INDYCAR MEDIA CONFERENCE
May 28, 2021
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
THE MODERATOR: We'll open with Scott Dixon.
SCOTT DIXON: With the whether conditions, super stuck for everyone, easy to pass back in the pack, which was definitely interesting, which may show how the race is going to be come Sunday.
Hopefully it warms up a little bit to create some separation, but we got through what we needed to. We got the miles on the engine that we needed to. Ran through some fuel mixtures and things like that. Did the full tank stuff and all that, so it was good.
THE MODERATOR: Looking at low 70s and sunny on Sunday.
SCOTT DIXON: Hopefully they missed that by a bit, and it's going to be 80.
WILL POWER: I saw low 60s. The most recent.
THE MODERATOR: Depends who you talk to.
We'll take questions.
Q. Will, much better day for Penske today. Is this what you knew all along, once you were out of qualifying trim you would be much better?
WILL POWER: We have been. Low boost race trim we've been very good all the time. It's just a bit confusing why we're not fast in the qualifying high boost level.
Yes, haven't really ventured far from our original setup from the last couple weeks. Yeah, in a good window, got a new engine obviously. It's probably a little bit better. Felt good, felt good. It's just going to be a matter of catching a good yellow or if it's cool you can pass. Hoping for a cooler day. We'll see what happens.
Q. Roger said this morning, the question was are the cars going to be okay on Sunday, and he said our cars are always good on Sunday. Is that accurate?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, based on practice, yes. We've had pretty good cars. Even last year in the race, they were reasonable. Obviously starting way back there just makes it super hard.
Q. You each have said two different things. You said you hope it's cool on Sunday, Scott hopes it's warmer. Some people actually called today racing, the racing was amazing today. What is the better show for the fans?
WILL POWER: Cooler.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it would be a better show. I don't think you can call it racing. It's just easier for everybody. It's a good show, but it's just easy.
Q. Selfishly you want it warmer?
SCOTT DIXON: I think it will be better for Power, too, to be warmer. I think their cars would be better. I think the better cars always find their way to the front.
WILL POWER: It's pretty tough back there. Either way...
SCOTT DIXON: More chance of a lucky outcome if it's cold.
Q. Conor, what time do you and Ferrucci throw down so we're all there?
CONOR DALY: I don't really care. I'm happy to do so. Just kind of crazy. It was a bit ridiculous. I don't really mind. It was on track, he hits the curb in turn two, nearly crash, but also decides to drive me all the way into the grass.
WILL POWER: Who is that?
CONOR DALY: Santino. Earlier on when I passed him, the guy tries to, like, I don't know. I was like I thought this is Carb Day. I get it, but I thought we were practicing. I didn't know we were sacrificing our vehicles for a prize today.
Did you win anything today?
SCOTT DIXON: No.
WILL POWER: I won keeping my job.
CONOR DALY: Practice does that?
WILL POWER: Just joking. I'm just kidding.
THE MODERATOR: One day at a time, Will?
WILL POWER: I'm just hanging by a string, man (laughter). I'm just joking. I'm good. I'm good.
Q. Conor, do you feel you've had a good two weeks?
CONOR DALY: We were until we went out today. Completely different. It's actually very confusing.
WILL POWER: Loose?
CONOR DALY: I won't tell you.
WILL POWER: It was loose for me. Massive push.
CONOR DALY: We were pretty good. I think it was just a much more difficult science project today. I think when you work towards the days getting hotter and hotter, we thought we made the right moves. I was very happy Sunday afternoon. Sunday afternoon I was like let's go racing right now. Now I want another four days of practice.
WILL POWER: How much practice we have, engineers still want to try stuff. It's crazy.
CONOR DALY: Tough, for sure. I think we made some progress towards the end. We're not bad, but I didn't feel as sporty as before. We'll have to put our thinking caps on, go through our notes.
Q. Obviously Sunday is going to be a little sunnier, probably a little warmer. Do you experiment with practice today for setups for Sunday or for the conditions you ran in today?
WILL POWER: You try to run the downforce level that you'd run on Sunday. The track temp will certainly spread things out. If you have a clear day, it's such a cool track temp today, everything works together, also keeps the tires under you. Track temp will certainly change the game, even if it was a cool temperature like this.
Q. I notice the wind direction is coming out of the north. Sunday looks the same. Anything play a factor that you can to over to Sunday?
WILL POWER: Different every day, honestly.
CONOR DALY: It's been different. I think the wind is still very powerful. Something better about each corner every day.
WILL POWER: Two was awesome today. You can just be hooked up. Four sucked. That could just change. If the wind changes 180, it will be the opposite so... That's this place. You never work it out.
Q. Scott, it seems like going all the way back to the Dario days, Carb Day you're first or second in speeds. You continue that today. How much of a bellwether is that for Sunday?
SCOTT DIXON: I don't think it means anything at all. It's been good that our cars I think have been able to get speed out of them quite easily for this 500. Again, it doesn't really mean too much.
I don't know. I think it's more about you know how the car felt. I think we were pretty comfortable. I think all four cars, I haven't seen the other two, I saw T.K. briefly, he seems pretty happy as well. Some of those are lucky if you line up a tow. Mine was lucky, T.K. helped me out on that one.
Q. As a long-time competitor with Will, how do you look at the struggle he'll have to scratch and claw his way up from 32nd?
SCOTT DIXON: It will be impressive. I honestly felt bad for Will. Obviously he's a fierce competitor. Seeing the struggles, not him, but the team are going through for qualifying pace. He's probably the greatest qualifier of our era if not all time.
You definitely know it's not him, it's just one of those frustrating things. He handled it extremely well. Kudos for keeping his foot in it, too, which made for some great TV, some great Internet stuff, as well.
Obviously I'll be in the car so I won't be able to watch it. I'm sure at some point we'll be fighting it out. Should be great.
Q. Will, from your position, are you going to have to be like a Tasmanian devil to get up to the front?
WILL POWER: No, obviously you can't be too conservative but you can't be too aggressive either. You don't want to end up in the wall. Just a methodical day. Good pit stop sequences, maybe fish for a lucky yellow, strategy call like that.
Yeah, you can't force it around this place. You just can't. You got to get a good balance and get in that rhythm. It's very difficult to tell if you can pass 32 cars back. Like last year at the start, qualified 24th or something. Yeah, you couldn't do much at all. It's a bit more downforce this year, I'm hoping that you can, if you got a bit better car, get through a few cars.
Starts and restarts will matter, and good pit stops.
Q. Will, the broadcast picked up you talking some talk about you discussing Simona's steering trace during qualifying, being quite impressed by what you've seen. Can you tell us a bit more about that, if that was the case?
WILL POWER: Yeah, no, she held onto it and didn't lift. More impressive than what I did, I reckon. She didn't hit the wall, but she was catching it multiple times a lap.
Yeah, she certainly wasn't scared of the car, put it that way. We all looked at her, went, Yeah, man. That's hanging it out. She didn't lift. That's pretty good.
Q. Scott, what were the conditions like out there today in terms of the track? Is that going to be indicative of what you're going to expect on Sunday?
SCOTT DIXON: I don't know. I think the weather can change from now till then. It's going to be cooler, I think. It's been a while since we've had kind of a cool race day, maybe 2017. I don't even remember. It's been a little bit.
Yeah, if it's like this, it's going to be mentally draining because there's a lot of action going on. You can kind of pass on the front, repass on the back straight. A lot of action going on.
Looking forward to it if that's the way it plays out. But I think when the pack is a lot tighter, it also has the opportunity for some missteps and maybe some bigger caution periods, things like that. Hopefully everybody remains safe.
Q. Will, your race pace today seemed good. Is that a confidence booster for Sunday?
WILL POWER: Yeah, we actually improved the car by the end there. Car's really nice. Yeah, it would just be a matter of circumstance and also performance to make it happen, to get to the front. It's not impossible.
Last year where I started, I felt like we didn't have a very car at all. We could have finished sixth if I didn't go long in the last pit stop. You can move forward, no question, just through other people's mistakes and doing a solid day.
Q. Conor, definitely hasn't been the start to the year that any driver wouldn't want from the Texas accident, Truck Series start, the accident. When it comes to readjusting for this type of month, what this track means to everybody, what has it been like this year with that stuff behind you? What's the mindset been like?
CONOR DALY: You can't change the past, you can't predict the future. You just got to be the best you can be every day.
That stuff, I've been through a lot of that stuff before, wild and crazy times. As do most drivers. I think we've had an incredible couple weeks so far. Even from qualifying at Indy GP. We had great progress with the car there, which I'm excited to use at Detroit, as well.
Yeah, I mean, obviously it would be fantastic to just have a nice Sunday, you know what I mean? Something where we can go to the end, Things went okay today. We'll try to avoid any type of chaos that goes on, but also we want to be patiently aggressive, be there at the end, but also take advantage of every possible start and restart.
You're going to be putting your life on the line those starts and restarts how this is going. You better be ready to find some new areas of the track that you've never been to before.
Q. This is a stat that I thought you might be interested in. I know Scott knows this, the pace car this year is a convertible, and the last time that the pace car was a convertible was?
SCOTT DIXON: 2008.
Q. All right. Last year by leading 111 laps, you went from ninth to third in all time laps led. I don't know if you knew that. During the course of the race, you passed Vukovic, Parnelli Jones, Foyt and Mario to run third. I think this year if it's 82 laps that you lead, you would pass Ralph De Palma and Al Unser. You could very easily leave here on Sunday as the all-time lap leader. I think that is an astonishing accomplishment.
WILL POWER: That's big.
SCOTT DIXON: I only want to lead one lap, and that's 200 (laughter).
CONOR DALY: Put that on a T-shirt (laughter).
Q. If you led only one lap and won the race, that wouldn't be the record, it would tie the record.
SCOTT DIXON: Okay, that's a good record. I like that record better.
Q. TV made a big deal that you finished with 45 minutes left. They said the whole grid took note that Scott Dixon was taking his helmet off and leaving, you were playing some sort of head games with the grid.
WILL POWER: We changed our plans when we saw that. We knew we were in trouble.
Q. Question one, what did you do?
WILL POWER: Completely changed the car. I thought I was safe, then I saw him get out. That's it, it's over.
CONOR DALY: It's a Scott Dixon move.
WILL POWER: He had more stuff to do. I'm going to screw the whole field.
Q. You were just done for the day?
SCOTT DIXON: I was told we were done, so... We got through our list. I thought the car felt good. I don't know. Also the conditions, I thought everyone was going to feel like King Kong out there. I don't know.
WILL POWER: Always got sent out of the back of the train, so it never felt that good.
Q. I'll check with Donald. Secrets.
SCOTT DIXON: No secrets.
WILL POWER: Don't trust Marco Andretti. Print that, headlines. Criminal.
THE MODERATOR: We'll let you three guys go.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports