Continued from part 1 Q: Was there any agony going through your thoughts those last five laps? It looked like he was getting a better run off of four than what you were. ED CARPENTER: Yeah, he was beating me to the line just about every...
Continued from part 1
Q: Was there any agony going through your thoughts those last five laps? It looked like he was getting a better run off of four than what you were.
ED CARPENTER: Yeah, he was beating me to the line just about every time off four. I think I may have beat him just one time. I knew I was fighting an uphill battle at that point. When I saw him get around T.K., I knew it was going to be very hard to win.
But, you know, all you can do is just give it all you got, and that's what we did tonight.
Q: I think you mentioned something about the tires, Ed. I don't know if Firestone changed anything in terms of marbles, like what we've seen at the other six ovals this season. It was green-flag racing just about the entire race. There was no trucks blowing anything off. Talk a little bit about that.
ED CARPENTER: You know, Firestone does a great job all the time. We're very fortunate not to have to deal with issues what other series and other manufacturers have had to deal with. There are times where one tire's better than the other. It's not like we run the same tire every track. It's a moving target. They're constantly trying to make the tires better. Everything Firestone does, they try to make the tires better. They're like everybody else, they're not perfect. Sometimes if the conditions change, if it gets too hot, it changes how the tire is supposed to work.
I think overall I couldn't be happier with Firestone. I love racing on their tires.
Q: Tony, in Edmonton at the pit stop when you felt the liquid come on you, you knew immediately what it was. You shut your helmet visor, got out of there. How did you think of that so quickly when all of a sudden you feel liquid hit you?
TONY KANAAN: We caused a big fire. I think I'm getting old. I've been around for too long. I've been through everything. When I saw the splash, I knew it wasn't water, and I knew it was a lot, because it got on my lap and actually made me cold for a split after second. I said, I better drive away before I burn everybody here. I think that was the best thing I've done.
I was hoping there was just fire on the side pod so I could actually drive out and stop somewhere safe. At the time, I don't know, I think racecar drivers got to think quick. I don't know why. Honestly I stopped breathing, because I didn't want to breathe that thing. I closed my eyes. I tried to get out actually. But at that point I knew the Penske guys were coming after me and the Ganassi boys and the Panther boys.
It was really one thing went terribly wrong and five things went really right at the end. So basically from one disaster, but right after that everything that had to happen actually on the good way, it did.
It was frightening, but we survived.
Q: Ed, can you remember the last time you went 10 laps side-by-side with somebody for a win?
ED CARPENTER: That's the first time I've done it for a win in this series anyway. The last time I was running side-by-side like that for a win was when I was running in Indy Lights. That was back in 2003.
Just happy we were able to do that tonight. The changes were made on the cars, and we were able to put on a good race and run side-by-side. I'm really glad I was a part of the finish at the front.
Q: Looking at the in-car shots, it looked like you were doing a lot of sawing on that steering wheel. Did the aero changes make it easier, more over the edge, or make it more difficult to get going quicker?
ED CARPENTER: You know, obviously I had a really good-handling car tonight. To me it made it better. I think the wickers they took off the rear wing, that really reduced the amount of turbulence off the car in front of you and made it a lot easier to use the draft of the car in front of you and get a run.
I think personally that's probably the most important change they made. I had a good car. But that's the most comfortable that I've felt in traffic in quite some time.
TONY KANAAN: Same. I mean, obviously we had to work hard. But one good thing about the package was before, when we were following each other actually, you kind of go into the corner behind somebody, if you kind of had a little bit of understeer, once you clear that car, we had a huge moment of oversteer. Yeah, exactly, the back would turn on you. I think Ed is right. Taking those wickers out of the rear wing definitely helped. We had a better racing because, then we could race a lot more, a lot closer together.
I mean, I like it. I think everybody respect each other out there. We can't forget, I mean, we talked about the tires and everything, but I got to thank the guys from this racetrack as well. I mean, they did a helluva job grinding it. We had weather issues we couldn't fix. They worked all night. We slept here at the racetrack. It sounded like it was in an airplane. That dryer was on for a long time. The track had a lot to do with it, as well.
Q: Practice was very limited this weekend. Did that have any impact on the race?
TONY KANAAN: I don't know. You can look at both ways. The least you go out, the least changes you make. It's less room for mistakes.
Obviously I would say it would benefit the good teams, the teams like the bigger teams. But as Ed proved right now, they're coming up and they're growing every race.
So I don't know. I would say I was okay with the hour and a half. We always want more, but sometimes having more actually doesn't mean that you're going to get better.
Q: Ed, you're probably not surprised if you were going to have a breakout moment, it was going to come at Kentucky. In the past you've driven well here. What is it about this that suits your driving style?
ED CARPENTER: It's just a racy track, very wide, generally the top groove is always good here. Like Tony said, this year especially, you know, it was definitely a smoother racetrack than it was last year. The second groove was a lot easier to negotiate. I don't know, it's just a fun racetrack. I've been finishing better here every single year. I can't wait to come back next year.
THE MODERATOR: Ed, T.K., thank you very much.
We're now joined by race winner Ryan Briscoe. His second win of 2009. Fourth IndyCar Series victory in his 48th start.
Ryan, what a finish. Maybe take us through the last 10 or 11 laps.
RYAN BRISCOE: Or 20, 30 (laughter). It was great. You know, I don't know how on cold pressure I found myself skipping up the track, getting myself into a bit of trouble early in that stint in three and four. I had to come sort of back through the field and had a really good car I would pass with. I worked my way up to second place about 19 to go.
At that point Roger (Penske) said, "Use your 'push to pass' every lap from here, let's see what you got." I went for the high line. It looked like, when I'd been following Ed, didn't look like he could hold the low line as well through one and two. I thought that my best option was going to be to go to the outside of him, see what I got.
He surprised me. He was actually really good. He could run it low. He held it low until about five to go, I think. Then it started getting pretty racy to the finish.
But it was exciting. He did a great job. I was trying to time my pressing of the button so I'd get a good push through (Turns) 3 and 4, a run down to the start/finish line. The way the timing of it works, you get 12 seconds of power, then you have to wait 10 seconds until you can use it again.
Basically you're using it once a lap. I found where I thought it was going to help me most, as far as leading laps. Yeah, Roger just told me, "Keep doing what you're doing. You're better off of (Turn) 4." That's where we need to be good. It was just close. I was thinking, I don't need to touch wheels with Ed Carpenter here. Started getting closer and closer.
I don't know if I've ever been so excited crossing a finish line. It was very hard-fought out there. Big win for me.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.
Q: It seems your two wins this year, you've been the heartbreaker for Vision Racing.
RYAN BRISCOE: Sorry about that (laughter).
Q: You had that battle at St. Pete, now you deny Ed Carpenter a victory. If you're racing a Vision car, it's going to end up being a victory for you?
RYAN BRISCOE: We're not going to give it to them. You know, that win is important as far as points go. You get very well-rewarded with this points system for getting a win. At least 10 more over a second-place car. It means a lot to win races here.
I don't care who it is, I want to get that win. It's been a while coming. I haven't had an oval win since Milwaukee last year. We've been leading laps. We've been running at the front; just haven't been able to get the job done.
This was important for me and the whole team I think moving forward.
Q: When you brushed the wall coming out of four, was there any thoughts the race was over for you at that point?
RYAN BRISCOE: No. No. Did I hit the wall? I was close. I think I may have just missed the wall. It was pretty scary. I saw that wall coming at me quick. It doesn't take much, you bend the suspension and the day's over. I've got to thank whatever that I was able to catch it before going up there. I knew why it happened. On low pressure, on the high groove, the car just bottomed out and skipped me up the track. I knew what to do to avoid that. Once I figured it out, I was able to start working on where my car was best. Straightaway I felt that there was no damage. The tires were clean, not cut. I just put that behind me and worked on not letting it happen again.
Q: To clarify, you had one 'push' left on the last lap, correct?
RYAN BRISCOE: You tell me (laughter). I was just hitting that button. I know with 19 laps to go I had 17. You can use about one per lap. I had been pushing it on the front straight. I skipped a lap. I didn't use it for a lap. I started using it on the back straight. I knew I could keep using it every lap until the finish. So I knew it was going to be close.
Q: You started on the backstretch, that's where you start the push?
RYAN BRISCOE: Yes.
Q: Are you surprised some of your team members went to Ed's pit before coming to Victory Lane?
RYAN BRISCOE: That's great. It's a big day for Vision, Ed Carpenter. That's great to see. I think in this series, the Indy Racing League, there's a lot of camaraderie between teams. It's always great to see these teams doing a good job out there. Also from my part, a big congrats to the whole team.
Q: With the aero changes they made in the car, did it make it easier to run side-by-side or get by somebody? Everybody didn't use the same options. Did you feel it was an easier car to drive?
RYAN BRISCOE: Wasn't easy out there. It allowed us probably to be more aggressive. So the racing was a bit closer. But we still got turbulent air. I think we could get closer before it really affected our car so much. I think up until now, we've sort of been getting within two or three car lengths, and it starts really making the car loose. You got to get out of the throttle. Today we could run down under people, get aggressive. I think that's what made the racing better.
Aero packages, you know, the tires were great tonight, the 'push to pass', I don't think you can put your finger on one thing that made it good tonight. I think it's always going to be a package deal. The track was in good condition. Thankfully we got these weepers dried up. I know they ground the track since the Nationwide race this year. I heard it was pretty bad. We were pleasantly surprised when we got out on the track tonight.
Q: You were talking about a good points night. If my math is right, you have a pretty good points position. You're coming up to your strength of the season with a couple of natural road courses. Talk about that, please.
RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, geez, it's been one of those years. No one can hold on to the points lead. We're not going to get too content yet. Someone told me it's eight points over second. It's so close. It's the difference between a first and second. So it's close.
As far as the tracks we're going to right now, I think we'll be strong at the road courses. But (Scott) Dixon, (Dario) Franchitti, they'll be strong there, too. We just got to try to keep finishing in front of those guys, keep our heads down, keep working hard. We have five to go. We just got to keep pushing forward.
Q: You had such a tight battle with Dixon the first half of the race. Were you surprised he sort of faded back?
RYAN BRISCOE: I was a little bit. It looked like he struggled in traffic a little bit. I don't know if he was maybe a bit more trimmed out. He might have been lacking a little bit of downforce tonight. He was very strong out in front. But we had a great dice, as well. I was sort of sitting behind him, saving fuel. As we got close to the pit windows, I turned it up a little bit to try to pressure him. I think we got in front of him before the first pit stop. The second pit stop we saved a bit more fuel, and he pitted while we were side-by-side. We were able to get out in front of him.
But, you know, I did think it was gonna be Scott and I down to the wire tonight. Then that yellow came out. Looked like both of us had a bit of trouble on the restart. Ed got out in front. Will was up there, as well, on the lighter fuel load. Helio (Castroneves) and T.K. and (Graham) Rahal, (Mario) Moraes were all there. It was a lot of fun. There were a lot of different racing lines and multiple grooves. Some worked on the low line, some worked better on the high line. You had to approach each competitor out there a little bit differently. It was a fun challenge.
THE MODERATOR: Ryan, thank you very much. Congratulations.