SRT Motorsports – Nationwide Post Race Quotes – Road America

Friday, June 23, 2012

Dodge PR – Sargento 200 – Road America

NASCAR Nationwide Series

CarParts.com
American Muscle

Post-Race Quotes

http://twitter.com/teamdodge, www.media.chrysler.com, www.drivesrt.com

Jacques Villeneuve (No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger) Finished 6th “It had nothing to do with me and the 7 car (Danica Patrick); it was just (Max) Papis down the straight.  I guess he wanted to get behind Danica and hit me, put me in the grass just when we hit the brakes. Nothing to do; I was in my place so then I couldn’t slow down because of that.  That’s all.”

TALK ABOUT THE INCIDENT THERE TOWARD THE END OF THE RACE.  “Well we were racing hard and I wasn’t fighting with Danica.  I was fighting with Max Papis and just before the braking, I guess he wanted to cross over and go to the inside of Danica.  He probably didn’t know I was there, so it pushed me in the grass.  You don’t slow down that much in the grass, so by that time I was on the racetrack again, I was going a little bit faster than Danica.  That’s all.”

YOU HAD A VERY STRONG DODGE CHALLENGER TODAY.  “The car was better.  I got pushed around halfway through the race and then the steering was bent.  I was being hit this year so that’s fine.  I was trying to stay clean and not hit anyone.  I guess no one was being hit a little bit and at the end, because of that, I ended up running into Danica.  At least this time it had nothing to do with me.  It was really good until we got it bent.  After that it was just lacking a little bit to race the other guys in front.”

WHERE DID YOU BEND UP THE CAR?  “Turn five, when McDowell got into me coming out of the corner.”

Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger) Finished 5th “We had a good car all day long; we just didn’t have the track position that we needed.  Chad (Walter, crew chief) made a good call. We’re trying to run for points which I think everybody that finished ahead of us is not in that same situation but even a few cars right behind us weren’t.  We ended up catching up to the 7 and the 33 (Papis) and the 11 (Brian Scott) and the 22.  I was kind of trying to make a decision on how hard should I race these guys because the 7 and the 33 were hitting each other pretty hard.  I‘m like I don’t want to get in the middle of this.  We’ve come too far and we almost ended up getting involved in it anyhow.  I was able to get around Brian and go into Turn 5 right behind all the fray.  I got through that without running into Danica and I got a good run on Jacques coming through the kink. I was able to out-brake him, which watching the race last year, he was out-braking everybody in the corners.  I was about ready to scream for joy right when that happened.  The Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger ran good and I kept it on the track all day long. That’s what I wanted to do.

“We had a good point’s day.  Hopefully we’ll elevate our game on the ovals as well as we did here on the road course today and just keep working away at it.”

“The last restart I got to the outside of the 81 (Jason Bowles).  The 81 kind of blocked me going down into Turn 5, so I went to the outside of him and all of sudden he just doored me.  I think he got hit from the inside.  I’m like, I’ve tried so hard to not hit anybody and just to be smart about how we run today.  The only time I actually got into anybody is coming off the corner where they end up getting some wheel spin and would stop moving.  I’d kind of give ‘em the boost that they needed to get going again.  I’m like that’s not what I want ‘cause all that did was help ‘em get to the next corner ahead of me.  We had a fun day and only got in the rear bumper a couple times so that must have meant that we were pretty quick.”

DID YOU THINK YOU WERE SUNK WHEN YOU HAD TO MAKE THE EXTRA PIT STOP EARLY IN THE RACE?  “Well I didn’t think we were in good position by any means.  The way I looked at it was we knew how far we had to make it and, lo and behold, there are no yellows then.  You know, it’s like we knew what we wanted to get to so that we made enough laps, had enough fuel to go the distance and not run out if we had green-white-checkered (finishes).  Then, we don’t have any.  If we would have come in where we were at and did all the things, we might have got a bit more out of it but you don’t know what’s going to happen.  Chad made the right call making sure that we had green-white-checkereds (covered) and then I drove my butt off to get us up to fifth.”

IT LOOKED LIKE YOU WERE IN A TIGHT SPOT IN THE CLOSING LAPS.  YOU WERE ONE OF FIVE CARS RACING FOR FOURTH-PLACE.  “I sure was.  I couldn’t race those guys the way that you would want to because I have a lot more to lose.  I know Danica is running for points but she’s not fourth in points and chasing down a championship.  She’s able to run a little bit harder and Max (Papis), Jacques (Villeneuve) they’re coming to run the road courses and see what happens.  It’s kind of like you’ve got one hand tied behind your back.  At least I didn’t put myself there.

“I just tried to play it smart and it worked out.  I got around the 7 and then I pressured the 22 enough to get him a little bit loose in the kink.  Jacques is a hell of a driver, so anytime I can pass him on the last lap when he’s still on the track, that’s good.”

VILLENEUVE PASSED YOU WITH TWO  LAPS TO GO.  HOW DID YOU PASS HIM BACK?  “Well, he got a run on me and I didn’t want to press it because the 33 and the 7 were already beating the crap out of each other.  So I’m like I am not going to be a part of this.  I’ve come too far.  If I have to finish seventh, that’s where I’m going to finish and he got ahead of me.  I don’t know how that whole thing worked out ‘cause I was trying to do everything I could do to not run into him when the 33, 7 and 22 got into each other going down into (Turn) five.  And then I got around the 7 and got a good run on Jacques through the kink and was able to out-brake him into the Canada corner which felt pretty damn good.”

MEDIA CENTER INTERVIEW

Hornish Jr. “We had a pretty good day all-in-all.  We were forced into a strategy where we wanted to make sure that we had enough fuel to cover green-white-checkerds so we stayed out a little longer.  We were able to lead a couple laps because of it then we pitted.  I think we came out 18th with 13 or so to go, maybe a little bit more than that, and we were able to work our way up to fifth.  We were just trying to play it smart all day long, keep the car on the racetrack.  That was my goal for the weekend – just make sure that we weren’t sitting in any sand traps.  So, I’m really happy about that and to be able to pass some really good road racers there towards the end I feel like it was pretty good.  We were just trying to be really smart and as you can see up there, there are some guys running into each other on the last lap.  I did everything I could do to try to stay out of that.  We’ve got to run for points, so to be able to have the kind of day that we did I’m super-happy about it.  I’m looking forward to the next road course because I had such a great day today.”

WHAT WAS IT LIKE RACING AGAINST VILLENEUVE?  “I thought it was great fun racing against him.  I got to pass him on the last lap.  If I can out-brake him going into Canada Corner I feel pretty good about it.”

WHAT WAS THE PIT STOP STRATEGY GIVEN THAT LAST YEAR’S RACE HAD MULTIPLE GREEN-WHITE-CHECKEREDS?  “With us running for a championship, we have to make sure that we planned for worst-case scenario, which would be three green-white-checkereds which is exactly what happened last year.  I’m not sure about the year before that but I’m pretty sure there were at least one or two.  Obviously, we didn’t have any today.  The yellows fell at just the wrong spot for us.  We hurt ourselves a little bit early in the race leaving with the catch can still in car, had to do a stop-and-go penalty but that really didn’t have that much of an effect on us.  We were stuck on a strategy.  We knew that we weren’t going to stop before lap 34 and that’s where we had to go to be able to accommodate everything (race extended).  And we’re racing for points so I’m kind of glad that it all worked out ‘cause you don’t know what might have happened if we would have played the strategy that the race-winning cars and most of the guys in the top five did.  We don’t have that luxury.  We’re out here running every weekend and we’re running hard for a championship.  We had a great point’s day because of it.  We closed up on everybody that we’re racing for a championship,  We haven’t performed as we wanted to on the ovals so if we have to take it to the road courses, that’s where we’ll try to do our best.  I’m looking forward to going to Montreal. I hadn’t had the opportunity to be here at Road America or Montreal for 13 years.  I got to watch these races on TV over the last couple years and really remember some of the fun times running at these racetracks in the Atlantic Series.  I’m just looking forward to getting some more of ‘em in and hopefully getting our oval program stepped up to the point where we feel like we can actually gain points on those days as well.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here