Firestone Indy Lights: Las Vegas 100
Topics: Las Vegas 100
October 16, 2011
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
THE MODERATOR: Were pleased to be joined by two of our podium finishers for today's Firestone Indy Lights Las Vegas 100. Esteban Guerrieri of Sam Schmidt Motorsports, who finished second. This is the eighth top-5 finish for Esteban this season and this second-place finish helped Esteban reclaim the second position in the Indy Lights Championship. Congratulations.
We're also joined by Jorge Goncalvez of Belardi Auto Racing, his fourth podium finish of the season, and his second consecutive third-place finish. He also finished third at Kentucky two weeks ago.
And also we've been joined by Victor Carbone of Sam Schmidt Motorsports. This is Victor's first career win. His previous best finish was third earlier this year at Baltimore, and Victor is the fourth different driver to win for vocal team owner Sam Schmidt this season.
Victor, congratulations. If you can talk about getting your first win and the contact there with your teammate on the last lap.
VICTOR CARBONE: Yeah, we were running so close all race, and I was trying to be as close as possible to him so we can break away from the group. But the draft here is so big that we didn't manage to do that, and I changed sometimes on the front straight because I was so close, and the last lap I knew I had to get in there. I went on the outside, and I think I caught his tire. I don't know what happened.
But it was a shame because I wanted the team to be top three, and I didn't mean to do that. But it's a boost. It's a payoff for the hard work we did this season, and this goes to Chris Griffis that we lost in September, so this one goes to him.
THE MODERATOR: For Esteban, talk about ending the season on a high note with another podium finish and reclaiming second place in the championship.
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI: Yes, it was not very good the last few races for me. That's why I said I miss you. We were always kind of up there, quick, and it wasn't coming, the results. But the key is not to get desperate and to keep working. We find good speed here in the Las Vegas Speedway, and qualifying third was a good position to race. I knew Victor was going to be quick, so I was behind him the whole race, and then we were joined by Newgarden, so it was good to run one, two, three. Then I saw Wilson was not close to position in the last few laps, so it was definitely important to finish one, two, three for the team, and I also wanted to reclaim my second place in the championship.
I thought to try something that -- I got to first and second, and then I got to running the last lap, last corner, and then what happened with Victor and Joseph, so I was really close to getting Victor, but anyway, it was a very good result, and I want to congratulate this guy because he's my friend and I'm very happy for him to get his first one, and hopefully he gets a very nice future next year, as well.
As he said, we lost a very good friend off the team in September, a man that used to have everything. He was the top guy on the team, so this is for Chris. We were going to do it at the last race at Kentucky, but now we've got one, two for him and for the whole team, so I'm very thankful for that, and for my sponsors for sure.
THE MODERATOR: Jorge, it seems more and more you're getting more comfortable on these ovals. Talk about today's race.
JORGE GONCALVEZ: Absolutely. I feel very good on the ovals. I like the oval, too, and the qualifying is not really good. I'm 11th, so five laps I lost some position, so I'm the last guy in the group.
And then I start thinking what I need to do to go in the front, so I'm working with the cars with the drafting and working with the gears and everything, and then when I see I'm in the fourth position behind Esteban Guerrieri, I can't pass him; this guy runs really, really fast. I told myself to be patient and just waiting for the last lap and we'll see what happens. And absolutely I'm just delighted because Newgarden, he missed the position, and I pass him and I take the third place.
But I feel great because I'm it's a lot of points for me, my first year. It's very good for me absolutely. I think I need to do one more year in the Indy Lights in order to make more professional driver.
THE MODERATOR: And on that note, with Jorge potentially looking at another season in Indy Lights, Esteban, for both you and Victor, anything you can tell us about plans for next year?
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI: I cannot tell you. I wish I could tell you, but my goal when I got here to the U.S., right here, was to -- as I said, the deal with Schmidt, to do one year in Indy Lights, even though I've driven in Europe bigger cars, but for me it was actually a good challenge to come here to Indy Lights because I wanted to learn many things, you know? Mostly to learn speak English in America.
THE MODERATOR: You're doing a great job.
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI: Thank you. Then I was also trying to make a good system and learn as much as I could, and then I feel ready to make a jump into the big cars. That's what we're working on, to try to find some money, some backing from my country, from Argentina, and if that happens hopefully in the next month or two, it's going to be good news, and I could make it, otherwise I'm going to see what happens.
THE MODERATOR: Victor, any plans for next year you can share or just looking forward to the off-season?
VICTOR CARBONE: No, I think it's really soon yet even to decide what to do next year. I would love to come back and get all the experience gained this year to hopefully fight for wins next year, but I always like to leave all the doors that I can open, so it's really soon yet.
Q. Victor, coming in from F-2000, did you think you'd be able to win a race this year?
VICTOR CARBONE: That was my goal. I didn't know exactly what to expect because the jump was so big so I didn't know exactly what to expect. I just came and tried to do my best every weekend. In my mind I was just aiming for that, and if I could get it, really good. But if I couldn't, I knew the jump was going to be really big. So yeah, for sure it's a boost for me, and I've got to thank the fans because I'm sure they are looking, they are cheering for me, so yeah, thanks for them.
Q. Jorge, how much do you think the car accident in Venezuela and then the big accident at Indy may have slowed down your learning curve this year?
JORGE GONCALVEZ: Absolutely in the beginning when I started, I'm in the starting position to get some points for the championship, in the first championship, but right now at the end I feel really good in the car. Right now I can work without the crash and I feel really good. And in Indy Car I think I'm starting to learn a lot at the position to here because I'm start feel more comfortable in the car, so I do the 100 percent inside the car. You saw the pushing on the car, you start feel some difference and stuff in the car, and it's different with the engineering when you push more in the cars. When you go slow, you feel every time the car is fine, it didn't feel like it's loose or something. Right now I feel everything. I think that's why I need another year right here.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations on a great race and a great season, and we will see you soon.
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