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IndyCar Series: Honda 200

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Honda 200

IndyCar Series: Honda 200

Marco Andretti
Ryan Briscoe
Scott Dixon
Tony Kanaan
Justin Wilson
July 19, 2008


THE MODERATOR: Tony, a little bit of an overview of your run.
TONY KANAAN: We had a lot of understeer in the car. We tried to improve. We had a problem with the throttle cable. One of the wires came loose. My idle was at 6,000 rpm. That doesn't make it easy to stop the car on the hard braking. We managed that, to put a lap together.
Pretty pleased. I think despite the circumstances, we made it to the fast top six again. We'll see what's going to happen tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: As we await our top two, questions for any of the four that are up here right now.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN WILSON: We just made a change to the setup, I guess, overnight. I don't know if it was on purpose or accidental. It wasn't right. So we put that right for this afternoon.
It just means we're a couple of steps behind. We haven't tested at this track. We haven't tested on a road circuit yet. We're on a pretty steep learning curve, just trying to tune the car every time we go out. Once we get into qualifying, you don't dare take too big a risk or too big a change, but you still want to develop the car some.
It's quite a fine tightrope you have to walk.
THE MODERATOR: Joining us now is our second fastest qualifier, Ryan Briscoe. This is the first time two Penske cars are on the front row since Kentucky of '06. In that one, Helio was on the pole, and Sam was second. Sam went on to win the race. Tell us a little bit about your run in the Firestone Fast Six.
RYAN BRISCOE: It was good. It was close fought, hard fought as usual. You got to work so hard to get into the fast six, then hang it out there.
I thought we had a really good day. The car was handling well, just not quite quick enough. But it was so close. You can definitely see our Team Penske cars are very strong here.
THE MODERATOR: We can go ahead and ask questions of the top five.

Q. (Question regarding toughness of qualifying.)
JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, it's pretty demanding. It's physical. Also when you're basically doing two qualifying attempts in the first session, and one or two in the second, then one in the third, you're giving it 10, 11 10ths every single corner. Some guys like to hold their breath. Some guys tense up. You tense every muscle in your body, it wears you out pretty quick.
Around this place, you're using everything you can to get the car to not rotate too much on the way in, but rotate in the middle of the corner. You're just playing with the pedals trying to get it all to work for you.
MARCO ANDRETTI: Well, I the think the difference from the race, the biggest thing is in the race, if you can't overtake somebody, you might be faster, but if you can't overtake, you just kind of save fuel, so you're not charging half as much as we are in qualifying. Plus the new rubber is so much more grip than when the tires wear out. It does get heavier when we fill it up though, but we'll see.
THE MODERATOR: Scott, do you want to answer that one?
SCOTT DIXON: I'm good, thanks.

Q. (Question regarding the importance of being in the front.)
TONY KANAAN: I think we all agree that track position was going to be a challenge, and it's a big key for the race, for sure. I don't see how we can, with the lap times we did, how we're going to try to pass each other in a fair, square situation. It's going to go down, again, to pit stops, strategy, all those kind of things.
For sure, track position, it's really important.

Q. (Question regarding qualifying format.)
RYAN BRISCOE: I think that's a good question for the fans maybe. The important thing is that we put on a good show. I think whatever you give us, we'll go out there and do our best, see what we can get. This is for sure the most challenging qualifying format I ever experienced.
TONY KANAAN: We're always going to have an opinion about what's best for us. But, like Ryan said, if it's good for the fans, if the fans are happy, we'll go out there and we'll kill ourselves with qualifying attempts. We ended up qualifying without a breath, not even time to debrief with my engineers. So give me five minutes.
Particularly myself, I like the old format. I like the single-lap qualifying a lot because either you're in or you're out. If you make a mistake, you're out. That makes it more exciting for us.
But I think with 26 cars, you do a single-lap qualifying, I think the people would be pretty bored about it. My opinion was obviously what I like. Right now if the fans are happy, I'm happy.

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