Indy 500: Pole Day press conference - Patrick

DANICA PATRICK'S POST-QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE: May 22, 2010 DANICA PATRICK: I have a feeling this is going to be an interesting press conference. PAT SULLIVAN: Well, Danica, you're back at a place where you've had great success ...

May 22, 2010

DANICA PATRICK: I have a feeling this is going to be an interesting press conference.

PAT SULLIVAN: Well, Danica, you're back at a place where you've had great success at Indianapolis, from the very beginning, so it's a track that's suited you well. I'm assuming that you wanted a little more time in that run.

DP: Well, we've been loose all month even with downforce on the car. You can just feel that it's not ever there. It's just constantly lifting and feeling light all the time, and so then you trim it out and that gets worse and then you gotta keep just enough front grip out of it that it doesn't overstep it. So then you understeer and then you add (inaudible) and that makes it again worse, so the car is just totally skating across the track and there's no grip. My car that my mechanics took tons of time to make sure fit perfectly, was fast and slick and no drag. It's there. It's just that the setup's not there, and I feel bad for them because it's a good car. There's just not a good setup on the car. I don't like to see Tony spin and hit the wall, but he did just spin. I mean, Marco is loose and Ryan and John are a little slower. They don't feel like they have the speed, but they're still feeling some of the same things. We're just generally struggling. If I had the answer, we'd do it.

Q: If somebody had said earlier in the week that of the fast nine, none would be Andretti Autosport cars, you would have probably argued with them and said that's not going to happen. There'll be a couple of us in there. But, as of right now, that's pretty much how the board looks.

DP: Pretty much any other year we've been here, we've been all in the first day when there was only 11 that made it. Last year, Mike drove five of us in the top 11. I mean, for the most part, we all are vying for a front row, at least. Someone is and I was disappointed that I didn't get to go back out because I thought I had a shot at the front row. Maybe not pole, and I was seventh last year. This is disappointing. None of us are OK with this. We all are generally saying the same things and I do know that whatever it takes, the team will do. We just need to be uniform in what we want.

Q: And it will be a new experience for you starting in the middle of the pack. That seems to be the most intense spot of the starting lineup to start this race.

DP: Well, I have been in the back of the field at some points during this race, the first race in particular where I went toward the front, well, I started up front. Then I stalled it. Went to the back. Came back through. Was up to sort of eighth-ish or something. Had a bad restart. Got clipped. Had to start from the back again and made my way up. It's a lot of buffeting; it's a lot of moving around. A lot of thinking, 'Is this thing broken right now? Because it doesn't feel right.' But at least I have that experience if for some reason we decide that we're just not going to go out again. The GoDaddy car deserves to be higher up than this. It's better than this. It's just not set up right.

Q: Danica, you just don't sound very confident in the security of your racecar.

DP: Shoot! I say one confident thing out there that it's not me, and everybody boos me. I'm blown away. These people, I mean. I don't know, maybe they all booed me before. I would think that some of them have probably cheered for me before, and I'm not a different driver than I was five years ago. I don't know if those people were here five years ago, but I got loose in (Turn) 1 and caught it and kept my foot down. So I can drive a loose car but this is beyond. Obviously.

Q: With the car the way that it is, you seem like you're going to be happy if you can just get in the top 24 and focus on race set up. Is that where you're at?

DP: I was shaking for minutes after I got out of the car. I know a lot of people are saying they're loose but, I'm sure they are for sure, but this is such an uncomfortable imbalance. It's just uncomfortable. I'm OK with being loose, but I gotta feel all four corners and I don't feel like I know where all four corners are all the time. Like I pointed out about getting loose in (Turn) 1 a few years back, I can do that. I know it's probably more difficult than ever because we are seeing a warm day on the only day we've had warm so far. The track every year gets a little bit smoother and a little bit less grip. We are going a little faster this year. I mean, the pole was 223 last year, and now you're seeing 226-something, which is something happening in my dreams right now. I don't really know what else to say. I wish I was more confident. I wish I was. I believe that on Race Day anything is possible and it takes some control, some patience. As Al (Unser) Jr. told me, use the first half to get to the last half. I mean, they're simple words but they make sense. I think I can, I know I can do that. The car might not be perfect, but you can still salvage a decent day. If we can just make it a little bit better, I think that we'll be OK in the race. It's just really, really hard to drive right now.

Q: I think I read where Tony (Kanaan) said 'I think they gave my backup car to John.' Just looking at what happens, how in the team do you move backup cars around if they can't repair it in time or whatever?

DP: What was weird, and we're trying to on the team when you have as big of a team as this you know, you see Ganassi cars bouncing from their T car back and forth trying to see which one is faster. So, Tony jumped into all of our cars. I mean, Tony can wheel. This was a loose car. He took my car, not even his own car, jumped in it with my pedal settings and everything, go out onto the track and he was flat out into (Turn) 1 on his first lap. He can drive. So what was your question? So Tony drove all five cars, and the weird thing was that John's car almost seemed the quickest. He was like 224 his first run with a little tow, but he was pretty fast. All the cars seem to be generally about the same speed, so I don't know what's going on. I don't know why his car's not fast. I know the team is trying to do something about it, and that's just it. The team will do everything that they can. We just need to know what it is that we want. That is a hard question to answer because if we knew exactly what we wanted, we just would have done it. Unfortunately, it's a lot of guessing, and it's so late in the game. We've got one more day left and, God forbid, I have to go back out because I don't make it, you know, we're done. We're out of days because it's been weather and it's a shorter month. I don't prefer this schedule. I think it's a little complicated, and I think it's hard to be race and qualifying ready when you're mixing the two. I don't always think they're the same cars, and it's made it another level of challenge.

-source: ims

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Series IndyCar
Teams Andretti Autosport