Watkins Glen: Post-race press conference, part 2

Continued from part 1 Q: What does it do for you when you're in the points position you're in? RYAN BRISCOE: mean it might have been a small one, but it's so early in the championship that there's a lot of stuff that's going to still ...

Continued from part 1

Q: What does it do for you when you're in the points position you're in?

RYAN BRISCOE: mean it might have been a small one, but it's so early in the championship that there's a lot of stuff that's going to still happen.

It definitely keeps things close, that's for sure. All of us are sort of looking at the championship so far and saying, "Man, if that didn't happen here if that didn't happen there, I could have had a big lead in the championship at the moment." But it is very close. Scott's got a bit of a lead at the moment. But it's pretty small for where we are in the championship.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much for your time. Congratulations on your performances today. And good luck in Toronto next week.

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by our winner of the Camping World Grand Prix, Justin Wilson, and his car owner, Dale Coyne. This is the second career IndyCar Series victory, first victory of the season for Justin Wilson. His other victory in the series came inned 2008 event at Bell Isle, Detroit, Michigan with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing. The first career victory for open wheel racing for team owner Dale Coyne. And we settled that 558 is the number of entries that it took to get victory number one.

DALE COYNE: How many?

THE MODERATOR: Well, 558, like the stock market ticker, it may change before we leave.

DALE COYNE: That didn't take long, did it (laughing).

THE MODERATOR: Justin started second, which continues the streak of the pole winner never having won this event. And, Justin, we were discussing about yesterday and one of the items of discussion was you've had an extra set of Reds left due to the circumstances of qualifying. Did that play a large role in your strategy for today?

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I think so. When the optional Firestones were working so well that we were able to just run them throughout the whole stint. They didn't really go off. They didn't degrade. So we knew that we could do two full stints on them without any problem.

They were fantastic. A little bit more grip, and a little bit more confidence. I mean, it was a nice feeling to have those underneath me. Especially on that last stint where we were trying to save fuel, and still trying to get the mileage to go to the end.

I knew that Ryan didn't have them and I did. And as soon as that yellow came out, we didn't need to save fuel again, we could run flat out to the end. And also, the option tires seemed to be coming in a little bit quicker. It heats up faster, so I was able to open up a nice gap, and make my life a lot easier the last five laps.

Q: You probably noticed that our top three finishers, our three podium finishers are all from one point or another of the British Commonwealth. And I can assure you that our winning car owner Dale Coyne is from Chicago, Illinois, which has not been under the jurisdiction of the crown for quite a while. Dale, when you were hauling around that stock block Chevy in the mid '80s, did you ever think this day would arrive?


THE MODERATOR: But not with the stock block Chevy.


THE MODERATOR: What does it mean to you after all those years to be sitting here as a winning car owner?

DALE COYNE: It's funny. You think back at the things you do. I remember being here in '78, and in the Super Vee and in the trailer helping Geoff Brabham. He was changing gears on his Super Vee. I had a Super Vee, I think. Bob (Lazier) was there, Father Bob was there. He won the race that weekend and that was a long time ago.

It's all the things you do, you know. You have a passion for this, and you love it, and you keep fighting and going forward. When we have lean years or bad years and don't have a sponsor, and it just makes you try harder, and I think that's paid off.

The last few years we've tried to do a better job with what we've put together. We've put some top quality drivers in from Mario to Cristiano (da Matta) to Bruno (Junqueira). Can't thank Bruno enough. He's helped us a lot of the last couple of years.

This year, Justin became available. Some higher quality engineering staff became available. And the wife and I talked about it. It was a financial commitment to do it, but we did it and said we're going to make this thing work. We're going to try to win this thing. And win the race and keep moving forward from here.

So we worked hard to pull all the pieces together, but that's because we have a passion for the sport. And that goes back to '78 in a trailer to today. So we're very happy to be here.

THE MODERATOR: By the way, Dale was talking about the late '70s, if you look at the video screens there, advertising records by people like the birds.

DALE COYNE: Probably I could name every one of those groups that are up there.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for either Justin Wilson or Dale Coyne.

Q: You were very competitive at St. Pete. And, you know, also in some respects at Long Beach. You know, this whole month's going to be road and street course racing. So how big a factor do you think you'll be at Toronto and Edmonton?

JUSTIN WILSON: We hope a lot. You know, that's the way we've kind of looked at the season. The start of the year we said, okay, with the limited testing you're allowed in IndyCar, obviously for budget reasons, we've said let's focus on the road courses.

And we tested at Sebring for a couple of days. And we tested here two, three weeks ago. And it's paid off. Putting those miles in on the road courses. Working on the set-up and getting closer.

So when we hit the track yesterday morning, it was very close. We didn't really need to do a lot. Just a couple of small changes and we're there on the pace or very close to it.

So that's what it's all about it's that preparation before you get to the racetrack. So I'm hoping that's also going to translate to Toronto and Edmonton and then the rest of the road courses after that.

DALE COYNE: That was kind of a goal this year. We knew how exceptional he was as a road course driver. But we know that the top teams are pretty good on the oval. So our goal this year was to try to podium on the road courses and finish in the top-10 on the ovals.

You know, we had a win in our grasp at St. Pete and let it slip away and had a podium in our grasp in Long Beach. And here we are, we've got a win already. So we're very encouraged about that.

Very encouraged about the engineering staff and the team, and we've worked hard on pit stops. We lacked on pit stops the first couple of races and we're much, much better at that today than we were then, because you have to be, it's so competitive.

We just, we really look forward to the next few road courses. And we're excited that next year's schedule is 50-50 road courses. So to be vain about it, it's what we like. There are some great ovals, and we look forward to those next year as well. But the rest of the season, the next six-week stretch will be good.

JUSTIN WILSON: We're slowly picking things up, and we know where the next improvement's going to come from. It's a matter of being patient and making those steps one at a time, rather than trying to do everything at once.

I've seen and been with teams that tried to do everything before the first weekend and it's a disaster. So it's one step at a time; one foot in front of the other. We'll keep learning, improving.

I said out there that the only thing that's going to taste sweeter than this win today is our first win on an oval. And that's what we'll work towards and we'll get there.

Q: You won in Toronto in 2005, what can you talk to the engineers that will help them between now and Friday get ready for Toronto?

JUSTIN WILSON: Well, I think we've got an idea what the car wants on the setup and things to look for. Whether it's damping or swings, roll bars, all that kind of thing. I've got an idea of what works and what doesn't. But it's all a matter of how that translates to this car.

You can be very close and still a long way off. So it's the fine details that make a difference. You know, we tested things here and I said, well, it didn't really work here, but that's a tool to keep in our pocket for Toronto or Edmonton, whichever.

You know, it's knowing what those tracks are going to take, and I think we've got an understanding. You know, sometimes you just need to unload fast and that first run you hit the track on Friday at Toronto you'll know whether you're really close or you have a few changes to make.

Q: Take us through that pass on Lap 5 that you did at Briscoe?

JUSTIN WILSON: I was all over Ryan on Lap 1. And I got a great run on him going up the hill. And the normal line is to drift out to the outside. But Ryan didn't do that. And we got such a lecture at the drivers' meeting about not swaying from the standard driving line.

So I was a little frustrated because I was all the way to the right. I couldn't make that. I had to lift. And I went back to the left and Ryan was sort of middle.

Same happened on the second lap, and we got a couple of laps of yellow there. And I said to the team as we crossed the start/finish, "Is it green yet?" They came on the radio and said, "Yes, it is green." So I said, "OK, here we go."

So I got a good run again, great up the hill. And just managed to wait long enough to pull out and get to the inside of Ryan before we got to the breaks.

Q: Dale, you were standing there, the laps were winding down, did it go through your head what's going to go wrong this time? After so many disappointments over the years?

DALE COYNE: Of course (laughing). You never know what's going to happen. Is something going to break on the car? Or is something going to break up there? You never know what's going to happen in the end. But it all worked well (laughing).

I wasn't nervous all day. I wasn't even nervous on the restart. But the last two or three laps, I got a little bit nervous. What could go wrong this time.

We were so close in the past, even years ago at Fontana. Australia, we were really close to win and should have had wins. Fastest car of the day and earned them. But this time we got it, and we're very happy to go to Formula 1 style again. That was a last minute thought so a little more tradition here at Watkins Glen.

Q: All the years that you've been doing this, do you feel that you still as a former driver can put input in and help your driver with various things that I know a lot of guys say it's got four wheels. You still have to drive the car a certain way. So does it make you feel good when something like this comes along?

DALE COYNE: Not with this guy. No, what's important and what I offer is listening to a driver and relating to the engineers, you know, what he's thinking.

When he relays something, especially this guy, he's too polite. So they make a change, well, I think that's OK. That means it's no good. As a driver, you have to listen and say, I would probably be more blunt, but he's too polite.

So I think it really helps that way between the communication between the driver and engineers. So you kind of understand whether it's a 1, 5 or 10 scale how his answer is.

JUSTIN WILSON: Actually, Dale's commentary when we sat there in between sessions or in between runs is fantastic. It's comical and great to listen to. Unfortunately you guys miss out on that, but I'm in the car laughing away. It's great fun.

Q: Obviously you've struggled a little bit with ovals. Do you feel with this team and the way you're making a move and starting to look from here that ovals will come fairly quickly?

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I mean, I hope that they'll come very quickly. But we also know we have to be patient. It's one step at a time, like I said earlier. We've got pieces that we're putting together, whether it's parts of the car or personnel that are joining us and just building up our armor so we don't have any gaps.

You know, it just takes time on the ovals. When the speeds are that high, the smallest thing makes a big difference.

So it felt good at Richmond. The car was great. And unfortunately we were further down in the order. It's virtually impossible to overtake, so it meant for a long evening. So, you know, I'm sure that's going to keep improving.

Every oval we've gone to we've gotten better and better and better. So I'm confident that's going to continue on that trend. If we get to test before the end of the year, I think that will help us improve a lot. And we'll work on that in the off-season.

Continued in part 3

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Justin Wilson , Dale Coyne