IRL: Indy500: Winner's press conference

Guests: Helio Castroneves Roger Penske Tim Cindric Moderators: Fred Nation Brad Dickison FRED NATION: Here he is the champion of the 2001 Indianapolis 500, Helio. HELIO CASTRONEVES: My first one. NATION: Welcome all of you. CASTRONEVES:...

Guests:
Helio Castroneves
Roger Penske
Tim Cindric

Moderators:
Fred Nation
Brad Dickison

FRED NATION: Here he is the champion of the 2001 Indianapolis 500, Helio.

HELIO CASTRONEVES: My first one.

NATION: Welcome all of you.

CASTRONEVES: Thank you.

NATION: Congratulations, this is a 11th win for Mr. Penske in 27 races. That's 407 percent - that's better than Ted Williams. Helio, you had a lot of fun out there today both during the race and after the race. Tell us how you feel right now.

CASTRONEVES: First off, I mean this victory also have to be in memory of Paul Morgan, who prepared our engine and unfortunately he passed away a couple of weeks ago. And I mean, I'm sure -- and Carl Hogan, which we had on our car his name he gave me opportunity to my career. Today I'm here because of those guys both. So that was in memory of them. I'll tell you, changing for the race, it was unbelievable. I mean, you guys probably saw, maybe if you guys didn't see, I was talking with so many experienced drivers, so many champions. Rick Mears, first time I came over here I said, 'Rick, come on, you need to help me over here. This Turn 1 is unbelievable.' I think in the race I did the best Turn 1 ever the whole month. Stayed off the wall, no doubt. Somebody painted it for me. I spoke with Al (Unser) Sr., Bobby Unser, Rutherford, all the champions I was always trying to make sure that I listen. All of them saying different things, and I knew if you wait 500 miles if you wait I mean the race especially in this place, everybody was going to happen to you. Cindric was calling my radio, 'We're very cool, we're like pretty calm the whole time. Even when the rain came, it was like we lower the control. I tell you, it's unbelievable. It's unbelievable because we're here, and it was a fantastic day for Team Penske. I have to thank Roger, no doubt about it. I'm always going to thank this guy the opportunity he gave me in my life, in my career. It's no doubt about it, priceless. Again, I mean my engineer, I have to say he has been with me since '96, and he gave me a fantastic car today. We tested the last Sunday after Japan. When we came over here, we tested the car, we made some changes during the fuel tank and half tank and low tank of fuel tank so basically we're like we knew every inch of the car. With all the situations. And my car wasn't the best one by itself, but was fantastic in the traffic, no doubt."

NATION: Roger Penske, this was a triumphant return of yours to Indianapolis. How about a reaction?

ROGER PENSKE: When I think about today's race, and the finish, one-two, it kind of takes away the pain that we had in 1995. And I can tell you walking back to the garage with Al and Emerson after we didn't make the field and coming up to victory circle today is a big difference. And certainly I think that this young man on my left did an outstanding job. He and Gil have worked together. The team has gelled. Tim Cindric came on board, his dad built engines for us back in the early days when we were here at Indy. Tim came on board, really pulled the group together. He probably doesn't the get the credit due. He kept us on cadence, got us to Japan and got to Nazareth, called a terrific race (here) because this is a race you can get yourself in trouble if you try too hard. It's a shame for Scott Sharp there at the beginning, just a little thing happens there. It's a great day for the team. I think it shows, you know, that the continued commitment in that our people have. That's the big thing. The human capital people talk about the sponsorship, but you really do this with people. When you put the man in the car, he has to drive it 3,500 miles -- that's the difference, and our two cars were great today. I think the stops were the best I've seen. It's a little busy down there getting in and out. We were racing getting out. One time they put Stewart ahead of us just to make a race out of it. I think Brian Barnhart and his team of officials are outstanding. I never had more support from my pit tech man when I wanted to know something. He was there, and it was a great race, and we'll be back.

NATION: Tim Cindric, you've been praised by your boss. How do you feel right now?

TIM CINDRIC: Anybody who gives me praises ...it's quite an honor. I echo what Roger said about the commitment our team has made, especially over the past six months in preparing for this event and keeping on track with, you know, our typical program. And for us to go to Japan and sit on the pole and win that race as well, I think it shows how strong this team really is. I think at the end of the day everybody looks at it as a team, not any one particular red suit or black suit. It's Marlboro Team Penske. I think that's what probably we're proudest of.

BRAD DICKISON: Open up to media.

Q: Roger, first off, just want to ask you to maybe reflect where you were about a year ago, with the 100th win with Gil and the process to get to this point. And the second part, is it difficult not to get caught up in Helio's infectious spirit and were you almost compelled to climb the fence as well?

PENSKE: I'm going to climb it tonight with him when nobody can see me climb it. I promised him I'll climb, but I don't know when I will do that. Last year when we put this team together, when you really think back, Greg Moore's tragic accident paved the way for Helio to come on our team as Carl Hogan was disbanding his organization. And to see these two guys start out the strength we pulled it together at Nazareth. To me, that was a huge hill to climb. Maybe that was the biggest obstacle we had to overcome, but then as the team came together, Helio was fast, Gil was fast, and we won the championship. Coming into this year, though, we had planned to come to Indy. That was something Tim put together. He was here last year with Jason Leffler. He learned a lot. I think we looked, in fact, last night -- I understand football coaches watching tapes -- we watched the tape last night of this race to start and many of the restarts in the pit stops probably 10 times last night with the drivers after they came back."

Q: Helio, could you just discuss your level of improvement and how adaptable you were to this track?

CASTRONEVES: "With the system, I mean, the whole month testing and when I came over here, I also did the rookie test and all the situations. It's easy for you to get lost, and I was getting a little frustration with Turn 1 because man, sometimes it wouldn't steer, sometimes understeer, oversteer, steer until I reached the point that I was kissing the wall. And I said, OK, that's the limit. So sometimes you don't want to find the limit this way. And I believe we passed the whole time to try to make sure that we understand that the car and then the weather. Sometimes you stop for lunch, then when you go back to make a change the wind is blowing a different direction. So I was getting upset with myself because I understood that when the wind changes you have to change the way, as well, to drive in a car. And it's not all the ovals you do that. Basically it's this one here only, because normally Japan or the rest of the ovals like Nazareth or Chicago, I mean, you change the car to make sure that you go fast. But here, and in fact Mears mentioned that to me trying to qualify. We were having discussion of that trying to qualify. He said to move your lines sometimes because that's what's going to happen, and the times going to go away, going to have a little understeer so we want to make sure you understand. I didn't change at all the way I was driving the oval. You're going to get more experience. You're going to understand a little bit better as you start leading the race you sometimes you want to lead all the race. But it's not the run that matters, it's the last lap the matters, and that's what paid off today. If you try to make sure you go longer than everybody, and that's what I was doing. So I was really playing cool. I was really trying to even when Stewart was in front of me, which I didn't understand why. I was great, he was drafting me. I was like saving fuel at that point. I said let's keep doing that. I know where I can go and pass. So it was fantastic, and as you get more experience, you're going to respect more every oval and while today proves my first win in oval that I'm doing a good job.

Q: Helio you did mention Tony Bettenhausen also was a great thing?

CASTRONEVES: Yeah, he was the first one basically, and I remember he was talking about Indy 500, but unfortunately at that time we didn't have a the opportunity for something like that. All of those guys, you know, all of this team owners that gave me an opportunity to drive, I have to thank all of them. And I was improving myself I was learning. I'm going to learn. No doubt about it, I still have long way to learn But looks like I'm showing a little bit, as well.

Q: When was the first time you really thought about the Indy 500 in your career and also did anybody advise you not to climb the fence?

CASTRONEVES: Well, in the beginning when Roger and Cindric were talking about last year, they mentioned it but they never said anything that we're going for it. And I think it was great because Gil and I are working. I'm having a very good time with Gil because we work together, not only with him, but all the guys. We want to make sure everybody understands each other. This year, 2001, my first year that I'm passing with the same team. Always I was changing teams and so I always have to prove you know that I'm fast, that I'm quick, and sometimes you have to prove you know to make sure that people understand. And I think definitely that pays off today. In terms of talking about climb the fence. Nobody said anything that would be against -- you get a fine or something like that. Hey, I just want to express my feelings, and I think everybody liked that.

Q: Tim, what stands out about Helio from your vantage point? What is it that gotten him to this point?

CINDRIC: Probably the way everybody tries to pronounce his name. The H is silent. Pronounced Elio. Beyond that, I think it's the natural talent that he has and enthusiasm that he brings, not only in the good times but also the bad times when it's easy to get down. I think that whole thing from my point of view, and certainly Roger's, it's great to have him help lead the team with his enthusiasm because some days that's difficult to do from my shoes or Roger's.

Q: Helio, do you hope to follow in the footsteps of Montoya and get to Formula One?

CASTRONEVES: I have to talk with my attorneys, actually. Well, where I came from, Brazil, it's Formula One is the main sport, but I think tomorrow that's going to change little bit, I hope. When I came to America and I start racing, I felt fantastic people gave me opportunity and was able to show my talent. Every driver has your own way, and I'm not -- I don't want to follow Montoya or Villeneuve or somebody else. Just want to go where I have best opportunity to win because I don't want to stay behind, you know, and hold my life. I want to always achieve my targets. I want to make sure I achieve my goals, one of them is this winning race, and be competitive. I don't know if Formula One. I'm young. But I'm very happy where I am today. I never had an offer from somebody, and who knows if somebody came like a big team and said you want to go for it, just have to think about it. I just want to be competitive all the time. And with this team today here, I mean, we proved that we definitely are very strong, and I'm very happy.

PENSKE: Let me help him answer that question. I think that certainly U.S. racing on ovals and road courses has demonstrated the strength of our drivers. Villeneuve, Andretti, Montoya, certainly Helio. If he has chance to drive in a first-class Formula One team, I would be the first guy to say go. I say that because he is the right age. I've seen him run on the streets in Long Beach. Seen him run on the ovals. Seen him run on the road courses. I think that many times our drivers are underestimated as far as their capability. I wanted to make it easy on you, but I can tell you this if you have a chance it's the right team, I'll be first one the tell you to go. It's got to probably be one of those gray cars or one of those red cars, the ones I would get you in."

Q: Roger when you left here in 1995, can you compare how you felt from then to today's win and did you envision winning your first time back?

PENSKE: I've had a lot of time to get over the failure in '95. Obviously this was a terrific day. My biggest concern, I think, was coming here at beginning of May and getting qualified. Once we got through qualifications and you saw how both drivers were running, we came to carburetion day, and both Helio and Gil right out of the box were strong. We didn't want to change their cars. It was basically business as usual. I knew once the race started these guys would show their strength and capability. That was proved out. This is a tremendous day for us, and we take each race one at a time. You don't realize there was a group of 10 or 11 people from our shop from Michigan from back in Reading that put those cars together so we arrived here on the Sunday that made it happen. These are the ones that are unsung heroes, and as I call it the human capital that really made it happen. I just may be the benefactor today. It's a thrilling day for me.

Q: Helio, my bag of Bondo, honey. Thanks for taking our Speed Freaks mojo and winning. I told you at the beginning of the month you would. Thank you. Talk about this mojo. I asked Gil this, too. How can you take this back to CART and come on let's put this all to rest. Can we get everybody back together? What can we do to end this rivalry? Can you be an instrumental part of that? Can you talk a little bit about it?

CASTRONEVES: That's a situation that we came over here, like Roger was saying. We came over here with the same equipment that everybody has and tried to make the best job that we can. And today, wow, I think we couldn't prove better, one and two on the race. And a 500-mile race, it's really difficult. And for me when I came to America, and they already separated the series. I was just looking for a ride and make sure that I always work very hard to show my time, to show that I'm fast and I'm capable to do it. And trust me, it's not came like out of the blue. I always had to pass from situation, difficult situation, which is natural in life. So as long as you keep the faith you know you are going to achieve what you want. Today with this thing here, I mean Team Penske, I always when I was a kid was dreaming you know to see my helmet, you know, in the colors of red and white and driving, you know, when I was 4. Watching Mears and Emerson and all those drivers. It was like, 'Wow.' Even Roger, you know, with the white hair and gray hair. I was like, 'Yeah, that guy must be great.' You know, today, I mean, I'm winning, you know, for his team and I mean with the fantastic people with me. Just a fantastic day.

Q: Helio, take us through Turn 1 when Gil got beside you. Take us through that whole pass. If he had passed you, would you have been able to get him back? And Roger, your thoughts when you saw those guys side by side in 1?

CASTRONEVES: Well, unfortunately the restart, I mean, if you are leading it's very difficult when you don't have nobody in front of you to go fast. And my car, even when Robbie Buhl was behind me, he was very fast and straightaway but I was good. I was consistent all the way, all four corners I was always very consistent. And those guys, one lap when they make right they will be able to pass me. When Gil pulled right beside me I knew he wouldn't lift off. I knew he was going for it. But my car was working very well the low line, and again my car wasn't very fast by itself but it was great in the traffic. And I was always trying to keep a consistent line, and I think the laps I believe probably proved I was always consistent every lap doing the same thing. Sometimes the fastest guy is not the one that's going to lead or try to go away. But the consistent one, the one that make less mistakes, is going to be to winner. That's what I was trying to do every lap, make sure that I was passing by every line, every bump, every corner you know the same. And I was notice my car was very good from 20 gallons to the end. My car was much better, and I believe all of those started having a little trouble with loose car and everything. So if I pass on to the 20 gallons, I knew that nobody could catch me unless traffic or stuff like that. Which amazes people are falling, breaking engine, or running out of fuel in front of me, and that was great because I was able to be smart and wait, be patient, lose one second but put two backmarkers in front of me Gil. I tell you, the last 10 laps, unbelievable. Ovals are normally quick, but that was the longest. I keep nine, no, it's still 10. I thought it was eight already. It was really long, but today pays off.

PENSKE: I can tell you that we don't have any team orders today. That's one of the benefits. Tim is calling the race for Helio. And obviously we were -- we were talking on our intercom, Tim and I were, from the standpoint of, you know, just where we were going to go from a strategy standpoint trying not to come in the pits at the same time. Gil said to me on the radio, 'I've got to the go to restart, that's the only chance I have even to go by him. You can see he had a good run by him. I didn't say not to do that. I think at the end of that I always say take care of each other. Helio wasn't going to slide up into him. If he would have had a good run he would have got ahead. At the end of the day I was glad to see them both get to Turn 2 in one piece.

Q: One for Helio, one for Tim. Helio, you said in Victory Lane drinking the milk that you had dreamed of that. And you were talking about little bit about Emerson and the history. But when did you really first know about the Indy 500? And Tim, I suspect you've known about the Indy 500 for some time. Can you talk about what it means to you to win here?

CASTRONEVES: Like I said, the memories that I have it's when Emerson and Al got together in Turn 3. Emerson won. And from that point, I mean in Brazil, we were looking for the million dollars. You know and everybody said, 'Wow, that guy is rich.' I guess I'm rich too, huh? And but no doubt about it, it inspired a lot of kids my age to come over here, you know. Unfortunately, I mean, the series got separated and everything. But at that point, I mean always was like looking for it, you know. And when it came to first time over here I realized that no doubt about the tradition over here is amazing. And I believe that's why it makes even more this place famous. Because it's everybody coming. I mean, like I come in this morning and I saw 400,000 people, I want to go. I want to go back. I don't want to leave the garage. But it's kind of really amazing, a lot of people around and supporting this place, and I understand this track is very technical. It looks four corners the same. But I tell you, it's not the same. I run today, and I know it's not the same, and especially that Turn 1. But you know it's amazing. I hope kids in Brazil, I mean, they were watching the race. I hope kids are now looking for same way that I was looking for. I mean, to come over here and win this race and win -- be competitive. I'm very glad that I was able to see that day, and today I'm the one here sitting in the middle.

Q: How old were you back then?

CASTRONEVES: 1989. I was starting -- I think I was 13 years old.

CINDRIC: From my perspective, you're right. I don't remember the first day I knew anything about Indianapolis. My father worked for Herb Porter. For quite some time, it was always their dream to win this race. Somebody showed me the other day an article in paper that my dream had come true, working for Roger Penske, being in this position. And part of it had, without a doubt, it's an honor but you know the ultimate dream was to win this race and anyway here we are. I hope that answers your questions, but it's all I've ever known. I remember growing up running through the Valvoline garage in '68, '69, the old wooden garages. I remember watching RP from afar for many, many days in Tower Terrace. It's the only thing I've ever known.

Q: Helio, Gil talked earlier about his car coughing a little bit as he pulled out of the pits. On the pit stop that resulted in Tony Stewart being in back in front of the field, and you went to the far lane in front of Tony. Could you describe that from your point of view? Is that what happened did Gil cough a little bit and pulled out to go around him?

CASTRONEVES: No, when I pitted ahead of Gil, we were a little bit ahead. So when I dropped the car, Gil was still waiting to finish the fuel. So as soon as I start engage first and leaving the pits, he start spinning the wheels. But I was already in the movement so I don't want to hit him in the back and even the mechanic. So I tried to avoid him, and I did not even see who was coming behind. So sometimes when a situation like that, the guys coming behind they should know that the guys leaving the pit, there's nothing we can do about it because we're in a battle on the pit lane, and it was just one of my teammates. And the safety of the other mechanics. Not only that time, but a second time as well. The last one my car also coughed a little bit. In fact, it slowed down and then I was like, 'My goodness.' Then I crashed the throttle, it was car spinning wheels tall the way around but fortunately everything end up OK. And like I said, the end, Tony Stewart in my front was great because I was able to keep it up with him. My car was, like I said, handling very well in the traffic, and I was saving a lot of fuel. And when it started raining, I mean, that moment I was calling the rain, 'Come on, stop here. Let's go home everybody.' But when I realized that we were going to continue, I knew I had a good shot.

Q: To follow up, Gil said his car worked better if he was out front than trailing and that he ran faster laps in the front. More or less, if he had been in the front he thought he could have moved away from you. Could you agree with that?

CASTRONEVES: I think so. But when I prepare my car I knew we were under traffic basically all the time and some day or somehow about when traffic start coming, I mean, if he's ahead of me, I would catch him anyway. Like I said, my car was working OK with the 20 gallons. After that my car was fast. So I will just have to be patient to make sure I was in a good position when I have a full tank and not burning tires or fuel or destroy the equipment because it's an endurance race. You save the equipment, save car. Save every inch of what you have in your hands to use at the end. And as you guys saw I did that, and so I worked pretty well.

Q: Tim, just a question for you. Roger spoke about the human capital that was invested in winning this race. You being the point man of this operation and this whole effort, did you feel driven knowing how much this race meant to him and wanting to make sure that he got a return on his investment?

CINDRIC: Without a doubt, it was a challenge in terms of coming here and redeeming the Penske name in Indianapolis. And I certainly can't say that, OK, they give me the title, put me at the head of the blame pool, I say, some days. But the guys that really had to be there every day and do the nuts and bolts make sure all the T's were crossed and I's were dotted and with the logistics of what went through over the past couple of months and keeping ourselves competitive and at the same time being prepared for this race in the best way possible. And I don't think we sacrificed anything in any place, and that's very, very difficult to do. And it comes down to the team all the way down to the last guy not just me.

Q: This is a question for both Helio and Roger. The top six finishers were CART cars. Do you think that's an indication of superiority in that you're ahead right now or what do you think it showed?

PENSKE: I don't think that we need to look at statistics here to say that it was a CART win versus IRL. I think that it was unfortunate some of the best runners had problems. There are a lot of good cars out there. I said to Tim and Helio and Gil, I'm not sure who is the favorite going into the race. Certainly to me, there is a number of fellows out there that could drive one of our cars. I could tell you that right now. To me, it was the way the numbers hit the finish but certainly to me that doesn't really make it an IRL or CART race. It was the Indy 500. We came here to run it, and that's what we did. So I'm just glad to be here. I hope that if this helps us get back together, you know, I think that's also important to me, too. We need to have one open-wheel series with guys like Helio and Gil and Tony Stewart and Montoya and everybody else we can think about running here. That way we can take open-wheel car racing in this country where it needs to be. Right now, I think we need to move it up a little bit.

CASTRONEVES: I do agree with Roger. We raced in Phoenix for the preparation of this race. And before racing in CART, I run with a lot of guys in Indy Lights Greg Ray, the Brazilian Dare. All those guys, I have a lot of respect. As I was racing there, I noticed those guys everybody was really, really, tough and competitive. And when I came over here, I had exactly the same feeling I never underestimate nobody. I knew it would be very tough. I knew it was difficult. And I don't know what happened behind. But I just know that when I was here, I was a Indy 500 driver. And I don't put me as a CART driver or I don't take that, you know. So this is a race that basically everybody it's unique. And no doubt about everybody on the same level.

Q: Roger, you have accomplished a lot of great things here your teams have accomplished a lot of great things and your drivers. Back in Phoenix in March, I know you say you don't like to rank your victories that you've done here. This has got to have certain satisfaction that some of the others probably didn't.

PENSKE: The 100th win was a real big step for us. This is a heck of a win. I mean, just no question about it. Helio putting us in the winner circle in Indianapolis, I have to say right back looking back knowing the circumstance of getting here. This had to be right at the top of the list.

Q: Tim, this one is for you. Gil when he was in there earlier this month that is a logistical nightmare. You touched on the logistics. Can you tell us where things have gone. From the UK to Reading to Japan, Nazareth. Tell us exactly what it took for you to get everybody's butt in gear.

CINDRIC: You can start with the month of April really and coming here for Rookie Orientation with Helio, which if my memory serves me, correct was just after winning Long Beach. We went from winning Long Beach to being pretty focused in the CART points and everything else, and coming here having to run not only Phoenix and Rookie Orientation. I guess it all started in Phoenix which if you go back to Mexico. We ran Mexico as the first race just in going backward, and the next weekend was Phoenix. What we did was we actually had to transfer equipment in the parking lot in San Antonio and do the appropriate thing in terms of what our cars have to look like what we need to have gathered up to go to Phoenix. We ran that race unfortunately we left there competitive but we didn't bring that race home. A couple weeks later, if my memory serves me correctly, we went to Long Beach and won the race. We came here, ran Rookie Orientation for a couple days, had to turn around get prepared I think it was to go to Texas at that point in time. And we raced there came back and tested with Helio and Gil for their two allotted days and then the month of May started shortly at Nazareth. We had to go Nazareth to prepare. We had to -- we brought our test people guys and guys that prepare these cars. Like Roger said, there's about eight or 10 of these guys they came over and unfortunately missed our home race in Nazareth. They came here, I think it was, Thursday of this first week and prepared everything, set the garages up, had everything ready to run so that after Nazareth as soon as the checkered flag fell there we hopped on Roger's plane and came over here. If you remember, he ran the last hour and a half after that day just to make sure everything was right in case it rained for the next couple days. We practiced here for the week and following qualifying and so forth on. And I got a plane for Motegi the Monday after qualifying. We obviously ran Motegi. As soon as Motegi finished, we pulled Helio out on the next press conference put him in the flyer. We had him change clothes there. Roger, again, took us in Penske airways back around the world to Indianapolis where our guys had prepared the cars had everything read any to go for the Sunday bump day so that we could go out and get as much as done as we humanly could. Following that we decided we give these guys a couple days off. We came back for carburetion day, and here we are. Q: Any parts in the UK parts being put together in the UK?

CINDRIC: Quite a bit of help from not only Penske cars in the UK but Ilmor, especially. You know our engine preparation down to the last minute, the last hour, we were flying helicopters back and forth to Detroit during the week, and also Roger's plane, Tom Kelley's planes, whatever it took to ensure that we had absolutely the best possible engines for today and for qualifying.

Q: For Helio. I wonder if you can tell me what you knew about Roger Penske before you went to work for him and what you have learned in the interim.

CASTRONEVES: Everybody knows Roger Penske. Like I said, since I was a kid I remember watching TV and especially this race which was -- which is one of the famous when I came over the America. I knew this man here would be -- I mean, he is an excellent worker, he knows that's why they call him Captain because everybody knows how -- I tell everybody if you want a bottle of water, he give to you, but you better deliver later. That's the way he is. But I tell you, it's the way it should be every time because that's where you keep pushing you. Not only me, I mean, I have experience again with Gil my teammate, so both of us keeping each other. I knew he always try to make sure that everything is the right equipment, the shiny, make sure on the right place and doesn't take money to do that. It takes organization. And today, I mean, we are paying off this and we are having a lot of organization also Cindric is part of the board and the team and makes sure that everybody on the right direction. Again, it makes even easier if every time you put that equipment there, always going to be there, and everybody knows that. And that's why I think the success of Team Penske being for many, many, years. I'm sure it's going to continue doing that for many, many years.

Q: Helio, you know a few weeks ago, you were out painting the walls. Now you're here. Was there a turning point when did things start to turn for you?

CASTRONEVES: Like I said, I was trying too much in Turn 1, and I don't know, I think I was pretty off in Turn 1. I was making sure every lap I keep a way from that wall, and every lap I was learning something different, you know. And with traffic or no traffic, I changed in the bars in the car to make sure that I always have a good balance. I didn't have a moment, to be honest, the car was always very well set up and, yes, maybe as I turn around I was upset when I qualifying 11th. I said I know I can do much better. But now I saw the situation with Andretti and then the next day Billy Boat the next day. You know what, 11th is a pretty damn good result. Very happy to start in this race. Today, yes, you see doesn't matter if you start pole position or middle of the field or the back as long as you are smart, you know, and make sure that you're always in the lead lap. It's going to pay off one time, and I tell you, I learned a lot today. I'm not going to say that it was easy. It was very difficult. I'm glad that I have these people right beside me, and I have to thank my family. My family, I mean, I wouldn't be here today because of them. And my father, he never had the best things, and that's what he always teach me. He never had the best thing but for me was always the best. And I tell you, everybody should keep a family together because it's a great support, and so today I'm here because of them.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tony Stewart , Greg Ray , Robbie Buhl , Scott Sharp , Billy Boat , Helio Castroneves , Rick Mears , Bobby Unser , Roger Penske , Tony Bettenhausen , Ted Williams , Brian Barnhart , Paul Morgan
Teams Williams , Team Penske