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Transcripts: Kyle Busch - World Wide Technology Raceway
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the winner of tonight's NASCAR Cup Series race, Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.
We'll go right to questions.
Q. Out-dueling Larson on several late race restarts, where does this win do you feel like ranks among maybe some of your best driving performances?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, no, I mean, I guess I had a lot of experience of doing the same stuff last year, and unfortunately didn't make the most of it there at the end and get the win last year. Was able to do it this year just racing against a few of those guys. Larson was up there, Denny was up there, Blaney, all the guys that were fast all day. So I knew it wasn't going to be easy.
Just the restarts kind of went our way. We were able to get through on the outside on that one and push Larson out, then he took bottom of three and four, I was able to carry the momentum around the high side to take the lead. That was really important. I think that was kind of the key moment of us being able to win today. Being able to control the rest of the restarts for the rest of the race.
Kyle is one of the best. It's good to be able to sit up here and race hard with him, being a Team Chevy partner. He gave me great respect, I appreciate that. That will be given back down the road.
Q. Did you anticipate this level of success so early when you made the move to RCR?
KYLE BUSCH: I'm sorry, one more time.
Q. Did you anticipate this level of success so early?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, no, we've had some really good runs. We've had three wins obviously, which is great. But we've also had some of the dismal days as well. We've had peaks and valleys so far this year.
We just got to find the greater planes, if you will, and level this thing out a little bit. It's great to be able to score a win here in St. Louis for Randall's hometown, that's really good. So the team is really on a high. The whole organization has been really fighting hard, doing a great job.
Everybody back at RCR, at the shop, ECR, the engine shop, has been doing great. Just been so welcoming and really cool to be able to go out there and succeed for them and to give them back what all the hard work they're putting in is doing.
Q. Do you kind of feed off of that? It's like after what you went through last year with Gibbs, to go someplace that just so thoroughly wanted you there, and they're feeding off of your talent and your success, it just has to pull an organization in the right direction.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, it all kind of stems, too, on the horse you're riding, right? We were horrible at the All-Star Race. That was probably our worst roll. Being able to come out here and have a good run at a short track, although it was still the normal aero package, if you will. But just goes to show that we're really putting our head down and digging in and trying to figure out what it's going to be able to take to get me comfortable to make me fast, right?
You got to have a good horse to ride. So far this year we've had a few. Guys have been doing a great job. Last week at Coke 600, we were fast as well. I think I kind of hurt the car a little bit when I spun out. We still drove back to second. Didn't have anything for the 12. Was a great night for us. Just continuing to show good speed each week.
Q. Now you've won in the Cup, Xfinity Series here at Gateway. Is it now a goal to win in the Truck Series?
KYLE BUSCH: Depends on the rules and regulations and stipulations of locking me out. This was a triple truck challenge race. I can't run in those. It's a matter of being able to open up the playbook to have more races to choose from. It's limited on which ones I'm allowed to go do.
Years ago I was slated to run a late model race or something, I think it got canceled or something. I don't know what it was. Didn't get a chance to do that one either, but that would have been fun.
Q. You led the most laps in both races here, two different teams, two different makes. Is there anything in particular at this track that you feel you've figured out or...
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I don't know. I don't know what that really is. I've been fast here back in the Xfinity days when I raced with JGR, and the Hendrick days I think we had top five runs here, something like that. This has always been a good place for me. Always fun to come out to Gateway and the St. Louis area and have a good race.
Not sure exactly what it is or what makes me run well here. It's a fun place to race, so you just go out there and attack it and enjoy it.
Q. On this day 12 years ago, you and Richard had your physical altercation. Richard said he's put it behind him, you guys have moved on, he's been proud to have you as part of his team. Wanted your thoughts of how you've grown and learned from that, now being a part of this team, to not only be the leader of this team but the face of the biggest threat for the championship?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I mean, people change. People grow up. Whatever happens. The relationship that I have now, and the effort that's gone into securing me, to get me to go to RCR, the discussions and talks that happened there. Obviously being able to get there and have some really strong runs, winning right out of the gate at Fontana was big for us, a good morale booster. Just proves them right, right? Gives them greater satisfaction in me being part of the team.
It's been fun to have that group around. They know when we go to places, we struggle at places, that we all want to get better, right? I could do a better job most of the time. Randall and the guys can do a better job as well.
We just all continue to strive and work hard and bounce off of each other in order to make sure we can come out and have the best possible stuff every time we hit the racetrack.
Q. Tell us about your thoughts of having Braxton in the car going around. A big smile on his face.
KYLE BUSCH: It was. Thank you. Braxton is a huge fan of mine, a great supporter obviously. It's really fun when your son is there to kind of celebrate and have a great time, being able to jump the wall and come out. I was shocked when he got there. Asked the NASCAR guys if he could go for a ride. We did that in 2009 when I won the championship. That's a moment we will never forget. We will cherish that one forever. It was really fun, really cool.
Did it again today. Tried to accelerate down the backstretch to give him a little bit of pull on the race car. The rear tires were smoked, so all it wanted to do was spin out. Thankfully I kept it straight.
We had fun. He likes that. So one of these days I'm sure he'll be reaching for the pedals himself.
Q. This is looking ahead. You led 54 laps last year at Nashville, couldn't close the deal. Hendrick's won the last two races. Being part of the key Chevrolet groups, does that give you additional data that might help you win when you go back there in two or three weeks?
KYLE BUSCH: Certainly I would like to think so. I think the 8 car there last year was decent. Not as good as the Hendrick 9 or the 18 where I was. Like you said, we weren't quite able to close out the deal.
It would be nice to go back there and lean on some of those notes. That's been a key thing for us to be able to do. It didn't necessarily bode well at the All-Star Race. Maybe we showed them what not to do. Here this weekend, we were able to excel and we had the good stuff this weekend, if you will.
Look forward to all the weeks ahead, kind of this final stretch before the Playoffs.
Q. (No microphone.)
KYLE BUSCH: It is, but it's nowhere near the same. Entirely different racetrack. Concrete surface, banking in the corners. Corners more similar, one, two, three, four. So yeah. Fun track, though.
Q. I'm not sure if this is a buzz kill or not. Did you have any concerns about brakes? Was there a big concern or you have a bunch of red flags at a track you don't have a lot of data on, guys are pushing it, we should have expected some of that today?
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, I obviously don't know what package they ran. I'm sure they would run the short track package here for brakes.
I never felt any vibration, never had any issue, never had any long pedal or nothing with mine. I was confident in our stuff and what we had going.
I felt like that was actually a really strong suit for me today, was on the brakes, get in the corner, get whoa'd up in time for the rest of the corner.
Transcripts: Richard Childress and Randall Burnett Media Conference - World Wide Rechnology Raceway
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by our race-winning team owner, Richard Childress, team owner of Richard Childress Racing.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: It's great to be back in the winner's circle and come here and see all the great media folks that come here and help our sport be what it is today.
Q. You said over the radio after Kyle took the checkered flag, there's no one I'd rather have in that position than you. What has he meant to the organization?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Well, he's helped us all around. Number one, he's winning races, showing we can win races. He's helped Austin a whole lot. Austin has had some really good runs. He had drove up to about 10th until the 2 car wrecked him in there on purpose, sort of a payback.
But you know, Kyle has been really -- he's such a pleasure to work with. Everybody says, man, how y'all going to get along. Same question they asked me about you and Dale won't last six months. We lasted 20 years. I want to keep Kyle there, and hopefully we can end his career when he gets ready to.
Q. Was there any concern with your organization with brake rotors when it started to creep in there with a few of the cars? I think we had four broken rotors today?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: You're talking about breaking rotors?
Q. Yeah, the brake rotors were breaking and there were four broken rotors today. Was there any concern among the RCR cars?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Yeah, I was really concerned on the 3 because he's really hard on the brakes. Kyle didn't seem to use it that much, and Austin quit using his a whole lot there at the end. These long straightaways, they have so much time to cool off, and then you get them so hot in the corner -- here comes Randall Burnett, the winning crew chief, from local boy from right here in Missouri, St. Louis.
I hope that answered your question.
Q. Mr. Childress, three wins in the first 15 races of the season. From your perspective when was the last time it felt like RCR was this dangerous, to be a winner on such a regular basis?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: You know, we won a lot with Harvick, won a lot with Earnhardt. Our plans is to win a lot with Kyle, and not only be a contender for that championship. If we make the Final Four, we'll have a shot at winning it for sure.
Q. Richard, I know it's been a short time, but was that the best race you've seen Kyle drive for you?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: You know, anytime he gets in the car, I think he drives a really great race. Anytime we can give him a car capable of winning, he's going to win with it. I think he just did a great job today.
Those last three or four or however many it was restarts, I felt they were pretty tough, but I knew he would be able to do his job.
Q. For Randall, following up on the brake rotors, did you have any concerns, and is it just something that -- red flags and not a lot of data on this track, makes that more challenging?
RANDALL BURNETT: I think people probably came back -- I think teams last year came here a little more conservative last year not knowing, and I think we all took data from that and went home and looked. We get options on heavy-duty rotors or light-duty rotors, so we can choose that, and we can obviously choose how much cooling we run to them.
Like Richard said, it's kind of a tough place because the straightaways are so long and you're off the brakes for such a long time, and then you apply them really hard at the end of the straightaway, so the cycles of getting really cool down the straightaways and then really spiking up the heat, it takes a toll on the rotors.
We were fortunate enough with the 8 car, we were kind of in the top 5 most all day long, and when you get back further a little bit in the pack, too, and have to work your rotors harder, using brakes, racing people a lot harder, those things happen.
I'm sure everybody will take a look at that and try to understand what happened with those cars.
Q. Richard, 12 years ago this was the day when you and Kyle got into the physical altercation. Talk about how you've seen him grow and mature, kind of evolve in the sport, and now racing for you and putting you as probably one of the top teams to be the threat for the championship this year.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Yeah, we put that totally behind us. We talked about it. That was one of the first things we talked about. That's history. We've both grown a lot. I know I've grown up. I've grown older, but I've grown up, too. There's an old song out there, I'm still growing up but I'm getting older.
Q. Randall, winning in your home track here in St. Louis, you being a St. Louisan, do you have any initial memories of being here at Gateway and all the tremendous improvements Gateway has made?
RANDALL BURNETT: Yeah, I was here, I was still in St. Louis, living here when this place -- it used to be a road course here and part of the dragstrip was a road course, and I actually raced karts on that track a handful of times, and then they built this place, and I'd come watch INDYCARs when they would come, any events they would come here. So we always came over for that when I was a kid.
I was fortunate enough to run some shifter karts here on this track through the road course on the infield and then part of the big track.
It means a lot to me to come home. I moved away from here when I was about 20 years old and moved to Charlotte to do what I'm doing, to go race, and I did some driving down there and grew up racing go-karts here with my mom and my dad, off Telegraph Road at Woodman Raceway Park, the St. Louis Karting Association my father and some of them built down there for us to have a place to even go race.
To come home and win here, it means a lot. It's a pretty big deal for me.
Q. Randall, can you look at just the first 14, 15 races and have an idea or a sense what the potential is for that team?
RANDALL BURNETT: I think we've got a lot of potential. I think we've got a lot to clean up, too, and we talk about it repeatedly. We've had some really fast cars and taken ourselves out of races with some mistakes and things like that, me and Kyle, and our whole group have talked about it, and we know we've all got to clean it up on our end, especially if we're going to compete for the championship.
We are fast with this intermediate package. We've struggled really bad on the short tracks, haven't got the feel for him of what he needs in a car on a short track yet, so that's one of our biggest hindrances right now I would say as a team to be where we really want to be.
But really proud of this 8 bunch. They dig in hard. Great group of guys, great group of racers, and Kyle has fit right in with them. He's done a great job of adapting over here and lent plenty of insight on his side to how to make things better, as well, so we're all working together towards that.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I want to say one other thing. Chevy has really supported us a lot, and I don't think we could do what we do today without all the support -- all the manufacturers support the teams, but I feel like Chevrolet gets behind us stronger than anybody else, all the three key partners.
Hamlin Runner-up in Wild Gateway Race
In a race that featured lightening delays and multiple red flags, Denny Hamlin battled through to a runner-up finish to lead Team Toyota at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway on Sunday evening. Martin Truex Jr. (fifth) joined his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate inside the top-five finishers.
Toyota Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)
World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway
Race 15 of 36 – 300 miles, 240 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Kyle Busch*
2nd, DENNY HAMLIN
3rd, Joey Logano*
4th, Kyle Larson*
5th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
11th, CHRISTOPHER BELL
20th, TY GIBBS
30th, BUBBA WALLACE
34th, TYLER REDDICK
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 Sport Clips Haircuts Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
What is your take on today where we saw a little bit of everything?
“Yeah, I thought we were super dialed if it was 95 degrees like it was supposed to be with those delays – it kind of took away from the advantage I thought that we had. I’m proud of this whole Sport Clips Toyota team – pit crew did a phenomenal job keeping us in it and doing really good on the money stop with about 60 to go. We are going to have to wait another to get that 50th (win).”
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
What was the race like with everything you had to deal with?
“It was interesting for sure. For us, we had a really strong Auto Owners Insurance Camry. Started off the race near the front and stayed there through stage one and thought we could get a little bit better and maybe have a shot at the couple, three in front of us. We had a pit road penalty and had to go to the back, and it was just an uphill climb from there. Just really tough to get through the field. We got some damage from when someone’s brake rotor exploded, that slowed us down even more. Really with all we went through today, a top-five is a really good day for us. I’m proud of the effort.”
TYLER REDDICK, No. 45 McDonald’s Toyota Camry TRD, 23XI Racing
Finishing Position: 34th
“Our day kind of went bad early on, but our McDonald’s Camry was able to get through traffic pretty well, but as the track stated to cool off, it just started going away from us. It was starting to get frustrating out there for sure, to have a car that good, and it feltlike it was just going away. I had a bad feeling that was coming soon. I was just getting ready to have to back off with how soft the brakes got, but I obviously should have been thinking about that a lap or two sooner.”
Enjoy Illinois 300 presented by TicketSmarter results from World Wide Technology Raceway
Q. Kyle Busch starts from the pole. Had a lot of work in the middle to get there, Kyle, but you complete the perfect weekend.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, absolutely. That was pretty awesome. Man, to sit on the pole, lead a lot of laps and have my guys do such a great job today was pretty phenomenal for us. Great for RCR. Just win, baby! Thanks to Team Chevy, appreciate 3Chi. Don't forget, guess what, the No. 8 special, free chicken tenders at Cheddar's on Monday, hey! All the fans go out and celebrate with us. We're going to have a great time with this one. This one is is pretty cool.
Palou Pads Points Lead with Precise Winning Drive in Detroit
Precision paid off for Alex Palou on Sunday in Detroit.
NTT P1 Award winner Palou used his smooth driving style to prevail on one of the toughest circuits in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, capturing the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear on the streets of Detroit. Spaniard Palou kept the lead during two late restarts in the No. 10 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda of Chip Ganassi Racing and beat the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet of Will Power to the finish by 1.1843 seconds.
SEE: Race Results
It was the sixth career victory for 2021 season champion Palou and his second in the last three races this season, as he also won the GMR Grand Prix on May 13 on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.
“The No. 10 Ridgeline Lubricants car was on point today,” Palou said. “Super proud of the job we did. It was tricky there at the end, man, with those (worn) tires couldn’t really get to temperature (on restarts).”
Felix Rosenqvist finished a season-best third in the No. 6 onsemi Arrow McLaren Chevrolet after muscling past teammate Alexander Rossi during a spirited duel in the closing laps on the nine-turn, 1.7-mile temporary street circuit.
Six-time series champion Scott Dixon finished fourth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, putting two CGR cars in the top four. Rossi rounded out the top five in the No. 7 NTT DATA Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.
Palou led from the drop of the green flag in the 100-lap race under sunny skies. He stretched his advantage to 9.1 seconds by Lap 21 after starting on the Firestone alternate tires, whose softer compound has more grip but less durability. Power started seventh on Firestone primary tires and used the longer wear on those tires to cut Palou’s lead to 1.5 seconds by Lap 29.
At that point, Chip Ganassi Racing elected to call Palou to the pits for Firestone primary tires, the same rubber as Power. Six laps later, Power pitted for the first time, opting for his mandatory run on Firestone alternates that use sustainable rubber from the guayule shrub, and handed the lead back to Palou.
After Power blended back into the race from his stop, Palou gradually built his lead to four seconds. But that gap evaporated on Lap 43 when Pato O’Ward crashed in Turn 9 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet.
Palou held off Power on the restart on Lap 49, but the caution flag flew during the first lap of green after the restart when rookie Sting Ray Robb went deep into the runoff area in Turn 3 in the No. 51 biohaven Honda.
The ensuing restart on Lap 56 was about the only spot of bother all day for Palou. Power, on grippier alternate tires, dove under Palou for first in the Turn 3 hairpin at the end of the long back straightaway. Palou’s car seemed to pause at the exit of that corner, apparently due to a problem that forced him to cycle through the emergency electronics mode on the wheel before normal service was restored.
Reigning and two-time series champion Power had pulled away to a 2.8-second lead over Palou two laps after that restart. But Palou collected himself, focused forward and dove under Power in Turn 3 on Lap 65 to regain the lead.
“We had an issue that was probably my fault, but then we got stuck there,” Palou said. “I couldn’t really upshift. Proud that we got it back and that we got another win this year.”
After the field cycled through its final pit stops, Palou led by nearly five seconds when Romain Grosjean crashed in Turn 4 in the No. 28 DHL Honda on Lap 82, triggering another full-course caution. Palou held off Power on that restart on Lap 87, another on Lap 91 after David Malukas crashed in the No. 18 HMD Trucking Honda during the previous restart and yet again on a final restart on Lap 96 after Santino Ferrucci’s No. 14 Sexton Properties/AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet and Robb’s car went deep into the Turn 3 runoff while dueling for position.
There was plenty of muscular driving and contact over the last five laps, including Dixon running into the rear of Power’s car on the final restart and spirited, aggressive swaps of position by Arrow McLaren teammates Rosenqvist and Rossi. Palou levitated in front of the mayhem and cruised to victory, leading 74 of the 100 laps.
“I did everything I could to get Palou,” Power said. “He was just too quick, man. Too good today.”
Palou will split $10,000 with Chip Ganassi Racing and his chosen charity, The American Legion, for his victory as part of the PeopleReady Force For Good Challenge. He has won two of the three legs needed to earn a $1 million bonus, with a win on the road course at IMS and the street circuit at Detroit. Palou can secure the bonus with a win in any of the three remaining three oval races, a doubleheader July 22-23 at Iowa Speedway and Aug. 27 at World Wide Technology Raceway.
The next NTT INDYCAR SERIES race is the Sonsio Grand Prix at Road America presented by AMR on Sunday, June 18 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
NTT IndyCar Series PR
CARSON HOCEVAR, NO. 7 SCHLUTER SYSTEMS CAMARO ZL1
Broken brake rotor during Stage Two forced the No. 7 Camaro ZL1 team to retire early from the race.
What a day you had going. How would you assess your first time in a Cup car today up to that point?
“I thought it was great. I had a blast. Just so thankful for the opportunity. I don’t have a job for next year. I know Al Niece and Cody Efaw wants me to run for them and I will forever run a race or however many. But man, I’m just so thankful that they gave me the opportunity – the opportunity to drive a Xfinity car and now driving a Cup car. I was running 16th.. just so surreal for the first time ever. I thought we were going to have a good day and be in a good spot for Schluter Systems, Celsius, Spire Motorsports, Ryan Sparks and the No. 7 Chevy team. Hopefully that call for a Cup ride isn’t the only one I get in my life.”
Chevrolet Indycar at Detroit: Team Chevy Race Report
Proving both exciting and tricky from green flag to the checkered flag, Chevrolet raced to two of three positions on the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix podium in the hometown event for General Motors.
As the race returned to the streets of downtown Detroit for the first time in 32 years, Will Power, driver of the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, finished second, and Felix Rosenqvist, driver of the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, finishing third.
Discussing his race day and the tight racing that occurred, Power reflected on the 100-lap event saying, “It was a great day. Had a good strategy there with the red tires and tried everything to get (Alex Palou). Unfortunately, I didn’t know (Scott) Dixon was on my inside. I didn’t see the replay. I hope I didn’t do any damage to him and affect his race. Great day for the Verizon Chevy. Would love to get one step up on the podium.”
Also discussing tight racing with Arrow McLaren INDYCAR teammate Alexander Rossi, driver of the No. 7 Chevrolet, Rosenqvist noted “It was tight at the end, maybe a bit too tight for comfort. Unfortunately, we were in the situation now with Arrow McLaren that we’re fighting each other at the front almost every weekend. It’s a good problem to have, let’s say. Obviously, we don’t want to put each other into the wall or anything, but we raced each other really hard a couple of times, me and Alex (Rossi) all season.”
Further discussing the first event underneath the shadows of General Motors World Headquarters in over three decades, Rosenqvist said, “They did an awesome job here with this race at the waterfront in Detroit. I think it was a good show for the fans. They put this together in a pretty short time, so I’m just super happy to be part of this race.”
Up next for the Team Chevy drivers and teams is the Sonsio Grand Prix of Road America Sunday, June 18. With 55 laps, or 220.55 miles, determining the winner in Wisconsin, the race broadcast airs live Sunday starting at 1 p.m. ET on USA Network. Additional coverage is streamed by Peacock, and also with radio coverage from INDYCAR Radio and SiriusXM Channel 160.
TEAM CHEVY TOP-10 RACE RESULT:
2nd Will Power
3rd Felix Rosenqvist
7th Scott McLaughlin
10th Josef Newgarden
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING (QUOTES)
Josef Newgarden, No. 2 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“I’ll be honest I’m ready to get to Nashville, hang out with Kota and Ashley and rest for a couple days. It’s been a long week where I wasn’t able to fully tune into the team. For us to come here – a brand new circuit, make the Firestone Fast Six and have a shot at a top-five finish shows the makeup of this Hitachi Chevy team. It got a little rough out there at times and we were on the receiving end of it, but you’ll have that on a street course. That stuff always comes back on you, like it did later in the race. Aside from all that, to see what kind of event this city just put on is incredible. There will be key learnings that are taken away to make it better for the future, but everyone involved should be thrilled with how the first year came off.”
Scott McLaughlin, No. 3 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“The incident with Grosjean basically destroyed our day. Getting into turn 1 – pit exit is a little bit awkward, but he just drove straight for the apex. I was already committed, braking as deep as I could, and he just drove straight to the apex. I had nowhere to go. It’s the duty of all of us to get out of that area cleanly and I don’t think he cared where I was and turned across my nose. It is what it is. That Gallagher Chevy was fast. We hammered through those last few restarts. I think we started 12th and came through to seventh. It was definitely a reasonable recovery but overall, pretty gutted with the day.”
Will Power, No. 12 Chevrolet at Team Penske:
“It was a great day. Had a good strategy there with the red tires and tried everything to get (Alex Palou). Unfortunately, I didn’t know (Scott) Dixon was on my inside. I didn’t see the replay. I hope I didn’t do any damage to him and affect his race. Great day for the Verizon Chevy. Would love to get one step up on the podium. Seconds aren’t what you look back on when you lose a championship. You had to be aggressive (today) to keep position and get position. This is IndyCar these days. So tough, so many good drivers. You fight for every inch.”
Pato O’Ward, No. 5 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“Well, I got into the marbles when I had to get by Santino (Ferrucci) because if (Alex) Palou would get us we were going to go a lap down. My push-to-pass was disabled, as expected, because we were lap down. I was pretty boxed in as to what I could do, and it was either race over or trying to get passed but ended up being raced over. It is what it is. Honestly, our race went upside down on that pitstop and all downhill from there. We’ll move on to Road America.”
Felix Rosenqvist, No. 6 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“I mean, I was on the inside and (Alexander Rossi) squeezed me quite a lot on the first apex. I had to run into him otherwise I was going to clip the left wall, and on the exit, you’re just racing out of the corner. I think I was a fair bit ahead, so he played it hard on entry and I played it hard on exit. So I think it was fair. We’ll discuss it. It’s never optimal to do that with teammates, but if you race hard, you have to race hard back. It’s all good. It’s always tough out there in IndyCar. I shouldn’t be ashamed of being elbows out. I think it was all fair play. It’s tough. Obviously, I don’t want to race teammates too much, it’s never fun, but that’s the way it is. That’s IndyCar.”
“It was tight at the end, maybe a bit too tight for comfort. Unfortunately, we were in the situation now with Arrow McLaren that we’re fighting each other at the front almost every weekend. It’s a good problem to have, let’s say. Obviously, we don’t want to put each other into the wall or anything, but we raced each other really hard a couple of times, me and Alex (Rossi) all season. Unfortunate and good at the same time but I was happy to see he didn’t fall back too much in the field. He was struggling a bit after the restart and we were quite a bit quicker. I was on the inside, and he gave me not enough room on the entry, and you know I think he played it hard on entry, I played it hard on exit so it was kind of fair, I’d say. We, obviously, don’t want to have that situation. It’s something we’ll talk about internally.”
"That was a hell of a race, I’ve got to say. They did an awesome job here with this race at the waterfront in Detroit. I think it was a good show for the fans. They put this together in a pretty short time, so I’m just super happy to be part of this race. Arrow McLaren, we were up there fighting for the podium again, so it’s just phenomenal."
Alexander Rossi, No. 7 Chevrolet at Arrow McLaren INDYCAR:
“I mean, it's tight. We all knew it was going to be chaotic around here, but I think the race went on very well from our side. Starting 13th, we had a hole to dig ourselves out of. The team did a great job from a car setup standpoint, strategy was great stops were great. We kind of inherited second when there was a bit of a melee, and then we just ended up kind of back where we started. So, we struggled to switch tires on restarts, we'll look into that. And yeah, taking our top-five and move on to Road America.”
“I mean, I really enjoyed this whole weekend. You know, I think, you know, the city of Detroit and Penske Corp and GM did an amazing job with this facility and the fan turnout was amazing. So I know there was a lot of kind of suspicions going into it, but I thought it was a good race. In certainly next year, we'll have a better idea of what we need to do to be better but you know, I think that was another classic IndyCar race and hopefully everyone enjoyed it.”
Conor Daly, No. 20 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
"After sorting through some of that chaos at the beginning of the race, we weren’t bad. We were trying to run with Rinus (VeeKay) but had to switch to the other strategy pretty quickly. We just lost out a little bit on some of the strategy side of the race. At the end, the car was good enough to make some moves on some people and try to improve our position. Not the most fun racetrack, but we salvaged something today. This is one of of our better street course finishes in a while, so that is good."
Rinus VeeKay, No. 21 Chevrolet at Ed Carpenter Racing:
“I worked pretty hard and was in the Top 10 quite a bit. On the last restart, I was hit from behind and lost momentum. I had to go on the defense there and got too many marbles on my tires, then I couldn’t turn anymore. It was tough. I struggled to keep my car on the track, which I did, but it was only enough for P18. There was way more in the car. I am very bummed. I learned a lot and it is nice to have a weekend off before Road America."
Santino Ferrucci, No. 14 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:
“Very uneventful day for us in the 14 Chevy. Brake bias adjuster broke probably first or second stint. Just got locked out at 63 percent. Nothing I could do, just lost all front grip, calipers got hot, pedal got really long. So it just made it for a difficult day. Just need to regroup after this weekend and figure out where our car is at and move on to Road America.”
Benjamin Pedersen, No. 55 Chevrolet at AJ Foyt Racing:
“Pretty eventful day. Honestly, it was looking really good. We were on track to likely get into the top-10. Unfortunately got caught up in a collision with other cars with some tricky circumstances that happened on the track that were out of my control, and ultimately led up to a bit of collisions. We’ll look into why that happened, but we were able to get the car restarted and going right away. The team did a great job recovering, and making changes right away in pit lane. P20 in the end, ahead of quite a few guys who are around me in the championship, so we’ll move up a little more. It’s a little bittersweet today, because we had very good pace. We’re coming forward with the set up, we just need a little luck to come our way. On to Road America testing and the next event.”
Callum Ilott, No. 77 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:
“Pretty premature end to our race. I feel quite bad. Just misjudged it on the last part of the braking. The cars in front, unfortunately it was Kyle (Kirkwood), and I clipped his wheel and took off. To be fair, I wasn’t carrying too much speed compared to him, but as soon as I hit the wheel, it took off. Big shame. Sorry to the team and to Kyle (Kirkwood). I think we would have had a good result. The car was quick. I felt quick in warm up, so big shame but you live and learn, and on to the next one.”
Agustin Canapino, No. 78 Chevrolet at Juncos Hollinger Racing:
“We did a great race today. I’m really happy and for the guys, the team, that was really good racing because we crashed on Friday, and now we finish P14. Doing really good, a lot of good overtakes, fighting with some guys at the top teams. I’m really happy for the rest of today.”
FELIX ROSENQVIST, NO. 6 ARROW MCLAREN CHEVROLET, and WILL POWER, NO. 12 TEAM PENSKE CHEVROLET – End of Day Press Conference:
THE MODERATOR: We are joined now by the second-place finisher and last year's winner of this event, Will Power.
Second podium of the season for you. Some craziness there at the end. Pleased with your podium today?
WILL POWER: Yeah, very satisfied. Good strategy. I mean, starting on the blacks, everything played out as we thought. I guess we were worried when the yellow came. Everyone packs up. But then we got a yellow again, so that kind of helped us. We had 10 laps to push hard. I got Palou on the restart. Then they went off, he got me back. Yeah, I couldn't get him. I tried everything.
I think my one chance was when Dixon got into me a little bit, I was trying to switch back and get a run, get him into four. Apart from that, yeah, the next restart was in third so I didn't have another shot at him.
Very good job. Man, you're never looking back on seconds as a bad day. Although the guy I was needing to close points to was the guy that won. We limited the damage.
THE MODERATOR: Consistency was your key last year, too.
WILL POWER: Yeah, that's why I kick myself for the tiniest mistake at Indy. Caught me a chance to win. Just got the wall. That was a big chunk of points.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Will Power.
Q. Was that one of the most aggressive drives you've had in the last couple years? When you were coming up through the field, it was pretty fierce.
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, no, pretty measured moves. But yeah, I was never going to do something that I didn't feel was going to be pulled off. I've been around too long to try that.
Yeah, we're in the situation to be aggressive. That's why we start on blacks. We're too far back to try to play conservative. We've got to attack every chance. That's why I'm trying to do as hard as I can right now.
Q. Went up on two wheels there. It was obvious what you were trying to do. What comes over you guys going into a turn like that with a race on the line?
WILL POWER: For me, it was just trying my absolute best to get Palou in a clean way. I wasn't going to do any sort of dive bomb.
Yeah, as it gets down to it, depending on who's in the game, obviously Palou had the most to lose because he's leading by a chunk, but there's a few guys in there that don't have as much to lose. I was one of 'em. I'm thinking in my head I've got to try to get this guy, if I can, to limit the damage.
Q. Do you ever think, We put on a heck of a show?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I did. I said it coming up the elevator, It's a pretty good race from the outside. Some pretty big moves in there from people. I can't imagine what it was like back in the pack. Looked like it was a great race.
THE MODERATOR: Also joined by the third-place finisher, Felix Rosenqvist. First podium of the season, fifth of his career.
Felix, great way to finish out this weekend for you.
FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah, that was an awesome race. I have to say, I was really impressed what GM and Chevy have done to make this happen. There was some criticism to start the weekend, but it all played out really nicely. I have to say it was a fun racetrack, it raced really well.
That long straightaway, we picked a low downforce option and we were able to pass on cars at the end of the straight. Yeah, it was awesome. I thought it wasn't going to be a lot of passing, but it raced super well. Big thanks to GM and Chevy.
Yeah, good race. I thought it was good to be back on the podium. It's been a while. We'll take that.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions.
Q. Will, when you won last year at Belle Isle, you used the alternates on the last stint of the race. What was the reason you went for the alternates the second stint this time around?
WILL POWER: Yeah, to protect from losing too much 'cause if they happen to go off badly, you have a full stint, the last stint was going to be the longest because you're always going to pit on the early side and save fuel for the chance of getting caught by a yellow and the pits are closing, you're done, everyone's got you. That was the reason.
Try to minimize the amount of laps basically.
Q. Felix, how great is it you have the momentum coming in now going into Road America?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: I think we needed it. We've been pretty much up there every weekend. We had three DNFs which hurt.
It seems this year in the championship a lot of the top runners have had tough races as well. I think we can recover if we keep the momentum going.
It's nice. I think all the boys and girls on the 6 car, Arrow McLaren, really deserved it. We've been up there sniffing for a long time. Hasn't worked out.
It was a fun race. Felt like we were just quick all through it. We went up every stage of race. We were in a position where we could maybe win it in the end. Yeah, it was a bit dicey on the restarts in the end. The second to last there, Dixon went wide. I had to grab the clutch. I think Will had the same. That potentially could have cost us a bit.
I'm happy to finish on the podium after all the close calls.
Q. Felix, the thing with Rossi at the end. You have been racing around each other all year. A thing at Toronto. Have you talked to him before? How do you work through it?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: I mean, we race hard, but I think we also race fair. Obviously we like each other. We don't have any intentions to put each other in the wall.
But, yeah, it was tight. I think the move wasn't really high-risk. I was completely alongside him into three. Yeah, just gets tight, man. It's so close. He squeezed me a little bit on entry, I squeezed him a little bit on exit.
Yeah, I think it's a good problem to have. The Arrow McLaren cars have been up there every race. You're going to find yourself in a situation where you're fighting teammates. I think it's something we'll discuss internally if we can manage it differently. Obviously there were no team calls on this one, which is cool. They let us battle it out on the track.
I think Will can explain how it works when you have a lot of good cars at the front. It's good problems to have.
Q. Will, can you give us the entire Flavor Flav story, how he got your T-shirt?
WILL POWER: I was just sitting and talking to Roger and Tim yesterday. No, we were watching an interview of Kevin Lee, an interview of Flavor Flav. I said, If he's here, he's got to come over.
I got to meet him. Then he came on to my truck. He had the Will Power shirt on. His girlfriend had the same. A couple of my boys from Toowoomba said, You have made it. We all listened to Public Enemy in the '90s. Flavor Flav was someone I thought I would never meet.
He is the most (indiscernible) dude you will ever meet. I thought he was going to come to the podium. I think if I won, he would have.
Pretty cool experience. Pretty cool to put it on your personal Facebook. All your friends that you went to school with, This man is big-time, he's hanging out with Flavor Flav.
I sat next to Ice-T at dinner. I have also had dinner with Slash from Guns N' Roses. No one cares about race cars or I won the Indy 500, it's like, You had dinner with Slash, you know Flavor Flav.
Q. Did he buy the T-shirt?
WILL POWER: I think he went to the (indiscernible) and bought the T-shirts.
Q. Do you have a favorite Public Enemy song or album?
WILL POWER: I said this morning to Flavor Flav, People today are going to have to fight the power. That's what I said. It was true. They have to fight the power.
Q. (No microphone.)
WILL POWER: Yeah, he lives here. Should get Eminem. I'm more of a '90s rap guy. If I met Eminem, that would be epic. If I could meet Ice Cube or Snoop Dogg in Long Beach. Why doesn't someone bring them to Long Beach? Maybe they should have an Ice Cube day. It would be dope.
Q. (No microphone.)
FELIX ROSENQVIST: I'm older than you think (smiling). I'm 10 years older than Pato, nine maybe. I'm getting there.
THE MODERATOR: This is your wheelhouse? Something you understand?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah.
Q. The fact that you said it needs to be discussed internally, you're racing for position at the end of the race, racing for a victory. What is there a reason to discuss?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: I don't know. I mean, we'll talk about it. As I said, I didn't think committing to the move was high risk. I wouldn't want to do it high risk. With a teammate, you never want to.
Yeah, we'll talk about it. We'll get through it. Alex is a good dude. As I say, we've been fighting each other before, and a lot this year. We've pretty much been around each other all season.
Yeah, we're probably going to keep doing it.
Q. He squeezed you going in, you kind of squeezed him going out, but nobody hit the wall.
FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah, I mean, I think he actually hit the wall, but I think he got out in the marbles. I think it's a good thing he was able to get back in.
I have to say, I pretty much didn't have any more room on entry. I was just trying to not go into the wall on apex. After that, I just tried to get out of the corner as quick as I can, give him the room he needed.
As I say, we'll talk about it. No biggie. I'm just happy we both finished up front, so...
Q. People criticized this track. When did it become apparent to y'all it turned into a pretty good racetrack? Did it become apparent yesterday or in the race?
WILL POWER: Yeah, like second session you started to like it, like the challenge of it. Yeah, racing perspective, having that long straight with the hairpin is definitely good. I think next year if they resurface the second half of the straight you would have more passing. It was tough to go on the outside.
FELIX ROSENQVIST: Yeah, I think the track really came alive during the race. It seems like this track, every session the track goes more slippery. As you do more laps it gets grippier and grippier, more than other street courses.
I thought during the race it really came alive. It was cool. The steering was heavy, you're carrying a lot of speed. Even on full tanks, we were doing like qualifying lap times.
This is cool, you're doing some good corner speeds. You have to be so focused. Bouncing between the walls, it's insane how much effort goes into it mentally to do a hundred laps out there, especially when you have to race other guys around you.
I think it was a cool challenge and awesome show for everyone.
Q. You said it got really grippy. We also saw a couple drivers that got a hair offline, found themselves in the wall. Was it that slick out there because of the marbles or that much different based on what had built up?
FELIX ROSENQVIST: If you go out there, it's not fun. You don't want to be offline there.
But I think surprisingly on the braking, the inside line was really good. We have some tracks like St. Pete, if you do a dive bomb into one, you just go straight because there's so many marbles. Actually here was fairly clean.
I don't think the fact that we all like swerved left on the straight was actually good for the marble pickup, allowed you to do some good passing.
You have no doubt heard Robert Burns’ phrase, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” That certainly could have labeled the start of Grant Sexton’s night at the annual Salute to Indy at Perris Auto Speedway. However, in typical Sexton fashion, the 18-year-old turned a negative into a positive by placing ninth and winning the “In Memory of Jim and Chet Gardner Hard Charger Award” by coming from last to finish ninth in the 30-lap main event.
The scenario began when the Sexton Gatlin Racing team hauled four cars to Perris for the important night of racing. Included were Grant’s #22 410 USAC/CRA sprint car, a #22 360 sprint car that his father Brent was going to race in The PAS Senior Sprints, a #44 POWRI Southwest Lightning Sprint for Brent, and a #3 for Geoff Dale to race in the lightning sprints as well.
Grant came into the night leading the Rookie of the Year points chase. However, disaster struck almost immediately when his oil pump broke. When repairs could not be made, he jumped into the 360 Brent was slated to drive in the Seniors. At the time, it seemed like he was bringing a knife to a gunfight giving up 50 cubic inches and a lot of horsepower to his competitors in USAC/CRA. It appeared he would go out and make some laps and score minimal points.
With everything going on in the pits, Grant missed qualifying. That was followed by a seventh-place finish in his nine-car heat race. The handwriting appeared to be on the wall. Then again, heat races and qualifying do not pay a lot of points. It is all about the main event.
For the 30-lap main, Grant started dead last in the 18th spot. Once again, he was giving up cubic inches and all that horsepower. Even though he is a talented young driver, just like his heat race the odds were stacked against him. Apparently, nobody told that to the affable teen. He kept out of trouble – and there was a lot of that going on in the race – and began to move forward. In the race’s late stages, he swept into the 10th spot and when the Steve Russell checkered flag ended the race, he was in ninth.
In addition to being the Rookie of the Year point leader, Grant jumped another spot in the standings and is now eighth in USAC/CRA points. Next up for him will be the Bubby Jones/Ray Sheetz Memorial at Perris on June 10th.
On the POWRi Southwest Lightning Sprint Car portion of the program, Brent Sexton, the 2021 champion, and Dale gave a very good account of themselves. Brent, who won the last race at Perris on April 15th, started fifth in the heat race, and finished second. Dale, who was contesting his first-ever SWLS race, began the heat in seventh and finished sixth.
The two drivers started in the same spots in the 20-lap main event. Brent moved forward early on and was looking fast. However, in the latter stages of the main event, it became obvious that he was losing speed. He managed to hang onto the second-place spot. When the crew examined the car in the pits after the race, they found the culprit of his decreasing momentum. He had a badly cracked front axle.
Dale gave a great account of himself. Picking up speed throughout the night, he ended up finishing fourth and nabbed the race “Hard Charger” award.
Sexton Gatlin Racing would like to thank the following companies for making the 2022 season possible. Keys Brothers, East County Electric Works, Maxima Oil, Automated Interiors, Sexton Fire Protection, BK Wings, Troy Dirt, Victory Graphix, and Swift Powdercoat.