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July 25, 2009

Ryan Briscoe

Helio Castroneves

Scott Dixon

Dario Franchitti

Will Power

Graham Rahal


THE MODERATOR: Ryan Briscoe and Graham Rahal, second and fifth respectively. First of all, congratulations. Ryan, can we start with you. Go through the day. How was it?
RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, it was good. Had really good cars. You could see all Penske cars are really fast here. It's fantastic. Since we took the cars off the truck, they've been feeling really good. Just been fine tuning a little bit.
But qualifying was good. I was able to get through Q1 without using reds. That sort of gave me a bit of an advantage moving forward. The car was good. We got in the Fast Six. You know, I'm a little bit frustrated. I don't think I got everything out of it in the Fast Six. I was probably a little bit conservative and was feeling as though there was more to lose than to gain by really hanging it out there. It's one of those tracks where it's pretty crazy with all the bumps and jumps we're making.
Yeah, so I just didn't get everything out of the new tire. Wasn't quite enough at the end of the day. But still fantastic. We got 1-2-3 for Penske. It's just awesome.
THE MODERATOR: Graham, how was your day?
GRAHAM RAHAL: Yeah, I mean, I think overall the McDonald's boys worked extremely hard this weekend. We didn't really show up where we wanted to be yesterday morning. Cars were quite a handful for both of us. I think we were like 14th or something. We definitely weren't feeling very good about it. For us to kind of bounce back the way we did, it feels awful nice.
This morning, kind of making a mistake, hitting the tires in turn seven, certainly had to bounce back from that as well. I think the guys worked extremely hard. My engineer and everybody on the entire team has tried to really put their heads down and focus on how to make us competitive.
This is a circuit where we feel -- obviously our team has had a lot of success here, the McDonald's car in particular has had a lot of success here. Want to try to keep that going. With all that pressure on our shoulders, keep focused. Certainly happy to be in the Fast Six yet again.
THE MODERATOR: Open it up to questions.

Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN BRISCOE: It's a tough track, definitely. There's not a lot of recovery time around the lap. On the other side of it, the tires come right in. We don't end up doing a whole lot of laps out there either.
So it's probably one of your more demanding tracks. But I think it's not too bad. The race will be a challenge, for sure, if there are no yellows. I think a fast car makes life a little bit easier out there, too.
GRAHAM RAHAL: I think this circuit definitely with the bumps and everything you have, it's one of the more demanding tracks we go to. I would absolutely say a lot of that is because people think there's a lot of room for error here, but it also invites you to push extremely hard. By doing that, it creates a lot of errors.
So to go fast, keep it on the circuit, it's very tough. By that, it becomes -- your heart rate gets high, it becomes physically demanding in its own way, even though it's not necessarily hard to turn the wheel, so to speak.
THE MODERATOR: As you can see, Helio Castroneves has joined us, as well. I'll ask you how your day was out there today.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: It was actually exciting. I have to say those guys here, it's putting us to work, you know. Certainly first qualifying, it was okay. But we still didn't want to have the same issues we had unfortunately in Watkins Glen, waiting and taking a chance, then all of a sudden be bumped out just because trying to be greedy. I'm happy at least we took that decision.
We were pushing very hard all the time. Man, that was a lot of fun. For at least three or four laps, I was probably not breathing at all. I was just like trying everything I could.
But, you know, that's just to show that Team Penske, when they have a similar equipment, two, three guys, it's very exciting. Great job. They did a great job.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions.

Q. (No microphone.)
HELIO CASTRONEVES: No question the talent is there. That's probably one of the reasons, unfortunately with the situation when Team Penske saw it, there was no doubt, and probably was one of the guy that accept as well the challenge. I would have no doubt he would be battling with us, as well, for the championship points.
It's great because it's helping us out to improve obviously the cars. But, again, it's speculation as well. But certainly there was no doubt about his ability.
RYAN BRISCOE: I agree. Yeah, no, for sure, there's no doubt.

Q. (No microphone.)
GRAHAM RAHAL: Well, I mean, if you look at the big picture, the championship, they do make very few mistakes. That's something we're trying to learn here. We've had a couple races where we have made mistakes. I said it just a minute ago when we were down in the pits. The guy that's going to win this race is the guy that's going to make the least amount of mistakes. As I said just a second ago, it invites you to make a lot of mistakes because in areas there is just a lot of green grass. You know if you go off, you're going to be okay. It invites you to push extremely hard.
I'm hoping that for the McDonald's team we can kind of turn our bad luck around tomorrow, just kind of have a trouble-free race, save some fuel, get to the front.
We're not far away. And if we can just work on our racecar just a little bit more, I have no doubt that we can run with these guys. There's a lot of fine tuning to do. That's what we're trying to figure out as we go.

Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN BRISCOE: It's been good. It's been a very strong year for both teams. I think experience has a lot to do with it. I'm not sure, you know. I can only speak for Team Penske. They do everything right. No pages left unturned. The preparation is one of the most important things to the success, especially with the limited testing we get and track time on a race weekend. I think the preparation that happens back in Moorseville has a lot to do with the success we have.
THE MODERATOR: Our other three drivers have joined us. Polesitter Will Power, and Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti. Thank you for coming over. Will, can you go through your day quickly, please.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, the first session was uneventful for me. I just did one run, probably three or four laps. The second session, I thought I'd saved a set of reds for the final six, but I spun on my first set. I was on throttle. I thought these guys didn't have power. They obviously do, they've got me (laughter).
Yeah, you know, that final six, I used two sets of used reds. I think the track kept getting a better grip. I think every driver agrees, man, that is exhausting, getting to those final laps when you're going for pole. It's tough.
But great job for the team. Penske 1-2-3. It's exactly how we want to be. Hopefully we can finish that tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Scott, how was your afternoon?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, not too bad. It's definitely a circuit our team struggles at a bit for pure flat out speed. Been back and forth throughout the weekend, in and out of the top five or six positions. It's been tough. Qualifying, especially in the first group, was pretty tough for me.
As the qualifying went on, especially for the last one, I didn't even think we could get close to the time we did on our second set of reds. To put that time in and get within a 10th was pretty nice.
I think we've worked pretty hard on both sides of the team to try and make some gains. But we're still working really, really hard at this place.
THE MODERATOR: And, Dario, please, your thoughts about today.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, we've struggled all weekend with the car. We've been sort of 12th and 13th. It's been a lot of work, like Scott said. Both teams trying to get me a balance I'm comfortable with. I like certain things out of the car a bit different from the balance Scott likes. We could get one end working, but not the other. Either the front or the back end was working well. We couldn't get both of them working well together.
We made some fairly big changes for qualifying. They seemed to work a bit. We managed to get through to the top 12 runoff. Then the lap, I put on my second set of reds, coming around, I was about to come in with a 1.6 as a time. I said I'm coming in. They said, You have time for one more lap. I kind of dragged the thing round. It wasn't a pretty lap at all. It was absolute aggression, just hanging it out. Got me a couple 10ths and got me in the top six. After that, in the top six, we didn't have the balance that we needed. I think we were living on the newness of the tires in the run before.
We've got a lot of work to do for tomorrow. I agree with these guys, it's bloody physical and it's hard work, but it's a lot of fun.
THE MODERATOR: Back to the floor for questions.

Q. (No microphone.)
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It's very physical. A lot of fast corners. A lot of flowing corners. I think it's a place where experience counts because it's very difficult to pick your line. When you come off that big wide runway, you got to pick the exact apex point into the lane. When there's only six or eight feet of curb, it's difficult to pick that out in a number of places. I'm getting better with each run. To come here qualifying day, stands are pretty much full, you know, we love racing in Canada. That's one of the reasons why.

Q. (No microphone.)
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I like P.T., man (laughter).
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Give him a sniff of a win and look out. I'm telling you, man. He looks good. Typical P.T. Spectacular. I think if he can get amongst it tomorrow, he will be difficult to beat.

Q. (No microphone.)
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I like this format. It gives a chance to everyone. It's a very challenge. As you can talk, it feels like a race. We're really pushing as hard as we can. You've got to use some strategy, use the right time, push at the right time. You've got to use it all.
Indy, as well. But Indy is something different. This format on a road course is great. Indy is great. I just don't like the other ones on the other ovals. But no question about it, I think on the road course, this is pretty good.
RYAN BRISCOE: I like it. I think for the fans, as long as it's explained to them in a good way, I think it's fantastic. It's a huge challenge for us in the car. It's hard work, but it's fun as well. As Helio said, I think it gives a bit more of a chance to other guys when strategy comes into play.

Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN BRISCOE: I don't know. I mean, I haven't seen the television telecast of qualifying, so I'm just saying, I'm not sure if it is explainable to the fans or not. But if it is explainable to the fans, I think that's one of the important things.
At the end of the day, we're just qualifying, setting up for the race. And qualifying, if we can put an extra show for the fans, that's what we need to do. I don't care whether we do one-lap qualifying or half a day of qualifying.
But, you know, I think this is a challenge and it's good.

Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, they're as good as you get. Penske material. But, yeah, you know, obviously they're not working on this car every weekend. Half the time they're on a sports car. So for them to come over and prepare this car, we never have problems, hardly ever have to make many changes. They do a fantastic job.

Q. (No microphone.)
DARIO FRANCHITTI: You never know, do you. You never know how that's gonna work. Obviously Will's performance in the races he's done has been pretty strong. You know, I think his experience on short ovals and stuff is -- he's not got as much experience with that style of racing, so that might have been difficult. Any race he's done, he's done a bloody good job.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, I agree with Dario. It's tough to forecast what anybody's gonna do. It's definitely a grueling season, and sometimes when you get into a rut, it can be pretty tough to get out. You know, Will has definitely done a fantastic job, that's for sure. By all means, it's tough to come in and try and put something together when you're competing against obviously guys that have been doing it for the whole season.
You know, where that could go, who knows.

Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: Well, actually the Champ Car was even more physical. It was flat through that fast chicane, and you were going a lot faster. I'm just giving you an idea. It had a lot of downforce. But, yeah, I mean, this car feels very similar. Champ Car lap time was faster, but a very similar driving style. The way the series is, it's super competitive here. I love it. It's how racing should be.

Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN BRISCOE: I hope so. That's what we're going to try to do. As Graham said, I think it's a tough track. You know you can't make mistakes. A lot of mistakes have been made this weekend so far. It's gonna be, you know, a tough race. Lots is gonna happen. You'll have yellow flag pit stops. That could shuffle things up.
Again, it's going to be about us not making mistakes, having good pit stops, and hopefully we can hold off the rest of the guys.
GRAHAM RAHAL: For us, we got to do exactly what Ryan just said. We got to make as little mistakes as possible. If there are green flag stops, you need to save as much fuel, go as long as we can. Hopefully we can get out ahead of 'em.
The thing is certainly I think you can pass here. You know, it is easy to make a mistake. So if someone does, then it invites you to get by. But if we can make as few mistakes as possible, the one who makes the least will be the one on top of the podium. Have good pit stops, stay clean, we should be looking pretty good.

Q. (No microphone.)
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, just doing the best we can every week. You do the best you can every week, that's it. If that's a win, great. If it's not, you try and finish second.

Q. (No microphone.)
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Just all of it as usual.

Q. (No microphone.)
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I have no idea. Hopefully it does allow us to run with more passing, a more interesting show for the fans. That's what the idea is. So I think we've got an extra half hour to practice there or something at Kentucky. We'll soon find out what it does.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I think it's great. I think it's giving everybody a chance to do better. Obviously, you know, that's what it's all about, trying to make sure that it's better and safe for everyone. Great for the fans and good for the drivers and teams, as well, and fair chance for everyone. So I just see a great way to have that. Hopefully it will be like that.

Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN BRISCOE: Hopefully it's all for the good. I think we'll just have to wait and see how the cars respond to these changes. Hopefully, yeah, I mean, it will be good grip and good racing. That's the goal. So hopefully that happens.
GRAHAM RAHAL: I think they've kind of covered everything, really. You hope that the racing's better. I think naturally racing in Kentucky should be a little bit better than our most recent oval, and certainly on our side I think we'll be pretty competitive. We're looking forward to it.
I hope that it does make the show better. But, as I said, I only did about 30 laps at Kentucky before we had a gearbox failure last year. It was exciting for me. I think I passed 10 guys in the first 15 laps. I'm looking forward to going back.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, I think it's a good place to start because obviously the racing is going to be far better there I think than some of the other ovals we've been to. It's quite good on the bottom, it's quite good on the middle, and you can make passes on the top. It's a little more grip dependent. The cars, definitely with the bumps and things and like that, are pretty tough. Obviously I think it's a move in the right direction. Until we get there and try it, we don't really know what's going to happen.

Q. (No microphone.)
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Everybody here knows. Actually what happened there, I haven't seen. But what I heard, as you said, it's the wrong place, the wrong time. It's very difficult for us to be talking about things like that. But certainly everyone, not only IndyCar Series, Formula One, everybody's trying to make sure that it's safe as possible - not only for the drivers, but for the teams and fans and things like that.
So it's unfortunate. It's an open-wheel car, no question about it. The only thing that's exposed out there is the helmet of the driver. So I'm sure from now on, people are going to looking into trying to improve. But certainly in America's side, you're talking about in ovals and things like that, I have to say it's been huge improvement in the ovals and everything, the HANS device, things like that.
Accident's gonna happen. But we got to keep looking to these type of accidents to improve to make it better again and safer.

End of FastScripts

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