Notes taken at the track and from the NBC Network Broadcast of the Iowa Corn Indy 250, Iowa Speedway, Newton, Iowa, on June 23, 2012.
pressdog® DRINK, ye BASTARDS Beer of the Race is Fat Tire, New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins, CO. Cocktail of the race is a Fuzzy Dog (Fuzzy's Vodka, cranberry and a splash of pineapple. Get your DRINK, ye BASTARDS drinkware here.
Fast forward through the rain delay coverage, but I did come out of FF to see the Super Deuce (Rusty Wallace) talking about how he designed Iowa Speedway. Rusty said he got a call "out of the blue" one day from the Iowa Speedway developers asking him to design the track since he won a ton of races on short tracks. Rusty jetted out and actually drove the track five times during the grading and initial paving. "We kept sculpting the thing." Rusty says the grandstands sit on a natural hill and the Newton air strip is about 100 yards behind the main grandstand. Big dog teams LOVE the air strip sitting right there. They land the corporate jets right there and it's a golf cart ride over to the track.
Rusty even consulted Brian Barhart, former IndyCar chief steward, about the design to help it fit IndyCar. Result was a varible banking track that fits like a gove with IndyCar. Rusty says the fans are fantastic. Rusty ALWAYS thanks the fans. Always. He thanked the fans during remarks from the stage before the race as well. The Super Deuce is deservedly beloved in Iowa.
Bob Jenkins, Tommy Kendall, Jon Beekhuis in the booth. Townsend Bell and Kevin Lee in the pits. Robin Miller roaming around as well.
Cue the HAT (running order at the top of the screen). Yo yo yo to the graphics generating B Unit, who I did not get over to see while at Iowa, because I SUCK! Hope you got the case of Fuzzy's I sent over. DRINK (and graphically design), ye BASTARDS. (Note: I make all the stuff up about the B Unit drinking. Never on duty!)
Trackside Online starting order. This is absolutely the truth ... Joe, Patrick and the Trackside posse are literally machines. HAR. Not literally, but figuratively. If you want updates from the track throughout the weekend emailed right to you, you gotta subscribe to Trackside Online. Just $22 per calendar year for on-the-ground coverage of all IndyCar races and most league-sponsored tests. I think Joe kicked out an average of three or four updates Friday and Saturday keeping everyone up on what was up. Insane. Be like pdog and subscribe today.
1 10 Franchitti, Dario D/H/F
2 3 Castroneves, Helio D/C/F
3 26 Andretti, Marco D/C/F
4 27 Hinchcliffe, James D/C/F
5 2 Briscoe, Ryan D/C/F
6 12 Power, Will D/C/F
7 28 Hunter-Reay, Ryan D/C/F
8 9 Dixon, Scott D/H/F
9 98 Tagliani, Alex D/H/F
10 67 Newgarden, Josef (R) D/H/F
11 8 Barrichello, Rubens D/C/F
12 4 Hildebrand, JR D/C/F
13 18 Wilson, Justin D/H/F
14 83 Kimball, Charlie D/H/F
15 22 Servia, Oriol D/C/F
16 6 Legge, Katherine (R) D/C/F
17 14 Conway, Mike D/H/F
18 19 Jakes, James D/H/F
19 11 Kanaan, Tony D/C/F
20 38 Rahal, Graham D/H/F
21 20 Carpenter, Ed D/C/F
22 78 de Silvestro, Simona D/L/F
23 15 Sato, Takuma D/H/F
24 5 Viso, EJ D/C/F
25 77 Pagenaud, Simon (R) D/H/F
D: Dallara. H: Honda, C: Chevy, L: Lotus, F: Firestone. R: Rookie
IndyCar says: "Pursuant to Rule 15.6.1, Cars 5, 11, 38, and 77 penalized 10 grid spots."
Tag's car won't start. Pushing. Got my scanner deployed in the stands. Listening to Hinch, Katherine Legge and Ed.
Cue the circus music! Dario's car is BLOWN up, SIR! Engine BLOWS on the warm up laps. Parked. Out. Done. One of the Emperor's TIE Fighters biffed it leaving the launch bay! Not a lot of despondency among the fans around me that Dario was blown up. Not a lot of love for Dario lately. I know part of it is the Ashley Judd factor, but I really think if Dario and Scott Dixon we're phantom drivers at the track and would meet and greet the fans more they would both be more popular. As it is now, the Target drivers qualify, then disappear, only to resurface for an hour at the autograph session. Crazy reclusive. Unfortunate for them and the fans. (But, you know, it's just the fans. No big deal. Why go out of you way??* *Denotes sarcasm.)
Hinch on his radio: "Well that was an interesting development ..."
At least this was a proper engine blowing with rolling smoke and the whole bit. If you are going to blow an engine, get your money's worth and blow it in a visual fashion. Chip gets air being disgusted. Townsend asks Chip two questions and gets five words in response.
They dragged off the Honda carcass. Let's light this candle, we're ... yellow yellow yellow. Starting under the yellow due to the track being wet, I guess. Kind of anticlimactic.
Lap 7: Pagenaud pits to top off.
Lap 8: green .. yellow. We're all professionals here. So fugly not even IndyCar would allow that start.
Lap 11 -- we're GREEN for real. About an hour delay. Roughly. Newgarden inhales Hinch for P4. Hinch and Joe go two wide for a lapish. BUST UP THE IOWA PACK. Kidding. Dario on camera. Engine sounded weird, then blew. Was his winning engine from Indy.
Lap 16 -- JoeNew had fallen back to P7. Not sure what is up.
Lap 20 -- Hinch under Marco ... CLEAR.
Lap 24 - Conway lapped. Not a good deal.
Lap 25 -- Helio, Briscoe, Hinch, Marco, RHR, Wilson, JoeNew, JR, Wilson, Barrichello.
Lap 31 -- JR may have banged into the rear of RHR. Pits for new front wing. Replay. Yeah, he bashed into the back wheel guards of RHR. RHR is now P4. Marco and RHR both inhale Simona. Simona was lapped on lap 29. Lasted longer than Conway. Viso and Kanaan marching.
Lap 41 -- (18 second laps at Iowa Speedway) ... Jon says "momentum" ... DRINK, ye BASTARDS. Wilson goes three-wide way high. TK chasing, Rahal dirt tracks.
Lap 42 -- Ed reports understeer (front end pushing toward the wall) in turn 1 and two. Pit tells him to go to "fuel map 2." Yeah for the knob!* (*Denotes sarcasm)
Lap 48 -- Legge pit: "How is your car?" Legge: "Horrible. Loose."
Lap 50 -- Helio, Hinch, Marco, RHR, Marco, Briscoe, Power, TK, Viso, JoeNew
Lap 54 -- Hinch leads. Replay. Hinch inhaled Helio for the lead on Lap 51. Jon says "momentum" so DRINK. RHR is working on Hinch.
Kevin Lee gives Kevin Ross, president of the Iowa Corn Growers, his three minutes to promote the corn ethanol. Ross says farmers happy to have the rain that delayed the race, but glad it stopped when it did. Lot of reports of dryness throughout Iowa all last week, so farmers were in the whiskey when the rains came. The party was in the corn growers' tent toward turn 1. Bob gives a shout out to farmers. Festival of corn love. (Reminder: corn cash is a HUGE reason why IndyCar even races at Iowa Speedway in the first place. Without it, Iowa Speedway would be among the many other tracks looking to "negotiate" the league sanctioning fee to something in the zero range.
Lap 52 -- an Ed fan near me yells "somebody needs to throw a water bottle on the track." Ed about to be lapped. Ed is fighting to slow the approach of the leader (by going closer to leader's pace). Too late. Ed lapped on Lap 53. Despondency.
JR is in haling people. Driving angry after his nose issue. Jon says Hinch's front tires are probably shot based on his growing lap times.
Lap 55 -- Ed's front end takes off up the track into 2.
Lap 68 -- yellow yellow yellow. Power and Viso together (not in a good way) in Turn 2. Power crashed in teh same place last year. Video ... HOLY DOUBLE BIRDS. Power gives someone (I assume Viso) the double birds right from his driver's seat. BAM. Replay. EJ inside and Power just pinched down on him. Booth agrees it was Power's screw up. Replay of Viso standing in his car looking back at Wilson tapping his yead like "think" then directs a Michael Jackson-esque crotch grab at Power. That's so dirt track.
Lap 70 -- Festival fo pitting. Top six pit. Ed Carpenter got lapped right before the yellow, so he may get his lap back here. He's staying out to get his lap back, then will pit since all IndyCar yellows are a minimum of 18 laps, it seems.
Katherine says her car is "trying-to-kill-me loose." Hich says "Sorry boys. That wasn't the cleanest pit stop." Katherine Legge says it was "really really lose. Literally hanging onto the thing."
Ed gets the wave around and inexplicably pits RIGHT after clearing the pace car. WTF? Ed radio: "Seriously bonehad. Don't know why we were in a hurry to pit with two cars still on the back stretch." Pit explains they screwed up. Ed: "Thanks!"* (*Denotes sarcasm.) Later. Pit: "We were the first car a lap down." Ed: "We did just piss away an opportunity to get our lap back, correct?" Pit: "Yes sir." Ed the Owner is having rage issues right now.
Oriol leaves the pit with a flaming left rear area. Batman's TURBO'S TO SPEED moment.
Penalty to Conway for pit speed violation. Penalty to Jakes for passing the pace car. Rahal got his lap back.
Robin with EJ ... Power well off pace. Kept coming down and hit me. Like every driver who crashes out EJ had a rocket that was going to the front.
Jon agrees with Viso as does Tommy.
Radio from Hich pit: Power out, Franchitti out. Hinch: Doesn't matter who is out, only matters who is in.
Start waved off for sprinkles. Tension. Ed: "They gotta give us more warning when it's one to go. We're too spread out." Pit: "Copy, will send the message."
Lap NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS (after a 15 lap yellow) ... restart THREE WIDE.
Lap 85 -- Helio, Hinch, RHR, Marco, Dixon, TK, JoeNew, WIlson, Briscoe, Servia
Lap 88 -- Ed inhales JoeNew even though Ed is the first car a lap down.
James Jakes did a drive through and now has to do a stop. Jon said he was supposed to do a stop and hold penalty for passing the pace car but did a drive through. That's not correct, though. Box score shows Jakes was popped with a drive through for pit speed violation and then popped again for a stop and stop and go penalty for passing the pace car. Video of Jakes sitting with IndyCar official standing in front of his car timing the stop. That's awkward ...
Lap NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS (98 according to lap chart) -- yellow yellow yellow. Hildebrand in teh wall. Dario joins the booth posse. Servia back in. Maybe some ill effects of the earlier fire.
Robin will Will Power. Power sees the replay for the first time. I didn't even get the call he was under me. Man I didn't even know he was there. Says it was his bad.
Dario says yeah, but Viso has hit everything but the pace car and rarely apologizes.
Legge: "Car is better. Not great, but better."
In the midst of a 13-lap yellow we have time to interview basically the entire DNF field. JR says he feels bad. Car was a rocket after the nose thing. Just lost it. Misjudged coming up on RHR and tagged him early.
Lap 106 -- "Last stint, honestly, I was just keeping it off the wall."
Lap 111 -- Paving project is over. We're green. Much of the extendo yellow is due to the deployment of sweepers. I'm an eye witness. Marco inhales RHR. Festival of Andretti Autosport up front now. Dario says the track worked on the bump over the tunnel between turns 1 and 2 and it's the same as last year. Jon said what happened was they track drilled holes in some depressions and shot some foam-type stuff in there and jacked up the pavement to lessen the dips.
Lap 125 -- Helio, Hinch, Marco, RHR, TK, Wilson, JoeNew, Pag, Dixon, Barrichello
Lap 132 -- some hard limiter pops here. Kendall and Dario kind of wonk out a little bit here about rev limiters. There's hard and soft limiters, apparently. When the IndyCars hit the hard limiter at Iowa Speedway it sounded like someone popping off about five rounds with a .50 caliber in the distance. Pop-pop-pop.
Lap 133 -- Simona freight trained out of 3. Long long long year for her. Read more about it here.
Promo for Toronto. Brief glimpse of Woman of pressdog Cameron Haven, Izod Trophy Girl from last year's Toronto victory lane. Too bad IZOD was invisible at Iowa and most other races. I think, based on nothing, that relationship is done soon. No IZOD stuff in the main IndyCar merch tent which is smaller than in the past.
Lap 141: RHR inhales Hinch. Hinch radio: go to fuel position 1 if you need to.
Marco trying to dive under RHR for about 10 laps. Can't make it work low and RHR holds the high line.
Lap 147 -- Hinch calls for half a turn of front wing on the next stop.
Lap 150 -- Helio, RHR, Marco, Hinch, TK, Pags, Dixon, Wilson, JoeNew, Barrichello
Lap 151 -- RHR looking looking. Green flag pitting coming up here. Festival of strategy. Hard to follow. Tommy and Jon maybe over-expound on strategy here because I'm like "whaaaa? Who's what again?" Mic level on Dario, who is a bit of a low talker, is bad. I can't make out half of what he's saying.
Lap 158 -- By this lap everyone except Dixon and Briscoe have pitted, so they are the only cars on the lead lap. Obviously this is a festival of fuel streching. Dixon and Briscoe want to pit very late and make the rest of the way without another stop while others have to pit again. Briscoe pitted on Lap 100 and pitted again to top off on 110 thanks to IndyCar's super extendo- yellows. I'm amazed more cars don't do this. P3 (Tag) needs to get the wings back and fly to catch the two Super Leaned Out Cars and lap their asses. Briscoe
Lap 175 -- Dixon, Briscoe, Hinch, Tag, RHR, Helio, Hinch, TK, Bag, Wilson.
Lap 177 -- Dixon pits. Briscoe leads. According to the lap chart Briscoe still leads, but he must have been passed by about 10 cars since he no longer is on his own lap (per lap chart).
Lap 179 -- yellow yellow yellow. Briscoe the leader and Joe New are in the fence in turn 2. Cue blaming the the bump (wasn't remotely bump related). Replays. Jon said JoeNew got in there super late and was in the wrong.
Helio radio: going to try to stretch to the end.
Briscoe on camera. Replay view. JoeNew was on stickers. Disappointing. He's a rookie and will learn from it. Briscoe gives fans a shout out for sitting out rain delay. GIVING THE FANS A SHOUT OUT RIGHT ON TV. I burst into tears re: the beauty of it.
JoeNew says Briscoe was working the top and he thought he would stay up there. Went low, so much difference in speed he was on him before he knew it. Tried to back out, brake, no go.
I'd love to know how fast Briscoe was going when the accident happened, but it's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
Before restart (Lap 190): Katherine spotter: lot of cars on lead lap behind us. Might make sense to roll through the pits on the restart. What are your thoughts. Katherine: "No ... My thoughts are No." (Beer spew).
Lap 195 -- after only SIXTEEN laps of yellow .. GREEN ... THREE WIDE. Ed who is a lap down started next to the leader, Dixon on the two-wide restart. Exhibit A why moving lapped cars to the rear on restarts is goofy.
Ed is working Dixon for his lap! WTF? That's so dirt track. Ed may have him ...
Lap 197 -- yellow yellow yellow. Hinch ass around and walled. Was in a pack behind Katherine, got in the jet wash and fish tailed to the wall. Bob et al talks over the driver radio traffic. Stop doing that, Bob. Replays. Wilson has to go to Evasive Maneuver Robert Nora Edward to avoid the ass-around Hinch. Watching at the track I was afraid Katherine was involved, but NO. She was well ahead of Hinch and on pace.
Ed got his lap back. BAM. Ed gets monster air for getting his lap back. Ed: That couldn't have happened any better. Pit: We needed a break. Ed: Well we just got one. (Much rejoicing among the Ed fans I am watching with.)
Katherine spotter: They say he (not sure who is) is ahead of you. Katherine: bullshit.
Pit asks Katherine about pitting late on this restart. She asks if it would hurt their position. No. Agrees. But then they call her in as the field comes to the one-to-go sign. Upshot is Katherine pits and is exiting the pits when the field takes the green a quarter of a track behind her. Katherine: "Are you guys serious?"
Bad call there. You want her to pit late, rejoin the field at the tail and THEN have it go green. As it is now she'll be right in the middle of everyone battling for the lead in just a few laps. I am holding my breath here.
Lap 204 -- after just seven laps of yellow (no sweeper deployment because there was only two laps of green). Restart ... GREEN. (The RELATIVELY miniscule yellow may have caught Katherine's strategy people by surprise.)
Lap 205 -- Dixon, Marco, Helio, RHR, TK, Wilson, Pags, Barrichello, Rahal, ED.
Tag is off the pace. Back stretch. Bob says we're going to "undoubtedly" have a yellow. Jon points out that the car may get to a safe place where there's a gap in the inside wall so we can stay green. Yes. Let's stay green.
Pags gets a shout out for rolling up through the field. Pag and Wilson go two wide for a lap or two on lap NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS (lap not on the screen).
Lap 219 -- Katherine goes around Simona as Maco goes high around her. Festival of heart clutching for me.
Lap 222 -- TK has a big wiggle. Pag and Wilson continue to war. Hinch on camera -- Restart. Had understeer all night. Dirty air there (DRINK, ye BASTARDS). Struck down and try to follow behind Katherine. Snapped once, caught it, twice, caught it, third time ass around.
Pag and Wilson Legge. Clear. TK under Helio for P4 ... CLEAR.
Kevin says Helio has a "vibration." Jon said that could be due to tire wear.
Lap 230 -- Wilson off pace. RHR does a slide job under Marco. Marco re-enhales RHR. Bob hits us with a points as they run. Pags has gone form LAST to P4. Festival of inhlation. Big shout outs from the booth.
Dixon, Marco, RHR, TK, Pags, Helio, Barrichello, Rahal, Ed, Wilson.
Lap 229 -- Ed under Rahal. CLEAR. Ed has driven from P21 to P8, even with the lap back crew brain freeze earlier.
Lap 237 -- RHR looking, looking, looking ... under Dixon and CLEAR. RHR leads. Pass for the lead.Dixon also loses second to Marco. Jon points out that RHR took the setup form Marco's test and used it ... to beat Marco.
Lap 245 -- RHR, Marco, Dixon, TK, Pags, Helio, Barrichello, ED, Rahal, Wilson.
Lap 246 -- TK inhales Dixon. TIE Fighters droping like fllies. Death Star is going down again ..
Lap 247 -- yellow yellow yellow. Katherine ass around in turn 2. (insert blaming the bump here but the bump had nothing to do with it). Just lost it and went around, biffing the wall. Ed and others have to go to Evasive Maneuver Tango Bravo Sierra to avoid Kathine. I about shit myself in the stands. Katherine taking out Ed would have been an nightmare for me.
We'll finish under yellow, so the Death Star goes ...
RHR wins his second straight. Replays of crash. Replay of Emma Dixon-Davis looking despondent and Beccy (Mrs. Hunter-Reay) wiping a tear. (If this continues Andretti Autosport may have to petition to have their logo re-affixed to the Death Star.)
Mike Andretti says we'll take a 1-2. RHR on a roll and good for Marco to have a P2. Marco says couldn't quite did there. Wasn't made at RHR. "It was the front; what you going to say? I'd have raced him the same way."
All that brothers in arms stuff was out the door the last 20, that's for sure. Not surprisingly.
Ed pit: "Nice job. Hell of a job. We didn't do you any favors. Ed: We shouldn't be happy with where we finished tonight. Pit: Copy that.
Katherine radio: Sorry. I didn't know that was going to happen. Spotter: last stint were running leader times, ended up with fifth fastest lap of the entire race.
RHR out. No Cameron. Plenty of Firehawk. Gives credit to Marco for testing and then sharing his set up. RHR thanks the fans for sticking it out. Mike also said on the radio/PA "We love Iowa!" and thanked the fans for sticking it out. More on Andretti Autosport's love of Iowa here. RHR said he wished they had another mile oval coming up. Ryan just spoke for about 98,000 of us there.
Finishing order ..
IZOD IndyCar Series, Iowa Corn Indy 250
NEWTON, Iowa - Results Saturday of the Iowa Corn Indy 250 IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 0.894 mile Iowa Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (7) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
2. (3) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
3. (19) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
4. (8) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 250, Running
5. (25) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 250, Running
6. (2) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
7. (11) Rubens Barrichello, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
8. (21) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Chevy, 250, Running
9. (20) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 250, Running
10. (13) Justin Wilson, Dallara-Honda, 249, Running
11. (14) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 248, Running
12. (23) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 247, Running
13. (18) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 244, Running
14. (22) Simona de Silvestro, Dallara-Lotus, 244, Running
15. (16) Katherine Legge, Dallara-Chevy, 243, Contact
16. (9) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 207, Mechanical
17. (4) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Chevy, 195, Contact
18. (5) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Chevy, 178, Contact
19. (10) Josef Newgarden, Dallara-Honda, 178, Contact
20. (17) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 123, Mechanical
21. (15) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Chevy, 98, Mechanical
22. (12) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Chevy, 95, Contact
23. (6) Will Power, Dallara-Chevy, 67, Contact
24. (24) EJ Viso, Dallara-Chevy, 67, Contact
25. (1) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 0, Mechanical
Winners average speed: 129.371
Time of Race: 01:43:39.3031
Margin of victory: Under Caution
Cautions: 6 for 63 laps
Lead changes: 10 among 8 drivers
Castroneves 1 - 51
Hinchcliffe 52 - 70
Castroneves 73 - 154
Hunter-Reay 155 - 156
Dixon 157 - 176
Briscoe 177 - 178
Andretti 179 - 181
Dixon 182 - 237
Hunter-Reay 238 - 250
Point Standings: Power 286, Hunter-Reay 283, Dixon 271, Castroneves 261, Hinchcliffe 256, Pagenaud 246, Kanaan 235, Franchitti 216, Briscoe 205, Rahal 193.
Finishing order, race report, lap chart and post-race transcript (below) courtesy of IndyCar PR.
That's it from Iowa Speedway. HUGE shout out to fans from all over who came to Iowa Speedway and filled the stands, especially those who hung in there through a little train delay.
Tune in Sunday, July 8, 1 a.m. Eastern on ABC for the Toronto race.
Bonus post-race transcript ..
Transcript: Iowa Corn Indy 250 Post-Race Transcript
THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by Marco Andretti of Andretti Autosport who finished second, his best finish of the season for Marco, and also Tony Kanaan, who finished third, his third podium finish of the season.
Tony, you started in the 19th position to make it all the way up to third. Talk about another great race for you at Iowa.
TONY KANAAN: Yeah, it was a good race. Obviously I wish I could have started a little bit further up, but it was a long day for us, but it was not a good result. We are improving every race. Hopefully we get the win soon.
THE MODERATOR: Marco, a great, great battle with your teammate there to take the top two spots today.
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, definitely a credit to the team. I think we have improved hugely, and it's just because of the three of us. I think we have just been working great together. Definitely that was a statement that Andretti Autosports is back on top, so it feels good.
As for me, I came up short. But a great team effort for sure.
Q. As well as you two have done the last few weeks on the mile ovals, sad thing is you're not going to see another oval until the end of the year. How do you feel heading into these street races that you guys can continue this momentum?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Well, for me, for a while I was not looking forward to street races, but we had a great car in Detroit; we kind of just rolled the dice in the race and the thing responded really well. So I'm looking forward to Toronto. It feels good to be looking forward to a street course finally.
TONY KANAAN: We have two great races. We had a great race in Detroit, so I'm not sad of anything. Whatever comes, it comes. You have to be good at everything, if you want to be able to be a championship contender.
Q. This is for you both. Some drivers develop an affinity for certain racetracks. Both of you guys clearly have a handle on Iowa. What is it about this place that both of you like?
TONY KANAAN: You've got to drive. That's my opinion. It's a driver's track. So you know, if you don't put it out there, you don't get a good result, then I think between the two of us, I know exactly who was racing today, and we've been teammates for a long time.
So we know exactly what to do. We know each other too well. So when we are racing each other, it's find of funny, and not at the same time, because we kind of know every move we are going to make to each other.
Q. You both talked last week about changing the restart procedure maybe for this week; was it any better?
MARCO ANDRETTI: I don't know what was different.
TONY KANAAN: Yeah, I don't know what was different, either. I mean, it was still double‑file.
I think if you're talking about he moved the acceleration point a little bit, but that didn't make a lot of difference.
So I think what he did change, he said in the driver's meeting, is the way he's policing how somebody was going to jump the start or not, which for us, we don't know what he's doing. So as far as to police that ‑‑ I guess it was okay today.
Q. How odd was it when you came around that first lap under yellow, and here is the 10 car in smoke; that's something you probably never expected to see. His team to have an issue like that before the race ever started.
MARCO ANDRETTI: Normally I want Dario's luck, but not today.
TONY KANAAN: I saw a big, white cloud and I thought it was fireworks. Then it was kind of a mix, because Tag spun, as well, so there was two cars there and I didn't really pay attention until we did four laps and then I see Dario out there, and I'm like, oh, tough like for him.
That's how this championship is. It's getting pretty exciting. Right now it's time to keep making points. Me and Marco definitely were running behind, and whenever, you know, Dario (Franchitti), (Scott) Dixon, Will (Power), those guys, they rarely make a mistake. And when they make a mistake, you have to capitalize on, it otherwise you'll never catch them.
Q. Tony, you were obviously looking ahead all night, but with the race over, are you impressed Rubens finished seventh and now realizing he's becoming someone to fear in ovals, as well.
TONY KANAAN: I know. I kept looking at the board there. I could see his number moving up and up and I'm like, okay, all right, he's going to be up here soon.
He's, you know, he's a great driver. What can I say? I mean, the guy, yeah ‑‑ he's still Rubens, you've got to understand that. I know from the experience that I had, I was talking to him this afternoon, and 14 years I have ahead of him against three races, and I think he's done a remarkable job. You know, he's going to have to choose if he wants to stay here next year; if he does, we'd better watch out.
THE MODERATOR: I know the first half of the season has not necessarily been the finishes you're looking for; how much does the podium finish give you a shot in the arm going into the rest of the season?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, it's great, obviously we wanted that top spot. We're still in that win drought which is killing me inside to be honest. Hopefully this will bump us up in points and we can start the momentum now, because it's been horrendous. It's been frustrating. We ran well at Indy but we came up short, a lot of unfortunate things have been hammering and so we just have to keep hammering.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you so much.
THE MODERATOR: Michael, thank you for joining us. Two in a row, momentum is certainly with your team right now.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Awesome, I'll tell you, it was a great day. I'm so happy for Ryan. He did a great job, and so happy for the whole team because all three cars are running really well. I think the only bummer was four hitting the wall there; if that wouldn't have happened, I think we would have had a shot at a 1, 2, 3. To come away with a 1, 2 two, after the unbelievable weekend we had last weekend is fantastic, and now that really puts us in with Ryan, as well, for a championship.
Q. Marco pretty much said that this was a statement race and it shows that you guys are the team to beat. How do you feel about that?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, I hope that's right. You know, I think we have been competitive all year, and we have been knocking on the door, and finally to break through the last two weekends has been great.
Now hopefully we can carry this momentum for the rest of the year, and like I said, I think we have two guys in a serious fight for the championship, which is, you know, great odds for us to have two guys up there. So real happy about that.
Q. Make you nervous having your teammates battling for the lead there at the end?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Always. When you see at one point all three of them are right together, and I'm like, oh, boy. You're always holding your breath watching it.
But they all really take care of each other, like each other and I knew they were not going to do anything stupid.
THE MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined by Ryan Hunter Reay. Today's victory moves him into second in the championship points standings. Talk about a great race for you and the team.
RYAN HUNTER REAY: Thanks, guys. It's really great to see all of you in here. That's what I said last weekend when we won Milwaukee; I want to do it more often. I said it was hard work last weekend at the mile, but these short ovals, just they are a handful. Once you get to about halfway through the tire lights, you're just doing everything you can to keep the car from hitting the wall on exits, and getting through traffic is extremely tough.
But I really have to thank my teammate Marco Andretti and the 26 team for coming here, testing. They were the one car from our team that tested and did an excellent job with the car, and we basically raced what they came up with in the test. So it's a huge credit to them and really, the team is working very well together.
So it's great to get another victory for the 28 DHL SunDrop team and get Chevy back on top, as well. It's definitely nice being two in a row. Two in a row, that's a game changer; that's when you know we need to start running up here more often and putting performances like tonight together.
Q. We see you and your teammates and engineers routinely debriefing on pit lane, fairly informal collaborative and just cracking up; maybe not that formal in the way in the trailer kind of thing. Do you think that collaborative effort, kind of easy relationship you guys seem to have has played a role in the team coming forward so quickly?
RYAN HUNTER REAY: Absolutely it does. That's a good point. There's nothing standing in the way there's nothing standing in the way communication wise with all of us.
We are very open with what we find. If one of us finds something that works, we are communicating it to the others, because we know it will benefit us and it's already worked.
We have only been working the three of us together for, what, eight, nine races now, and it has a lot of potential, because we really, the communication is great. The atmosphere within the team is the best it's been since I've been here for sure. We are quick and as a group and after practice, we always get together like you said and we hash it out on what we thought worked for one another and what we think didn't, and that certainly makes a difference when you have a three car team.
Q. Not only are you second in the points but you are three out, looking at the races coming up, some road course races, how viable is it that you're going to be at Fontana battling for the championship?
RYAN HUNTER REAY: You know, it all comes down to consistency and that's how championships are won. We have to be consistent. We have to go week in and week out and be consistently strong and be within the Top 5, for sure, every weekend and certainly the Penske team will and the Ganassi guys and also some wild cards will show up on a lot of these street and road courses.
So we have to be good there. But we do have Fontana on the schedule and our cars have been really good on the ovals, even the big ones. We just have to be consistent. That's all we are really focused on, and we are at a point now where we are happen way through the season.
So there's still a long, long way to go. I for sure don't feel like I'm almost there so to speak. I have the same feeling I had after I left Milwaukee: This is not good enough. We need to dig deeper and that's what we need to do for sure.
Q. The heat races earlier in the week, do you feel like you learned a lot about the car and everything from those and that helped you out tonight? Or once you got out was it a wash and start all over again?
RYAN HUNTER REAY: The thing about the heat races, I love the idea but we are all on new tires, and on new tires as you saw tonight, everybody kind of runs single file until the tires fall off halfway through the stint, which happens to be the last 30, which is where we finished the heat races last night.
So we were just getting to the interesting point in the tires when the checkered flag came down. We found out what not to do last night. We tried something and we figured if we try it, we need to try it now because tomorrow night, we need to make this thing stick. We found out what didn't work, which sometimes is as valuable as finding out something that does.
Q. Noticed there was a couple of incidents coming out of corner two; was that a tricky spot tonight?
RYAN HUNTER REAY: The car is so light, because of the reduced downforce that we have this year, this track raced a lot different. Coming out of turn two, you were on a four wheel drift in traffic and you're sliding, trying not to hit the wall; and at the same time you're trying to set up a pass.
It was extremely tricky coming out of two. You had moments where you thought you don't have enough grip; and you come around the next lap and the rear would be coming around on you. It was extremely dodgy at times, and it was difficult, really, to keep on top of your tools in the car. The guys asked me at one point, "Do you want more front wing?" And I was like, I don't know, I don't know if I do, because at one end I want it. And the other end I don't and at this point in the tires I do and at this point, I don't. Very difficult. Very difficult.
THE MODERATOR: Ryan, congratulations on back to back wins and thanks for taking the time to join us.