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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

Helio Castroneves
May 31, 2009


THE MODERATOR: Helio, welcome. It was an interesting day, I would think, at least from my vantage point. Struggling, struggling, struggling on a couple of occasions to stay on the lead lap. Take us through your day, if you would.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Absolutely. Yeah, unfortunately we were never able to find a good direction. Ryan seemed to be comfortable in this track. It's a shame he didn't finish first because certainly he had the car, the winner car here.
Well, we were just trying to drive smart, you know, not taking chance. Unfortunately everybody was very similar. It was very difficult to pass. At the beginning, I was just trying to stay, as you said, on the lead lap. When I saw Ryan behind me, I was like, What do I do? They said, Just trying to keep going.
I put like slot one, tried to pass the guys in front of me, keep going until we got a yellow, which was a great chance. Would be fantastic to go back in a better position, but unfortunately something happen. We were having issues.
This is the same engine from Indianapolis. We have exactly the same problem at Indianapolis, the gearbox. But this time the engine stop, actually stall. When you stall, basically that's it. You got to turn around and go back again.
It was stuck in first gear. I try reset. I try to turn the emergency switch on. I did that. Nothing. It was stuck in first gear. Finally, turning off the car, coming back, and here we go again.
Back again in the last position, I believe. Again, our story start all over again. But unfortunately this team we didn't have much luck in terms of holding the lead. I tried everything I could, but Ryan and the rest of the guys were too fast.
I just tried to race my own race at that point. Towards the end, we try to take a chance to not pit, get our lap back, and hope for another yellow, which would be fantastic. But, unfortunately, it didn't.
We kind of like started 10th, the last start, and finished 11th. So kind of lost one position. It's a shame, but at least we finish, which is great.

Q. I guess fortune balances itself out. You played the fortune right last week, the weeks before. Ultimately it's got to run out at some point. Do you look at it like that?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, the good momentum, it would be great to continue, but it didn't work this time. Unfortunately for me at least the car wasn't feeling very strong here. We always have a very good car. But I didn't think we found a good balance for my car.
Having the crash yesterday, and starting in the back, it obviously didn't help. It was just dragging down even more to the worst position. But the good news, we finish. That's our goal, to try to finish in the top 10. Unfortunately, was just one spot short.

Q. Was today a result of the crash yesterday? Is the crash yesterday a symptom of what was to come today?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, I think we would probably be around eighth, sixth. Starting position we would be about sixth, eighth. It probably would be different because sixth, eighth, definitely they finish on the lead lap. I do feel we would end up finishing close to that position.
But when you back there, everybody in similar position, it was very hard for us to catch up. That's why you end up didn't have enough time to improve and finished where we finished.

Q. One week you're the Indy 500 champion, the next you're fighting to stay on the lead lap. How emotionally low do you get after a frustrating weekend?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: You got to take as it comes. You can't just be frustrated because of that. As I said, the team is doing great. I said Ryan had the winner car. You can't let those bad results influence on the rest of the team. So you got to just bounce back, turn the page and keep going.
So Texas is a place that we ran very good, myself and Ryan, and we hope we gonna have a similar result for there.

Q. You always have a smile on your face. I can't imagine you had a smile on your face for 225 laps, right?

Q. When does that switch flip?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Today was one of the days that when you ask about how many laps, seems to be like 700 laps to go. One of the days that, man, I just want to go back home, and that's it, then come back next year.
As I said, we trying to learn. We trying to see for next year what could make improvements. As I said, certainly Ryan's car was very similar to mine, but he seemed to be much comfortable on the front. We just got to turn the page and come back and go for it.

Q. Danica is fourth in points, 22 out. Is it time for people to look at her as a serious contender for the title?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Serious contender? I always said and been outspoken about Danica in terms of she is a good driver. I never said anything related to bad driver or anything else. So if she is in top five, no question she's doing a fantastic job. She deserve it. She's been driving very well.
A contender? I think every top five is a contender. That puts me outside of the contention (laughter). Actually, top six, okay? Anyway, certainly everybody in that situation is looking very strong. If she's in that position, she deserve it.
THE MODERATOR: Helio, thank you so much for coming in.

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