TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN OUT THERE THIS EVENING, IT WAS PRETTY IMPRESSIVE.
«It was, surprisingly I’d say. I think we were about eighth in practice or something. I thought not the last run, the run before the car felt really good. I didn’t get all of it out of the car. I don’t know, when I came across the line, it was like I’m waiting for the guys to say ooh, P15 or something and it was P1. I asked them, ‘Are you serious or are you joking with me?’ I’m kind of happy I guess. We changed the car a lot. I know it’s kind of crazy because last week we ran so good but overall on the other tracks we haven’t really run as good as we need to in the big tracks. In the small tracks we run really well. We’re trying a little bit different approach on the car and it seems to be working.»
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GET OVER THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF LAST WEEK?
«A couple minutes. It’s kind of weird because I didn’t really want to talk to the media because I was just pissed off and when you’re angry you’ll say something dumb and you’ll regret it. As a team we win together, we lose together and actually in a crazy way with myself hitting the fence helped the team win the race. It’s one of those deals where you never really know who you’re working for. It benefited the team. It’s one of those deals where I think if I would have taken two tires, everybody else would have taken four and we probably would have got beat anyways. I don’t know. We’re not allowed to speed in the car again. It’s better than telling the guys I’d rather have 20 of those than run 15th every weekend and have good finishes. It sucks, we’re nowhere near the Chase, does it really matter? Somebody actually said I threw the car in the fence because I was mad and I was just trying to keep it up.»
DID YOU HAVE TO TALK TO BRIAN AT ALL BECAUSE HE SEEMED DOWN IN THE DUMPS ON SUNDAY?
«I sent him a text, it did. We’re in this together. You gave me an awesome car. Being if it wasn’t for you guys we wouldn’t be in this position so don’t worry about it. We’ll move on, there’s another one next Sunday. One of these days that race will go into our hands. It sucks that we’ve been so fast three years in a row with one I blew, the other one was a call that wasn’t ideal. You know last time I screwed up there Brian (Pattie, crew chief) didn’t say anything to me. He said, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ At the same time, do I gain anything by getting mad? No. It sucks that in traffic we couldn’t do anything and I was actually pretty loose getting into the corners by myself and when the 99 (Carl Edwards) dive-bumped me, I kind of turned right a little when I came back. As soon as I turned right, I knew I wasn’t going to come out of that corner pointing the right way.»
DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WERE EITHER GOING TO WIN OR WRECK BECAUSE YOU HAD LED SO MANY LAPS?
«No, hell no. I was sixth. I restarted and stayed in line and actually the 16 (Greg Biffle) got me loose in turn two. I said just do what you can. It was kind of weird because I was trying to slow down early enough and just in traffic it was so different. I made a couple of mistakes in traffic and a couple of guys passed me and I was okay with it. As soon as we restarted and I went into turn two, I knew that winning the race was very unlikely. It would have been nice to take some decent points. I had the 99 (Carl Edwards) beside me and I just tried to run around the outside, but as soon as I started turning, they said ‘inside’ and I gave him the room and when I turned back in it just, I knew I wasn’t. I was either going to spin and get T-boned or hit the fence and I hit the fence.»
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU LEARNED LAST WEEK YOU CAN TAKE HERE BECAUSE IN THE PAST BEFORE YOU GOT TO THE SERIES, WE’D RUN THIS RACE BEFORE THE BRICKYARD AND THERE WERE THINGS THAT WOULD TRANSFER FROM THIS TRACK AND VISA VERSA?
«I don’t know where people get that. I haven’t figured it out yet, honestly. If there’s anything similar between the two places, I haven’t seen them. Honestly, this fricken place is bumpy as hell, the seams are slick, you know what I mean? It’s hard, it’s unpredictable and Indy for me is so straight forward, I wish this place was that way. This place actually has always been a place, and I hope I don’t jinx it by saying this, we never ran that well but (crew chief) Brian (Pattie) makes really good calls and we always end up with really good finishes, somehow. We always luck in by calls. We have speed, but we never had track position. Hopefully we can stay somewhere near the front on Sunday. We’ll see. We’re trying different things and I told him, we need to make sure something that is nice is by not being in a position of making the Chase, I think as a team we’re going to try a lot of different things and make sure and use what happened last week as a learning experience. Like knowing when to take two tires. Maybe not the right call, but it happens. Like at Phoenix for example, we were running top-three all day, five guys took two tires and neither of the three guys won. We were half a lap ahead of the field and somebody else won. You just have to learn when to take two tires. But to win some, you have to give some away and I don’t think we have given ourselves enough opportunity to win races. Some day it will come.»
OUT ON PIT ROAD AFTER TONY STEWART RAN HIS LAP YOU WENT OVER TO HIS CAR AND SAID SOMETHING TO HIM, WHAT WAS THAT CONVERSATION LIKE?
«He actually came before I was going to take my lap and said, ‘Dude, don’t worry about that last week. You’re fine.’ He was trying to pump me up that it was nice. When I finished the lap I said, ‘You screwed me. I did exactly the same you would have done.'»
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WATKINS GLEN AND WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT GOING BACK THERE?
«I’m so excited. (LAUGHTER) I’ll tell you, it’s so weird because if I could drive anywhere near what I could drive an open wheel on a road course, we’re good. But this thing doesn’t drive like an open wheel, nowhere near. Turn one you can’t touch the brakes, it rolls over. It’s not agile; it doesn’t do anything right on a road course. I can drive really good on a road course and I’ll drive it as fast as it will go, but we always are like Sonoma. We’re there but for some reason we haven’t figured out our cars to be good enough and I think the best example is Jamie (McMurray) has been on pole there for a million times and he qualified like 20th or something with our car there. I don’t know, it’s once a year so I don’t pay too much attention. Like any cup driver I think.»
AS AN ORGANIZATION, IS THERE ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO HELP JAMIE MCMURRAY MAKE THE CHASE?
«Not really. He’s got his group of people; we have a group of people. I think as a team, we’ll always work together and we always build the best race cars we can. I think if we can bring something faster to the race track, it would mean we haven’t done a good enough job. We bring every week our fastest cars and our best equipment. That’s all we got.»
WOULD YOU HAVE BEEN JUST AS MAD AS LAST WEEK IF IT WAS AT ANY TRACK OR WAS IT BECAUSE IT WAS AT INDIANAPOLIS?
«Not really, I don’t care. That’s what I told him before the race, I’ll take a win at either Martinsville or Indy, I don’t have anything against Martinsville but it’s the opposite. You know what I mean? When I race I never pay attention to, ‘Ah, this is Indy, this is the one to win.’ I don’t do that. When I won Monaco, after Monaco I was really excited because that was the race as a kid I always wanted to win was Monaco. (Aryton) Senna used to dominate and I was a huge fan of him and it was always fun to watch. That was a huge goal for me to try to get a win in Monaco. It would be cool to win at other places. As a driver, you just want to run as best as you can every week and we need to make ourselves better to give ourselves more shots at winning and see what happens.»
WITH THE SEASON YOUR TEAM HAS HAD, IF YOU AND JAMIE MCMURRAY DON’T MAKE THE CHASE, DO YOU THINK IT’S STILL A SUCCESSFUL YEAR FOR GANASSI RACING?
«It’s kind of crazy. Last year we made the Chase and we didn’t have anywhere near the speed we have this year as a team. We had a lot of wrecks and everything that can go wrong had gone wrong. I don’t know. It’s frustrating, yeah but move on. To be honest with you, I just go every week to get in the car and do the best we can and at the end of the year you see what happens.»