home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


July 23, 2006

Michael Andretti

Sam Hornish, Jr.

Tony Kanaan

Danica Patrick


THE MODERATOR: Sam Hornish, Jr., our second place finisher, maintains his points lead by 25 points over Scott Dixon.
Sam, if you could, at one time, started on the front row, fell a lap down to the leaders. What happened to the car early on in the race?
SAM HORNISH, JR.: We weren't quite handling the way we needed to be to be up there running with the leaders. We decided we would just try to save fuel, make it so we could do a two-stop race. That was the big thing for us. We came in for our first pit stop. Two cars in front of us that were a couple laps down came in front of us. They were going pretty slow, 50 miles an hour into pit lane.
It was just an unfortunate deal for us because that basically enabled us to lose the lap. We lost probably six or seven seconds the way everything worked out. We worked hard, fought as a team, got back on the lead lap, were able to get out of here with a second-place finish on a day when a lot of our competitors in the points championship didn't have very good days. Keep working away at it, see what we could do.
THE MODERATOR: Pit stop at lap 140, your crew got you back out on the lead lap first. Looked like they did a fantastic job.
SAM HORNISH, JR.: Yeah, we had pitted a little bit earlier than that, built the car back up. As soon as the tires were done, we could go do what needed to be done. One of those things where a good strategy call on Roger's part. Everything worked out the way it should have been. We didn't have any problems, were able to get out back on the lead lap, get around a bunch of people.
The days like today where you have to stick in there and just keep working away on it are the ones that are going to win you the championship.

Q. (No microphone.)
SAM HORNISH, JR.: As far as to get up there and challenge Tony, I don't know if I would have been able to get around to him, if I would have caught up to him. I restarted -- two restarts from the end, I think I was about 11th. I was all the way to the next lap car in line. I had a whole bunch of people to pass. I pushed the tires real hard for that stint. Tony could stay up there and save fuel, run a little bit lower, make sure he didn't have to abuse the tires at all.
When I got out of there, got pinched down with Marco. I lost a lot of ground to Tony. I figured, you know, it's better to stay there. We picked up a little bit of a vibration, whether or not we picked up something inside one of the wheels or what happened. Just enabled us to -- kept us from going up there and pushing real hard. I didn't know what was wrong. I didn't want to have something happen and end up in the wall with five laps or whatever. You can limp it around for a little while, as Helio proved at Richmond.
We just decided to stay there, save a little fuel, make sure we had enough to make it to the end, stay ahead of Scheckter.

Q. (No microphone.)
SAM HORNISH, JR.: 225 laps. I'm glad that's all it is. He had new tires on. Little bit of an advantage there versus hundred-lap tires. I think they had a great day, made a good call right there at the end because he got around a bunch of people. I'm glad I didn't have to hold him off any more laps than what I did.

Q. (No microphone.)
SAM HORNISH, JR.: Well, I mean, yeah, we wanted to make sure we made it to the end no matter what today because of our problems we had last week at Nashville. The big thing for me is, no matter what it takes, make sure we make it to the end.
I felt that, you know, Helio, what happened to him, the same thing almost happened to me about 50 laps sooner when Tomas went by me. Kind of went in there and went straight (indiscernible). If I didn't get out of the throttle, same thing would have happened, into the outside wall like he was.
It shows just exactly how close this points championship is. They put the car back together; he went out there and ran some more laps. That's the thing that you're going to have to do, because a small amount of points this way or that way is probably what's going to determine the win.
THE MODERATOR: When you went a lap down, did you start thinking big picture and points racing?
SAM HORNISH, JR.: I was a little bit upset, for quite a while, when we were a lap down 'cause, you know, at the time Scott was only two points behind me -- two positions behind me and Dan was like one position behind me or ahead of me. I thought, you know, this is the wrong thing we want to do this weekend. We want them to definitely not have a good weekend and us have a good one.
We decided to keep our heads down, work on the car, make it better. It was good enough to get us there in the end.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you much, Sam.
SAM HORNISH, JR.: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We will bring in fourth-finishing Danica Patrick, finishes fourth for the second consecutive week. Another one of those drivers that at one point was a lap down. Danica, tell us about your day.
DANICA PATRICK: Well, as I was saying earlier today, (No microphone.) -- you tend to fall into the safest strategy. I don't know for sure if that's what happened to the guys up front, the AGR guys. You know, we were able to take a few gambles with our pit stops. You know, we were doing things like topping up, you know, at the end of a yellow so we could have more options when our fuel window opened up or when a yellow flag came out. We just played with that.
My engineer, Ray, all the guys in the stand, are really smart with that. They always seem to make all the right decisions there. Knock on wood, it keeps on going, they keep making those good decisions.
That's a lot of what put us to the front. I suppose if you want me to keep blabbering on, I could talk about the car. You know, the car was pretty good. I think I had a fairly fast car. I'm not sure what fastest laps were in the race. At one point in time, I think my engineer Ray told us that we were, you know, Sam and I were the fastest cars on the track.
I think we double-stinted a set of cars, which is great. It was good to see that. They were really good at the end. We stickered up for the end and fueled up, which is what gave us such an advantage to the cars that stayed on the track.
You know, on the second to last stint, I had a little bit of trouble with some wheel imbalance that could have been from a burnout. These are the things that I don't know if you know. You do something to damage one of these tires, you lock up the brakes, smoke a right front. I mean, that happens on road courses more often. If you do a burnout or something, you can flat spot the tires and make them unbalanced, then it vibrates.
I had something to that effect happen. That's kind of what made me drop back from Sam when we got back on the track for the second to last stint. But we were able to run hard at the end.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: Yeah (laughter). Well, I've been saying all weekend -- and to be honest, any short course we go to, any short oval we go to, it's great racing and it's so much fun because cars don't stay the same. Your car will not go as fast at the beginning of the stint necessarily as it does at the end. If it does, you better win the race because it's not a normal thing.
You know, your tires get old, especially with the heat out there. You know, it makes it difficult to stay consistent. That's what makes for -- that's what makes for overtaking maneuvers. We all have the same engine, Honda. We all have the same chassis, Dallara. It's very difficult to find anywhere else that you're faster. You just have to work extremely hard with your guys and your pit crew and your engineer to make the car faster. That's all you've got.
So, yeah, short ovals do make for good racing. I wish that we had more of those instances where, you know, it's a big difference in speed at certain points, and even to some effect, let's say Indy this year, when there was lots of slower cars, we were lapping all the time, that's good for the fans. I don't care if you're only lapping them or not. The fans don't really know, they just want to see passing.
I hope our car count goes up. I hope that we can find some ways to make there be some differences in speed, because that's I think what keeps the fans excited when you're watching. Follow the leader isn't exciting.

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: Especially when you're the faster one. I have been the slower one before, so I know the difficulty in that. I had my fair share of that last year. Sometimes it was like a whole race that I was the slower car. Sometimes -- I remember Pikes Peak last year. I had sometimes really good, sometimes really bad stints. Like I said, good racing then.

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: Well, I think it's very nice to be able to do well, especially for the crew. Those guys, and I've said it, I will say it again, they have been working flat out since Motegi basically. Once we got back from Motegi, we went to Indy. Indy, they started -- as if we didn't have enough work to do at Indy since we were about the slowest cars at a couple points during the month, the guys started building Dallaras. We went to Watkins Glen right after that, and then we're still building Dallaras. Then we showed up at Texas the next weekend with our cars.
These guys have just been working so hard. You know, it's okay to work really hard and get results. At least it's paid off, right? But since we had so long that we were just in the back with cars at first, it was disappointing and discouraging. It's always good to do well, and most importantly I feel good for the guys, that they can have something to smile about at the end of the day for working so hard.

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: We qualified like 14th in qualifying. Yeah, we weren't close in qualifying. You only got here today, didn't you? So your question is, am I getting comfortable?
To be honest, I don't feel like we're doing that much different than what we did when we first got the cars. I don't know if the car is settling in. I don't know if Ray is making changes based on, you know, kind of the things that he's been learning. But I just am like, yeah, just drive the car.
You know, our changes seem to be affecting it in a predictable way. That's something that you really need to have when you're making changes, especially on the fly. We made changes before the race in Nashville, right before, without trying it. I looked at them before the race and I was like, I'm really nervous. I don't know what the car's going to do. You know, every race before that, we'd go out and the car was completely different or opposite of what we had tested. We didn't really even change much.
You know, for this race and the last race, the car has done more what we hoped. I think a lot of that is just talking things out. I'm helping a lot more at least with kind of my gut feeling on what changes to make 'cause I have that seat-of-the-pants feel.
Ray is the ultimate decision maker. I think that we're all just finding changes that work with the car instead of -- or obviously don't work.

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: Scott's a wonderful guy. He's a great guy. I'm glad to see him at the track. I'm glad to see him healthy. He looks good. Anybody that has seen him I think can say the same. He's a huge part of the team. He's a cheerleader, but yet he's sort of a disciplinarian. He keeps people in order. He makes sure everything is going in the right direction and reminds people of the simple things in racing.
It's really not that complicated, racing, it's just a matter of choosing the things that end up working. He's good. He's good for morale. He's good for everything.

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: I don't think so.

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: Yes, it is actually, believe it or not. The more pressure, I seem to do better. It's the weirdest thing. It's a wonderful gift, too, because that's a difficult situation. You know, a lot of people crumble or break under it. I seem to work better. You know, for all of you out there that know how that big butterfly in your stomach feels, that's how I work best.
I can work myself up to it, too.

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: Oh, I can come up with all kinds of ways. So can you guys, right? What's the new story?

Q. (No microphone.)
DANICA PATRICK: You heard it here (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Danica. We're joined by winning car owner, Michael Andretti. Congratulations.
THE MODERATOR: Tell us how it feels not only to have a car in Victory Lane but to have Marco run so well.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: It was a great day for the team. We were back being competitive. Hopefully we can continue that the rest of the year. Just really proud of Tony. He just drove very, very well all weekend. You know, him and the 7-Eleven crew deserve this one. He's been our go-to guy the last three or four years. He came through again.
Really proud of him. I'm really proud of the job Marco did, as well. He drove very, very well. It's a shame, you know, the tires went off there in the end and the other guys have fresh tires, otherwise he would have finished third. But he still did really well.
THE MODERATOR: I'll open it up for questions.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I don't know. I mean, his car was just a tad bit better. It was just that. I don't know, you know, the other guys, their handling went away more than Tony's.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah, that was good, to have all four cars running up front. We haven't had much of that all year. It was looking good. At lap 200, I just wish it would be a 200 mile instead of 225. Would have looked a lot better. But it was still good.
THE MODERATOR: It has been a frustrating year I guess by Andretti Green standards. If you could comment on that, and what today means.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, it means a lot. You know, it's been very frustrating. We're a team that's used to winning. I think we could have been in the winner's circle two or three times this year. For whatever reason, it didn't happen. To finally do it, do it here at Milwaukee, it feels good.
I love Milwaukee. It's been a great track for me and my family. Me and dad have won, I don't know, like nine races here. We've won here two years ago with Dario as a team. It's a great place for us, and I'm glad we were finally able to break the ice here.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Health, I'm sure, had a lot to do with it for sure. That's one thing I really like that they did with the IPS thing. I just wish more teams would jump onboard. Now maybe now they'll look at it, because it is an advantage to get those extra days. I think it had a lot to do with our win here. Jonathan and Jaime have done a lot to help us, as well. It's been a good program for us.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: It was important, yeah. It's a handling track. We knew that this is one place we could win. But we wanted to make sure we got the most out of it. It was a smart move on our part.
THE MODERATOR: We bring in the winning driver, Tony Kanaan. Great win as you sit next to the boss.
TONY KANAAN: I stink so bad, he's been complaining, so I want to sit really close (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Judging by the burnouts, you were very happy.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I was like watching the wing the whole time.
TONY KANAAN: It broke.
TONY KANAAN: A little bit. I'll pay for it (laughter).
Yeah, I mean, I should say we should thank Jonathan Klein, Marco and Dario and the team for the IPS program, because that really helped us. I think when we struggle so bad in the year that we are, to win a race, I think the test was very important. That put us in the right spot right from the beginning of the weekend. It's much easier tuning a good car than finding a good car.
I would say I'm happy that -- I go back on the end of 2002 when Michael had a lot of faith on me, when he bought the team. He came straight to me. Those days, I wasn't doing very well. At least 13 drivers ahead of me in the championship that he could hire, apart from himself. He gave me a lot of credit.
When we talked, I promised him I will always try to give it a hundred percent. Started with the first pole, the first race, the first championship. Unfortunately, I didn't give him the --
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I didn't like the first pole. I qualified second. He was first. That was the only one I didn't like.
TONY KANAAN: You were gone by the first corner already.
I'm glad that I was able to give them their first win again this year. A lot of hard work. The team is working harder than they've ever been. That is definitely a big help for them. Everybody was expecting us to fall apart. I think we're more together now than we've ever been.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I was a little worried. I saw Hornish coming up pretty fast. I was watching him. I'm like, I don't know. Unfortunately, my feeling was right. It was fun while it lasted. Thank God Tony was able to hang in there and get a great restart and put in those strong laps right there in the end. At least we came home with a win.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY KANAAN: It's a start.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: He's not collecting that much.
TONY KANAAN: I don't think it will. Michael says, good luck on collecting that. I won twice this weekend. Actually Curt owes me dinner now too, just so you guys know.
THE MODERATOR: This win by Tony is the fifth different winner of the season and the first by a non-Penske and a non-Target Chip Ganassi team member. If you could talk about that, Tony.
TONY KANAAN: It feels good. We're not here just to beat them. They're obviously doing better than us. It's the two teams that we always try to beat.
We're here to win races. They definitely done a better job than us apparently this year. We catching up. I would say more and more they see us coming back. That's the nature of the business. We've been dominating for the last two years. They been dominating now. We getting closer. I'm just happy that we broke the streak and hopefully we have four more races, very difficult ones. I don't think we should get carried over being too happy. I know me and Michael tomorrow morning, we'll be already thinking about next weekend, so is the whole team.
You know, we're going to keep trying, for sure.
THE MODERATOR: Tony Kanaan, seventh career victory.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY KANAAN: He surprised me because he kept going on my side. I'm like, Get out of here man, please. I don't want to hit you. Either go in front or back.
I knew my car was better. At that point, we were both saving fuel. I think Marco got a little bit of understeer coming out of four. Got a run. I wasn't expecting to pass him.
As we talk about it, that's the problem that we don't ever have on our team. If we hit each other one day, it was going to be completely by mistake. We want the team to win a race. We all talked about it before the race, whoever had the strongest car, if we could help each other, we would. I think also at that point a little bit stronger than him, but we were both saving fuel. He was not going to give me the position because you never know what's going to happen until -- look what happened to them five, four, six, ten laps to go.
But I got the opportunity. It was fun. It's definitely fun, you know. You go through the corner, and you see somebody so good right beside you. He's standing in there. I'm like, man, makes me think about my next two years in the team. I'm getting older and he's getting better (laughter). I'm going to have a lot of work to do.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY KANAAN: I think I passed Sam and Marco. I think Helio was in the front.
Well, if you've been watching the race, that's the way I've been doing. This guy right here did that five years in a row with me. I was really mad at him. I said, One day you got to tell me what it is. When I signed, it's not a big secret, but he told me what to do. I was able to do it. I was definitely planning to go to the front.
What I wanted to do, I told Marco, we should try to split the Penskes because we knew, according to the warm-up, they were going to fall back to us. If we could split them, there was a better chance for us to control the field, if I could say that.
I was fortunate to do it. I definitely tried really hard. I was in a very good position because I was in the outside. Marco came before the start, says, Hey, you want to trade places? I said, Not really.
Yes, but it was planned to do it. But you can never really like say, I will do it. You can say you can try because you never know what's going to happen.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah, they went at it pretty good. I was watching. Unfortunately, Marco was on the end of a stint with tires, she had fresh ones. I sort of knew he really didn't have much to fight with. She did a good job getting by him.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: He did? I didn't see it. I didn't hear any warning.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I'm not commenting. Right now we have four great drivers. It would be nice to keep all four together. We have a happy family right now.
TONY KANAAN: Am I on the team next year (laughter)?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: You are, for sure.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I don't know. Yeah, it looked like that. I don't know. I don't know. Nobody said anything. I saw it on film. I didn't even realize till I saw it on film. Looked like it was pretty close, yeah.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Good question.
TONY KANAAN: Should be my Michigan engine, but I don't know what's going to happen. I'm so happy, my engineer is screaming in the radio not to damage the rear wing. He was saying it's the Michigan engine, so at that point I really didn't think about it. Yeah, after I'm done with the interview, I guess I'm going to go back to the team meeting and I'm going to hear for sure something about it. It's worth it, though.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY KANAAN: The way my luck's been, I came out of turn four on lap -- it was five to go, and I think the wind had picked up a bit. I had a little bit of hesitation in the car. I'm like, No way. I swear to God, I was panicking. That was the only concern.
I wasn't concerned of -- when Hornish passed, I was up to second. At that point I was really controlling the pace. I knew how good my car was. I could see him in my mirror as I was coming out of two in the middle of the back straightaway. He was actually coming out of two. When Scheckter approached him, I knew I should just control the pace and drive. I was actually more concerned about my car stopping just because I was paranoid about the last few races that we had a good car and we stopped. Didn't really worry about Hornish at that point.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY KANAAN: Well, we're back to the real racing world, I think. What happened in 2004, myself, I don't think I really realized what I've done, because it overcome by the championship that we won the most laps. Then 2005, we had one, two DNF's, and you go, Well, fine. Then you have good cars, you struggle. When you're in a position to win a race, then your car break, I mean, he knows a lot about that. Then you go back and say, Man, that was definitely something unbelievable. I don't know if I'm going to be able to do it ever again.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: To me it was a typical Milwaukee race. It was really enjoyable to watch. It was enjoyable to watch the good cars come to the front. To me, it was fun. Looked like, you know, those guys were having fun out there. This track is a lot of fun when you have a good car.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, I think we never thought we couldn't. You know, I don't think we're there yet. I think we still have a lot of work to do. You know, I think it was finally nice to capitalize on a track we knew we had to do well at, because there's a couple more that I think we're going to have some problems with before the end of the year.
You know, there were some places where I think we could have won this year and we didn't because of, you know, bad luck and things like that.
You know, we all knew within this team that we could do it. But it is nice to go out there and prove it to everybody else. You know, but by all means, we all know we have a lot of work to do. We're going to work very hard and we're going to get there. Hopefully get back to the point where we were last year.
TONY KANAAN: Like Michael said, we never stopped believing. I think the win is just a boost for the boys. I know tomorrow morning at 8:00 in the morning, they'll be in the shop. Myself personally, I've been working a lot closer to them, been working out with them, spending a lot of time in Indy because that's when you need your guys.
It's real easy to make a teamwork when you're winning. It's very difficult to keep everybody's motivation and the psychological side of it after winning 10, 12, 11 races a year. You go 10 races without winning, you're working twice as hard because we're chasing setups, we're changing things on and off.
It's just a boost for sure. I think it paid off because then they can feel relieved that all the many hours that they're putting on, all the investment that the team, all the extra investment we're putting on, it's paying off. Like Michael said, tomorrow morning, 8:00, we'll be back to reality. The reality is we're behind right now in a couple racetracks. We have a lot of work to do. We're going to keep doing. That's the only way to turn the situation around, having people motivated to do it even though the results won't come that easy or easier the way it's been for us the last two years.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah, I think these tracks are great for our cars. I much prefer that than the bigger tracks. I think for a driver it's definitely a lot more fun, I know that.
TONY KANAAN: It's definitely more a driver track. You can drive the car. You could see today, depending on the car you have as well, but you can carry your car a little bit. You go to places that you go flat out, sometimes it's more about the engineers than us.
Definitely enjoy that. You can show -- you can definitely make a difference here. That's why we love to come here, Richmond, all the short ovals.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you so much. Congratulations.

End of FastScripts...

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297