RYAN BRISCOE, NO. 2 IZOD TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: HOW DO YOU FEEL STARTING FROM THE POLE AT THE INDY 500 FOR THE FIRST TIME? “I feel good. I feel prepared for it. I’ll pick Helio’s (Castroneves) brain a little bit. He’s done it from the pole very often. He will probably just tell me to accelerate in turn four, but I’ll pick his brain. I think it will be fine."
WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS YOUR GREATEST RESPONSIBILITY AS THE POLE SITTER AND LEADING THE FIELD? "I think not to do anything too fancy. Just do a nice, clean start and get the start out of the way and get the race going."
YOU’VE BEEN THE POLE SITTER ALL WEEK LONG; TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES.
“It’s been fun. It’s amazing the recognition you get here for getting the pole. I’ve been close before, I think second before and I got lots of congratulations but nothing like getting the pole. It really is amazing. I think it’s just awesome. People appreciate the effort that goes into Pole Day here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s nothing like qualifying for any other race. We practice for two days straight, preparing a car for four good laps. So, I think it’s nice to be able to sit on that for a week after winning the pole and talk about it. As far as going into the race in concerned, it doesn’t make a difference. It’s a long race and you can win it from anywhere. It’s nice though to be congratulated like you do for getting the pole here."
YOU’VE GOT AN AWFUL LOT OF GOOD COMPETITORS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK AS WELL AS IN THE FRONT. “Yeah, definitely. I’m gonna try to take it to them. It will be an exciting race."
HOW AGGRESSIVE WILL YOU BE OUT OF THE BOX? “I think the first thing is to get the race started, and feel what you’ve got, and getting into a rhythm. I’m going to be as aggressive as I need to be without being aggressive when it’s not necessary."
TALK ABOUT THE ADVANTAGE OF STARTING ON THE POLE. “I think it’s small, the advantage. I think that the biggest thing is going into turn one; I’ll be controlling my own destiny. If you start row three, row four, row five you’re always waiting for someone to touch wheels in front of you, spin out and you’re just going to get collected. Being on the pole I don’t have to worry about that. Just be watching the guys on my outside and whether they get a better jump or I’m in front going into (turn) one it’s a lot easier to control."
IN YOUR WORDS WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO WIN SUNDAY’S RACE? “Well, there’s a list you can go through of things that you’ve got to do to keep yourself from not winning it. You need to keep your nose clean all day long. It’s hard if you have a problem and you need to come back into the pits and get off strategy, it often ruins your race. I did that in ’09, with a bad restart, leading the race, and felt like that was a huge opportunity for me and we missed that one. You need good pit stops. We’re looking at between eight or nine pit stops on race day, so that’s a lot of work for the guys on pit road, the pit crew. It’s also a busy place, a narrow lane there. I’m the fifth pit stall, so I could have cars coming across my front, coming out behind me and that’s always a place where you really need to be heads up. Then, at the end of the race strategy, fuel, so many times this race becomes a fuel deal at the very end. Just talking about that I feel like we’re in a good position with Chevrolet if it would happen to come down to a fuel race."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE, NO. 27 TEAM GODADDY.COM ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET: THE CHANGE IN THIS TEAM FROM LAST YEAR IS UNBELIEVABLE: “Yeah, it’s a complete 180. I think it says a lot about this team. They take this race more seriously than anything else. My chief mechanic openly says in front of his wife, that when he won the 500 with Dario (Franchitti) back in ’07 it was the greatest day of his life including his marriage. She’s cool with it and she gets it. That’s how important this race is to these guys. After what happened last year, man they lost a lot of sleep over it and it stung them and it still does. They were really, really focused on not letting that happen again. You show up now, 12 months later and you put three cars in the top-four. That’s a testament of a lot of hard work by a lot of people."
WHAT WERE YOUR EXPECTATIONS GOING INTO THE MONTH, AND WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS ON SUNDAY? “You know what in both cases it’s kind of the same answer. Very reserved because there are so many unknowns. When we got here I had never driven this car on an oval, the team hadn’t done a tone of testing here yet, there were still so many things to learn about this new car. We had almost a decade worth of data with the old car, so we had a lot to go off of no matter what the conditions were, hot, cold, high track temp, low air temp, whatever it was we had some experience with it. This month we didn’t, so we had to do all of that learning each and every day. So, the expectations were really wait and see what we got. Now we’re heading into the race, obviously we qualified well, but nobody has done a race distance on this car, nobody has been on track with 32 other drivers. Nobody knows exactly how this race is going to unfold. I really think this race is going to come down to the driver and team that is the most flexible with their set-up, with their strategy, just staying on top of the changing conditions out there."
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GET OVER THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF POLE DAY? “I’m not sure I’m totally over it. At the end of the day you are still starting in the front row for the Indy 500. It’s tough to lose it when you know you had a legitimate shot. It’s tough to lose it by the closest margin in history, that’s another stat I love hearing. Again, you look at one guy that spoiled the Andretti Autosport show because we were one car away from being a front-row sweep which is just unheard of in a series that is this competitive and at this race in particular. I get over it quick when I think about not what we lost, what we missed out on, but what we actually achieved. Not only on just the Go Daddy car, but as a team and that’s when it puts things back in perspective."
AT THAT POINT WERE YOU THINKING I COULD WIN THIS RACE? “No, I don’t think it’s right to start thinking like that before the race even starts. I don’t think it’s even right to think about that 100 laps in. This race as it proves time and time again, and you know last year was the best example of any; it’s not over until it’s over. It’s just such a long race, and you’ve got to be so patient and you never know what can happen. So, for us its really is just trying to take this thing one lap at a time, because there are going to be curve balls thrown at you, there’s going to be wrenches thrown in the plans. Like I’ve been saying, it’s going to be the most flexible and most sort of team that can adapt the most to what’s thrown at them, I think that going to come out on top."
HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR THE START OF THE RACE? “You go kick (Ryan) Briscoe in the shin, and you slip something into Hunter Ray’s cornflakes … no. The biggest thing is you’ve got to appreciate it’s a long race. So, it’s not all about leading into turn one. It’s not all about leading the first lap. It’s about leading the 200th lap. There’s not a whole lot of a plan to the start other than just get through it and go racing."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY, NO. 28 TEAM DHL/SUN DROP CITRUS SODA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET: EVERYONE AT ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT SEEMS REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THE RACE ON SUNDAY YOU GUYS SEEM LIKE YOU HAVE A PRETTY GOOD CHANCE: “Absolutely, I think this is the best chance for sure I have ever had here. With that said I think the new car kind of equalizes the field though. I think there are going to be a lot of surprises on Sunday. You can draft from a long ways back. Even cars that might be right there in the beginning of the race can tune it through the race and be able to draft and pass. I don’t know. I think it’s going to be tougher than most expect competition wise. I don’t think this is any Penske, Andretti run away."
ARE YOU THINKING AT ALL ABOUT THE HEAT ON SUNDAY? “The heat on Sunday is going to be for sure the biggest factor. It’s going to be one that changes the balance of the race cars through the race. It will either, I think, make or break your race. We have to make sure that we run 500 miles with no errors, good pit stops and be there in the end to fight it out. I’m just really interested in seeing how the balance goes. We are going to lose some grip and that could fall into your hands or it could work against you. We have to make it work for us."
YOU GUYS AS A TEAM WERE CERTAINLY VERY STRONG DURING THE RUN UP TO THE POLE YOU ARE RIGHT THERE IN FRONT YOU’VE GOT TO FEEL THAT YOU HAVE AS GOOD A SHOT TO WIN IT AS ANYBODY? “You would like to think so, yeah, I don’t like getting ahead of myself though. I don’t want a false sense of confidence. More I want to be expecting a hard fight because I’m ready for it. That is what I want to be ready for. I want our team to be ready for that. I don’t want to feel like we are just going to go run around up front all day long because you have to be ready for a real fight from guys that may not have been there all day. All of a sudden they find the balance and boom, they are a contender. You are going to have those, Indy always does. There is always a car that comes up from fifteenth, sixteenth somewhere in there hasn’t been around much all month and then boom they are a contender at the end of the race. I’m expecting a long fought hard race."
MARCO ANDRETTI, NO. 26 TEAM RC COLA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET: TALK ABOUT THE TALK ABOUT THE UNPREDICTABILITY OF THIS RACE: “Yeah, we have run strong her in the past for sure. I mean every time I finish this thing I have been in the top-ten and that is a good thing so you know, I think obviously we will be open-minded and this is 500 miles and we know how hard it is to get ourselves in position to win or to even have a shot at winning. I think we have a great shot and I think this is our best shot at it. We have a great car underneath us and the RC Cola guys are ready for a win. They deserve one as well, so we will try to deliver."
DO YOU FEEL THE SPIRIT OF DAN THIS MONTH? “Yeah, I feel him all the time but Dan’s love for this place…I mean we share that same passion for the sport but this place in particular. He had such a good feel at this place and for this place and I would just be honored to be next to him on the trophy. That would mean so much to me."
WILL YOU DO ANY KIND OF TRIBUTE? “I would like to visualize myself winning the race but I don’t let myself think about what I am going to do. You know what I mean? If that makes any sense. I don’t want to get way ahead of myself. I think we can win it, I really do. These guys are going to have to beat me if they want to win it. I honestly think that so I don’t know. We’ll just have to see and I am sure that will be the easiest part of it all."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE IN A POSITION TO GET THIS RACE? “This is one of my best shots at it, yes. We’ve been close before. The last time I felt this confident, actually, I am more confident now, but the last time I felt super confident was ’08. I think we controlled the better half of that race. We threw it away in the pits making a little trim adjustment and we didn’t pull it off right. I think this is our race to lose, I really do."
IF YOU WERE WIN THE RACE SUNDAY? “For myself, it would be phenomenal. You can’t luck into an Indy 500 win. That’s my goal. I think it would be a little bit of closure as far as, OK, now I can just go to work on my career, and momentum is huge. I believe I can do it. But, I want everybody to believe I can do it. I think that would be the turning point as far as closure. Closure doesn’t mean me being done. It would make me hungrier and it would just be the start."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN SHAKE OFF THE START OF THE SEASON? “I just think, number one, Indy is a championship in itself. No. two, it has been a bust, an absolute bust. But it hasn’t been because I am getting my butt kicked. It has just been a lot of circumstantial things. As a driver at this level, you can’t let affect your next event. You just can’t. You have to believe in the talent you have. You have to believe in your team, which, obviously the team is doing great. I look at this race as a potential turning point of the season, but it is a game changer for my life."
DO YOU HAVE ANY RELIABILITY CONCERNS? “No, no. Our last engine that we just took out ran since Long Beach. In the high 700s in miles. We are going to line it up. I am so blessed to be with Chevy. It is pretty obvious they have been the ones to beat so far. They have five poles and four wins so far."
ON GOING BACK TO BELLE ISLE TO RACE: “I don’t think we should have left there. That’s always been a key part of IndyCar and the Series. So much history there, you hate to leave any of the places like that. I was proud to see Penske and Chevy step up."
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES FOR THE TEAM: “It has been fantastic. It is all credit to the team, a lot of that has to do from last year. I think it was a wakeup call. If that wasn’t a wakeup call, then we’re in trouble. Me barely qualifying for the race (Indianapolis 500) was a wakeup call. They just started paying huge attention to small details that ad up. When we’re able to roll off with pace, all those little details are what put us ahead and make us the ones to beat. My engineer and I did a great job so far in setting the race car. The speed is all credit to the team, because I am going to go out and go flat so the car is going to go as fast as the race car can go. As far as the race car, to know you have the speed, this is the first year in a while. I have always been confident in my race car and the mechanical balance and the grip. But, as far as the speed, to be able to have both is going to make us tough to beat."
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: THIS COULD BE A PIVOTAL YEAR IN INDY HISTORY AND THE NEXT GROUP OF DRIVERS THAT ARE GOING TO BE STARS AT THIS TRACK COULD BREAK THROUGH WITH A VICTORY: “When you look at the first two rows you have Helio (Castroneves) in there obviously a veteran and three-time winner but then there are a lot of guys, I think everybody else in there hasn’t won. I just think it’s going to be a really interesting race all around. Like you say there are some new guys at the front. There are some new young American’s who are very strong also this year. With (Josef) Newgarden and JR Hildebrand, I think that is what the series needs. Just based on practice I don’t think anyone will lead for more than two or three laps unless someone decides in second to sit behind because of the draft affect."
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CONCERN FOR THIS RACE? “My biggest unknown is where do you be on the last lap if you are in the top two. Do you lead or do you not? That is my biggest question. Like where do you be? That is something that I think everyone is thinking about. Where do you want to be? Do you want to be leading or do you want to be second because of the draft affect? That is going to be it."
WHAT DO YOU THINK IT IS GOING TO BE LIKE OUT THERE AS FAR AS THE HEAT AND THE NEW CAR? “I just don’t know what it’s going to be like. Usually you do. Last year you know that the race would start the first 10 laps would be close then as people’s cars went off because you had to lift because they had horsepower it so spread out and the best cars would move to the front. If you were struggling you would go backwards. But, here I just can’t see that. It just seems as though no one will ever get away it will just be a tight one line the whole time. We will see."
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THE NEW CAR? “Well, it’s fast and I like the Chevy engine in it. Verizon on the side looks good and it’s creating some interesting racing around here."
TELL US ABOUT HOW IT HAS BEEN, THE CHEVROLET: “I think it’s been so far very successful. They have done a great job of building this engine up and probably in a shorter time than Honda had. Here at the speedway especially you can see their dominance having eight of the cars in the top-nine. I feel very happy to be with them and have helped in the development in the off-season as well."
WHAT KIND OF SUPPORT HAVE YOU SEEN THROUGHOUT THIS WHOLE DEVELOPMENT? HAVE YOU GOTTEN A LOT OF FEEDBACK AND INPUT? “It’s been a complete collaboration we have all worked together to get the engine the way it is. That includes all the Chevy teams. The whole lot of them just constantly giving Chevy feedback about the drive ability and everything that we need from the engine and they have been the same. It’s obviously paying off."
LAST YEAR HERE WHEN YOU TALK TO ROGER PENSKE AND HE SAID IT’S SO GREAT THAT CHEVROLET IS COMING BACK BUT WE ARE NOT BACK YET BECAUSE IT IS NOT BACK UNTIL WE WIN. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE WINNING HERE? “I think it looks pretty good for Chevy to win this race no question. With all the quick cars they have up there, the Andretti guys obviously the three Penske cars and the KV cars. Yeah, I think that they will be back at the end of this weekend."
HELIO CASTRONEVES, NO. 3 SHELL V-POWER/PENNZOIL ULTRA TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET: WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY IN THE RACE? “Here you are pushing the engine to the max because you are under high revs all the time and you are pushing the engine to the max so that is another factor. And because the speeds are a little bit lower than in previous years you are able to stay a little closer to the other guy. And whoever is leading….I am sure you have heard already a lot of people saying……whoever is leading the pack, is going to be a sitting duck. With that, the strategy might change a little bit. You have to wait for the right opportunity to make a change and I think you will be able to pass, but not all the way around so it’s always paid off to be patient in the beginning and not try to win on the first laps."
HOW DO YOU THINK THAT IS GOING TO TRANSITION FOR THE FANS WATCHING? “I think the fans are going to be really happy because whoever has a chance to lead is going to lead, and you are going to see that changing quite a lot and I believe you will see ten cars in a pack and then a space, five cars in a pack and space, then an eight car pack. You know, it’s kind of going to be like where the first three guys are going to be able to take off and that is what I believe is going to happen. Again, fuel consumption is something that might play again, in this game, like the last few years. And I am not sure but I think about eight pit stops is a pretty good average. But in the end, I feel really good because I don’t think my car is the fastest car but from the beginning to the end, I know what to do. So I know when it’s a full tank, I know when it’s a half tank and I will know when it’s empty. This feels pretty much like when I won here in 2001 in that I know exactly what I need to do, the adjustments that I need to make to be right on top of it and I like that very much."
ANOTHER CHANCE TO BECOME A FOUR TIME WINNER, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS GOING INTO THIS? “Well, it’s certainly a unique opportunity and for me right now, it’s a dream come true. But I am not thinking about the result, I am thinking about what I need to do to get the results. That is why right now I am very relieved with John Erickson, Ron Ruzewski, and my guys. What can we do to make sure the strategy works in different areas and what kind of plan should we follow. And according to that, if it’s meant to be, we will get the result that we want."
HELIO, YOU HAVE BEEN COMING HERE FOR A LONG TIME AND HOW HAS YOUR VIEW OF THE INDY 500 CHANGED OVER THE YEARS? “It’s changed for the better to be honest. I don’t know the numbers as far as TV, or the spectators; but as far as Qualifying Day, Bump Day….certainly IndyCar is changing a lot of the format. Especially with the two qualifying formats. Maybe we didn’t have too many cars to create the excitement, but for the top-9 there is still a lot of excitement. People still enjoy it and you hear a lot about it, but for us it’s the most stressful day even compared to the past. In the past, you do one run and if you are comfortable and know you are in the race, then you are fine. Now, it’s a little bit different."
YOU MENTION THE GANASSI TEAMS. WHERE CHEVY IS RIGHT NOW AND WHERE HONDA IS RIGHT NOW, CAN THEY BEAT YOU GUYS? “Well, you have to remember that we went from 1.4 and now we are down to 1.3 (turbo boost) again. And if you saw the beginning of the week when we were testing, Honda was pretty much up there. Unless you get a draft. So, the way I see it, Honda is a little bit ahead of Chevy at this point.
“Well if you look at the teams right now, most of the very good teams are Chevys. So sometimes we overcome that power. And I am not saying it’s a lot, but there is a difference. So we are able to overcome that with a good handling car and things like that. So now I would say Honda is still in pretty good shape at this point. I don’t know the rest of it at this point, but I know that Chevrolet has been working extremely hard at this point and all the way until Friday through the last practice to try some things so that we make sure that we don’t stay behind."
THERE ARE A LOT OF UNKNOWNS GOING INTO THIS RACE. WHAT IS THE ONE THAT CONCERNS YOU THE MOST? “Right now it’s the first oval with this new car. So far, it has been great on the road courses but on the ovals we don’t know what the reaction we are going to have. Especially running in the pack we don’t know what the correct risk is about the car. Even though we have practiced, it’s not the whole 3.5 hours that we run.
“I also think engines. Engines are going to be pushed to the limit. Even on the road course, you think it’s going to be more stressful on the engine but here, because you are always in the high RPM, you abuse the engine a lot more. And this engine is supposed to go 1800 miles, but again, this is the first time that we are going 3.5 hours straight and pushing to the limit.
“Plus the rookies. We have a lot of new guys and they have to remember that it’s not two (pit) stops, it’s like six, seven, eight stops. So people might forget you don’t want to try to win the race right away. And after one hour they might think they have been racing a long time already and they should realize that when you feel you are about to finish the race, we are just getting to the halfway point of the race so those are the things, but I am not worried because they are outside of my control. But certainly, you have to be aware of it."
TONY KANAAN, NO. 11 GEICO | MOUSER ELECTRONICS – KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET: WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST TRIBUTE THAT COULD BE MADE FOR DAN (WHELDON) FOR THIS RACE BY THE DRIVERS? “I think we are already doing it. There is not something special I think we need to put on a spectacular race and I would say be selfish it would be nice if I win (laughs). I think we are already doing it. We are doing everything we can to honor him. I think anyone who will win this race will think about something special to do. I think you guys will notice I will have on different sunglasses on Sunday. Hopefully you guys will understand why. I’m going to look ugly anyways (laughs)."
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO DIFFERENT WITH THE HEAT? “Physically I just have to hydrate a lot more. Set-up wise just have to go back to your notebooks. I think we ran that day that it was that hot. Whatever you think was a good enough down force for your car you are going to have to add a little more. That is up to the engineers but I don’t think you can predict what is going to happen. It’s going to be hot and slick that is for sure."
DOES THIS RACE FEEL MORE WIDE OPEN IN THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT? “Oh for sure, I mean I think nobody knows. We are going on reliability of the cars on the engines. It is a whole different ball game. It is a new car we have only done four races, none of them are in the ovals. So preparation is going to be the key. Like I said I felt on my own skin for the past 10 years that I have been here being the favorite and not winning. I don’t think you can pick a favorite."
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THIS PLACE? “I always said that the track will pick the winner. I guess she hasn’t picked me yet. I’m being nice to her lately so hopefully she will pick me."
WHAT IS THE STRATEGY THE NIGHT BEFORE THE 500? “I’m so busy that I have no routine. I have three dinners on Saturday night to attend. I will probably be back to the motorhome around 11 p.m. and watch a little bit of TV until I fall asleep. Over the years I’ve tried different things. The biggest thing you can do is just really relax and try not to think too much and have a good night’s sleep."
WHAT DOES A WIN HERE DO FOR A DRIVER? “You put your face on the trophy you get millions and millions of dollars you become part of the museum and it is a race that every driver wants to win."
THE RETURN OF RACING TO BELLE ISLE AND DETROIT AS A RACE CAR DRIVER WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU? “You talk about the American cars and the American history of cars and you can’t not talk about Detroit, growing up I was always a big Corvette fan. GM is there and being back there is awesome. It’s a track obviously Belle Isle I won three races there it’s a track that I’ve had a lot of success you always happy to be back at a track that you have done so well at. I’m extremely excited that we are coming back. I heard it is a multi-year deal so now we don’t have to worry about it going away anymore thanks to Roger Penske, the city of Detroit, General Motors and everybody. I can’t wait."
E .J. VISO, NO. 5 CITGO | PDVSA – KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET: TALK ABOUT DRIVING THE CHEVROLET INDYCAR V-6: “So far things have been going very smooth. I think Chevy definitely has a big advantage over the other engines. The development that they have done so far has been great. I feel proud in having this Bowtie logo on my chest."
CHEVROLET IS AN INTERNATIONAL BRAND, IS THERE A STRONG PRESENCE IN VENEZUELA? “My first car was a Chevy. A Lido Course is the one that we have in South America. I have known the brand. It is pretty big in other countries. I am very pleased and happy to be driving on in the IZOD IndyCar Series right now."
DID YOU EVER THINK THAT A CHEVY COULD GO THIS FAST? “(LAUGHS) I am thinking back to my Cours of which I didn’t go that fast. I think I never expected to be at these speeds, but I need to also say I had a Corvette ZR1. That one told me a little bit of what could be coming later."
RUBENS BARRICHELLO, NO. 8 BMC | EMBRASE – KV RACING TECHNOLOGY CHEVROLET: WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR SUNDAY? “I’m always a positive thinker. I think anything can happen in 3 Â½ hours, I think it has to be there or there abouts. It’s the final that counts. I hope to be there right at the end. I think there is a lot of emotion. There are a lot of people that are desperate to win this race. I can see from TK (Tony Kanaan), my best buddy, I honestly think that he would rather win Indianapolis than win the championship itself. He already did, but if he had a chance to win the championship this year, or Indy, I think he would choose Indy. So, I have no idea how the turbulence on that straight down to turn one when you have all of the cars. I’m giving myself some room to think about it and then experience with a practical more than a theoretical way."
ARE YOU CONFIDENT ABOUT THE HEAT? SUNDAY IS SUPPOSED TO BE 95 DEGREES? “That’s the same for everyone. Something we are going to have to work on. I will rely on my team a little bit more on that. We had hot days but maybe 95 is quite high."
WILL IT AFFECT THE TIRES? “I’m going to find out."
WHAT IS THE REPUTATION OF THIS TRACK COMPARED TO THE ONE IN MONACO? “We race in Monaco, and then you get on the plane. By the time you get home the race was over. So, I don’t think many people saw the race. I taped it and I watched it through because I’ve always been a fan. But I don’t know how many people do that."
ANA BEATRIZ, NO. 25 TEAM IPIRANGA ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT / CONQUEST RACING CHEVROLET: WHAT DOES YOUR SCHEDULE LOOK LIKE GOING FORWARD? “Our focus right now, I haven’t thought much about it, I know there are somethings going on especially for 2013. Our focus right now is on 2013. If we have a chance to do more races I will want to. That would be great. We know that to really set-up a team you need time. The best of the news is we will get to do more races at the end of the year, but that is all that I can tell you right now."
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS GOING TO BE YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE ON RACE DAY? “It’s going to be the heat. It’s a new experience with this car too. Nobody knows really how it is to race on an oval with this car. It’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be new for everybody; you have some good knowledge from all the practice we had on Tuesday."
WHAT EXPECTATIONS DO YOU HAVE WITH THIS NEW CAR WITH THE CHANGES THEY MADE?
“You know he acts a little bit different from the other car but I haven’t been in really heavy traffic like the race is to really understand how it does. It’s going to be different. It’s already different so it’s going to be a new experience in this heavy traffic."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT RACE DAY AND THE EMOTIONS YOU ARE GOING TO BE FEELING? “Usually I’m very calm, but when it gets closer to the time to go inside the car it’s much more emotional. As soon as I go through the front strait and see that crowd, it is an amazing feeling. It is my third year my second year was the same feeling. I’m sure this year is going to be the same. By the time I get into the car I try to disconnect from everything. Just try to get in race mode. “
JR HILDEBRAND, NO. 4 NATIONAL GUARD PANTHER RACING CHEVROLET: HAVE YOU LEARNED ENOUGH HEADED INTO RACE DAY TO BE COMFORTABLE IN THE PACK OF CARS? “We think so. It has been a little bit tough to do just because we are a one car team. We have been lucky that the other Chevy teams both Penske Racing and Andretti Autosport have kind of let us tag along when they are going to go out and do race runs. We feel like we’ve gotten about as much time in a big draft of cars as anybody has. Particularly this last Sunday felt pretty good about where we stood. It kind of remains to be seen what it is really going to be like to have 33 cars all on track at the same time, we feel pretty good about where we are."
WHAT MAKES THE NEW DW-12 CHASSIS A SAFER CHASSIS FOR YOU GUYS COME RACE DAY?
“I think the biggest things are that it is up to all of the current FIA specs in terms of the cock pit and the tub and all that kind of stuff and then some as compared to the previous chassis. We are much better protected just in any kind of accident. The DW-12 with the wheel guards and all that kind of stuff is intended to be much less susceptible to wheel to wheel contact. Those are sort of two of the primary issues of open wheel cars in general. They have certainly done quite a bit to try to address those things with this new car."
TALK ABOUT THE RACE ON SUNDAY: “The race is going to be tough. It’s almost kind of a mixture of maybe what last year’s race was with the old car and sort of the Indy lights race. I think it is going to be tough for guys to really pull away. You might see some separation throughout the field maybe the top five, six, seven cars being able to kind of break from the rest of the pack as always happens. No matter how fast you are no matter how good your car is being able to actually get away from people is going to be really difficult. I think that puts maybe a higher priority than ever on having a really strong race car to be able to run in traffic. In years past you could sort of get away with running a car that was just fast. Inevitably at some point you could manage to work your way up into the top-10. You could sort of keep people behind you just by virtue of the fact that your car was good. Whereas this year you are going to have to be able to pass guys and run side-by-side here and there, be able to last through a stint without going off. There are a lot of question marks that I think we all still kind of remain going into the race."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA, NO. 17 TEAM AFS ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET: WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM EACH OF YOUR TEAMMATES? “You pick up something from every one of them. Let’s say Marco (Andretti), Marco is a very aggressive driver he is a driver that you have to understand what his capabilities of driving are like. Then comes Hunter-Reay and Hinchcliffe which were pretty much on the same level same style of driving as well. Bea (Ana Beatriz) knowing that we are both like the rookies let’s say on the team. I have learned so much out of these guys. They really know around the place there are so many secrets around Indianapolis you never know until they start telling you."
WHEN YOU STEP INTO THE INDY LIGHTS CAR DO YOU HAVE TO SORT OF READJUST YOUR BRAIN?
“Big time, just sitting position already resets everything that is around you. I will say the timing is key to everything around this place. Everything goes slower in the Indy Lights but the timing is pretty much the same. You just have to keep an open mind to understanding the speed. Yes, a lot of difference but when you are out there it is the same for everybody. It’s hard. It was tough to get used to it but I guess it is something that work has shown to be strong."
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS, NO. 7 DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET: WHAT DO YOU THINK WOULD HELP THIS SPORT GROW, GET BETTER? “I think the continuity is the key thing. The TV package I think is pretty strong and getting stronger. I think that is the one thing you have to work around just make sure that people get to know the drivers and get familiar with the series and schedule and once you get that consistency with people not having to look for the races on TV and knowing where it is happening then it really starts to build up. I think the fan days we have it in terms of pure hard core race fans. After that if you want to really take off you have to reach the general audience which is much harder. That is when the competition is out. I think the series is doing a good job but it takes time. It doesn’t take much time to destroy it but it takes a lot of time to put it back together. I think we have seen a lot of good things happening in the last few years. As long as it keeps on going up then I think everybody has got to be pretty happy."
ARE YOU FINDING IT VERY SIMILAR HERE WHERE YOU ARE PLAYING A MOMENTUM GAME? WITH A HIGH DOWNFORCE, LOW POWER CONFIGURATION? “Yeah, I think there are very different ways of looking at this. I personally think that it wouldn’t be a bad thing to have more power and less downforce on the car. It would be less of a momentum racing, less of a pack race. We are not going to hit that kind of problem here because at the end of the day you can only go one by one into every corner and that stops pack racing right there. Yeah, for sure going to Texas and all these places we know it is going to be a problem again. I was one of the first ones to say ‘how do you expect to eliminate pack racing by going less power and equal or more downforce?’ I’m not so sure I’m getting the point."
ORIOL SERVIA, NO. 22 PANTHER/DREYER & REINBOLD RACING CHEVROLET: THOUGHTS ON SUNDAY’S RACE: “First thing – last year I started on the front and didn’t win it, so understood that is how you finish that counts. Not that we did it on purpose to crash on Saturday and start 27th (this year). But, it is going to be the closest kind of race we ever have at this track. So, if we have a good race car and good pit stops, which I think are going to be even more key than ever before. We definitely have a chance at winning this thing that I really really really…I must be the only one, I think, that really wants to win it (SMILES)."
IS THE RACING ON SUNDAY GOING TO BE SUBSTANTIALLY DIFFERENT WITH NEW CAR, NEW ENGINES ETC.: “I truly think so because even if a car is setup that can be like two miles faster than others, I think everybody else will stay in the draft, and nobody is able to escape like last year, or any other year. My car that was faster, if it could get its way to the front, it would leave. I don’t think it is going to happen. Again, it is going to be just about being smart. Staying out of trouble until the very end, and trying to have good restarts and good pit stops in the last part of the race. Plus it is going to be really, really hot. We’ve never run this car on an oval yet, and especially all those cars together. So, we’re going to lose a lot of downforce because of the heat and because of the traffic. You are going to need very well setup race car to be able to be at the front and win."
MENTALLY, HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR THAT? IN PREVIOUS YEARS, IN THE MID PART OF THE RACE, NOT THAT ANYONE CRUISES AT 220 MPH, BUT DRIVERS WOULD SETTLE IN ON SOMEWHAT AUTO PILOT FOR AWHILE TO LET THE LAPS WIND DOWN: “That is a good point. When you say middle of the race cruising, that is what’s I did last year. In the middle of the race, exactly I like for 20 laps, it seemed like it was awesome great and then the race finished and I wasn’t there, at the front anymore. We finished sixth. I just think we just know what we don’t know. You are going to have to have an open mind to be ready for whatever comes. There’s no way we can prepare too much about it. You just have to have a good day, and as I said, be kind of open minded to see what the car is going to feel like. Even if it doesn’t feel great, because I don’t’ think any car is going to feel great with the heat, try to think that the others are feeling the same, or worse. You have to take advantage of that."
ED CARPENTER, NO. 20 FUZZY’S PREMIUM ULTRA VODKA ED CARPENTER RACING CHEVROLET: ON THE IMPORTANCE OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500: “The 500 is reason I wanted to be a race car driver. It means everything to me. This is my ninth start and my first as a team owner, so this year’s race is very special. I think we have a very good race car after Sunday’s practice. I know I am starting back in the field, but this event will be so wide open due to the new cars and engines. I think you will see a lot of different contenders this year. Our Fuzzy’s team has a solid base of crew members and, if we can execute our plan, I truly believe we can race at the front. It would be so amazing if I can win this race."
THINKING ABOUT WINNING THE RACE THIS YEAR: “You always think about winning the Indy 500 and what it would be like to do it. I feel like I have been in position to win the race before and I think that is the case this year too. It’s hard to imagine how you would feel if you win the race. I know it will be emotional for me. I know it is emotional and devastating when things don’t go your way at Indy. When I finished fifth in 2008, I was happy but I felt like I had a better car than fifth that day. There is only one result that you feel great at Indy and, anything less, you just think about what might have been. You see Marco nearly win in his rookie and you think he would be happy. But as a driver, you know what he is going through. It’s tough because when you are that close, nothing else feels good to you. So I feel like we can be a contender this year, and that means if we don’t win the race, we’ll think about where things didn’t go our way."
HOW MUCH MORE CONFIDENT ARE YOU NOW THAT YOU HAVE CHEVY POWER? “I’m really proud to be a part of Team Chevy. We’ve had a great year as a group. We’ve won every pole and won every race up to this point. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep our streak alive for the brand. There’s probably 31 cars capable of winning this race. Hopefully the winner has a Bowtie on it."
KATHERINE LEGGE, NO. 6 TRUECAR DRAGON RACING CHEVROLET: WHAT IS YOUR RACE STRATEGY? “For us, we are so grateful to Chevrolet. We’re going to give it all that we can. We’re going to do everything we can to be up to speed as quickly as we can, but be smart about it. We want to now show what we’re made of. The team has been doing a wonderful job. Had a lot of catching up to do. We haven’t done any testing this year, and we’re not likely to at this stage. We don’t have any time to do it. It is just race after race after this. We are aware that we are behind, but we will push it as hard as we can to catch up."
ON BEING IN THE INDY 500: “Of course I am excited to be part of the Indy 500. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. But, I’m not allowing myself to get emotional about it until after the race. You have to be focused. Keep your blinkers on, otherwise you get distracted. You need to think about all the things you need to think about. Especially coming in as far behind as we were with the amount of track time. Yes, it is special and I’m sure I will have lots to say about it. But at the moment, I’m just trying to narrow everything going on outside of my peripheral vision and try to focus on the race at hand."