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VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES: FIRESTONE 600


June 5, 2015


Carlos Munoz

Simon Pagenaud

Will Power


FORT WORTH, TEXAS

SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ The car is really nice actually.テつ It's a nice carryover from Indy.テつ Just missed it by a little bit, right?テつ
Yeah, I tried to push it as hard as I could.テつ Yeah, we dropped a bit on the second lap, but hat off to the Team Penske boys.テつ They're giving us fantastic cars.テつ It makes our lives super easy as a driver.テつ
Tonight is going to be a great session, practice in the cool condition.テつ It's going to be interesting to see how the cars behave in race trim of the.
But this morning was surprisingly pretty good for us on the 22 car.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Talk about what we can expect with the new aero kit tomorrow night.
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ I think actually IndyCar is really well balanced with the level of downforce.テつ This morning was interesting.テつ It's really in our hands to drive the car, slide around a little bit in the corners, the tires are being used up quite a bit because of the lack of downforce.テつ It's great.テつ It's giving us the opportunity to really drive hard.テつ
There's a bit of a drop-off I think you'll see similar to last year where we're going to start pretty fast, in the 215 area, and then we're going to drop off in the 205 miles per hour average at the end of a stint.テつ
It's going to be interesting strategy, a lot of passing.テつ That's what it's all about here in Texas.テつ Pretty excited about it actually.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Texas has been one of your stronger ovals.テつ Talk about what it is about Texas.テつ
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ I really like this track.テつ Because of the banking, you have the opportunity to choose the line you want to run.テつ You want to go high to pass someone or high to save your tires.テつ Then you can run down low to run lap times and protect your position as well.テつ
It's a lot thinking about the tires, thinking about your car, how it evolves during the night.テつ Obviously we go through the sunset, which means the temperature cools down.テつ With the IndyCars that means the car is getting downforce throughout the race.テつ
It's all about adjusting it.テつ I really like that work with the engineers on the radio, trying to guess smartly what's going to happen towards the end.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll open it up for questions.テつ

Q.テつ Simon, at this track, it's one and a half miles, but there's not much in the way of straightaways.テつ What is the engineering goal in terms of downforce?テつ Is this a track you want not a lot of downforce because the drag would slow you down?テつ How does that work with the tires?テつ We're hearing after one or two laps the tires fall off.テつ
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Yeah, which is what IndyCar tried to achieve to avoid pack racing like we've had in the past.テつ Now it's really much, like I said, in our hands.テつ The car slides around.テつ Tires drop off after two laps like you said.テつ You can see from the lap time here in qualifying.テつ
It's a trend.テつ It's a combination of how much downforce you need, the drive level you want to run in the race.テつ You don't want to be too draggy because you can't get away from the pack and you get passed.テつ If you have a good car, you can't really get away from some other cars.テつ
You have to find that right line.テつ That's the engineer's job really.テつ I can only say I have enough downforce or not enough.テつ
With the new aero kits, especially the Chevy one, we have a lot of opportunities, a lot of wing that we can add or take off.テつ That gives us plenty of opportunities on the level of downforce.テつ
I think it's great.テつ That's what's fun.テつ Tonight I'm going to work hard with my engineer to find what we think is the perfect combination.テつ That's going to take us a lot of research, a lot of study.テつ That's what's very rewarding when it works.テつ

Q.テつ Simon, last year Ed Carpenter was able to build a huge lead on the way to the win.テつ Do you get a sense that the new setup this year will provide for a closer, more competitive race?
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Yeah, I thought last year was a great race, to be honest.テつ There was a lot of passing.テつ Like I said, the biggest thing is the pit sequence.テつ When someone pits, goes to new tires, then you see a lot of passing.テつ
I think it's going to be even better racing than last year.テつ The cars are similar, but the tires should hold on a little bit better.テつ I think it's going to be really good racing.テつ

Q.テつ So tonight you have one more practice, but it's only 30 minutes.テつ Can you actually go through a whole fuel stint in that time?テつ Does it give you a chance to adjust the car for race conditions tomorrow?
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Yeah, it's a short practice for sure.テつ It would be nicer to have 45 minutes, for example, to do a whole stint.テつ
It should allow for understanding which way the tires are going, which way the car is going with the balance, understeer or oversteer.テつ I think we'll have a good idea tonight.テつ
But, yeah, it won't be enough to feel how it really feels when it's bad.テつ There will be some happy drivers tonight (laughter).テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, Simon.テつ
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Thank you.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined by Carlos Munoz, who qualified fourth.テつ
You were the top Honda there, qualifying in the last position.テつ Talk about your run and also what we can expect tomorrow night.テつ
CARLOS MUNOZ:テつ I think it was a good run, you know.テつ Having my two teammates in front help us a lot to settle the car up with the bars, the aero.テつ Have to thank them both for the feedback as well.テつ
Going out for qualifying, we thought Chevy would be better than us, all the Chevys, you know.テつ But it seems like only the Penskes were the quick ones.テつ We were faster than the other guys.テつ
But just qualifying for the race, hopefully with more aero, we can put more for the Honda tomorrow.テつ We will see how it goes.テつ
I think practicing tonight will be closer to the race for tomorrow.テつ We are going to see where we are really.テつ For sure, qualifying is not really important here. テつBut it's important because it's hard to pass on this track.テつ Cleaner air, the tire work less.テつ
We will see tomorrow.テつ It's a long race.テつ We have one more practice today, we'll see.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll open it up for questions.テつ

Q.テつ Was last Saturday a life-changing experience for you or business as usual?
CARLOS MUNOZ:テつ Just business as usual.テつ For Colombia was a big deal, all over the news.テつ Even the president tweeted about it.テつ Just big stuff in Colombia, after two consecutive winning Colombian drivers.テつ In fact, I think we're having again the golden age when Juan was winning in Formula One.テつ People are more interested on the racing in Colombia.テつ
It would have been better to win the second race than the first race, for sure.テつ But it is racing.テつ We are here.テつ We have to show a good result.テつ

Q.テつ How big a downer was it?テつ You were the race winner, going in all pumped up for Sunday, all of a sudden not being able to make it from the start?テつ
CARLOS MUNOZ:テつ Yeah, I did five laps in the race.テつ I started 11th.テつ I was P5.テつ I think I showed that even though the first race was canceled, I could have been in the front in the rain.テつ I was really quick before the mechanical issues.テつ
For sure it's not nice to not finish the race.テつ You finish the Sunday a little bit more sad.テつ Like Bourdais was so happy for sure.テつ
But this is racing.テつ I show what I can do.テつ It was a good five first laps, overtaking people.テつ It was a fun race for five laps.テつ

Q.テつ Carlos, I think the broadcast said when you went out to qualify, your Honda had fewer parts on it so you had less drag.テつ I don't know if that's true.テつ In the race, depending on what your team decides the setup is, how much downforce, what can be done once you're in the race?テつ I understand the tires are going to fall off after a couple laps.テつ What adjustments can your team make to help you if you need more downforce or less downforce?
CARLOS MUNOZ:テつ Yeah, qualifying I think we have even more pieces than other teams, the rear pieces.テつ For the race, you know, I think everyone's going to race with the maximum downforce, especially for the beginning of the race.テつ When the night comes, for sure the conditions going to be better.テつ Some guys will trim.テつ
I think that's the only big thing you can change, wing, tire pressure.テつ I remember last year, from the first stint to the last stint, the car changed so much.テつ You start with a loose car, understeer car, and you finish with a completely different car.テつ
Like Indy, you have to think for the last stint.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined by the polesitter for tomorrow night's race, Will Power.テつ
Will, talk about your qualifying run and what we can expect tomorrow night during the race.テつ
WILL POWER:テつ Yeah, I drew number one obviously this morning in the drivers meeting.テつ I was a little worried about the conditions.テつ It kind of stayed consistent over the whole run of qualifying.テつ
I was really happy to get pole honestly.テつ I felt if I could be in the top five, I'd be happy.テつ Starting first, really happy about that.テつ
The race, it's going to be interesting.テつ You know, you got all this stuff you can put on to add downforce if you want.テつ But it's quite draggy, so you lose a bit of speed.テつ
It's going to be about finding the right compromise for speed loss versus grip.テつ I guess we'll try some things tonight and see how it all stacks up.テつ I think you'll see a few different variations of what people bolt on as far as body kits go for the race.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ What is it about Texas Motor Speedway that fits your style?テつ
WILL POWER:テつ I've always liked this place a lot.テつ It's fun to drive.テつ It's not just stuck.テつ The car moves around.テつ It's hard.テつ I feel like it's a real driver's oval.テつ I enjoy that.テつ
My wife's from here, so I got the whole family out here.テつ I got the pressure to always do well.テつ Otherwise, won't be invited to dinner (laughter).テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll open it up for questions.テつ

Q.テつ Eddie Gossage said he wasn't happy with last year's race.テつ He said he thought it was too much of a runaway.テつ What do you recall of last year's race?テつ Do you think the new format will allow for a more competitive race than last year?テつ
WILL POWER:テつ You know, it's hard to say.テつ I think it's not to do with the cars.テつ I think it's to do with the fact that there wasn't any yellows.テつ As soon as there's yellows, you got a really good race on your hand.テつ I think that's why last year it spread out.テつ
I don't think it would matter what package we ran.テつ If it went green the whole way, it's going to spread out through pit stop sequences.テつ It's just going to be the nature of it.テつ
You throw a few yellows in, everyone packs up, different tires, it starts to become a really good race.テつ Yeah, that's the reason.テつ
I mean, this year we got more downforce.テつ We have quite a bit more downforce, if you want.テつ If it stayed green, it would be kind of similar.テつ If it goes yellow, I think you're going to see a lot of hard racing.テつ

Q.テつ Will, how much more confident and capable are you now as an oval driver?テつ Now it seems like since you scored a couple oval victories, you're the guy wherever they go now.テつ
WILL POWER:テつ I feel like every track I go to now, yeah, I have a shot to win.テつ I really look forward to coming to ovals.テつ I enjoy them a lot.テつ
It's just a part of IndyCar racing.テつ To win the championship, you have to be good at all disciplines.テつ Actually, you've got to be the best at all disciplines to win the championship.テつ
I think it's cool.テつ The series has really such a variety of all sorts of tracks as far as street courses, road courses, short ovals, mile-and-a-half high-banked ovals, even high-banked short ovals, superspeedways.テつ You have to be good at all of that.テつ I've spent a lot of time in IndyCar now, seems like I'm strong everywhere.テつ

Q.テつ Eight races to go for the championship.テつ You're fighting Juan ahead of you.テつ You have Scott Dixon behind you.テつ Looking like the end of the Indy 500.テつ Those are three huge names fighting it out for this championship.テつ How monumental of a battle do you see this shaping up to be?
WILL POWER:テつ I think you're right.テつ It's going to be interesting as it all unfolds here.テつ You have so much experience involved in it, so many good guys that have all won championships, 500s, a lot of races.テつ
Yeah, inner team battle, Dixon in there.テつ Focus a race at a time, don't even think about it.テつ Just focus on my job and myself.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Will, thank you very much.テつ Good luck tomorrow night.テつ
WILL POWER:テつ Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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