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July 6, 2014

Helio Castroneves

Carlos Munoz


THE MODERATOR:  We'll begin with our Verizon IndyCar Series post‑race press conference.  We are pleased to be joined by our second‑place finisher, Helio Castroneves.  With this second‑place finish Helio moves into a tie for the points lead with his teammate Will Power.  This is his fifth top‑5 and eighth top‑10 finish of the season and also his 80th career top‑3 finish.  Helio, a great finish for you and for Team Penske.  Tell us about your race.
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Yeah, first, I want to thank Hitachi, Shell‑Pennzoil, AAA, Verizon, SKF, and Chevy, of course, for giving me a great engine and keeping me up there.  Yeah, it was tough.  Yesterday because of the incident that we had in Houston, we decided to start with a car setup a little bit different from my teammates so I wouldn't have any issue because I know the track gets a lot of grip, so I didn't want to do anything to aggravate the injury, and today I said we've got 500‑miles, so I need to get used to it, and we changed it back.
I still don't think I had the speed of the other guys.  They were much faster than me and we've got to sit down and figure out why.
But in the end I was just getting better and better and the car was getting better, and we just were waiting there.  It's a tough race because the last year was winning by fuel mileage and this year the plan changed in the middle, but Roger had great strategies and put us in a great spot.
Yeah, finishing second no question is great.  I want to win bad, but like I said, I did not have the speed that Juan Pablo had, and now tied for the championship, what a great deal.  This is just absolutely awesome, and we've got to keep moving forward and not thinking back.
THE MODERATOR:  We'll introduce our third‑place finisher today, Carlos Muñoz for Andretti Autosport.  Carlos finished third at both Long Beach and Houston race one.  Another podium finish for you.  Tell us about your race.
CARLOS MUÑOZ:  It was, I think, a really clever race in the beginning.  No one wanted to lead.  We were doing 210s, 209s, we just lifting all around on the straights and everything.  It was quite a strange race in the beginning, but after halfway, we started to go faster and faster.  It was a long race.  On this track it's really tough to pass.  Once you are behind a car, it doesn't matter if you are five miles quicker or slower, you're just going to stay behind the car.  It's hard to pass.
But it was a great race for me.  Third place, double‑point race, so in the championship I think we move up to sixth position.  With Helio, he was really close in the pit stops.  I was pushing too hard, and I had a big, big understeer in one, so that's why I couldn't attack him more.  It's a great result.  Congratulations to Team Penske for winning, too.

Q.  Last week the Houston race was totally different racing.  Is there any advice from the engine manufacturer to trim the engine, what to do to save fuel, or it's up to the team to make the strategy?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  No, you have your mapping through the whole season and you are the one using your strategy, and I think with the Chevy people, they have the same thing most of every one, and you just decide when to save fuel or not.

Q.  Carlos, you won last year the race here in Indy Lights, which is of course a totally different car, but is there any benefit when you're coming back in IndyCar and you know the track already from Indy Lights?
CARLOS MUÑOZ:  Yes, I said yesterday also in qualifying, I think Indy Lights is a great school for all the drivers that want to step up to IndyCar.  I knew this track fit really good last year.  I was really quick, so that helped me a lot.  Also when you have a great car with you, it gives you so much confidence to get up to speed quicker than anyone else, than the other rookies, all the other people.
Yeah, I just love this place.  I love everything about this place.  We'll see for the next year.  Looking forward for next year, also, here.

Q.  Helio, end of the race you're racing Will Power.  He got penalized for blocking.  What was it from your point of view?  What did you think when it happened?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Well, we were racing hard.  That's the beauty of Team Penske.  There is no team order.  I don't think many teams are able to apply that rule.  Obviously the only rule is do not take each other out, but race hard, and especially both of us in the championship.  I wasn't expecting anything different to be honest.
I'm not the one to make the call, but in the end, like I said, we are racing very aggressive.

Q.  Carlos, what was your view on the last restart that IndyCar gave you a warning on?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  I didn't know I have a warning really.  For what?

Q.  They gave you a warning on the last restart for‑‑ I assume you nearly passed someone or things got wild in the back.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I wondered, he was right beside me.
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  It was close because I said, oh, man, I'm going to jump this turn so I lifted, also, and that's why I think I didn't get any penalty because in the end passing him on the finish line was really close, but the guys behind me, I think it was Aleshin and Dixon, for sure they did the same thing as me.  It was a close one.  I didn't really know I have a warning.  I knew it was really close, but I lifted to don't overtake him on the finish line, and I think it worked out.

Q.  Helio, seven races to go, you've won a lot of races in the series, you've won a lot of Indy 500s but never a championship, correct?

Q.  How bad do you want it?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Thanks for reminding me.  Nice guy.
Big time.  I want it as much as anybody probably because we've been here for a long time, and now a great opportunity.  Houston was very disappointing for me because it was one of those opportunities that you don't want to miss, and today for us it was great because we ended up collecting a lot of points, and that's the way we're going for it.  So now we're looking for the next ones and continuing with the same pace.

Q.  Guys, on the last pit stop when new garden and Kanaan went for the fuel strategy, were either of your teams feeling at that point that maybe you had gotten outfoxed in the fuel strategy department?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  I just remember at one point which I was already tennis to that plan.  I said, come on, guys, we've got to keep going.  I can see they're moving forward, but I don't know their strategy to be honest.  I knew they were pitting very early than us, but I remember them saying let's change the plan.  That was the only thing I heard but I cannot confirm in terms of where they were and what they were doing to be honest.
CARLOS MUÑOZ:  They just said to me, follow the leader, and that's what I did.

Q.  Helio, you talked about racing hard, no team orders at Penske or anything, but how tough is it when that happens and it's a teammate as opposed to just another driver, and have you had a chance to talk to Will?  Have you guys discussed it, discussed what happened?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  No, I have not had a chance to talk to Will, and the good news is we try to‑‑ what happens on the track stays on the track, and like I said, we were racing hard.  I had a lot of teammates in the past, and we always try to keep that kind of way.  Outside the track we can discuss or in the truck, if there was a problem, personal problem or something, but at the end of the day, we continue‑‑ I have no hard feelings.  I would have done something different probably, but I don't think there is hard feelings for us in terms of what you do or not.  And I think Juan Pablo also applies that same motto.  Well, today he's in the victory circle, so it does work.  It's not about us, it's about Team Penske, and we want to get this championship no matter what, but obviously we need to be smart, as well.

Q.  I'm just curious, how do you like Pocono Raceway?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Well, it's always good when you finish up here.  That means you had a good day.  It is 500 miles.  I believe it was actually great.  It's a difficult track for any type of cars to pass because of the way it's designed in the corners, and it's fun.  I felt the fans were incredible from yesterday.  Not only today but from yesterday.  I mean, I don't understand what these rumors regarding not coming back here because I feel that everybody enjoys it, everybody had fun, and hopefully we will continue coming back.
CARLOS MUÑOZ:  I love this place.  Last year win Indy Lights, this year third.  It's a really tricky oval.  They are completely three different corners.  2 is not a big problem, but compared to 3 and 1, all the race you have to work to change your tools for the car, especially also when you are behind a car or whatever.  It's true that it's hard to pass here because of the configuration of the track when you are behind someone.  It's just really hard to pass.
But I just love this race.  Also the fans was incredible, all Americans here.  We're in like the middle of nowhere more or less.  There were so many Colombians.  I didn't expect to hear so many Colombians.  I expect that in Florida or wherever but not here.
But I love this place and would love to come back here next year, and for sure I think we are coming back here.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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