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IZOD IndyCar Series: Milwaukee IndyFest presented by XYQ

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Milwaukee IndyFest presented by XYQ

IZOD IndyCar Series: Milwaukee IndyFest presented by XYQ

James Hinchcliffe
Tony Kanaan
June 16, 2012


THE MODERATOR:  We'll go ahead and get started with today's post race press conference.  We are joined by Tony Kanaan of KV Racing Technology who finished second.  This is the best finish for Tony of the 2012 season.  His previous best finish was third at Indianapolis.  In eight of his last starts at the Milwaukee Mile, Tony has finished no worse than fourth in six of those. 
TONY KANAAN:  Can we race here again, that race that is missing? 
THE MODERATOR:  We've also been joined by James Hinchcliffe of Andretti Autosports who finished third.  This is the second podium finish for James this year.  He also finished third at Long Beach in April.  James has finished sixth in his only other start here at Milwaukee last year.  Today's third-place finish moves him into second place in the championship points standings. 
We'll get started.  Tony, talk about today's race. 
TONY KANAAN:  It was kind of a long day for us.  In the beginning of the race, on the first stint I was just trying to manage the tires and to see how the track was after the rain. 
When it was time to go race, after the second stop, I felt that my car lost a little bit of speed and I didn't know why, so I couldn't save as much fuel.  I could not run a leaner mixture because I was starting to lose a lot of positions. 
Those guys went three laps further than I did.  I was concerned about that.  If the race had gone green, we had a long period of time of green flags.  After, I said, We're hanging in here, I know this place well enough.  Last year with 30 laps to go I put it in the wall.  I said, I'll wait till the last stop and see what we can do. 
We got a very, very good pit stop, a very good four or five out-laps, and I was able to gain a lot of positions and put myself in contention to be on the podium.  Once I was there, it was just a matter of trying to manage your position. 
For me, it was a long day just because it's very unlikely from me not to attack on restarts.  I didn't have anything for Ryan.  Like I said, I felt the car was down, I didn't have enough speed.  I was actually defending myself on restarts, which I realize I do not know how to do that.  I did a very, very poor job on that. 
One yellow to go.  The last yellow, I said, You know what, that's it, I'm going to try to go as fast as I can.  Ryan did a great job.  Got a gap.  We had a lap car in between us.  I lost those two precious seconds there.  After that I knew it was over. 
So second place, we'll take it.  It's my best result.  We're building some points.  I had two terrible races in the beginning of the season.  The race before Brazil, I came to Brazil, I was dead last in the championship.  So I'm happy.  Happy for Ryan.  I think it's nice to see another team winning apart from the two we are used to seeing all the time.  Justin, Ryan this weekend, Michael did a great job of bringing this race back.  What a great event. 
Hinch, I want to vote for him for his own page.  I want him there.  I saw the freaking thing on the wall every yellow.  I'm like, Hinch!  I'm going to freaking dream about that all night.  Tonight I will tweet to my 700,000 followers. 
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:  Good man.  Appreciate that. 
THE MODERATOR:  James, obviously today was an important day for you in terms of a podium finish but also with the points.  You said you weren't thinking about championship, are you thinking about championship now? 
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:  No.  I think not thinking championship is what maybe got us to this point.  If you told me eight races into the season we'd be second in the points, it didn't add up, it wouldn't have made sense to me. 
I think that just shows how hard everybody at Andretti Autosports has been working, the amount of credit that the Go Daddy guys and everybody on that team deserves.  Whether it's been road circuits, street circuits, speedways and short ovals, we've been quick, whether it is qualifying trim, race trim, and the results are showing.  We're finishing races, staying on lead laps and things like that.  The consistency is paying off. 
I'm happy to get back on the podium.  I'm kind of bummed that seven races in, we only had one.  I'm glad to be back here. 
Huge congrats to Tony and to Ryan.  He's been on a bit of a down streak.  It's been tough for him.  It's been great to see him bounce back.  It's kind of a perfect day in a lot of ways. 
THE MODERATOR:  We'll open it up for questions. 

Q.  Do you have a clear understanding of what the restart rule is?  Scott Dixon was surprised that he got nailed.  Did you see his restart as being jumping the restart or what? 
TONY KANAAN:  The rule is clear:  you cannot put your car outside of another car before.  Nose-to-tail double-file restart.  Beau rephrased that this morning. 
I didn't see it.  I saw the first one.  Then they waved it off.  I don't know.  I got hammered after Indy, including Scott criticized me of jumping the start.  I guess tried to do the same. 
I didn't see it.  But I remember specifically in the drivers meeting this morning, Beau said, I don't want anybody looking, I want nose-to-tail.  That's the rule. 
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:  I was beside him.  I saw it.  It was 100% a violation.  What I don't get is we threw the yellow.  So he had to go back.  He didn't do it again when it went green, so he didn't really gain anything.  Either leave the green and penalize him or start the yellow. 
Was that a violation of the rule?  100%.  Do I think the penalty was appropriate, given the circumstances?  Maybe not necessarily. 
TONY KANAAN:  He said he was going to give it a warning depending on the situation.  But if they wave it off, I agree, he should not have gotten the penalty. 

Q.  Would have, should have, could have.  If he hadn't have gotten penalized, how forward would he have been? 
TONY KANAAN:  He would go back to his position and start where he was. 
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:  Yeah, but he's Scott Dixon. 
TONY KANAAN:  He would be right there.  If, if, if.  If Will hadn't chopped me off last weekend, maybe... (laughter). 

Q.  The restart zone is so deep on the straightaway, it's allowed for this bunching.  Would you like to see it go back to where it was into turn three and four? 
TONY KANAAN:  My opinion, the earlier you go, the better is going to be for everybody not to get what we're doing.  Right now the only people that get penalized for that, it's first and second place, because you can time them. 
What I did at Indy, it wasn't a violation.  I just know where they're going to accelerate.  If I'm three rows behind, I can accelerate before them.  I'm not passing anybody.  I'm still behind the car. 
My opinion, yes.  If they're going to do it or not, I'm not sure.  In my opinion, what's happening right now is the start and restart zone, it's too late into the straightaway.  When it goes green, you can pass.  So that actually caused double problem, in my opinion.  To me, I would like to see it a little earlier. 
I will follow the rules, whatever they want to do. 
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:  You pretty much covered it.  

Q.  Certainly some guys were able to make up ground, but I don't know that anybody really passed the leader.  Is there something that could be better or was it just that the guys who led were that much better? 
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:  Clean air is king, especially at this place.  It was difficult to follow other guys, especially on the restarts.  If you were three, four, cars back, guys in front of you, it was sketchy. 
TONY KANAAN:  As you know. 
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:  Thanks for that, by the way. 
When you're in clean air, it's such an advantage.  But the leader should have an advantage.  He's up there for a reason.  I'm for that.  I don't think the leader should be handicapped by restarting in first. 

Q.  James, how was your racing with E.J. Viso today?  He claimed you were blocking at some point. 
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:  I guess the race director disagrees.  In the last stint there, he had a couple runs coming off of four.  Saw him coming.  Moved to the middle of the racetrack, which I have the right to do.  As long as I move before him, leave a lane if he chooses to go for it.  I put it in the middle every time.  One time he tried to go high, one time low, couldn't make it work. 
I don't know.  It certainly wasn't my intention.  I wasn't trying to block.  I was trying to, as Tony said, drive to the rules.  The race director thought it was okay.  I guess I'm cool with it. 

Q.  James, how special is this for this race team?  You talked about Andretti bringing this back here.  You take two of the top podium spots.  How special is it to get a win?
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:  I think the plane ride home will be a lot more pleasant than it was last week from Texas. 
He really put his neck on the line for this race.  It's tough to get an event so late into the year and try and pull it off.  I'll tell you, they have been working 24/7 since January to make this thing come off the way they have.  You look around, I think they did a helluva job. 
The fans came out, sat through a rain delay.  Ultimately we went out and put on a good show again.  We love this place selfishly because it's so much fun to drive, but we also put on a good show.  For Mike to have pulled off not only what I think is a successful event as a promoter, but have two cars on the podium as a race team owner, it's a good day to be Michael Andretti. 

Q.  I believe before the race, he told everybody you are coming back next year.  James hit on it, but... 
TONY KANAAN:  Amy started the interview, gave you my stats here.  I love this place.  I always did.  I was glad to see the fans.  I was glad to see the infield, with all the entertainment for the kids.  I think every race should be like that.  If your kid wants to come, he will come. 
I'm glad.  You know, I know Michael quite well, and the people that work for him on the other side, which is Scott Rush, the guy that is in charge of this event.  They are very capable people.  I was so glad it was a very successful one. 
In having only a few months to put together an event like this, like Hinch said, it's remarkable.  By default, I was catching a ride back to Indy, I did an appearance for free, it was me and Hinch at the time.  People were extremely excited.  I think Michael Andretti is still a big name in racing. 
Everybody that tried to organize this race up until now, I don't think they were successful, not because they couldn't organize the race, but because they didn't have the name that Michael has and the credibility that he has, what he brings to the sport. 
He said we're coming back.  I'm extremely happy about that. 

Q.  Spinning ahead to next Saturday night in Iowa, you do very well at that track.  How do you feel about heading there, especially now with the heat races they're going to have? 
TONY KANAAN:  I don't know about the heat races.  But I feel extremely confident.  I knew the next two races, which is here and Iowa, those are places that I did quite well, places that suit me.  So I got to take advantage of that. 
I'm confident that we're going to be in a contention there.  You know, a shame what happened last weekend with us because we've been in contention to win a race.  It's like Hinch, we've been knocking on the door, knocking on the door, looks like it never happens.  To be able to win a race, that's what you've got to do. 

Q.  James, was Michael behaving different before the race than he would normally do? 
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE:  No, I don't think so.  I mean, Mike has been a professional sportsman for a long time.  The pressures I think of promoting an event are not dissimilar to the nerves you feel in the buildup to a race. 
If he was feeling nervous about how the event was going to turn out, he certainly didn't show it.  With what you saw here today, I think he leaves here pretty happy on both fronts. 
THE MODERATOR:  Tony, James, congratulations on a great race.  Best of luck in Iowa. 
TONY KANAAN:  Thank you. 

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