Mid-Ohio: Post-race press conference

An Interview with Dario Franchitti - Winner Will Power - 2nd place Helio Castroneves - 3rd place Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010 - Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course THE MODERATOR: We'll get started here with Will Power. Will finished second. His sixth podium...

An Interview with
Dario Franchitti - Winner
Will Power - 2nd place
Helio Castroneves - 3rd place

Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010 - Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

THE MODERATOR: We'll get started here with Will Power. Will finished second. His sixth podium finish of the 2010 season.

A few other notes on Will. Today's race was his fifth consecutive top-five finish and also his seventh consecutive race leading laps.

Will, talk about the race and the Mario Andretti Trophy.

WILL POWER: It's a real honor to wrap up the road course championship and the Mario Andretti Trophy. We got our sights set on winning the overall championship. That's what I've been aiming for all year.

I mean, can't have Dario (Franchitti) beating us if we're going to do that. Got to stay out of the pits there and it's tough to get by at the end.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions for Will.

Q: (Question about Milka Duno in Turn 11.)

WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, she was hard to predict what she's going to do. Luckily I got by her.

Dario got by and got a good gap right then. That sort of ruined any chance of passing him in the pits during the pit stop. Yeah, don't know what else to say (laughter).

Q: (Question about the size of the pit boxes.)

WILL POWER: Yeah, it wasn't a problem for me because I was -- it was I guess getting into the pit box. Yeah, it was tight for everyone, I'm sure. Some people had some troubles in pit lane when we all pitted under yellow.

It's great for the series we've got so many cars. It's a good problem to have when you can't fit the cars into pit lane. It just shows that IndyCar is growing. I heard that there will be probably 29 cars at some of the oval races coming up. How long has it been since you've seen that car count? That's really great.

Q: Talk about the first pit stop, pit exit.

WILL POWER: Yeah, Dario, he just got out before us. I mean, that was it. I couldn't do anything about it. Obviously those guys did a really good stop. Initially I thought they might have short-filled some. I'm not sure. He pitted on the same lap after that.

Q: Looked like three cars.

WILL POWER: Yeah.

Q: Why was there no passing?

WILL POWER: You just can't get a run enough. I was quicker than Dario for sure at the end, but you just can't get a run. There's not a long enough straight.

Let's say if that straight down the back was half as long again, I would have passed him. Yeah, you can't pass.

Q: Is it one of those things where they need to make a mistake?

WILL POWER: I was trying really hard at the end to make him make a mistake, letting him see me in his mirrors, letting him know if he made one little slip-up, I'm going to get him. That was the only way I was going to get by.

THE MODERATOR: Helio Castroneves finished third. If you could talk about the race and the contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay on pit road.

HELIO CASTRONEVES: We started at the beginning, kind of a good start. It was very difficult for me. My car was pushing quite a lot at the beginning. I just fell back a little bit and started saving quite a lot of fuel. The team kind of warned me I was losing more time, so it's better to come back again. I was kind of surprised that the car was responding exactly what I was asking for.

When the yellow came, we all pitted. We had a great pit stop. We get out a little bit ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay, but he also was moving. I believe he was avoiding people in front of him. But I was already kind of like on the side. I don't think the team was warning him I was there. It's a very tight pit.

I was very surprised, I thought my race was over right there. But somehow it made my car better (laughter). I think it bent a little bit -- not bent, but knocked off a little bit the tow on the left rear because I kind of like between the wall and his car. From there on, it was great.

Different strategy. I was behind Will. I was able to pass Ryan. Obviously I'm on probation so I have to behave myself. But certainly this guy here, I was more kind of like, you know, waiting there. I didn't want to do anything silly. Certainly he's in a much better chance in the championship. That's the way I was thinking.

Through the rest of the race, I was just kind of right there. Towards the end, I decided to back off and see if I could push a little bit, focus a little bit on the guy in front. It seem to be work. Certainly the red tires were getting better and better towards the end. Those guys, I just decided to manage the third place and finish third.

THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions for Will and Helio.

Q: At what point in the season do you start thinking if it remains like this, I got to finish ahead of Dario?

WILL POWER: Yeah, it's already become that. It's sort of looking like it might be the two of us, but things change pretty quick. I mean, at the moment I really need to finish ahead of Dario every week. We just can't afford to let him get that points jump. I think it's going to be real tight all the way to the end.

Q: Helio, talk about the sequence with Milka, what Will did to avoid her as well.

HELIO CASTRONEVES: As soon as we were approaching her, we knew we might lose a little time. It was a quick thinking from (Tim) Cindric because we all three were together. So we were able to pit.

But unfortunately they were able to overtake her. I probably would have ended up being in a very bad situation because I wouldn't be able to go around her on that spot.

It was a great call from Cindric to pit right away. I believe the window was perfect. It was great. We were able to go back in front of (Alex) Tagliani but not in front of Will. But we were able to catch up with them towards the end.

It was just a quick reaction which turned out to be not bad.

Q: Could you talk about how difficult it is to pass here and where you can do it.

WILL POWER: Yeah, for me, I had no doubt that I was quicker than Dario at the end. I was trying to get runs on him. Just wasn't a quite long enough straight to get up beside him to pass him. Yeah, I put the pressure on.

I mean, it's like that here. It's like that in Sonoma. Yeah, it's hard to find places to pass. You have cars that are so evenly matched and drivers that are so evenly matched, I had to rely on him to make a mistake to get by.

HELIO CASTRONEVES: Very much the same. The cars and the teams are so competitive that you see on the lap times, on the qualifying, we're talking about one second every 20 cars. It just shows out there one second, it's difficult already to overtake. When you have all the guys running on the same pace, it's extremely hard.

It's the nature of the track. He (Will) was trying to make Dario make a mistake. He's probably the oldest one here. It's difficult to teach, what is it, to teach an old dog a new trick (laughter).

Q: Was there a point when you were in traffic that you were aware of your line? Did you do anything out of character than you normally would have done because of what happened?

HELIO CASTRONEVES: No, not really. I was going very aggressive, as much as I could. If I have an opportunity, I want to make it. Certainly between Will and I, I was just being sensible, just trying to make sure that I didn't make anything bad, especially when the guy has so much lead on the championship.

I could push, but I have to be a little more caution than aggressive. But other than that, I was back there with all the guys. I was driving the same way I was.

Q: Will, were you affected at all by the practice crash yesterday?

WILL POWER: No, not at all. Crew does such a good job of getting the backup car exactly the same. Mentally I was fine, too. In fact, my strongest part of the track was turn one. That's where I pulled in on Dario a lot. It wasn't a problem.

THE MODERATOR: We'll wrap-up with Helio and Will. Congratulations.

Congratulations, Dario. Today's race was Dario's 25th Indy car race win (combining IZOD IndyCar Series and Champ Car) ,which now ties him with Gordon Johncock as 12th on the all-time race win list. Also it's a pretty big win for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, providing team owner Chip Ganassi his third win of the weekend. If you could talk about today's race and especially these three wins for Chip.

DARIO FRANCHITTI: Quite a lot of things running through my head right now, getting to that quarter century, doing it here at Mid-Ohio, a place I found almost every way to lose a race. 12 years ago it was my first pole here. It's very satisfying.

I think the key to the race, obviously the Target car was very fast. I drove every lap like it was a qualifying lap today, whether I was behind Will or ahead of Will. But the key was that first pit stop by the Target boys to get me out ahead, especially a 35-foot pit box. It's the tightest we run. In practice, we couldn't get the thing out of the box with Will parked in his or get it in properly. But when the race win was on the line, it didn't seem quite as difficult and managed to pass him. I think that was the key today, because we were incredibly evenly matched on the track.

As far as Chip winning three races, I watched the Grand-Am race and watched the great job that Scott (Pruett) and Memo (Rojas) did. Before I got ready today, I was watching the Cup race. Juan (Montoya) was leading. Coming up to one of the restarts, literally I think I was running third behind Tags (Alex Tagliani) and T.K. (Tony Kanaan), just about to go green, they came than and said, Montoya just won at the Glen, so it's up to you now. I thought, Oh, God, no pressure now.

That's incredible for Chip and the teams to dominate like that. I think it says a lot about the job that Chip does, the people he puts in place, the partners he has. He works so bloody hard at it, it's nice to see him get this kind of success.

Q: Take us through the in-and-outs in the pits.

DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah. Well, the in was critical to sit close to Will coming in. But then as I approached my box, I couldn't really see because Scottie's (Scott Dixon) guys were set up, too. I couldn't see the entry to my box. I had to back up and slow the entry down to make sure I got the car parked where it needed to be.

I'm sitting there, they're doing the tires, the fuel. As they drop the car, Kevin (O'Donnell) starts to wave me, I can see Will is still in his box. I thought, This is going to be tough. I did the things in the car I know to do to get the car swinging round. I got it swinging to the left, cleared Will. I could see him moving, too. For whatever reason, I had better traction and was able to pass him by, geez, I don't know, a foot, foot and a half, was getting damn close to the grass.

It's funny, these races sometimes come down to those small moments.

Q: (Question on Takuma Sato's pass.)

DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, I made a fairly bad start today. The guys on the inside - Will, Takuma(Sato) - passed me. I was a good bit quicker. I was trying to size him up and I managed to get him in turn four, got a good run out of him on turn two and passed him on turn four, then could concentrate on catching Will and working on my fuel mileage a little bit more to try to stretch that first window.

Q: Do you feel you have to finish one spot ahead of Will?

DARIO FRANCHITTI: You can only do your best. We all want to win the championship. Team Target, we want to win the championship. The only way we know how to do that is to do our best. If we can get it all together and we can start winning races, it's going to make our job a lot easier.

We've got to put pressure on Will. The last sort of Watkins Glen, Toronto, Edmonton, we finished on the podium every time, but Will was always a place ahead. That wasn't in our plan, wasn't helping us win the championship.

Then we look back at Iowa when we were leading the race and had that gearbox failure. You know, we're still a fair bit behind, but it's definitely doable. We'll keep fighting.

Q: (No microphone.)

DARIO FRANCHITTI: Not that bad. One point on the track I was worried about. I was able to gap him every time. I was quite happy. I was driving pretty much as quickly as I knew how, not leaving much of a margin. But the gap was quite comfortable. I mean, it would have been a lot nicer if that last yellow hadn't come out. But I just kept my head down.

Q: (Question about his history at Mid-Ohio.)

DARIO FRANCHITTI: It's a track I've enjoyed driving. It's a track I've been quick on. Gil de Ferran and I still have the outright lap record from quite a few years ago. It's nice when it finally all comes together, have days like today.

Q: You had some heartbreak and close calls here.

DARIO FRANCHITTI: We've had quick cars here, but it takes so many different factors to win any race. There can be no mistakes. You know, you go back to 1999. We were leading the race by a very large margin and got a slow puncture. Can be something as simple as that. In '07, Scott and I were fighting it out. We thought we'd go a lap longer than him on fuel, gap him, win the race. We caught traffic on that in lap, Scottie won the race. It's all these little things and it takes them all to go right to win the race.

Q: Were you aware of Alex Tagliani?

DARIO FRANCHITTI: I knew Tags was on a different strategy, and so was Tony. When they were up front, they were pretty quick. It was fun to be up there with Tony and racing with him. Kind of thought what might have been had qualifying gone a bit more his way this weekend.

It's always fun to be up front there with T.K.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations. We'll see you in Sonoma.

DARIO FRANCHITTI: Thank you, everybody.

-source: irl

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Milka Duno , Takuma Sato , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Alex Tagliani , Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Tony Kanaan , Mario Andretti , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Chip Ganassi , Gordon Johncock , Will Power
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing