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June 24, 2007

Marco Andretti

Dario Franchitti

Scott Sharp


THE MODERATOR: The Indy Car Series Iowa Corn Indy 250 at Iowa Speedway, we have our number two and number three drivers here, Marco Andretti, New York Stock Exchange Group driving for Andretti Green Racing. In the second spot, Scott Sharp from nor walk Connecticut with Rahal Letterman Racing.
Let's start with March could he Andretti. March could he, can you tell us about your run today?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, it was -- excuse me, my voice, I'm very under the weather, but it was -- today was definitely a game of survival. You just had to watch yourself on the restarts and also a game of consistency.
At the end it came down to the two of us, and I just had nothing for Dario. I was driving his setup. The guy is unbelievable at setting up a car. I've got to thank him for that. When you're driving the same car, it's hard to go a longer distance and I had nothing for him so I just wanted to protect him and great day for Andretti Green.
THE MODERATOR: Scott, what was your run like today, Scott?
SCOTT SHARP: Obviously I think as everybody, very eventful. I had at least three cars side ways in front of me at some different point. Literally one of them a foot away, I probably should have been collected several different times. Felt extremely fortunate to get through those.
Just we had a good day. Didn't have quite the speed probably to challenge these two guys. But ran strong, ran at the front, had good pits stops and real pleased with the effort and the work we're doing back in the shops is playing off. To come here, qualify fourth, finish third, feels good.

Q. Marco, second place --
MARCO ANDRETTI: I said to Dario, this is just what he needed for points. He said, this is just what I needed, too. He's completely right. I just needed to finish, man. I'm happy to be second of course. But no confidence lost here, for sure. It was a long day, though, very physical.

Q. Inaudible?
MARCO ANDRETTI: I don't think so. Here, all weekend, I haven't truly gotten past and I haven't passed anybody, you know. It's tough. Obviously when you're up to speed obviously on restarts and stuff, you can make up your positions and ins and outs of the pits, but no, I didn't have anything for him.

Q. Inaudible?
MARCO ANDRETTI: The tough part for me was they were bringing us -- I'm sure for him, too -- they were bringing us through all the junk on the track. Obviously when your tires are warm, it picks up everything you run over. So you go to turn, you know, and the green flag at speed and you have no grip, so it's tough.
SCOTT SHARP: Yeah, I mean, for so many -- it was pretty desperate driving I think on restarts because you didn't want to pick up a spot; and at the same time you wanted to take a spot and you didn't want to give up the bottom, so there's a lot of different things you were juggling.
You know, just it was a matter of trying to hold your own and hope a hole opened up in front of you really. They were eventful, no doubt, and, you know, I think we felt we got through a lot of the melees on them, so it was good.

Q. Tougher race than Milwaukee or Richmond?
SCOTT SHARP: I think I'm definitely more tired than I would be in either of those. It's just that you have so much turning in the car, quite a significant amount more angle I think you have in the car here than you do either certainly at Milwaukee and I think even more than Richmond.
MARCO ANDRETTI: I'm battling a car, so it was definitely my toughest but I'm sure it was for everybody. It's hardly an oval; it's more of a circle, so you take four breaths the whole lap, so it was tough.

Q. You said it was pretty desperate driving -- inaudible --
SCOTT SHARP: Definitely. I don't think that's necessarily anything bad about it. Maybe that's just what this track is going to be like. It's just an action-packed race for the fans. It's just a little different. Just it's a big pack, a lot of cars running in a line waiting for someone to slip up, waiting to use traffic as a pick; like Marco said, waiting to do something in your pit stop to improve; waiting for restarts. And of course, you know, the easiest place to get someone is on a restart when people are on the outside and going every different way; you can get a few guys and get five breaths, that sometimes happens.

Q. Inaudible.
MARCO ANDRETTI: If it was up to me, I would want less downforce because I would want to make it so maybe there's no limit in qualifying to where you can put the wings down, and that will make it not just easy flat-out.
The speed will be quicker, but I think it will be, you know, less packed -- well, it wasn't very packed today.

Q. Inaudible.
SCOTT SHARP: I was right behind it. I almost got collected in that. I had a really great restart and got up there and there was nowhere to go because the whole track was sort of blocked by five cars and it looked a little crazy and all of a sudden you saw just a couple of guys got super close and, man, you're lucky if you can get through that without even some debris let alone without what ended up having tires, smoke, rubbing and all of a sudden guys going left and right.

Q. Did you see how it started?
SCOTT SHARP: No. It happened so fast. I saw Danica involved, she was either the first or second car hit or hitting someone. I'm not sure what triggered it.

Q. Inaudible.
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, first of all I got lucky on the first yellow because I was able to stay out a couple of laps longer. That's what gave me the track position behind Vitor I believe in second. And then yeah, Kyle had this race won for me. I over shot my pit box and I think -- you know it would have been very close, but you know, he ended up beating me out.

Q. Inaudible?
SCOTT SHARP: Not really around me. I was luckily towards the front all day.
You know, that's the only way you're probably going to get -- you're not just going to go when everyone else and expect that you're going to gain a pass or two. You have to make it sort of happen. It's that real balance of jumping and getting a run but not jumping too early and getting penalized. I don't know, were there any penalties handed out -- okay.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Things were looking good running second to Helio for most of the first stint, and then he pitted and as I was -- I guess I was leaving the pit when he spun and that put us back a bit, because I guess other people had pitted earlier in the day.
So then the madness started. It was one restart after another, one yellow after another, and then at one point I was four-wide going across the start/finish straight there and I guess the three people on the inside didn't take any further part. So I was pretty lucky.
And then from then on, it was just really -- I saw that most of the contenders that were pushing me in the championship had had their problems. So we knew we couldn't do anything stupid and we played a conservative game. We managed to run with Vitor, and then we passed him in the pits and then the last pit stop we didn't take tires. We left the Firestones on because they were really performing so well; a great call by the crew, as well.
All in all a great day for the Canadian Club car and the team, Andretti Green as a whole with a 1, 2, with Marco and yeah, a lot of fun to race here in Iowa.

Q. I know you were fortunate to get by at four-wide, but making the turn --
DARIO FRANCHITTI: No, I was kind of looking forward and just trying to pick a spot. So I'm not quite sure what happened there. But it was -- it was certainly close. There was some people weaving around a little bit, as well, obviously looking for gaps of their own and just one of those deals. It was so critical to make places up on starts and restarts if you wanted to move forward; because the pace of the cars, we could all run within thousandths of each other.

Q. What did you think of the track?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think it's a great track. The track was in good condition. There's a couple of small bumps, but that makes it interesting. If it was too smooth, I think it could be boring. The track was very well laid out.
I think in my opinion we need to sit down. I'm sure Brian Barnhardt and the IndyCar Series guys are going to make some changes to the specification of car we bring back here next year. We obviously have a short oval specification, super speedway and some stuff in between. I'd like to see some more in between than the super speedway package and the short oval package and I think that will help us.

Q. How surprising was it to see Tony and Dan having problems?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: When Tony and Dan and guys like that have problems, it's always surprising because they do such a consistent job not only week-in, week-out, but year-in, year-out so. That was a little bit of a surprise. I don't know the full reasons why they had their problems, but it's always a surprise when you see those guys run into trouble.

Q. Was this course tougher than --
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It's about the same. It's about the same. We did things in the car to make it a little bit easier for us. We knew it was going to be a physical race. I didn't find it anywhere near as physical as a road course. I think Mid-Ohio and Sonoma are going to be the tough ones for us this year. But this was a good workout for us today.

Q. (About Marco during the race).
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, we've seen that in the one-and-a-half-miles that you can come out of the outside out of the last corner and get that sort of slingshot and it didn't appear to be working here for whatever reason.
So I knew if I stopped at the yellow line, Marco was going to have a hard time getting around me. He was very smart. He just sat behind and we tried to pull away from the pack which is exactly what we talked about before. And so he was smart doing that and then he had a go when we were clear from the guys from behind and it didn't work.

Q. Talk about the fan support --
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think the biggest boost is the fact the enthusiasm of the fans and the people of Iowa love the racing, they love their oval track racing. What can you say? They come out, they show their enthusiasm and they are passionate about it and that's what makes events I think. It was great to see it out there today and also all throughout the weekend.

Q. Like you said, the bottom line -- inaudible.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It's difficult to criticize people unless you're in their shoes. I'm not going to say the guys were overaggressive. I was pretty aggressive on restarts as well because I knew that was my big chance when I was further back in the pack to make those places up.
So, yeah, I would say it's difficult. I haven't seen anything of any other incidents, so I can't comment too much.

Q. Restarts a big factor today?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: You would say it was definitely more critical today. You always push hard on restarts but obviously there is only so hard you can push before you run out of problems. But it was definitely critical to make good restarts and try and place for that time.

Q. (About engine).
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It's funny you mentioned that. I was running around with about ten laps to go and it just doesn't enter my head about the engine. It doesn't enter your head anymore. They run all day, every day and everybody's does and Honda don't get enough credit for the fact that they do that. They just put these engines and they just keep running.
I've been a Honda driver now for ten years and I really enjoy the challenge of the manufacturer wars, that's always a lot of fun, especially when you're winning.
But they have got a new challenge now which they have taken up with providing engines that are all the same and that just run all day. That's very impressive and they are obviously running on the ethanol, as well. We haven't noticed any change with it. We've just been so seamless and it's really -- the IndyCar Series need to be applauded for what they are doing with that and so do the ethanol guys for supporting our series.

Q. Good start to the season --
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, probably. Probably. It's been good, no doubt, it's been a good start to the season. Are we halfway yet? I don't even think we are halfway, so there you go. It's too early. We're just going to keep week-in, week-out trying to do a good job and see how it goes.

Q. (About Marco using the same setup for his car).
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Marco, he likes a different feeling in the car from me but he wasn't too happy yesterday at the end of practice. So I think we sort of went to my setup because I was really comfortable, and he likes slightly different things from the car. Maybe he likes a slightly looser car than I do.
So I think it will be good for him to come back with a bit more experience off the track and dial the car into what he likes.
He did a good job today. He needed that finish just because of bad luck and the trials and tribulations of his seasons.

Q. (About importance of Marco finishing second.)
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, it was cool. He wasn't feeling good today, he was pretty sick. Some problems with his throat and sinuses and everything. So with the physical aspect of this track, I think he did a fantastic job. I'm just sorry that TK and Danica had their problems because it would have been good to have us all up there. I do think the cars were very, very good today.

Q. (About problems on the track).
DARIO FRANCHITTI: We were aware of that, for sure. I saw the guys -- I saw Tony have his problems with Dan Dixon very early -- what happened to Dan? Oh, crickey. I saw the guys having issues and it wasn't lost on me that we had to at some point today, even if we didn't win it, we just had to finish as well as we could and not do anything stupid. We've just got to keep doing that week-in, week-out and maximize what we've got. If the team can keep doing their job, talking about Andretti Green as a whole and show up with fast cars, my Canadian Club boys will keep doing what they are doing and just take one race at a time.
THE MODERATOR: Dario, thank you, appreciate it.

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