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IZOD IndyCar Series: Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma

IZOD IndyCar Series: Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma

Dario Franchitti
August 28, 2011


THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by Dario Franchitti. Dario is our championship points leader with a 26-point lead over Will Power. This is Dario's 11th top-five finish of the season.
Dario, walk us through today's race.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think you guys saw most of it. I think the most action-packed parts were obviously the start there. Scott got beside me, but I was able to get out of turn two better than him. The restart, almost crashed, didn't fancy having that same problem. Ryan made a couple mistakes, but I couldn't get all the way alongside him to make something happen. So it was always going to be a risky move. 4th is better than 20th.
The Penske guys did a great job. From qualifying onwards, their cars were really good on Firestone reds. I think we were as good on the blacks, but didn't count because the reds were a bit faster. That was the long day for the team, both Target cars. Yeah, that was about it.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions for Dario.

Q. Does this mean it was as lacking in adventure as it appeared?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It was lacking in passing, but most corners were an adventure. Anytime you saw us leaving black lines out of turn seven, out of the carrousel, a lot of times crossed up there. It wasn't through lack of effort there was no passing. I was pushing as hard as I could to keep the Penske cars in sight. I wasn't just cruising around, I was really on the ragged edge for pretty much the whole day really.
But, as I say, I wasn't able to make anything happen with Ryan.

Q. With your lead down to 26 points, how much more pressure does that put on you to finish the season strong and try to hold off Will?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: You can only do your best. That's the same attitude I take every championship I've done. You can only do your best. There's going to be days like this and hopefully days where we have the upper hand. There's no more pressure. Ultimately it is what it is and you have to deal with it. The only way to deal with it is to go out and try to win the weekend after that.

Q. It sounded yesterday as though you thought passing on the back markers was going to be easier. That didn't seem to be the case. Was that a surprise at all?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Not really. When we met a lot of the back markers, they were coming out on new tires. Our tires had already degraded. Briscoe and I were joking. Seemed like every back marker pulled in front of us. Busy day with the back markers. I think we all at some point caught somebody.

Q. What did you think of the Penske Racing's dominance today?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: As I said before, if you listened, I thought they did a good job.

Q. Tell me about the gap between Ganassi and Penske here compared to Mid-Ohio where you had the marked advantage.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: That's the question we're asking ourselves right now (laughter).
You know, we thought in both practices Friday and Saturday morning we were comfortable with the car balance-wise on the black tires, both Scott and myself. We put the red tires expecting the balance to do one thing and it did another. From that point on, we've been chasing the balance on red tires.
The problem is red tires were, I don't know, half a second, second quicker. We ended up destroying the balance. The Penske guys found something. All three of their teams did a great job all weekend. We've got some work to do.
THE MODERATOR: Dario, we appreciate you taking the time.

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