IndyCar Detroit GP Saturday Press Conference
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with our post race press conference.
We're pleased to be joined by Tony Kanaan, who finished third in this afternoon's race.
Tony, talk about the race.
TONY KANAAN: It was a weird race. At some point I couldn't understand what we were doing. The race was really close as far as making it to stops.
I'm not a big fan of a fuel-saving race. I asked Chip, I want to race. If that's going to take us to a three-stop strategy, can we figure something out?
I have the best guys in the stand there, and they figure it out, and it worked pretty well for us.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Tony.
Q. How does finishing so well in this race help you for tomorrow's race?
TONY KANAAN: First of all it's a good break. We're having a tough season so far after a big disappointment in Indianapolis. This is a good turnaround for the guys.
For tomorrow it doesn't mean anything. As soon as we finish this interview, we have to go back to work. Tomorrow is another qualifying, another race.
We have a lot of work to do. I'm still not quite happy with my qualifying car. We're going to make some changes and see what we can do. To be honest, it's going to be another strategy race tomorrow with the fuel mileage and the laps. It's going to be another crazy day.
Q. You're well into the season. How is the culture at Ganassi versus Andretti?
TONY KANAAN: It's different. It's hard to compare. It's just different people. Obviously I would say it's very similar to the Andretti times because it's a well-funded team, a big team. They have a lot of people to do a lot of things.
At KV, it was me, Jimmy and six other guys. Over there we had to do what we had to do.
The dynamics are just different because we have more people. It's still a race team. We still do the same things. It's just a lot more resources, for sure.
In the beginning, it was quite confusing for me to get a grip of how many people we had. It was me and two engineers. Now we have nine engineers. But the dynamics, it's still pretty similar.
THE MODERATOR: We'll introduce our second-place finisher, Graham Rahal.
Graham, obviously a great finish for you. How satisfying is it to finally get on podium?
GRAHAM RAHAL: No, I mean, it's a great day for us for many, many reasons, of course. With the year we have had, with the luck we've had, for things to turn around finally, get a good result means more than we can possibly tell you.
To bounce back here, it's only half of the weekend, but of course it feels great to be in this position. I'm sure it's good for us in points.
You know, I think we've had competitiveness at other places, Long Beach, Indy, the road course for sure we were very fast. It just seemed like everything unfolded for us. Today everything came together. I was pushing Power as hard as I possibly could. I thought I was going to get a chance. I did on the restart, but I got blocked. I would have done the same thing, so I can't blame him.
After that, it was trying to push Briscoe. Got him to make a mistake. I focused on Power. I kept thinking to myself, Damn it, one of the these days I'm going to win one of these things, today would be a good day to do so.
He's Will Power, he's won a lot of these things now. He knows how to finish the job.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions.
Q. Graham, before the race, the guys seemed confident with your car. What was it going into the race that made you so confident?
GRAHAM RAHAL: I mean, you all know this stuff. When you show up and you're competitive, it's a hell of a lot easier. When you come to the race weekend, your first practice you're 20th, then you gotta find a second, that's almost impossible. If you show up and have to find a 10th of a second, that's a lot easier.
I'll be the first to say I'm not the best qualifier. I felt even today I didn't quite get everything that I should have to advance in the top six, which I should have.
But I know that I can race pretty well. My guys just felt confident with all those things being said that we could get the car to the front. Of course, great pit stops today, strategy, hopefully passing some guys.
To start, we went forward very quickly. Then I found myself back in 13th after a tough stint on reds. I felt confident I could pass everybody again.
Tony helped more than you could know. When we were running together, going as fast as we were, we got the gap to take us instantly to the front. That made a huge difference today.
Q. As an Ohio State Buckeye fan, how satisfying would it have been to win at Michigan?
GRAHAM RAHAL: I have to tell you, I came up here on Wednesday, I instantly got a cold. Something about this state doesn't like us Ohio boys.
To finish second, all joking aside, it means more than words. You guys know that. There's been a lot of things said over the last year to me and others, my team. To get a result like this proves that we haven't forgotten what to do and how to do it, it's just a matter of putting all the pieces together.
Q. (No microphone.)
GRAHAM RAHAL: I had terrible rear grip on the reds. I was really, really struggling. Firestone blacks were phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal today. But they were used reds. They were used very hard in qualifying. I thought they would be a struggle, but not after three laps. After three laps, I was already like, This isn't going to work.
I said to dad, You got to get me off of these.
He said, You have 20 more laps on these.
I said, Either I'm going to crash or lose a lap.
Pitting and getting off of them was the best choice. Luckily, as I said before, when I got behind Tony and we both had the pace like that, that's what saved my race. After the restart, he really helped, made a big difference today, saving the whole thing.
Tomorrow we know what to do, what not to do. Hopefully we can do one better.
Q. Tony, best result of the year, you're not smiling. Is it not good enough?
TONY KANAAN: No, I'm smiling. I don't know. I think we still have tomorrow. I wish I could relax and tomorrow would be a day off, I'd be smiling a lot more. My mind is already on what I have to do tomorrow.
I'm happy. Don't take me wrong. It is my best result for the team this year. You know, there is a lot of expectations on us. Today was a great day. Yeah, my mind is already going on what I got to do, go back, talk to my engineer, what's going to happen for tomorrow.
Q. How close do you think the engines are?
TONY KANAAN: Very close. If you think about it, last year, I think the Chevys had an advantage on the ovals. This year they just got up to us.
Right now the competition I think is the highest. I keep saying it can't be any tougher, and it's getting tougher and tougher every year.
Both manufacturers are doing a great job. I think that was the purpose, you know, to have a 'war' between the two of them because we push each other pretty hard, so...
Q. And the track?
TONY KANAAN: It needs a little bit of work. I know Roger is putting out a lot of effort to make it better. I appreciate that. I know there is a huge repavement plan for next year. Think it will be better.
You know, it's pretty tough to keep it up. It takes a lot of maintenance when you have hard winters like that.
GRAHAM RAHAL: To answer real quick, I think Tony's right on the engine stuff. Obviously being a Honda boy, I think they've done an incredible job. Particularly from the start of this year when we were in pre-season testing, it didn't look so good. Then all of a sudden they turned it on.
David George and the group at HPD put together, I can tell you, I didn't struggle for top speed today. I think that's where we struggled before. Doesn't seem to be the issue now. Hats off to them.
As Tony said, Chevy had a clear advantage last year in a lot of situations. This year I feel like if you get it right that day, you're going to win. Engine is not what is going to hold you back.
Engineer comes after me after every race asking me what he can do for me. Nothing you can do, just got to get the car better.
On the track, just what Tony said, it's rough, like really rough. But this winter, I'm a Midwest guy, we all know this winter was absolutely brutal. There's nothing you can do. These things are going to happen.
Roger, Bud, Charles, everybody is trying as hard as they can. Everybody knows the effort that's being put out. It's not a lack of effort. But Roger has certainly put a lot of his own money in this. He's the only guy in this sport that would ever do that. That says a lot about him.
Maybe next year we can get to repaving.
TONY KANAAN: To be fair, I've never seen a promoter like Roger put money and effort. That's a compliment. It could be a lot worse. I mean, I don't think we have a promoter in this series that does what Roger does for Detroit. So we're actually extremely proud of him, Charles. We're involved with some of the safety aspects. Those guys communicate with us. Whatever we ask, if it can be done, it's done.
We came here on Thursday, track was flooded for some reason. They had a lot of rain. Roger didn't like a couple places. They repaved on Thursday. I've never seen something like that before. That's typical Roger.
Compliments to them and his team because he knows how to do it.
Q. Graham, Tony said earlier that the finish today doesn't necessarily mean that's where you're going to finish tomorrow. You have to think you have a good thing to build on.
GRAHAM RAHAL: I think I had the fastest race lap, the second lap from the end, trying to push Power. I can tell you that, you know, I'm very confident in the car that we have here.
As Tony said, I mean, gosh, if I'm around Montoya much more, I probably won't finish. I mean, honestly, I've never been blocked so hard in my entire life every lap.
You know, you just never know what can happen. It's one of those deals that today could be a phenomenal day, tomorrow could be bad, or they both could be good. Both of us sitting here, we both need to be good for points.
We can qualify towards the front, it helps a lot.
Q. Tomorrow, aside from all the tweaks, what changes? Tire, fuel consumption?
GRAHAM RAHAL: I would think tire wear might get a little bit better. It's not like you're going to run a second faster the next day. I think the race is going to be very similar.
I guess there was plenty of action today. I saw four cars in the tires after the parade lap. Obviously there's plenty of action. But I don't see anything else changing that much. We have to requalify in the morning and go back at it.
Q. It seems like that there's no policy on blocking. I didn't hear any calls from race control. Can you go over what the current policy is.
TONY KANAAN: Well, I think it's one move, isn't it? One move, can't react to the car behind you. So if you exit the corner and you believe that the guy is going to make a move, before he makes the move, you can protect. So if you want to go to the inside, you go to the inside. If he moves, you can't move with him. That's the rule right now.
I think what Graham was trying to say, we can't leave to the officials to enforce some of the rules. The way he was saying he was having a hard time, it's the type of thing, you can't see it.
If we want to block, we will block and you guys will never realize.
GRAHAM RAHAL: All you have to do is move the car six inches.
TONY KANAAN: It will happen so fast, you guys will never catch it. We know what we're doing and we know exactly how to protect it. We only get caught when it's a blatant move that you try to protect.
Juan made his car extremely wide today, I can tell you that.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Tony and Graham.
We'll go ahead and continue with our post race press conference. We're pleased to be joined by the winner of today's race, Will Power.
Will, obviously a great win for you, getting Verizon and Chevrolet to the top of the podium today.
WILL POWER: It's fantastic. The whole team, fantastic we were able to win today. We were hoping one of the Penske cars were going to be able to do it. Happy it was me.
THE MODERATOR: What about the team has worked so well for you this season so far?
WILL POWER: It's been kind of an eventful year, keeping out of trouble, going about my business. Yeah, we just had good, solid results each weekend.
To come from 16th to win was unexpected. But the team put me in a position to do that.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Will.
Q. At any time in the closing laps did you have any concerns that Graham may be able to catch you?
WILL POWER: I did, yeah. Every time I backed off a little bit, I knew he was quick. No way if he got by me I'd get back by him.
I know he's one of the best guys in the paddock. I had my work cut out for me.
Q. You short stinted on the red tires. Was that your plan going into the race?
WILL POWER: No, we were just going to see how we were going to go a spell. At that point my car went off on me badly. My qualifying, I didn't start off on new tires. I had a bunch of people all over me, Pagenaud hitting me a couple times, then suddenly it went yellow. It was a good opportunity to get off those tires.
Q. Both Tony and Graham said no matter what happens today, tomorrow is a new day. What do you see can be different tomorrow? Tire wear? Fuel consumption? What will you do tonight as far as the car?
WILL POWER: It's a totally different day, like they say. It's hard to predict. There's no way we thought we'd be coming from 16th to win. But this is IndyCar and anything can happen, and it does. So same deal tomorrow.
Q. Following up about the incident with Pagenaud, did you know he was trying to pass you?
WILL POWER: I had no clue. I didn't even know where Pagenaud was.
What actually happened? I didn't even see what happened. What happened to him?
Q. He made contact with the outside wall.
WILL POWER: Someone hit me, yeah. I don't understand why he always does that. He'll get beside you, bang. Hurts my ribs.
Q. Castroneves looked like he was going to kick everybody's butt. You've been in that position before Toronto a couple years ago. You get beat on a couple of unlucky yellows. You said earlier anything can happen. 30 laps into this race, could you have envisioned that you were going to win this thing?
WILL POWER: When I thought I could win it is when I got clear air. I was making some ground. Then again, when everyone pitted, we came out, at that point I thought we could win it, yeah.
When it's your day, it's your day.
I'm not a fan of it. True sport, to make it fair, the pits should never be closed.
Q. To give Roger and Chevy a win here, how satisfying is that?
WILL POWER: Yeah, that was really satisfying. It was a perfect day. If we could do it tomorrow, it would be even better.
Q. Was the pit just ahead of the caution?
WILL POWER: We came out behind a bunch of cars.
Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: Oh, I see. I can't remember. I did everything I could to go fast.
Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: It didn't influence anything. It blows my mind when I'm getting driven into the wall. You pull out, they just drive you into the wall. They're allowing it. It's really hard for us to understand what the true rule is. You can move in reaction. But I've had multiple guys move in reaction to me today, like dangerously.
I didn't think I moved in reaction, but obviously there's a lot of focus. The rule is you can't move in reaction. I don't think I moved in reaction. I moved before he moved.
Q. Are you still not paying attention to points?
WILL POWER: I haven't asked what the points are right now. I don't really want to know.
I guess at some point you have to know. I think you just go out and race, not stupidly, over aggressively, but you just go out and race without points in your mind.
Q. Any parallels to Long Beach 2012?
WILL POWER: Actually reminded me of Baltimore in 2011. That weekend in Long Beach was saving fuel.
THE MODERATOR: Will, congratulations. We'll see you tomorrow.
WILL POWER: Thank you very much.
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