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VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES: INDIANAPOLIS 500 QUALIFYING


May 18, 2014


Ed Carpenter

Helio Castroneves

James Hinchcliffe

Josef Newgarden

Simon Pagenaud

Will Power


INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA

THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll get started with today's Verizon IndyCar Series Pole Day press conference.テつ We're pleased to be joined by Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden and Helio Castroneves.テつ
Josef, what did you think about this new qualifying format?テつ
JOSEF NEWGARDEN:テつ I loved it.テつ I honestly thought it was really cool.テつ It's not confusing to me.テつ Whenever you have a new format, it can always seem confusing at first when you're trying to learn the ropes of it, all the little details.テつ Seems like there's a lot.テつ
To me it's simple.テつ Two days of qualifying.テつ You want to be in the Fast Nine on Saturday and the Fast Nine qualifies again on Sunday.テつ
We were able to get in the Fast Nine.テつ Big job for us.テつ Great for our crew.テつ I loved it.テつ Thought it was a blast.テつ Wished we could have been a little bit quicker.テつ We gave our effort, we put everything we had on the car.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ If you had to pick a spot aside from pole, what do you think about where you ended up?テつ
JOSEF NEWGARDEN:テつ I'm in the middle.テつ I'm going to be sandwiched, I guess.テつ
I'm not sure.テつ I think I would probably choose the outside, if I could.テつ But you are where you are.テつ The good news is you're in pretty clean air.テつ Top three rows is a good place.テつ Just starting with that it's fantastic for us.テつ Just to be in the top nine is already a good achievement.テつ We obviously always want more, and it would be better to be on the front row, cleanest air possible.テつ Third row is better than starting on the 11th.テつ Pretty pleased with that.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Simon Pagenaud will be starting right in front of you on row two.テつ
Simon, how impressed were you with the speed you were able to put together?テつ
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ Interesting qualifying.テつ Certainly the Sam Schmidt Motorsport team has done a great job.テつ We can be happy with the performance.テつ We qualified in the Fast Nine, myself as a newcomer on the ovals.テつ
The car is fast.テつ Honda has done a tremendous job with the engine this year.テつ It's very close with Chevy.テつ Very enjoyable to see that these kind of tight lap times.テつ
Very excited.テつ I think IndyCar has it right really.テつ I held my breath for six hours in qualifying.テつ I had three or four attempts.テつ I don't even know because it was just too many (laughter).テつ I went to bed as soon as I could after that because I was so stressed.テつ
Today I thought was really cool.テつ Getting to see everybody do one more attempt, the last one, and qualify...テつ I really, really think it was exciting for the drivers.テつ Hope it was exciting for the fans and you, the media.テつ
Yeah, it's fun.テつ It's been a lot of fun these two days.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ The gentleman next to you will start next to you in the race.テつ Helio Castroneves will be starting fourth.テつ
Helio, you and your teammate Will Power getting into the Fast Nine, what has Team Penske been able to do this month?テつ
HELIO CASTRONEVES:テつ We've been working together really well, including Juan Pablo.テつ Again, it was crazy.テつ Yesterday was such a different weather.テつ Today it's perfect, as well, but the track is a little bit hotter.テつ Obviously everybody is going for it.テつ
It's tough going out there every time running that low downforce the way we are.テつ But that's why it's Indianapolis.テつ It's two kind of races, the Indy 500 and this race.テつ
It was quite enjoyable.テつ It was tough certainly.テつ I was working quite hard.テつ But, again, second row is always good to start in the 500.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll open it up for questions.テつ

Q.テつ As far as I understand the qualifying was driven with a higher boost, you go back to lower boost in the race.テつ Does it affect your strategy?テつ
SIMON PAGENAUD:テつ It's qualifying.テつ It's a little bit more boost for the speed.テつ But for us it doesn't really change much.テつ It change a little bit the tire wear because you're going slower, so tire wear is not as excessive.テつ That's all I can say really.テつ It doesn't really change the setup of the car.テつ That's why we have very smart engineers.テつ
JOSEF NEWGARDEN:テつ Pretty much, yeah.テつ

Q.テつ How draining is it to go out on Saturday, you're still trying to get up there in that top nine, then turn right around and have to do it all over again?テつ
HELIO CASTRONEVES:テつ As we talk about it, yes, it's such a different weather.テつ I mean, the engineers are really working the numbers.テつ Our cars are so sensitive to the weather.テつ Ten degrees, five degrees makes a difference out there.テつ Today being ten degrees warmer, it definitely made a difference.テつ
Now going to the race, we were able to run Sunday, Monday, Tuesday with that kind of configuration, so we just go back and go again.テつ It's not actually a big deal.テつ

Q.テつ After two days of nothing but tension, tension, tension, trying to make your way to the top of the grid, you're turning around and essentially doing an eight-hour warmup for the race.テつ How do you change your mindset?テつ
JOSEF NEWGARDEN:テつ Are you talking Monday?テつ

Q.テつ Yes.テつ
JOSEF NEWGARDEN:テつ It's actually going to be nice because we get to put downforce back in.テつ I'm kind of excited about it, to be honest.テつ
Like my run yesterday, normally you get done with the first pass, if you do a difficult one, you're so happy it's over with.テつ You got to do it two or three more times.テつ You just got to go with it.テつ It's nice.テつ You get back in race conditions where the car is more manageable.テつ
It's still difficult.テつ Quite a lot of turbulence from these cars.テつ You have to get in a big enough pack during race run to simulate that.テつ When you run the actual race on Sunday, it can be different sometimes than just practicing on a weekday when you're in a train of four cars.テつ In the race, if you get in a train of 10 cars, it's more turbulent, very difficult to drive behind that big of a pack.テつ
That's what we work on.テつ Everyone is trying to develop their car to make it as best as possible behind everyone else.テつ For us, it's easier to switch back into that mode and get out of that hair-raising minimal downforce as fast as you can go around the speedway deal.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Good luck this Sunday's race and good luck this week.テつ
We are pleased to be joined by Will Power who will start on the front row.テつ
Will, both you and your teammate, Helio Castroneves, getting Team Penske into the Fast Nine, what are your thoughts on the new qualifying format and the strength of your team this year?テつ
WILL POWER:テつ Yeah, I think the format was pretty successful.テつ Had a pretty good crowd both days.テつ Stressful for the driver.テつ Had to rock up two days in a row to pump out four quick laps here.テつ
But, yeah, I think it was a good idea.テつ I think the good thing about the people running the series now between Mark Miles and Derrick Walker, they're open to change and definitely heading the series in a really good direction.テつ It's been very positive.テつ
Yeah, as far as Team Penske, I think we worked very hard over the winter to put ourselves in a position like this.テつ I think we've had a strong championship up to this point.テつ
But to me, as soon as we got on the track the first day this month, we felt pretty comfortable.テつ Get another day tomorrow to check it out.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ If you're not starting from pole, are you happy with front row?テつ How do you feel that will help you in Sunday's race?テつ
WILL POWER:テつ Yeah, it's definitely a good place to start.テつ The further up you are, the better you are.テつ The further inside you are, the better you are.テつ Good starting place.テつ
Very long race.テつ Very interesting style of racing, different to any other racing we have all year with the way the draft works.テつ Just have to make sure we run well in traffic and put ourselves in a position at the end of Sunday to win that thing.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll open it up for questions.テつ

Q.テつ Will, Hinch is starting in the middle of row one.テつ Considering he only had 18 minutes of practice on Friday, whatever he ran yesterday, the qualifying attempts, it's almost like who needs practice around here.テつ How amazed are you that he's been able to bounce back as quick as he has?
WILL POWER:テつ Coming from a concussion, that's impressive.テつ I don't think I'd be that keen to get back in the car once you've had a head hit.テつ It's good.テつ
I think he took it well and recovered the right way.テつ He's back, not worried about anything.テつ It's a great job.テつ

Q.テつ To do that with that limited amount of practice.テつ
WILL POWER:テつ Yeah, the cars definitely are user-friendly these days.テつ As you see, there's not that many crashes during the month anymore.テつ Just a little bit more friendly to drive.テつ Probably a bit more downforce, too.テつ
But still, you know, it's never easy to jump in a car like that coming back from a head hit, especially in qualifying.テつ It's not easy.テつ

Q.テつ A lot of drivers throughout history, including Rick Mears, have said the four qualifying laps at Indy are about as much stress as you get as a driver.テつ You're being encouraged to go out and do it three, four times.テつ Talk about the pressure or stress that puts on you.テつ
WILL POWER:テつ I think it took everybody a little bit of time to work out yesterday the whole two-line thing.テつ From a strategy standpoint, we would have been back in that line a lot sooner had we realized how that all went.テつ You certainly saw us getting knocked down the charts.テつ
But, yeah, it is tough to have to go back out now.テつ Depending on the downforce level, mind you, I think we were the lightest, Helio and I, Newgarden.テつ You know, definitely sliding around a lot.テつ
I think, yeah, that's racing.テつ You're put in the seat to do a good job.テつ That's what it is, stressful, let me tell you.テつ

Q.テつ Your team owner Roger Penske is one of the most successful teams in the history of the Indy 500.テつ Rick Mears is involved.テつ In this kind of era when Roger had success, Rick had success, can they give you any advice or coaching how to approach the Indy 500 or is it just by your own?テつ
WILL POWER:テつ It's changed a lot where you've got to the point now where everyone has exactly the same stuff.テつ Like there isn't a car out there that can't win it.テつ That's the big difference now.テつ The whole field is going to start on the frontstretch and the whole field is going to finish on the frontstretch.テつ On the last laps they're all going to be there because it doesn't matter, no one can get away.テつ
To me, I would rather it be the old way where if you had a good car, you wanted to take a risk in trim, you could pull away from the field.テつ To me, that's more putting the driver back into it.テつ
You have to be able to run close and run in traffic well, which is very difficult.テつ It's become harder than ever to win, I would say.テつ

Q.テつ It's happened in the past before where the fastest guy was not necessarily the pole winner.テつ Almost happened again today.テつ Only driver that went faster than Juan was Ed Carpenter.テつ Do you think because of the way this starts with those guys going off in the morning, you going off in the middle of the day, it makes it more difficult?テつ
WILL POWER:テつ Yeah, definitely at this place, if the wind changes, everyone is not going at a close time, I mean, conditions change so much.テつ A gust of wind can give you 3/10ths of a mile an hour.テつ
Yeah, for sure, I think if Juan had been in the top nine, he would have had a shot at the pole, just like Helio.テつ He just had a bad day yesterday.テつ Once again, he's learning and he found some good stuff.テつ Yeah, it's hard to tell.テつ

Q.テつ Will, your run was pretty consistent.テつ As you look back, was it harrowing? テつWhat would you change if you could about your last run?
WILL POWER:テつ There's nothing but just understanding what went wrong with the speed.テつ We expect to do 31s, both the teammates.テつ It's just weird that suddenly it's slower.テつ I don't know whether that had to do with switching the engine back off and starting again.テつ But for some reason we were slow.テつ

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
WILL POWER:テつ They started us up and turned us back off.テつ I don't know if that did something.テつ
Anyway, it was just strange.テつ We're geared to do mid 231's, like both teammates, and we didn't.テつ

Q.テつ I know you're a veteran, but when you leave here yesterday, you go home at night, how hard is it to go to sleep without laying there thinking, What can I do tomorrow to do better than I did today?
WILL POWER:テつ I just learn to switch off.テつ Considering how early we have to start.テつ Tomorrow we have to be bloody dressed here at 7:00 for a photo.テつ I was thinking this is the only day I get to sleep in until the Indy 500, but no.テつ Meant to have it this afternoon.テつ Someone is going to have to pay, and it's probably Derrick Walker (laughter).テつ

Q.テつ Talk a little bit about your race craft.テつ You won at Fontana.テつ You can win on the ovals.テつ How does that boost your confidence level at the Indy 500?テつ
WILL POWER:テつ Different track, different style of racing.テつ Man, you just got to focus well and put yourself in that position.テつ No mistakes from yourself and the team.テつ It's altogether got to be a perfect day.テつ
It's funny, racing.テつ It's all just got to fall your way on the day.テつ It's not something that can be quite forced.テつ Sometimes there's a time to force it.テつ But usually when it's your day it just seems to fall for you.テつ
So I want that next week, man.テつ I just want to have a good finish here.テつ A good finish is a win really.テつ That's all that counts here.テつ Fifth has been my best result.テつ I just want to have a good day.テつ

Q.テつ One of the caveats of this new system was points.テつ You had a pretty good points weekend and Ryan Hunter-Reay didn't.テつ You padded your points lead this weekend.テつ Have you had a chance to think about that?テつ
WILL POWER:テつ I didn't even know that the points counted yesterday until one of the broadcasters explained to me, You realize you got 33 points today.テつ Then I really would have gotten back in line to put a bigger time back up.テつ Free points, qualifying, that's great.テつ
Can you imagine?テつ Indianapolis is definitely the hardest qualifying that we do, four laps with trim.テつ Some of these road courses, I think they need to add more points for that.テつ That's bloody hard, too.テつ Go out for the Fast Six.テつ

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
WILL POWER:テつ Yeah, yeah, it's definitely, definitely hard work, especially when you sit there before and you're not sure if you trimmed too much.テつ That sucks.テつ Can play mind games with yourself.テつ

Q.テつ You just out-qualified Helio Castroneves, who sat on the pole four times.テつ
WILL POWER:テつ Can you believe that?テつ It hasn't sunk in.テつ
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:テつ He's not going to talk to you later on.テつ He's going to be very upset.テつ
WILL POWER:テつ He hides his emotions well.テつ
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:テつ Behind that gorgeous smile and beautiful hair, crazy.テつ
WILL POWER:テつ Since I've been on the team, really pissed him off by beating him.テつ I just started catching on to it last year.テつ He's not going to talk to me now.テつ
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:テつ Going to make team dinners interesting.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Will, we'll let you go.テつ Congratulations on a front row start.テつ
WILL POWER:テつ Thank you.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We're pleased to be joined by James Hinchcliffe, who will be starting second in the 98th running of the Indianapolis 500.テつ I know you're grimacing, but at the same time a front row start, fast speed, you must be happy with your qualifying effort.テつ
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:テつ Yes, what she said (laughter).テつ
No, I am.テつ I mean, it's great.テつ To think about the fact a week ago I wasn't allowed to operate a cell phone.テつ Today I'm whipping an IndyCar around IMS at 230 something miles an hour is pretty incredible.テつ It's only because of so many people, everything from the doctors, my family taking care of me at home, all my teammates who did such a good job getting these cars ready.テつ
I jumped in Friday, one run, look where we ended up.テつ Big thanks to Kurt, Carlos, Marco, Ryan and E.J., everybody at Andretti Autosport and United Fiber and Data, because to have this car on the front row is incredible.テつ
The thing was a handful.テつ I was working pretty hard for it.テつ Into turn three on the last lap, it stepped out on entry a little bit, I had to take some wheel out of it, made for some understeer on exit.テつ You don't have time for correction.テつ I knew I had to crack the throttle.テつ I was screaming in my helmet down the frontstretch.テつ
Congratulations to Ed.テつ We kind of knew we were racing for second today.テつ Good credit to the team for giving us such a quick car.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ All the drivers have been complimentary of how you were able to go out after the incident and practice fast and qualify on the front row.テつ How did you prepare yourself mentally for the qualifying run?テつ
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:テつ You know, it's tough.テつ You go into qualifying having tested a fair amount in qualifying-ish trim.テつ My first run of the month was about four or five degrees less on rear wing than you normally would be.テつ
It's one of those things, I had to kind of pretend I had been here all month and take the feedback my teammates were giving me at face value.テつ I knew what to expect from the car, and that was a huge part of it.テつ
I was lucky that I don't remember the accident so I didn't have any nerves to get over.テつ It was kind of getting back in there and trusting my teammates.テつ I have got some good ones so it made my job easy.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Questions.テつ

Q.テつ Viso is out of work.テつ Is he still involved in cooperation with the team, particularly with you?テつ Any help he can give you?
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:テつ He certainly did when I came back.テつ I sat down with E.J. and he got me up to speed with what they were doing on the 27 car, changes, good and bad, what to expect from the thing when I got in.テつ
Even though we build the cars all exactly the same, sometimes different cars just fit together differently.テつ One car might like a certain setup change better than another guy's car.テつ It was always important to sit with him and really get the firsthand feedback.テつ Between him and Nathan, my engineer, I was able to get a pretty good feel of what to expect in the car.テつ
Like I said, this whole thing, just being up here, is the epitome of teamwork.テつ This is why I'm here, right from the safety workers that pulled me out of the car last Saturday to everybody tuning up my racecar.テつ A lot of people are responsible for us being here today.テつ

Q.テつ 18 minutes in the car on Friday.テつ You proved this weekend that practice here is very overrated.テつ
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:テつ I don't know about that, man.テつ If I had a choice, I probably would have rather had more than 18 minutes.テつ
Again, I just can't thank the team enough.テつ If this had been a one- or two-car operation, there's no way we'd be able to do that.テつ We'd be here, but we wouldn't be in this room right now.テつ We would have made the race, but it would have been much further down.テつ
Trust me, next year I don't plan on taking a vacation practice week, calling in a sub.テつ I'd rather be here all week.テつ

Q.テつ James, what has Kurt Busch been like in your meetings?テつ
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:テつ Normally throwing stuff and cussing a lot (laughter).テつ
No, no, no.テつ That's clearly a Kurt of old.テつ The guy that we've had has just been awesome.テつ It's been really cool seeing somebody with as much racing knowledge and experience as he has but still seeing it from an outsider's perspective.テつ
He actually brought a lot to the table in that respect.テつ Some of the philosophies are different between our forms of racing.テつ You're taking a 'rookie' who has a billion races under his belt.テつ
His car physics and aerodynamics is stellar.テつ He's been receptive to what we've been saying, asking a lot of questions.テつ He's done a phenomenal job, he really has.テつ It's exciting, been fun working with him.テつ

Q.テつ Was it haunting you Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday that you might not pass the test?テつ
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:テつ Thursday when they sat me down in the room, closed the door and said, Good luck.テつ
Driving into the Speedway on Thursday was just awful because I'm driving in, seeing cars drive around, thinking I should be out there, knowing I'm going to a dark room that is going to determine my fate.テつ It wasn't the most comforting feeling certainly.テつ
All the doctors, they were confident going in based on what they've seen from me, what I did to prepare myself in the gym.テつ It was more nerves I think than any lasting effect from the accident.テつ
Needless to say when those results came in, it was a huge relief.テつ They determined I'm just as brain-dead as I was before (laughter).テつ

Q.テつ Anybody who has had a concussion before knows that feeling for several days of feeling punchdrunk.テつ How many days did you feel that?テつ When did you feel better?
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:テつ In all honesty, by Monday I felt pretty good.テつ Sunday I had a nagging headache for most of the day, but I didn't take any painkillers at all because I wanted to be really tuned in to how I was feeling.テつ I wanted to know exactly how my head felt, if any activity made it worse or better.テつ
By Monday I noticed a huge improvement from Sunday and kind of thought to myself one more good night's sleep like that and it will be right as rain.テつ
Tuesday is when I came in with my first evaluation.テつ The neurosurgeon was confident with what he saw.テつ Until they give you that green light, you just never know.テつ

Q.テつ What do you think of the system that Ed Carpenter has come up with where he's the oval driver and Conway drives on the road courses?テつ
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:テつ I think it was a brilliant move.テつ I mean, Ed has been full-time in that car for a couple years now.テつ His oval credentials don't need to be highlighted.テつ They speak for themselves.テつ Road racing wasn't his fortテδゥ.テつ
As a car owner, I think he saw a strength and value for his team and his sponsors to bring in a road course specialist.テつ Mike had made it known that ovals weren't his thing, that's not what he wanted to do anymore.テつ
I think from a team owner, it was a brilliant move.テつ Look, they've already won one race this year, sitting on the pole for the biggest one.テつ He's going to be a threat at Pocono, Fontana, Texas.テつ I think it was a tremendous move.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ James, good luck on Sunday.テつ Congratulations.テつ
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:テつ Thank you.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll continue with Ed Carpenter, the 11th driver in the history of the Indianapolis 500 to repeat pole in consecutive years.
Ed, when you came into the month, did you think this was possible to put it on top again?テつ
ED CARPENTER:テつ I hoped so.テつ You can ask any one of my engineers, Heather, anyone on the team, I get extremely paranoid the week before practice here.テつ I feel like every year coming in I have this giant fear we're going to be really slow and really struggle.テつ
I think that me annoying the guys is what keeps them working so hard so they can shut me up when we finally do get here.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Being a two-car team this month, has that helped in that effort?テつ
ED CARPENTER:テつ Yeah.テつ I think what you just said is key.テつ It's been limited, a shortened month with the Grand Prix at the start of the month, missing some days for rain.テつ We had a mechanical issue along the way that cost us some time.テつ
To have JR out there getting work done all the way through has been great.テつ We worked well together.テつ Wish we could have got him on the front row with us.テつ The shootout is tough.テつ Conditions were hard today.テつ
Having him go first today also helped me because we made an adjustment.テつ Even in the shootout I think we felt the benefit of having a teammate, but I wish we were both up here together.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ We'll open it up for questions.テつ

Q.テつ Talk about your run.テつ Most of the guys ran three pretty good laps and all of a sudden they fell off on number four.テつ That's when you put your foot back down.テつ Did you know where you were in the standings at that point?テつ
ED CARPENTER:テつ Well, I knew what pole was going into my run.テつ I get my lap times when I cross the start/finish line every lap.テつ Obviously saw on the third lap I dropped to a 230.8, which was kind of right at the limit.テつ I'd been scrubbing speed like everyone.テつ I changed my gear strategy on the last lap to maintain and not slide anymore.テつ Basically I think I duplicated my third lap on the last lap.テつ
Once I saw we didn't drop below that number, I thought we would be good.テつ It's hard to do math at 230.テつ

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
ED CARPENTER:テつ I mean, to be honest, knowing what my rpm's were, what speeds I was carrying into turn three, I knew without lifting, we were going to be in good shape.テつ
Going into three is when it started, making sure I nailed those last two corners, then coming down the frontstretch could enjoy it knowing we were going to be on the pole for the second year.テつ

Q.テつ It's another week of waiting time until the start of the big race.テつ How big is the pressure?テつ Do you prefer tomorrow would be the race?テつ
ED CARPENTER:テつ No, I'm looking forward to practice tomorrow.テつ We have to have one more day of practice tomorrow getting ready for the race.テつ I feel good about where our cars are in race trim.テつ You can always use one more solid day of practice just to tune on things, get a little better, make sure both myself and JR are happy.テつ
So looking forward to it.テつ Going through, winning the pole last year, I think we have a better idea for me and Heather and the whole team how to be prepared for it, how to manage the week, how to manage our time.テつ Hopefully we'll be better prepared next Sunday.テつ

Q.テつ How big is the pressure, the week of waiting time?テつ
ED CARPENTER:テつ I mean, there's pressure every day in May.テつ Whether it was tomorrow or waiting the week, I don't think the pressure really changes.テつ You just have to wait a little longer.テつ
The month of May is fun.テつ It's all about tradition.テつ I wouldn't want to rush through and miss the parade, drivers meeting, autograph sessions we do.テつ Will be off to Milwaukee Tuesday.テつ

Q.テつ On your final lap, certainly from the camera angle looked like you got down onto the rumble strips in turn four.テつ How sketchy was this year's run compared to last year's?
ED CARPENTER:テつ I thought it was harder.テつ They were both hard.テつ It was just a different position because when I made my run last year, we didn't really have anything to lose.テつ This year, being the last guy to go out, I think there was a little more pressure to not mess it up because I felt like going out that we had the speed to do that from where we were from yesterday to today with the different conditions.テつ I felt like as long as we didn't mess it up, we were going to be able to win the pole.テつ
That's a different kind of pressure.テつ But it was a more stressful run for me, for sure.テつ I was low in four the last lap, but the car had been sliding so much, I was trying to give myself as much room as I could to make it through there without lifting because I was running out of room leading up to that.テつ I was just using every inch of asphalt I could.テつ I think I kept it off the concrete.テつ

Q.テつ You mentioned the 500 is a lot about tradition.テつ What are your thoughts on the new qualifying format?テつ
ED CARPENTER:テつ I was probably tied for doing the least amount of runs with a couple other guys.テつ
It was stressful.テつ A lot of waiting around, waiting for someone to beat you, waiting to have to go run again.テつ That's hard.テつ It's really going to come down to what the TV ratings were and what the attendance was.テつ I don't know what the figures were.テつ
I would maybe like to see it all go down in one day.テつ I think we could draw a bigger crowd, smash this all into one day and blow it out, have a lot of fun, not ask people from out of town to be here on a Sunday.テつ
It's up to the fans.テつ

Q.テつ It's kind of hard to call any weekend a perfect weekend.テつ You came pretty close.テつ All three of your attempts, you were the fastest.テつ That's kind of rare in this game, especially as competitive as it is.テつ
ED CARPENTER:テつ Yeah, I mean, the team did a phenomenal job.テつ Like I said earlier joking around, I'm always paranoid about how we're going to be coming in here.テつ The team was preparing two cars for this race before we ever even knew we were going to be running a second car here.テつ
Just really blessed to have a lot of great people behind me on the team and partners of the team with Fuzzy's and Chevrolet and Preferred Freezers that's now onboard.テつ All their hard work and dedication are what make weekends like this possible.テつ

Q.テつ I know obviously all the drivers have a lot of obligations this week.テつ With you also being team owner and the pole winner, talk about what the coming week is going to be like for you obligation-wise, how much sleep you're going to get.テつ
ED CARPENTER:テつ I'll get enough sleep.テつ The good thing is it's scheduled out.テつ There will be some new things added to the schedule now obviously, but not much.テつ
Between now and Tuesday, it will be busier.テつ Tomorrow I'll have to get up earlier than I normally would have.テつ But it's all worthwhile being able to be in positions like this at the Speedway in the Indianapolis 500.テつ It's what we have this team for.テつ It's what I get paid to do.テつ This is what we're supposed to do for our sponsors and the team.テつ
It's a lot of fun.テつ My family is here to enjoy it with me.テつ All of them are here this year.テつ Hopefully close out the month better than what we did last year.テつ

Q.テつ Under this new system of yours, how have you kept sharp to be able to go out and do this when you haven't been racing?
ED CARPENTER:テつ You know, no one has raced an oval since I raced Fontana last year.テつ I don't feel like I'm missing much.テつ Oval racing and road and street courses are different.テつ The cars are different.テつ We tested as much as I think anyone outside of doing the tire test here at the end of last year.テつ I think that's the only test we missed as far as oval testing.テつ
I didn't feel lacking or unprepared.テつ I prepare the same now as I did when I was racing full-time.テつ So much of it here I think is mental and in the preparation.テつ We were prepared.テつ

Q.テつ As you prepare and go out and practice tomorrow, you're going to be leading from the front.テつ You led the first lap last year, then we had 68 lead changes.テつ In setting up your car, is it going to be easier to set it up for leading or are you going to have to think about pit stops, shuffling back, more downforce, dirty air?テつ Talk about race craft.テつ
ED CARPENTER:テつ A lot of it's going to depend on the day.テつ Certainly we know a couple things that we would have liked to have done differently last year.テつ I think we'll do that.テつ But not going to get into details just yet.テつ Sorry.テつ
THE MODERATOR:テつ Ed, congratulations.テつ Good luck this week.テつ
ED CARPENTER:テつ Thank you.テつ

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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