Japan Indy 300 Sunday Press Conference
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with today's post race press conference. We are joined by third place finisher Will Power who now leads Dario Franchitti by 12 points in the championship chase as we head into Homestead. Today was Will's first race here.
WILL POWER: Yeah, it was a tough race, because we lost a lot of positions. It was good in the end for us ‑‑ backed off, got back into a positions. So overall in the race the guys in the pits did a great job, fantastic, and it was great to get back out. And of course, leading Dario, going into the last race, that was great for us ‑‑ inaudible.
THE MODERATOR: Talk about the opportunity to hopefully at Homestead to finish ahead of Dario which you haven't done this year on an oval.
WILL POWER: Yeah, on the oval ‑‑ didn't finish it there, but definitely came close and really want to finish ahead of him (chuckling).
Q. Explain that caution coming out, did you hear what he said or something ahead that you thought ‑‑
WILL POWER: I think something ahead, I thought something happened, it was yellow. And so something did happen, I backed off because turn two ‑‑ with the yellow, yeah, lost positions there, but the whole team did such a good job in the pits to get back to where we were.
Q. Is it kind of tough bringing in something out of your control and staying in control of something that's out of your control?
WILL POWER: Yeah, you know, over the whole season, you have good and bad races and this is a good race for us, best ever on an oval. We had a great car, we just caught some traffic. Yeah, Dario is just ‑‑ after a 12‑point lead, so great for the championship looking forward to a tough run at Homestead.
Q. Are you going to be able to ‑‑ at Homestead, is there something in particular you are worried about?
WILL POWER: I'll be working hard on the race car, yeah, I don't know that track that well, I haven't raced there, so I am hoping we get there and it's not racing or something like that, we really need to get our cars there, otherwise it will be Dario's advantage.
Q. Does not being here before ‑‑
WILL POWER: It was really hard, but in IndyCar many tracks you go to including Homestead, are still for NASCAR, so it's great, because you're a driver and it's very enjoyable, not just flat‑out.
WILL POWER: Yeah, it's a great place. I think needs to do something more for passing but yeah it's a good track. You can really drive around here.
THE MODERATOR: Will, congratulations on the podium here today and we'll see you in Miami.
We are now joined by our second place finisher Dario Franchitti of Target Chip Ganassi Racing. You've finished second here in 200 and 2009, and the second‑place finish ‑‑ and second in the overall championship. Talk about how it was to finish behind Will.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, it was an interesting race. It's a good track, it always produces pretty good racing, especially on the starts and restarts. Ryan and I, we couldn't go very fast today, have to work on the restarts, but a bit quicker after that. But very interesting times throughout turns three and four, so that was pretty exciting. To me it was great because the car ‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ that's part of the fun of doing that.
It was a good race. Managed to get up to second and it was clearly very, very quick. After the yellow, we were running ninth or tenth, pretty nice spread, so see if we can make it up but it just wasn't possible.
Driving we had to manage the tires a little bit and ‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ the yellow, was back, so I'm happy. I know the Target Ganassi guys did a good job, and only one small mistake in the set up cost us some lap time, but it's all to play for in Homestead.
THE MODERATOR: Right now you are second in the overall championship, but your thoughts, especially someone who appreciates the history of the sport, winning the inaugural A.J. Foyt Oval Championship.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yes, proud of that. It's great to share with my team and especially named for A.J. and for Mario Andretti, two great champions to name trophies after.
Q. You talked about managing the tires; could you describe a little bit more how you do that?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Just the balance of the car. The tires works very, very well but if the car goes out of balance, it can cost you lap times. So you just try to get the car as close to balance as you can, and I was just working with that and trying not to use abuse the tires or get the car out of balance, so that was a challenge. On the back part that was pretty interesting, through turns three and four, the one place in the track you can't ‑‑ inaudible ‑‑ not quite sure if could have gone anyway. But that was probably the hardest part.
And it's funny, this track, turns three and four, you're trying to make it as perfect as you possibly can to potentially get the perfect lane and get back into the race spot and balance the car, and from there, you're just focused on making it right. That's the key to this track.
Q. Will Power had never raced before and got a third place finish; what do you think of that?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I thought he did a good job today.
Q. But it's a tough track, guy comes here first time out, what was it like your first time out?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: What was it like it? I came here in 1997, first time I ever drove here and tested when the track first opened.
Q. As far as Ryan, how big of a relief was it to pass him tonight?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It would have been nice if he was more (laughing). Wow, just keep the position and that was key today. Ryan and I have had some really, really close battles and it was a lot of fun.
Q. Will's never actually raced at Homestead, and you have experience there; how confident are you?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I don't think it will matter. I think he will get up to speed very quickly. Last year was the first time I had been there in IZOD IndyCar, and you just get out there and get the pace quickly, and just like here, no reason why he can't do it at Homestead. We just have to make sure we beat him.
Q. 12 points, does that make you feel better going into this?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Just got one team in front of us to jump, and we are going to try and get ahead in the race.
Q. You have big advantage with power at Homestead?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think we already answered that.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Just testing there, tomorrow, actually, we are testing there. So hopefully have the answers then.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and wrap things up with Dario, congratulations.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Still showed a great performance today, finished third and it's going to be a great battle. So anything you can do to win the championship for Team Penske, we are going to do it.
Q. Going into the championship at Homestead, and there's going to be testing in about a week you said, what is your experience as a driver ‑‑ is there anything ‑‑
HELIO CASTRONEVES: He's going to be very nervous, knowing myself, but Will has an incredible talent as we see on the road course, so he will be fast so we don't need to keep ‑‑ he runs very quick.
Q. Do you change when you do stops, do you do any changes in the cars?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: No. Just minor things, things inside the car and I was very comfortable with the car today.
Q. Do you feel like ‑‑
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, for next year, and I certainly feel that next year will be a goal for the team, it was a great ‑‑ the entire team putting into the are car was tremendous. So we still have a job to be done to win the championship for Team Penske.
Q. Please explain your feeling of being second time with the fans out here.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Thank you so much and I can't wait to come back next year.
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