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VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES: HONDA INDY GRAND PRIX OF ALABAMA


April 27, 2014


Marco Andretti

Michael Andretti

Scott Dixon

Ryan Hunter-Reay


BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA

THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll begin with the post-race press conference.テつ We're joined by Scott Dixon, who finished third in today's race.テつ
Scott, you finally broke out of second onto a third place for a good result at Barber.テつ
SCOTT DIXON:テつ Yeah, it was an interesting day.テつ I think whenever you have a rain delay, puts sort of a bit of strain on everybody trying to figure out what we need to do.テつ Then obviously starting in the wet, I think I've only run here once before in the wet.テつ
But the cars were pretty good.テつ I think the track suits wet conditions.テつ There were a few areas with standing water that caught a few people out in the early stages.テつ
Generally the race went fairly smoothly.テつ I think there was the second restart or third restart where Helio jumped the start, which seems to be typical of him, which is frustrating because he doesn't seem to get a penalty for it.テつ From that point on we tried to make up some spots.テつ
Our biggest trouble today was burning up the front tires, whether it was the wet tires or the Firestone reds.テつ We seemed to lose rotation sort of after about six or eight laps.テつ
Huge credit to Team Target.テつ Made most of our positions up in the pit stops.テつ Good to fight with Marco for a little bit there until I didn't have anything for him.テつ Big congratulations to Andretti Autosports for a 1-2 finish.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We're joined now by Marco Andretti.テつ
Marco, yesterday everybody was saying the Andretti boys were the ones to beat and it proved true today.テつ
MARCO ANDRETTI:テつ Yeah, I mean, we started out quick as far as with Ryan and stuff like that.テつ My speed didn't show in qualifying.テつ I was on a great lap and I screwed it up.テつ I was the reason that I had to come from ninth today.テつ
They've given us great cars here.テつ Second win in a row here for Ryan is awesome as well.テつ I had nothing for the DHL car for sure.テつ
The car was feeling pretty good until maybe the last five laps of the stint.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll open it up for questions for Marco and Scott.テつ

Q.テつ Marco, just how big did Scott's car look in your mirror there for a while?
MARCO ANDRETTI:テつ Yeah, going up there to eight, I knew I had to get to the bottom because I'm sure he was on the 'push to pass' there.テつ They didn't tell me he was, but the way he pulled out of five, I thought he was.テつ
I don't know, I knew if I could hold him there, I could put my head down and try to gap him.テつ We did.テつ But he came back at the end.テつ
But, you know, it is what it is.テつ

Q.テつ Scott, how tricky was the restart on the reds, the first one, when it was still wet?
SCOTT DIXON:テつ Yeah, it actually wasn't that bad.テつ I think all the way until you got to turn 10, there was quite a bit of standing water in that high-speed area, turn 10, turn 11, that approach to 12.テつ There was a bit of an annoying weeper in turn 13.テつ If you got wide there, did it a couple times, it was pretty exciting (laughter).テつ
You know, the conditions actually for a wet course were very good.テつ A couple of troublesome areas.テつ I think a few of the guys found those spots.テつ But the reds actually came in very good very quickly.テつ In hindsight, we should have maybe put in for reds a little earlier before that caution, it would have been a lot different race.テつ

Q.テつ When it goes from a timed race, how much does the strategy change, or does it really simplify things for you?テつ
SCOTT DIXON:テつ I think it's kind of annoying.テつ The race should be the full distance.テつ To have to shorten these races for TV, you know, I understand the difficult predicament that everybody is in, but these are championship races.テつ They all pay the same amount of points.テつ You decide to take 30 laps off them...テつ
I think it changes strategy a lot and you're constantly chasing that window.テつ Then ultimately you finish on a caution, too, which is also a bit of a bummer for the fans.テつ
In the future, hopefully we can find a way around that.テつ
MARCO ANDRETTI:テつ I don't think I could have said it much better.テつ
No, I mean, I think it takes the strategy out of it today because it was sort of the same for everybody.テつ But I just want to thank the loyal fans that hung out.テつ That was pretty cool.テつ
SCOTT DIXON:テつ That was cool, yeah.テつ

Q.テつ What is it like when you're on those rain tires and the track becomes dry?テつ How much of a handful is it when it's like that?
MARCO ANDRETTI:テつ It's definitely pretty sloppy.テつ I wasn't pleased with my pace.テつ I dropped off the back of Scott a little bit towards the end of that stint.テつ Yeah, I wasn't pleased with my pace on the wets for sure.テつ
SCOTT DIXON:テつ It's hard.テつ You're trying to compromise to keep the speed up, but the degradation gets high if you start to push.テつ It's kind of a fine balance.テつ
I think setup can definitely take a bit of a toll and quicker when you're in a low-grip situation like that.テつ

Q.テつ Marco, you don't need people talking in your ear telling you what to do?テつ You were flying blindly for a little bit.テつ
MARCO ANDRETTI:テつ The radio was in and out.テつ It wasn't out totally.テつ Sometimes I heard them, sometimes I didn't.テつ It was probably just the weather.テつ

Q.テつ Marco, considering the way your season started, I know you would have liked to have gotten up there and gotten the win, but as far as momentum is concerned, how important was today for the points?テつ
MARCO ANDRETTI:テつ Yeah, especially after my practices here, we'll take it for sure.テつ I would have loved that restart, like Scott said, at the end.テつ It would have been a lot of fun.テつ
But Ryan deserved that race.テつ He out-paced everybody.テつ I think we'll take this one for sure. テつ

Q.テつ It's not the 500, but this next race is at Indianapolis, a place so special to your family.テつ How important is it to you personally to go out there and try to be the first Andretti to win this road course race at IMS?
MARCO ANDRETTI:テつ Yeah, it would be cool.テつ To win the first inaugural anything is cool.テつ I'm going to go to Indy tomorrow to do some research on it.テつ I haven't done a lot yet on the circuit.テつ I won the Lights race there, but I think it's quite different.テつ Tomorrow I'll have a better understanding of that place.テつ

Q.テつ Scott, the same question that Marco was asked, about the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.テつ
SCOTT DIXON:テつ I'm looking forward to it.テつ On one hand I'm a purist and think it should just be the 500.テつ But for the last 12 years I've been a Hoosiers.テつ It will be nice to have another race sort of in the backyard for us and my family.テつ
But, yeah, I think they've done a fantastic job sort of laying out the circuit, fixing up some of the areas that maybe weren't so good for racing.テつ
I'm excited for it.テつ I hope it's good weather and we get a good response from people coming out.テつ I think with the layout we actually have, it's going to be a hell of a race, edge-of-your-seat stuff.テつ I can't wait.テつ

Q.テつ Marco, before the caution, did you feel like you could have caught Ryan, that you had a chance?
MARCO ANDRETTI:テつ No.テつ He gapped me too much, then he sustained it.テつ I'm sure if I started closing on him, he was probably conserving his tires.テつ He probably had a lot more in the tank, as well.テつ
I was pushing, but I also needed to be smart about Scott.テつ I didn't want to take my tires out too much.テつ There's a balance between knowing how much to push to chase Ryan and how much to save to hold off Scott.テつ

Q.テつ Scott, as far as your relationship with Tony and getting him acclimated, it was kind of a rush deal.テつ Do you feel like he's involved with the system now and contributing and helping the program out?
SCOTT DIXON:テつ You know, it has been a little rushed.テつ We haven't done a whole lot of pre-season testing. テつI think on our side of the team we've been deep into trying to improve ourselves.テつ The 10 car, the 8, the 83, it hasn't been that smooth of a start for the whole team.テつ If you look at those three guys, 17 or higher they qualified.テつ We just barely made it through and made changes to keep up in qualifying here.テつ But this is a strong circuit normally for our team as a whole.テつ We got a lot of work to do.テつ
So it's made it difficult to sort of bond or try similar things in more of a relaxed atmosphere.テつ I think once we get to Indy and have a few more tests through the mid-season, you know, we can definitely work on that.テつ
As of right now, our driving styles are vastly different.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you.テつ We'll see you in Indianapolis.テつ
SCOTT DIXON:テつ Thank you.テつ
MARCO ANDRETTI:テつ Thank you.
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll continue with our Verizon IndyCar Series post race press conference.テつ We're joined by winning team owner Michael Andretti and race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay.テつ
This track has historically been known as a Penske track.テつ What have you been able to do to beat that?テつ
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:テつ It was one of our weaker tracks in 2012.テつ We put a lot of focus on it.テつ Obviously if you put focus on it, you can fix things.テつ I think we did a good job for the team to do that.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ With two of your drivers getting podium finishes, how impressed are you by their performances today, especially in these conditions?テつ
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:テつ I'm just proud of the whole team.テつ All weekend long all four cars have been really good.テつ Qualified four in the top nine, then the race.テつ Ryan drove a great race.テつ Marco was fun to watch.テつ He passed a lot of cars.テつ A lot of great passes.テつ
To bring them home 1-2 in these conditions, a great day.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Ryan, you're now second in points.テつ How big was this race for you as an early-season surge?テつ
RYAN HUNTER-REAY:テつ It was a huge race for us.テつ As Michael said, this track used to be one of our weakest points.テつ To put Andretti 1-2, it's impressive.テつ It's a total team effort.テつ Everybody has been working hard to move in the same direction.テつ It's been a very strong start to the season for this team overall.テつ
We're just thrilled to get Honda a win here at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.テつ Probably a race late, but we got it done.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Talk about your thoughts when you saw early in the race Will Power spin out in front of you and you were able to take the lead and maintain it.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY:テつ Will went off under-braking in turn five.テつ All you have to do is make a mistake by five or six feet and you're off.テつ I almost threw it away myself three or four times there.テつ
It was tiptoeing around.テつ It's a fine line between getting it all right or all wrong.テつ Any guy in an IndyCar will tell you that's how it is.テつ
You have to go on the risk side to get the reward out of it.テつ It's easy to throw it all away.テつ Just real happy.テつ Thrilled for the team.テつ To do it in that style where at the end of the race we were pulling away was thrilling for the racecar.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions.テつ

Q.テつ The next race is a road course at Indy.テつ Talk about having your road course setup so well going into the first road course race for IndyCar at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.テつ
RYAN HUNTER-REAY:テつ It's a new challenge for everybody.テつ That's the great thing about it, everybody starts from scratch there.テつ It may be that the Grand Prix of Indianapolis will have its own type of setup.テつ It may be similar to some tracks.テつ We don't know yet.テつ That's the challenge we're all looking forward to.テつ
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:テつ Same thing.テつ I think we're all really excited about it.テつ It's going to be interesting to see how much support we're going to get from the fans.テつ I have a feeling we're going to.テつ I think it's going to be fun.テつ
It's the first time you can say, How is this going to help you going into Indy?テつ Well, this might help us.テつ Our cars have been running well on these types of tracks.テつ Hopefully Indy will be similar to this.テつ

Q.テつ Ryan, after spending the last two weeks fighting off the fallout from Long Beach, how much of a relief is it to be talking about what you did today instead of what happened two weeks ago?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY:テつ It's great.テつ No other way to bounce back really.テつ It really feels good being Andretti 1-2.テつ Marco did a great job today to get up there and fill that spot.テつ
Yeah, as you can imagine, the week after Long Beach was a pretty long one.テつ It was one where I just wanted to get back in a racecar as soon as I could.テつ
We knew it would be tough here.テつ When it came to race time, I had the car in the wet, I had the car in the dry.テつ They gave me exactly what I needed.テつ I knew it was going to be close to make it all work out because it was so easy to make a mistake today.テつ Just thrilled.テつ This victory feels real good.テつ

Q.テつ Michael, I was talking to Marco about his personal feelings about the family perspective at Indianapolis.テつ Even though it is the road course, do you feel any sort of emotional desire to be the first guys to go out there and win that race?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:テつ Well, yeah, you definitely would like to be the first ones to win the race.テつ I can't tell you it would be the same if we win the Indy 500.テつ We're not going to kid ourselves.テつ That's still the granddaddy, the one we all still want to win.テつ It sure would be fun to see Andretti in Victory Lane at the 500.テつ That would be fun.テつ

Q.テつ Ryan, as far as the emotion of winning any race at Indianapolis, even though it is a road course?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY:テつ Yeah, to win there would be fantastic.テつ It would be a complete honor.テつ It would be the inaugural time to do it, inaugural IndyCar race at Indianapolis on a road course.テつ
As Michael said, the focus is for sure on the 500.テつ But that race carries a lot of points with it, the road course does, as well.テつ We're focused on the whole month.テつ Every time we go out on the racetrack, we're there to win.テつ There's no shortcuts on it.テつ

Q.テつ Ryan, having such a good car all weekend, did you almost expect to get either first, second or third?テつ
RYAN HUNTER-REAY:テつ I didn't expect anything because I knew how many cars were strong.テつ Anybody in the top 10 could have been a player today at the front.テつ
That's the thing in IndyCar these days, that's how it goes.テつ You've just got to show up with a good attitude on race day.テつ Doesn't matter how warmup went or your last qualifying session, you have a shot in the race.テつ That's one of the best things about IndyCar.テつ
Didn't have any expectations up front.テつ Just went for it.

Q.テつ Given they went from a 90-lap race to a timed race, how much did that change your strategy, your approach?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY:テつ It didn't.テつ From the car, I have complete faith in those guys.テつ Michael called a straight strategy.テつ
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:テつ He had no idea what was going on.テつ It was crazy on the stand calculating the times of the laps.テつ It was pretty exciting.テつ The guys on the stands did a great job.テつ I think we called perfect strategy with everything that happened.テつ But it was not easy because of the way the conditions were, with the timing of the race and all that stuff.テつ
RYAN HUNTER-REAY:テつ Not only do you have fuel, you have tires to think about and time.テつ

Q.テつ Ryan, given how dominant your car was, would it have made a difference if the race went 30 more laps?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY:テつ I'm confident we would have won either way.テつ I had a great car in the dry.テつ It was a dream to drive.テつ When you're having that much fun driving a car, usually things come out pretty well.テつ
I just wished it finished under green.テつ I was telling Michael, he feels every time we have a sizable lead, it goes yellow every time.テつ
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:テつ I'll take it any way we can get it.テつ Don't worry about that.テつ

Q.テつ Sebastian Saavedra stayed out on wets when everybody went out on reds.テつ Describe the process of getting past him.テつ
RYAN HUNTER-REAY:テつ Patience.テつ
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:テつ You learned (laughter).テつ
RYAN HUNTER-REAY:テつ It was just a matter of time before we got by him because the track was drying pretty quickly.テつ He was stronger in the back half of the track where it was still wet.テつ We were stronger on this side.テつ Just kind of let it do its thing, then I got by him.テつ I knew he was coming in, so...テつ
Definitely picked my way by carefully.テつ

Q.テつ Usually the weather here is beautiful, the setting is pastoral.テつ It's the Augusta National of motorsports.テつ Today it's soaking wet and all the fans still stayed.テつ What is it about IndyCar in Alabama that it's become that popular?テつ
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:テつ That's awesome.テつ That just shows you we have some real diehard fans, especially here.テつ You could tell everybody, when you talked to the fans, how much they follow our sport.テつ Not just the race here in Alabama, but they talk about the rest of the season and things that are happening.テつ
It always makes you feel good to come to a place that you have fans and you feel really welcome like that.テつ
RYAN HUNTER-REAY:テつ The fans here are knowledgeable.テつ They're pretty passionate about their IndyCar racing.テつ That's what we love to see.テつ Friday, Saturday, Sunday, good turnout.テつ That's one of the cool things about IndyCar, we race in the wet.テつ

Q.テつ What did Marco do well?テつ Could it be a potential short-term breakthrough for his confidence?テつ
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:テつ I actually think it was huge for him today.テつ We had a little bit of a talk before the start of the race.テつ He drove really well.テつ I was proud of him.テつ He was very aggressive when he needed to be aggressive, then he paced himself really well when he got in front of Will.テつ Will never was able to challenge him.テつ He was under a lot of pressure from Dixon.テつ Didn't put a wheel wrong.テつ
In the end you could tell Dixon tried everything to get by him and he fell back because he used his tires to try.テつ He did a really good job.テつ Really proud of him.テつ
RYAN HUNTER-REAY:テつ Yeah, he had to work for that one.テつ He came from a ways back.テつ I saw on the pylon 25, 25, 25 moving up.テつ He had to work today for it, for sure.テつ A very good job.テつ

Q.テつ A question on the timed race format.テつ Does that change your strategy at all?テつ Is it something you enjoy participating in?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY:テつ As a driver, you just leave it up to your guys calling the strategy, Michael and the team.テつ You just got to go about your own race.テつ The window changes.テつ The timeframe of the race changes.テつ You race within that timeframe, right?テつ
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:テつ Yeah.テつ
RYAN HUNTER-REAY:テつ It's harder to nail it exactly.テつ
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:テつ You have to start to guesstimate what the lap times are going to be, how many laps it's going to be.テつ There's a lot of calculations going on.テつ Ray and Andy did a great job.テつ I think they called it down to the exact lap and second, so they did a good job.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Gentlemen, congratulations.テつ We'll see you at Indy.テつ
RYAN HUNTER-REAY:テつ Thank you, guys.テつ
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:テつ Thank you.テつ

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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