1st – Will Power, Penske Chevy
2nd – Romain Grosjean, Dale Coyne Rick Ware Honda
3rd – Colton Herta, Andretti Honda
THE MODERATOR: Will Power has joined us, the champion of the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix. First win of the season, fifth now on the IMS road course, 40th career win as the NTT INDYCAR Series has now picked up their ninth different winner this season. 11 different winners is the modern day record. One other stat I’ll throw your way: This is your sixth total win here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway between the oval and the road course, and that means now you tie Kyle Busch for most wins ever.
WILL POWER: Let’s hope he doesn’t win this weekend. (Laughter.)
THE MODERATOR: Obviously the difference for you, having clean air. That was big for you today, wasn’t it?
WILL POWER: It was, yeah. Once we got out in clean air, we were going. I don’t think anyone had a better car than us.
So back markers certainly make it tough in this series, and it’s a simple fix. You simply give those guys their lap back when it goes yellow and they won’t fight you. You don’t even have to mandate a blue. Jay? Jay Frye? Is he here?
THE MODERATOR: He’s not here.
WILL POWER: I’ve mentioned that to him from time to time.
THE MODERATOR: It was almost a 10-second advantage there, but whittled away as you had —
WILL POWER: Hinchcliffe.
THE MODERATOR: Hinch in front of you, and Herta —
WILL POWER: Yeah, I think he needed some coverage for his sponsor, so he was like, I need to be last but leading.
THE MODERATOR: Obviously getting off the schneid, as they call it, getting a win this season, how big is this for you?
WILL POWER: Oh, man, it’s a big relief. I think it’s great for the team, especially the guys on my car. They’ve been working hard. They’ve been flawless this year. They’ve really done the job, and I haven’t — if we’d had that sort of performance in the pits and just prep and all that last year, we probably would have won a lot more races.
Yeah, very happy for those guys, and just happy to be in Victory Lane, man. You always start to wonder when is the next one coming. It always comes down to doing your homework, working hard and putting it together, staying focused.
THE MODERATOR: This 40th win, by the way, breaks a tie with Al Unser Sr. for fifth on the all-time NTT INDYCAR Series list.
Q. What is it like, obviously you said relieved to win, but to have that car on a day like day and just basically be in control, those are rare moments. What’s it like in the cockpit, et cetera?
WILL POWER: It’s just great when you get in that zone where you’re just seeing the tenths grow behind you because you have it on your dash, you can see, and you just start getting a little nitpicking, like little tiny details and slowly pulling away. It’s a great feeling. It’s right in my zone, right in my wheelhouse when I’m like that. That was another day like that for me.
Yeah, love it. It’s my life. Like I just love competing, but it’s just winning is absolutely what makes me happy. I’m very moody when I haven’t won for a while; just ask my wife.
Q. Seems like every time you do something really good, you carve a deeper niche into INDYCAR racing history. What does that mean to you?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, you look at the stats for sure when you’re up there, and you’re aware. I’m aware how far I am off Mario for all-time poles and I’m aware where I sit now in the all-time win list. I know that Michael Andretti is on 42, and that’s a pretty — Mario Andretti I think I can catch on poles, which can be very tough these days, but man, I was very close to getting another one yesterday, and Michael is 42 on wins. Two heroes of mine and two absolute legends of the sport, and just blows my mind that I have a name close to them in the record books. Crazy. That was some serious name dropping, but my name is there. It’s crazy. Who would have thought?
Q. With your off-track performance, you may be a duo with your brother in stand-up.
WILL POWER: No, stand-up is way harder than it looks. I may give it a go, but much harder than it looks.
Q. Race drivers have superstitions; when you see a late-race caution this year, did you have any superstitions today like what happened earlier, like Detroit and things?
WILL POWER: Oh, no, you just — you certainly have those thoughts because it just blows my mind some of the things that can go wrong at such a critical time, but all I was thinking about is I’m getting this bloody restart; there’s no way I’m giving this win up. So you know, I just focus hard on where I’m going to go and play a bit of a game to make sure I get a bit of a jump.
Q. After you won this race last year you were talking about how you want to drive well into your 40s, you feel like you’re at your peak. You signed the contract extension right before the season starts and then things just kind of tailed off –.
WILL POWER: I know.
Q. You said you don’t ever know when that next one is going to come, but did thoughts creep into your mind a little bit this year?
WILL POWER: It was such a weird slump for me because normally when I’m not winning it’s not because of lack of pace, but there have been times this year where it’s been a struggle to get the pace, the car right. I start digging a lot deeper and trying to understand like what is going on, why am I not fast? I couldn’t just lose it all in a year.
So yeah, you just start going back to your old ways of doing stuff when you were super quick, and yeah, you can’t leave anything on the table. Yep, weird slump. I have to say it’s the first sort of slump I’ve had as far as performance has gone in my career, where — I wouldn’t say it’s exactly a lack of pace. It was doing mistakes in qualifying, which is very unusual for me. I’d usually really put it together.
Last year I put it together the best I ever had putting laps together, like zero mistakes and was so good at just getting it done, and this year I’ve been on laps that will get me through each round and then I’ll make a little mistake or something will go wrong, I’ll get traffic. All that is so important to control, and I wasn’t.
Q. So when you dug into it, what did you find? Was it just technique? Was it mental prep?
WILL POWER: Well, it’s things — it’s a bit of mental prep and it’s also last week when you have three laps to do your lap, and on a street course it can go yellow pretty easy, and that’s exactly what happened. I was on a lap and I aborted it, and next lap I started which would have got me through, Josef went in the wall and went yellow. I should know that. I should know that you cannot ever be out of that top six. Every lap you’ve got to update yourself into the top six, and it’s just not being on the game, on the ball. You should know that. It cost me a potential chance to be in the Fast Six.
It’s little details. I came in here and it’s like, I am not — every lap counts, simply, until I feel comfortable again, and that’s what I did.
Q. Speaking of last week, you had a couple of incidents in the race with teammates. Was it a difficult week from that perspective?
WILL POWER: Well, it was, yeah. Certainly the incident with McLaughlin was not good, and yeah, I didn’t see Roger after the race a good hour there and said, I need to win a race before I speak to him again, so fortunately I came here and did that.
Q. Speculation was there was a chat with Roger after last week’s race.
WILL POWER: I didn’t see him, no. I kind of saw Tim and it was like, yeah, I’ve got to go.
Q. Will you go see Roger now?
WILL POWER: I explained myself the best I could to Tim what happened and then went to my bus and didn’t come back. I wasn’t avoiding him, I just didn’t go see him.
Q. Obviously there’s some frustration being behind Hinchcliffe during that time. How were you able to keep in check and under wraps and be able to focus on running?
WILL POWER: Well, I actually thought, the way I caught him, I thought, we could probably get past him no problem. When I got to him and I saw he was using Push-to-Pass to keep me behind, I’m like, it’s just insane that we have this in INDYCAR. Even the second-place guy doesn’t like it, and the third-place guy because if I get past him then they’ve got to work to get past him. It just ruins races. I don’t even think the guys that are trying to stay on the lead lap like it because they don’t want to be a pain in the ass. They would like to get out of the way, and it’s such a simple fix. Just bloody give them their lap back if it goes yellow. Give anyone who’s a lap down their lap back. Give them one simple fix. It just blows my mind that we are at such a competitive series, you have nine different winners already, and no one consistently gets on pole, and it’s just a different pole sitter every week, and yet you’ve got to come around and fight someone who’s the last guy? I mean, there’s no series in the world that does that.
And we’ve asked for this. They’ve got to do something. They need to change it. They should change it. There’s a simple fix. It’s just — it pisses me off, man. Like just crazy that you’re racing someone who’s a lap down, it’s insane, or going a lap down. It’s too competitive to do that. Everyone works too hard, spends way too much money to be racing some guy that’s a lap down that’s having a bad day.
Anyway, it was a good day to win, though. (Laughter.) I just thought I’d get that point across when I can.
Q. When you came in the pit at the end, it also happened to be when James pitted, and for a moment it looked like you had a little bit of a —
WILL POWER: It was in second gear. I stalled and then I re-clutched and let go and fortunately it started.
Q. And I think we heard you over the radio say something like, oh, Christ, when you realized you were behind Hinch.
WILL POWER: Yeah, when he was pitting, that’s when I’m like, we are going to be behind this dude. I was kind of relieved when the yellow came, like thank God he’s gone, but yeah, I don’t reckon he wants to do that. I don’t reckon he’d like to do it, it’s just the rule and he can fight to stay on the lead lap. It’s just a bad rule.
Q. We tried this format last year, only no fans were allowed. This year fans are here and everybody is here. What do you think of it so far?
WILL POWER: Oh, I think it’s cool to really the top-level motorsports in the U.S. to bring them together as a double-header. But the fans see both — you see a lot of fans with NASCAR shirts on, a lot of fans of INDYCAR, and they’re all mixed in. I think it’s really — only Roger would come up with that. What a great idea.
Q. We’ve seen drivers, too, hang out in the garages, so they’re as curious as maybe the fans are.
WILL POWER: Yeah, actually I saw — that’s the first time I’ve ever seen the NASCAR Penske Cup drivers in our transporter, and they were like, wow, this is amazing, all joined together, because their trucks all join together. We’re like, we’ve got to upgrade. It’s going to cost Roger money, this.
Q. An expensive weekend perhaps?
WILL POWER: It’s like, yeah, we need what these guys have. They’ll say, well, we can have what we have as long as you give us the paycheck you get.
Q. I wanted to ask about whether there was any difference in the Chevrolet and Honda performance today or whether the speed down the straight was more governed by which tires you were on and how much momentum you could take off that great kind of sweeping last corner.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I think — well, the tires made the biggest difference. I think the manufacturers are so close right now. You only see a difference when you’ve got some really slow corners where I think Honda has a little bit more torque, but as far as just power level, they’re very close, very close. Yeah, you don’t really see a performance difference in engines at all.
Q. And also, I don’t want to say it was easy. Obviously it wasn’t easy. But how easy was it for you to keep like 75 —
WILL POWER: (Answers phone.) It’s Alex Rossi, sorry. Thanks, man.
ALEXANDER ROSSI: I’m happy for you. I’m also glad I’m going home, so have fun with that.
WILL POWER: Please tell me you didn’t have another bad race.
ALEXANDER ROSSI: No, I finished fourth.
WILL POWER: I was like, man, if you had another bad race, I was going to be like — I broke the spell, though, dude. I spoke the spell. You’ve got to win now. Hey, I’ve got to get back to press conference. Thanks, man.
Sorry, David. I had to answer. Rossi and I have been just having the most horrible time, so I’m glad I broke the spell.
THE MODERATOR: Whatever you brought to the table you should take to Rossi next weekend.
WILL POWER: No, I want to win, so screw him.
THE MODERATOR: This is like the 800-pound gorilla off your shoulder; you finally got a win this year.
WILL POWER: Man, I am absolutely going hard when I go to sleep tonight, like just going to sleep. That’s what I do. That’s a big night for me. Definitely going back, good food, green tea with the peppermint in it, just go to sleep. It’s an awesome night. How people do it differently, they go out and absolutely get slaughtered, but yeah. Conor Daly, Scott McLaughlin — no.
Q. I think you should bring back the ice bath, Will.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I’ve got it there. I’ve got to get my bus driver to get it ready, man.
Q. To go back to the Hinch thing, I wanted to ask you sort of a post-race interpretation about that again because I know when you were on the radio and just after the race things can be quite heated and you get caught up in the moment, there’s a lot of adrenaline going on. But do you think there was a predetermined move from Andretti to slow you down? Do you think it was all planned and that’s what they were trying to do, or do you feel like it was happenstance, circumstance that that’s just how the race played out?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, obviously Andretti wouldn’t be telling him to get out of the way. I think if it was a Chevy engine, whoever — if it was someone at Chevy, probably would. Hinch was just fast enough for me not to get close enough to kind of have a run when I did. He’d use Push-to-Pass.
You know, you can’t blame the driver. It’s the team that would be telling him stay on the lead lap in case it goes yellow, which it did, and it’s just a really bad rule. I wish I could come on the radio and say, look, if Hinch lets me go, I will let him go when it goes yellow. He can have that position back. That’s literally what you’d be doing is all they’d have to do is just give him the lap back. It would just stop it completely.
You have a gentlemen’s agreement amongst drivers, hey, if the leader comes up on you, you let him go; you’re getting your lap back anyway. And second place and third place.
Q. Will, looking forward to next week, how excited are you now to get this off your back and head to the next track? And two, does this win smooth over things between you and Roger?
WILL POWER: Smooth? I don’t even know if there needs to be any smoothing. Like I said, I never spoke to him. Roger loves when you win, let me tell you. He loves when you win. It would hopefully — yeah, Roger has been around so long, he’s had teammates take each other out, he’s had everything thrown at him over his 50-plus years in motorsports. I don’t think it was a huge surprise to him. Yeah, just bad call from me to do that in that situation.
But yeah, teammates, we’re all good. We have no problem. No problem. Scott — we all talked, and yep, all good. I’ll go see Roger after this, now I feel confident that I’ll be okay. I’m just making a bit of a joke of it because it kind of is funny.
Q. I’m glad you can laugh about it.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I laugh about everything now. Once you’re 40 you don’t care. It’s like, you’re going to be dead soon anyway.
Q. Names like Mario and Michael, I think you’re probably okay.
WILL POWER: Yeah, this 40 years to get to here went really fast, so I’m sure the next 20 to 40 is going to go even faster. Going to be dead soon, so it doesn’t matter. Say what you want, do what you want. That’s the best way.
THE MODERATOR: Wrapping up today’s race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix. We’ll be joined shortly by the champion, Will Power, and second place Romain Grosjean. Third place Colton Herta has already joined us here to wrap up his day. Third podium of the season for Colton. There was one point in the race you were kind of reeling in Will. Tell us about that and your day overall.
COLTON HERTA: I think it was only because — it was really only because he had a little bit of, I think, pressure from Hinch and stuff. Hinch was in front of him. That was the only point I was really able to catch him. He was on rails today. I couldn’t really do anything else any other time. He was just better, a tenth or two each lap. So yeah, we lacked a little bit to him.
I think Romain was probably a little bit better than us, too, to be honest, but we held him off for as long as we could until he got back by us on the restart there.
Yeah, no, it felt good. Great turnaround from practice. We really didn’t have any sort of pace. We finished P26 there, and that was pretty much legit pace.
Yeah, happy to get top 5 in qualifying and move on with the podium. A lot stronger in the race than what I thought we were going to be, so that’s a nice surprise.
THE MODERATOR: Obviously Romain Grosjean also joins us, second straight second-place finish here at IMS road course, second career podium in the NTT INDYCAR Series. Clearly there was something you enjoy about the road course here at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Well, I guess. I’ve got the key to the speedway, so it feels like home. I’ll give them back, you know. But I have the key, so it’s home.
No, I mean, we’ve had a good car here. The truck was quite different from when we came first, so we had to adapt a little bit the setup to make it work. Yesterday I think we had pole, but I made a small mistake in Turn 8, 9, 10, which is probably where we were the weakest this weekend compared to where we were the strongest in May, so the track did change a little bit with the curbs. So we can analyze that, but definitely the car was good today.
We know we are very strong on the brake, and in the restart I gave it a go on Colton. I’ve been racing him for some time, and I know he’s a super fun track and it’s one as a driver you can go and you know he’s going to leave you the place just for a good fight. I wouldn’t do that with anyone, but with Colton it works, and I was hoping to do the same on Will on the last restart, but he went early and just couldn’t quite keep up with him.
But I’m happy, happy for the team and looking forward to tomorrow.
Q. Romain, I was going to ask you, you kind of touched on it, where was Will the strongest out there compared to your car today, especially on that last stint?
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Well, I think on the last stint we were stronger than he was. I believe we catch him quite a bit, didn’t we. Yeah, we did catch him quite a bit. I think where he was better than me on the first stint, on the blacks. We pulled away, we had a very slow first pit stop, and I think those first three stints, as well, he made a gap. The last two stints I believe we came back on the game, and he had 70 something amount of Push-to-Pass left when I was on zero for the last few laps.
I knew it was going to be tight and tough. But I think we were a touch faster during the race than he was.
Q. For Colton, you’re out there pounding around there and stuff, but how frustrating was it today when you just kind of consider what you’ve got and you’ve got to just take what you’ve got? You know what I’m saying?
COLTON HERTA: Yeah, it’s really frustrating and hard to accept that you just can’t be the fastest sometimes, that you just don’t have the car on that day. Fortunately that day was for us, but it wasn’t far off. We still had good pace and finished on the podium, so we weren’t that far off. We just needed a little bit here and there to kind of make up the deficit to Will.
THE MODERATOR: Guys you thought had a good car yesterday maybe didn’t happen today and vice versa. It was difficult to kind of predict what was going to happen in this thing.
COLTON HERTA: It was also really weird how many guys struggled that were really quick here in May and then vice versa, where the McLaren cars were nowhere in May and they were really good — yeah, I don’t know, really weird. Strange weekend.
Q. For Romain, the family is here still, watching you race in person, which was a rarity, I believe, overseas. This is not the first time this has happened now; does it have a deeper meaning as you go along? It’s pretty cool to have the fam here, right?
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: One thing that is easy to forget when you do that as a job is that you started doing racing for fun, and that’s why it was your passion, and then you get into that big washing machine and pressure and so on and you forget the fun about it.
This year really what I’ve found in INDYCAR is that I take it seriously but with some lightness, and that works well. So having my family around is amazing, bringing the kids everywhere. But then when it’s time to go to work I go to work and I do it seriously, but without taking myself seriously. That’s a great combo for me. For me and every day, it’s a Sunday, race day, I’m happy. We’re going to go racing. In INDYCAR the beauty of it is that you don’t need to be on pole position to have a good race car and come back.
Maybe Nashville was a bit extreme, but you know you’ve got a chance in the race, and it’s just cool to go there knowing that everyone has got the option to win.
Q. Romain, there was some chatter maybe that you were thinking or possibility you might do the Cup race here with the association with Rick Ware, and did you ever talk to him about it and/or have you talked to him about getting in the Cup car in the future?
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Well, I wouldn’t do it in the same weekend, that’s for sure. I think it’s pushing — it’s hard enough if you want to be competitive in INDYCAR; you need to focus on it. I don’t think you have time to go jumping in another car.
Obviously they look good on track. I was surprised yesterday, I wanted to watch them — even though it was only — it was Xfinity, but they were good. They sound great and they could be fun, and then I actually drove one in Austin with Tony Stewart back in 2018, and Kevin Magnussen and I, we had a lot of fun. It was cool. It’s heavy. It’s got a little downforce. But it was fun. Again, never say never.
I’m also tempted by a midget. I want to see the dirt track down there, and who knows, I may give it a go eventually.
Q. BC39 is in a couple days.
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yeah, Conor Daly is doing it, and he says, well, I can get you a car. I’m in New York City with the family so I can’t make it, but I’m not ruling out.
Q. Romain, we saw that you used your Push-to-Pass early. Was that by design, and did that hurt you in the end?
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: It didn’t hurt. It didn’t make us any favor to try to go for the win, but I needed to go through some back markers early on, and I did use it quite a bit with Chilton, and he used it to defend. So you burn it for kind of not much. Colton was really good in traffic. He was just going by. I need to go there. I need to pass, as well, and probably on some races it just goes faster than others. Some races it’s been very easy to keep some, and some other races, like hey, yes, I was down 25 laps to the end or so.
Q. For both of you, some drivers were having trouble following other cars. You kind of get stuck at that one- to two-second gap. How tough was it to close up and actually make a pass?
COLTON HERTA: Yeah, if you’re pretty similar on pace, it would be very difficult to pass. You kind of have to sit there and wait for a mistake, and also on the red tires, on used reds at least, and you have to do 25 laps, it’s easy to overcook them, and if you’re battling and trying to stay under a second behind somebody you can really cook the tires and destroy them.
It’s definitely tricky. You kind of have to wait and see what tires people start on, and when they go to the blacks, because the blacks are so far off at this track, way more than any other track that we go to, that it makes a huge difference, and if you’re on the blacks you’re pretty much a sitting duck.
Q. Romain, Nigel Mansell won a one-mile oval in New Hampshire, beating Paul Tracy, Emerson Fittipaldi. He called it the purest form of racing. You’re going to race on an oval; what is your preconception of racing on ovals?
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: You know, obviously I did a test day end of July, and there was so much to learn. It’s so different from every type of racing I’ve done before. So next week I’m a rookie, a proper rookie. I’ve been named a rookie all year long. I don’t feel like one. Next week I am one. I just want to gradually go for it, improve myself, learn about it.
It’s a weird one. The cars drive itself. People are telling you that’ll be fine, and you’re like, what are they talking about; I drive my car. On the ovals I think the car does the work and you control the speed, and it’s quite a bit of a strange feeling.
Q. How much are you looking forward to next week?
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yeah, very much. I think it’s just going to be a great experience. I want to see how it’s going. Everyone seems to be enjoying ovals there. I still prefer road courses, but I like braking late. But I’m looking forward to it and seeing what we can get out of it.
Q. Colton, Andretti Autosport has been chipping away at it all year. How close do you think the team is to getting back to where it was?
COLTON HERTA: Yeah, it was a really good step this weekend. Jack and Alex were in the top 5 for most of the weekend, and yeah, so I think it just shows. This is one of the weekends where I got a lot of help from them switching over because the car is diabolical in FP1, so we switched over to their setups and found a lot of time with that.
Yeah, it helps a lot for me, but also it’s good for them that they’re chipping away at it and close to where they want to be.
Q. Romain, you had a whole new neighborhood show up this week of some other drivers; did they infiltrate your motor home area or did they just put up their own subdivision, the NASCAR drivers?
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yes, they took a lot. It’s not acceptable.
COLTON HERTA: They ruined our curbs, too.
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: And they ruined our curbs. It was nice and smooth and now it’s bumpy.
Q. Where did they move you, and is it kind of a mixed neighborhood with NASCAR drivers?
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yeah, obviously they took the main lot, but I think generally it’s cool to have NASCAR and INDYCAR on the same weekend. For the fans it’s amazing. For us it’s cool to see them. I guess for them it’s cool to see us. We’re all passionate about racing. We do different categories.
But at the end it’s cool there’s a place for everyone, and I think some of the drivers may come and watch the race tomorrow, and just a great weekend for the fans. Indianapolis is a place you expect to see INDYCAR, but now you can see INDYCAR and NASCAR on the same weekend.
Q. Did it take a little bit of getting used to where the INDYCAR paddock was this weekend?
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Yeah, it changed, but every track is different, and that makes you feel it’s like not the same one.
Q. You’re now two points behind Scott for Rookie of the Year; is that something that you knew you wanted to fight for once the season got going?
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: When you miss four races it’s not easy to fight for a championship, but definitely it’s cool to be back in the game. Saying that, Scott is really strong on ovals, so he may be strong next week and score some good points.
I think generally I’ve been impressed with Scott this season, coming from V-8 Supercars, jumping in INDYCAR, sitting in the seat and doing what he’s done, it’s been very impressive. So yeah, it’s cool to be catching up back. I think we could have more points if it wasn’t for Nashville and Detroit where we didn’t get very lucky.
We just go racing, we have fun and we do the best we can. I think for the team it’s important to stay in the lead, leading second, and if I can get Rookie of the Year it would be nice, but if he has it, he would deserve it because he’s probably having a better rookie season than I am.
Q. Romain, Formula 1 is on their summer break; have you been in contact with any of your friends from F1 about coming over here while they’re on vacation and taking in a race?
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: We’ve seen Alex Albon in the paddock here, ex-Formula 1 driver. I congratulate Esteban Ocon for the win obviously in Hungary, which is a big thing. But I haven’t heard much from Formula 1. It’s a very different paddock and you don’t get so much relationship than you do here. I texted Colton after the pole in Nashville because he kick our ass badly —
Q. I’ve heard other people say that, that this paddock is a lot friendlier.
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: It’s an incredible paddock. I can’t explain it, but hopefully it’s not changing because it’s beautiful.
Q. Quick question for Romain. Obviously you’ve been on the podium here in Indy twice, but particularly this weekend, how much confidence does that give you going forward to next week given that you’ve never raced on an oval before?
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Well, as I say, it’s very different, and it’s been different. It’s going to be a different type of racing. Coming here we knew we kind of had our favorite bibs to defend, just because we had the pole last time out, and we were probably the fastest if it wasn’t for the blue flags traffic.
We came here straight from FP1 and realized that the track was very different. The curbs were a bit different, it was a bit different, so we had to do some work and not just the setup, but next week is a brand new thing, so let’s see where it goes.
Q. Is there any nervousness on your part going into next weekend or are you just excited about the whole experience?
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: I’m excited and also I think you need to respect ovals like street courses. There is not much room for mistake, and that’s something you need to keep in mind rather than just trying to go balls out straight away.
Q. Romain, I think it’s seven cars you’re ahead of now in the points that have done the whole season, whereas obviously you haven’t. Does that give you any kind of extra motivation or any kind of intent for next year to really give that full season a go?
ROMAIN GROSJEAN: Well, you know, I’m doing my first oval next week. That’s going to give me feedback of what it is and what I’m waiting to do in the future. What can I do, but I think my family and myself, we feel very good in the U.S. We’re very happy here. We’ve had an amazing summer. We’d be willing to come over and give it a little bit more time to INDYCAR.
Q. Colton, last weekend not too many positives, but you needed a bit of a rebound this weekend. How quickly did that come for you? Were you kind of over last weekend as soon as you got in the car for practice or did it take a little bit longer to kind of feel your way in this weekend?
COLTON HERTA: No, I mean, once you’re in the car I was fully focused on this weekend, but it did kind of take a while to get over that. Yeah, I was pretty frustrated at myself for the next few days. But yeah, this is the best thing that you can do to forget about it is get back in the race car, especially when you have a good weekend after. It makes it that much more enjoyable and forgettable, I guess, for Nashville.
Q. Last weekend’s kind of ending just was heartbreaking. You had to try to chase down Marcus Ericsson. What did you learn from last weekend to translate into today to try to chase down Will Power for the lead?
COLTON HERTA: Yeah, I think it’s easy to say like, I guess, just sitting second and that’s all you’re going to get, but on a weekend like that with how much speed I got, I couldn’t see the race going any other way than me winning. I had tunnel vision with that, and I just got frustrated in the car. I think I just overdid it.
And then yeah, it didn’t make me any happier after I crashed out.
This was good for a nice little reset, and great job by the team for giving me a great car to kind of get it done this weekend.