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June 20, 2021

Colton Herta

Will Power

Plymouth, Wisconsin

Press Conference


THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Colton Herta, a winner earlier this season at St. Petersburg and now his second podium here this season. Tell us about the day. It was a long and interesting one, wasn't it.

COLTON HERTA: Yeah, it finally happened. I've been struggling to get on the podium when I'm not winning, so it feels nice to finally get one, or my second one in my career. Yeah, it feels good. Team did an amazing job. We seemed to lack a little bit of pace to Alex and Josef. They seemed to be the guys to beat.

You know, so I think we had third place pace and that was where we were going to finish until Josef had that problem. Car felt really good. Guys did an amazing job in the pits to gain me a few spots on track and put us on the podium in the second spot.

THE MODERATOR: This track is four miles long, but you guys are battling throughout this road course nonstop today for sure.

COLTON HERTA: No, it's definitely -- you could see it in qualifying with how close the gaps are even though it's a four mile long track, which is really impressive. And yeah, it's a good little mix of racing, especially when you've got guys on different downforce settings that struggle through the back and were really quick on the straights. It can make it very difficult to pass but also very fun to pass when you get it done.

Great job today by everybody on the team. I had a lot of fun and super happy about it.

THE MODERATOR: The driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, Will Power, also joins again, the second podium this year after a second place at Barber Motorsports Park. Big bounce back in Detroit. You guys needed this.

WILL POWER: Yeah, we did. I just think about Indy and Detroit, like two massive results of points there. Those two results have put us right back in the championship. Stoked to be third. Pretty fun race, to be honest. It had a bit of everything and good racing and a bit of roughing up.

THE MODERATOR: Was there more beating and banging going on out there than you can remember?

WILL POWER: There was a little bit. Drivers have good memories -- no, just joking.

But yeah, solid day, fun racing and restarts, and dealing with deg, big tire deg and different levels of downforce, made for probably a pretty good race for the fans.

Q. Shocked about what happened to Josef?

WILL POWER: Man, you just don't know what it is about our team right now. We almost have a win in the bag and something just ridiculous happens, like just something that -- I don't know what it was, but things that you couldn't prep for, something that you couldn't avoid. It's like my thing was just a switch, just a weird glitch in the system in Detroit, and I don't know what his was this time. But yeah, unbelievable. And maybe it wouldn't have happened if there wasn't a restart, but you don't know.

Q. Was there anything that you could have done differently (indiscernible)?

COLTON HERTA: I don't think so. It was just one of those days where we just didn't have enough pace. We were down two, three tenths of a lap to Alex and Josef. Especially at the beginning of the race we were struggling. Once the kind of grip came in and our car tightened up a little bit, it helped, but we were still lacking to them.

You know, I think we kind of maximized what we could have done, but yeah, today for sure wasn't a day that we were going to win on pace.

Q. (No microphone.)

COLTON HERTA: Yeah, that was close. I thought Will was going to leave the room, and he came over --

WILL POWER: Where was that? On the first lap? Did I push you wide?

COLTON HERTA: No, I was here when you came down and then I switched --

WILL POWER: Oh, yeah, so that was actually close. I thought I had a good gap. I thought I went to your inside, no wonder you pushed me away.

COLTON HERTA: Then I got him the next time. Yeah, the lockup, we had a really big vibration. I didn't see what tire I locked up, but it definitely affected my red tire pace because you see I was just terrible and I had a big vibration on one of the front tires. Definitely lacked pace on there, but once we got the blacks on we seemed okay. Like I said before, we didn't seem as good as other people, but we seemed good enough to kind of be in the mix for a top 5.

Q. (No microphone.)

WILL POWER: No, no, no problems today. Pretty solid. Everything was good. Thank God we didn't have the red flag. We had to restart the car, but...

Q. (No microphone.)

WILL POWER: They were all things that are not things that have been repeated, know what I mean? Like they're not constantly the same things, so it's really hard to -- I've seen this through the years. It's just one -- you hate to be the pioneer of things that go wrong and then they fix it, which that was me in Detroit. Had a glitch in the system. It hadn't happened to anyone else, but you being the one to find it really sucks.

Q. (No microphone.)

WILL POWER: Well, yeah, the same thing, you're not doing a very good job. This team, again, a problem we fixed immediately and it won't happen again. But I just can't believe the luck that we're having as a team right now. It blows my mind.

Q. (No microphone.)

WILL POWER: I think so, actually.

COLTON HERTA: I still struggled.

WILL POWER: They went on, but yesterday when it was hot they went off ridiculously.

COLTON HERTA: It's also like the more rubber you put down, too, makes it a lot easier, so going into that last stint, it's a lot easier.

Q. Colton, you said at the start of the season you wanted top 5s and podiums. Was today perhaps a sign of things to come?

COLTON HERTA: I sure hope so. We definitely have had the speed to do it everywhere that we've gone, which is nice, but we just haven't executed every single part, whether that be strategy or pit stops or me making mistakes on track. Just it hasn't all come together. It came together today, but we need to be doing it more consistently because we do have really fast race cars and we have the pace to be up front every single weekend.

It's just a matter of if we can get it done in the race and have perfect races to get it done every weekend. We're working on it. It's getting better. This will be a big confidence boost for everybody. Fourth place last week in Detroit and then come here and get a second, we're definitely on the ball. We've just got to keep doing it.

Q. Colton, going back to the tire deg a little bit and the reds, were they unexpected, or after three days, three practices were you able to figure it out?

COLTON HERTA: No, I think everybody knew that this was going to be a deg race. You know, my situation was a lot worse than everybody else's because we had that vibration on the front tires, and that just degraded all the grip for a moment. Then I was overslipping them because of this, and all the grip went away really quickly.

It seemed like it wasn't like completely awful like I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be really big, and it didn't end up getting like that. But yeah, for sure you needed to be conscious of it and do some small minor changes to your driving to kind of execute and really square off those corners so you're not putting too much G on the rears.

Q. You go back to Mid-Ohio, you've had some success there, so maybe this is a sign of things to come for you guys?

COLTON HERTA: For sure. I'm really looking forward to getting back to Mid-Ohio. It's a track that I love. It's a really good racetrack for INDYCARs, and they always put on a good show there. It's going to be an amazing weekend. I'm sure it's going to be hectic and there's going to be a lot of people there, so I can't wait for that. Yeah, thank you.

Q. Will, do you feel this result will give you some good momentum heading into the second half of the season?

WILL POWER: Yes, I do. Even Detroit last week, sixth I was really happy with coming from 21st or 20th or whatever it was. And yeah, I was really happy to get my Fast Six this weekend, and I thought this morning if I can get a podium, I'll be really happy. So finished on the podium and start heading in the right direction.

Q. What was Josef Newgarden's advantage this weekend? Did you adopt his setup at all?

WILL POWER: I actually adapted his driving style and setup, yeah. I started perfecting it during the race but certainly got halfway there in qualifying.

Q. You're being serious? You changed what you did, doing what he did and that sort of thing?

WILL POWER: Yep, I changed the way I drive, yep.

THE MODERATOR: Congratulations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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