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After Fontana
Final Driver Standings

Rank Driver Points
1 Will Power 671
2 Helio Castroneves 609
3 Scott Dixon 604
4 Juan Pablo Montoya 586
5 Simon Pagenaud 565
6 Ryan Hunter-Reay 563
7 Tony Kanaan 544
8 Carlos Munoz 483
9 Marco Andretti 463
10 Sebastien Bourdais 461
11 Ryan Briscoe 461
12 James Hinchcliffe 456
13 Josef Newgarden 406
14 Charlie Kimball 402
15 Justin Wilson 395
16 Mikhail Aleshin 372
17 Jack Hawksworth 366
18 Takuma Sato 350
19 Graham Rahal 345
20 Carlos Huertas 314
21 Sebastian Saavedra 291
22 Ed Carpenter 262
23 Mike Conway 252
24 Oriol Servia 88
25 Kurt Busch 80
26 J.R. Hildebrand 66
27 Sage Karam 57
28 Luca Filippi 46
29 James Davison 34
30 Jacques Villeneuve 29
31 Alex Tagliani 28
32 Townsend Bell 22
33 Pippa Mann 21
34 Martin Plowman 18
35 Buddy Lazier 11
36 Franck Montagny 8
Edmonton Indy: Sunday Press Conference

IndyCar
Sunday, July 22, 2012

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(L to R) Sato,  Castroneves and Power
DRIVERS:

1 - Helio Castroneves (Penske Chevy)
2 - Takuma Sato (Rahal Honda)
3 - Will Power (Penske Chevy)

THE MODERATOR:  We'll go ahead and get started with today's post race press conference.  We're pleased to be joined by our second- and third-place finishers, Takuma Sato and Will Power. 

Will, clearly you were one of the bigger movers in today's race, coming from 17th to finish on the podium.  Talk about how you got up there. 

WILL POWER:  Yeah, I mean, we made the choice to use the harder compound black tires in the first stint.  Few guys sprinkled in there with the softer compound.  Thought we'd mix things up.  Made good ground in the first stint and were able to save fuel and go a few laps longer than everyone.  During the pit stop sequence we jumped them. 

Similar in the second stint, made places on the track and in the pits. 

Again, for the third stint, came out and were able to pass people up to third. 

Just good strategy, good racing.  It was a good car we had.  Good day all around.  If I thought that the race would go fully green starting 17th, I would have taken third any day. 

THE MODERATOR:  Takuma, a strong finish with you with your second podium of the year.  Talk about the great battle with Helio at the end. 

TAKUMA SATO:  In the end, I really enjoyed it.  I should have enjoyed it a little bit more if I could overtake.  We were not quite yet there. 

He did a great job, no mistake at all.  I could see our tires start to depredate [sic] a little bit.  That's part of racing.  I knew he had a little bit longer sequence of the 'push to pass'. 

I used it bit by bit, but also he reacting all the time and the last few laps he use everything.  Was very difficult to catch it. 

Once we were very close, but not enough close to make a maneuver. 

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

Q. (No microphone.)

WILL POWER:  Yeah, definitely.  Considering it was all green.  There's no such thing as a lucky yellow or restart, gaining on restarts.  Those are the sort of days you love.  We don't get them very often in IndyCar to be full green on tracks that you can pass. 

Yeah, very happy.  Would have been much more happy if I could have at least caught up to these guys and had a battle.  But they were running fast.  I could see them battling.  I was hoping they would come together (laughter). 

But great day anyway. 

Q. (No microphone.)

WILL POWER:  Yeah, he's stronger than ever this year.  He's been really consistent on days that he can't win.  When he can win, he absolutely executes.  He's strong, Hunter-Reay is strong.  I thought Dixon might be there in the mix.  I don't know where he ended up. 

Man, it's going to be a fight to the very end.  Yeah, Helio is definitely doing a good job.  He's going to be tough to beat. 

Q. Do you think a lot of people going into the season might have overlooked him as a legitimate championship threat?

WILL POWER:  Yeah, considering the year he had last year, I think people probably did.  He was a bit erratic.  He's had a few incidents.  He's had an all-around bad year. 

If you go back a couple years, you understand he's always a guy in contention for a championship.  To me it's not a surprise.  He's definitely worked on driving details, adopted some of what I do, and I take some of what he does.  So collectively we're faster. 

What I was impressed with this year, he actually switched to be a left-foot braker, which might have helped him actually.  That's pretty impressive because that's hard to do. 

Q. Takuma, you started on the pole here last year.  Frustrating for you? 

TAKUMA SATO:  You could argue there was a little bit disappointed, the winning was just there, very close by.  We tried.  We challenged.  We attacked.  You know, it didn't outcome like that. 

It's okay.  We take a second place, especially after the Indy 500.  Indeed, we had a difficult race that we needed a good result.  And today was the day. 

In practice we weren't necessarily happy with all the balance and speed-wise.  Yesterday was a little bit lucky by weather, so we were up for the very fast group.  That was a very, very lucky situation. 

This morning we back to where we are.  But we try all the details working, and obviously car improved, so we made progress.  I'm very, very happy. 

Especially at the beginning when Tagliani led the race, Dario, I overtook him.  I made a few good places.  In the end, yes, Helio and Penske was strong.  One stage, when he come by, me and Tag coming out of the pit together, we was all three cars together in one second.  That was very exciting.  Shame we couldn't catch him up.  But nevertheless it was a great result. 

Q. Will, talk about the physicality of this event. 

WILL POWER:  It wasn't actually because you have three long straights to recover on.  The old track you never, ever stopped turning so it was much more physical. 

To me, this car, no question, is easier to drive.  It has a lot of grip.  It's too easy to drive.  You can tell, because there is no yellows, there is no mistakes.  I would love another 200 horsepower or so, a bit less downforce, tires that go off more. 

All in all, at the end of the day, what an easy car to drive.  It compresses the field.  You have to find small details of speed, so it does make things more competitive. 

Q. (No microphone.)

WILL POWER:  I don't know whether it's a setup philosophy.  You know, it's hard to say.  I would say in the past it actually was.  I would say we actually had a pretty good setup here.  You know, this is a very different track.  We still came here and won last year, won this year, too. 

Some places just click for you.  Some, every single time you go there, you get punished.  But this one is a good one for me and the team. 

Q. Takuma, how emotional were you when you got out of the car and finished the race? 

TAKUMA SATO:  It was a mixed bag, to be honest.  It was pleased about the result, but it was frustrated.  We were challenge for the win.  No, it was a little bit disappointed just pure driver's point of view because just simply didn't win it. 

But it's great, still great.  The guys and boys did a great job.  Rahal Letterman Lanigan team is coming back for the IndyCar Series, relatively new team.  We have tons to learn, catching these guys up.  Happy to be very there.  You know, it's a great result. 

Q. (No microphone.)

WILL POWER:  I would expect that to be the case going into the last race.  You know, I think he's going to be there right at the end.  What do you do?  You just race him hard.  I'm sure Penske has been in that position before, probably not for a long time, though. 

But, you know, it's basically competition on the track.  There are no team orders in this team.  You know, I am sure that will be the case.  I suspect there will be three or four drivers able to win in the last race. 

Q. (No microphone.)

TAKUMA SATO:  There is always argument.  With the first guy, is difficult.  Formula Ford, Formula One, IndyCar, it's all difficult.  Don't get wrong, Will says easy.  Not easy.  Is very sophisticated car.  Very technical situation, like computer last year, so if the car goes off you can feel it a little bit more, maybe you can catch it.  Last year the car was different because it was nine years old, whatever the reason. 

Will is right.  Has more downforce and great tires, a lot of grip.  We need a little bit more power.  Now it's obviously engine competition, we see bit by bit coming together, the 'push to pass'.  Compared to some of the older, big-powered cars, it may be easier, but it doesn't represent you can go faster.  You still have to drive absolute on the limit. 

I think it shows the good car because obviously somehow making much more tolerance, therefore you can get in the tow.  Good example, the 500, or any race you can see passing.  Even the street course, yesterday was difficult, but some of the course you can overtake.  I think it's fantastic from that point of view. 

WILL POWER:  When it is so tightly packed, I'm looking for driver details I've never looked for in my life, just like minute little bits of time to find on someone, because the field is so compressed.  To me it's the most competitive field I've ever raced in.  I've never had to search so hard for speed in my life. 

When I say 'easy,' I would say more forgiving because it's a good tire, a lot of downforce, you have a higher (indiscernible) angle.  When you lose it, easier to fall off track in the old car.  That doesn't mean it's easier to be fast.  In fact, it's harder when you have almost the whole field covered by a second.  1/10th moves you a lot. 

It's a good formula, creating good racing.  As a driver, you always want more power.  He's driven things about 1,000 horsepower, the Honda F1 car, so he knows what horsepower feels like (laughter). 

Q. (No microphone.)

WILL POWER:  No, yeah, after a couple laps, I felt, I'm fine.  It wasn't a hard hit.  I would have been surprised if there was damage.  I kind of went wide, spun a bit, got the wheel.  But it wasn't a problem. 

Q. (No microphone.)

WILL POWER:  In a way it's funny.  In this sport, or life in general, what goes around comes around.  You generally get what you deserve. 

He was right there last year, almost won it.  He won it this year.  So, you know, when something unjust happens to you, usually something comes back to replace that or make up for it.  That's what I understand. 

It's the same as you do something bad to someone on the track, you know something is coming for you. 

Q. (No microphone.)

TAKUMA SATO:  No, I mean, I couldn't push him any harder than that.  To be honest, simply there was not enough opportunity. 

I get close to the area, but by the time he pull away, too.  He was obviously saving the tires, waiting for the moment that I'm catching up. 

I had about 50 seconds to of the 'push to pass'.  He had about 70 seconds.  I knew it was always difficult battle, indeed it was getting close, but every time he was using the defensive.  It did work really well. 

We both drive absolutely on the limit.  There simply wasn't opportunity. 

The opportunity with Dario was there because I could see we both saved the fuel at the same time because it was first and second stint.  I could see he was just sliding, I was just sliding.  I saw the opportunity and made the move through turn one.  We both come out this time, so it was good. 

No, I'm happy with the position I made because I did make move to Tagliani, too.  But for Helio, unfortunately we weren't there. 

Q. (No microphone.)

TAKUMA SATO:  I think the June was for everyone so tough and busy, difficult weekends.  Like I said, this team has a long history in IndyCar Series, but unfortunately we effectively new team, new engineers, new drivers, new package.  So once you lost it, not really lost it, but once we have a difficult race weekend, it's very difficult to catch it. 

Like Will said, it's so competitive.  We couldn't go to the testing where everyone went to.  So every time you go there, the engineer doesn't know the track, the team doesn't have data from previous years.  I only know the feeling, but the car's different.  It's so difficult to catch up. 

Once you have a week break, like this month two Canada race, you can study things, back to the office, you know, just reengineered.  Obviously we always have a motivation.  Team did great job over the course of the season.  We always progress.  I'm very, very proud of what they're doing.  We just looking for the one goal, of course.  We're getting there, getting closer by. 

So I think it's still long way from second to actual win the race.  It isn't easy at all.  In fact, is probably greater distance.  But we never give up, so I think we will push on. 

Q. (No microphone.)

WILL POWER:  No, I could see them fighting.  You know, for the most part, I know Takuma, there's a gap, he likes to go for it, he's brave.  More than not he pulls it off.  To me he's one of the fastest guys in the series.  He's a great racer. 

I could see he was sitting there.  If there was an opportunity he could take, he would.  He knows the game.  He's been around a long time.  He's bloody strong.  He doesn't often make mistakes. 

THE MODERATOR:  Takuma, Will, thank you so much for your time today.  Congratulations on the podium finishes. 

We are pleased to be joined by today's race winner Helio Castroneves. 

Helio, great race, great battle at the end with Takuma.  Talk about today's race. 

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Certainly, strategy starting on blacks, it was the right one.  Certainly we didn't know what to do, especially going up front in that direction.  In the end we decided to keep consistent, and we knew we would have a very good chance to win this race.  It's just a matter of put it together. 

Great strategy.  I knew where I was very strong and I knew where I was weak.  I think that gave me an opportunity to manage well the win. 

But Takuma did a great job.  But in the end of the day for us was a great result, a result we were looking for a long time.  Well deserved for the team and great for the championship, as well. 

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

Q. This is your third decade of driving IndyCars.  Shouldn't you be slowing down? 

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  I guess yesterday when I saw Dario here and Tag, I said to them, I think the good old boys is still pushing. 

But in the end of the day, I feel experience, and I was definitely able to use that in my favor to win this race.  I guess the fire is still inside.  I won't stop.  I will keep going as long as I can.  I love what I do.  I love racing.  Certainly I love to be where I'm at, as well. 

In the end of the day, you want to keep winning because that's what keeps driving us. 

Q. (No microphone.)

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Great.  Different moment, I have to say.  Charles is a good friend of all of us.  Joking around, my second win here, but today it count.  Certainly with Charles there, for me also it was very good to have him there.  People understand that we never, ever fought each other obviously.  Look at the size of the guy.  There isn't even a chance.  It was just asking him a question (laughter). 

Q. (Question about being back in the championship chase.) 

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  To be honest, we're never out.  We're always in the battle for the championship since we started.  Now we're closer and we're taking the opportunities that we run very well, to take advantage of it. 

Basically this weekend was everything playing into our favor.  Since those guys battling for the championship are penalized for changing engines, going for a different spec, we decided to keep doing what we were doing.  That's why we end up being consistent and winning the race today. 

It was a calculated risk, all the strategy we play.  But I never felt we were outside of the box of this championship.  We are always there, maybe playing a little bit quiet and silent, which I like it, because many, many more years were like aggressive. 

Continuing to work in that low profile, and in the end of the day at Fontana, that's the day it counts. 

Q. (No microphone.)

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Taking away?  I don't think so.  I think people remember that.  Maybe some people would disagree with me, that's not my second win.  The majority when we're here, we felt the same way.  We have to turn the page. 

I'm never going to forget what happened, but I certainly got to move on.  Today was a great day, so we realize and finally can say we won here. 

We've always been quick, we've always been there, but today we certainly win. 

Q. If you and Will end up being in this championship battle, how spirited a battle can you see it being?  Mind games you can play with him at the shop. 

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  To be honest, that's a good problem to have, especially for the team, having two teammates battling for the championship, which is the case right now. 

But I had this situation before with Sam, with Gil.  I've been in this situation before with my own teammates battling for the championship. 

Maybe with Will, might be his first time, but I've been in this position.  I don't see a problem at all.  I actually want it, because that means I know what he's got.  Sometimes I know what I need to do to beat your enemy, let's put it this way. 

Q. How fierce of a battle do you think it will be?

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  I hope it will really tough.  Certainly Will is an incredible talent.  We all seen that.  And Ryan in a fantastic momentum right now, Hunter-Reay.  In the end of the day, it's all about being there.  Right now I'm still playing cool, man.  I just want to make sure we do what we're doing. 

Q. How hard were you going in the end?  Did you adjust your style any because of the driver behind you? 

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Everybody knows Takuma.  Certainly I had that on the back of my mind, so I didn't want to give him a slight chance of opportunity.  That's why maybe I play something different.  I knew where I need to be strong and where I need to take it easy.  That's what I was doing.  Saving up 'push to pass' so I could defend myself.  In the end, I just want to make sure I had enough to protect my position. 

That's what we did.  For the last 20 laps, I knew he was strong, especially on the infield.  I knew my car was pretty good on both straightaways.  With that, I was able to keep the lead and keep the position. 

Q. (No microphone.)

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Well, I like the odds every time I come over here.  I think the place, it suit our setup probably and our drive style as well.  Talking about the other second places, certainly I pushed as fast as I could the last few years, and unfortunately I wasn't able to close the deal.  Sometimes you don't have the car to make it happen. 

Today the circumstances played in our favor and we were able to execute. 

Q. (No microphone.)

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  The fence was a little soft.  I have to say it was a little soft.  I was going all the way, I was hanging on when I saw that thing bending.  I would not let it go till the crowd stopped screaming.  Everybody was really excited. 

I did not plan to climb the fence there.  I realized when I was going to the Victory Circle lap that something snap out of it, Oh, I got to climb the fence.  When I saw the crowd, it was just for the moment and I'm glad I did it right there. 

Q. Talk about pit stops. 

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  I thought a little risky, a little ballsy for my team.  I don't know if that's the right word in English. 

Q. That works. 

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  I apologize if you can't explain that in writing (laughter). 

But normally you wait a little longer to do your pit stop.  That's what I was doing.  Once I didn't have the opportunity to pass Tag, I started saving fuel so I could go one lap earlier.  I was surprised when my team called me in.  I thought they heard something they call me in.  I did everything I could on the out-lap to beat those guys.  It was close, but certainly paid off.  It was a strategic point of the race to win the race and it was great. 

Q. (No microphone.)

HELIO CASTRONEVES:  I don't know.  They told me even when I was in the lead to save a little bit of fuel.  There was a little miscommunication.  I couldn't do the math.  I'm not very good at math.  I was just like, okay, they're telling me to save fuel.  I got to do the number.  I knew the number that I have to do it, so it start coming back. 

That's probably one other reason Takuma start catching me again because I certainly start saving a little bit so that we have enough to use the 'push to pass' and to finish without any issues.  That was also another key to part of the race. 

THE MODERATOR:  Helio, congratulations on today's win.  Thank you for your time.

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