Watkins Glen: Post-race press conference
An interview with
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started with today's post-race press conference. We're joined by Dario Franchitti. He started fourth. Dario matched his career best finish of third at Watkins Glen. His previous finishes of third took place in 2005 and 2007. Also we had seven different teams represented in the top-10 finishers of today's race, so quite competitive.
Dario, if you could walk us through today's race.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Sure. It was pretty interesting the start because Penske were all in black cars and we run the Firestone reds. I was hoping to get a jump on them. Helio (Castroneves) made a nice start. It didn't help our cause. That was pretty much that for the first stint. I managed to get past him eventually, after Will (Power) and Ryan (Briscoe). I got a little bit close.
But then we made that first stop. On the restart, whatever number the CITGO car is, I don't know, was cruising along in the middle of the pack and people started passing before the restart lining up. Then she pulled in front of Ryan and braked at the last corner when four or five cars ahead had already taken off for green, so completely screwed our restart. That allowed Matos to get past. That was a little frustrating, I would say. But really nothing that she does surprises me at this point.
You know, the black tires, the car was not great actually. It was a little bit of a handful. We put the reds on for the last stint again. The Target car was back at its best, and was able to pass Ryan and was trying to catch Will. I used up my tires too much to catch him. We used them for some of the qualifying run I believe in the Fast Six. Then I just overused them. I had cord showing on the right front. Ryan was getting a little closer to me. I was trying to make a gap before we got to the straight on the last lap. I pushed too hard in the second to the last corner, he got past me. That's all there was to say about it.
As a race, I'm disappointed with the last lap. It was a lot of fun and, you know, it's a fun place to race. You're just pushing a hundred percent every lap. It's a lot of fun.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by Ryan Briscoe. Ryan finished second today. His third podium finish of the season. This is Ryan's second consecutive second-place finish at the Glen. Ryan, if you could talk about today's race and the pass at the end.
RYAN BRISCOE: It was a good day, great day for us, Team Penske. We hadn't won here yet. With six poles, I think every time Penske has been on pole and we haven't had a win till today. So big congrats to everybody at Team Penske. We've been pushing really hard. This was an important race for us. Congrats to Will. He did a great job today.
We got a good start. Got past Helio for second on lap one. Actually, I think I led up the straight. Had the parachute on the back of my car and he passed me on the same straightaway that I passed him on. That was the story of my day, I was too slow and straight. But in hindsight, it was good for my tires. I was able to look after my tires and keep pushing hard all day and never had an issue.
But most of the day I was looking at that Verizon rear wing. Good looking thing, but I just wanted to get past it. I had all the pace that Will had today; I was just trying to stay there and keep the pressure on him. My car was really good, you know, very consistent over the long runs. I think we just got quicker and quicker as we went on. So the car was really good.
The guys gave me an awesome pit stop and we were able to take the lead in the pits. But, you know, straightaway on the start, I got a good run through turn one. But Will, as a team, we took different strategies. We wanted to make sure we had everything covered. We went with more downforce. Could have been the right move today, but it wasn't. Will was just able to drive by me down up into the bus stop. Then I was able to tuck in behind him. Then the same kind of thing happened with Dario, using a couple of 'push to passes' to try to stay in front. I couldn't keep using them that early on. I had to save some for the end. He got me down that back straight as well.
After that, you know, I think with my downforce in the car, my car was getting stronger at the end and I was able to turn in quicker lap times than Will and Dario and really start putting the pressure on Dario. You know, the tires thankfully for me, not too much for Dario, his just went off a lap or two too quickly. I saw him starting to struggle. You know, I could smell the candy. I started pushing even more. Thankfully, just got a little bit wide and I was able to get a run coming down for the last lap and hang on to it.
It was a great day. Really happy with the result. Big congrats to Team Penske.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.
Q: (No microphone - disappointment to come up short again at The Glen.)
RYAN BRISCOE: I really do want to win here. It's disappointing. But I ran a great race today. I think, you know, just a little bit circumstantial. We did a great job. The team did an awesome job. You know, I was thinking maybe, you know, the last two years I've started on the pole, you know, hadn't won. I thought today maybe starting third I'd have a chance.
But, you know, this is a round of a championship, and if we keep getting second places, it's good. Just can't let Will get too greedy and get too many more wins.
Q: (No microphone - frustration with going with reds then losing strategy.)
DARIO FRANCHITTI: When did that happen?
Q: (No microphone.)
DARIO FRANCHITTI: At that point I wasn't really too worried. We did have a similar situation near the end of that first stint where the tires were going off a little bit. But I was fairly happy with the way things were going at that point. You know, at that point, as I say, I wasn't too worried. It was on the blacks I felt I struggled.
Q: (No microphone - looked like the blacks were coming off too.)
DARIO FRANCHITTI: The guys were on blacks. I saw the Team Penske on the side of Ryan's car a couple of times when he was getting on the power. You know, I was trying to save some fuel as well, trying to make it to that sort of lap 20 so we could do it in two stops. It was a similar situation on the blacks, I was still trying to save a little fuel.
The plan was we managed to go that one lap extra before the last stop and that definitely helped us to jump Matos. That worked out well. It gave us a little bit more fuel to try to use at the end to go by Ryan and catch Will. But I just used everything up trying to get to him.
Q: (No microphone - decisive momentum in the championship to gain points on road/street courses.)
RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, you know, I think you look at who's fighting for this championship. It doesn't really change a whole lot whether we're on a street course, a road course, a short oval or a high-speed oval. I think wherever we go, we're sort of racing the same guys.
Probably the street courses more can happen. You know, they're a bit more risky. But, I don't know, I think we just got to stay focused, keep pushing. Dario won in Toronto last year. Will won in Edmonton. I think I was second at both those places.
But we're just going to have to keep pushing hard, keep our heads screwed on, just keep going for it. The wins are important. I really believe that to win this championship, whoever that's going to be, has to go out and win these races.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: For me, I just look at it one at a time, road course, oval, whatever it is. You know, I'd even take it further than what Ryan said. It's not even now so much, almost anybody in the field on any given day, they can get the job done. They get everything right, they can challenge.
It means you have to be on top of your game whether Toronto, here, Chicago, or Homestead for the last race. You have to be absolutely on it. If you can't win, finish second.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on the podium finish, guys. We'll see you in Toronto.
We are joined by today's race winner, Will Power, who started from the pole. This is Will's third win of the season and his fourth career IZOD IndyCar Series win. He's the first driver to win this event from the pole. It's Will's second win from the pole this season.
Will is also the only driver to win multiple races this season. After securing six poles at Watkins Glen, Will Power gives Team Penske its first win at the track. This is also Team Penske's 30th win in the IZOD IndyCar Series, a new record. Finally, this is the first 1-2 finish for Team Penske this season.
Will, I think I heard you mention this race you were actually pushing yourself every lap. Can you talk about that?
WILL POWER: Yeah, from the very start, you know, we had a fuel number to get. I was very worried about the start because it's okay if you get to the start of turn one, but someone is going to get you going up the hill. In fact, making a mistake in turn one was a good thing because it meant I could tow Ryan back and get the lead. Everything changed when that yellow came. Once again, I was trying to hit a fuel number and go very quick.
I just gave it everything I got. I wanted to win very badly. I was just having fun. I just love driving so much. I just enjoyed that race a lot.
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and open it up for questions.
Q: (No microphone - law of averages working out for Team Penske.)
WILL POWER: Well, I knew my only chance of passing Ryan was on that restart 'cause we had to conserve fuel on the yellow, our tires got cold and picked up some debris. It was very slippery on the restart. That was the key to winning the race basically, was getting him then. Once it spread out and we went back to saving fuel, I don't think I could have got him. Just determination. I wanted to win this race.
So, yeah, I mean, it was great.
Q: (No microphone - improving lead in championship to 34 points)
WILL POWER: That's not that much. It's one weekend. You could have a bad race, somebody wins, you're back behind again.
I realize you actually have to win races to win the championship. You do. The points spread, that extra 10 points you get for winning. The guys I'm competing against, it's really tough. It's really competitive. You can't relax. I mean, people say, You get on the road courses, road courses coming up. But Dixon, Franchitti, Helio, Ryan are all as quick as I am. So you got to win, but you got to make no mistakes.
Man, it's a tough championship. It's great, really good. I'm really enjoying the competition.
Q: (No microphone - Thoughts on the Glen.)
WILL POWER: Yeah, I keep saying, you know, got to have fantastic circuits like this. It's just a full European style circuit. It's got heaps of history. Jack Brabham won here '59, '60 and '66. Is that the last Australian to win here? Alan Jones, okay. I missed that one, damn.
I hope we come back. You know, we need tracks like this. You can pass. It's really fast. It's very physical. You know, I'm not sure what it looked like from the outside, but I had a lot of fun.
Q: (No microphone - level of satisfaction to have your name added to likes of Jones and Brabham.)
WILL POWER: Yeah, just a satisfying day because it was a hard-fought win. You know, I really had to push, I had to pass, I had to save fuel. I had everything in that race. I had to qualify well.
So, you know, it's funny, you have days where you win races, and it's sort of a luck thing. Then there's days where you should have won. Today it was just a good race. I mean, you know, it's very satisfying when you fight for it and you got someone on your tail right to the end.
Q: (No microphone - presenting the wreath to Seneca Lodge, a post race tradition)
WILL POWER: Yes, definitely. Probably have a beer, a Miller Lite, that is (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: We'll wrap things up. Congratulations, Will, on the win.
WILL POWER: Thank you.
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