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May 8, 2015

Scott Dixon

Tony Kanaan

Juan Pablo Montoya

Simon Pagenaud

Will Power


JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  Once you make the Fast Six, I mean, to be honest with you, we struggled a little bit.  This morning I felt blacks were really good.  We really couldn't post a lap there at the end, so we didn't know how good we were.  But we still finished six in practice. 
First run was okay.  Second run was pretty decent.  Made a small change to the car.  It got better.  But too much understeering on one got me out of position, so I screw up one and two. 
I was a 10th and a half off.  From there it's tough, I mean, when you're on that position.  The pressure of one lap makes it exciting, to be honest. 
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Juan. 

Q.  How would you say you improved here on the road course from last year, being your first year back in the series, to this year?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I mean, I made the Fast Six.  I think it's my first-ever Fast Six on a road course. 
We did a lot of testing at the beginning of the year.  I felt we had a really good car on the street courses.  We tried to transfer some of that to the road courses.  It worked really well. 
Then we went to the (indiscernible) race and we struggled.  We went to the Barber test, we were good.  Went to the race and we struggled all weekend. 
Here we said we got to go a different direction.  It was good we had the open test yesterday, the extra hours.  It worked really, really well.  We really gained on it.  It was encouraging.  I mean, to be on par with my team in a road course, it's pretty cool. 
I believe I can do a better job.  I'm starting to get the hang of it.  I'm getting pretty excited about it. 

Q.  You had countless experiences with open-wheel cars.  Do you feel any particular difference now with the aero kit?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I think it's great.  I think the cars drive a lot better than they used to.  I think braking is better.  They do drive more like a proper open-wheel car.  You can really hustle them, and it's fun. 
Last year's car, I never felt like I could hustle them.  This car, I can push them harder, get a better lap time by driving it harder.  Makes it fun. 
THE MODERATOR:  Juan, thank you very much. 
THE MODERATOR:  A few guys that worked hard today have joined us. 
Scott, talk about your bonsai run at the end that fell a little short. 
SCOTT DIXON:  We tried to get tricky in Q2 there, run the used reds.  I didn't really get the start of the laps, both laps together.  We needed another 10th.  So it was a mad scramble to throw the last set of stickers on in Q2 at the end.  I think we just got past the start/finish line like .13.  We just made the start of that lap.  We got in by about 4/100ths. 
Nail-biting situation to get through Q3.  Tried to get a bit tricky.  Unfortunately it bit us because we threw Power to doing the same thing.  He ran the used reds.  He was able to convert it and made it through. 
Car is generally pretty good.  Don't think we had enough for pole in either situation.  Power definitely did a really good job. 
I think the car's generally got good speed, just wasn't too clean on getting all my laps together.  Fairly decent.  But obviously a really competitive grid today with the four Penskes in the Fast Six. 
THE MODERATOR:  Tony, driver after driver comes in here and talks about speed being one thing, but balance being another thing you're very concerned about.  How did you feel about your car out there? 
TONY KANAAN:  We were decent.  We start the weekend with big problems.  Up until 25 minutes to go in the session this morning, then we finally got it together.  I got to thank Scott for the setup.  I was all the way back there.  We finally put his setup on, we started to chase.  You start the weekend a little bit behind already when you do that. 
But, you know, I'm pleased.  We made it to the Fast Six.  At one point I was like 21st this morning, so it was not very good.  So I think we can go from there. 
Obviously the race tomorrow will be completely different.  We saw what happened in Barber.  A lot of people trying to save tires here today because I think it's going to be hard, if the weather holds, on the tires. 
When I made it to the Fast Six, I knew I wasn't going anywhere.  We just went out, did one lap, tried to put a lap together just to see the balance.  I made a couple changes. 
But those guys were another level from us today.  We have all night to work on the racecar and go for tomorrow. 
THE MODERATOR:  Simon, we don't know what the weather is going to do tomorrow.  That's always a chore for the engineers and the drivers to figure out the difference.  Just today, what did it feel like for you? 
SIMON PAGENAUD:  Interesting qualifying.  Pretty intense out there.  Overall the car was really good.  It was a lot of fun. 
I just want to congratulate Team Penske because all four of us are in the Fast Six.  That means the car is good right away. 
Congratulations to Will.  He was pretty impressive how he managed his tires. 
Personally I'm very happy.  We went from fourth last year to fifth.  I would like to be a little higher up but made a little mistake in Q3.  That's where we are.  When you make a mistake, it doesn't forgive you. 
THE MODERATOR:  We'll open it up for questions. 

Q.  Simon, I guess you have more or less regular base communication with your teammates.  Can you say how identical is the setup amongst your drivers? 
SIMON PAGENAUD:  It's pretty identical.  Everybody has the same thing.  It's the same team.  You have access to everything.  It's complete open book. 
Yeah, I mean, it's actually nice.  You can really go through what everybody does during a session and understand all the notes, use it to your advantage or not. 

Q.  Simon, the drivers all talk about how smooth this road course is, the smoothest of the season.  For a driver, does a bumpy road course separate some drivers from the others?
SIMON PAGENAUD:  Yeah, it's true.  Smooth track make it easier for everybody to get their cars right, the setup right. 
But, yeah, I mean, it's fun.  This track is a lot of fun.  We got to push the car really hard in the braking zone.  Use the aero kit pretty fine to the limit.  It's a lot of fun. 
But it's definitely very different to Long Beach. 
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, guys. 
Will Power joins us.  Continued good fortune when it comes to qualifying for Team Penske. 
WILL POWER:  Yeah.  Actually surprised me on old tires there in the Fast Six, the time that I laid down.  It just shows the team has done a great job with the car.  All teammates in the Fast Six, too.  We're pushing each other hard.  Got the Ganassi boys there knocking on the door all the time.  Got our work cut out for us. 
Just really happy to be on pole.  Qualifying's a day where you put absolutely everything on the line.  It's my favorite part of the weekend.  Well, no, actually it's winning on Saturday or Sunday is definitely my favorite part. 
THE MODERATOR:  Scottie made a run there at the end.  I suppose you anticipated that. 
WILL POWER:  Yeah, he did.  We figure he's the main threat.  He's been quick all weekend.  Yeah, I don't even know what the time was at the end.  I did everything I could on new tires, which wasn't very much faster than old tires.  It was less than a 10th. 
Just happy to get pole. 
THE MODERATOR:  New track record, by the way. 
Questions for Will Power. 

Q.  For the aero kits, when you went out the first time, was there a big difference from the car of last year? 
WILL POWER:  The difference between the two cars? 

Q.  Yes. 
WILL POWER:  Actually it's funny.  The old car was pretty efficient around this track because you trim so much.  It's not that different.  It's a little better with the aero kit.  The aero kit is more efficient when you run maximum downforce. 
In the way the car feels, it's not that different. 

Q.  You ran the old tires in Q2.  Was that saving a set?  Why did you do it in that segment? 
WILL POWER:  We did it in Q2 because we thought we'd just take the chance.  Tim said, This is Indianapolis, we just got to go for it.  As a team, we kind of made a decision to take a risk.  Worst case would maybe be sixth or seventh. 
Yeah, that's why we used used tires.  That would give you the best shot at the pole.  That was the reason, the risk we're taking.  Not everyone else on used tires in the Fast Six.  In the end it didn't matter because I was quick enough on old tires. 

Q.  As far as permanent road courses goes, has this course achieved crown jewel status in your mind?
WILL POWER:  As far as a track goes, I'm telling you, it's one of the nicest tracks we race on.  It's so smooth, so European like, very consistent grip level all the way around.  No bumps.  It's like a real pleasure when you actually go out for the first couple laps.  I wish we raced on tracks like this every weekend. 
Yeah, it's a special track just because of where it is, right here.  This is the home of IndyCar.  It to me makes total sense there's a road course here.  We should be racing on it, and we are.  I think it's absolutely the right move. 

Q.  You mentioned Dixon is a big threat.  Are you worried about any of the Honda drivers for the race?
WILL POWER:  You know, if it's wet, absolutely.  They've got a lot of good drivers in their camp.  It's just right now they haven't got the aero kit side of things together.  I think their engine's probably right there. 
To me, I hope they bridge that gap.  Obviously I drive a Chevy, but it's good competition.  It's more of an even playing field, which it isn't right now.  You don't want them to close the gap completely, but I just think that makes for great competition. 
You see guys like Hunter-Reay, even Graham this year, a number of those guys are all really good.  They should actually be in the mix.  It used to be 50/50 in the Fast Six. 
Yeah, from being a Chevy driver, I think Chevy has done a fantastic job with the aero kit, the engine and everything.  But no one wants to see a split field either. 

Q.  If rain comes in, will it be a big equalizer between the Hondas and the Chevys?
WILL POWER:  Yeah, I think so.  I think if rain comes, it will be.  It will really mix things up.  Like you saw last week at Barber, the fact that the tires degraded badly, it evened the playing field.  Suddenly you got Hondas coming through.  I shouldn't say 'degraded', but the tires went off.  The Firestone tires are awesome, really they are.  But, yes, to answer your question, that will be the case. 

Q.  With the creation of this race, there is the possibility that one day somebody will have a sweep of the two races in May. 
WILL POWER:  That's right. 

Q.  How big would that be for you or for Team Penske?
WILL POWER:  That's what I'm saying.  You got four sessions during this month that you want to be P1 in.  One is qualifying for the GP, winning the GP, qualifying for the 500 and winning the 500.  It's possible, obviously.  That's got to be the goal this month. 
But my focus nowadays is so much on the 500 more than it ever was now that I've won a championship.  That's the main one I want to get.  But you can imagine just winning the GP and the 500, it would be unbelievable.  It would be huge. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
WILL POWER:  At the end of the day that's the one you want.  But imagine if you got all four sessions, qualifying and races, that would be huge. 

Q.  Will, if it is dry, how is the fall-off level over the course of the stint of the tires?
WILL POWER:  The tire's really consistent here.  You could still pump out good lap times at the very end of the stint.  It almost evens itself out with fuel weight with a bit of tire degradation.  The track takes rubber really well.  At the end of the race, it just gets better and better and better.  It just lays down rubber and sticks, too. 
Yeah, I don't think there's going to be any tire deg at all. 

Q.  Simon was asked if a street course has an advantage because it's not as smooth as a track like this.  Does that divide the other drivers that are better on a rough street course as opposed to a track like this?
WILL POWER:  Yeah, they all have their challenges.  I love this track just because of the smoothness of it, the style of the corners.  Then street courses are just a different discipline when you have to get the car working over bumps, how you take curves, different grip surfaces. 
Like here, the surface grip is the same all the way around the track, so it's easy to get a general balance around here.  Whereas a street course, it's good in this corner, it's not good in this one.  You know what I mean?  It's more of a compromise. 
But, yeah, this is phenomenal the way this track is.  Every year I've go on it, I've said, We should be racing tracks like this every weekend because it's first class.  They're the type of tracks around the world that Formula One races on.  It's setting the standard really. 
Barber Motorsports Park, they're similar, too.  They do a great job with the track layout and the event itself.  It's those sort of events we need to embrace, keep going back to and grow. 

Q.  Probably an unfair question to ask you to compare teammates.  You have Juan up there in the Fast Six.  Is he a guy that's a real threat tomorrow?  He's driven on a variation of this course back in his F1 days. 
WILL POWER:  He's a threat every weekend now.  He's leading the championship.  He's super strong on ovals.  He's going to be there tomorrow.  So are a bunch of other people, the other teammates.  So he's come back swinging hard. 
You know, I thought that from the beginning of the year, it was going to be an inner team battle.  Add Ganassi's team to that, Kanaan and Dixon. 

Q.  You have been cutting the corner in eight and nine. 

Q.  Is it dusty down there?  Is that what caused yesterday's problem?  Do you need to fix something there?
WILL POWER:  Yeah, next year they'll put something.  They were going to put something last night, but it was too late.  It's dug such a hole, it doesn't bring dirt on the track anymore.  People have worn it down.  It's not a problem. 
It was similar to that last year.  I'm sure next year they're going to cement it or do something.  If they cement it, you'll just go over even more.  You know what I mean?  They have to put something that slows you up, something that makes it worse. 
My car was loose yesterday anyway.  I was super loose on old tires.  I was playing around, putting on a bit of a show for the youngsters (laughter). 

Q.  With all those P1 awards that you've collected, have you had to add another room to your house?
WILL POWER:  Yeah, the Verizon P1s I think I've actually kept the trophies.  Before that, the PEAK Performance award, I didn't.  I kind of wanted to, but I had to pay for them, so...  Becoming expensive. 
Nowadays, I don't get as many poles, so it's worth keeping.  It's got Verizon on it.  You guys should go out and get Verizon service, it's the best. 
THE MODERATOR:  Congratulations, Will. 
WILL POWER:  Thank you. 

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