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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

Michael Andretti
September 2, 2012


THE MODERATOR:  We are joined by Michael Andretti.  Congratulations on a great weekend, successful event and you guys found yourself back in victory lane at a very crucial time in the championship battle.  Talk about the race, especially with Hunter‑Reay.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:  It has been a crazy weekend and want to thank everybody from Baltimore for coming out and supporting the event.  I think it went off really well and proud of our whole team that we put together to run the race.  There was not a glitch the whole weekend.  They did an awesome job.  Just wanted to say that.
The race, yeah, it was crazy.  You know, especially when the rain came out and you know we took a little bit of a gamble but we thought that, you know, most likely, because it's so bad, but yet we saw that the rain was going to stop.
So we thought if we could get through one restart and basically get to three or four corners, because we thought there was going to be another yellow right away, let's just go for it and we told Ryan, just keep it on the track, don't try to beat anybody but just keep it on the track and I think if we do that, it's going to go yellow again and then it's going to have time to dry out.  That's actually what happened.
So it's nice when the plan comes together.  It was that, and I think that was a difference in the race for sure because that gave us a track position from then on and then it came down to Ryan, really, in the end.  Just he had two really difficult, you know, challenges, which were those two restarts and he did them flawlessly and that's what won the race then.

Q.  From a race promoter's standpoint, you had about 100 days to put this thing together‑‑
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:  You can't even do a wedding in a hundred days.

Q.  Yeah.  And practice got off to a flying start.  Were there times where you probably asked yourself on Friday or Friday evening, it's like how challenging was becoming for you?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:  It was, you know, me personally, it was not me, it was on our guys.  They busted their butts.  I can't tell you how many man hours were spent, especially the last two weeks, just burning the midnight oil.  They were literally up all night and they are the ones that did.  It they pulled it off and they did a great job.
Like I said there was really no glitches, that I heard of, anyway, and that to me says job well done from that standpoint.  And so I'm really proud of that.

Q.  We heard you say on the television, we are going to win this thing.  Do you feel like you've got, heaven forbid, a Penske car right where you want it going into a big oval race?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:  I think we got them worried and we should have them worried if he's not.  I think we are really looking forward to it.  We did exactly what we needed to do coming into this weekend.  We had two weekends of really bad luck; had we not had those two weekends of bad luck, we would be cruising in Fontana.
But this is a tough time and they are going to dig deep and that's what we did; Ryan dug deep.  And we are making it a show in Fontana, and that's what it's all about.  We are excited about it and we feel very good that, you know, we are going to be a factor there in the end.

Q.  Is the big three back?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:  Big three, teams?  Well, yeah, I think we are there.  I think we have showed it all year long.
Yeah, I'm so proud of everybody on this team and how hard we have worked to get back to beating Penske and Ganassi, and you know, it's‑‑ you know, everybody worked to get here and to stay here is tough.  You can never give up, and we are not.
If we don't win this championship, better believe it, we are going to be all ready and armed to do it next year.  But I think we really have a good shot at winning it this year.

Q.  We have two weeks to speculate what might happen at Fontana, but do you feel that Ryan's record on big ovals compared to Will's record on big ovals, that he's got an advantage?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:  Well, I hope so.  Ryan, that's the thing about Ryan, he can win on any type of racetrack and that's what is great to have him on your racing team.
Yeah, for sure, Ryan is going to be a factor there.  You know, don't count Will out.  He's a real competitor.  He's a great driver.  But obviously he doesn't have the experience, quite as much experience as what Ryan does, especially on this track that we are going to.  I'm not even sure if Will ever ran on a track like that before.
So hopefully that will help us out a little bit.

Q.  Things seemed to go smoother with the promotion of the race in general; did you learn lessons from last year?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:  A little bit.  There were some things that we did listen to people from last year, like some of the problems they were having like with moving pedestrian traffic and people once they got inside the racetrack, they didn't know where to go and things like that.
So we really tried to improve on those sort of things.  But I think really in the end, the biggest difference was just the people that we had and all of the procedures that we had.  I think that's what really made the difference and made it run so smoothly this year.

Q.  As a Baltimore resident I cannot thank you enough for the miracle you guys put on here.  Four months ago, we thought this is never going to be.  And how you did it, I don't know but thank you from all of us.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:  Thank you.  We did it because we have great people and also I think you've got to give a lot of credit to two guys that really stepped it up for your city, and that is JP Grant and Greg O'Neill.  Those guys stepped it up for you guys.  Without them, this was not going to happen.  So it's nice of you to say that to us but we have got to give them a lot of credit, as well.

Q.  When you were standing on pit road today when they sang the National Anthem and looking out, did you have the same feeling?  Were the people there that you expected to see?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI:  Yeah, I think it ended up being pretty good.  I haven't seen final numbers and all that, but my guys and stuff were saying it was pretty good.
So you know, I think could it have been better, probably but I think Mother Nature didn't help thus weekend with that rain yesterday and the rain today and the threat of rain today, I think maybe have kept some people back.  But I think overall was still a successful event.

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