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May 31, 2015
THE MODERATOR:¬† We're pleased to be joined by our third-place finisher, Graham Rahal.¬†
Graham, obviously a very good result for you coming off the heels of a tough result yesterday.¬† Tell us about your race.¬†
GRAHAM RAHAL:¬† Yeah, it was a really good day today.¬† Pretty pleased with everything.¬† I was very disappointed in the penalty.¬† I don't think it was deserved.¬† Based on what the rules are, you're allowed to move before the person behind you does.¬† Right after I got the wheel spin, I moved to the far right.¬† That's allowed.¬† But apparently it's not today.¬† So, you know, unfortunately we had to give up that position to Sato.¬†
At the end, very proud of this team, keep working hard.¬† I think we're up to fourth in points now, right behind Dixon, right ahead of Helio.¬† We really gapped on everybody that has been around us or behind us, I think Newgarden and Marco, and closed up to all three in front.¬†
Happy with how it all went.¬† I wish yesterday was a little better, but this definitely eases the pain.¬† I think this is our third podium in the last four weekends, third in the last five races.¬† Feels really good.¬†
THE MODERATOR:¬† Not only is this a doubleheader weekend, the only one of the season, but also the rain conditions made an extra challenge for this race weekend.¬† How did your team handle that?¬†
GRAHAM RAHAL:¬† Yeah, the guys did an excellent job.¬† I mean, it was like ice out there.¬† Concrete in the rain is typically the most slippery conditions that you can ever face.¬†
The new pavement was actually pretty grippy, but the old stuff was extremely slippery.¬† So, you know, you're driving around like you're on ice.¬†
I had a couple good runs there.¬† I thought my car was actually pretty good in the rain.¬† But the visibility, I was having a lot of issues with fogging inside of my visor.¬† For 10 or 12 laps, I was having to lay back just to be able to see.¬† That was pretty tough.¬†
But through all those things, through the adversity, to finish here feels good.¬† Like I said, I'm just proud of my guys because they're making my life a lot easier this year.¬† They're doing a great job in the pits, keep fighting hard.¬† We're up there with the big boys now.¬† Got to make sure we're good at everything.¬†
THE MODERATOR:¬† We'll take questions.¬†
Q.¬† When you get a penalty like that, are you just screaming, you'd like to go in front of a panel quick and explain?¬† Did you have anything there at the end for Takuma?
GRAHAM RAHAL:¬† I did.¬† But I was out of overtakes.¬† I had a hell of a run on Takuma.¬† I was out of overtakes, and he had a couple.¬† I was kind of toast in that regard.¬†
I was hoping it was going to go green in the end because I don't think Bourdais would have made it.¬† I don't know if Takuma would have either.¬† We were easily good on fuel.¬† I was excited to kind of duel it out with them.¬†
On the penalty side of things, obviously it's extremely frustrating.¬† I look at the incident yesterday, all the avoidable contact that happened there.¬† I got penalized for the same thing in St. Pete, and here nobody gets anything.¬† It's just very frustrating.¬†
I think we need to keep reviewing that, obviously work on it.¬† But there's just nothing you can do.¬† When you're in the car, you have to fight as hard as you can.¬†
I knew it would be hard here to get back by him.¬† But I'm pleased to be here on the podium.¬†
Q.¬† Would you like to see race control kind of let you race a little bit more?¬† All these penalties are starting to look like watching an NFL game.¬†
GRAHAM RAHAL:¬† I'd like to see three drivers in race control, three retired drivers that know what's going on.¬† I mean, it's no disrespect to who's there.¬† I think they've done a fair job with what they've been given.¬† I know it's not easy.¬† I know that for sure.¬†
Unfortunately for me, I always have an in-car camera, so it's easier to call me than most anybody else.¬†
I think you need to go find three retired guys that have been through this, been through the wringer, Paul Tracy, guys like that, that know exactly the ins-and-outs of this.¬† They can make a fair call every time.¬†
Q.¬† Honda went 1-2 yesterday.¬† Today they went 2 through 9.¬† Even though it's a rain-affected race, do you see improvement coming from Honda?¬†
GRAHAM RAHAL:¬† We need to keep improving.¬† I'm proud of the guys and all the efforts they're doing.¬† But rain is the ultimate equalizer.¬†
I can tell you from being behind Helio, he was pretty fast in a straight line.¬† Got a little work to do.¬† But, you know, at the end of the day these guys keep working very hard and I'm very proud of them because they've been getting blasted by everybody.¬† Honda hasn't quit.¬† They keep working hard.¬†
It's great to see.¬†
Q.¬† On the Honda thing, even when it was dry, I didn't see a vast difference between the Hondas and the Chevrolets.¬† Is it partially the nature of this circuit being so tight?¬†
GRAHAM RAHAL:¬† Yeah, possibly.¬† But, you know, I look at it like this.¬† Everybody's been hard on Honda this year, all that sort of thing.¬† But we've had a hell of a year.¬† Yeah, we're leading the charge for them.¬† But, you know, our team and the way that everything's working for us right now is working pretty darn well.¬†
I still think we can win races like we are, and we're going to keep working hard, you know, to get that win for them.¬† But, yeah, this doesn't have long straights, so maybe that helps a little bit, equalize things.¬† But when it comes race day and you have to put 70 laps together versus just one, I think that's where we can make up a little bit of the gap.¬†
The Honda has been good for me this year on the tires and everything else.¬† Like I said, we've had three podiums.¬† Some people think, Well, maybe if he had a Chevy he would have won one or two by now.¬†
Who's to say that?¬† That's not necessarily true.¬† What we've had, we've done a pretty good job with.¬† I'm proud to be associated with them.¬†
Q.¬† How much does this make up for yesterday?
GRAHAM RAHAL:¬† Well, it helps a lot.¬† I mean, yesterday was brutal.¬† That's the nice thing about this doubleheader.¬† We reversed our roles from last year.¬† Last year had a good first day, bad second.¬† At least this time, you know, I'm leaving here going to get on an airplane on a good note.
Q.¬† You're still hanging in there pretty good in the top five heading to Texas.¬† Honda never really got a chance to show how fast they could be with the superspeedway kit.¬†
GRAHAM RAHAL:¬† The superspeedway kit changes next week.¬† The rear wing and stuff is different than what we ran, and obviously the pods are going to be blocked off.¬† There's a lot of other stuff.¬†
We're not really sure where we stand there yet.¬† All I know is we had a great run of it at the 500.¬† We're going to keep working hard there.¬† I know they are.¬†
We're fourth in points now, just one or two ahead of Helio, seven or eight behind Dixon.¬† Just going to keep fighting.¬†
We can hang with these guys.¬† We just got to keep working hard and we'll be there.¬†
Q.¬† This is easily your most consistent season.¬†
GRAHAM RAHAL:¬† We're only halfway done, man.¬† Got a lot of work to do.¬†
THE MODERATOR:¬† Thank you, Graham.
We welcome Takuma Sato.¬† You're known as someone who is good in the rain here.¬† Did that play to your advantage towards the end of the race?¬†
TAKUMA SATO:¬† I think so.¬† First I would like to say thank you to A.J. Foyt Racing.¬† The team make a fantastic job over the weekend, give me great car.¬†
Myself as well, I'm really pleased to be back in here on the podium.¬† Yes, it was long and exciting.¬† To be honest, it was crazy race for two days.¬†
Yesterday we showed a good performance.¬† At the start of the race, I think we were competitive.¬† This morning I was a little bit disappointed when we had to cancel the qualify.¬† Obviously safety come first.¬†
We started the middle of the pack.¬† Today's rain was a little difficult.¬† All the lines, it was a little greasy and difficult to overtake.¬† But I think we made a good strategy.¬† Back on the top groove, that was a really good move from the team.¬†
THE MODERATOR:¬† How do you and your team regroup mentally with all the changes happening throughout the weekend?¬†
TAKUMA SATO:¬† I think the team's preparation is just looking at all the conditions, the qualifying.¬† It all depends.¬† They really calm.¬† The engineers is really confident in what we can do.¬†
We had such a tough last season, obviously the good result to bring home is the first priority.¬† Yesterday we showed a good performance.¬† The opportunity is there, we know.¬†
But for us driver, it's a little tough with the conditions changing, not be able to doing qualifying, starting from the back of the grid.¬†
But I think it was good.¬† I mean, here I really enjoy the Detroit bumps.¬† Exciting track.¬† Appreciate the fans came out with the conditions.¬† But I think today we done a good job.¬†
THE MODERATOR:¬† Questions for Takuma.¬†
Q.¬† You had six 'push to passes' left at the start with the red flag.¬† What happened when you tried to chase down Sebastien?
TAKUMA SATO:¬† Obviously that time, it's six laps to go.¬† I had six left.¬† So it was a really good position to do it.¬†
It's come down to the time race.¬† There was only three laps to go.¬† I had only one left.¬†
It's a shame, yes.¬† It was real close.¬† But I think we done most of what we could today, come back from the middle of the pack to finishing strong.¬† Obviously I wanted to win the race, but I think Sebastien restart was a little tricky.¬† That really caught out Montoya, too.¬† We should do steady acceleration from last corner.¬† We all had to brake, which is not really what we talk about for the briefing.¬†
I leave it to IndyCar's call for the regulations.¬† But nevertheless, Seb did a good job of holding off.¬† I try to go for the win for the rest of the season, of course.¬†
Q.¬† (No microphone.)
TAKUMA SATO:¬† Yes, he did.¬†
Q.¬† What was your view of the Graham Rahal block?
TAKUMA SATO:¬† Well, I had to back off.¬† I had to back off.¬† It caught me surprise.¬† He obviously have a little moment coming off the corner.¬† He knew he lost some momentum.¬† He knew I was coming.¬† I was alongside him.¬† But I was pointing, heading to the wall.¬† I had to back off.¬†
Yeah, IndyCar put out the penalty.¬† I think that was okay.¬†
Q.¬† Both races were affected by the rain.¬† Honda swept the top two yesterday.¬† Do you see improvement coming from Honda?
TAKUMA SATO:¬† I think it was a pretty good weekend for Honda.¬† We had to change the front wing due to safety reason.¬† People are saying it's getting lighter front wing, but we lost a lot of downforce.¬† How many elements we lost?¬†
I think from that point of view, they work really hard to try to maintain the same performance.¬† As a package, I think they did a good job.¬† They did a really good job for that.¬† I think we saw the Honda (indiscernible) was less from that point of view.¬†
Yes, like you said, yesterday was great day for Honda.¬† Today Graham and I both two cars on the podium.¬† I think we gain a chunk of the good points.¬†
I think we have to say this is very rare, as the conditions change so much.¬† But we keep on pushing, like Graham said.¬† Hopefully the second half of the season, we compete as hard as we could.¬†
Q.¬† You actually bring a lot of fans here.¬† How are things going in Japan as far as people following your racing?
TAKUMA SATO:¬† From Japan?¬†
TAKUMA SATO:¬† Yes, I have to say big thank you.¬† They doing live broadcasting.¬† I don't know what time is it, probably 5 a.m. in the morning.¬† Really exciting.¬† I had great support.¬†
So many fans actually fly into Detroit.¬† That's great for IndyCar.¬† Great for the sport.¬† I really appreciate for the fans, not only for Japan, but also come from internationally.¬†
Here in Detroit, we see so many fans really enjoy the race.¬† I'm really proud of this association, very pleased for A.J. Foyt Racing.¬† We had a scary winter this season.¬† Finally A.J. Foyt come back last May.¬† His second, third attempt for the race.¬† Now we present him a good result.¬† Hopefully we have more to come.¬†
Q.¬† In consideration of the dual, the one-time doubleheader, the weather conditions, are there any type of suggestions you may consider to the powers that be to enhance, rule changes, this race a little bit more for future races?
TAKUMA SATO:¬† Not necessarily.¬† I think like Graham said, I think the doubleheader, it's tough for the organization, as well as from the team point of view for the preparation.¬†
But I think it's great event.¬† You could have two great races.¬† You have a chance to recover.¬† That was the chance for us yesterday.¬† We were disappointed.¬† We had a great opportunity.¬† We had a good performance but didn't deliver the great result yesterday.¬† The weather played difficulty as well.¬†
We can't complain for the week.¬† We do everything we could.¬† In terms for the safety, they protect us as well.¬†
Pure driver point of view, I personally wanted qualifying today.¬† I had confidence.¬† It didn't happen, fine.¬† We accept it and we try to made a good show.¬†
I think, like you said, all the drivers is really trying hard, pushing to the limit 100%.¬† You can see such a bumpy street course, challenging.¬† You can go sideways.¬† But they driving like crazy.¬†
You would be appreciate as a fan to enjoy as well as we have great fun as well.¬† As a team, you know, we make the car fast.¬† We have great support from the fans and sponsors.¬† I think where we are today is really happy moment.¬† I don't have any complaining in terms of rule change or anything.¬†
Q.¬† When you were getting started in Formula One, Sebastien was winning all these Champ Car Series titles.¬† You even had a chance to compete against him in Formula One.¬† What is it like now to see him regain some victories at this stage of his career?¬† He was a big international name 10 years ago.¬†
TAKUMA SATO:¬† Absolutely.¬† It's great see back and forth in American racing and European racing.¬† Obviously, Formula One has so much other environment.¬† It's difficult from outside for just drivers.¬† Formula One seems to be pinnacle for auto racing world.¬†
Montoya was same case, Rubens a couple years ago.¬† Sebastien come to the series, come to Formula One, did fantastic job, and now we competing again together.¬†
I think it's nice that IndyCar produce such opportunity.¬† It doesn't have to be a top team to win the race.¬† Of course, even today we saw some dominance from the one big team.¬† But I think IndyCar, you can win from the back of the grid, even single-car team.¬†
I think the opportunity is there.¬† That's fantastic.¬† And for us, well, I don't know, I try to make this sport as exciting as possible.¬† That's the aim.¬† Hopefully we can do that as long as possible.¬†
Q.¬† On the last couple laps, seemed like Bourdais was able to pull out on you.¬† Were you able to keep up with him?
TAKUMA SATO:¬† To be honest, it was difficult.¬† The restart was a great chance.¬† Once get into the rhythm, I think he had a really fast car today, so he really - how can I say - has got a winner.¬†
I tried to catch him, try to overtake him.¬† I had one chance on the back straight to come to white flag.¬† Into turn seven it's tricky.¬† Offline was still (indiscernible) today.¬† If completely dry, I would commit to go side-by-side.¬† But it was too risky.¬† Obviously he did the holding line really well.¬†
I really disagree on his restart manipulation technique.¬† Obviously other than that, he's done everything he could.¬† He's the real winner today.¬† Shame, but I try next time.¬†
Q.¬† First time all season where there's been no Penske or Ganassi in the top two.¬† How much do you think it's the conditions and how much is it the other teams closing the gap?
TAKUMA SATO:¬† Definitely the weather and conditions gave us the opportunity to compete with them.¬† If it's steady, dry conditions, it might be difficult to beat them.¬†
But as you've seen yesterday, I overtook three Penskes simply because the weather help me out.¬† Also weather caught me out in the end for me.¬†
But it was great opportunity.¬† If the weather come, tricky conditions, it's equalize for everyone.¬† Perhaps some guys doing a good job.¬† That's the result today.¬† No Penske, Ganassi on the podium.¬†
They're the big teams, tough to beat.¬† But I think, as I said, nothing is impossible.¬† This is part of this great sport to give opportunity.¬† I really love it.¬†
THE MODERATOR:¬† Takuma, congratulations.¬† We'll see you next weekend.¬†
TAKUMA SATO:¬† Thank you.¬†
THE MODERATOR:¬† We're joined by the winner of today's race, Sebastien Bourdais.¬†
Sebastien, obviously a great day for you to be back on top, as you were last year in Toronto most recently.¬† What was the day like for you?¬† How were you able to fight your way up to the top in tricky conditions?¬†
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:¬† You know, it's a very tricky race.¬† Obviously after the debacle we had to go through yesterday, you obviously witnessed what happened.¬† We put wets on way too early, we came back for dries, then it rained again.¬† Pretty much everything went wrong.¬† It's like, Hmm, how do we bounce off of that?¬†
We were ready to go this morning.¬† Obviously got rained out in qualifying.¬† Didn't have the best starting spot.¬† But, you know, felt pretty comfortable that we could have a good day.¬†
I was feeling pretty racy at the beginning.¬† Picked up a couple positions in the rain.¬† Car was very solid.¬† I had a lot of confidence.¬† Then there was all that middle stage of the race where it was very slippery.¬† Started to rain again.¬† Felt like I was just going to stuff it every corner.¬† So I just really tried to stay off the walls and make no mistakes.¬†
It kind of worked out.¬† We still came out of the pits in front of Helio, whoever we were racing with.¬† I'm kind of losing track of everything here.¬†
At that point the yellow came out.¬† Boy, everybody is laying out slicks.¬† Man, there's no way.¬† Never going to work.¬† It looked like it was way too slippery.¬† It was really just a groove on both tires to stay in between.¬† It felt like it was just going to be chaos out there.¬†
At the restart I kind of nailed it.¬† Juan was really pushy.¬† Then the yellow came right after again.¬† There was a succession of yellows after yellow.¬† At one point we had to make a call whether we were going to stay out and gamble that all the yellows were going to keep going.¬† It sure looked like it was going to be that way.¬†
When the conditions are that tricky, you're restarting, everybody is trying to make moves, there is only one dry line, it's calling for more yellows.¬†
At that stage a lot of guys stuck it out with us, were on the same strategy.¬† It was either we were going to win it or we were going to finish probably, you know, top five, maybe a bit worse than that, but not really far.¬† It felt like the right thing to do.¬†
The guys did a great, you know, pit stop all day.¬† I had pretty good restarts every time and made sure I was not going to leave the door open and give the positions away.¬†
You know, couldn't be any happier really.¬† It's been a bit of a rollercoaster ride with all the weather coming through.¬† Last year obviously was probably our weakest race of the season, so we didn't know what we were going to get.¬†
The car was really strong as it needed to be.¬† It feels pretty sweet to be up there.¬†
THE MODERATOR:¬† Questions.¬†
Q.¬† I don't mean any disrespect by this, but between you and Juan, this has been a great resurgence from the older guys that came from CART and Champ Car.¬† What is it like to experience success at this stage of your career?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:¬† Yeah, no, you're right.¬† I'm 36 years old.¬† I'm not a youngster anymore.¬† I'm more in the T.K., Juan and Helio group than the young guns.¬† Probably have quite a few more years behind me than in front of me.¬†
But yeah, I mean, you look at the championship standings right now, you see all the guys, the experienced guys, as quick as ever, running right up there, making very few mistakes.¬†
It's a great feeling.¬† I think the reason why we're here is we love racing, we love these cars, we love the series, the tracks we race on.¬† It's just a lot of fun.¬†
I'll keep on racing this kind of series for as long as I get paid to do so.¬†
Q.¬† You and Juan were huge names in CART.¬† Now here you are.¬†
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:¬† Yeah, obviously Juan had the opportunity to get back in a championship-winning team.¬† We're more of an underdog, especially on the ovals.¬† We don't quite have the resources to investigate as much as they do.¬† They have four cars and they get it right more often than not.¬†
For us, that's why it's so sweet.¬† When we get it right like we did last year, we qualify on pole, run up front, win the race.¬† Or today we passed them on the track, give them a real run for their money.¬† They're not happy about it.¬† We like to create the upset.¬† I like the challenge.¬† I'll keep on doing it as much as I can.¬†
Q.¬† You roll out there after the red flag.¬† What is on your mind about the restart that's coming?¬† Takuma said he thought you kind of hesitated there a little bit, which threw everybody off.¬† What is on your mind knowing it's a timed race at that point?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:¬† Well, seeing what he did to Juan, yeah, I became pretty creative at the restart.¬† I wasn't going to give it up.¬† I think there's going to be a lot of talk about what happened on these restarts, guys pulling out way before the green flag, which you're not supposed to.¬† We've been talking about it for a long time and we'll be talking about it till we get it right.¬†
Juan should not have left the position, and he did.¬† They didn't do anything about it.¬† For me it's wrong.¬† We need to fix that.¬† The more we let it happen, the more it encourages people to do things at the back, burn the restarts, create what's going on.¬†
If guys are getting penalized every time they move out of the lane or pass people before the green flag gets thrown, nobody can do it.¬† If you don't get penalized, everyone is given a shot.¬†
Q.¬† What was going through your mind on the restart?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:¬† No matter what happens, they're not going by.¬† That was pretty straightforward.¬† Go big or go home (laughter).¬†
Q.¬† It sounded like you were on the fence of whether you had enough fuel or not.¬† When did you stop worrying about that?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:¬† Yeah, I mean, when the red flag came out, before I knew it was going to be a time race, I was really pissed.¬† Obviously, that yellow was our go home yellow.¬† When they red flagged the race, it was going to go green straight after.¬† Had it not been a timed race, we probably would have run out of fuel.¬† We didn't have five laps of fuel in the car.¬†
I kind of dragged my feet a little bit on the last caution lap just to make sure that fourth lap was not going to be.¬† Then the team told me, Yeah, you're good to go.¬† After that, we were against the fence for sure.¬† I think on the dash, there was .12 gallons when I crossed the start/finish line coming back around after the checkered flag.¬†
Yeah, we might have been able to do that in lap green, but maybe not.¬† So it depends on the fuel.¬† I can't be quite sure of that.¬†
Q.¬† What was the primary thought going through your head during the last few minutes of the race?¬† Was it how much fuel you had left, pole position or something different?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:¬† No, obviously there was no concern of saving fuel.¬† Before the green flag lap, they told me I was good to go.¬† I had two 'push to pass' left.¬† I knew Takuma was going to be very aggressive. ¬†He always is when he's running no matter where he's at in the field.¬†
For sure, if he's going for the win, I think he has on his dash, No attack, no chance.¬† So you know what you're going up against.¬†
He's going to really race you hard.¬† I was trying to make sure he wasn't going to be in a position to attack or make a move.¬† I really just hit my marks and braked as late as I could, rolled as much speed.¬†
The Firestone reds were the big help in that.¬† We were debating whether to put the blacks or the reds.¬† The reds were definitely the way to go because it seemed like it was just going to be restart after restart scenario.¬† Always superior in these cool temperatures at restarts.¬†
I didn't have to do any tire warming or anything, burning fuel, to get some heat in the tires.¬† I was capable of going straight at the green without burning fuel to put heat in the tires.¬† That was crucial because obviously if I had to do the last lap of yellow burning rubber off to try to get some heat, we never would have made it.¬†
After all these restarts, I felt pretty comfortable at what the car could do on cold tires, how much speed I could roll, particularly in the first chicane, the one and two complex.¬† That was the critical place every time, to get a good run off of two.¬† The car seemed to be really competitive doing that.¬† Then these last couple of laps, once I pulled a little gap on Takuma, it was just about making no mistakes and staying pretty cool in the car.¬†
Q.¬† When the red flag came out, were you sitting there going, Yes?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:¬† No, I was absolutely livid.¬† As I said, had it not been a timed race, we would not have made it.¬† We needed the full length of the yellow to save the extra lap to make it.¬†
No, I was pretty pissed.¬†
Q.¬† As it turned out, it was three laps or four.¬†
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:¬† It became a timed race.¬† Five laps or five and a half minutes.¬† If we had done two laps on the yellow, we were good.¬† Because we went straight to green, if it wasn't a timed race, we were done.¬† I had to get the call and confirmation that it was going to be a timed race, and that we were good on fuel.¬† So for about five minutes I was going bonkers in the car because I thought we lost the race.¬†
Q.¬† You competed against him in Formula One.¬† When you see the 14 in your side view mirrors, do you feel secure or a little nervous?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:¬† I think we all know Takuma.¬† He's obviously a very hard and very big fighter.¬† Yeah, I mean, the last couple times I passed him and he came behind me, he hit us both times.¬† It was one of those where it's like, All right, let's try to make sure we pull enough of a gap so none of that can happen.¬†
You can only control what you're doing.¬† I was kind of hoping he would keep it together.¬†
THE MODERATOR:¬† Sebastien, congratulations.¬† Good luck next weekend.¬†
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:¬† Thank you very much.¬†
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