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VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES: HONDA INDY TORONTO


June 14, 2015


Helio Castroneves

Luca Filippi

Josef Newgarden


TORONTO, ONTARIO

THE MODERATOR:  We will start our Verizon IndyCar Series press conference for the Honda Indy Toronto joined by Helio Castroneves for Team Penske.  Helio, you were saying as we were walking in, "I'm not sure where I got to where I am right now, but I'm happy to be here."  Take us through the race and how you found your way up to third place, a strong finish for you. 
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Yeah, certainly the Hitachi car has always been very strong the whole week, unfortunately, qualifying it was an injustice to what happened, but, again, we're just taking a chance in the strategy with the reds, and today since the race started on rain, so we knew what we needed to do. 
Unfortunately I have some issues out there.¬† I was trying to pass one and then ended up going straight.¬† I was trying to pass Sato, and I almost spun out.¬† So we were heavy on adventure today, and for sure when Grace called from Roger to put us in the lead there, and we were open, like an amazing lap times and just pulling way.¬† Unfortunately the yellow, which I didn't see anybody out there, or any breeze, it really caught us, but, again, somehow they put us back again in a very good scenario, and so we keep pushing ourselves, keep taking chances, and the good news is, we finish in the Top‑3 today, because we had many chances, many opportunities to not be here and, again, it happened.¬† So good effort for the entire organization.¬†
THE MODERATOR:¬† With three competitive teammates you have to anticipate at some point during a race you're going to be side‑by‑side with them and racing with them.¬† There are several instances throughout this race where that did indeed happen.¬† What's that experience like you when you racing side‑by‑side with one of your teammates?¬†
HELIO CASTRONEVES:¬† We don't look when we are doing that just as a teammate, we look as a competitor.¬† You just gonna go out there and pass whoever is in front of you if you have an opportunity.¬† Obviously you take a little more ‑‑ you give a little more extra inch, but that's all you need to do.¬† Other than that, you just go for it.¬†

Q.¬† Helio, this morning in the warm‑up it didn't seem like you did very many laps, and I was concerned that maybe something was at issue with your car.¬†
HELIO CASTRONEVES:¬† Uh‑huh.¬†

Q.  Could you explain? 
HELIO CASTRONEVES:¬† We changed quite a lot from yesterday to today, thinking what is going to happen, and we did quite a lot of changes on the car to be honest, and I wasn't very keen on it.¬† We didn't think anything was wrong, it was just the conditions was a little bit‑‑ very difficult, and we ran with a very old tire.¬† Roger didn't want to‑‑ it was another‑‑ we had a little miscommunication, because we thought we didn't have another new tire, but in the end we knew what we had; we were just trying to make sure that everything was working fine, but we thought that the conditions in the race would be rain, so it wasn't like‑‑ it's more risk to go in the warm‑up sometimes and run the whole time.¬† So for us, that's what was the decision not to keep going all the way.¬†

Q.¬† I'm not sure which pit stop it was but you came out of the pits, and it wasn't‑‑ didn't seem like there was a way to blend in with everybody.¬† There must have been eight cars that passed you, and I think you ended up last.¬† I was curious, shouldn't you have the right to blend in with whoever is beside you when you come ought of the pit lane?¬†
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Yeah, I asked the officials, I mean, through the team, because there was a lane line, obviously I accelerate up to the lane line, but I was just putting for myself and waiting for them to make the call where I would be shuffled in, and they said where I was, it was correct, so I rely on the officials. 

Q.  When you look at CFH Racing, it's the beginning of the year, some people might think they will be good on the ovals, but it will take a certain set of circumstances from doing anything on street and road courses.  They finished first and second.  What does that say about the caliber of team they've got right now? 
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Well, they are doing a great job.  They put themselves in the right place at the right time.  People say maybe it's lucky, but it's better to be lucky than good.  I wish I would be lucky than good, I mean didn't get a win yet this year.  It just proves that the series is competitive, among Penske, the Ganassi, the Andretti, they are making a great statement, and putting themselves out there, and showing in the Verizon IndyCar Series if you work hard it pay off. 

Q.¬† Helio, you had a couple moments out there.¬† Couple years ago this race would have turned into a demolition derby, but it seemed like for some reason everybody gave that‑‑ you talked about that "extra inch" today, especially on that move when you get to the outside, and you're side‑by‑side by four, and it's like, I'm not going to move, you're going to run straight into the wall.¬† What has changed that drivers are giving more extra space and getting cars to the finish line?¬†
HELIO CASTRONEVES:¬† Good question.¬† I hope they are listening, too many unnecessary calls, and I still say from Indy it was absolutely ridiculous the way people were driving, and hopefully we keep, you know, touching that subject all the time and finally they're like, you know what, if I don't give room we're going to crash, and we're not going to finish.¬† So that's‑‑ I hope they continue listening because it becomes a bad race for everyone.¬† For them, especially and for those sometimes that have a fast car.¬†
THE MODERATOR:¬† Before we let you go, this does mark the end of a 10‑week stretch of on‑track activity for the series.¬† What will you be doing in your off time before Fontana?¬†
HELIO CASTRONEVES:¬† I'm recovering from bronchitis from Indy, and hopefully I can get exercise, back in the groove and in the rhythm and‑‑ but I think it's more with the boys from the entire organization, and everyone from Verizon, the mechanics, the people, they have been‑‑ it's been wear out for them changing the car from ovals to the street course, fixing a lot of things.¬† So this off week is going to recharge the batteries of everyone.¬†

Q.¬† (Away from mic.) ‑‑ have "Hinch" here today?¬†
HELIO CASTRONEVES:¬† I haven't seen him, but I tell you what, how amazing, quick recovery, it's great.¬† Show that when you young, that happens.¬† But show the determination, and I'm really happy to see‑‑ and I still want to‑‑ if I bump into him, I still want to tell him to worry about his health first.¬† Sometimes you want to get quick ready super quick, and you're not ready, but I'm extremely happy that he's on it, and the way he's recovering, you might be seeing him racing soon.¬† Hopefully we gonna see him racing soon.¬†
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, see you in Fontana. 
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
THE MODERATOR:¬† We will continue with our Verizon IndyCar Series Honda Indy Toronto second place finisher, Luca Fillippi who has been in here quite a lot.¬† We talked about your team being through a struggle this past month or so, and hopefully this race was going to be a turn‑around for them.¬† How excited are you to bring home a 1‑2 finish?¬†
LUCA FILLIPPI:  It's almost a perfect day for us; "almost" because maybe I would have preferred it be the other way around, me in first place and Josef in second, but still I'm extremely happy.  It's my very first IndyCar podium, so I feel very proud.  You know, the past two years I was broadcasting for the Formula One in Italy, so I wasn't racing, I was just traveling around watching everybody racing and watching other people.  It was actually tough, but I got an opportunity now to race again on the IndyCar podium, so it's kind of unbelievable.  I always dreamed about this moment, and now I want to win the race, obviously. 
Next goal is to win, but today was perfect day.  The team gave me a great car, probably the fastest out there.  We beat everybody on our strategy, and Josef made a different one and it worked out, so I had a chance and tried to get him.  On one hand I wanted to try and win the race, on the other hand, we didn't want to mess everything up, because this result is very important for the team.  The team deserved this result because they did everything perfect.  We can celebrate tonight. 
THE MODERATOR:  Your best finish here on the streets of Toronto.  Take us through the race.  It ended up a wet start, and then you switched to the red tires to prepare for the dry conditions. 
LUCA FILLIPPI:¬† It was tough because we started obviously on wet condition.¬† The car was very slippery, but we were fast, we were able to keep our position.¬† I was running more or less 5th or 6th, and after that we decided to go to‑‑ we were one of the first cars to go to the reds.¬† We were one of the first cars to do it, and it worked out.¬† We were quite good on the reds, but we decided to go to blacks for the next stint, and it worked out for us, because we were very consistent, and especially toward the last laps of the second stint, when I was able to keep pushing, stay out, have clean air in front and keep my pace, this is what gave me the opportunity to get those guys in front like Power, Bourdais and Castroneves, and I think we did everything perfect, and I really enjoyed driving the car today.¬† I really found everything that was suiting my driving style, so it was a pleasure to drive around the circuit.¬†

Q.  What do you think when the driver that you share your car with has won three oval races and two Indy 500 poles?  After today he needs to get the oval program up to your speed now!  The fact that things are going that well on the street and road course side with you guys at the moment. 
LUCA FILLIPPI:¬† You know, from my point of view, I don't know so much about the ovals yet, because I never had opportunity to test a car and even to have a taste of the oval, so it's hard for me to say.¬† For sure.¬† Unfortunately, we didn't have the race at Indy that we wanted, but two cars finished in the Top‑10, which is not what we wanted, but still it wasn't too bad.¬† At Texas won last year, and this year we struggled a little bit too much.¬†
I don't know why but the fact that we ‑‑ and nobody had any testing during the season, this is hurting very much, because‑‑ or you get a car right, or it's impossible to in one session to fix it, because it was just one session before qualifying.¬† And so I think maybe in a couple of races, or if they have to do more testing then for sure the team is capable to provide Ed and Josef very fast cars on ovals as well as, no doubt.¬†

Q.  You mentioned you haven't had experience on ovals.  Is that something you're interested in in the longer term, now that you're finding success on the road course side of things? 
LUCA FILLIPPI:¬† Very much, very much.¬† Oval racing is a big part of the American Motor Sport, so if you want to be part of that, then you have to try at least and see how it's like.¬† I think it's one of those things that you try it and‑‑ or you love it and you think it really suits your skills and driving style, or you hate it, I think!¬† But I really would like to try.¬† I normally like high speed corners, and I normally like to actually make changes on the car towards the limit.¬† So I think I could be sensitive enough to set up cars for ovals.¬† This is my guess, and maybe one day I will have the opportunity to do it, and I wish probably soon.¬†

Q.¬† Luca, can you give us a bit of background on your broadcast or journalism career?¬† What were you doing?¬† Who were you working for covering F‑1?¬†
LUCA FILLIPPI:¬† So first of all, in 2011 I was GP2 Vice Champion.¬† That's the highest class in Europe below Formula One, but after that I didn't have the opportunity to race Formula One, so it was difficult as well to get an IndyCar seat, and in the meantime I was doing ‑‑ in 2012 I was the commentator for actually the IndyCar races in Italy for Sky Sport, and because they thought I was good at that, for the year after I was doing the same thing but traveling to the races for the Formula One broadcast.¬† Sky Sport, it's like a very‑‑ it's very big in Europe.¬† They broadcast for Italy, Germany and U.K., so they have a team traveling around the world with journalists and drivers.¬†
So I was kind of doing the technical part of it, showing the differences between the cars, aerodynamic point of view, the changes, and I was in the pits trying to show the people at home the changes that the team were doing and what kind of work there is behind Formula One car.  So I'm a racing driver but more than anything I'm passionate about what I'm doing and very passionate about technically the car, how it is, so I also like to go into the details, but I'm not an engineer, so when I explain things probably are kind of simple, so this is why I was probably able to explain to the people at home. 

Q.  Did you think racing was done for you at that time? 
LUCA FILLIPPI:¬† No, it was tough.¬† Because in the meantime I had an opportunity with Bryan Herta, and I have to‑‑ I'm still very thankful to Bryan, because he gave me an opportunity in 2013 out of the blue.¬† Like it was the kind of a very strange, I would say, decision to give me the car with no testing at all.¬† But we ended up going well, and I did two more races here with Bryan, and then, you know, doing quite well with Bryan gave me an opportunity last year with Rahal, so I'm also very thankful to Bobby, because when we had the opportunity in Houston, I was very fast, and here in Toronto, I raced here last year and I had this opportunity, and, again, this is why I'm here today.¬†
So it was a long process, but I never gave up.  I kept working hard with my manager, Rick Yorn, and with my contacts, and more than anything, I always kept my confidence. 
I'm also a Pirelli test driver, so all the Formula One tires that you see are test by myself.¬† So I do a lot of work, a lot of testing during the off‑season, so this was also a part of every mileage, and doing test, keep myself up to speed, keep the confidence and everything.¬† So I wasn't racing but still I was doing a lot of testing, so this was also something that helped me very much.¬†

Q.  Some drivers end up in North America because it's where they genuinely enjoy the atmosphere and style of racing here, and some end up here because that's how opportunities fall.  Which side of the fence do you fall on? 
LUCA FILLIPPI:  No, I work so hard since 2011.  To be here.  The last race of the GP2 Championship, it was Monza, and I won the race, and I met Randy Bernard that was there.  I met him and he was, um, pleased with my skills and my abilities.  I won the race and I had a big gap, and he knew I was very interested in IndyCar, and he was there talking with Jim Palo Delatta, who has been a support of me, and he knew I wanted to do IndyCar, so because of that, I started to actually work harder and harder to try and get an opportunity. 
I start coming to the races and meet engineers and people, and also Rick Yorn, which is the guy that help me to find a seat, so very thankful to him. 
So I really worked hard, and I knew what I wanted to do and I'm here, so it worked out. 
THE MODERATOR:¬† Any other questions for Luca?¬† Luca, before we let you go, it's going to be a while before we see you in a car.¬† I believe the next road and street course race is at Mid‑Ohio, in early August.¬† You will hopefully be a new dad.¬† How much does it help you leading into this long break to have a good result here?¬†
LUCA FILLIPPI:¬† Yeah, this was‑‑ I was just saying to my wife just now that it's good to have some rest now after a podium, after a good result, after a strong race, so now our little baby will be born happy and satisfied and proud of daddy.¬† Very happy.¬† I will obviously follow Josef and Ed on the ovals, and I wish them the best.¬†
THE MODERATOR:¬† Thank you for joining us.¬† We will see you next in Mid‑Ohio.¬† We're now joined by our Honda Indy Toronto race winner, Josef Newgarden driving the Number 67 CHS Racing car for Chevrolet.¬† Josef, welcome to the press conference.¬† It's been your second win of the season.¬† You've been in the series since 2012.¬† Already two wins this season.¬† Is this something you consider your break‑out season?¬†
JOSEF NEWGARDEN:¬† Well, probably.¬† I think last year we had more of a break‑out, in my opinion.¬† We were close to wins last year.¬† We just could never get it done, which was tough on everyone, because we knew we had the potential to win last year, we just couldn't make it happen for one reason or another and I'm just happy that we were able to do it this year and now do it twice.¬† Still got more racing to go, so maybe we can do it more, that would be great.¬† I think more importantly it was cool to get a 1‑2.¬†
We were in here, when was it, it was Friday, and we finished 3rd‑4th in the practice on Friday, and they asked Luca and me in here, and it was like, why did you want to talk to us, we weren't the quickest guys.¬† Today we were 1‑2 and now you probably do want to talk to us, because we were the two fastest guys, and I thought it was too unique that it happened this weekend, and happened in general.¬† I mean, this is a new team this year, so to get a 1‑2 was really incredible, too cool, too cool.¬†
We're a good team, I think they were strong divided; they're strong together, and now that we have a couple of results, I don't think we can let off the gas, so we still got to be on top of our game.  We weren't really positioned where we wanted to be at the start of this race, and then getting in position sorta midway through there is what I think helped us achieve the victory, and Luca set a pace, and we got to keep working because there is a lot of good teams, and it's difficult to do this on a regular basis, so I don't think this is necessarily
going to mean we can get more and more wins throughout the year.  We just gotta keep working to do that.
THE MODERATOR:¬† When you were in on Friday and we had the amazing foresight to bring you in ‑‑
JOSEF NEWGARDEN:  Oh no, I have to get cupcakes now, don't I? 
THE MODERATOR:  You do!  We were talk about the past month and a half and how it's been difficult for the CFH Racing Team, a lot of struggles during May, and to turn around with a victory from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs, what does that mean to you? 
JOSEF NEWGARDEN:¬† First of off, anyone that didn't get that reference, I promised I would get cupcakes if I won, for some reason.¬† I don't know how that happened.¬† There might not be cupcakes, so I'm sorry if I don't fulfill that wish.¬† Yeah, it was, as you were asking about May, Maywas really tough for us at CFH Racing.¬† We lost two cars, which was a big deal, kinda put us on a back foot for the 500.¬† We still got a couple of Top‑10s, which was really good for us points wise, and we still finished okay, but just not the month we wanted to have.¬†
Obviously Mayis the biggest month for IndyCar, and it was arguably our worst month so far, and that was tough for us.  And we weren't able to rebound in Detroit and definitely weren't able to redound in Texas, so now it was cool that we were able to get back on a rhythm, and hopefully we can continue to do that instead of falling into a slump again last time after winning. 

Q.  You mentioned at the podium it took a lot of luck today to get this result.  A little while ago Helio was in here and he said, "Sometimes it's better to be lucky than to be good."  Is it luck, that's the only thing it's going to take to beat the Penskes and the Ganassis? 
JOSEF NEWGARDEN:¬† It's funny.¬† I used to think that it's better to be lucky than good, because I've seen a lot of people get lucky and win races, and you would think it's ‑‑ that's the better way to be, but I have had a lot of smart, intelligent people around me that have convinced me that's not the way you want to be.¬† You want to be good over lucky.¬†
I'm not going to deny that that yellow for sure helped us win this race.  It got us in position to be able to win the race, without a doubt.  I don't think we've ever had that before, so, you know, if we got a little bit of luck to win today.  Sometimes you need it, and I've seen many people get it before.  Once we got into the position to win the race you could see that we had cars to do, and that was the biggest factor for me.  We weren't in position on at the start of the race to try and really capitalize and win one, but we got there with a little bit of luck, and we still did the work we had to do to win the race so I was rout of our whole team. 
I think we had fast cars, which Luca proved as well, and we had good team effort.  I mean, We had good pit stops, good strategy to get that done, and it all came together, so a little bit of luck but definitely a good performance, too. 

Q.¬† The first win is when all the emotions, all the excitement, everything kinda comes‑‑ because it's a big deal.¬† How much does a second career victory kind of solidify your career and what you're all about?¬†
JOSEF NEWGARDEN:  Well it helps, right?  I mean you get one win and people go oh you won a race, that's great, but can you win more?  But I think two doesn't solidify it either.  It is nice.  I'm lucky enough to be driving a IndyCar, and to get two wins is really fortunate.  There's not a lot of people that have won two IndyCar races, but I think if you really measure it, as a driver you don't want to win a couple of races, you want to win a lot of races, and hopefully more often than six or eight race periods. 
You want to win consecutive races, hopefully.  I don't know if we're quite there yet, but I would like to get there.  That's what you strive to do as a driver.  It's nice to have two, but I don't think it means anything.  It doesn't mean you're safe in a sport; I think you can always get kicked out.  You never know if you're going to be here next year; you always got to prove yourself, and that case still stands, in my opinion. 

Q.  But the only two drivers that have won twice this year are Montoya and Dixon, so that's pretty good company. 
JOSEF NEWGARDEN:¬† That's true, that's true.¬† They're tough, though.¬† You know, I wanted to go back to the point that just because we got a couple of wins doesn't mean we're necessarily going to have more wins throughout this year.¬† Penske has been difficult this whole season.¬† They have been tough on their game, and Ganassi has been tough on the heels with Scott Dixon in particular, so that's not going to let up.¬† It's not like we're going to get to the next race, and we are magically going to be better than those guys.¬† I think we need to keep working.¬† We need to go back to the shop.¬† Texas was not a good event for us, and we're going to Fontana next, which is similar to a Texas‑type race, so we've got a lot of work to do, but I have faith in our guys.¬† We got a lot of smart guys, we have a lot of talented people.¬† We can make it happen, we just got to make sure that we're not fooling ourselves that we're this "super team" because we're not.¬† We gotta keep working just like the rest of the guys out there.¬†

Q.  Rodolfo has struggled this season, to be polite, and he was leading, and I looked it up, he was running race laps a second and a half faster than he practiced all weekend. 
JOSEF NEWGARDEN:  Yeah, that's weird! 

Q.  How concerned were you?  One, he's a little faster.  And, two, how concerned were you, if I need to try to pass this guy, can I, and is it going to be safe?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN:  You know, oddly enough my worst stint was my last stint.  I thought we had a great middle stint once we got temperature in the tires, and the car was super quick.  We were able to put it consistent lap times in over that middle stint, but then at the end they were telling me it was critical that I got by him, and I could see why.  We got a good lead and maintained that lead, but sitting behind him he's running a second or so off what we could have done once we got out front, so we needed to get out in front because Luca and Helio were going to close the gap. 
I struggled at the end, behind him, trying to get a good, clean run.  I had a couple of peaks, but I couldn't get close enough out of 1 or out of turn 11, and I just was loose in the last stint as well.  Once he pitted it made it a lot easier for me.  I wasn't struggling with as loose of a car, but for some reason it was loose behind him, and I couldn't get a run.  That was probably the toughest part of the race for me but it was difficult, because that can foil your plans pretty quick when you're trying to run behind someone and you need to get by them and you can't get by them. 
THE MODERATOR:  Josef, congratulations.  We will see you in a couple weeks in Fontana.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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