|From left Rahal, Pagenaud and Newgarden|
1. Simon Pagenaud
2. Graham Rahal
3. Josef Newgarden
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and continue with our Verizon IndyCar Series media availability. We're joined now by our race winner, Simon Pagenaud, driving the No. 22 PPG Team Penske car. Congratulations on back-to-back wins for you. Also Team Penske's 180th career IndyCar victory. First of all, take us through those last few laps. I know your mind must have been going in all kinds of different directions.
SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, it was interesting with Graham there. We decided to make it exciting for the fans at the end. I guess we had a terrific race. The PPG Chevy car was just fast on the stint today. I was very comfortable on all sorts of tires. The black tires were working really well. The red tires were really good, as well.
The pit sequence actually worked out really well for us, even though we were stuck in traffic halfway through the race, and then that was a bit of an issue because I could have really gone. But once you're behind someone, even if that someone is eighth tenths slower than you, you can't really pass. And you obviously have to be really careful about the tire degradation when you're behind someone. So ultimately I couldn't really create the gap I wanted to create.
But in the end, Graham really caught up, and he gave me a good piece of driving that was amazing from him. I put my hat off to him for that. He got me really excited, and I wouldn't say that — the redness came up after I went off track. I said, yeah, I'm going to get that one back no matter what. We had so much pace in the car that I could get back to him, and then it was about being aggressive. He got a little too aggressive over the curb, and that was my chance.
THE MODERATOR: Obviously the race started under yellow, but another pretty much green flag race all the way through. What additional challenges does that present to you as a driver?
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]SIMON PAGENAUD: Obviously the IndyCars right now are the most physical we've had it. There's more downforce than ever. The cars are a lot more fun to drive than they've ever been. The race is really high pace. The steering wheel, we don't have power steering, so the steering wheel is really, really heavy. As the race goes on, the steering wheel gets heavier and heavier, and every time you put a new set of Firestone tires, again, it gets heavier. So by the end of the race, you're pretty much cooked.
You've got to find your — you've got to pick up your time when you really want to push it to max attack, and other times you try to rest a little bit. I'm talking about 1 percent because you've got to be flat chat (phonetic) pretty much the whole time.
So it was very challenging physically. Traffic is obviously a big challenge, as well, you know, dealing with the back markers. The rules allow them to fight against the leader to stay on the lead lap, so it makes it very difficult for the leader, but it's understandable on their side, so it is what it is. I guess it was great racing in the end.
Q. Either way, should the race officials have called something with you and Graham approaching Turn 8?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Well, I don't know. I've got to see the review. I didn't think it was the wrong side. I couldn't see that he was next to me when I went for Turn 8, and that was pretty much causing the entry there. I felt like I was being pushed. I don't know, I don't want to sound like — I've obviously had enough of that. It was just a great race, and it was a great battle.
Q. He said you blocked, by the way.
SIMON PAGENAUD: Okay, fine. I won't answer.
Q. It took you over a year to get your first Team Penske win. Now it only took you a week to get your second. How does it feel to back it up that quickly?
SIMON PAGENAUD: It feels great. I've got to tell you guys, the biggest thing is when your work pays off, when you work so hard and it pays off like this, it's so rewarding. You feel so grateful. I'm very thankful for my position right now, for being in this team. They give me the best car. My engineer for the digitation, he shows every day, working so many hours with a little baby at home. Kyle Moyer, for just understanding the kind of driver I am and trying to just bring his top game every day for the strategy. That's something you need to learn, and we get along really well now.
First and foremost, it's the crew. Pit stops are just flawless. We never think about it anymore. We don't even think about are we going to be in the pits. It's just, no, are we going to be T1 in the pits this time. So it's the whole team, and it's not just me. I'm definitely driving my best right now, but they're also doing the best job they can do.
Q. You mentioned that Graham went up on the curb and gave you a chance. Did you know he had run into another car and had damaged his wing and was kind of a sitting duck there?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Kyle told me that he had a damaged front wing, and then when he was coming back — when he was gaining time on me when I was behind, I believe it was Mikhail or Seb, I could see his line in Turn 2 was really strange. I could see he was going really wide, so I knew even if he passed me, that would be my chance back, Turn 2. I knew he was struggling there, but he looked pretty good everywhere else. It's not like he was struggling that much. Then when he got around me, then I saw that he was really, really struggling in 2, and that was going my chance.
Q. He ended up hitting Hawksworth while he was leading and damaged the wing a second time after he had already passed you.
SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, I didn't know about that. No, I just saw that he went in the grass. I did see something flying when he went in the grass in Turn 9, and then I took my chance right away. I knew he was struggling. I saw that he wasn't confident in his car, so I took a chance right there.
Q. How difficult was the middle portion of the race when you were kind of stuck behind Conor? Did you think he should move over, or was he fair to defend his position?
SIMON PAGENAUD: I've been in that position before. I was there. It's the judgment call from the driver. It's the rules. He's just playing by the rules, and that's his right. I used to get upset about it, but now I understand better that it's the rules, and if there was a yellow, he would have been back with a chance to do better. So I get it. Is it frustrating? Absolutely. I was very frustrated. But I was trying to keep my tires underneath me. I could see my gap melting. It's just a shame we don't have the Lucky Dog because then you could really race, and it would be more respectful between drivers, also. But that's another topic.
But he did everything by the rules, and I have nothing to be upset about.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Q. Team Penske won both big races at Indy last year with Will Power winning the Grand Prix and Juan winning the Indy 500. You won the first Grand Prix there. This roll could continue all the way into June. Just talk about what's out there within your reach.
SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, I've been thinking about the Indy Grand Prix for a while because that is one of my favorite tracks, certainly favorite road course, and great memories from winning the inaugural Grand Prix there. It's the kickoff for the month of May. Great memories from the Indy 500 last year, leading a lot of laps. I'm very excited for May.
I'm actually relieved that we are about to get to May. I'm going to work really hard the next two weeks with Ben to try to understand how we can just do exactly what we did today at the Indy Grand Prix, and then it's going to be oval time, superspeedways, so it's going to be a different story, so just have to work and study.
Q. Do you think that being in this environment at Team Penske for a full season has actually helped you kind of relax a little bit and now we're seeing the fruits of your labor with two straight wins?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Can you say the beginning?
Q. Being in Team Penske for an entire year, you moved to an entirely different environment, you're able to relax now and get used to being there for a while. Has it ultimately come about now that you're more relaxed and are used to being in Team Penske for a while now?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, absolutely. I think I said this already, but it is a big move to go to a team like this. It's not as simple as you would think to put one of the good drivers on the best team. That doesn't mean he's going to win right away. All I had to do is basically do a little homework, work with my crew, my engineer, my strategist, to optimize everybody, optimize myself, too, and I think that's exactly what we did this winter.
Confidence was up during the winter because testing went well. We went back to what worked at Schmidt for me, talking about the approach of the weekend, talking about the approach of testing in the winter, and there you are. Now it's working.
Q. Are you expecting anything different from the competition because you're entering the month of May ahead of everybody and having four very strong runs, being the favorite going forward so far?
SIMON PAGENAUD: I think for the Angie's List Grand Prix we'll be strong. I think our cars show a lot of pace in this situation. It's going to be a lower downforce package, so the Chevys should be pretty strong, as well.
Like I said, it's a track that really suits me. I'm hoping to be at the same level. Now the competition will catch back again. That's the thing with Team Penske, we started so strong, now the competition is just going to catch up all year long, so the more points we can score now, the best.
And then Indy, obviously I would say at Indy, Juan Pablo's favorite and Dixon's for sure, so we'll just try to be one of those favorites, too.
Q. Speaking of Juan Pablo, the old guy starts last and finishes fifth. What did you think of that?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, it's so amazing. How did he do that? Yeah, I guess he was hungry. I don't know. I don't know, I have to obviously watch the race to understand the strategy, but great job. That's amazing.
Did he do four stops? No? Wow.
Q. Can you explain why the Grand Prix of Indy is one of your favorite tracks? Does it have to do with the length of the straightaways? It seems like it's fairly flat.
SIMON PAGENAUD: It's for the rhythm, the rhythm of the track, the way it throws speed, but it also has a lot of very hard braking zones, and some — and the fact that it's flat, I actually like that. I don't really enjoy elevation changes. For me visual is very important, so that's why I love that track, and just, like I said, I just love the rhythm. I've lived there for nine years, too, so I've got good memories in Indy.
THE MODERATOR: We'll welcome the second-place finisher in today's Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, Graham Rahal, for the second straight year, finishing second. Graham, quite an eventful day. Lead us through it.
GRAHAM RAHAL: Yeah, it was entertaining. That's for sure. It was a fun day. Coming off Long Beach, a lot of fuel-saving stuff, so this was pretty cool to be able to press hard and use the tires and see how we can catch up to those other guys. Obviously spread out there quite a bit from the top four of us it looked like to everybody else, which was good. I liked that. But ultimately what a battle.
I think on lap 30, my right front wing broke, the flap, which is just a simple part failure. I've never seen that before, but that hurt us quite a bit because from then on we were just trying to fight a lot of understeer in the car, and then we just kind of obviously lost the other side of the front wing a little later on. But other than that, it was fun.
I knew at the end I could catch Simon. I knew we had the pace to do it. I thought I was the best on the long run all day, and quite simply we just let this one slip today. This one I feel like should have been ours. I let the guys down. I know it was exciting, but definitely felt like at the end we had the car to beat and just kind of took my eye off the ball there for a second when Jack was in front of us and looked down, pressed Push-to-Pass, and by the time I looked up and get my reaction, it was a little too late. These things happen.
THE MODERATOR: Talk us through first the pass to get around Simon, what you saw there.
GRAHAM RAHAL: Well, I had a heck of a run. He blocked me, a really solid block, and the worst part wasn't that he didn't leave the room, it was that he diagonaled to the apex, I mean, just turned in way earlier than you'd normally turn in. You can watch the overhead camera; it's pretty easy to see. So I'm glad there was a no-call because for sure it's a racing incident, but you would never turn in where he turned in. He was purposely trying to cut me off there.
Now, at the end of the day, I don't think that that was going to be the race. I felt like even had I not gotten by then, I was better than him on the old tires. I could see he was beginning to struggle quite a lot with his rear. I felt like my opportunity was going to come. I wasn't going to force the issue, but I was definitely in a place where I'm not going to say the corner was mine because it wasn't yet, but he could have given me a little bit more room, and obviously he chose not to. That's racing, and we both made it through, and we continued on and made it exciting. I guess that's the way it goes.
Q. If you're saying it should have been a block, should that have been a penalty?
GRAHAM RAHAL: No, look, we both got our — I wouldn't want to see his day completely ruined by a call like that. Maybe that's — maybe I'm one of the only guys to say that, but I'd hate to see his day go down the tubes. Look, that was the most physical race I've ever driven, 90 laps green run here is like — I guarantee you it's harder than running a marathon. It's hard to catch your breath. My drink bottle was empty about halfway through. I had this freaking blister the size of Texas growing on my hand. Lap 30, 40 it was coming in. It was everything I could do to hang onto the wheel at the end. I wouldn't want to see his day ruined over a call like that.
Q. Once you had the wing damage that was done with Hawksworth, how big a handful was it to keep it in second?
GRAHAM RAHAL: I thought there was no way. Honestly I thought the day was completely, completely done. Even just losing the right front flap made a huge handling difference on my car, like massive. I thought knowing what that was, and now I've whole the whole left front flap basically, I thought I was toast. It was very hard to keep pace. I was having to stab the throttle to get the weight to transfer from the front to the back, to get the front tire to work at all.
It was not fun.
You know, I was a little nervous that Aleshin was behind me because he tends to force the issue a little bit, and I was just hoping that they'd kind of sit back. It was selfish, but I was hoping they'd sit back and just kind of block for me, which it worked out.
Q. Talking about that pass, it looked like it didn't affect your car at all.
GRAHAM RAHAL: I don't even remember it.
Q. When you passed him for the lead, you guys had contact.
GRAHAM RAHAL: No, I don't think it hurt us, no. I don't think it hurt us. We got him in the pot a little. I tried to bail out when I saw he took the diagonal. I was like — jammed the brakes as soon as I could, locked both fronts up, but no, I think that we were okay. My focus from that point on was I knew if I could get by Hawksworth I had the race won. I knew he could not get back behind me unless traffic played a role, and without the right front wing it was harder for me to follow, particularly through 2-3. 2-3 earlier in the race, on power I was really strong. But later in the race I had to use a lot more road because the car just didn't want to turn as well, so when we got that close to Hawksworth, I knew I was in trouble.
You know, that's the way it goes. It was caused by contact with nobody; it's just the part failed. The flap failed. I don't know if it was the bolt or actually the carbon piece, but it just collapsed.
I noticed because I went from Turn 5 here, stayed down into 9, and we went into Turn 9 and the car wouldn't turn, and I'm like, that's not normal because obviously it's extremely good there the first 10 and a half, so I knew something broke, and I looked around and the right front flap was gone and was just laying down flat.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Q. About when was that in the race?
GRAHAM RAHAL: Lap 30-ish. Early. It hurt.
Q. You mentioned earlier this is the most physical race you've ever driven. How hard was it to keep your conditioning up through the last part of the race, and not only that, managing your car with a wing failure, with everything else going on, trying to chase down Pagenaud and trying to stay in second after that?
GRAHAM RAHAL: Just adrenaline, man. Trust me, on lap 45 like here this blister came in, I was like, holy smokes. The pain like in my hand, it was everything I could do to just hold the steering wheel. I was turning through the right hand, was just yanking down. Normally you push with the outside hand, and I'm holding as hard as I could with the right hand to help out a little bit.
But it was tough. It was very tough.
But at the end there, it's like chasing the old rabbit, right? You see the old guy and you're not going to give up until you get there. This year was a little easier to chase him down because last year I couldn't see them. I had no clue where they were. I felt like I was chasing a ghost. This time around I could see him and it became a lot more fun. We cranked out some great laps today, and when we needed them we had them, and we were saving some good fuel there at the start, too.
So all in all, it was physically tough because there was no time to breathe, and straightaways aren't even long enough to really have the time to push the drink tube in your mouth, let alone actually drink. Pretty tricky day overall. But I hope there was a lot of action, because it was tough out there, a lot of sliding around, and it was tricky.
Q. As disappointed as you are not to win the race, what are you looking forward to at Indianapolis this year?
GRAHAM RAHAL: Everything. Yeah, everything. Hopefully with this — today was good for us as a team because we maximized the laps of the weekend, so we're going to probably be able to mileage our engine out before the Grand Prix, which will be good. We'll get the new spec engine, and hopefully that will make a good difference for us for the Grand Prix. We're sixth in points. Pag has got about a race lead on everybody by the looks of it right now, but we can make up some points here through the summer months, so I'm looking forward to it.
Q. You're probably completely unaware of this because you had your own fight on your hands for the victory, but when you think that Montoya started last and finished fifth on this track, what do you think of that as a race driver? That's a pretty good performance from an old guy.
GRAHAM RAHAL: He is driving a Penske. I'm not going to say — that makes life a little easier. But for sure, actually that's what's fun about this place, because honestly with a three-stop race, which is what we need to change for Long Beach, when you have a race for this sort of distance it opens up the strategies a bit, right, so you can go long, go short, but if you go long and you still have the tires underneath you and you can go hard, you'll make up track position like quick.
It's hard for us to do at the front because all of us were way quicker than everybody else, so it's harder to make up a second or two, but if you're in the back and you're cruising around and guys are doing 71, and they pit, and you can do 69.8, 69.9 for a couple laps, you're making up three, four, five seconds, and you can make up a huge amount of track position. That's what's fun about this place and the length of this race, and we need to kind of look at what this is as far as distance. Plug and play pretty much everywhere else.
Q. And also, your second-place finish here last year catapulted you on a near championship season. Do you see the same thing happening with today's race?
GRAHAM RAHAL: Yeah, today was a good run. I felt like I gave this one away, which is frustrating. I'm not trying to be a sore loser, but I genuinely felt like we had an extremely good race car. It's disappointing. But with that being said, I think all season we've had better pace than we did last year. We just haven't — I said this to my guys this weekend, maximized the opportunity and the potential, and if we do that, we know we'll finish up front, which is what we haven't done at St. Pete, obviously with the MuÃƒÂ±oz accident, or Long Beach with my mistake.
We just maximized the potential, which is a nice thing, and we're going to have to go to Indy and do the same thing. It'll be interesting to see what we get come qualifying day there, and go have some fun. GP first, on to the big one.
Q. Have you heard from the other half of racing's super couple and how she's doing this afternoon?
GRAHAM RAHAL: Yeah, I think she lost second round. I think she did, Robert did, and John. Yeah. I actually think my sister-in-law, I think she won today, so that's pretty cool. Brittany, I think she won.
Yeah, not the best weekend for Courtney, but I figured if she won, I was screwed, because normally the way our relationship works is if she does well, I don't, and if I do, she doesn't. So before the race I saw she went out, and I thought, hey, not that I am happy about that, but that might be a good omen for me.
She'd tell you the same thing. But she's had a fast car all year. She'll win some races this year, there's no doubt. Just like Brittany; Brittany has had the fastest car all season long, and they're doing a good job.
Q. In your opinion was the start too slow?
GRAHAM RAHAL: Way slow. I was like in first gear, and I'm like, what is happening here. I mean, way too slow. Way too slow. And it needs to be consistent. The leader pace needs to be consistent and slowly building, right, not slowly build, brake, slowly build, brake, because that's what it does. I'm like getting checked up in third row, let alone the guys at the back. So for sure too slow, need to pick up the pace a little sooner and let us roll.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, it was a long day. I mean, I thought we had a good race car. It obviously wasn't enough for Pagenaud or Graham, but we were close. I think that's why we were able to get third was that we were close to those guys. I think we were just about as good as Power if not a little better on blacks. Really our second stint killed us on the new red tires. I just wore them out really badly, and I couldn't hold onto the thing. Graham got past me, we lost a lot of time, and we were just trying to play catch up after that.
I think that's what really hurt today, but it still wasn't enough for the top two. I think we were a third-place car, and that's good. That's nothing to be mad about, but we've got to be a little better for the next round and try and get first.
I think the Fuzzy's guys are capable of it. We were here last year and we did the job, so we've got to find a little bit more, but I think the Fuzzy's guys can do that going into the next race.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by third-place finisher Josef Newgarden of Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet. Your best finish of the season, first podium of the year, your second year on the podium here. Obviously a couple steps lower than you'd like. You came back at the end of the race and you were able to get by Will at the end. How did you do that?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: In Turn 16, for me that was the good place to do it. I think 5 was tough because you just — everyone was braking really deep, and unless someone made a mistake, it was going to be hard to do it. Well, technically Graham got me out of 6 kind of coming through 5 and 6, but I was really struggling. I mean, I think my left front was completely to the cords on that red set of tires. That's what they said when I came in. I couldn't even steer the thing. It just was going to go straight off the track. Unless that was happening, it was kind of hard to get someone out of 5. 16 is always a good place. Will looked like he was super loose in 13, so I was watching him those last ten laps, and I was like, this is the place where it's going to happen.
Q. So just three hours north of here in your hometown of Nashville, there are like hundreds of thousands of people who have not tapped into this thing you do that you've given your life to. How does a race like today in this place make a case that they ought to get on board?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Well, you know what was cool this weekend was I saw a lot more people from Nashville here that told me they were from Nashville or surrounding areas of Nashville, and they said, hey, we want to root for you because you're the closest guy that lives to us or is from our town, and they were excited to see an IndyCar race. I saw some first-timers here.
I think what we need to try and show people is that they come here to this type of race, you're going to get treated with a lot of hospitality. Barber Motorsports Park does an amazing job of trying to create a great venue. This is one of the best tracks that we have for IndyCar racing. Outside Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it's one of the most pristine you're going to find. It's very inviting. It's a great place to view IndyCar racing in general. I think there's so many hilltop areas that you can see a lot of the track, and then I think what most people find is that we put on a good show. Cars are kind of badass. They're the best on the planet, I think.
You know, we're very open. You can get into the paddock here. You can get close up to the action with the mechanics, the engineers, the drivers. You can see everything that's going on, and I think that type of access is what people want. Verizon really creates a great environment for people to have that access, and I think people that when they come to our race, they see that for a firsthand experience, and they want to come to more.
Q. You just mentioned Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Obviously we look ahead to a huge, huge month of May starting with the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and then the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. Talk about what you're looking forward to.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, I'm excited to go. We didn't have the best month of May last year. We struggled in the GP and then we didn't have the best 500. We finished ninth, and JR was eighth. It wasn't the worst results finishing top 10, but it's not what we go to Indy for. The only reason you go to Indianapolis is to win the race.
We're excited for that. I think we've been planning for the Indianapolis 500 for all off-season. That's been our No. 1 priority, and I think it's a lot of people's priority in the IndyCar Series. It's going to be a big month for us.
I'm excited to have JR back. He's going to be in the GP of Indy with me, so I'll have a teammate there, which will be great, and then obviously we'll add Ed, as well, for the 500, so we'll have kind of the triple American drivers trying to go for the Indianapolis 500 win, which will be pretty fun.
Q. Can you talk about how the tires compared to — some drivers on their last pit stops were on reds, some were on blacks, and I don't know that that was really an advantage to either one of them.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Well, for me I found the blacks easier to handle today. I think the reds went off a lot harder than I remember last year. I don't know if it's something in our setup or tire difference, but it was harder for us to manage the reds. Like I was telling you, that second stint for us, I fried my red tires. They were just gone. Once I got the blacks on, they were a lot more consistent for me, and I was able to run a full stint pretty successfully I felt like, better than Will.
Probably just depending on setup and cars, but I think most guys would say unanimously that the blacks were easier to handle today, so those tires seemed to hang in a little bit better. It's kind of a toss-up. It really depends on track temp here. Each year it gets tougher, I feel like the track wears down more, becomes more abrasive, and that's probably why it was harder than last year.
But yeah, it was a mixed bag. If you're going to do a short stint, I think the reds were the way to go, but if you were going to do a long stint, you really needed black tires.
Q. Some drivers might be a little bit tired after this event. You look fantastic. How hard was it out there to keep your physical stamina up there when it was so hot, no yellows, and you're pushing the whole time?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think I'm putting on a big persona right now, trying to act like I'm not tired and exude energy. I feel great, but I'm super tired. I hope someone drives me to the airport tonight and I can just get on the plane and listen to some music and fall asleep. But it's hard, man. I wish we could convey it more so how physical these cars are. I mean, they're not easy to drive. This is one of the most physical tracks we go to, and what makes it tough, you're driving around here averaging 120 miles per hour, some corners you're doing 150, 160 into the corner. You're pulling five G's. It's massive loading on your body. It's hot, like you said. We have to wear all this fireproof closing. The cockpit of the car gets really hot. You've got no assistance on the steering wheel. They're really beasts to drive.
When you don't have any cautions to break it up a little bit, you get thirsty, you get dehydrated, you get worn out, you get short of breath. It's all this that comes into effect.
I think IndyCar drivers are some of the fittest on the planet with what they do, and we prepare for days like today. We prepare that there's going to be no cautions. We hope there's going to be a couple cautions, but we prepare that there won't be.
I think that challenge is something we're ready for. I think all the guys in the field are ready for it. That's why we train as hard as we do in the off-season. But it's tough. A day like today was really hard. It was hot. Cars were a handful, and when the cars are a handful, they're more physical actually because you're kind of wrestling the thing around.
Q. I need some help with this. Watching the drivers set up for a pass going into the hairpin here, the 5-6 combination, I could see the green flashing the Push-to-Pass, but they were going downhill into the turn with that on, doing the turn, and it was still green coming out. You can do that with the Push-to-Pass and go through a turn?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, so the way the Push-to-Pass works is it's on for a length of time, and that time is set depending on the circuit length, and it stays on for that distance. Here I think it was 20 seconds. I could be wrong.
So once you press it, it stays on for 20 seconds. It doesn't matter if you're in a brake zone, if you're just going into the corner. As soon as you press it, it's on for 20 seconds, so we kind of account for that when we hit the button. Like today when you hit it out of 3, we know we're going to get most of P-to-P, all the way down the straight but then also most of the way down into Turn 9, so it's kind of strategy to know how long the P-to-P is each weekend and then you kind of plan when you want to hit the button because it's going to stay on. So that's why you saw people on the brakes in and out of the corner. It's staying on for the amount of time that you hit it. It doesn't shut off because you're decelerating and then accelerating again. It just stays on the entire time.
THE MODERATOR: Josef was correct; the Push-to-Pass today was 10 activations for 20 seconds each.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I thought it was, yeah. I normally get that stuff wrong.
Q. Next stop, Indianapolis. Give us a preview of your month. What are your expectations? Of course you want to win, drink the milk, but going into the month.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Well, the good thing for me is I feel like I'm with one of the best teams. You really can't undervalue Ed Carpenter. He's a two-time pole winner. He's really fast around that place. I mean, he really is. People don't believe that, just look at his pole record. He's quick around that place.
He's a great teammate to have. JR is one of the best teammates I think you can have around that place. I have, I think, advantages of having great teammates, a great team, but the challenge of Indy, I think, is really the grind of it. You have to get there. It's a whole month. It's pretty action-packed now, which is great. We have events going on all month long with Rev. We have a big kickoff party with Rev Indy, so everyone can come for that. You've got the GP of Indy, which is an awesome race. It's cool to show the diversity of IndyCars around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, that we don't just do ovals, we do a whole championship, so you've got that race to consider. And then once you get into practice, you have, whatever it is, eight, nine days of practice and you've got qualifying. It's two weeks to get ready for this race, and you've got one day to figure it out.
The pressure of that really mounts throughout the month, and I think that's what you have to try and manage throughout practice and qualifying is that you've got to get it right for one day. You don't want to have it right on a practice day and have it wrong on race day. That's kind of the challenge of what's going to happen during the 500.