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IndyCar Series: Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix

IndyCar Series: Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix

Michael Andretti
August 28, 2005


THE MODERATOR: Thanks, guys. Michael Andretti for a few minutes. Tony is right behind Michael. First ever visit to Infineon Raceway for the series, Tony with the victory. Your thoughts on how the day went.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I'll tell you, real perfect day for us, first with Marco coming in, starting the pole, winning the race, leading every lap. Tony driving a perfect race, 7-Eleven guys doing perfect pit stops and strategy. It was one of those good days. Unfortunately, the other two guys had tougher days, especially Dan. He had a chance to almost put the championship away, but unfortunately the fuel pump drive broke and (inaudible) the race. And Bryan unfortunately lost (inaudible). Other than that, it was a good day.


Q. You kept bringing Dan in to top off early on those pit stops. What exactly was the fuel strategy going to be on that?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: What happened, the first stop, no fuel went in the tank. They had a problem with the probe, so they had to fix it. He had to come back in. Then they filled him. Since he was already in with a (inaudible) on the next yellow, they figured why don't we just top him off. Actually that was really going to work to his advantage. I think Dan was sitting in a position where he actually had a shot of winning the race because of that. He was doing really quick time, made up a lot of time on the racetrack. It was really unfortunate for Dan because he really drove a heck of a race.

Q. (Inaudible)?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I actually have to talk to Bryan. I'll have to talk to him. I'm sure it was really frustrating because he was really quicker than him, but unfortunately, this track is (inaudible) tough to pass. I think he just misjudged it a little bit, I guess.

Q. Drivers seemed to be overplaying their hands a little bit here. Are you glad sort of Tony stayed clear of that crash that happened right in front of him? Dario also had some problems in the qualifying yesterday that wound up putting him behind the eight ball, too.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, yeah, obviously Dario was very disappointed that he made a mistake because he probably had the fastest car for qualifying, so he was really disappointed. Unfortunately, he was stuck in the back there. The way the yellows fell for him weren't positive, didn't work to his advantage. Just stuck in traffic all day, couldn't make up any time. As for Tony, it's always great being up front and out of trouble. I mean that's one of the reasons why you want to be up front. On tight tracks like this, there's going to be some guys that lose their patience and make some crazy moves sometimes, and that's what happened.

Q. You mentioned pit strategy for Tony, the way that it worked out. Was that what you guys did in terms of pits? Is that how you had scripted it or did you change some stuff on the fly?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I think it was pretty much scripted right away. They took advantage of the yellows. Bryan and Dario decided they were going to stay out. They did the opposite of the leaders. Could have played out right for them, had the yellows fallen right, but they didn't. They fell right for Tony and the rest was history. Obviously, it's a little bit of luck. You never know what's going to happen. But they did it the way they had to do it at that point with the track position they had. The other guys took a gamble, but the gamble didn't pay off.

Q. I know as a non-driver you never raced here, but do you find this course as challenging or more challenging than Laguna Seca?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I love it. I raced here a long time ago. There wasn't buildings here I don't think. Back in '83, in Atlantics, I loved it. I qualified pole and led every lap of the race. It was just a fun track to drive and a challenging track, very challenging, one that I know the guys really enjoy driving. I know difficult. Is it tougher than Laguna? I don't know. I think every track is tough, you know, in its own way. But the challenge of the rises and stuff are definitely something different than the norm, so it makes it fun.

Q. How key was that last yellow for Tony? Would he have made it on fuel without that?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I believe so. I believe he was conserving actually when he was out front. He was really able to keep a good pace and save a lot of fuel. I think they felt pretty confident even without that yellow.

Q. A year ago this weekend you had a lot of different emotions with the closing of Nazareth. You have the winery here. Is this speedway the start of a new family tradition for you guys?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I don't know. I guess I live on the other side of the continent (inaudible). It's a great addition to our schedule, for sure. You know, I think all of us, we're so happy that there's another road course on the schedule, especially being up here in Sonoma. It's so beautiful up here. It's a great place for our sponsors to come. It was a huge addition to our schedule.

Q. Would you like to see some more road courses added?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Road or street circuits, for sure. We all would love to see that happen, and hopefully it will in the future.

Q. What exactly happened to Dan's car?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: The fuel pump drive into the engine broke, snapped. That's what broke. Very unfortunate for him.

Q. The original schedule for this year, this would have been the first non-oval race in IRL history. How much did it help to have the St. Pete raceway back in April to help you guys prepare for this?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: You know, probably helped a little bit. You know, I think we had more time to work on some of the problems that we may have had just with the reliability and things like that. It was nice having that experience, for sure.

Q. What would be the perfect mix for you for the schedule, ovals and road courses?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I'd like to see a 50/50 mix one day. I think that would be awesome. Hopefully that will happen in the future.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks for your time, Michael. Good luck for the rest of the year. Congratulations.


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