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IZOD IndyCar Series: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

IZOD IndyCar Series: Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Ryan Briscoe
Justin Wilson
March 29, 2010


ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA

AMY KONRATH: We're pleased to be joined by two of the podium finishers from the today's Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. First we have Justin Wilson, who finished second. Justin gave Dryer & Reinbold it's best team finish since 2000 when Robbie Buhl won at Walt Disney Speedway.
We're also joined by Ryan Briscoe, who finished third. Ryan started 19th for this race and apparently it's the longest climb any driver has made from a starting spot to the podium in the six years we've held this race from 19 to 3rd.
Justin if you can talk about today's race, the conditions out there kind of dried up?
JUSTIN WILSON: I think it was an eventful race. I lost track of what was going on for a while but my team kept saying, "Follow Will." When you're hot you're hot. So we knew he would be on the right strategy, and that's what we did.
We copied him exactly to the last, and the guys at Dryer & Reinbold did a fantastic pit stop, that put us right behind Will, and that's what did it.
I was pushing hard of lap to see if I could get close to Will, see if there was any chance he would make a mistake, but he did a great job and I'm pretty pleased with second today, and I think we've got a lot of things we can learn from this event and move on.
AMY KONRATH: And for Ryan, we mentioned you made remarkable gains on the track. Can you talk about the strategy to get you from 19th to 3rd?
RYAN BRISCOE: Thanks, I'm happy to be on the podium after qualifying 19th. We knew we had a fast car. We had been fast in practice and we had been at the front, so the key for us was to get up sequence and get ourselves some clear track so we could put in those fast laps and try to make up track position on the guys that were going to be slower.
We pitted early and got on the black tire, and it worked out well because the reds were going off on badly. We made a bigger statement in there going quicker and moved up the pack, and about mid-race we were sort of on the same pit sequence as the leaders.
My guys did an unbelievable job in the pit lane. I think we picked off three or four guys when we all came in together, and I had a fast car for a while, following T.K. We were able to get a few guys on the restarts, and overall I'm really happy. It all went smoothly for a day that was pretty exciting out there.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN WILSON: I decided I got plenty, and I wasn't close enough to make anything happen so I was going to save 'em until I did get close enough, and that never actually came on. I went for it anyway. I thought if I could run closest to Will maybe I could put him under more pressure, so I started using them from eight laps to go onwards and just every lap trying to close the gap.
It was just a case of you don't want to be the guy with nothing left in case there is a last yellow and a restart, so you want to have something there, but it just wasn't quite enough for me today to catch Will. He was on great form. Like I said, pushing hard.

Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN BRISCOE: Right, yep. I haven't spoken to him yet. We got swung over here pretty quickly. I know it was killing him not to be here today but Tom did a great job on the radio; he was cool, calm and collected, and, you know, we had a big meeting last night with Roger while he was still here and sort of had our game plan in mind.
And I know it was hurting him not to be here today, but I think he was on the phone all race long with the guys making sure we were making the right decisions out there.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN WILSON: I think it's wide open, and obviously Will had a great start to the season, back-to-back wins, but you look at the depth of the field, and not to make it through the qualifying, everyone was as shocked as he was.
He was vying for the championship last year, and the same with Dario. They're both in the same situation, and that shows one small hiccup and you're not going to make it through, and you're going to be starting at the back.
And the field is so deep this year, there are very few cars that don't deserve to be out there, and it makes it tough. You've got to race the whole way.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN WILSON: Once that strategy came out that there were two options, and guys were doing one, and then the other -- you had to race the guys on the other strategy, and you had to try and pass 'em because you didn't know what was going to work out. You couldn't just sit there and know that you were going to come out on top.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN WILSON: I just like the track and been fortunate to work with good teams and work out what this team needs, adjusted my car accordingly and had a good set-up. Helio finished third last year; second this year. I can't wait for next year.

Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN BRISCOE: For Will it's unbelievable, for a guy who wasn't sure he was going to have a full-time ride for a good part of last year. He had faith in Penske and, likewise, the other way around, you know, Penske stuck behind him after he broke his back.
Obviously Will did an awesome job last year in all the races he ran, and I know he's worked hard during the off-season to get good enough to race hard and do what he needs to do and he obviously is. Maybe toughen up his hand a little bit, but apart from that he's looking great.
JUSTIN WILSON: I hope he doesn't break any more bones because he seems to get faster every time he does.
RYAN BRISCOE: Helio and I joke around we're going to have to break his legs sometime soon!

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN WILSON: We've got to keep working on our own game and we have to try and beat Will. We need to make sure we get our car quicker and get a right set-up on the day and not make mistakes during the race, and that's what it's going to take to beat him, and there is no way you can put him off. I tried that today. I tried to have him make a mistake, and that's not the case.
We have to keep our heads down and do what we can do and affect what we can affect.

Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN BRISCOE: I haven't seen the points but obviously with 100 plus points, he's got a good lead but it's early and there is a lot of racing to go. Lots of different tracks to come, obviously. At Penske he's got a car that's going to be strong at all of the races this year, and it's going to take a lot to catch him.

Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN BRISCOE: Well, I mean, it's an unbelievable team, it's well rounded and, you know, I think NASCAR has been working hard over the last couple of years to really step it up, and I think since we've all been under the one roof in Mooresville, North Carolina, there has been internal competition as well, and unfortunately today I couldn't get the 1-2 with Will, but they got the 1-2 in the Nationwide race last week, and we've got to step it up over here to get the 1-2 as well, but we came close.
Certainly between the mechanics on the team across the board there is a lot of competition. We all want to do well.

Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN BRISCOE: Awesome, yeah, it's -- yeah.

Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN BRISCOE: I think we're pretty good just about everywhere. I think the team has great preparation obviously, a lot of experience, and, you know, great people within. I think a lot of being good at a racetrack is what happens behind the scenes and in preparing the cars when you come out here, so we had a long off-season but the team was flat out every single day working hard to make sure we had fast cars.

Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN BRISCOE: I believe so. This year we have a lot of continuity. We've added the car, but it's all familiar faces, me, Helio and Will. We worked together last year, and we're all very comfortable with everyone around us, and it's a bonus, for sure.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN WILSON: I don't know exactly what it is. I try and drive hard on all the tracks, but I guess this one I like. A lot of corners, you need a good exit out onto the runway, so being able to transition from attacking the entry of the corner to making sure you get those exits, and adjust two or three times a lap to get most out of it. I don't know, I like this place, I like coming down here, I came down early and it's a lot of fun.
AMY KONRATH: Justin, Ryan, congratulations on the podium and we'll see you in Barber.

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