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May 24, 2015

Tim Cindric

Juan Pablo Montoya

Roger Penske


THE MODERATOR:  Happy occasion when you run 1-2.  The first practical matter is you're going to have to change your license plate again, Mr. Penske. 
ROGER PENSKE:  I am.  Some race when you think about how we started the month, all the issues, the negative things that came out about the racecars, what have you. 
I've never been here where I saw 15 laps at the end there where it could have been anybody's race.  They raced clean, they passed, so there's something working. 
Just to see Juan, during the race, coming up, I knew he had a good car.  If you know him, he's a fighter.  I thought Will had it there.  But Ganassi, the 9, seemed to be so easy, it could go by us from time to time.  I was waiting for him to stripe us there at the end.  He didn't have it at the end because our guys were there together, that helped us.  We had two against one.  That helped us with the 9. 
I think it was our day.  Last year we missed it by half a car length.  That's a credit to the guys.  The engines ran well, the aero kits.  It was a safe race.  The world saw a race that we wanted to see come out of Indianapolis.  The greatest spectacle in racing. 
THE MODERATOR:  Tim, every Indianapolis 500 win, some never get it, are special.  Some I would expect are a little bit more special than others.  The way the team fought back would be something you'd be particularly proud of. 
TIM CINDRIC:  Without a doubt.  These guys, it's a little more difficult being in Charlotte.  They've been here since the open test.  No days off since May 1st or May 2nd.  Everybody is dragging.  They showed up to the pit stop contest.  They were fast all month.  To be prepared there to change the rear wing, put it back in the show, was a testament to the group we have. 
Hats off to Montoya and Will.  Those two guys battled it out.  They battled it safe.  Obviously I stand in one pit, but as long as one of you guys brings it back, I'm good with it. 
I feel bad for Will, but somebody's got to be second.  This guy did it all. 
THE MODERATOR:  We're joined Juan Pablo Montoya.  You won your first Indianapolis 500. 
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  That was an easy race.  But this was a lot of work today.  I mean, with Simona in back of me, that's what happens when you qualify bad.  You find yourself with the wrong crowd. 
We kept adding downforce and adjusting the car.  It was fun because after the caution, when I was running like eighth, I could barely keep up with them.  I'm like, We don't have anything.  As we kept adjusting the car, Oh, that's a little better, that's a little better. 
That's what you got to do, stay on top of the track.  What really matters is the last 15 laps.  That was fun racing.  Probably the best racing.  Between Will and Dixon, we have a lot of respect for each other.  We understand the risk and we understand when they got you.  So it makes it fun. 
THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please. 

Q.  Could you talk about the end of the race.  The three very best that are in the field when you think about it, Dixon, Montoya, Power, you could throw Helio's name in there.  It really was a battle of the titans.  How do you all view how important that is for this race to have the titans slugging it out at the end? 
ROGER PENSKE:  I was watching the leaderboard from the beginning.  You could see the top seven or eight cars, our cars along with Chip's, I knew he was going to be tough.  He's so good here.  You could see that Kanaan jumped in right away.  He wasn't going to worry about the 9 car.  Dixon, he's such a master around here. 
I knew as this thing went on, things would change, the track would change because of the heat and the rubber.  I think Rick Mears said to Juan, You got to keep changing your car.  They kept dialing it in.  In fact, we went the wrong way probably with Helio at one point. 
But to me, we're here for racing.  It's such a great place to run.  Just to race everybody, I mean, I just think for me it's a place I've been since '51 with my dad, and then just to see what takes place here every year.  You forget it till you walk out there on race day, look up and down the straightaway, think, Geez, what am I doing here? 
Rahal was right up there.  Michael.  I think our Chevy package was outstanding this month.  To me, we'll take it when we can get it. 
TIM CINDRIC:  From my perspective, seeing those guys battle, it's a shame.  As one of you guys said, I felt like the best cars were battling it out at the end.  I think the only guy missing from that pack was Pagenaud.  He drove a great race up until that time. 
The one thought that did occur to me as those guys were battling it out, I thought to myself, Whoever wins this race, gets their face on the 100th running of this race.  To have his mug smiling.  To have Roger's group and team on that ticket after all he's done here. 
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  It was huge.  On the restart, Dixon passed us, Oh, my God, where did that come from?  He has an extra wing, how the hell?  It was surprising because he passed us pretty easy.  I mean, to be honest with you, at that point with eight laps to go, you have no idea I had a shot at the winning.  We looked so equal.  My car started coming in better, coming in better, got better and better and better at the end. 
It was good.  I got a hell of a run.  I think Will had a bit of understeer in the car and I think that really played into our hands because he couldn't get close to me out of turn two. 
We got to turn two, he was like right on me.  Oh, my God, please.  I looked in the mirror, where are you?  I'll follow you, follow you, take over your ass.  I did, have to. 
To be honest with you, I want to thank Tim and Roger, they give me this opportunity a little over a year ago to come and join them.  I'm glad I'm proving them right, that they made the right choice.  I'm loving racing right now, so it's great. 

Q.  To get to Will, you had to get past Dixon.  What was the key to catching and passing Dixon?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  My car was well-balanced.  You wouldn't believe how much front wing we put in that car today.  It was a lot.  Every stop.  It just got to a point that I could actually run behind him pretty easy, run wide open behind him. 
Once I did that, it was a matter of Dixon not getting a good run.  When you're 30, the second guy is always in the draft.  You want to make the move before he blocks you so you can get the draft of the leading car so you can complete the pass. 
Myron had a lot to do with that.  He made great calls.  He's the guy that keeps me calm.  I don't know how he does it.  He's probably wondering the same thing (laughter). 

Q.  40-some years ago you won your first race here.  Some win two or three, they're ecstatic.  You have 16 now.  What is the feeling now all these years later? 
ROGER PENSKE:  Every year we're here.  We got a commitment to all our guys at the shop.  We want to win.  You can't look in your rearview mirror.  I said that.  We got with our guys yesterday, did our strategy.  I said, We got to execute. 
I think we saw that today.  They executed on the 2 car when he had a problem on the restart.  The pit stops were terrific. 
I think that momentum in the pit stop contest, quite honestly, it added a little bit of buzz in our shop that maybe we didn't have after we got knocked off on the pole.  We were confident we could be competitive, and we really weren't. 
For me, I come here for one reason, and that's to win.  I want to come back as long as I can stand and be part of this group, have these kind of people work for us, be teammates. 
To me, it's just a great place to say, Hey, this is where we tee it up. 

Q.  Juan, that last 15, 20 laps, obviously very intense.  Top six or eight guys on top of each other.  Talk about the challenge and strategy of not only trying everything you can to get in front of you, but defending guys behind you that are just as determined as you are?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  The hard thing there, I think I made a mistake, I ran behind Dixon, right behind him, I had to lift out of four, and 83, Kimball, nearly passed me. 
That's the key thing, is you got to figure out how to make your move without hurting yourself.  If you know you're not going to make it, you have to bail early enough.  You still screw up.  You don't want to screw up, but you do.  The question is how big you screw up. 
I told my guys, too, when we did the team meeting, there's a hundred ways to throw this away and there's only one way of winning it.  The guy that makes the least mistakes is going to have the best shot at winning it. 
We executed today beautifully.  Made a couple small mistakes early, but then we got our composure back and came back. 

Q.  Roger and Tim, how do you judge the race of Simon today and his season so far? 
ROGER PENSKE:  Simon early on had the best car I think of all four of them.  He ran out there well.  On the restart I think he got back into one of the cars, got into it.  He did a great job.  I think it would have been something if he was up there because I think he had the car to run up with Will and certainly Juan there at the end. 
What really worked in our favor was when the 10 car had a problem, that really opened it up because we had at least two strong cars working against the 9 car, then the 83 kind of got in there at the end.  I thought Simon did a terrific job.  He's been a great asset to the team. 
TIM CINDRIC:  I felt like he had the best car.  In the beginning, it was he and Dixon's race as far as I felt.  I felt terrible for him after the race.  I went up to him and he said, That's the best car I ever had in my life.  I just bumped a little bit too hard, had to go to the back. 
You could see the fact he went all the way to the back, drove back to 10th, with 15 laps to go, you don't do that here very easily.  I think it shows how strong he was.  I think it shows there's a lot more to come from him. 

Q.  Juan, a personal question.  After the first win here 15 years ago, you left IndyCar racing or American racing, went to Formula One.  Will you do the same again now?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I'll be here.  I told Roger, As long as you want me, I'll be here. 
Something that Roger has is Roger loves racing.  He has a passion of winning and being the best out of everything he does.  When you can be part of that, it's exciting.  You know what I mean?  I'm very blessed to be able to be a Penske driver and to have success with him.  It's huge. 
It's cool when you're here, you don't have success, it's your own fault.  They give you all the tools to win, give you great people to work with.  I mean, for me I've been over the moon here. 
It's hard because it's four cars.  To be honest with you, Simon had the best car today.  When I was running third, he was running behind Dixon, I was like, How the hell is he that close?  He was comfortable right there.  I couldn't believe how good he was. 
You know what I mean, it's racing.  If you're going to make a mistake, make it early.  Late is hard.  But it is what it is.  We all make mistakes.  He's young and I'm sure he'll win a couple. 

Q.  Could you give a little historical perspective.  I think 15 years apart, Juan, can you believe how bookend this career is?  If you guys could talk about how he's the best driver. 
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  For me, I think '99, 2000 was the start of my career.  I was really young.  It was just the start of it.  We came here, had a really good car, we dominated. 
I'll tell you the truth, this one, when you have to work for it that hard, it's exciting.  When you come on top of races like this... 
I know Will is probably disappointed right now he finished second, but in a couple months he's going to look back and say, Man, that was fun.  That was a hell of a race. 

Q.  I don't know what generation he is, because he's two generations, but is he the best driver of this generation?
TIM CINDRIC:  We were watching the highlights the other day.  They showed the 2000 race.  We were sitting there in the garage.  I said to him, I was your biggest fan that day, the whole CART, IRL thing.  He looked like a little kid.  I think he smiled more today than he did that day. 
I think he's come to appreciate it.  The cool thing is to see his kids, a lot of people, like Sebastian hasn't seen him as an open-wheel winner.  To see his kids here I think was really what brought the whole thing full circle for him.  Now he's dad as well, so it's pretty cool. 
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I just got to do it again (laughter). 

Q.  The Grand Prix of Monaco was run this morning.  You are the second person in history to win the Grand Prix of Monaco and Indianapolis 500. 
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I did that before.  Like 2003, I done that already.  I've won twice here.  Ain't going to win two Monacos, ain't going back (laughter).  I could, but I wouldn't want to. 

Q.  Juan, you said all month that you were focusing on the race, not on qualifying.  Talk a little bit about that.  The other thing is there were so many outside passes.  Talk a little bit about making the outside passes here, what that sensation is all about. 
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  I mean, we do focus on qualifying, as well.  I mean, the race is won on Sunday.  You win the race today.  It's important qualifying.  I mean, to be honest with you, we were kind of surprised because we were not that different than the other cars.  Looking at it, it looked like the wind really screwed with us.  That's what it is. 
We probably need to learn from that and see what the other guys did different from us.  We need to learn from that.  I think I did have the best racecar on a oval since I came back.  It wasn't good at the start because the temperature was hot.  We had to adjust for it.  But it was good, just keep adjusting it, keep changing it, see what happens. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  The first one I did was Servia.  He wanted to stay with me.  Scared the hell out of me.  I was half a car of ahead of him.  I was like, Where are you going?  You know I have a lot faster car than him.  He was 15 or so.  Give me a break. 
Same thing with Simona.  Simona didn't do it on purpose.  She wants to prove she's that good.  She has a lot of speed.  But when you're racing for a job, it's a lot harder.  You know what I mean?  We all race for jobs because we got to perform.  But you got to understand the big picture, how do you get the win? 
I think I've got a lot of experience.  NASCAR helped me understand 500-mile races, how they need to run and everything.  It is what it is. 

Q.  You are the only driver now in the Indy 500 history who won in two centuries.  The 15 years between the two wins is a new record.  Can you compare the two Juan Pablo Montoyas?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  It's just experience.  I mean, you know what I mean, you made a lot of moves back then that worked.  And you played it on the cards.  You're like, Oh, I think I can pull it.  You're older, you're wiser, you understand where the races are won, where they're lost.  You know what I mean?  You make less mistakes.  The biggest difference is just experience. 

Q.  Roger, was there more emphasis going into this race than in years past?
ROGER PENSKE:  I think the fact we committed to run more than two cars.  Last year, of course, we added a car with Juan, then with Pagenaud being available, it was obviously an opportunity for us to bring him on the team.  But it also put pressure on us. 
Sometimes we've watched teams run multiple cars.  You don't get the speed.  You don't get the execution. 
You know, we've been competitive a lot of years.  It's like today, I mean, we might have been sitting in the garage right now, not here, based on a couple different laps. 
I felt we were very competitive last year.  Obviously won the championship with Will, which I think was good.  But we were ready.  We had good cars.  As I said earlier, we were disappointed with how we qualified.  I'm sure Juan was, too.  But we focused on the race. 
When you see the finish here, four cars in the top 10, three in the top 7, I don't know how we do any better.  We have to go back, look at our notes.  I think I said last night at our dinner with our sponsors, probably have 700 years of experience at the track here in the garage area working on these cars.  That's what I think makes the difference. 
So long as we can pull it together, Tim doesn't mind us pushing the way we have to, we'll be back. 

Q.  Juan, were you surprised that Chip Ganassi stopped the convertible as you were about to go on the track? 
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  No, just congratulate us.  We're still good friends.  He made a business decision.  That's what it was.  He brought his A game.  We did, as well.  I mean, I think big difference is, I think Roger has four bullets to win.  Honestly, he really does.  I think Chip has two maybe, where we have four. 
With 40 laps to go, 30 laps to go, four of us in the top five or six.  We were right there.  Pretty cool. 

Q.  How much harder did you have to work versus 2000?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  2000 was good because our car was really quick.  We executed well in everything.  But this one, when you're fighting with your teammate, it's hard.  Knowing that they're right there, it's a little bit what happened in St. Pete.  I mean, you want to run as hard as you can, but you know the guy running third is a Ganassi car, and you're not going to give that win away.  You can't give that win away.  I know what it means to Roger and everybody at Team Penske to get this win. 
Earlier I thanked him for giving me the opportunity and believing in me that I could get the job done.  I'm happy I can prove them right. 

Q.  Roger, you joined Chip today as the only team owner to win the Indy 500 and Daytona 500 in the same year.  What took you so long? 
ROGER PENSKE:  He wouldn't let me in the club (laughter).  I finally got in. 
He sent me a note earlier, he said, Welcome to the club.  I said, Thanks for the invite. 

Q.  Juan, you said all week you were going to win this race.  You told your teammates you were going to win this race.  You seemed to be like you were in 2000 with your confidence.  You've said when you have a good car, it's easy to be like that. 

Q.  How long did it take you after coming over here and getting in Penske equipment to recapture that part of yourself?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  On the ovals, it didn't took me that long.  Road courses, I haven't figured it out yet.  The street courses, we're there pretty close.  I feel my qualifying is close, but not there. 
In the ovals, to be honest with you, my worst oval last year was Indy.  It was my first oval.  That's what I told the guys.  I mean, I had a fifth, I had a win in Pocono, I had a third in Texas.  To be honest with you, I should have won Fontana.  Still finished fourth. 
Come here, if we blow this today, we're going to be fifth.  That's what I told the guys.  I told my engineer Brian, This is my best car I've had in an oval.  To be honest, if it would have been a little cooler, it would have been even stronger. 

Q.  Juan, when did you know you were going to win the race?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  When I got through three and four.  I got into turn three.  I come out of turn two, Will pushed, I had to push, the gap got bigger.  Turn four, he wasn't close enough.  Ha, ha, ha, I got this! 
I was screaming.  I was so happy. 

Q.  Juan, the fact that you now have two Indy 500 wins in three attempts, but separated by 15 years, how much more satisfying is this victory than the one in 2000?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  It's cool.  You know what I mean?  It's exciting.  I mean, each one is very special.  The first one was really cool.  But it was weird because we came from Japan, the day before running Nazareth.  It was cool, we didn't do anything.  We didn't experience it. 
Team Penske, when you're here, you do a lot of things for sponsor and events.  We had a dinner.  We had a really nice dinner, as well, last night.  We had the parade. 
It's the proper experience of the month.  So when you go through everything, you start understanding what it means to win here.  It's pretty special. 

Q.  The last seven-lap battle, the crowd was reacting to everything that was going on, the roar of approval, how important is that for this sport that the fans were so engaged at the end of that race?
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA:  For me personally, I think the aero kits have been a huge plus.  We had that good of racing because of the aero kits.  You can follow people.  Chevy brought really good equipment.  The motors at the end were really, really good.  Our cars were amazing. 
I think IndyCar is going in the right direction.  Of course, you're going to get a lot of people criticize it, look for the bad side of everything.  But, no, it's really cool. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
ROGER PENSKE:  There's no question.  With the new screens, you could see it.  You never knew who was going to lead the next lap, down the front, down the back. 
To me, I said the same thing.  Once I saw our two cars pull away, Dixon was battling the 83, I thought it gave us a real good chance.  The question was, was it going to be the one or the two car?  It was great for the fans.  I hope that erases some of the negative publicity we got earlier in the month. 
That kind of racing, 220 miles an hour, 222 miles an hour, inches apart lap after lap, it shows you how good they are. 
Again, anybody could have won this race the way it worked out.  What Juan didn't say, they kept working on that car.  I think that was the difference.  His car got better.  It wasn't that he had the same car when he started.  He could stay under someone, be able to make a pass.  It would have been tough for Will to get by. 
To me, the fan noise is what it's all about.  When you look down the straightaway, never saw so many people.  To think we're on the platform here is pretty special. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
ROGER PENSKE:  John (indiscernible), he's had 11 victories here.  He's the right guy you want to have on your car.  But, you know, John is an athlete.  He's a guy that started with us back in the early days, worked his way up.  A couple years ago he used to hang around my box.  I said, Hey, you got to run one of these cars.  Guess what, he's passed his test, I guess, did a great job calling the race.  Has been doing that for Juan now for maybe the last year and a half. 
John, I want to congratulate you. 
TIM CINDRIC:  Absolutely.  When I came to the team, he had been here 13 years before I got here, 29 years he's been here. 
ROGER PENSKE:  He fell off his bike, by the way.  I get the call the other day after qualifying, John had a problem after qualifying, broke the chain, fell down, knocked him out, had to go to the hospital. 
He had a tougher week than you had, Juan. 
TIM CINDRIC:  But he's the guy.  He helps set the tone for this excellence that Roger stands for.  Somebody set that tone, carries it through.  Guys like him and Clive Howell and Kyle Moyer coming into the team this year continues to add to that.  Those are the guys that behind the scenes really make it happen.  I'm grad he's here today. 
THE MODERATOR:  We appreciate you coming in.  Thank you. 

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