Honda Indy Toronto Friday Press Conference
1st - Simon Pagenaud (Chevy)
2nd - Will Power (Chevy)
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with today's Verizon IndyCar Series post-practice press conference. Pleased to be joined now by Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, who finished second fastest overall in today's combined practice sessions. Will, I know that you finished kind of closer towards the bottom of the practice charts earlier today. I imagine you were probably trying a few things for the race, but able to show some speed in the second practice. How did your day go today, and what did you figure out that might help you in qualifying tomorrow?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, no, it's been great. It's been fun. I had French food last night, too, so that was nice. And I want to thank you. I see it's very busy here, so thanks for being here.
The car has been phenomenal the whole day. I feel very comfortable. It's great to be back in Toronto. This track is so much fun to drive on because it's different to other tracks. Here it's very low grip. You slide around in the corners. The tarmac changes throughout the corner, and it's giving you a great challenge. I really enjoy that. I really do. Every corner is different. You need to change your driving, corners to corners. It's not boring, I can tell you that.
I'm excited. I think, again, the DXC car is really good. Obviously the track is changing as all the series go on, so we're going to need to follow the track, but I think we've started right where we need to be. Obviously the difficult part from now on is to find the magic setup on the car for the red tires, and like Will said, there's quite a bit of a difference on the balance from the black tires to the reds. We'll see. I think we're okay, but I think that's going to be the tough part.
THE MODERATOR: You mentioned in one of your pre-race quotes that you don't feel like you've had the best luck here in terms of strategy.
SIMON PAGENAUD: No, this track has been funny to me. It's been interesting; we've never had much luck here with strategies throughout the years, since 2012. Hopefully it's not a common trend because I'm hoping that this year is going to be a good one. But we've always been very competitive, and Toronto always has a twist in strategy and on the race and whatever happens. Like I said, that's probably due to the grip changes throughout the corners that makes our life very difficult. We'll see. Hopefully we're on the right side of strategy this time.
THE MODERATOR: Changing subjects just a little bit, we all know how busy you drivers are throughout the season, but this week in particular was quite busy for you. You went straight from the Iowa Corn 300 on Sunday straight to LA for the ESPYs, arrived here I imagine probably yesterday for the race here, the Honda Indy Toronto. Tell us about your experience out in LA and just the go, go, go nature of that experience.
SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, it was great. It was phenomenal time. Being part of such a cast of athletes was very special to me. Where I come from, there's only 6,000 people in my hometown. It's a farmer town. Being in LA around all these athletes and celebrities was quite something.
I was just very proud, very honored, very proud to represent IndyCar, as well. They did a tremendous job at preparing the event and making sure that everybody knew who I was, which was great. I was actually very surprised. We had a lot of attraction from the media, from other athletes, and I thought that was phenomenal to see.
Q. Since you're talking about the ESPYs, did you feel the humor or the way that whole Peyton Manning smackdown of Kevin Durant went because that was probably the highlight of the night?
SIMON PAGENAUD: Yeah, he did a super job. I mean, the whole show was -- I call it a show really. It was a show. The whole show was really good. The commercial -- not the commercial, but the little spots that he filled were really funny. He's a funny guy. I have to say, I was quite surprised with that side of Peyton Manning that you don't get to see very often. But he's a really good host, and yeah, he's got a lot more talent than I do actually on that side of things. But good time, very good time. By the way, I was right there with Snoop Dogg, so I thought it was cool.
Q. I assume these NASCAR Pinty's cars are running Goodyears. Is that going to affect the balance for you if it stays dry tomorrow, and are you actually kind of like praying for rain so that you can lay down more Firestone rubber?
SIMON PAGENAUD: I think any kind of rubber on the track would be good for grip to be honest. It's just going to change the balance, which way it's going to go. I don't know, we never run with them, so it's very difficult to know which way the car is going to go. When we're behind Indy Lights, we kind of know now which way it's going, but behind these guys we have no idea, so it's going to add a twist again to what could be practice or qualifying tomorrow.
But yeah, there's a lot of times you just need to drive and just adjust to it yourself. It's not always easy in one lap.
Q. Will talked about Turn 1; is that the toughest part of the racetrack for you now, also?
SIMON PAGENAUD: No, I'm struggling more with Turn 8 actually, those little patches. They've redone the complete braking zone, and all of a sudden you turn in and there's a little patch here that's right in the wrong spot. But that's part of it. That's what makes it fun, too. Like I said, if it was all renewed tarmac, it would be too easy almost. So I think that's what's interesting.
Q. Does this compare to Detroit at all?
SIMON PAGENAUD: No, completely separate to Detroit. A lot less grip here, and again, the differences in surface makes it different in every part of the corner, so it's unique. There's no other places like this.
THE MODERATOR: Simon, thank you very much. We appreciate it.
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