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Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach – Drivers’ Post Race Notes & Quotes

TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH POST RACE NOTES:

  • This is Mike Conway’s first win of 2014 and the third win of his Indy car career. His first win came here in Long Beach in 2011. He also won at Belle Isle-1 in Detroit in 2013.
  • This is Ed Carpenter Racing’s second win in the Verizon IndyCar Series. It previously won with Ed Carpenter Racing at Auto Club Speedway in 2012.
  • Will Power finished second, his second podium finish of 2014 and his sixth podium finish in nine starts at Long Beach.
  • Power has now finished either first or second in last four IndyCar Series races and is the current points leader with 93 points.
  • Carlos Munoz finished third, his second podium in five Verizon IndyCar Series starts. He previously finished on the podium at Indianapolis where he finished second.
  • Juan Pablo Montoya finished a season-best fourth, his second top-five finish in three starts at Long Beach.
  • Simon Pagenaud finished fifth, his second top-five finish at Long Beach in four starts.

TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH QUICK QUOTES:

MIKE CONWAY (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): ”I can’t believe it. I can’t believe I’m actually here (in Victory Lane). Just an awesome job by the team. I can’t believe it. Two times a Long Beach winner. It’s unbelievable. It’s good to be back here. My face is somewhere over there. Now there will be two of them.” (How are you here after braking your front wing on Lap 1?): “You never know where you’re going to be, so you just have to push as hard as you can all the time. I pushed because I knew Will (Power) was going to be close and he was good off the last corner. I knew I had to keep it clean there. I wasn’t sure Scott (Dixon) was going to pull in there. I couldn’t see he was saving fuel where he should have been saving. Second would have been good, but awesome. Awesome.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): (About getting through the incident on Lap 56) “I could see that whole thing happening because when (Ryan) Hunter-Reay went to go up the inside (of  Josef Newgarden) he wasn’t quite there. I was hanging back and waiting for something to happen because they were all on cold tires. A good day. I regret not using that Push-To-Pass on that last restart. I thought I’d save it and get Mike (Conway) later, but he was quick and a deserving winner.” (About incident with Simon Pagenaud post race): “”Man, I’m really sorry about what happened. I honestly thought he had a problem because he went back really slowly and so I went up his inside and then realized he was just going to turn and try to back out. I got him. My bad. I feel bad. I don’t like to be raced like that and I’m surprised I didn’t get a penalty. But I honestly thought he had a flat tire or something because he was really slow and I didn’t understand why. My bad.” (He seemed quite angry. Did he not want to hear your apology?): “He should be angry. I’d be the same.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 34 Cinsay AndrettiTV.com HVM Honda): ”It went pretty well. It’s not the way I’d like to earn my third place with so many accidents, but this is racing. Anything can happen, especially on this track, especially in IndyCar, anything can happen. But I’m really happy. It was a really nice race. In the first turn we were struggling a lot with the rear tires. I was fighting with the car trying to maintain the position. After that my guys, my crew guys did an awesome job on the pit stops and everything.

You know, I just pushed pretty hard on the last two laps to try to overtake Will, but it was really difficult. Even though I had some push to pass. But I’m happy, second podium in the IndyCar, and first podium this year. So I’m going to keep pushing.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): ”It was a tough situation for the Target team to be in there leading at the end and not make it. We ended up being about a half of a lap short on fuel and didn’t get a break with a yellow flag. We could have stayed out and tried it but then we would have risked running out of fuel and wrecking the field. I feel bad for the accident with Justin Wilson. I didn’t expect him to be there on the outside so I will go talk to him. Not the day we wanted but we’ll regroup and be ready for Barber.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): ”My wrist is a little sore from the accident. It’s a shame for the Target team. They told me to take it easy on the radio when the accident happened but I guess I didn’t take it easy enough. I didn’t expect to have four cars there and when Sato hit, I couldn’t avoid it. It’s a shame overall but we were up there and what ever happened there in front of us today didn’t look smart.”

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 8 TNT Energy Drink Chevrolet): “We had some major mechanical issues throughout the race and we thought we might actually be done for the day. We came back to the garage and our engineers were able to work with the Chevy engineers to get some things figured out and we were able to get back out there to make up some positions. Obviously finishing 17th isn’t where we wanted to be, but it is encouraging that we were able to get back out there and get back some points. It’s just disappointing because Long Beach is one of my favorite races and we had such a good start by making up all of those positions so early.”

JACK HAWKSWORTH (No. 98 Charter/Castrol Edge Honda): ”It was a disappointing end to the day, getting taken out by the accident. It’s a shame. We struggled a little bit for speed in the race but we were hanging up front. Thanks to the team for all the hard work. They put in a big effort and it’s a shame we didn’t get the result.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “We’re not sure what exactly happened today with the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet yet. We still need to get the car back and look over all of the data to figure out the exact problem. We started the race out exactly as we planned by picking up a lot of spots early and getting through the standing starts cleanly. The Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew did a great job in pit lane by getting me in and out quickly and just as the yellow fell. We had the right pace and the right tires to run a good race today, it just didn’t go our way with mechanical issues. The team did a great job today and even though it wasn’t a great end to our weekend in Long Beach, I’m confident going into Barber here in a few weeks.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 AAA Southern California Chevrolet): “The Automobile of Southern California boys did a great job. Unfortunately we got caught up in an accident in Turn 4. That was very disappointing. Then we got a penalty on one of the restarts late in the race. We need to figure out what happened with that. It was a very crazy race after the crash. We were taking it easy trying to save the car. We were just saving fuel and trying to make it to the end. It was a great job by everyone at Team Penske. Now let’s go to Barber.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): ”Tough weekend for us but thank you for all the support from the fans this weekend. Really tough weekend, didn’t get away on the start. There was a lot of congestion at the fountain & I got hit from behind into the car ahead & it damaged the wing. It was unavoidable. The strategy worked in our favor & we were able to move up positions. The car was better today too. Unfortunately when I turned into Turn 4 there were 3 cars tangled together and I couldn’t avoid it and I clipped it and that was the end of our race. Very disappointing. But we have to take the positives from this race to the next round.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 Snapple Honda): ”Definitely not as high as I would have liked but I’m not sure we had more, that’s the unfortunate part. That’s what I’m really bummed about. I think we need to definitely find some pace so I’m really disappointed. And then I misjudged and lost the front wing on one of the hair pin passes. So overall not the day we were looking for with the Snapple car, but we’ll move ahead to Barber.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Mistic KVSH Racing Chevrolet): This one really hurts. I had a great car and I just made a mistake. The rear tires were going during the first stint and I started compensating with brake bias. When we put on new tires for the second stint I wound it back a bit, but not enough. During the out lap the rear tires were coming in, but the fronts were still not in. I touched the brake pedal and didn’t even slow down. I didn’t brake late, but was nowhere near making the corner. It was a very bad judgment call. I want to thank my sponsor Mistic Electronic Cigarettes for all their support this weekend. I also especially want to thank the crew for sticking with it all day. It is just the second race and we know we are fast. We will make this work together as a team.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): ”That was an interesting race. What an amazing team and I really have to thank Verizon and Chevy. I could’ve been a little more aggressive at the end but I really wanted to make sure we didn’t get in any trouble and got a decent finish in the Verizon car. We had some close calls out there but we kept pushing and to come out of Long Beach with a top-five finish is pretty good.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): ”It’s a tough day. It’s a difficult day when you have an incident, especially at the front. I never expected to leave here with a crashed race car. There are positives to take away. We had an incredible car, the crew was solid all weekend. When you leave [the pits] on cold tires and you have guys coming up behind you on hots you’re definitely a sitting duck. The problem is, we just came out of the pits, we got the lead, you’re struggling to control the car because you’re on cold tires. It’s too difficult to place the car. On top of that, an incident in Turn 4 should never happen. You just can’t pass in 4 no matter what, it’s never happened before, it just doesn’t work. So I was surprised that we ended up in the fence. It definitely ruined a lot of guysdays. It’s just a shame for us that it had to happen there. I knew we were a sitting duck probably later on in the lap, but would have never expected something to happen in Turn 4.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 AFS KVAFS Racing Chevrolet): ”It was quite an interesting race. I made a big mistake at the start, stalling the car, but we kept calm and focused. We had a great car with great pace and that enabled me to move back through the field. I was also able to capitalise on the mistakes by others. Unfortunately with 10 laps to go we had a mechanical situation and then our main goal was to bring the car home. I was able to pick up some great points and am real proud of all of the KV AFS crew for keeping their heads in the game and not panicking when we got into those situations. I also need to thank my engineer for a great strategy and for getting me back in the race. We move on to Barber in a couple of weeks and I look forward to getting another great result.”

CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): ”The race was good and the pace was good. The pace on the black tires was pretty OK, you know, not fantastic and then we switched to reds. It took four or five laps to get good and then the pace was good. I was able to follow the people in front of me. We mostly moved up through strategy. It is really difficult to pass here.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 National Guard Honda): ”It was a crazy day for us. The National Guard guys did a great job for us. I must say the engineering staff and all of the mechanics were down because we were starting where we did and to charge up like that feels awfully good. When we stopped out strategy was working perfectly. We were able to click by guys, going and going. I hit Justin and they called a penalty on me and then I got hit by Aleshin and he doesn’t get a penalty. Same exact situation but I got one and he doesn’t. Honestly I feel like we had a great car today. The National Guard guys did a fantastic job and I really cant be disappointed. We could have won this race because the car was definitely quick enough but on a day like today, you just have to take what you’re given.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): ”It’s a tough break, just because obviously we didn’t have a great start, but we made some moves to get back up to P2 there, we were chasing Ryan and the Andretti Autosport cars were rocking it… and to be running up front in the United Fiber & Data car, we were so happy. I guess at the end of the day patience is a virtue and someone wasn’t very virtuous today and it cost both of us, and this team, a lot. I feel bad for everyone involved. I just sucks to throw away such a strong race. But we’ll bounce back and get the UFD car up front again. (About hand injury): “When I made contact, I was in full opposite (wheel) lock and the wheel just snapped around and sprained (my hand). Nothing is broken, so we’ll be OK I think.”

ORIOL SERVIA (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): ”It was one of those races where you feel frustrated no matter where you finish because I basically ran two thirds of the race with a broken front wing. I broke two front wings actually. On the first one, out of the hairpin I think Conway went into neutral or anti-stall because all of a sudden he slowed down when I was out of the hairpin so I kind of nailed him on exit and broke the front wing. We ran around 15 laps like that and I was really struggling so on the next pit stop we changed the front wing which cost us some positions but at least the car felt great then. And three laps into it, Marco tried a bonzai move in the hairpin and I had to move and hit Pagenaud and broke the second one so I was without a front wing again. I was amazed about how the car was still great. I had a lot of under steer but I was able to keep the pace. I wasn’t able to pass anybody because I was slow in the corners but the car was strong. It’s just frustrating because there was not one lap where I could show how fast the car was and I think it was really fast. It’s encouraging that we found a good pace for the next street race, which I hope I will be in.”

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): ”The team did a fantastic job all day, had great pit stops, we had the fuel to make it to the end, we were making great fuel mileage under the yellows and great fuel mileage on track, and had a fantastic restart. I had a couple of looks, tried to go down the inside in turn one and got blocked, which is fine, he moved first, I went to the outside and got squeezed on the outside. I was like ‘hang on a minute.’ Then coming out of five the same thing happened. He [Dixon] chose the inside so I took the outside and nearly got put in the wall then so I did the old switchback out of six climbing the hill to seven and then to eight Scott had the inside but he wanted the outside as well and I got sandwiched between him and the wall, bent both sides of the car and the end of our day. I just feel for the Boy Scouts of America guys. We worked so hard, had fantastic strategy. We gambled and could make the mileage and we should have been at least on the podium. I think we are there and we have got what it takes. We have some great people and the car runs flawlessly and we are out there trying to win races. It is just frustrating when something like this is taken away from you.”

MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Honda): ”We had a really good day in Long Beach despite everything that happened in a very eventful race. We knew we were going to have good race pace after morning warmup when we finished sixth on the Firestone black tires. I had a good start in the race and gained two positions. We spent a lot of time fighting with the other drivers for every position we could get. Unfortunately our strategy got thrown off when I pitted only two laps before the first caution came out. On the second restart I broke my front wing because someone spun in front of me and there was nowhere to go. Our pace was really strong, and I think we had the third quickest lap time overall. It’s great to know that we had a pace to compete with everyone else today. I was able to pass several drivers and the big shunt in Turn 4 moved us up as well. On the last restart my teammate Simon (Pagenaud) got me. It was actually a really good move and showed me that I still have a lot to learn on the rolling restarts. Overall today was a very positive day and I want to congratulate the team on us getting our first Top 10 finish of the season. Now it’s time to relax and get ready for our oval test at Texas Motor Speedway this week. I have so much to learn on oval tracks and I need to use every opportunity in testing and practice before we get to our first oval race in Indianapolis.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): ”We had a strong car and (Josef) Newgarden came out of pit lane and I knew he was on cold tires. He was really struggling to get up to speed through Turn 1, and then through Turn 3 he had some wheel spin so I went for it. I started to back out because he was closing the door – I could have waited a little later, maybe that’s my fault but at the same time I had at least a half a car up along sides of him so I went for it. If we had given each other a little bit of room we both maybe would have gotten through there. It’s down to me to make the pass I guess, I’m not sure… a lot of people say that was my fault. I made the decision at that split second, when he had some wheel spin, to go for it knowing that I was on hot tires. That’s the type of driver I am, I go for it. I feel bad for everybody involved. Obviously it was a bit of a bottle neck there, and it got others involved that didn’t deserve to be involved and that’s what I feel really bad about. But thank you to DHL and Honda; the 28 car was so strong today… just very, very disappointed. I’ll look at it again, but a racing driver, when he’s in the moment, and he sees a chance to go for it… I went for it because I want to win the race.”

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Posted by on April 14, 2014. Filed under Breaking News,Indy Car. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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