INDYCAR MEDIA CONFERENCE
May 19, 2021
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
THE MODERATOR: Welcome to day two at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway practicing for the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500. We expect to have up here Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indianapolis 500 champion, as well as Conor Daly and Ed Carpenter. But beating them to the punch, as he often does in this series, Scott Dixon, the 2008 Indy 500 champion and of course the six-time and reigning NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion.
Tell us about your day a little bit. What did you learn?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it was definitely pretty interesting. I think as most will say, the big times don't really mean much. You just kind of get a bit lucky and throw them up, but I think our cars definitely have good speed, all four in the top 8 there, which is good to see. Again, I think it doesn't mean too much, but as far as race stuff, at least being able to get speed out of the car is always kind of nice.
I don't know, yesterday felt more comfortable than today to be honest. I think track conditions were definitely different. Wind direction changes this track, as always.
So yeah, we've got a long list of stuff to work through. We'll kind of debrief tonight and see what the other three got up to, as well, and just see if we can kind of zero in on some stuff. Yeah, I wouldn't say happy. Definitely got some work to do, man.
THE MODERATOR: Worried about no tow or just kind of working on your race car right now.
SCOTT DIXON: I was actually surprised to see so many people doing qual sims today, which was very strange. So I don't know. Yeah, the no tows, I don't know, we were just in race runs all day today.
ED CARPENTER: Yeah, I was surprised, too, because we were out there thinking there was going to be a group, and everyone started doing Q sims, and I was like, hmm, I guess we'll just wait.
THE MODERATOR: Ed Carpenter joins us, as well.
Q. Scott, four in the top 8, and Ed, you've got your guys together. How important is that to replicate the speed when it's spread across all the drivers on your team?
ED CARPENTER: I mean, the speed charts don't necessarily mean a ton. Those are more representative of just getting a bunch of cars in front of you with the right gap and putting up a time. The majority of the running we're doing, working in traffic, they're 2:17s.
I mean, it's nice for the team, depending on the time sheets. But I think more importantly we're all feeling pretty good and making progress with the cars. Soon we'll find out what we have for speed, too.
SCOTT DIXON: I totally agree. It's just by circumstance sometimes, but it is nice to have speed. I'd rather be knocking out a lot of quick times at ease than being down on the bottom and scraping the barrel. I think our cars in the past have had decent speed in race-winning configurations, but as Ed sort of commented on, it doesn't really do you much good in the race. You need to be able to stay close, be able to move through the pack if you have any upsets or mistakes or if you even start a little further back at the initial start of the race. So yeah, it's definitely all about making sure you can stay close.
Q. Also there's been a little bit of disappointment in the garage with the decision today by the mayor that it's going to be June 7th before the mask thing is lifted. You could have probably had more people in here for race day. What are your reactions to it?
ED CARPENTER: I don't know, I thought we were following CDC guidelines. I guess that's all I'll say.
SCOTT DIXON: Didn't the President say you don't have to wear one?
ED CARPENTER: Yeah, but I don't know. That's all I'm going to say.
SCOTT DIXON: I don't know. I get confused --
ED CARPENTER: It is confusing.
SCOTT DIXON: There's lots of people with authority.
ED CARPENTER: I thought the internet had all the truths. That's where I got it from.
SCOTT DIXON: That's very dangerous.
Q. But the prospect of the fact that there could have been more people --
ED CARPENTER: All joking aside and me taking jabs, I'm super excited that we do have the ability to have the fans that we have here. It's great having fans in the garage area with us. I don't want to say we took for granted the fans being back there, but it really is nice. You get to know people over the years, and it's great to see that they're still with us.
THE MODERATOR: Tony Kanaan joins us, 2013 Indy 500 champion. Tell us about the day and your afternoon, fifth quick on the overall speed chart, TK.
TONY KANAAN: It was pretty good. We're obviously working on what we need for the race. We went out with the teammates, did a few long runs. Nothing out of the ordinary, just really trying to figure out what we need for next weekend.
THE MODERATOR: As far no-tow qual, seems like a lot of guys were out there doing qual sims. Here we are on day two, though.
TONY KANAAN: Really?
THE MODERATOR: That's what Dixon said.
TONY KANAAN: People doing qual sims?
ED CARPENTER: Dude, where have you been?
SCOTT DIXON: Were you not watching? Yes, Tony there was lots of Q sims.
ED CARPENTER: Tony was buying Bitcoin at that stage of the day.
TONY KANAAN: Yeah, I was trying to help Ed and his team to run the third car.
ED CARPENTER: Thank you.
TONY KANAAN: So actually, no, I did not see that, so I was busy trying to make my car better for the race. I was definitely not doing qualifying sims, that's for sure.
Q. For the two ECR guys, Rinus's win, what kind of a boost did that give the team coming in here?
CONOR DALY: I mean, I think the team has done an incredible job, obviously. Both of our cars were fast last weekend, which is great, and I think our cars have a lot of speed here, as well. I know my own journey with the team has probably been a little bit more difficult, but I think we've definitely rounded a nice corner for sure recently, and I think they've done a lot for me personally because I think my style has required a little bit more work with this generation car.
I think it's great. I mean, if the team is winning, that's great. Know what I mean? I think it's good for Ed, it's good for all of our partners, it's good for everyone involved. I would also like to have a trophy, though, too. I think that's why we keep trying every day, we keep showing up and ready to do the job.
ED CARPENTER: We'll get you a trophy.
Q. You could take his from him. He's younger.
CONOR DALY: No, he's a young lad, he deserves it.
Q. Ed, he had said that he felt the team was pretty excited for the Indy 500. He felt that the win last week would have elevated the team to another level.
ED CARPENTER: I mean, I think anytime you win a race, it's so hard to win races in this series, so anytime a driver or car on your team wins a race, I think it does lift everyone up. You don't get to celebrate the Indy GP as long as you do some other races because we're just turning the page and getting ready for the 500, but I think it makes it easier for the guys that come in to work excited about spending most of their hours out here for the rest of the month, and they deserve it. They've done a fantastic job.
Q. That was the first win since 2016 for you --
ED CARPENTER: Yep, it had been a while.
Q. What does that do for your program?
ED CARPENTER: You know, I think it tells us we're doing the right things and using our resources in the right way, using our people in the right way, and the next step is just being consistent week in, week out, every type of circuit.
Historically we've been pretty good at the Indy road course, so I think we expect to be strong here, but we just have to maintain a level of consistency.
Q. For the veterans on the stage, I asked the same thing to the Indy 500 winners who came in yesterday. There's so much talk about these young kids that are winning now, but now here we are at Indy, which is a track that favors experience, and knowing this and knowing how to race it, I'm wondering if you guys feel at any sort of advantage to having been here and lived this and to know how to go through two weeks.
SCOTT DIXON: I think there's pros on cons on both sides to be honest. I remember when I first came here it was kind of nice not to know what was right or wrong, so you can definitely get stuck in your ways. But honestly, no, I think some of the cars I saw today that were really fast were the younger guys. I don't think it's always an advantage. If you've got a strong team and a lot of depth to the team, then you can get up to speed very quickly, and I expect them to be extremely competitive come the race.
TONY KANAAN: I agree. I think sometimes not knowing, you come in with your mind a little bit more clear. We keep going back, you know, when I did this... We have these theories that sometimes can get you in trouble, so I agree with Scott. I think it's a good mix.
I think by the time we get to 20 laps to go, we'll see how many veterans and how many young guys get up there, then we'll see. That's when the race starts.
Q. Have you seen anyone out there that's young that you're just like, whoa, look at that guy?
ED CARPENTER: I think there's a lot of good cars right now. So much of it's dependent on where you are in line, I think, can change the way you look quite a lot right now. But I think there's more cars looking good than not, so it's hard to really say.
Q. Conor, can you just say some things about America and --
CONOR DALY: Well, I didn't know if anyone would ask me a question up here, but it feels good to be up here with these three incredibly talented gentlemen.
I mean, our car has been great, so our car looks incredible yet again, U.S. Air Force, honoring the Red Tails, super cool scheme. It's been fun so far.
Yeah, so I mean, to be fast two days in a row, we want to keep that going. I think it's -- I've been in the opposite position before where you're driving around and saving your life all day and you're like, how on earth am I 28th. So to be driving around and kind of more towards the sharp end is just a really nice feeling. I'm just really pumped to have the car that we've got and the team support that we've got right now.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports