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IndyCar Series: ABC Supply Company A.J. Foyt 225

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  ABC Supply Company A.J. Foyt 225

IndyCar Series: ABC Supply Company A.J. Foyt 225

Michael Andretti
Tony Kanaan
July 23, 2006


THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Danica. We're joined by winning car owner, Michael Andretti. Congratulations.
THE MODERATOR: Tell us how it feels not only to have a car in Victory Lane but to have Marco run so well.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: It was a great day for the team. We were back being competitive. Hopefully we can continue that the rest of the year. Just really proud of Tony. He just drove very, very well all weekend. You know, him and the 7-Eleven crew deserve this one. He's been our go-to guy the last three or four years. He came through again.
Really proud of him. I'm really proud of the job Marco did, as well. He drove very, very well. It's a shame, you know, the tires went off there in the end and the other guys have fresh tires, otherwise he would have finished third. But he still did really well.
THE MODERATOR: I'll open it up for questions.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I don't know. I mean, his car was just a tad bit better. It was just that. I don't know, you know, the other guys, their handling went away more than Tony's.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah, that was good, to have all four cars running up front. We haven't had much of that all year. It was looking good. At lap 200, I just wish it would be a 200 mile instead of 225. Would have looked a lot better. But it was still good.
THE MODERATOR: It has been a frustrating year I guess by Andretti Green standards. If you could comment on that, and what today means.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, it means a lot. You know, it's been very frustrating. We're a team that's used to winning. I think we could have been in the winner's circle two or three times this year. For whatever reason, it didn't happen. To finally do it, do it here at Milwaukee, it feels good.
I love Milwaukee. It's been a great track for me and my family. Me and dad have won, I don't know, like nine races here. We've won here two years ago with Dario as a team. It's a great place for us, and I'm glad we were finally able to break the ice here.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Health, I'm sure, had a lot to do with it for sure. That's one thing I really like that they did with the IPS thing. I just wish more teams would jump onboard. Now maybe now they'll look at it, because it is an advantage to get those extra days. I think it had a lot to do with our win here. Jonathan and Jaime have done a lot to help us, as well. It's been a good program for us.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: It was important, yeah. It's a handling track. We knew that this is one place we could win. But we wanted to make sure we got the most out of it. It was a smart move on our part.
THE MODERATOR: We bring in the winning driver, Tony Kanaan. Great win as you sit next to the boss.
TONY KANAAN: I stink so bad, he's been complaining, so I want to sit really close (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Judging by the burnouts, you were very happy.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I was like watching the wing the whole time.
TONY KANAAN: It broke.
TONY KANAAN: A little bit. I'll pay for it (laughter).
Yeah, I mean, I should say we should thank Jonathan Klein, Marco and Dario and the team for the IPS program, because that really helped us. I think when we struggle so bad in the year that we are, to win a race, I think the test was very important. That put us in the right spot right from the beginning of the weekend. It's much easier tuning a good car than finding a good car.
I would say I'm happy that -- I go back on the end of 2002 when Michael had a lot of faith on me, when he bought the team. He came straight to me. Those days, I wasn't doing very well. At least 13 drivers ahead of me in the championship that he could hire, apart from himself. He gave me a lot of credit.
When we talked, I promised him I will always try to give it a hundred percent. Started with the first pole, the first race, the first championship. Unfortunately, I didn't give him the --
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I didn't like the first pole. I qualified second. He was first. That was the only one I didn't like.
TONY KANAAN: You were gone by the first corner already.
I'm glad that I was able to give them their first win again this year. A lot of hard work. The team is working harder than they've ever been. That is definitely a big help for them. Everybody was expecting us to fall apart. I think we're more together now than we've ever been.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I was a little worried. I saw Hornish coming up pretty fast. I was watching him. I'm like, I don't know. Unfortunately, my feeling was right. It was fun while it lasted. Thank God Tony was able to hang in there and get a great restart and put in those strong laps right there in the end. At least we came home with a win.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY KANAAN: It's a start.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: He's not collecting that much.
TONY KANAAN: I don't think it will. Michael says, good luck on collecting that. I won twice this weekend. Actually Curt owes me dinner now too, just so you guys know.
THE MODERATOR: This win by Tony is the fifth different winner of the season and the first by a non-Penske and a non-Target Chip Ganassi team member. If you could talk about that, Tony.
TONY KANAAN: It feels good. We're not here just to beat them. They're obviously doing better than us. It's the two teams that we always try to beat.
We're here to win races. They definitely done a better job than us apparently this year. We catching up. I would say more and more they see us coming back. That's the nature of the business. We've been dominating for the last two years. They been dominating now. We getting closer. I'm just happy that we broke the streak and hopefully we have four more races, very difficult ones. I don't think we should get carried over being too happy. I know me and Michael tomorrow morning, we'll be already thinking about next weekend, so is the whole team.
You know, we're going to keep trying, for sure.
THE MODERATOR: Tony Kanaan, seventh career victory.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY KANAAN: He surprised me because he kept going on my side. I'm like, Get out of here man, please. I don't want to hit you. Either go in front or back.
I knew my car was better. At that point, we were both saving fuel. I think Marco got a little bit of understeer coming out of four. Got a run. I wasn't expecting to pass him.
As we talk about it, that's the problem that we don't ever have on our team. If we hit each other one day, it was going to be completely by mistake. We want the team to win a race. We all talked about it before the race, whoever had the strongest car, if we could help each other, we would. I think also at that point a little bit stronger than him, but we were both saving fuel. He was not going to give me the position because you never know what's going to happen until -- look what happened to them five, four, six, ten laps to go.
But I got the opportunity. It was fun. It's definitely fun, you know. You go through the corner, and you see somebody so good right beside you. He's standing in there. I'm like, man, makes me think about my next two years in the team. I'm getting older and he's getting better (laughter). I'm going to have a lot of work to do.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY KANAAN: I think I passed Sam and Marco. I think Helio was in the front.
Well, if you've been watching the race, that's the way I've been doing. This guy right here did that five years in a row with me. I was really mad at him. I said, One day you got to tell me what it is. When I signed, it's not a big secret, but he told me what to do. I was able to do it. I was definitely planning to go to the front.
What I wanted to do, I told Marco, we should try to split the Penskes because we knew, according to the warm-up, they were going to fall back to us. If we could split them, there was a better chance for us to control the field, if I could say that.
I was fortunate to do it. I definitely tried really hard. I was in a very good position because I was in the outside. Marco came before the start, says, Hey, you want to trade places? I said, Not really.
Yes, but it was planned to do it. But you can never really like say, I will do it. You can say you can try because you never know what's going to happen.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah, they went at it pretty good. I was watching. Unfortunately, Marco was on the end of a stint with tires, she had fresh ones. I sort of knew he really didn't have much to fight with. She did a good job getting by him.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: He did? I didn't see it. I didn't hear any warning.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I'm not commenting. Right now we have four great drivers. It would be nice to keep all four together. We have a happy family right now.
TONY KANAAN: Am I on the team next year (laughter)?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: You are, for sure.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I don't know. Yeah, it looked like that. I don't know. I don't know. Nobody said anything. I saw it on film. I didn't even realize till I saw it on film. Looked like it was pretty close, yeah.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Good question.
TONY KANAAN: Should be my Michigan engine, but I don't know what's going to happen. I'm so happy, my engineer is screaming in the radio not to damage the rear wing. He was saying it's the Michigan engine, so at that point I really didn't think about it. Yeah, after I'm done with the interview, I guess I'm going to go back to the team meeting and I'm going to hear for sure something about it. It's worth it, though.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY KANAAN: The way my luck's been, I came out of turn four on lap -- it was five to go, and I think the wind had picked up a bit. I had a little bit of hesitation in the car. I'm like, No way. I swear to God, I was panicking. That was the only concern.
I wasn't concerned of -- when Hornish passed, I was up to second. At that point I was really controlling the pace. I knew how good my car was. I could see him in my mirror as I was coming out of two in the middle of the back straightaway. He was actually coming out of two. When Scheckter approached him, I knew I should just control the pace and drive. I was actually more concerned about my car stopping just because I was paranoid about the last few races that we had a good car and we stopped. Didn't really worry about Hornish at that point.

Q. (No microphone.)
TONY KANAAN: Well, we're back to the real racing world, I think. What happened in 2004, myself, I don't think I really realized what I've done, because it overcome by the championship that we won the most laps. Then 2005, we had one, two DNF's, and you go, Well, fine. Then you have good cars, you struggle. When you're in a position to win a race, then your car break, I mean, he knows a lot about that. Then you go back and say, Man, that was definitely something unbelievable. I don't know if I'm going to be able to do it ever again.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: To me it was a typical Milwaukee race. It was really enjoyable to watch. It was enjoyable to watch the good cars come to the front. To me, it was fun. Looked like, you know, those guys were having fun out there. This track is a lot of fun when you have a good car.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, I think we never thought we couldn't. You know, I don't think we're there yet. I think we still have a lot of work to do. You know, I think it was finally nice to capitalize on a track we knew we had to do well at, because there's a couple more that I think we're going to have some problems with before the end of the year.
You know, there were some places where I think we could have won this year and we didn't because of, you know, bad luck and things like that.
You know, we all knew within this team that we could do it. But it is nice to go out there and prove it to everybody else. You know, but by all means, we all know we have a lot of work to do. We're going to work very hard and we're going to get there. Hopefully get back to the point where we were last year.
TONY KANAAN: Like Michael said, we never stopped believing. I think the win is just a boost for the boys. I know tomorrow morning at 8:00 in the morning, they'll be in the shop. Myself personally, I've been working a lot closer to them, been working out with them, spending a lot of time in Indy because that's when you need your guys.
It's real easy to make a teamwork when you're winning. It's very difficult to keep everybody's motivation and the psychological side of it after winning 10, 12, 11 races a year. You go 10 races without winning, you're working twice as hard because we're chasing setups, we're changing things on and off.
It's just a boost for sure. I think it paid off because then they can feel relieved that all the many hours that they're putting on, all the investment that the team, all the extra investment we're putting on, it's paying off. Like Michael said, tomorrow morning, 8:00, we'll be back to reality. The reality is we're behind right now in a couple racetracks. We have a lot of work to do. We're going to keep doing. That's the only way to turn the situation around, having people motivated to do it even though the results won't come that easy or easier the way it's been for us the last two years.

Q. (No microphone.)
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Yeah, I think these tracks are great for our cars. I much prefer that than the bigger tracks. I think for a driver it's definitely a lot more fun, I know that.
TONY KANAAN: It's definitely more a driver track. You can drive the car. You could see today, depending on the car you have as well, but you can carry your car a little bit. You go to places that you go flat out, sometimes it's more about the engineers than us.
Definitely enjoy that. You can show -- you can definitely make a difference here. That's why we love to come here, Richmond, all the short ovals.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you so much. Congratulations.

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