IndyCar Series: ABC Supply Company A.J. Foyt 225
Topics: ABC Supply Company A.J. Foyt 225
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by the second and third place finishers today. We'll start with the defending champion, finishing second today. Dario, you had the lead. Seemed like you were getting comfortable back on the track you were very good at last year. It came back to you in the later stages. What was the difference for you in P1, P2 today? Tell us about the later portions of the race.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Well, kind of (indiscernible) and the arca/ex guys made a call to stay out. That got me up front, which was great. The downside of that was I had to conserve a lot of fuel. I was quite comfortable running with Tony because he was on the same strategy. But Hornish just seemed very strong when he came through and he was running a quicker pace than I could partly because of the fuel situation, but also I just think the Penske guys did a better job and came up with a better car. Last year the arca/ex car was without doubt the car to beat here. We had to fight with it all today.
THE MODERATOR: You had a very good car in practice, in qualifying. Thought you would be amongst the four team members the one to watch. What did they see that you had that they may do better at this mile track?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think we came up with a better, slightly better setup, I don't know. I think my style suits this track slightly better. Tony will be good on another, Bryan on another, and Dan on another. This one seems to suit my style a little bit. As usual, we thought the Milwaukee Mile was going to be one way, and the race, it completely changed as it always does. This place definitely has fangs. It will bite you. It wasn't a bad day. If that's what we can do with a bad car, I'm looking forward to the good days like Nashville. It was a great crowd. I always enjoy racing up here. Won my first IndyCar race here, my first CART race up here. I like Wisconsin. Great place.
THE MODERATOR: Tomas Scheckter, talk about your run. You were quick in practice, backed it up in qualifying. The race event itself, a lot different than a year ago. How about today's run?
TOMAS SCHECKTER: Today was good. Unfortunately, we had a weight jacker failure in the beginning, and it moved all my weight to the left front. I just had massive oversteer. Really, I moved my roll bars accordingly to try to get rid of the problem. But that first stint, I must say I saved the car from hitting the wall maybe 10, 15 times. I just have to thank the crew for every time I came in, they made the car better and better. Towards the end there, I really think that I had the best car. I could use the high line, low line. Just really needed a little bit more laps to get by.
THE MODERATOR: How about the heat? Seemed like a couple guys let it get away because it was slippery conditions at times for them.
TOMAS SCHECKTER: For sure. But it's slippery for everybody. You just need to make sure that you make the car, that it suits the situations. We didn't expect the situations to be as bad as they were, especially from the morning practice. But, you know, that's the way it goes. That's why we've got engineers that think on their feet in the timing stand and do the appropriate changes to the car.
THE MODERATOR: Dario, you were pretty emphatic with the yes on the conditions. What was different and what did go away with the conditions that made it difficult?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: How hot was it out there? Do we have a figure on it?
THE MODERATOR: 97.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Balmy 97 with a smidge of humidity. I agree with Tomas, I think it completely changed from this morning. You agree?
TOMAS SCHECKTER: Yes.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Completely lost a lot of grip. I think the wind didn't help. The wind would get under the rear wing into the middle of one and two and stick the thing sideways on you. A couple of times I almost met the outside wall. Then it would understeer a bit coming off, in fact, a lot coming off -- three and four wasn't such a problem. But, yeah, I think it was difficult for a lot of people today. Some were really in trouble. There were a lot of guys just hanging on out there. They did the best they could to stay out of our way of coming through. It would be nice to see the SAFER barrier here at some point, the lick that Briscoe took yesterday. Hopefully we'll see that for next year because this is a great track, you can do some awesome racing here.
THE MODERATOR: 97 degrees was the temperature reported.
Q. Tomas, how about gearing? Race pace was 145, qualified at 170.
TOMAS SCHECKTER: That's a real good point. There's an option where you go three top gears or two top gears and a great restart. We went for the great restart. We also lowered our fifth gear a little bit to make sure we had a running gear. It was just interplay, which was good. At the end I was using sixth gear as well. I was doing likes some 23.5s and 23.6s. The car really came to us. In the beginning, definitely it was a bit of a struggle with gears.
Q. Dario, talk about running side by side with Dan.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, I thought my spotter called the fact he was inside pretty early. I think I could have maybe sat around outside a little bit more. But when he said "inside," I thought I'm either going -- I don't think I could run the outside through one and two, so I just kind of backed out of it a bit. We were running side by side coming out of three and four one time as well. At that point, as I say, he was more tough than we were, had a bit more fuel to use. Nothing I could do. It was interesting. He liked the high line and I was down low. That kind of worked well for both of us.
Q. How fun was that?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It was no fun at all. I was getting passed for the lead. It was crap. As I say, it was no fun. He was going forward. If I'd have been going forward, it would have been great.
Q. 12 to go, Sam slipped up, was that your moment?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I knew how quick he was. I just put my head down. That was all I could do, see how quick I could go, knock out some quick laps. I said it many times: we weren't quick enough.
Q. You talked about conditions, the heat as it relates to the track. How about yourself? When did you notice how hot it was?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It was very hot. But I have driven a lot physically harder races than what we experienced today. I think the only real factor for me was the heat. But it wasn't out of the ordinary.
TOMAS SCHECKTER: I think we train hard enough. That also shows the guys who finish up at the top at the end, when it's hot like that, if you're physically fit, you're mentally prepared for it and you can carry on pushing at 110% the whole way through the race. I train very, very hard. For me it wasn't a problem.
Q. When did you notice the heat?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: As soon as they strapped me in the car, I thought, "It's bloody hot out here."
Q. After Danica Patrick crashed, did you think perhaps you were experiencing some troubles at that point, as well, lap 125?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Danica was behind me at one point. I think she saw some of my movements down in one and two. She's probably talking about that. We did make the car better as the race went on. The first stint, it was a definitely a handful through one and two.
Q. Did you wobble like others may have off of two?
TOMAS SCHECKTER: You were correct, but it wasn't one time. It was numerous times. Danica, I tell you what, that was lucky. I had so much oversteer, I had to take my right hand off the steering wheel because it couldn't catch any more. She lost it in front of me. I was in the marbles sideways. I was really lucky to get that back. It was really that first stint where I had a lot of trouble. It felt every time I touched the throttle, it would step out. We played a little bit with traction control. Again, it was mainly because we had a problem with the weight jacker that we were that far off in the beginning. We just made the car better in the pits.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: When Danica crashed, I almost went off that same lap. I was questioning whether there was some oil on the track or something.
TOMAS SCHECKTER: It's also a gust of wind. Sometimes you were just going, it was fine, and then a gust of wind would hit you. It would really upset the car.
Q. Dario, does this give you momentum, first last week, second this week, for the championship?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I hope so. I think the arca/ex car has been certainly at the start of the year the car to beat in a lot of races. We just for one reason or another didn't get to Victory Lane. But we've put together a good string of finishes here - obviously, the high point being the win in Nashville last week. My engineers have given me cars to contend I would say for 90% of the race wins. We'll just keep trying.
Q. Tomas talk about team chemistry.
TOMAS SCHECKTER: It's just hard work. It's me, as well. I'm getting it together. I've got such a good relationship with my engineer David. We really just think on the same page. I'll give him a call when I'm in the motorhome at night and say, "Okay, these are the changes." He thinks on the exact same page. That gives me a lot of confidence in the car. That also gives me a lot of confidence whereas maybe in the beginning, after a first run-up, as bad as I had it, I would almost over-drive it and get into trouble, sort of just not trust the changes they're making. Dave really always just seems to put the right changes on the car. It helps me, my confidence, in going quick.
Q. Buddy Lazier helped?
TOMAS SCHECKTER: Yeah, Buddy is doing a great job. I don't know exactly what happened in the pits there. He struggled a little bit here. But, you know, he's such a down-to-earth, hard-working guy, he gives a lot of great information back. We really can speak on a good level. You know, maybe say, "Okay, if you test these items, we'll test these items." It makes the most out of two half-hour sessions we have before qualifying.
Q. Do you need two or three cars to keep up?
TOMAS SCHECKTER: No, because I think we're keeping up now. I think we won a race already. We've been running up front for a lot of the races. Right at the end we were battling with him. Obviously, we were in different strategies. For sure, a hundred percent, these guys are doing an unbelievable job with all the information. There's one thing of getting a lot of information. It's what you do with it. Obviously, they're doing good things with it. I think the information we're getting back from our two cars is enough for us to run in the front and have race-winning cars.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, guys, very much. Congratulations on a fine run.
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