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IndyCar Series: Honda Indy 225

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Honda Indy 225

IndyCar Series: Honda Indy 225

Sam Hornish, Jr.
August 21, 2005


THE MODERATOR: Sam, second place today. Won at Phoenix and Milwaukee this season. Has won 14 races in his IRL career. He's currently second in points, 97 points behind points leader Dan Wheldon, today's winner. Sam, the first stint out there was reminiscent of 2000. Came in for the pit stop, seemed to go away from you a little bit.

SAM HORNISH, JR.: Pretty much the same thing happened as happened in 2001 for me. The Marlboro Team Penske crew did an awesome job in the pits for me today. The car was set up really well. Just the second stint we weren't quite as fast as we needed to be. We got it stuck in traffic a couple times. Some lap guys going four-wide, decided it wasn't the best thing to do, go in behind them, wait for all the debris to fly. We just did what we had to do. The car was good. Wish we could have been a little bit better, but we've got to take as many points as we can get.

Q. Did you think you had anything for Dan? At times you were running so well. Did you ever think you had a chance to push him at all?

SAM HORNISH, JR.: Well, you know, I didn't think anybody was going to catch us at first. Then, you know, I don't know if they would have if the yellow hadn't come out. But, you know, it did come out, so we will never know what happened there. The thing that we need to do, what we needed to do is catch back up to traffic. The car wasn't handling quite the way I needed it to be, so I didn't want to take the chance of putting it in the wall. Last year we finished our race here up against the fence in turn four. It hurt us in the points quite a bit from probably 5th to 7th in the points at the end of the year. What the difference was for those points, so we needed to make sure we got as many as we could. On the other hand there, we just got to look at it from the other point of view that there's -- you know, I caught up to him a couple times in traffic, but every time I'd get close, something strange would happen in front of me and I had to get out. I think we were turning laps out there around 21.3 seconds. You know, at one time I saw this -- I got stuck in traffic, a 26-second lap, so like five seconds slow. I lost a lot there. Just caught up to those guys. You don't want to put yourself in a position where you can get taken out. There's always a chance the yellow would have came out towards the end and I would have had a shot to go after him. As it turned out, I didn't.

Q. Helio mentioned he made the wrong choice with downforce, having problems in turns three and four. Were you having that problem at all?

SAM HORNISH, JR.: You know, we might have been a little bit light, but we pretty much had the same problem as what we did yesterday. We missed on the gears a little bit, expected the wind to do something, and it didn't, that's the difference right now with the way the position that we've been put in. You got to guess exactly right. Some of the other cars can go out there and it doesn't really matter what gears -- it does, but they've got a bigger variable as far as what they can do. When you're down a little bit on horsepower, you've got to do everything can you to make up for it, have everything perfect. It's like I said quite a few times this year, the difference is there's times when they can make mistakes, have problems, still make it to Victory Lane. As far as it's been for us this year, you've got to have everything perfect and do everything exactly right on the day to be able to win the race. There's no chance for any mistakes.

Q. More circumstances today in terms of traffic as opposed to the car just got worse as the day went along?

SAM HORNISH, JR.: I mean, we were running faster times at the end of the race than what we had run earlier, so I don't think it was all that. But I think it was, you know, a little bit of both. I think that what afforded us at the beginning to get the lead that we did is we were able to have clean air, moving well through traffic, and we just kind of kept building that lead a little bit, little bit, little bit. What it ended up turning out to be, when it came down to it, there was no cautions. We got to a point where every time it just seemed like I couldn't get everything timed exactly right, whatever, until that last one, then we kind of just stayed in the same place where Dan was and couldn't gain or lose. Kind of not much fun, just out there by ourselves trying to stay ahead of Tony.

Q. Sam, did you feel like you lost a lot of momentum after that first pit stop? You were flying out of the gate there.

SAM HORNISH, JR.: Uhm, I didn't think so much after the first pit stop, but I thought so after once we got going after that yellow. I don't really, you know, know exactly what changed. Those guys were in traffic a little bit. They were probably taking their time. But it might have made some changes on the first pit stop that helped them out. I can't explain, you know, exactly. We just didn't have enough for them. I think our cars handled probably about as well as theirs did. We just didn't have enough umpf.

Q. Dario looked like he was going to win this thing again. Won it last year. He was running well. Were you surprised that team made a mistake in the pits like they did?

SAM HORNISH, JR.: I don't know exactly what happened there. Team, driver, or what. All I heard was that they stalled, and the clutch wouldn't work. Just one of those things that, you know, you try to hope that you never make a mistake coming out of the pits because it's so costly under green-flag pit stop.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Sam.

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