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IZOD IndyCar Series: Grand Prix of Baltimore

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Grand Prix of Baltimore

IZOD IndyCar Series: Grand Prix of Baltimore

Sebastien Bourdais
Josef Newgarden
September 1, 2013


THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by our second and third place finishers in today's Grand Prix of Baltimore Presented by SRT, Josef Newgarden of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing finished second, career best here and in your first start in Baltimore. Just talk about your race.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, I finished second here in Indy Lights, second in IndyCar now, two times, here, so I really like Baltimore. It's been good to me so far. I think the people here are incredible. I just love this race. There's so much about it that I love, the atmosphere is really good, and the location is incredible. I know we probably pissed some people off‑‑
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I didn't know you like to get bumped into.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, that's always fun, bumper cars out here. Regardless of that, I like the venue. I love this place. It's been good to me. Happy for our team, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, good to have a result for us, so second place, we'll definitely take that.
We wanted to challenge Simon but we had a bit of a brake mishap at the end. We were really struggling with trying to keep the pedal solid, and I think heat was just getting to everybody today. It was really difficult to keep the cars cool and it definitely bit us at the end. Tough race for all I think.
THE MODERATOR: Sebastien Bourdais of Dragon Racing finished third, his third podium finish of the season. He started today's race from the 22nd position. Talk about working your way up to the front and continuing to stay at the front with all that beating and banging.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Yeah, obviously it was a pretty exciting race, starting from the back, walked our way steadily towards the front. The guys did a great call on strategy, and that second stint, we were really strong, so we were in clean air and could run fast.
The yellow fell right after our second pit stop, and that was it pretty much. We just had a perfect scenario for that. It really looked like the race was pretty much in the bag, but then, you know, the race started to be the usual Baltimore chaos, and it was one restart after another and it was just survival.
And then when Graham got the better of us on one restart, kind of jumped it a bit, but whatever. You know, we got hit and got turned around, thankfully, I don't know how, but we didn't lose so many spots. I think we ended up like fourth, fifth.
And the car was getting banged up a bit, but overall, we still had some pace, made some good moves, and then on the next restart, there was a bit of an incident when James tried to dive in the inside of the hairpin, and I just‑‑ it just took my attention and I just looked at him, and, I saw, oh, yeah, and next thing I know, I just brushed the back of Justin's car, and that spun him around and that got James up and it was just chaos. I felt bad for him.
But in the meantime, I was in the middle of a fight, really. I just didn't know what to do anymore. If you were not aggressive, you were going to get run into. If you were aggressive, you took the chance to hit someone. It was very, very dodgy.
It looked like after things settled down, we were going to really have a shot at winning again, and Simon made a mistake and nearly hit the wall. I think he probably brushed a bit in turn seven and that got a run. Yeah, I guess he didn't see me coming, but squeezed me pretty good.
We touched twice and I thought that was over, because I probably missed the tires there by about half a foot or a couple of inches, and then after that, the car bounced off a couple too many times from the wall and it wasn't the same anymore.
I'm just happy we finished; in the end, we won the podium. It's another podium and it's what we needed for the organization and for the sponsors. We'll take it.

Q. How were you able to move up so quickly? And at the end, did you lose control or lose your brakes or something?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Well, I had probably four laps‑‑ I don't know how many I did at the end before the brakes went completely away.
So as soon as Simon and Bourdais kind of got together in turn eight, I got by Bourdais, and then I had to get by Marco and then I got by Marco. And then I saw just Simon in front of me, and he had a nice gap at that point. I thought, you know, we can chase him down no problem. And the brakes were fine, and I had probably one really hard lap where I was able to chase him, maybe one and a half. I think we closed it up pretty well. We closed up a second, maybe nine/tenths of him.
And I was feeling good, but as soon as I got to that point, the brakes started fading very quickly. And we had struggled with it earlier in the race. It wasn't right at the end that it happened. We had it in the first stint and really bad in the second stint, and we had so much caution period that it gave the brakes time to cool off.
But the damage was already done earlier in the race. Once you heat the calipers and the brake flood to a certain point, they don't recover, even with the caution that we had that were so long. I actually almost ran into the turn one tire barriers with two laps to go. I just had no brake pedal.
So I had to back up and slow my pace down by a couple of seconds to recover the brakes and at that point it was just about keeping Sebastien behind me. I knew I couldn't do anything with Simon any more and it was about salvaging second, which is a shame. I really wanted to race Simon. I think we would have had a good car. I don't know what would have happened but it would have been fun to at least challenge him and go for the win.

Q. I don't think we need any more questions from you Joseph, but early on when you tagged the wall with your left‑hand side, was there any damage, was it handling like a skew‑whiff?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: No, there was new issues. Another thing was we had a great start I thought on the Red Compound. Most of us started at the front with red compounds, I think the top six, seven guys.
I had‑‑ when I was racing Justin at the beginning of the race and trying to get by him, when I did get by him, I had to get really wide in a couple corners and I picked up a bunch of debris, and something happened at that point where I just‑‑ I could not regain grip in the car. The car was great to start the race for the first five, seven laps and then after I did that, I had no grip, no traction, no front end, and I was just in the way of everyone. I could not even keep up.
So, yeah, I brushed the wall, like you said, and there was nothing wrong after that. We finally got going and off those tires and no damage, so we were lucky.

Q. What happened at one of the turn one accordion‑effect moments where you got stacked up in the back? Could you see‑‑ or what was the process there?
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: It was like six races worth of incidents. I don't know how to describe this to people‑‑ there's so many things that happened.
That one, yeah, I went into turn one and I thought that it was clustered on the inside, so I followed Helio on the outside and tended up being clustered on the outside. And Helio ran into the tire, and I ran into the back of him.
And right when I did that, I actually heard on my radio from Mike, he said, "Take the run off." And he said it right when I turned in, and I was like, oh, no, I could have turned left and it would have been great.
But you know what, it ended up coming back around for us because there was another incident in turn one like that, and I did take the run off and then I gained positions back again. So that's really what happened to us. I don't know what happened. We just got caught in the accordion, and then we got everything back by the next incident, so we got lucky.

Q. For either of you, is a race like this stressful to the point of being ridiculous with all the things going on, or are there so many things happening that, you know, your emotions, you're almost numb to everything?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: I don't think we are numb to anything. I think we are more excited than anybody else. From the car, sometimes it's really hard to keep the emotions in check, particularly when you are in position when you know you have a lot to lose on all these restarts, and the problem is with these double‑file restarts, they breed another one.
You basically get into a rhythm where you can't get your tires and your brakes up to temperature and clean the tires up, and everybody arrives at that first corner locking wheels and running into the back of each other and cannot make the turn; and it's just, you know, it's inevitable. And.
I think that's really when and where we probably as a group need to really think about these double‑file restarts, because, I mean, I think it was a pretty exciting show and everything. But at the end of the day, when it's just a series of incidents after incidents, it just reflects poorly on everybody and we just look like idiots and I don't think it's the best.
But I don't know what fans want to see, they want to see racing or they want to see crashes, but I definitely saw the first half of it was racing and the second part of it wasn't so much.

Q. On the restart before you got spun out, did you have problems getting going on that restart, because it looked like maybe Will Power and Scott Dixon stacked up behind you and had their incident.
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: No, I just braked where I knew I could stop the car, and I guess they just brake later. I saw them in my‑‑ on the mirror, I was left, and the other one got tagged by an unidentified object, so that was gone, so I only had the right one. Yeah, I saw dime getting pretty damn close, and I was like, hmmm, I don't know what's going to happen, but if I don't get run into, I'll be lucky.
No, nothing was wrong, but the problem is also you start from the inside and there's no grip there. Just when you put power down, there's absolutely no grip. Just debris and marbles and dust and everything, and when you put power down, you just don't get going.
And then you start to brake on the inside where it's less grip, so you kind of are a little careful not to try to overdo the corner, and even though you think you're safe, you still run wide‑‑ actually I thought I was going to lose it there. It's one of these races where when you finish, you just feel like a survivor because you have near misses like about ten times during the race. It was not uneventful, that's for sure.

Q. You talked about the chaos out there, and you talked about it quite a bit, but if thief future races here, would you like to see the courses modified?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: Not really. The only question is what we do with the curving situation for the chicane. There's not so much we can do in the series or the organizers do about the chicane.
The problem is we would have to race the car so much to be able to run through railroad tracks on the main straight flat‑out, that it would be very difficult to actually even change the tires, because the tires would hit the ground even when the car would be on the jacks. So that's No.1.
And you know, No. 2, I think it's always the same thing. You know, it's the balance between aggressivity and trying to get things going. But the race directors are asking us to pair up and kind of keep a consistent pace through the acceleration corner which clusters everybody, because you get that, basically, two or three rows formed before you get to the throttle, and then you've got everybody exiting the chicane full throttle and it stacks up at some point; land it gets there when it's already really tricky, and you've got a bunch of cars locking wheels getting into a very tight corner, which is going to create an accordion effect.
So I don't think there is so much you can do. But for sure, what Marco was doing, basically jumping the start straightaway and not letting anybody back up with basically a single‑file restart; and that's probably, for me, at this place, to try to get some racing, that's probably something we should consider, because you see every time we try to go double‑file, it doesn't quite work out so well.

Q. Regarding the chicane and what you're talking about, would it make a difference if they adapted going to a double‑file restart and then avoiding the chicane and then just discounting the chicane on the restart?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS: We talked about that, but then the problem is basically the guys from the back end up basically going over the railroad track full blast because you exit the corner and they are on the gas.
So they tried that and it turned into a pretty big disaster. I'm not so sure that's in the solution.
THE MODERATOR: Sebastien, Josef, congratulations on a great finish here at Baltimore.

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