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IZOD IndyCar Series: Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT

IZOD IndyCar Series: Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT

Ryan Briscoe
Simon Pagenaud
September 2, 2012


THE MODERATOR:  We are joined by two of our podium finishers from the IZOD IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Baltimore, Ryan Briscoe's Team Penske would finished second.  Ryan follows up on last week's win and also Simon Pagenaud, Schmidt Motorsports finished third.
Simon, talk about today's race and that restart on lap 37 going from sixth to first.
SIMON PAGENAUD:  Yeah, that was pretty cool.  I should thank my fellow competitors for letting me by there.  I think I just timed it perfectly and it's one of those deals, sometimes you get a little about the lucky and sometimes you don't.  I want to say this time I was just 100% perfect.  I went push‑to‑pass, went back on the power just before everybody when the green flag was dropped, and I have a good draft.
So I had a lot of speed to go into turn one.  Made my way, and, wow, when I was braking in turn one, I'm like, I think I'm P1.  And I started to count back, where did I start.
So, yeah, it was cool.  It was definitely a great thing.  My car was amazing in braking for turn one, so it made things a lot easier for me there and I made quite a few passes.
The day overall was awesome.  I think that restart really made our day but we were leading four‑wide.  We had a little problem in the pits which cost us a lead which would have changed the outcome of the race, I believe, because I could have chose my side on the restart and then the whole pace was changing.  But it is what it is.  I'm very happy.
Third is good today.  You always want a little bit more but got to remind myself that it's the first season.  But we are knocking on the door, so that's a pretty good feeling.
THE MODERATOR:  Ryan, another great race for you, you seem to be picking up momentum heading into the final stretch of the season.  Talk about the restart with Ryan Hunter.
RYAN BRISCOE:  Yeah, interesting race, long one, felt like it was longer than the Indy 500.  Tricky conditions.  I mean, a couple of restarts there in the wet on slicks.  And you know I was impressed how everybody, at least in the top nine, ten, getting through turn one, turn two, without incident, and I think most of the incidents happened behind us.
So it was really tricky out there.  And you know, at the end, we opted to pit early and see if we could stretch the fuel, and it worked, really.  You know we inherited the lead and ended up having Hunter‑Reay right behind us where he didn't have to save fuel and the car was really fast.
We started pulling a little bit of gap and then I just started saving harder on the fuel to maintain a two‑second gap there.  The car was really strong today, very happy.  I knew we had a strong car.  I was disappointed after qualifying where we just didn't get everything out of it.  Didn't pass through Q1.  And so once we got the lead today it was heads down and just focus, car was fast.
We lost the lead at the end of that restart which I'm yet to review but we were still within the accelerations.  I had not accelerated but they waved the green flag.  I haven't seen whether they waved it because Hunter‑Reay accelerated or if he accelerated because they waved the green flag.  I didn't see, because I was honestly just waiting for him to pair up because we came off the chicane and he was hanging back.
So I was going slow to file up two by two and then the next thing, they just drove by me and I looked up and the flag was waving green.  It was unfortunate.  We dropped back to fourth.  It's kind of funny, Dixon got me and I out‑braked him down into turn one and we got third and then I got Simon on the final restart for second and actually had to continue saving fuel on the last lap and it made it difficult to challenge Hunter‑Reay.
All in all, a good day.  Second place is strong and we moved up a couple more spots in the championship and got a good battle with this guy next to me for fifth in the points now.

Q.  Beau stopped in the media center and explained that in the driver's meeting once cars reached the cone zone, anyone could go and didn't have to wait for to you react.  He also said that you compared to others chose to start on the outside compared to the inside.  So if not looking for contesting who said what but that was his explanation as to why there was no penalty.  Is there a minute you didn't go when you reached the first cone?
RYAN BRISCOE:  The fact is you're supposed to pair up.  He hung back about two car lengths out of the chicane and then he accelerated from two car lengths back before I accelerated and that's not how the restarts work.  You come off the last corner, you pair up side by side, and then, within the zone, when the pole sitter, regardless whether he chooses left or right, it doesn't make a difference, when the pole sitter ‑‑ accelerates they wave the green flag.  Not when the second place guy accelerates from two car lengths back, which is what happened.

Q.  At that point you were push‑to‑pass, how big of a handicap was that?
RYAN BRISCOE:  Yeah, it didn't help.  I'm not sure what happened.  I haven't talked to the guys yet.  I just know they were trying to load them in before the race started and we couldn't get the push‑to‑pass loaded into the car.  So we started the race with zero and just had to deal with it.  There were a couple of times I felt like maybe earlier in the race, it could have made a difference, but for the final result, it probably didn't.

Q.  Regardless of when Hunter‑Reay did or didn't do, when he got to turn one, it didn't look like he was going to make.  It did you think he was doomed for the tires and did you back off just to make sure?
SIMON PAGENAUD:  Yeah, I didn't think he would make it.  He looked like he was padded‑‑ he wasn't in good shape when he got into turn one.  I tried to cross him there and I planned on passing him in turn three.  Once we got through turn two, I was riding his bumper and the car didn't turn, so I almost hit the wall.  I had to back off of.  It which took away all my chances to recover the lead in turn three.  One of those deals I guess.  He did a good job anyway.

Q.  Could you comment on the state of the track at the start with the rain?  What did you guys see and how did that impact?
RYAN BRISCOE:  It was tough.  It never actually rained everywhere on the track and it's not that big a track.  So it was tricky.  Even in the rain, the concrete had decent grip.  It was surprising.
Certainly it got really wet around turn 12 and through that chicane at one point.  It was really slick.  It was just really tough conditions.  It was tough to gamble; do you come in and take tires or not.  Most cars went for wets for maybe not a full green and everyone went back to slicks because it dried.  Tricky conditions, tough for the strategists and tough for us to decide.  Certainly gave us a handful to drive out there.
SIMON PAGENAUD:  It was very tricky out there.  It was very wet from turn ten to turn one.  On slicks, it was tricky but still the grip was decent everywhere, everywhere on the racetrack and when we switched to rain, I thought, I think I've got less grip.
So it was really strange of a situation and Ryan just said also it was a big gamble.  If someone would have stayed on the slick because of the yellow and all that, I think he would have kept the lead or get in the lead.

Q.  Did you get a chance to address the restart procedure whether you would go through the chicane rather than straddle it?
RYAN BRISCOE:  Yeah, we did.  Actually Beau last year was looking after that.  They straddled the chicane.  The problem is when you get ten rows back or seven or eight ‑‑ did you race here last year‑‑ the cars that were further back, they would end up because the leaders would accelerate, the rear cars would be going across the railroad tracks really fast, straddling a chicane and then getting all out of shape over the railroad tracks so we just decided, as we did last year, to go through the chicane single file and pair up after that.

Q.  With practice, going through the course yesterday and now the race today, where would you say that the hardest turns were or the difficulties on the track were?
RYAN BRISCOE:  Obviously the final chicane on the front stretch, it's tricky, it's fast and you get a bit airborne and sort of land on the railroad tracks and there's a high risk factor there.
We saw a lot of accidents in qualifying.  It's one of the trickiest parts but there were a couple of places and it's just the whole track, you've got different surfaces, lots of bumps in the braking for one and three and then you've got really smooth Tarmac from turn four all the way around to turn 12.  So you know, it's just a tricky track.  And it's got its difficulties.  You just deal with it.

Q.  Win last week, second this week, with your plans up in the air for next year, how much do you think this good end will help you or do you think your resumé should speak for itself?
RYAN BRISCOE:  I don't know.  I mean, you know, certainly results are always good, and doesn't hurt.  So you know, we are just‑‑ I've just got my head down here trying to finish strong, as I have done all year long, I feel like, finally, we have had‑‑ despite the restart, we fill finished second and we had some good results at the end where at the beginning of the season we would qualify at the front and just couldn't do a thing right to get a podium finish.  So it's nice to finally be moving up the points.  Getting good results, and for sure, it not going to hurt moving forward.

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