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September 4, 2010

Ed Carpenter

Helio Castroneves

Dan Wheldon


THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with today's post-race press conference. We are joined by our second place finisher, Ed Carpenter of Panther Racing. Ed finished second, as I mentioned, equaling a career best which was here last year at Kentucky. Talk about tonight's race.
ED CARPENTER: It was a lot different than last year, that's for sure. Everyone was really equal tonight. It was hard to pass because it seemed like everyone had the same setup on almost.
Early on Dan and I were both really strong working together, got a little bit of a gap. I was really loose, really loose early in the race, in the first stop we made a pretty big front wing change, and I think that ultimately was part of the reason why we lost so many spots in the first pit stop, and I think we dropped back to 11th or 12th, and to be honest, it took the entire rest of the race to work our way back to the front.
THE MODERATOR: And I think it was obviously a different position for you this year having a teammate up front to work with. Talk about that.
ED CARPENTER: I think Dan and I, whether it's been in Indy, Chicago or here, we've worked really well together. I think I've helped him, he's helped me. You know, every time that we've had a two-car team with Panther, one of us has been on the podium and now both of us are. So I think that's something to be proud of.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by our third place finisher, Dan Wheldon, his second consecutive podium finish. Dan led 93 laps tonight, scoring the points for most laps led. Dan, talk about your race.
DAN WHELDON: You know, I think first and foremost, the whole Panther Racing team has done a phenomenal job, to bring the two cars that they did, sent me to these last few races, they performed very well. And I think having Ed on board, not only has it been a great working relationship that we seem to share, but I think, and I think Ed will agree, that the team really have gelled very well, and I think that their game has been raised because of that. So it's been a fantastic addition.
I think for me personally the race went very, very well. Certainly I owe a lot to the No. 4 boys. They did a fantastic job in the pits. I think I came in with Dario pretty close to my gearbox and was able to leave a fair ways ahead on what was a very crucial stop. So that was all credit to them.
You know, it just was a great race. It was just unfortunate the way it ended, but that happens, and I think that will only spur us on. I'm wishing the person to the right will race at Motegi with us, and I'm still going to keep working him for that, so Bob Curry, if you're listening, please can we add one race to his schedule, I'll be extremely proud of you for doing that.
But no, it was a great race. I'm not going to lie, I was bummed that it didn't turn out different, but like I said, I think that's going to motivate us even more for these last two races, and I think as a lot of people could see, the equality of the Hondas out there was pretty good, too. It was very, very tight, but just enjoying the series a lot, and the last two races have been good.

Q.. Last year your second place finish was kind of like in a lot of ways coming of age for you as an IndyCar driver. But you really seemed kind of bummed out tonight that you're losing to a guy that's won it on fuel.
ED CARPENTER: Yeah, I think Dan and I can say we probably had the best cars in the race, but the best car doesn't always win. That's racing. It's one of those things. They didn't even -- they kind of got forced into that strategy, so that's just the way it goes sometimes. It was his night. It was meant to be. But I am a little bummed out.

Q.. When did you guys become aware that Helio (indiscernible).
ED CARPENTER: I don't know about Dan, but my team didn't tell me. We came in probably last flash, and my spotter was talking to me telling me where Dan was, and for a second I thought when I cycled in front of him we were going to win, and then when I came down the front stretch I looked up at the pylon and I saw No. 3 up there, and I was just praying he was going to run out of fuel, but it didn't happen.
DAN WHELDON: I don't think they'd dare tell me that after the race I had. So no, it was one of those things where when I saw Ed come out of the pits, I was at least hoping if I wasn't going to be able to win, it would be him, and then they told me there was a Penske, like a fair ways ahead. So I could obviously tell from that point on.
ED CARPENTER: And I think that's why, you would think we'd be happier with both of us on the podium, but with the weekend we had, I think we were expecting for one of us to win the race.

Q.. (Indiscernible.)
DAN WHELDON: You know, I think with -- as close as -- and it doesn't matter if it's a road course or an oval, if you've got two lots of information coming in, it makes a huge difference, particularly with the limited testing that you're allowed to do in the series. You know, it's no good having a teammate come in that you don't work well with or doesn't have a good feel for the car. It seems with me, in my career I've always worked very, very well with my teammates and I've always been blessed with good teammates. And I think, like I've said, having Ed on board, not only do the teams see him and I working well together and the engineers working well together, it's really kind of raised the game of the crew. It just brings everybody up.
Like I said, it's very valuable information. He's obviously very good, has a really good feel for the car, and we can bounce ideas off of one another knowing -- we can bounce ideas off of one another confidently. You know, that's been the thing that has certainly kind of impressed me with Ed coming on board. It's kind of spread throughout the whole team.
We have a good relationship, and I think we're obviously not threatened by one another in terms of where we're at in our careers, and because of that, like I say, I think it's really helped drive the team on. For me personally, he's a pleasure to drive with.
ED CARPENTER: Yeah, just to add to that, I think there's a level of trust with one another. Going back to Chicago last week, we had a part failure in practice and I didn't get to practice, and going into qualifying I trusted Dan, and we've been similar enough every time we've been on the track, I was able to go out and still put in a good qualifying run without having any practice. And I think that's a good example to show how it is working well together and the level of trust we have with each other.
DAN WHELDON: I trust him, too, because if you would have seen how loose he was on about lap 4, that spring car driving he did will certainly pay dividends because he was as sideways as I've seen a car and still was quick.
ED CARPENTER: And I was trying to figure out how Dan wasn't loose because we had the same setup on.

Q.. (Indiscernible.)
ED CARPENTER: I'm just happy to be back doing what I love to do. There's no place that I want to be more than in an IndyCar, and I'd had the luxury of racing full-time since 2004, and when you have something like that taken away from you, when you get it back and get the chance to get back in a car, you know, I think you're going to lay it all down every time you get in the car.

Q.. I think since you were probably on the same kind of strategy, obviously Helio saved fuel, but did either of you save fuel or were you running as fast as you could go?
DAN WHELDON: No, I was certainly going as fast as I could go.
ED CARPENTER: I was trying to save fuel to the point at which I didn't lose the lead group. At one point I was running behind Dario, and Dan -- I forget who it was, Dan and two other cars were kind of getting away from Dario, and I made the decision to push hard and get around Dario just to stay with the leaders knowing that I needed to pit with them if I was going to be able to beat them. So I was trying to save fuel.
But Helio, I don't want to say he lucked into this one, but they had a problem on pit lane that forced their strategy, and that's what won them the race.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations.
We're now joined by tonight's race winner Helio Castroneves of Team Penske. It is Helio's second win of the 2010 season. He previously won this year at Barber Motorsports Park. This is Helio's first win at Kentucky. He has finished in the top 5 eight of nine starts at the track. Helio, talk about that fuel gamble tonight.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Just a little correction, it was the third win. (Laughter.)
Anyway, man, let me tell you, incredible job from Team Penske. We started the race, basically the crowd wasn't the fastest but it wasn't the slowest. It actually was a pretty good balance, just kind of like feel it to see what's going to happen, especially when you're coming from a day practice and go straight to the cool temperatures, so the car normally changes a little bit.
But we were right there. You know, it was very tough, a lot of people kind of like trying to choose their line, and those are the times that you've got to be really careful.
We had a little -- we came to the pits, I'm not sure if it was the first pit stop. I think it was the first pit stop, and we had a miscommunication there because the right rear, he actually put the wheel on, but the crew chief saw it wasn't on, so we kind of like -- one people were screaming they're ready to go, go, go, and the guy on top of me is like, no, stay, so I'm kind of like -- I thought it was with the fuel, and man, thanks God nobody -- it was just a miscommunication. Actually we ended up losing about ten positions.
And again, the genius Tim Cindric came with a great idea, and he said, let's stop at the end of this yellow and hope for the best in the end. But this is what it takes. You know, the guy already making a bet right at the beginning.
We went back, we stayed about there, about tenth position I would say, kind of saving fuel, and all of a sudden he's just like, try to make this number. I was like, that's going to be impossible, man. He was already thinking to make a number that would be very difficult. But when we pitted the last time, he just said you've got to make this number because we have nothing to lose, and we're definitely going to pay off.
And then flashes of the race in 2008 started coming back to me, and when we started saving fuel, and from the voice of Cindric I know that we've got to save fuel. So I started making the number, and from there on it was just like slowing down even more. We were about 207, 205. I know I was probably 12 miles an hour slower than the leaders.
But towards the end when he said you're the leader, go for it, I could not believe it. I'm like, can I use the Push-to-Pass? He's like, yeah. And then we started back on 215s, 216s, I think.
What people don't realize, when you start running that slow the balance of the car changes quite a bit, so it becomes harder driving slower than actually faster. What a great day, situation. Misfortune that happened in the pits turned out to be the key of this win, and I'm so thankful for my group, especially having so many injuries throughout the entire season, they deserve that. I'm extremely happy.
Unfortunately the championship chances are, right now for us, it's not -- it's gone, I believe. And now for Will, we just want to make sure we bring this Championship to Team Penske, and that's going to be our goal.

Q.. What did you actually believe Tim?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: That's a very good question. You know me very well. Even he was telling me, trust me. It was about lap 25, 20 when started to be able to making the fuel. As soon as I started making that number -- and he mentioned something that was the key of like, listen, if the yellow comes then we'll deal with it. And it was true. Thank God from the pass, the yellow not coming in the end, it ended up paying off. So about 20 laps I was -- I believed it, too.

Q.. (Indiscernible.)
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, that proved that sometimes you've got to do everything you can to save the fuel and to save enough -- to finish. When you're running back there about ten cars or nine cars, whatever, in front of you, you create this pocket of air that actually helps you to save fuel. And amazing, we were right there, just taking it easy. I saw Dixon there. I saw Will -- I thought Will was doing the same thing, and I'm like, okay, everybody is being smart here.
But I actually -- I was already lifting back there and still following everyone, doing about 212s, 213s, saving fuel, but to a point that we need to have to make this number, and I used exactly the same experience in 2008 to save enough fuel, and this time it paid off.

Q.. (Indiscernible.)
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yep, and today we proved that.

Q.. You've lost a couple of these races. How does it feel to win one?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Oh, it's a great feeling in the world, because you've got to bet this strategy very early, and that's what happened to us. You've got to believe it. All the chips end up playing in our favor. But again, at the end of the day, I also believed it towards the end.
When I saw the numbers and when I saw the meter in my car, I said, wow, it looks really good. When he said five laps to go, I'm like, I think I do have enough fuel to push a little bit harder. But at the end of the day you still want to make sure because sometimes the numbers say something and it might be wrong. But thank God it was not wrong, and it feels great. I'm very happy for the entire team.

Q.. (Indiscernible.)
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I saw him grab his shirt, but I'm on probation, so I couldn't do anything. It was great to see Charles there again, as I said, Charles in Edmonton, he was the key guy to calm me down. Unfortunately people saw the TV and had a different opinion, even that it looks like I was arguing with him, but I was just asking for some answers.
And Charles is here to protect us, and that's -- I prefer to see Charles back there on the racetrack helping me and kind of like saving me from the fans. It was a great feeling.

Q.. Kind of a follow-up to that, you talked about Charles protecting you (indiscernible).
HELIO CASTRONEVES: True, and again, I have to thank him to be right there. And I do believe myself and all the drivers appreciate his presence on the racetrack, because he is experienced on the police and all the experience that he has being a guy on the other side, on the security side, it's really valuable to us, and I really appreciate that. So today was a great day to see him there, like I always want to see him.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations, Helio, and see you in Motegi. Oh, one more.

Q.. Where do you see the next 200 races taking the series?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: The series definitely is getting better. Maybe it was a rough start, but I see a big light at the end of the tunnel here, and it's not the train coming at us. It's certainly -- IZOD have come on board, and you can see how many cars we already have. You can see how the buzz is around. I thought it was a pretty good crowd today.
And with Randy understanding how the series is and understanding -- taking his steps which I believe will benefit everybody, now the drivers are getting together trying to make it better to everybody else, everyone. When you see that kind of system, that kind of way going, I mean, it's just for better.
So 200 is great. I hope we will be here many more. And just, as I said, I see a very bright future on the IZOD IndyCar Series and hope that I will be part of it.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Helio. Congratulations.

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