IRL: Indy 500: Paul Tracy, Felipe Giaffone press conference

Participants Paul Tracy: Second place finisher Felipe Giaffone: Third place finisher Felipe Giaffone: I was a little bit disappointed, to be honest. I really had a good car there. I think I had the best car today, you know. But then at the end,...

Participants Paul Tracy: Second place finisher Felipe Giaffone: Third place finisher

Felipe Giaffone: I was a little bit disappointed, to be honest. I really had a good car there. I think I had the best car today, you know. But then at the end, Dario was in the middle to help pull out, and I think it was pretty much but at that point, if Dario would not have been in the middle, I could have passed Castroneves. At that point, what happened, I think Castroneves was on the outside, the other guy was on the inside, and I was stuck behind both of them. And then my car push a lot on Turn 3; that was when Paul came around and passed me. So I'm a little bit disappointed about that. But, I mean, we finished third. We'll get them next time.

Q: Go through it again. The way you understand the rule is you hold your position when the yellow light comes on?

Paul Tracy: My interpretation of the rule is that when you are ahead of somebody when the yellow comes out, then that's your position. I know this track, a lot of the times in CART, a lot of the tracks we go to do not have timing lines and they don't know where the car is all the time, so you have to rely on spotters and track marshals to you figure out a lot of times where the cars are. But I know this track has timing lines all the way around the track. They will know exactly where the cars were when the yellow light came on. So, we'll just have to wait and see. We at team KOOL Green, we feel that we were ahead; that's why we've put a protest in.

Q: Felipe, can you describe what you saw in front of you between Paul and Helio when the yellow came out?

Giaffone: To be honest, I was so mad, I didn't see anything there. I saw the yellow coming out, and I was really disappointed. I know I was behind both of them, so I could see from behind, but I know it was close. I mean, I can't tell if Paul was in front or Castroneves was front because of the line, so, I would rather be quiet.

Q: I think even the system got confused because it showed you as the winner after 201 laps, and it was like that for a full five minutes.

Tracy: The yellow was waving but no checkers on the last lap.

Q: Did you feel that that is a situation that can work in your favor?

Tracy: I hope. I feel that we were ahead when the yellow came out. All I can do, like I said is cross my fingers and pray and hope, and that's what we feel the right outcome is. Like I said, if it's not to be, then I congratulate Helio and Penske and the job they did. But all I can say is we did a great job today with the 7-11 car, and only time can tell what's going to happen.

Q: Paul, how much do you think politics might enter into this whole thing?

Tracy: There's going to be a lot of politics playing into this, and I don't want to dig too deep into it, but there's politics in everything, every form of motorsports, and I hope it doesn't come to that.

Q: (Inaudible)?

Tracy: I didn't think that Helio was going to make it. I thought for sure he was going to pit. Felipe's car was fast. When we were together, alone on the track, he was a little bit better than me in traffic. My car was not all that good in traffic, so I was not able to attack and get underneath the back of cars. But I've got enough racing experience that when cars will get mixed up together, I would be able to time it right and get by people. So, really with three laps to go, I radioed in and said I just don't have the car to attack right now. I was kind of feeling it was going to be a third-place effort. And then I saw that Felipe made a little mistake, got some understeer, and he had to get out of throttle to avoid hitting the wall; then I had an opportunity there. Then all of a sudden, I was right on top of Helio. And I knew that he had to save fuel, and it was kind of a similar situation a few years ago when I was pacing Bobby Rahal. I knew that to save fuel in a race car, you've got to go down the straightaway at part throttle, just to not leave it wide open. So I could see he was slow on the straightaway. So I got a good run through (Turns) 1 and 2 and came off, and he was going down the back straightaway and he was protecting his position and I made the move toward the outside. Like I said, when I passed him going into 3, he came out of 3, the light was on. It's been a hard month for everybody. It's been a lot of work for the 7﷓11 team. We put a lot of effort in. I've got to thank my guys. They are working 12-, 14-hour days at the shop, when we had to switch from Reynard to Lolas and trying to test with the Indy-car program, with a Champ Car program at Mid﷓Ohio and Milwaukee during this month. We had problems during this month here, the guys were working double﷓time all the time. To have this outcome, hopefully a win, or maybe not, if we are second, it's still a tremendous effort and they have done a fantastic job and I can't complain.

Q: To revert back to the last lap rule, would you rather race back to the green in a situation like that, kind of like what NASCAR does?

Tracy: Well, it's a situation, for what I'm used to, you race until the yellow comes out. I've never heard of reverting back to the previous lap. When the yellow comes out, you find out where the cars were, where they were positioned, that's where they finish at. These cars, when there's parts scattered all over the track, you wouldn't want to try to race through all of that because you can cut tires down and have yourself a bigger problem with more crashes, for sure.

Q: You made great progress through the earlier stages of the race what got you to the front?

Tracy: It was really the crew. I didn't have a fantastic car in traffic, like I said. I was not able to bury the nose up behind guys, but I steadily made passes on the track when guys would make mistakes or get themselves bottled up in traffic. I don't think I had the fastest car on the track, but I think we were the most consistent all day. My speeds were 224s, 223s all day long when I was by myself. But really, the job that we did, the pit stops were great all day, coming in, coming out. I was fast in the pits. I noticed that when I would come in with other groups of cars, my in and out lap was very quick and I put a lot of distance on whoever I was racing at the time on the out lap. So that was good. The crew did a great job. They were psyched, obviously, and we'll have to wait and see what happens, that's all I can say.

Q: How frustrating or annoying is it that you are in this situation, because right near the end, a couple of guys throw it away?

Tracy: Well, my life has always been I've always been in situations whether they are good or bad. I'm always neck deep in some kind of problem, so we'll like I said, all I'm doing is crossing my fingers. We feel that our team, that we were ahead. And if that's not the case, it was a great day.

-ims-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Felipe Giaffone , Bobby Rahal , Paul Tracy