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June 2, 2013

Mike Conway

James Jakes

Simon Pagenaud

Sam Schumidt


THE MODERATOR:テつ We are pleased to be joined by James Jakes.テつ James finished second today.テつ
Walk us through today's race for you, James.テつ
JAMES JAKES:テつ It was entertaining, that's for sure.テつ We obviously started second.テつ Didn't get the best of starts.テつ We always seem to struggle on the restarts.テつ Seem to be in between gears too much.テつ
Whenever we managed to get into a rhythm, fourth or fifth position, yellow flags kept coming out.テつ It was very difficult to kind of plan a strategy from then on.テつ
Then we got into, I'm not sure which lap, but there was quite a big wreck in turn one.テつ Lost my front wing, had to come in and pit.テつ Actually hurt my wrist, the one I hurt a couple years ago, so I was worried a bit about that.テつ
We had a window towards the end of the race where everyone pitted in front of us, the track opened up, we were able to leapfrog a lot of people.テつ That's what put us in the position really.テつ
I always knew that if that opportunity came along, we had the pace to do it on the blacks.テつ It was a question of whether the reds would hold up.テつ We did great work with the reds this morning.テつ When we put them on, they didn't fall off as much.テつ They did fall off the last couple laps, we had Mike breathing down our neck, but we were able to save a couple 'push to passes' and that's what kept us in second position.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We're also joined by Mike Conway, who finished third.テつ
Talk about today's race.テつ
MIKE CONWAY:テつ Yeah, it was fun, lots of fun actually.テつ Didn't quite go our way in terms of when the yellows fell.テつ A couple guys pitted.テつ We lost out a little bit there.テつ On each restart, we were trying to gap, get a couple-second gap lead, then the yellow would fall again.テつ We kind of shuffled back.テつ
Then on the reds towards the end, we lost position to Kimball and Pagenaud.テつ But as soon as we got the blacks on, just pushed as hard as I could.テつ On the restarts, got a mega restart on the last one and followed through.テつ I think I passed something like six guys or something in one lap.テつ The car was so hooked up.テつ
Pushed all the way to the end.テつ Didn't have quite enough for James at the end.テつ Used my last 'push to pass' a little bit too early.テつ He had some left.テつ
Great job by all the guys.テつ James and Simon for a mega result.テつ Thank my team for giving me the opportunity this weekend.テつ First and third, I couldn't imagine that really coming into this weekend.テつ Big credit to them.テつ
Yeah, hopefully there's some more races for me.テつ I think maybe Toronto.テつ Dale is looking at doing that.テつ That should be a lot of fun, another doubleheader.テつ I can't wait for that now.テつ
JAMES JAKES:テつ Also a big thanks to Honda.テつ They've put in a lot of work since the start of the year.テつ To do it again here in Detroit, have three Hondas on the podium, a tribute to the work the guys put in.テつ We didn't have the month of May we wanted, but the guys came back in great fashion.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll open it up for questions.テつ

Q.テつ Mike, a lot of the drivers talked about the physical training they did to prepare for this.テつ You didn't even know you were coming here till a few days ago.テつ How did you feel physically?テつ How grueling was it?テつ
MIKE CONWAY:テつ Fine, yeah.テつ I feel good.テつ Felt good all the way through the race.テつ
I've been kind of preparing (indiscernible) and training hard, not much rest for me.テつ Yeah, felt good out there.テつ
It wasn't easy.テつ I think every driver must have woken up this morning with a few aches and pains, as you always have after a race.テつ Just kind of have to get on with it and knuckle down.テつ
It just shows the fitness of all the guys here, how hard we train to be good in the car.テつ It's very physical out there.テつ Especially this track, quite a lot of grip.テつ Just makes it even harder.テつ Constantly working the wheel.テつ But I feel good.テつ

Q.テつ James, yesterday when you took on reds, I don't know if it was just 'cause they were falling off, you came over the radio and said the car was virtually undrivable on reds.テつ What was the change that was made overnight, to the extent you can tell us?テつ Did it affect the handling on blacks at all?テつ
JAMES JAKES:テつ Yeah, you're correct.テつ We qualified on blacks this week.テつ The car was working so well on them.テつ We really, really struggled on the reds.テつ The game plan yesterday was to put them on and get them out of the way as quick as possible.テつ We did that.テつ But we lost so much ground.テつ
It was very frustrating.テつ I mean, we knew we wanted a chance at a podium today, maintaining a position where we started, we had to find a bit of consistency on the reds.テつ This morning we filled the thing up with fuel and went out on red tires.テつ I'm not sure if people treated it like a normal warmup or practice session.テつ Big credit to the guys because we found a lot.テつ
Yesterday in the race we couldn't get in the 79s on reds.テつ Today we got in the 77s or low 78s.テつ Without that we wouldn't have been able to do that.テつ

Q.テつ The style of today's race seemed to be a lot different than yesterday.テつ Today was a lot of crashes.テつ Both of you talk about the difference of the race today compared to yesterday.テつ
MIKE CONWAY:テつ Makes it quite stop/start especially when you're trying to pull a gap and get a lead.テつ
I thought today there might be a few more yellows.テつ Thought people might be trying a bit harder. テつThe track is that little bit quicker.テつ A mistake can happen.テつ
Yeah, it was unfortunate there were so many really at the beginning because it was when we were trying to gap everybody.テつ That's when we kind of lost out a bit with guys pitting.テつ
That's just the nature of it sometimes.テつ Sometimes you have a really quiet race, no yellows, and other times you have a lot.テつ So I don't know.テつ Doesn't really depend on a circuit or a day really, it just goes that way sometimes.テつ
JAMES JAKES:テつ Like Mike said, it was hard to get into a rhythm.テつ In the beginning part of the race, four or five laps where it was green, settle in a little bit, the caution came out.テつ I think the biggest thing, we had a practice session before the race.テつ Yesterday we went qualifying straight to the race so nobody ran on full tanks.テつ
Everybody had a better idea of how their car was going to handle.テつ You had a few guys at the mid to back of the pack that thought they had to be more aggressive to get to the front.テつ The driving was definitely interesting out there today.テつ There were a lot of wrecks.テつ
I don't know what happened at turn one, but I got hit from every angle.テつ How I didn't bend anything, I don't know.テつ I think Simon lost his front wing as well.テつ We both came in on the same lap to change our wings.テつ

Q.テつ Mike, how much time do you reckon you lost trying to get past Dario?テつ Do you think that was the difference?
MIKE CONWAY:テつ No, I think it was when the rear tire was going down, the reds.テつ I had a chunk of a lead to Charlie, all of a sudden just gone.テつ He overtook me.テつ Tried to hold off Simon.テつ He got by.テつ I think that's what did it.テつ
I think it held up a little bit with Dario.テつ Got by within a couple laps.テつ I think more the damage was done at the end of the red stint.

Q.テつ Have you had any more dialogue about returning with Dale?
MIKE CONWAY:テつ He said definitely Toronto is in the cards.テつ That should be fun.テつ

Q.テつ Mike, I think it was just as you got past T.K. at one point, it looked like you hit the wall with your right rear.テつ I was surprised to see your left rear go down later.テつ Did you actually hit the wall?テつ
MIKE CONWAY:テつ No, I didn't feel like it.テつ I think it was through turn five.テつ Yeah, no, the rear spun out.テつ I think it just kissed that little curb.テつ More trying to hang out to get a gap.テつ
But, yeah, it's like that 'round here.テつ You can have the rear-end step out pretty quick.テつ This is one of the, I don't know, toughest tracks here.テつ You've really got to hang it out for a quick lap.テつ It's enjoyable, for sure.テつ

Q.テつ After Will Power crashed he said it's time for IndyCar to rethink double-file restarts on street races.テつ Do you both agree with that?テつ
MIKE CONWAY:テつ I don't know.テつ Been doing it for a couple years now.テつ When we first started doing it, it was a bit of a disaster.テつ Once we all got used to what it took to stay clean, stay out of trouble, then it was all right.テつ So I don't know.テつ
Just some circuits I suppose it's harder because of the nature of the circuit.テつ Depends on how it's going to be on the double-file restarts.テつ Some circuits it's good, some it's harder for sure.テつ
I think it's like that anywhere.テつ One small mistake from anyone can create that domino effect.テつ I'm not sure what happened at that corner.テつ
JAMES JAKES:テつ I think the biggest thing is the inconsistency of the starts.テつ If the sweepers haven't been out there, you're on the outside, it is impossible to stay with the guy on the inside.テつ You just spin the wheels and lose two positions.テつ You get people that are frustrated, they try to make up those two positions again.テつ
The last corner here, if the sweepers aren't out, the guys have such an advantage on the guys on the left.テつ You have so many chunks of rubber, it's impossible to get the power down.テつ
I can see Will's point a bit.テつ If we could get the sweepers out there on every caution, it would help.テつ Obviously that's going to take up too much time.テつ It's a tough one.テつ

Q.テつ James, about three or four laps to go you had a moment, how bad were the reds falling off and how did you manage to save it from almost contacting the wall?
JAMES JAKES:テつ I actually bounced off the wall on turn six.テつ It was kind of two options with the reds:テつ either try to preserve them the whole way through or push like crazy in the beginning and try to build a gap, see how much they fall off.テつ
The team told me that obviously Simon and Mike only had one 'push to pass' left.テつ We were catching Simon.テつ But we held off too much.テつ The priority was trying to keep Mike behind.テつ I just made sure I had two 'push to passes' left.テつ I used one coming out of two and used another one coming out of seven, the right-hander.テつ They were dropping off quite badly.テつ
But, like I said, we made some massive improvements compared to yesterday because we were able to use the reds initially, get a good pace out of it, then it would drop off.テつ
There were a lot of guys out there struggling.テつ I remember in the middle stint passing Dixon.テつ He was just hanging it out everywhere, and he was on the reds.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Congratulations, guys, on a great race and a great weekend.テつ
MIKE CONWAY:テつ Thank you.テつ
JAMES JAKES:テつ Thank you.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We are pleased to be joined by our race winner, Simon Pagenaud.テつ
Simon, amazing race.テつ Talk about it.テつ
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Yeah, it was a crazy race.テつ I think it's more we should say an amazing weekend.テつ We really had some issues yesterday in the race.テつ As you could see, it was difficult for Tristan and I.テつ Qualifying compared dramatically to where we were before.テつ The HP team is working hard and they make things happen.テつ
Yesterday was difficult, but they worked really hard.テつ My engineer, Ben, Rick, they were looking through everything, the data, trying to understand what we were missing.テつ I think they went to the hotel at midnight, came back early this morning.テつ They all looked pretty tired.テつ But they said they thought they found it.テつ
When I jumped in the car for the warmup, it was much better, much improved.テつ They made some even bigger changes for the race.テつ The car was incredible for the race.テつ
I was on full attack mode for the race.テつ My goal was to attack, go to the front, not look behind, which we did on every restart.テつ We used a lot of Honda 'push to pass'.テつ It worked.テつ
We unfortunately got collected when Will had a loose moment in one.テつ But luckily enough my reflexes are pretty sharp right now.テつ I managed to avoid him.テつ Damaged the front wing.テつ They fixed the front wing and we were back out in contention.テつ From that moment on, I was like, Just go for it, let's see what happen.テつ We gained a position almost every lap and used the 'push to pass' again.テつ We found ourselves in the lead by having such a fast car.テつ Once we were in the lead, it was easier to push and do qualifying laps after qualifying laps.テつ
Have to say the hours in the gym really paid off today.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ How does it finally feel to find yourself on top of the podium?テつ
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Well, first of all, the last two laps were very difficult.テつ For me, I mean, I'm 29, just turned 29 during the Indy month.テつ I started racing when I was eight.テつ My goal was either Formula One or IndyCar.テつ That's what I wanted to do as a human, as a person, that was my goal.テつ My dad never believed I could do it until later when he found that I actually had talent.テつ
He pushed as hard as he could to make it happen.テつ My mom as well.テつ So it's 21 years of hard work, you know, trying to have my dad believe I could make it happen first, then have sponsors helping me throughout the young years of my career, then have people like Sam and Davey believe in me when I was doing sports car.テつ People like Honda obviously made this happen.テつ It's 21 years of a lot of hard work.テつ
The last two laps I was quite emotional in the car.テつ It was difficult to stay focused.テつ I kept saying, Keep pushing, keep pushing, don't lift.テつ It worked out.テつ When I crossed the finish line, it was a sweet moment.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll start with questions.テつ

Q.テつ Simon, you've had a pretty interesting career path.テつ Tell me a little bit about when your open-wheel career stalled, you started a sports car career, did you think you would be able to transition from that into standing here talking about your first win?テつ
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Well, I believe you always have to believe to make it happen.テつ There were a lot of tough moments, especially the end of 2007, 2008.テつ Gil de Ferran called me, Honda.テつ They hired me to go in sports car.テつ Honestly, at that time I was an open-wheel kind of guy.テつ Didn't want to give up on my dream.テつ
At the end of the day it's also a business.テつ That's what you do as a business, as a work.テつ I thought, Why not?テつ Why not try in sports car, maybe I can gain experience, learn more things, open my mind.テつ
Honestly, when I went through sports car, I think I'm learning a lot.テつ I learned how to work on tire development, engine development, electronics, and aerodynamics, which honestly I had no idea on all those items what I was talking about before 2008.テつ
I learned a lot because Gil, my teammate, was an open book.テつ We spent hours chitchatting around the table, explaining me things.テつ I just drank everything he had to say.テつ It helped a lot.テつ I think sports cars definitely was the biggest move of my career to come back.テつ
The hardest thing was to have someone trust the fact that I could come back and be a strong open-wheel driver.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We're pleased to have the team owners, Sam Schmidt, Davey Hamilton.テつ Congratulations.テつ A big milestone.テつ
Sam, we have to ask, you're the winningest team owner in Indy Lights, now you get the first IndyCar win.テつ Talk about it.テつ
SAM SCHMIDT:テつ This is better.テつ I don't know if I'd give up all those wins and championships for this, but this is really huge.テつ I know what Simon is feeling like right now because I had a chance to win one race as a driver.テつ Been a long road, long journey these last 13, 14 years.テつ Obviously, wouldn't be here today without Rick and Davey.テつ
Yeah, just fantastic.テつ Thank you very much.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll continue with our questions.テつ

Q.テつ Simon, you've been a loyal Honda driver.テつ This race is in General Motors' hometown.テつ Talk about the way Honda performed in the Indy 500 last week, Honda disappointed, to come here this weekend and dominate both races.テつ
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Honda are famous for making great race engines.テつ That's what they did at Indy 500.テつ They came back very strong.テつ I believe Justin was fifth and we were eighth.テつ We were running for almost the lead at some points there.テつ We came back very strong.テつ We had a very fast car.テつ
They worked really hard.テつ I think they understood how the engine is working a little bit better at Indy, and it's paying off here in Detroit.テつ
It's very sweet for them to win in General Motors' city, but I want to thank GM for putting this event.テつ It's great to have promoters and partners.テつ I wouldn't bash them at all.テつ I think what they're doing here is fantastic.テつ
But I'm definitely proud of Honda's work and proud to be part of the family.テつ

Q.テつ Simon, what was your reaction to Vautier?テつ Did you think that was your bad moment?
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ I got worried.テつ I think I lost half a lap thinking too much.テつ I thought, Man, we're going to have a restart, I don't want this at all.テつ
Luckily enough, they cleared him.テつ I think everybody wanted me to win this race.テつ It helped a little bit.テつ They were very active.テつ I don't know what they did with Tristan, pulled him out, restarted him, but the next lap he wasn't there anymore.テつ So thanks to the safety crew.テつ I got to say thanks to them.テつ When I see them, I think I'll buy them a beer (laughter).テつ

Q.テつ Tell me a little bit about the relationship you have with your engineer Ben.テつ IndyCar now has its first engineer winning brothers.テつ
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Ben is an incredible man, I would say.テつ Also he's a fantastic engineer.テつ I mean, I can't recall the last time I've had a bad balance.テつ We talk a lot about grip right now.テつ But car balance has always been pretty good.テつ
Ben knows exactly what I need.テつ I don't even need to talk to him anymore.テつ We've been together since the beginning of 2010 in sports cars.テつ We won the championship in ALMS.テつ He went to NASCAR in 2011.テつ I talked him out of NASCAR, basically coming and joining us at the Schmidt team.テつ
It's great that he followed me because he truly always trusts me.テつ Some days I'm like, Yeah, I don't know what he thinks, but he always trusts me, always thinks he can provide me a better car. テつSometimes I think I should have driven better for him.テつ It's this kind of relationship that makes us so strong.テつ
I think his wife is a little jealous of us.テつ My girlfriend is jealous of us.テつ We are pretty much on the phone 12 hours of every day.テつ But that's what makes us so strong.テつ
Yesterday we had a rough day.テつ Today we had a great day because we bounced back.テつ He's really well-supported by Nick, Dan, especially Rob Edwards, our team manager.テつ The whole team is just working really well together.テつ Ben being such a great mood person, it's a great pretty atmosphere on the team.テつ

Q.テつ I think in this series we're used to seeing Ganassi and Penske on top.テつ What does it say to you that anybody can win?テつ
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ This year it's very much been the case.テつ It's quite impressive, to be honest.テつ We never know who is going to be on top each weekend.テつ Everybody was impressed with Dale Coyne and Conway.テつ Mike was the class of the field most of the time.テつ I was happy to reverse that.テつ
But it's great to see what IndyCar has been able to provide, a product that's helping every team to be able to be competitive.テつ There's a lot of smart people in every team right now.テつ It's about who's going to be the smartest every weekend.テつ
But it's certainly very, very competitive, very difficult to pick a winner every race.テつ

Q.テつ How do you feel after these two races?テつ The work that the crew guys had to do to get the cars turned around less than 24 hours.テつ
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Feels like the 24 Hours of LeMans all again.テつ Certainly 70 laps is a long race, especially in IndyCar, which I believe is one of the toughest racecars to drive at the moment without the power steering, which is a great thing.テつ It rewards drivers who go to the gym.テつ So I'm happy about that.テつ
But, yeah, I mean, at the end of the second race you're holding on on nerves more so than anything else.テつ Being in the lead really helps.テつ
SAM SCHMIDT:テつ Well, yeah, I've now been away from my home for four weeks straight.テつ I'm living it every day with the crew.テつ The 48-hour turnaround after Indy, we're fortunate all of our cars were brought home in one piece.テつ Literally 48 hours they left our shop for moving up here.テつ
We've had a great group of individuals.テつ We've grown substantially over the last couple years to I think 38 employees, partners there.テつ They've all meshed really well.テつ I think we have a fantastic chemistry amongst all the guys.テつ We're all pushing the same direction.テつ Nobody had their heads down.テつ They knew what they had to do and they got it done.テつ
Kudos to the drivers for keeping the cars in one piece.テつ That made life easier.テつ But the next three or four weeks is not going to be easy.テつ

Q.テつ Last year here you qualified fourth and finished third.テつ How much development have all the teams done with the DW12s where you could be so struggling yesterday, and how close was today's setup to what you had last year where you were the class of the field other than the two Ganassi guys?
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Yeah, it's a fair comment.テつ But it's not three seconds, we're talking 7/10ths, 6/10ths of a second, all of a sudden you're at the back of the field.テつ It's amazing.テつ Track position also made a big difference today.テつ
But, you know, the understanding of how to ride the bumps better.テつ You want to spend the most time as possible on the ground.テつ That's definitely what we improved on overnight.テつ Yesterday we were spending way too much time up in the air.テつ The ride was very rough.テつ We didn't know why.テつ
Last year we were pretty good.テつ But the tarmac has changed on most corners.テつ So in areas where we were good last year, we're still good.テつ But in areas that have changed, we're now in good shape.テつ We tried a few different things that were quite new and didn't work out yesterday, so we tried the other way with the same things and it worked out in the morning.テつ
It's not that simple.テつ All the guys, they have to dig really deep into the data to understand how to gain grip.テつ That's exactly what they did.テつ So hat off to them because you got to be pretty smart to understand those things right now.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll conclude today's press conference.テつ Congratulations.テつ

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