CHEVROLET - Will Power Media Day
CHEVROLET RACING IN THE VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES
102ND RUNNING OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVYDRIVER TRANSCRIPT – MEDIA DAY
THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2018
WILL POWER, NO. 12 VERIZON TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET:
THE PENSKE CARS ARE DOING VERY WELL. WHAT IS THE MAIN REASON FOR THAT?
“Well, I think Chevy engines have produced a much better engine this year, a very good engine. And, obviously Penske does a really good job of preparing the cars. We’re definitely given the best equipment, as it shows on the track. We’re all up front.”
ON HIS POSITION IN THE TEAM
“I feel like I have a good shot this year, I really do. I think we have a great shot at winning the race. It’s going to be a very hot day, which makes the car very slippery and hard to drive.”
WITH THE NEW AERO AND THE NEW CAR, IT’S MAYBE DIFFICULT TO RACE
“On a hot day, it’s hard to follow. It is. In the front, the draft is very big, so you can pass at the front Last year, the car was similar. It was tough back in the pack to get by someone.”
WHAT’S YOUR TARGET?
“The target is to win, like 32 other guys and girls.”
AND YOU THINK YOU HAVE THE CHANCE TO WIN?
“Yes. I think we have a good chance to win. We have a car that’s capable of winning.”
LAST YEAR TAKUMA SATO WON. WHAT TO YOU THINK OF HIM?
“I am good friends with Takuma. He’s one of my good friends. I’ve always respected him and he deserved the win. He’s a very good driver. I always enjoy racing against him.”
WHAT IS A GOOD DRIVER FOR YOU?
“A fast driver and consistent and smart”
WHAT IS THE INDY 500 FOR YOU?
“The Indy 500 is the last box I need to tick as a race car driver. I’ve won a lot of races. I’ve won a championship and that’s what I really need to complete my career.”
DO YOU EVER GET TO THE POINT IN THE RACE WHERE YOU SEEM TO SETTLE DOWN AND THINK OKAY, THIS IS JUST A RACE RIGHT NOW?
“Yeah, I feel like when you’re really in the moment, you actually forget that it’s the 500 and the significance of it. I guess I forget that as soon as I start. I kind of just get into race car driver mode and just doing a race. If you think of the event and the size of the event and of winning, and this sort of thing, you’re not going to do well. You really have to focus on the job at hand.”
HOW MANY LAPS DOES IT TAKE TO KIND OF SETTLE-IN?
“It does take a few laps to settle in and understand where the car is at and what adjustments you need to make. The first couple of laps you’re very tense and feel every little movement of the car because you don’t know. And as you get into the feel of the car and you know you can trust the rear and the front is there, then you can relax in the seat a little bit. But, it changes over a whole stint. You start the stint, generally with push to get a full tank in, affects the tires more. And then you go through a stage where the car loses, because the fuel hasn’t gone down enough, the weight to help you, so you actually go through the worst part of the day. And then it kind of comes back at the end, where you’ve got to be on it the whole time. If you let a balance go too many corners, you’re going to pay for it. The car degrades more and then you’re stuck with that balance.”
ON THE FLIP SIDE, HOW MANY LAPS FROM THE END DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RACE, LIKE THIS IS THE INDY 500?
“Oh, no. I remember I was following Juan and forgot where we were. I was just 100 percent focused on just racing. I think I knew it was the 500 coming to the line.”
IF YOU HAD A SECOND CRACK WITH JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE?
“I would have taken front wing instead of asking to get out first.”
WOULD YOU HAVE CHANGED YOUR LINE OR ANYTHING?
“No, there was nothing much I could do. He was good at taking that air. He went all the way down to the line and then I was pushed out. I thought of other lines. What if I had gone high? At the end of the day, I needed that one percent front aero. He had at least a percent more than I had. But it was the fact that he was in front of me. See, I led for too long. The front works really well. As soon as I caught back up to get around, which should have just been easy to get that big draft. I had to lift.”
WHAT IS THE REASON FOR YOUR PERFORMANCE?
“I had a really, just little mistakes that created a very bad result. Just hitting the marbles at Phoenix, just a little bit, and ended up bending a tow rod. At St. Pete it was the same. It was unnecessary. And then at Barber it was just wet. I complained and hit the wall.”
“I guess I just focus on each race as an individual race, itself. I don’t really think too much of the points. I’m just trying to do the best job and get the most out of the race. That’s what I’ve done this month. I’ve just really focused down on every session and getting the most out of every session and getting the car good. And then, putting myself in a position where I have a good car to race for a win.”
YOU’VE FINISHED IN THE TOP 3 AT FOUR RACES I’VE ATTENDED THIS YEAR. KNOWING THAT I’M HERE THIS WEEKEND, WHAT DOES THAT DO FOR YOUR CONFIDENCE?
“That’s a good question (laughs). I try to think of superstitious stuff like that but the pattern never continues to work out. Honestly, one pattern that is evident to me in more than a decade of racing is, in Indycar, is hard work. It’s a simple as that. The harder you work, the more you run at the front.”
SO IF YOU WIN THIS RACE, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR YOU AND FOR ALL OF AUSTRALIA?
“Yeah, that would be pretty huge for Australia, I think, to be the first Australian to win the 500.”
DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD HAVE THE SAME REACTION THAT TAKUMA HAD BACK HOME IN JAPAN AFTER WINNING LAST YEAR?
“I don’t know. I really don’t know how it would be received there. IndyCar doesn’t race there anymore. Yeah, it would be interesting.”
WOULD THEY TAKE THAT WIN AND GO CRAZY?
“Well, it would be nice if they were all celebrating.”
TALK ABOUT PASSING IN THIS RACE. WILL WE HAVE A LOT OF PASSING?
“I think at the front you will. But now, looking at the temperature, it doesn’t matter what car you’re in when it is 90 degrees, it is hard to pass. There’s not really much you can do about that. But, it really puts it in the driver’s hands. You’re going to be sliding around.”
EXPERIENCE IS GOING TO BE KEY ON SUNDAY?
“I think so. Experience and being very well preprepared and having an very adjustable car will be important. It’s all the normal stuff - good pit stops, good strategy and a bit of luck.”
YOU’RE DUE FOR A BIT OF LUCK HERE, AREN’T YOU?
“I always feel the harder you work and more focus you put on something, the luckier you can get. When you want something and you work for it, it usually comes for you. You have to do your homework.”
WHAT ABOUT CHEVY AND ITS POWER. WOULD A HOT RACE BE A GOOD THING FOR CHEVY?
“It’s been a reasonably hot month I feel like we’ve had the best engine. Chevy really worked hard in the offseason. The support that they give the teams has been fantastic. We all really feel lucky to be part of the Chevy program.”
WILL YOU CHANGE YOUR PLAN AS A DRIVER WITH HOW HOT IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE? MORE HYDRATION THAN NORMAL?
“I think you have want to be focused on that. That’s something where I made a mistake during the Grand Prix. I didn’t drink before and didn’t drink during. You’ll pay for it afterward.”
“At the front, you can pass better than last year… the draft is so big. As you get back in the pack, it’s a little harder. It’s understandable; the car punches a hole in the air and you lose a lot of downforce. I felt like last year was the same with the other car. When I was back in the pack, it was really hard to get by people. So I don’t feel like it’s that much different.”
WE TALK ABOUT HELIO GOING FOR FOUR (WINS). I’D IMAGINE THERE ISN’T SYMPATHY GOING FOR NO. 1. IF IT’S LATE IN THE RACE, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT THAT DYNAMIC WOULD BE LIKE IF IT WAS THE TWO OF YOU IN THE END? IS HE THE ONE GUY THAT YOU DON’T WANT TO RACE AGAINST IN THE CLOSING STAGES?
“Yeah, he’s probably the one guy who is the most experienced and competitive… he will know what to do in that situation. There are a lot of experienced drivers in this field and a lot of quick cars. So you don’t know who you’re going to be racing, but it’s a tough scenario when it’s teammates going for the win. That’s racing. They have the same equipment and information you have. Chances are that when you look at the field and everything played out as a normal race - which it never is at the Indy 500 - you’ll have a Penske car racing out front at the end.”
WITH HELIO RUNNING REALLY LAST YEAR AND THERE BEING A NEW CAR THIS YEAR WHEN YOU WANT SO MUCH DATA, WHAT’S THE IMPACT ON THE TEAM NOT HAVING HIM FOR SOME OF THE EARLY TESTING?
“At the end of the day, more cars means more information. So there are more things we could have tried. On the flip side, you can get confused sometimes. We’re all running different cars here; the same car doesn’t suit everyone’s style. Helio is a fantastic teammate. I’d love it if he was back full-time. Nevertheless it’s cool to have him here for the month.”
HOW BIG OF AN IMPACT DOES THIS RACE PLAY IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
“To win the 500 you can’t crash, and to get double-points you can’t crash! It’s such a big points haul if your competitor has a bad day and you win the race.”
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Dave Chess has been writing for RIS since the late 1980s during the CompuServe days. His work has also appeared in Auto Week magazine, Chicago Gearhead News newspaper, ATA airlines in-flight magazine, National Speed Sport News and on many websites.