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July 3, 2010

Ryan Briscoe

Helio Castroneves

Dario Franchitti

Will Power

Takuma Sato

Justin Wilson


THE MODERATOR: We'll get started here with the top six qualifiers from today's qualifying session. Takuma, talk about your qualifying session out there today.
TAKUMA SATO: Very pleased. Beautiful day, beautiful weather. It's a circuit that's so much fun to drive. We came here a month ago for the testing, but unfortunately we couldn't run because the raining. Today is different. Yesterday was my first run. Had a good feeling. Really reminds me of the old circuit. But this is very fast. It's a great circuit.
But today qualifying was a bit tough. In the morning, it felt quite long, and I wasn't quite happy with the car. The team did a great job of working on the balance and gradually made it. Second session just made through it to get more comfortable. Through the chicane is so fast, and you have so much fun. So happy to be in the top six. One position up on my best position.
We're looking forward to tomorrow's race. It's going to be a long race, but I'm very, very happy today. Also the (indiscernible) has a great history here so hopefully we can.
THE MODERATOR: Justin, securing a spot in the fast six, your outlook for tomorrow's race?
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, I'm looking forward to the race. Qualifying didn't go quite to plan. We were feeling good halfway through. We managed to save a set of red tires for the last Fast Six. I guess we missed slightly on the setup. Couldn't quite make it happen, go as quick as we'd done before. Hoping we could go quicker.
We'll go back and look at data, try to make the most of it. Like Takuma said, it's a great track. Love coming here. It's a lot of fun. You really have to hang it out. I think there's one point, obviously someone was dropping wheels off, I came through the chicane, there was sand all over the exit. I caught that and had a huge moment. At this point just got to get four wheels on the car and we'll work on it tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Dario, your thoughts on today's qualifying session?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, we struggled a little bit this morning early. We made one key change to the car. That really brought the car to life. We maybe could have done one of the first groups with just the black tires, but we weren't going to take our chance. We put the reds on. I have to say that the Firestone reds around here anyway are kind of like qualifying tires, there's so much grip with them that you really have to hang them out. It was a lot of fun to do that.
The Target car was good all day. Unfortunately, we used that set of reds early so we didn't have new reds for the Fast Six. That hurt us a little bit. You know, but ultimately I think we start fourth. That might be my best qualifying run here ever. I've tended to struggle here a little bit, but feeling a lot happier with things this weekend. We'll see how tomorrow goes.
Like these guys said, this track is fabulous. We love coming here. Qualifying, I'm trying to think of a polite way to put this, but you really have to hang on to the thing.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it for questions.

Q. (No microphone.)
TAKUMA SATO: My best result was Indianapolis, so still oval. No, honestly it was good to me, too. Back to Kansas, my very first oval race. Maybe you have to drive it into the corner. But you turning to the left. But my engineer tried to become straight so that actually I have to drive it, so it's more feeling for it.
As you go into the next step, next step, you gradually going to the standard oval setup. Of the four oval races I experienced, individually it's different. Kansas is standard 1.5, Indy 500 very different, then Texas, high banking. Again it's different. Iowa is very different because it has huge downforce with high banking and short oval.
The philosophy was the same. I actually enjoyed. I really enjoyed to driving ovals. Being around experienced guys, have the respect and had quite good run. Unfortunately, individual oval racing, I had small moment and issues and really didn't finish as we wanted, but we saw the good potential in the first half of the season.
Now back into the second half the season, we're going to the road course, and this is a very fantastic start, and I want to carry that momentum. By the time we come back to the oval again for the last four ovals, that's when I would like to produce the good results.
So far I just enjoy. That's the key maybe to the success.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Ryan Briscoe, who will start third tomorrow. Ryan, let us know your thoughts on today's qualifying session.
RYAN BRISCOE: It was great. You know, it's hard-fought again. Happy to have made it to the Fast Six. It's always a huge challenge. Really special day. It's just such a great track, you know. It's the fastest road course we go to. It's the one I enjoy the most. It's great to get all the way through and not have to walk the car up pit lane like we've done a couple times this year.
To get through in Q2, I had to use my reds a little bit more than I would have liked. My teammates were able to save a bit of rubber for the Fast Six which helped them a lot.
It's been great. We've obviously got three fast cars. It's pretty special to have a Team Penske 1-2-3 starting grid, so we'll try to make the most of it tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Again we'll open it to questions from the media.

Q. (No microphone.)
DARIO FRANCHITTI: We'll find out tomorrow, won't we?
JUSTIN WILSON: Do you want me to elaborate on that?
Who knows. We'd like to think we have. They were obviously pretty strong in qualifying. We've seen that a few times this year. All three guys can really put in a great qualifying effort. Hopefully they'll come back to us in the race and we can put the pressure on. Everyone is gunning for them now. They've sent the benchmark. It's up to us to go out and beat them.
TAKUMA SATO: I think for me it's just a great achievement. The team has done a fantastic job. As Justin said, we always see the best benchmark over there. Yeah, I'd like to challenge it, of course. Hopefully we can challenge really big-time tomorrow.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN WILSON: Thanks for this (laughter).
Well, I know Dale. Last year he was working hard. Put out a good car. I really enjoyed working with him. He's a great guy. Great bunch of guys working for him. I know he's working hard.
I'm not sure what the right balance there is. We all understand the current economic climate. Situations aren't as ideal as we would like it. You know, it's not for me to decide who drives the cars and who doesn't.
Maybe the best scenario from a driver's personal point of view is if we have enough cars that you have to qualify for every race. That way you get the best 26, 25 cars starting the race. I don't know what the right answer is. You obviously don't want to turn people away that are keeping some of these teams afloat. At the same time, you know, there's a balance there.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think Justin said it well. There is a balance. You know, if that car and sponsor goes away, you see a bunch of guys out of work. Nobody wants to see that.
The opposite side of that coin is there's a standard. There's a standard of driving that should be achieved to be able to drive an IndyCar, to be able to be licensed to drive an IndyCar is what I'm trying to say on that one. Pretty much everyone else has worked to get to this level by being successful in other stuff. There's a certain level of competence. If it's obviously not there, that's unfortunate.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN WILSON: It helps knowing that you can do it. But you really come back here, everything's different. So you have to in a way put that out of your mind. You're starting with a fresh sheet of paper. You're trying to bring in a few bits and pieces that can help your car go quicker. We implemented them yesterday. The car felt good. You just have to keep chipping away at it. It's pretty hard with two one-hour sessions on a track like this, as long as it is.
That's part of the deal. You have to make the most of every single lap you do and make the right changes and keep moving forward.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, guys. Best of luck tomorrow.
We'll go ahead and get the second portion of our press conference finished up. We're joined by Will Power. We'll be joined shortly by Helio Castroneves.
Will, if you could let us know your thoughts on today's qualifying.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, I was a little bit worried going into qualifying actually. I felt a bit rusty at this track during practice. I wasn't right on the pace. But, you know, worked on the car, went out and forcing the second segment I was able to save a new set of reds for the end. That was the key to holding pole position. Another pole for Penske. It's pretty good.
So, yeah, very happy. Obviously it's a very long day tomorrow. Looking for another win. It's been a long time. So that's my thoughts.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: Yeah, we rolled out of the box pretty good. The track was pretty green. The car didn't feel good. I didn't race here last year. Last time I ran was in the KV car and we ran quite a different philosophy so I had to get used to that.
I got the car the way I like it for qualifying. I think the team, just three quick drivers, three good engineers, you know, good group of people working together, that's how we get these pole positions. Just got to make sure we convert it during the races.

Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: You know, it's like Spa. It is the nicest track we race on. You can pass here. It's just nice, flowing, fast, banked corners. It's a real dream to drive, especially when the car is working.
I'll be really disappointed if we don't come back here. It's such a great racetrack, fantastic. It's got a lot of history, as well.

Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: The only unknown to me is running in the race, you know, how the reds behave because I didn't have reds in 2008. So that was the only tough decision for me, what to start on, blacks or reds.
So I feel I got all the details right to do one really quick lap. The race is going to be about a good strategy and hopes of not catching a yellow at the wrong time. Last year that's what happened to the leaders.

Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: Well, you could say on the law of averages that it should be the first win. Hopefully it's me and not the other two. Any Penske car would be fantastic to win. I think for the championship, the way the points are structured, you've got to win races. Get that 10-point advantage if you win. I'm pretty focused on winning a few races in the next group of road courses.

Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: Actually, after doing the four ovals we did, at Indy I was in really good shape. I felt I had the car to win. In Texas I was the same. Iowa, the car went a little loose. You know, I was in position there to win, so I feel as though I've got the hang of ovals. I think those four races are really going to help me with the last four.
As I was at the beginning of the season, I'm not so worried about that. I think the key is to make sure there's no mistakes over the next nine races.
THE MODERATOR: Starting second tomorrow next to Will Power is Helio Castroneves. Tell us about your qualifying run.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: We're looking very hard for that win. Will did a great job, Ryan as well. It's the first 1-2-3 of the season, isn't it? So it's great for Team Penske. No question, we're real excited. We're really pumped. Our car seems to be fantastic.
You know, it's just a matter now where we make it happen. Now we have three chances to win this race here. So hopefully one of us will be able to make it happen. Got to give a hard time to the guy. No question for us the way we thinking, one of the guys got to win and we're going to try everything we can to make it happen.

Q. (No microphone.)
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Our engineers, not only ours, but everybody, they're able to adapt the weather, match exactly the downforce we had yesterday, today and tomorrow. So it's the technology today. People sometimes don't see that. But again track temperature changes, tires a little bit, handling of the car changes a little bit, as well. We're going to have full fuel.
The good news is we have the warmup. That always changes a little bit and you always see somebody during the race coming strong, you know. So it's one of those things that hopefully with three setups, you know, similar or different, hopefully with that situation one of us will have a good outcome.
WILL POWER: Yeah, that's right (laughter). Yeah, you know, heat certainly makes a difference. Tires go off quicker. You don't have quite as much downforce. Obviously we do adjust for it. It's more physical for the driver. So, yeah. See what we can do.

Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: No, absolutely. I think I need more points for the pole here because on the road courses, you work so bloody hard to get to the end, it's a real marathon. Don't you think there should be more points?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I think there should be more points. When you go 228 miles an hour at Indy, we do have a lot of points.
WILL POWER: Yeah, that's why we got points at Indy because you kept going and going and going, you worked so hard for that.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Man, we're really pushing out there. This track, it's fantastic because you keep pushing and the car keeps accepting, and the track is getting better. So you're like, Where is the limit?
You're right, it is incredible. I don't know the difference between this year and last year. Probably half a second slower. But, remember, they took power from us and we're already right there. So that's impressive.
It's fun. But, yeah, we should be rewarded a little bit better.

Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: They added power to that thing.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, we added.
WILL POWER: You're a dad so you can say that.
THE MODERATOR: We'll wrap things up. Thanks for coming in and good luck tomorrow.

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