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July 18, 2010
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started with Alex Tagliani. If you could talk about today's race here in Toronto.
ALEX TAGLIANI: Yeah, it's pretty unfortunate the way it ended up. We didn't have the fastest car, but we had a car that was good enough to finish sixth. We put ourselves in a position always to lose quite a bit of spots in the pits. We had to pass the same car twice and three times sometimes on the track. So a lot of hard work.
We were back in the hunt towards the end of the race. With all the attrition, we were in a good position to bring the car home in sixth. On that restart, Tomas just brought us into the wall in turn one and that was it. So we went from sixth to 17th, so it was pretty bad.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.
Q. Alex, could you talk about you're out there running your race and all of a sudden second year in a row into the wall.
ALEX TAGLIANI: It's unfortunate for the local sponsor and the Bowers & Wilkins Hot Wheels machine for this Canadian race. But the most frustrating thing is a guy that does four races a year, you go see him, he tells you the F word, just payback, see you later. He was like actually happy that he didn't finish the race and he took us out. Pretty long time to keep a grudge.
You know, either the series does something maybe a little bit more strict and gets the drivers to be a little bit more courteous and respectful, or, like I always said, if you take it in your own hands, it never ends. He pushes you back, you push him back, it's never going to stop.
His attitude was really sad at the end of the race. I thought that was pretty shitty.
THE MODERATOR: Alex, we appreciate you taking the time to come in today. We'll see you in Edmonton.
ALEX TAGLIANI: I hope we'll be back in Edmonton because I have a lot of front wings to damage.
THE MODERATOR: We're now join by our second- and third-place finishers, Dario Franchitti and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
2009 race winner Dario Franchitti finished second, his fifth podium finish in the 2010 season. He remains second in the championship standings, 42 points behind Will Power. Ryan Hunter-Reay finished third, his sixth top-10 finish of the season. Ryan surpassed Helio Castroneves to move into fifth in the overall points standings.
We'll start with you, Ryan. Talk about today's race and particularly the contact with Scott Dixon towards the end.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: It was a really tough race today from the word 'go.' It was like a football game out there. Everybody was hitting each other, getting nasty for a while.
But we were struggling with the car for a while. Seems like everybody was at some point other than Wilson and Power at times. Seems like Power was even struggling. It was just doing what you could do to keep it off the walls. I was backing the car into the corners quite often, thought I lost it four or five times.
It came down to with Dixon on a restart. He just blocked the inside all the way down, left barely a car width in there. I just shoved it in there and got it done clean. But he tried to run side-by-side with me through there and there just wasn't any room. He ended up going over my left front tire, getting airborne. I don't know if he continued or not.
It knocked the left rear tow out, for sure, because I had a hard timekeeping it in line. We were lucky to finish third considering that.
For the most part the racing was pretty clean with these guys. With Helio, Dario, Wilson, the racing ends up being clean and good for the show.
THE MODERATOR: Dario, if you could talk about today's race, the physical nature of this event.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, it was pretty physical out there. It seemed especially when the tires were new, there was a lot of grip. Then as you started to lose grip, you had to really start catching the car and chasing the car around a bit.
We were, and I think everybody pretty much was, but when I was racing with Will and Justin were just pushing a hundred percent. You know, that's tough to do all day. But it's the level you've got to work at.
The key moments really were those last restarts. Justin looked like he was struggling to get up to speed on the reds. Will almost crashed in one. I thought I'd get him there, but he kind of carted me a bit down the back straight into three. I would have done the same to him, so it wasn't anything too bad (laughter).
But, yeah, that point was one of the keys. Also when we thought we were leading the race, we thought we'd gain an advantage by pitting as we approached traffic that was running a lot slower. We pitted a lap before Justin. Will and Justin both jumped me in that sequence, so that didn't work out so well.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.
Q. After today's physical race where there was a lot of contact out there, now you go to a physically demanding course next week at Edmonton. Talk about how tough that track is one week after here.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: It's certainly tough. This place, though, with the bumps... I mean, Edmonton is pretty physical, but this place is darn physical, too. I would think just as physical with all the bumps here, how you got to hold onto the car. It's extremely tough.
You know, we're going into Edmonton. There's some big curves you got to hop there. I'm not looking forward to that with the thumb thing going on. But it is what it is. We'll have to head there and hope for another good finish.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, it's just part of it. You got to get on with it, you know. That's why we work so hard in the gym. That's one of the reasons we get paid to do this. You've got to be physically fit enough to keep on going, yeah.
But next week will be very tough. I don't think there's many tracks as physical as Edmonton. I think it reminds me a little of Cleveland somewhat, so bumpy, those long, long corners that keep pulling on your muscles.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Never ends.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Wears you out.
Q. When you have so many cautions, do you have a hard time keeping your frustrations down? Is that why we saw so much action towards the end of the race?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: The only time I got frustrated with the cautions was when I'm leading and got a gap (laughter). Otherwise I see it as an opportunity to pass the guys in front. I wasn't too worried about that.
Today, it was so difficult to get back up to speed once you put a heat cycle through the tires. We saw everybody just really hanging on. That made it a little bit different than usual maybe.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: The first two or three laps after a caution, it was literally like driving on ice out there. We definitely earned the money today doing that because it was so tough.
I couldn't really figure out why it was that bad. All weekend it's taken like six, seven laps to get a lap time in. So at one bit I was frustrated, but I also looked at it as an opportunity. You knew everybody was just going to be sliding around. There was a good chance for another pile-up.
But the yellows are frustrating and they break up the show a bit. But also it's good action, you know, because you get a lot of guys going for those passes.
I'm not sure what's best for the crowd or TV, but I'm sure everybody would like to see the field stacked up and everybody shoving it down the inside of each other.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Ultimately there's no choice. The way the cars were parked and all those things, there was no choice but to throw a yellow. There was not any sort of soft yellows or debris yellows or those phantom things. It was because cars, normally because multiple cars, were parked somewhere.
Q. Will Power seems to own road courses and street courses. There are ovals at the end of the year. Do you need to stay close to him and try to get it out on ovals at the end?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: We're trying to beat him. I think today we had as good a car as he did. We just made that gamble on the strategy. That allowed him to get back past us in the pits. For me, that was all there was to it.
Last year it worked out for us. The strategy we chose today, it didn't, and that's the way it is sometimes. But he's done a helluva job. We need to do at least as well as we did today with the car. We've got to keep making progress, because if you stand still, you're going to get passed by four or five different cars just the next week because the speed of development in the series is pretty intense right now, even though we've had cars for such a long time.
Q. When you look at the track, they're going to make improvements next year, what would you like as drivers to see improvements here to the Honda Indy Toronto?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: I kind of like it.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I was going to say, I like it. The curb in turn 10 was starting to come up a little bit during the race today. It was a new one, it was starting to flake up. Maybe the backstretch because you're kind of avoiding the bumps. By avoiding the bumps, you're naturally blocking the car behind you.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: That's true.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: If they did that, improve the runoff into five maybe. Apart from that, have at it. I like it.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Yeah, it's part of the show. This place is known for that. You've got to set the car up that way. The guys that take more risk in qualifying end up qualifying up front. It's part of it.
I don't think it would be a good show if every track we went to was nice and smooth.
THE MODERATOR: We'll wrap things up. Thank you very much and we'll see you in Edmonton.
We are now joined by Will Power. This is Will's fourth win of the season. He previously won at Sao Paulo, St. Petersburg and Watkins Glen. This is the second time Will has won back-to-back races. This is Team Penske's 41st win in the IZOD IndyCar Series, extending a record by a team with most wins. Also Will retains the lead in the overall championship points standings as well as the contest for the Mario Andretti trophy for the road street courses this season.
Tell us about your race today.
WILL POWER: As I predicted, it was a very wild race. Started the first corner for me. I had Helio and Hunter-Reay come cruising up the inside. Heads up. I was like, All right, let you guys go. Then I lost a couple more positions.
I know how the race goes. I really hung in there. I just waited and waited till I got a little bit closer to Dixon and passed him. I just knew if I made no mistakes, we had good stops, we'd have a chance of finishing on the podium or maybe winning.
That last restart, when I passed Justin, was a key to winning the race. I was all on it because the tires got a lot of pickup, they were cold. I knew everyone was going to be struggling. A lot more chance of people making mistakes. That's what he did on the restart. I got a run on him.
It was I would say a calculated but risky move to pass him on the outside because I wasn't sure I'd make it out the other side. It was close, but sometimes you have to do that in racing if you want to win, and that's what happened.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions.
Q. Will, looking at the championship, you're taking some risks for wins. Did you put extra pressure on yourself knowing this is your time of the season with ovals coming to the end of the year?
WILL POWER: No. I race how I race. I don't think you change your attitude because of your position. I think once you get in the race, you don't think of anything about what you're doing except at that second. That's how I approach every weekend.
It will be the same when I get to the last four ovals. It will be exactly the same.
Q. You have Edmonton next week, where you won last year. Can you talk about your approach to that race and how important it will be in the championship.
WILL POWER: Yep. My approach to that race is similar to last year. I know it's really important to be on pole there. But it's the closest qualifying that we do, it's the toughest qualifying.
I know it's going to be a really tough fight. You know, my two teammates are quick there. I'm pretty sure the Target guys will be working hard. You have guys like Hunter-Reay and Wilson into the mix. Once again, we've got to make no mistakes, keep getting those points.
The key for me when I came to this race was avoiding carnage and accidents which I know happens every year. Like I said in the first corner, that could have been the finish if I turned in. I just backed off and lost a couple positions.
It's all those things that you have to I guess keep in mind at the time that you just need to chill sometimes.
Q. Does going back there, as well as you ran there last year, give you even more confidence?
WILL POWER: Yeah, you know, it's tough. I just remember the qualifying. I had to get pole last year. I came in and said to the team, I was so puffed I could hardly talk, I said, That's as quick as I could possibly ever go. That's what you got to do to be fast there.
Yeah, it will be close. It will be tough.
THE MODERATOR: This is the 150th all-time open-wheel win for Penske Racing. Another milestone for the team.
Q. Four wins this year. Your confidence in yourself and team must be sky high. Do you wonder if it's ever going to end?
WILL POWER: I believe if you're put in that position, you should be winning. I think it's when you have bad results, it's not good enough. You're given the equipment to win. I've been given a full-time ride in one of the best teams in the series. To repay them back, you've got to win.
I look at some of the races where we missed out where I feel we were strong enough. We could have won more, and so could other people. But, you know, we'll always be challenging for wins every weekend and we should be. It's as simple as that.
Q. You said previously that you need to build up a little bit of a gap on these road courses because of the four ovals at the end. Is there a number of points that you would be comfortable with going into the last four ovals?
WILL POWER: Yeah, if I could win every road course race going into that, it would be great (laughter). You know, whatever that number might be.
Man, you know, I know it's going to be a tough championship to win. I was aware coming into the season that I had lack of experience on mile-and-a-half ovals. I think the only place it really showed was Kansas, where I was very cautious and just finished the race. Everywhere else, I felt like I could have challenged for the win.
So, you know, I want to win an oval race before the year's out. I've been knocking on the door. So I think that may come.
Q. Aside from the first lap, when you took the risk to go outside of Justin, any close calls or did you see anything out of the ordinary?
WILL POWER: The last restart when I was leading, I mean, I thought I was done. I was full lock, opposite lock, heading towards the wall. Then you sort of ruin your run down the back straight.
What happens then is it backs everyone else up. He's going to hit the wall. Then they back up. I got a run enough to keep in front. That was probably the closest call of the race, but I held it together.
Q. This is your fourth win in Canada. Can you talk a little bit about is it just happenstance or is there something you do that you don't do at other places to have the kind of luck you have here and in Edmonton?
WILL POWER: I guess I could put it down to my grandmother who is Canadian, so I'm part Canadian. My uncle lives here, as well. He's also married to a Canadian.
I don't know. I love Canada, obviously because I've won three or four races here. Always do well. I love the cities that we go to. So don't know. I guess I win here because -- I couldn't tell you (laughter).
Q. It's a pretty tough course. Tight corners, walls are in close, different pavement all the way through. Could you talk a little bit about how you adjust during a race to those kind of different situations.
WILL POWER: Actually, I'll tell you one thing. I feel as though the two Canadian tracks we race at are the most driver circuits because of changing conditions, bumps, different surfaces. I mean, I think if you asked any driver, these two races are the toughest qualifyings and the toughest races. Yeah, I mean, you're right. And also in this race, on those restarts, how cold the tires got and the pickup they got made it really difficult.
So, you know, it's one of those races where you really had to adjust.
Q. With the number of cautions today, especially early, was that a factor for you at all? How do you adjust to that?
WILL POWER: No. Where that caution fell, it was a no-brainer to sort of pit then, not stay out. It made it pretty straightforward to the end. We knew around lap 50 something that we were going to have to pit.
In my mind it was important to go a lap longer than Dario to try to pass him 'cause he would come out on cold tires and he would get the cold tire penalty. That actually was one of the passes for the race, to stay ahead of him when I actually did pit a lap later. So, yeah.
Q. Where is your grandmother from?
WILL POWER: She's actually up Edmonton way. I have to find exactly the town. I think it was a town near Edmonton.
Q. As far as when you were told that Justin had spun, did your crew tell you or did you even realize it till after the race?
WILL POWER: Justin spun?
THE MODERATOR: He had cold tires, I think turn eight.
WILL POWER: Did he? I feel sorry for him. He was looking like he was going to win the race. I didn't realize that.
Yeah, I can see why. It was so slippery. No, I had no clue. I just saw Dario got by him.
Justin is usually very good on cold tires. But that's how he lost the lead. I think maybe the fact he was on reds as well might have been a factor. I'm pretty sure he was on red tires and we were on blacks.
But it thought the reds would most definitely be better there at the end. Obviously maybe it got more pickup or something.
Q. A lot of drivers were saying that the blacks were performing better for them today than the reds. How did you find them?
WILL POWER: I don't know. I mean, I thought the reds for me at the beginning, yeah, I could feel them go off a little bit. I thought at the end you might have been better off on reds. I think it's a fact that this track created a lot of marbles, rolled-up rubber, gets on your wheels. It takes two or three laps to get that off. That was more the problem rather than red or black tires.
THE MODERATOR: We'll wrap things up. Congratulations, Will, on another win. We'll see you in Edmonton.
WILL POWER: Thank you.
End of FastScripts