September 12, 2020
Post-Race Press Conference
THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the Honda 200 Mid-Ohio post-race press conference after race No. 1. We're joined by our third-place finisher Alexander Rossi. Alex, go ahead and tell us about your day.
ALEXANDER ROSSI: Well, it was a busy day for sure, for everyone. These double-headers are tough. But yeah, I thought we had a good car. We missed it a bit in qualifying, for whatever reason, but regardless, we were pretty confident going into the race, and we were able to kind of run the strategy that we wanted, and yeah, I think third was a good result.
We got held up there in the middle stint a little bit, maybe could have gotten second, but nonetheless, with the year that we've had, we'll take a podium, and the good thing is we get to do it all again tomorrow. We have a good platform underneath us. The team is doing a good job, so hopefully we can do a little better tomorrow.
Q. How much confidence does that give you going into the race tomorrow but also for the rest of the season obviously given that you've had a pretty challenging year so far?
ALEXANDER ROSSI: You know, we're just taking it one day at a time. Obviously we're just trying to get a race win before the year is out, so that's really our priority right now, and yeah, I think we have a good car. I think that had we qualified a little bit better we could have maybe challenged for a win, but regardless I think we're there or thereabouts. It'll be interesting tomorrow with the potential weather, but if it's dry I think we have a car to qualify in the top three and go from there.
Like I said, I think maybe we could have gone one better today, but we just didn't get through the traffic as good as we needed to. The team has done a good job. Obviously Ryan, myself, Marco, Colton, Jack, the whole team has been really good from the outset.
Q. The track seemed pretty slick out there today. Was that an issue at all?
ALEXANDER ROSSI: It was really strange. Actually for the first time in my career it took a step down in grip for qualifying, and I don't think we've ever seen group 2 go slower than group 1. We got caught out a little bit by that in qualifying -- we were caught by surprise from that for sure, so with group 1 tomorrow it reverts, so maybe that'll be to our advantage. We'll see.
Q. Obviously the weather will play into that, as well?
ALEXANDER ROSSI: For sure.
Q. Just go into a little detail on how difficult it was to engineer the car going from pretty hot this morning in practice or kind of hot in practice and it heated up more for qualifying and then cooled back down come race time?
ALEXANDER ROSSI: You know, that is all true, but ultimately I think it was a pretty cool day relative to what we've experienced this year. Mid-Ohio for the most part, as more laps go down and more Firestone rubber goes down, it generally gets grippier and grippier. Aside from qualifying, that was the case. The biggest thing for us was not to overreact to the lack of grip we had in qualifying and just kind of go with what we know for the race, and that worked out well for us.
Q. Your teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay had mentioned in qualifying that he believed the Cooper tire rubbers from the Road to Indy actually benefitted the first group in qualifying. Is that something you would agree with?
ALEXANDER ROSSI: It's really the only difference from group 1 to group 2, but we'll never know. It's weird, you never see that. You wouldn't think that that would be the case. Group 2 is 99 percent of the time always faster than group 1, so it was a strange set of circumstances for sure.
Q. Alex, you were the first one to pit on your last stop. Did you have to do a ton of fuel saving in that last stint in?
ALEXANDER ROSSI: Yeah, a lot. It was pretty tough there with Graham. We didn't have the fuel to fight Josef, but it was important for us to try and jump Ryan there, and it worked out for us, but then we were on the defensive for sure. So it was just about saving as much as we could without losing the spot to Graham, which was hard, but ultimately we had the car to do it, so glad we got it done.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports