big margin that we had. You've just got to concentrate on getting the best points you can each race.

THE MODERATOR: Scott, we appreciate your time.

In the meantime we've been joined by second place finisher Helio Castroneves, who also a second place here in Edmonton last year. This is his fifth top-five finish in 2009 and his best road or street finish in 2009. Helio, you came limping in here. Tell us about your day.

HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, it was very good. I mean, no question, I've got a little cramp. It happens to me in 06 but I don't know why; maybe it's the position of the seat or something like that. But I didn't drink water the whole race because I was so focused. And certainly it's a physical track. But I think it was more because of lack of water.

But again, I started really good. Scott (Dixon) and I were kind of battling in the beginning of the race, as well, but then it was smooth sailing trying to conserve fuel. It's one of those things that you do. I mean, obviously my teammates and I were one, two, three right there during the race pretty much in control, until the pit stops, I believe. When we pitted, we were able to make a move on Ryan (Briscoe) and kept going in that direction until Will (Power) caught traffic, and we all got stuck there.

I had a couple of times that I couldn't pass, but if you think you're going to pass, that's not a good idea. You've got to make sure, because if you think, that means you're going to crash. So I didn't want to try to pass, especially my teammate. That's one of those things that you've got to get in perspective. And again, because we were held up on the track and we decided to pit early, Will (Power) ended up getting the best of all because he made a little gap and I ended up losing the position not only for Ryan (Briscoe) but also for Scott (Dixon), who ended up in fourth place.

I don't know what happened with Ryan (Briscoe). He ended up going wide a little bit in Turn 13 and we were able to make a move and then just keep pushing Scott (Dixon). We just kept pushing and pushing because I didn't want to finish behind him again like last year.

But unfortunately it's very difficult to pass unless somebody makes a mistake, and when I noticed the track was coming, I think it was going to be my opportunity. He (Dixon) chose the outside lane, I'm thought, 'hmm, that's the door open.' I made a move, and it was clean and nice, and after that we were just trying to chase Will (Power). But the tires started going away pretty fast and there was nothing else we could do.

Q: It was mentioned before you came in here that this was one lap away from being the first IndyCar Series race in history that went green to green all the way through the race. Please give us your thoughts on that.

HELIO CASTRONEVES: Well, it was a good job from every driver because we were respecting each other, taking the pace and things like that. Someone was able to give up a little bit, give space, and that's what happens. You have a green flag and everybody is smooth all over the place.

And second it's just nice to see that it's very competitive out there. It's difficult to pass unless you're really sure that you're going to make a move. And I think it's a credit for the Series. It's been very close and we continue working to make it more exciting.

I thought it was pedal to the metal most of the race, even if you controlled a little bit the fuel. It's still very mental and strategic as well, but certainly you've got to keep pushing. You can't just ride in the car.

Q: There's been a couple drivers already commenting about the traffic and how unhappy they were about people ahead of them and saying what 'goes around comes around.' What are your thoughts on that?

HELIO CASTRONEVES: I've been in that situation before. I've been in lap traffic before. You're trying to hold as much as you can if a yellow comes and things like that.

It's difficult to comment on. I think ovals are a little bit different than the road courses. Once your weekend is bad, it's very difficult to improve in one day, especially on the race weekend and especially on the race day.

It's tough. It's tough the way that the track is laid out, it's a very downforce dependent, and to be able to make a move, you've got to have something different than everyone else.

Even if a guy is half a second slow, it's still very difficult to make a move.

But you're right, what goes around comes around, and sometimes people don't think like that. But that's what happens in racing. It's always going to be like that in racing. That's never going to change.

Q: Can you just briefly talk about Will (Power)'s team; the crew is bouncing between stock cars and the IndyCar Series. You're around them - Can you comment on how well they've been working?

HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, some of those guys worked with me in the IndyCar Series. You have a couple of guys that worked in the Porsche series, the ALMS series and Grand-Am. You have such an incredible group, and even though it is a group that is not involved with the IndyCar Series full-time, they are still involved. They've been there once. They've won races with different drivers even before me and things like that.

The way that Team Penske operates is they don't bring anybody in that isn't experienced just to fill a spot. They're very professional people, and they prove that with pit stops and everything like that. Everything was spot-on. Even though the Team Penske crew might tell us that the car isn't the same as the day before, it feels the same to us and that's the good thing about it.

Team Penske is a great organization and it shows again that it's a great group of cars, and with three cars they're able to show that they're still competitive.

Q: Yesterday you mentioned you were having a lot of fun here. Did that continue into today, and can I get you to talk about the whole weekend?

HELIO CASTRONEVES: Absolutely. This place is fun. It's fun for so many reasons. The layout of the track is very challenging, very fast and very physical. But when you have a good car, it's a lot of fun, especially Turns 2, 3, 4 and 5. It's like one gear just lift off coming in.

So everybody enjoys it when you're aggressive and things like that. And the race wasn't very different, especially when you have moments that you can push. And when you push, you'll see the results showing. It's not like someplace that you just push and don't go anywhere.

It was awesome. It was really smooth.

As I said before, for you to make a pass and things like that, it's hard because of the downforce; there is so much high speed in the corners. There are four and fifth gear corners that show that we're going extremely fast. Drivers like the fast corners. We're in an airport, so we've got to fly low.

Q: You talked a little bit already about passing Scott Dixon, and I heard on the IMS radio network that they were going to nominate you for the Firestone Tire-rrific Move of the Race. But I think you passed two cars at the same time- wasn't it the #20 car? It looked like you were going to set up the #20 car, but then you managed to somehow get Scott (Dixon), as well.

HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, I'm not sure it wasn't in practice. I know during the race I went to pass somebody, and actually Ryan Briscoe did that move to me, and I'm thought, 'whoa, okay.' So he caught my by surprise. I thought 'okay, no problem, I was having traffic in front of me.'

A similar situation happened last year with other guys, and I thought, 'this is an opportunity', because last year I was behind Scott (Dixon) for the remaining 20 laps, and unfortunately we never got through traffic and I couldn't make a move.

That was the only chance for me to steal the second place from him, help my teammate obviously on the championship, as well, and keep going, trying to go for the win. Certainly we had a car, we have three strong cars this race weekend, and one of those could end up winning the race. I knew there was no order, so I thought, 'I've got to go really close to Will (Power) to make sure I can make something happen again.'

But unfortunately towards the end with about four laps to go I started sliding a little bit wide, and I thought 'okay, I'm getting a little bit away of my head here. I've just got to be conservative.' And it turned out to be great.

Continued in part 2

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Ryan Briscoe , Marco Andretti , Will Power
Teams Team Penske