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May 24, 2015

Gabby Chaves

Charlie Kimball

Will Power

Graham Rahal


THE MODERATOR:  I assume you feel very proud. 
GABBY CHAVES:  Absolutely.  It was a very good race for us.  I wish I could go out there and do it again.  One mistake cost us a lot of time.  We had to drive back through the field.  We drove all the way up to ninth before that last caution. 
Right before the caution, we were overtaking a car that was a lap down, lost our front wing.  Very unfortunate.  We didn't change the wing just to see how long the caution would be, would stay.  Unfortunately once we got back to green, it was a handful.  I lost a few positions, lost a couple positions in that last stop as well. 
But we had a great car.  We drove through the field twice, into the top 10 twice after two mistakes.  I wish I could go out there and do it again.  But I'm very happy with the job my crew did, my team.  I'm super excited to keep using this momentum, keep progressing through the season. 
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Gabby Chaves. 

Q.  This is your first year in IndyCar.  For you what's the biggest difference between this car and the Indy Lights car at Indianapolis?
GABBY CHAVES:  There's a lot more to work with.  I think obviously apart from the higher speeds, you know, once you're out there driving flat out, it's the same basic feeling that you get, same feeling you're looking fore out of the car and ultimate setup. 
I think once you start working with the car, there's so many things that you can change and try.  With the new aero package, we have a lot of options as well.  Race-wise, once you're out there, it's tough to drive flat out behind other cars.  There's a lot of turbulence in the air.  That makes it very challenging to make the overtakes. 
But apart from that, I'd say it's the right step up.  I believe the new IndyCars average about 199.  It's a good gap, but it's one that you can take, within a few sessions you can feel comfortable. 

Q.  A great day for Colombia.  Is Juan one of your heroes, when you were growing up?
GABBY CHAVES:  Of course.  I remember being six years old.  I woke up really early in the morning watching him in CART, Formula One.  Congratulations to him.  I'm sure the whole country is very proud and happy.  Hopefully one day we can join him up there. 

Q.  Gabby, seemed like you and the Honda guys didn't have the power to hang onto the Chevrolets.  How little wing did you have to take out of the car to have a chance to keep up today?
GABBY CHAVES:  Well, we didn't.  The car we rolled out with was the car we finished with, minus a front wing. 
But really we drove through the field twice after the first mistake, going a lap down, driving up to ninth, then making another mistake, obviously on that last one lost a front wing trying to take a car that was a lap down.  That hurt us a lot. 
We opted to try to not change that wing so we could not lose so many positions on the last stop.  Obviously once we were on track, it was a handful, like I said before. 
I think we were definitely a little bit under-powered, under-paced compared to the other guys.  We were really good in traffic.  I think we were one of the top Hondas out there today. 
Thank you to the crew to give me such a good car. 
THE MODERATOR:  Gabby, thank you very much for coming in. 
GABBY CHAVES:  Thank you. 
THE MODERATOR:  A couple guys had pretty good days as well, Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball. 
When you fall a little bit short of winning the Indianapolis 500, people are crestfallen.  On the other hand, Graham is on a roll coming in.  Charlie Kimball, you were in the hunt till the very end. 
Graham, another good finish for your team. 
GRAHAM RAHAL:  I'm really, really proud of these guys, all the effort they continue to put in.  I mean, once again today, the top Honda.  The Chevy was just in a league of its own unfortunately on horsepower.  I was happy we were as close to Chuck and Dixon at the end as we were.  I thought there was no hope.  With 15 to go, to be tenth or ninth, charge up through those guys, pretty tricky. 
A lot of fun.  I thought the racing was really good.  Again, 500 miles.  We were good at times, bad at times.  Lucky we ended on a high note. 
More importantly than anything, I said to my boys coming into today, no matter what, two things I wanted, that was to be the top Honda, and to keep up with the top three in points, top four.  Unfortunately three of those guys finished ahead of us, but still had a very good points today. 
THE MODERATOR:  Charlie, I saw a couple of people that had you listed as a dark horse for this event.  You were up there at the very end still in position to win this darn race.  Had to be absolutely thrilling. 
CHARLIE KIMBALL:  Yeah, it was a blast.  The guys worked really hard on the car all month.  To be so close to winning the pit stop competition on Friday, then to come close today, I think it makes us all hungrier. 
All the guys at Chip Ganassi Racing wanted to give Chip a win for his birthday today, but especially the Novo Nordisk team.  We learned a lot from Dario this month.  As Graham says, over 500 miles, the car changes all the time.  The first couple stints, I couldn't do anything wrong.  Could you have put that thing down through the grass and she'd have stuck.  In the middle stint, felt like I couldn't do anything right.  Kept telling my guys, kept talking to Brad, tell him what the car was doing, asking for what I needed to be there at the end.  He kept giving it to me.  The last two stints we kept making progress. 
I saw Scott racing pretty hard with the Penske boys.  I thought that I could be in the catbird seat here if they go three-wide into one and I go in the warmup lane and come out the other side. 
Having said that, it was great racing.  Scott had to lift for traffic, I wasn't going to lift.  I didn't have anything for the Penske boys the last couple laps.  A lot of credit to them.  They ran strong all day. 
It was nice to see Team Chevy and the Bowtie lock out the top four at least, especially picking up the momentum heading into the Detroit Grand Prix next weekend. 
THE MODERATOR:  Will, the last laps, last turn on the monitor, I suspect you maybe thought or replayed, the question you'll ask, would you have done anything different than you did. 
WILL POWER:  Yeah, I mean, the only thing I could have done was not lead.  And I understand the car, I just had too much push when he got by.  I had to lift on that last lap.  I could get close enough because I ran a little less downforce than him. 
He was definitely better when he got behind me.  That's why he got the run.  Anywhere else I'd be happy with second.  But here it sucks.  It was a great day. 
THE MODERATOR:  A great total month for you. 
WILL POWER:  It was, yeah.  It's kind of funny.  Pole win, second, second.  Not what I was looking for.  There was some great battling out there.  I have to give it to the drivers in the race.  Fair, clean, but close and hard.  That's all you can ask for. 
It was an intense battle.  I kind of forget where I was in the end, I was so immersed in the race itself.  Just a great day for the team to finish 1-2. 
THE MODERATOR:  We'll continue with questions. 

Q.  Graham, obviously been a big week for David Letterman.  What does this mean to bring home a top five for him. 
GRAHAM RAHAL:  Yeah, I mean, we wanted to win for Dave.  I think we all knew that we were going to have an uphill battle today.  At the end of the day we finished a lot closer than I expected. 
I think Dave will be very happy.  It's good talking to him.  He assured me we'll see him around the racetrack more.  I'm excited to have him at this stage of his life.  Talking to his wife, she's feeling the same. 
It's about time he can enjoy himself a little bit, and hopefully that includes IndyCar racing. 
Like I said, it was a good day.  I'm sure he's going to be headed off Steak 'N Shake for a good steak right now (laughter). 
Like I said, hopefully we'll have him around a lot more.  It was a great day for us to fight like we did. 
One point needs to be made, which is what Will said.  I think the racing today was very hard, but very clean.  The people I was racing with, we had some good battles, but the guys did an excellent job.  A lot of outside passes which I've rarely ever seen here.  A lot of inside.  Very good battles but very clean. 

Q.  We talked a lot about safety all month.  There were wrecks today, but nobody got airborne.  Is there a reason you can point to for that? 
WILL POWER:  I think it's a fact of the slow speed.  Most of the people who got airborne were at high speed in qualifying trim.  Maybe we should keep it always below 230.  That might be a lesson. 
CHARLIE KIMBALL:  We don't all understand the crash dynamics of the aero kits yet.  IndyCar, I have a lot of faith in the safety committee to do that, understand those crash dynamics for those single-car spins.  At least what I could see on the replays under yellows, looked like they were contact for most of the incidents.  There were very few, except for maybe Tony's, that were single-car incidents. 
I don't know that we've got an answer yet.  I think Will has a good point about the speeds.  We put on a heck of a show.  If you want the number up there, just change the distance.  I'm joking, you can't change the distance. 
GRAHAM RAHAL:  We could, but we don't have to tell anybody (laughter). 
CHARLIE KIMBALL:  Fair enough.  You have to ask yourself what we're here for.  We put on a heck of a show today.  It was one heck of a motor race out there, in beautiful conditions.  I think that showcases what the Verizon IndyCar Series is really about. 
GRAHAM RAHAL:  I prefer to not understand the crash dynamics and keep the thing pointed straight. 

Q.  Graham, do you detect a sense of resignation among the Honda drivers that this just isn't their year? 
GRAHAM RAHAL:  No, I mean, look, I really do have the absolute most confidence in Honda and HPD.  Obviously we got to find some horsepower.  On the road course, street course, we got to find a little drivability. 
But at the end of the day, everybody's working as hard as they can.  Obviously this is a testament to how smart the folks at Pratt & Miller and Ilmor are.  There's a lot of work to be done.  We're just going to continue to battle hard.  I don't think anybody felt this would be an easy task. 
I feel really good about Detroit.  I feel we can have a really good run there.  Keep our good points streak going.  It's not the easiest as far as being able to beat them.  But we're going to keep trying. 

Q.  Would you describe the last lap, and how grateful you were that none of you crashed. 
GRAHAM RAHAL:  I was hoping the top four were going to wipe themselves out. 
CHARLIE KIMBALL:  Here I was waiting for the top two to take themselves out.  At that point I knew I wasn't quite close enough to make a move.  I kind of hoped Will would make a move on Juan that maybe wasn't quite going to work. 
You got to be heads up for 500 miles.  It's not just about the last lap around here, it's about how you set yourself up for that, how good you've made your car over the course of the day. 
I wanted to keep the 9 car behind me and stay in the top three. 
GRAHAM RAHAL:  The guys up front earned their positions.  You never want to see any incidents.  I think we all felt that the Penskes, at least I did, all month long, they were going to be the ones to beat. 
The MuÒoz thing hurt me as far as him pitting with two laps to go.  He checked me up in four.  I was lucky that Marco didn't get around me.  I created a gap.  I was actually closing in on Charlie and Dixon pretty good there the last few laps.  Just too far behind. 
All in all, a good, safe day.  We're pretty pleased to be sitting in this position. 

Q.  Charlie, what is the favorite board to watch?
CHARLIE KIMBALL:  All the new Panasonic boards look really good.  I think it looks beautiful lit up in blue at night. 
WILL POWER:  Verizon (laughter). 
CHARLIE KIMBALL:  That wasn't awkward.  Speaking of, the Panasonic pylon is gorgeous. 
CHARLIE KIMBALL:  It was nice to see gaps behind, how many to go.  The fact that it goes green when it went green.  So much time on the restarts, it was really calm.  I got to check out the video board. 
The ones I could see, there's one in turn one when you're cruising around, shiny.  You take a minute to look. 

Q.  The leader could be ahead for a couple laps, there were times when there was a pass in three or one.  With five laps to go or whatever, did you think it was inevitable that you were going to get past and repass or did you think you could stay out front? 
WILL POWER:  If Dixon had stayed there, because he was on lower downforce, I could stay out front.  I saw Juan get him.  I thought I might be safe.  I actually felt I could get hit back.  I just had an imbalance in leading.  Out front, it was loose.  When you get behind, I readjusted for that. 
There's no problem, I was running less downforce.  I could draw up really quickly.  It just came down to an imbalance.  I just didn't spend enough time in second place understanding what I need from the car.  He comes back there, which is a smart move, because it won him the race. 
It's a difficult position, right?  If it goes yellow, you win the race.  You want to lead.  I really fought hard to make sure I was leading all the time.  Then again, if it's going to go green, you get a bit of experience behind the way these cars draft. 
If the car wasn't in balance, I would have had no shot at him.  Still, Team Penske, 1-2, pretty good. 

Q.  Got to be tough to look at the screen and see the boss taking a ride with Juan.  Any idea what Juan would have done with his rÈsumÈ if he stuck around here? 
WILL POWER:  Obviously he would have been pretty successful. 
CHARLIE KIMBALL:  Thankfully he didn't. 
WILL POWER:  Yeah.  I mean, he's very strong this year.  He came back.  His plan was to win this race, win the championship.  Going to be very determined to make sure he doesn't win the championship.  I think it's going to be a team battle all the way to the end. 
Looking at the screen, yeah, it sucks (laughter).  Watching someone else celebrate, it's not good. 

Q.  Will, can you put us in the cockpit, coming out of four, how hard are you pressing the gas?  What's going on? 
WILL POWER:  Honestly, when I lifted in three for understeer, I knew it was over.  There's no way you're going to get to him.  No way. 
It's kind of going into one, yeah, I got a great shot here.  I was very close to him in one starting the last lap.  Out of two, a big push.  I'm like, I can still get to him.  Then three a big push, lift.  No, I'm not going to get it. 

Q.  What would you say to kids who say they couldn't do it? 
CHARLIE KIMBALL:  I think that's really cool.  All of my racing career has been about breaking down barriers, if you'll excuse the pun, but paving new roads, for drivers with diabetes, for anybody overcoming a challenge.  When I meet somebody who has just been diagnosed, I always try to put as big a smile on my face, maybe not as big as what I had when I got out of the car today, but a big smile that says, Welcome to the cool kids club.  You have diabetes, but now you're part of this community.  To be able to give them that message and hopefully change their perspective. 
I'm fortunate to be part of this diabetes community and represent them at what I think is the best job in the world, driving racecars, to be able to do it at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500, and be successful as well.  That's a big part of it. 

Q.  All three of you talked about how good of a show you put on today.  Aside from whoever is leading the race, how do you feel from a driver's standpoint as far as red flags, letting the race continue and not finishing under caution? 
WILL POWER:  I think at some point there's got to be a cutoff.  I think it's about six laps you can really do it by the time you go green. 
But that's what they would do.  If it had gone yellow within six to go... 
Anything inside that, they wouldn't do that.  There's not enough time. 
CHARLIE KIMBALL:  That's one of the challenges here, all the incidents take a while to clean up because they are fairly significant.  It's really important that we do everything we can to finish under green for the fans.  I've heard it across the board, I think, as a team internally.  We all feel the better show we can put on, the better job security we have long-term for us. 

Q.  Will, watching qualifying, drivers seemed to come out to the turn four wall, then come down towards the pit wall at the start/finish line, then go back up high.  In the rain, I also noticed there was a line of cars.  Is that to break the draft to do that or is that just the fastest way around?  The whole line zigs and zags.  How can you possibly pass somebody if they're moving around the track like that? 
WILL POWER:  Yeah, I mean, in the race, it's to block.  You don't want someone to get up your inside.  That's why you do that.  You get right down to the wall. 
CHARLIE KIMBALL:  Blocking is illegal.  It was defend (laughter). 
WILL POWER:  Defend.  We like to make it real hard here in IndyCar.  It's defending, yeah. 
So, yeah, you go down to defend and come back.  In qualifying, it's actually following the stagger, you got stagger, actually drag the wheel.  You go back, load the car.  Pretty fast entry, understand what it is. 
Juan was definitely doing that on the last lap to break the draft.  It kind of does a bit.  You're going to do everything you can.  I would have been doing the same. 

Q.  Charlie, talk about the amount of trust and respect you had with the guys you were racing against there at the end and how much you were willing to risk if you were able to catch up to Juan at the end?
CHARLIE KIMBALL:  Graham and Will said it, the guys were really clean today.  There was a lot of intelligent, respectful racing.  Doesn't mean it was not hard-fought right on the edge, but everybody understood what the situation was and was racing each other very cleanly. 
It's the Indianapolis 500.  You get to the front, you give it everything you've got.  Every opportunity you have, you make the most of it. 

Q.  Charlie, you keep having this amazing comeback.  Does it give you confidence to know you could do that or does it frustrate you?
CHARLIE KIMBALL:  It just means we need to work better in qualifying.  I feel if we start up front, we can stay up front.  I think I said that on the radio.  We caught that lucky yellow while we were in the pit lane and beat the guys at the line.  That's why we restarted from the lead.  Then it was my job to try to stay up there for as long as we could. 
I think we had a little more downforce and drag than we wanted compared to those guys for that stop. 
If we can qualify up front, we can stay up there.  I think it's also an indication of the resiliency of the team, the fact we never stop fighting, try to get the best result we can. 

Q.  All month we've been talking about the packages and the crashes.  For the last 16 laps of this race we saw how good the racing can be with these cars.  Do you think that bodes well for the ovals ahead? 
WILL POWER:  It's actually quite different every oval now, which is pretty cool.  We don't go to one that's the same.  We got a mile-and-a-half at Texas, then you got Iowa which is like a bullring.  Then you have a flat one-mile oval.  They all race differently.  Going to come down to what downforce level and all that that they run. 
At the end of the day I think you should be lifting at every oval because that makes you a better oval driver.  It should be about the driver, not just a fast car.  I liked the fact today it was hard.  One of the hardest days I've had running the track there.  It was rarely flat.  Rarely were you wide open.  Only at the end when you were leading were you wide open.  That's how oval racing should be.  I think IndyCar needs to make the rules so it is that way. 
CHARLIE KIMBALL:  I have to concur with Will, if you limit the downforce so the racing benefits whoever is better prepared and has a better car, has more mechanical grip, can manage everything throughout a stint a little more successfully, benefit those guys, you still have great racing because you have guys that are willing to risk less downforce, less risk, but maybe they don't as long throughout the course of the race. 
As we move forward to the next ovals, it gives me a lot of confidence how good we can be at all the different ovals. 
GRAHAM RAHAL:  I thought the racing today was great.  The hole in the undertrays of these cars affects the way the car feels in traffic and stuff. 
Frankly, I was worried today on how it would feel.  As Charlie just said, I was on a very high downforce level all day.  As I told my guys at the start of this race, we weren't going to outrun a Chevy on horsepower or speed.  We needed to be as close to flat as we could be.  When we got into lifting battles, we seemed to lose out. 
As Will pointed out, it was a tough day.  Maybe I did one lap flat all day.  It's definitely tricky, but I think the racing here in recent years has been phenomenal.  You saw guys become patient till the last little bit.  16 to go, everybody was going to hang it all out.  They did.  I hope everybody enjoyed it.  It was thrilling for us. 
Honestly, there were laps that went by that I don't even remember them.  Pushing so hard, having oversteer moments.  You just got to go for it.  Pretty entertaining. 
Texas has been tricky in recent years.  The tires played a big role in that.  We run pretty minimal downforce there recently.  We'll see how this one goes around there.  I think everything is looking good. 
THE MODERATOR:  Gentlemen, congratulations and thank you for coming in. 

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