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July 18, 2015

Helio Castroneves

Tony Kanaan


TONY KANAAN:  Qualifying is over.  So we missed the pole by that.  We'll try to do it better next time. 
Time to concentrate on the race.  By the time we get to 10:00 tonight, after the race is over, nobody is going to remember who started on the pole, they'll remember who won the race.  It's time to concentrate on that. 
THE MODERATOR:  Because of the shortness of the track, things are kind of fast and furious.  What do you think when you're out there at night under the lights, all these cars constantly going around the track? 
TONY KANAAN:  Things happen very fast here, so the race is never boring, I would say.  It goes really quick, not just because of the shortness of the track, but the nature of the race. 
I think this year with the new aero kits, more downforce, so on, I think it's going to be the most physical race we had on an oval in a longshot.  I don't remember using this much effort in a long time.  So it's going to be hard. 
THE MODERATOR:  Because of the nature of the race, does that make track position and qualifying more important or maybe not so much? 
TONY KANAAN:  I think so.  Track position on a short oval is always important.  But it also goes with the consistency of your car. 
IndyCar racing is not just about track position.  You have to have good pit stops.  So many things have to go right.  You have to have a good strategy. 
Look at last weekend.  A couple guys gamble on the strategy and still finish ahead of a bunch of guys that deserved to be in front. 
But for sure it's important to start on the front. 
THE MODERATOR:  Questions, please. 

Q.  Not only is it a brutal race, but you have heat indexes over 100 degrees.  How are you dealing with that? 
TONY KANAAN:  Thank God I'm from Brazil.  I'm more than fine with it. 
You know, as the night comes, when the sun goes away, it's going to be a little bit better for us.  It's still going to be hot, but not as brutal as 3:00 yesterday when we had our first session.  It was brutal.  It was definitely brutal. 
I think it's going to take a toll on the drivers and for sure on the setups, as well.  The hotter the track is, the less grip we're going to have. 

Q.  Tony, with three daylight sessions so far this weekend, aero kits, you haven't run at night yet, is tonight's race something of an unknown in terms of the setup with the package?
TONY KANAAN:  I think so.  We have a pretty good idea over the night races that we've done in the past what the track should be doing.  But that doesn't mean that it's going to happen. 
I think it is a little bit of an unknown.  I think a lot of the guys, you will see, will take a conservative approach, especially in the beginning.  Then we'll see. 
But you're right.  We're sitting in the engineering room now scratching our heads thinking, What's going to happen?  Is it going to be understeer, oversteer?  Are we going to pick up grip or not? 
It's going to be tricky, for sure.  That's why this is anybody's race. 

Q.  Do you feel with the aero package much different concerning the behavior of the car compared to a big oval?
TONY KANAAN:  We have more downforce.  The behavior itself, it's the same.  I think it brought the grid a lot tighter.  The cars are a little bit easier to drive with more downforce.  You have more people.  It will be very difficult to pull away from anybody, I believe. 
But to answer your question, it's not a completely different beast than it was in Indy or with Texas, although we have a completely different aero package.  We're running the road course, street course wings here, which we did in Milwaukee as well.  We obviously didn't do that on the big ovals. 
THE MODERATOR:  Tony, thank you very much. 
We are now joined by our polesitter, Helio Castroneves of Team Penske. 
This is your second pole at Iowa Speedway, your third pole in 2015.  This is your 40th career pole, which keeps you at fourth all time for career poles. 
What can we expect for tonight? 
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  It changed a little bit.  Obviously, the heat is the biggest factor of qualifying, how low can you go.  But certainly we as a team were able to find a good balance.  As you can see, the top six, I think it's four of us are up there.  It shows we worked together. 
It's just a matter of which one you going to go, go win first or go big one.  We ended up going in turn one no problem.  That's because of the bump we have there.  It sometimes limits how much we can carry. 
The Hitachi Chevy was strong last week in Milwaukee.  It's showing it's very strong here, as well.  Can't wait to start now. 
THE MODERATOR:  Obviously your teammates are part of your team and you want to work together, as you just alluded to.  How does that work during qualifying?  Whoever gets last gets the most information?  As you know, you're on the line for the championship, as well. 
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  This year is interesting because they changed the rules.  Usually when you're in qualifying, you're not allowed to change the wings.  Now for some reason they changed. 
So, yes, the guy that goes towards the end, he's able to adjust the car.  However, in this place here, it's difficult to do it because the amount of downforce.  It's not like Indy or Texas or Fontana, Milwaukee they did something different.  The point is it's a little bit harder when you have more downforce the way it is to just change one rear wing or things like that. 
But we still rely on some information, if the cars push, are loose, something like that.  The weather changed.  The wind got a little bit strong compared to yesterday.  But I'm extremely happy. 
I joke around with my guys.  That's what happens when they show up on time.  We're able to show how fast our car is. 
At the end of the day it doesn't matter.  The guys did a great job.  Starting last and were able to finish in second place.  Now we're able to start in the right position. 
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Helio. 

Q.  Are you planning to do any changes together with your engineer for the race?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  We'll change the car for the race conditions.  Obviously the speed we're achieving, it's much different on the race setup.  And, yes, we are planning to change quite a lot. 

Q.  Obviously it's impossible to know for sure, but what is your best guess as to how the heat, grip level and aero kits are going to combine for the racing tonight?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Good question.  Yesterday it was very difficult.  I'm not going to lie.  I was having issues passing, especially because where I'm leaving in the pits, there is a lot of traffic. 
I believe when the sun goes away and the track temperature goes down, now we're talking about 130, I'm assuming it's going to go to about 100 or lower, that's going to change a lot.  That's going to make the race probably a little bit more competitive. 
At this point it's difficult running behind someone without having some loss of grip.  Plus the track is going to get better because people going to put new tires, things like that. 
I think as the race progress, it's going to become even more competitive. 

Q.  When you take a look at what Hunter-Reay did last year here, new tires late, how important is it that you have an extra set?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  It's extremely important.  We have one extra set we didn't use because of that.  We already planned ahead of the game. 
The workers sometimes on the racetrack, they do a phenomenal job.  Sometimes they go faster, sometimes slower.  But obviously it depends of the gravity of whatever happens.  You got to judge from that. 
If it's three, two laps to go, it might be tough.  If it's 10 laps to go, I don't think anybody going to guess in trying to just not change tires. 

Q.  How do you like qualifying on a race day? 
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  Thank God Bourdais didn't damage much the car.  I believe he will be okay. 
It's tough because you got to think twice.  Take a big risk.  At the same time, I don't know what is the beneficial, if it is or not, in terms of the event.  I don't have the numbers or experience in that department. 
But right now you got to take it as it comes. 

Q.  With all the races running this weekend, the rubber they put down, do you think that rubber will help curve the tire degradation?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  No.  The beginning, I don't think so.  I think the heat of the track will be more important than all the different types of rubbers.  Even if it's the same, it's not the same of what we running. 
I would take that into consideration more than just other series. 

Q.  There's an old saying:  Keep your enemies close by so you always know what they're up to.  If you look at the list here, I'm not saying these guys you're racing with for the championship are enemies, but they're all guys you need to keep your eye on.  How convenient is that?
HELIO CASTRONEVES:  No worries, I got my eyes on them (laughter). 
Well, at this point, to be honest, we got to score a win here.  I'm really pushing for that.  I know that's going to give us the trampoline to becoming even more close to what we need so much. 
At this point you just got to go for it.  I have a very good car and I'm ready for it. 
THE MODERATOR:  Helio, congratulations.  We'll see you tonight. 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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