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April 10, 2011
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by our second and third place finisher Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti of Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Scott, this has to make up for St. Pete?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, obviously it seems like St. Pete is a bit of a race that we shouldn't have turned up to, because it wouldn't have mattered points wise. It's nice to get on the points table here. It's going to take a long time to try to regain what we lost at St. Pete with the competition being so tough, and with Will and Dario finishing so high every time, it was going to be a long old year.
But today was pretty decent. The car was pretty well balanced, so it was fairly loose especially on the black tires. Didn't quite have the speed there, even though we only went for a short amount of time before the cautions. But it was a tough day.
Helio definitely jumped us on the start and went around the outside. If I kind of continued on, I think we would have wrecked. So it was one of those things to let him go, and we messed up the next one and got the spot back.
We went on Briscoe for the majority of the first stint, and then went a couple laps longer and passed him on the transition. And we were set behind Will the rest of the day. We pushed as much as we could.
The car was good, but with about five or eight laps to go, I'd been pushing so hard, I just took the rear tires off the thing and couldn't hang with him.
THE MODERATOR: Dario, it seems like you and Will are really picking up where you left off last season. How important are these podium finishes to you this year with the championship and really at a place that's so physically challenging?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It wasn't that physical today. I don't know what you think. You were working hard in front of me, and you were hanging on. But I didn't find it that physical.
But it's like we said last year, every point, whether it's St. Pete here or the last race, you have to fight for every position. So to get from 7th to third was a good team effort. We managed to, racing with Oriol, managed to go two laps longer than him and be in a position that way.
On the restarts we gained some spots there and got outside of some guys. Well, Ryan pushed me on the grass, Briscoe pushed me on the grass and won. Anyway, the door opened in the middle of two, so I went down the gap, and then he closed it and he came off worse.
That was just hard racing. You know, then the restarts, the side-by-side restarts were -- there is one part you think, yeah, I'm going to have a chance to get the guys in front again, particularly when Scott and Will were so far off the road.
Then the other part of your thinking is you just built this lead up on fourth and fifth and stuff, and they've all got a chance to have a go at you. So it definitely livens things up out there.
Up until the last pit stop, I felt the car was very good. But we just didn't have quite a good enough balance in the car. With what we had to do to try to get the car in balance, it ended up hurting both ends. So not only did I have understeer, I had oversteer as well. These guys were driving off in the distance and there was nothing I could do. I just had to hang on to try not to make any mistakes. But ultimately, third is pretty good.
Q. Can you talk about the pole position in the last race (Inaudible)?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: We need to do a better job. There's no doubt about it. We need to do a better job and get the cars better. We know that. But pole positions are one thing you have to convert into race wins. Sometimes we've done a pretty good job of that too
Q. How frustrating is it having Will at the start (Inaudible)?
SCOTT DIXON: To be honest, I think our car was a little better for the first sort of 15 laps. To stay that close to the car in front that long, obviously losing a lot of downforce, the car was just fast. I don't know if we just spent the tires up that much toward the end.
But it's not a track that if you're going to be racing a car that's within a few tenths of the speeds you can run, it's almost impossible to pass unless a guy makes a mistake. You try to crowd them as much as possible, and that's what we did for the first 20 laps and it just wasn't enough.
It's frustrating, but, you know, that's how you win races sometimes, and the guys are pushing us also. But a win would have been nicer.
Q. Can you talk about Will on the restart in your lane? Do you still feel that way?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, of course. And Brian as usual does nothing about it. So if they're going to implement these rules and tell you in the drivers' meeting that the person on the left has to be to the left center of the line, then enforce it. At least tell them.
I spoke to Will after the race, and he said well, I never heard anything on the radio.
But if you look at the restarts, I'm pretty much on the grass almost. And he's even over the center line on the right part of the center line.
I know why he's doing it. He's trying to get out of the dirty side. But you can't have the best of both worlds. If you're going to pick the inside and then run the car on the right that's not how it should be. All in all, I don't think it would change much, but I think it's a disaster waiting to happen.
Q. In warm-ups, Dario (Inaudible)?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: The one in the warm-up, I don't know what everybody's talking about. Really that's been happening all week. But there were definitely a couple of big moments towards the end when, like I said, the balance of the car wasn't quite right, and I was still trying to keep the pressure on it a little bit. I had a couple of big moments using a bit of offensive luck.
Yeah, as much as those guys were pull ago way, I was giving everything I had to try to stay somewhat close.
Q. What did Will say back to you?
SCOTT DIXON: He didn't hear anything about it
SCOTT DIXON: It was pretty close. I kind of saw that coming. I think he was pushing hard. Will was on cold tires I just coming out of the pits, and T.K. was probably on a good lap and trying to get around him and jumped on the gas probably a little too early. He kind of lost it, then saved it and lost it and came back to the left. So I ended up just stopping. I think if I had kept rolling, we would have hit. But it was nothing too quickly.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It definitely allowed me to progress, which wouldn't have happened with single-file restarts. It definitely closed things up. There was a lot of way on restarts, one, two, and three if we restart. But from that point of view it was a success.
But the accident in turn five, the yellow after yellow that we need to work on. We're so close physically on the track. Times are so close, and it's such a competitive environment, that you take every chance you can. But, yeah, that is the one down side I would say of what happened. Just the repeated caution after caution.
SCOTT DIXON: I agree with that. I think here the style of track lends itself to a cleaner style. I think Long Beach is going to be a different story.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: You get in a position, and you're driving the car, and you're in a good rhythm. Much like St. Pete last week, I was cruising, yet just pulling away from the field. It seemed that apart from Scott, Will was pretty relaxed in the car and pretty happy as well, and that just happen as. You get working and you get into a rhythm. We've all done it.
Scott in Middle Ohio a couple years ago, he disappeared. He was 20-something seconds up the road. It was ridiculous. It just clicks. Everything works. Days like that, it's easy, and you forget how difficult it really is.
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by our race winner, Will Power. Will, earlier this week you didn't seem too happy with your car. Then you had a change in race strategy, and you seemed to pull off the perfect weekend, winning the pole, leading all the laps and winning the race. Talk about what changed?
WILL POWER: Nothing really changed. We changed the car a little bit from our warm-up this morning. I have to say, it's the first time all weekend that I've had a good balance in the car.
Yeah, it was just one of those days where you put everything together. I was very cool in the car, you know. I'm physically fine.
It was a bit of a fuel race in the beginning there, so preserving tires and fuel. And Dixon gave me a good run for my money at the end there. We were both pushing as hard as we possibly could. It was a great day. Love it. I just think our team as a whole is a lot more solid this year because we've been together a year. It's just all gelling well.
Q. Talk about the last road course race?
WILL POWER: I was in Sonoma that year, but, yeah, my last road course race was Ericsson. I was actually. I hope that Clive, Hal and his wife is okay and makes a speedy recovery. He's a great guy, and I enjoy hearing his English accent there on the radio.
Q. Is he here?
WILL POWER: Yeah, he had to take off. I'm not exactly sure what the deal is.
WILL POWER: It was, yeah, it was about saving fuel. So I really had to lift in the corner to try to maintain lap times. It was quite difficult, and the tires were going off. So I thought if I just pulled a little bit of gap from the second place, I'd make them push out to have his tires go off a little bit more and give me a bit of a buffer, and that was the key.
Yeah, I can't think of a race where I've been so cool, physically fine, and had the strategy and everything go so right. Sonoma last year.
Q. Can you talk about how badly you wanted to win and what happened last year?
WILL POWER: Yeah, it's just satisfying not only to get the win here, because I felt like we would have should have won last year. We had such a good car. I've led every single practice session on the pole, and we didn't get it.
I was very determined to do that this weekend, in a relaxed way. I didn't want to do something stupid. But, yeah, very happy about that. Just happy to get another win this year to get things rolling.
The team and everything, everybody gets confidence, and it all flows from there.
Q. I heard you say it was relaxing.
WILL POWER: I would not is say it was relaxing there at the end with Dixon all over me. But I mean physically. In St. Pete, I suffered for some reason. I don't know why. Maybe I was dehydrated. I was dehydrated for the race.
Here physically I felt great in the car. I wasn't puffing or anything. I was just relaxed and able to get the absolute most out of the car mistake free.
Q. Can you talk about the restart and where you were relative to the center line? Did you crowd a little too much?
WILL POWER: I think that the rule is that you can be anywhere on the track after the start/finish line. Simple as that. That's what I was told on the start/finish line.
I was told on the radio he was upset with me for putting him almost in the grass. I would have given him more room. I didn't realize that's what the problem was. All he did is come up beside me and take a big weave at me. If they told me what the problem was, I would have helped him out there.
Q. He did what to you?
WILL POWER: Weave, whatever you call it. We tried to hit each other, we. Were both going at it there. Fans love that sort of thing. You've got to have a bit of friction between drivers, you know.
Q. Are you going to weave him now?
WILL POWER: I gave him one back with the hand like what? I'm sure if he's leading on the restart and I'm next to him, he's going to crowd me now, you know. But I owe Dario one as well for driving me into the wall last week. It goes in a circle here.
Q. (Inaudible) they got a lot of practice today. Was that worrisome?
WILL POWER: No, it definitely was worrisome. If he got by me on one of those restarts, I wouldn't have gotten back in. I think here you're pretty safe if you're leading because you've got that nice, inside clean turn one. And you get the exit out of turn two and you're fine.
Once I realized that, that was the case, I thought we're great. I'm going to win this thing.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I answered that question before. I'm very satisfied.
Q. Can you elaborate?
WILL POWER: I don't think I can elaborate anymore. But, yeah, I was very determined this weekend. I left last year thinking, man, we had the best car, led every single practice session. Didn't come away with what we wanted.
And all the crew felt the same as well. They all felt, and you saw it on the yellow stop, they pumped out the best stop you've ever seen. Yeah, it was a good day, mistake-free, and everything went right.
Q. Can you he elaborate on that?
WILL POWER: I loved it!
WILL POWER: She must have pitted pretty close to that then. She must have been on a three-stop strategy if that was the case. Yeah, because there's no way you would keep red going off for 30 laps and then go off. They were actually very good and consistent this year. Reds at both races this year have been held on better than last year.
I like it when they go off badly. It makes for good racing. I think they need to make tires like that. That creates passing, and some cars go off worse than others.
WILL POWER: Yeah, actually, no, it's not the same red. It's a little bit different. I think it's the Sonoma red. I don't think they're the same anywhere this year, because I believe they can't use the same chemicals in the tires or I don't know. The tires haven't been the same at any track so far.
Q. Are you looking ahead to Long Beach? It's a pretty good track.
WILL POWER: I think it's going to be really quick there. I just worry about restarts. That's my biggest worry at that track, into turn one. It's just going to be worse than St. Pete.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations and we'll see you in Long Beach.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports