Rank Driver Points
1 Josef Newgarden 642
2 Simon Pagenaud 629
3 Scott Dixon 621
4 Helio Castroneves 598
5 Will Power 562
6 Graham Rahal 522
7 Alexander Rossi 494
8 Takuma Sato 441
9 Ryan Hunter-Reay 421
10 Tony Kanaan 403
11 Max Chilton 396
12 Marco Andretti 388
13 James Hinchcliffe 376
14 Ed Jones 354
15 JR Hildebrand 347
16 Carlos Munoz 328
17 Charlie Kimball 327
18 Conor Daly 305
19 Mikhail Aleshin 237
20 Spencer Pigot 218
21 Sebastien Bourdais 214
22 Ed Carpenter 169
23 Gabby Chaves 98
24 Juan Pablo Montoya 93
25 Esteban Gutierrez 91
26 Sebastian Saavedra 80
27 Oriol Servia 61
28 Jack Harvey 57
29 Fernando Alonso 47
30 Pippa Mann 32
31 Zachary Claman DeMelo 26
32 Jay Howard 24
33 Zach Veach 23
34 Sage Karam 23
35 James Davison 21
36 Tristan Vautier 15
37 Buddy Lazier 14
Rookie of Year Standings
1. Ed Jones 354
2. Esteban Gutierrez 91
3. Jack Harvey 57
4. Fernando Alonso 47
5. Zach Veach 23
Alexander Rossi is getting better with each and every race
Drivers 1- Alexander Rossi 2- Scott Dixon 3- Josef Newgarden 4 - Takuma Sato 5 - Charlie Kimball 6 - Helio Castroneves
Press Conference (Also see video at bottom)
THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and get started with our Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone Fast Six press conference.
Joined now by Scott Dixon, who will be starting on the front row in tomorrow's IndyCar Grand Prix at The Glen. Scott Dixon has appeared in all Firestone Fast Six this season so far. Also set a new track record in segment two of qualifying at 1:22.4171.
Scott, it looked like you might have snuck out a pole there, then obviously Rossi came in and set that fast lap right there at the end. Are you happy with the spot that you have and do you feel like you can make your way to the front tomorrow?
SCOTT DIXON: You know, starting spot, front row is definitely decent. The frustrating part is that we had plenty in hand. The problem is if you cool off too much, it's really hard to get back up to speed. We caught Helio so quickly, I don't know what he was doing out there, he was just sort of cruising around. We caught him way too fast with two laps to go.
You know, maybe we should have backed off I think on the second to last lap. I think we had probably another 3 or 4/10ths in the car. Definitely frustrating to lose it that way. We showed that speed definitely in Q2.
But congrats to Rossi. Did a good job.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Scott.
Q. According to the weather forecast, there is a rain possibility for tomorrow. How do you deal with that? SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it will be interesting. We haven't run here, I don't believe, on the new surface in the rain. I think there was a test that we did here, but it was kind of very intermediate conditions.
Yeah, it will be probably a lot higher attrition I think if it plays out that way. It's a very high-speed track. Definitely have the possibility to make some mistakes more on the wet. But, yeah, I think it would definitely put on a very interesting show, that's for sure.
Q. You've had such a streak of success here. That enter into your mind at all? Worry about that tomorrow? SCOTT DIXON: You can't rely on it. It's nice to come into tracks where you've had that scenario. But we can't come here and think that's going to help us. It's not going to do that at all.
You know, we've shown good speed this weekend. I think we've definitely got the car to beat. We just didn't exercise it in qualifying.
Q. When the clouds came in, wind changed direction, did that change the car, make you have to change anything in the setup? SCOTT DIXON: I think typically when the track cools off a little bit, especially with track temp itself, the car just gets a little more neutral. Throwing new tires at it (indiscernible).
The conditions, they pretty much just get better with cloud cover. That's why we've seen some pretty big speeds.
THE MODERATOR: Scott, congratulations. Thank you very much.
SCOTT DIXON: Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with our post qualifying press conference. Joined now by Josef Newgarden, who will start third in tomorrow's race. Josef's best career start here at Watkins Glen International.
Looked like you were in line for another front row start, but Rossi set that time, bumped back a row. Seems like you're in a great position for tomorrow's race.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, it's a super position. I don't think I've ever really had to say this much, but I think I messed up a pole run, to be honest with you. I lost 2 or 3/10ths in the final corner. I don't remember ever having to say that. I feel pretty stupid in a way, but at the same time a little bit surprised.
I don't think we expected to be in that pole fight whatsoever. I think we were fighting just to get into the Fast Six today. That was kind of our goal. Knew we had a Fast Six car, knew we could get there, but certainly fighting for the pole, we didn't expect that.
Once I got going on my lap, I was shocked at how much time we were picking up. It was like projected at an 82.2 going into turn nine. If we want to beat Dixon, I've got to get everything out of nine as well. I just deuced it, totally messed it up, lost a couple 10s this. Great lap time, good starting position for us. I feel so silly for messing up what could have been a pole position.
Our car was amazing. I couldn't believe how good it was in the Fast Six. It was just phenomenal. Great job from our Team Penske crew. Great to have a couple cars in the Fast Six. I think Helio and me are happy about that. Our other two teammates aren't far behind. Certainly have great spots for the race. We got to focus on that.
THE MODERATOR: Helio Castroneves, starting sixth in tomorrow's IndyCar Grand Prix at The Glen. Three poles here, but still looking for his first win here at The Glen.
Helio, you are the chaser in this situation, but you were able to stick with your primary contenders, Josef and Scott. Are you happy with what you have right now?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, no, definitely Hitachi Chevy work really well together, everyone, as always. When we put the reds on the car, the car was accepting really well. Really, really push it. But suddenly put the black tires, my car did not accept well. It was like I was completely out of here. So that was very frustrating and disappointed not to even have a chance to keep pushing.
But in the end of the day, you know, it's not about where you start, it's where you finish. You're right, the contenders are right there. We're all together. If it rains tomorrow, a lot of things can happen. You set goals. As Josef alluded to, the top six, that was our goal. Hoping to achieve our goal. But we want to obviously keep improving tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Takuma Sato starting fourth in tomorrow's race, his best career start here at Watkins Glen International. It seems like Andretti has a very strong package heading into tomorrow's race. What have they brought to the table for this weekend?
TAKUMA SATO: I think so. I think the last month or couple weeks ago, we came here for the testing. The reason was that Andretti Autosport didn't have a great platform last year. So we came here for the different philosophies. Seems to be working well.
I think I was the case of matter of catching (indiscernible). I think Ryan and Marco was very competitive this weekend. We all of us, you know, feels very positive. In the end, I want to say congrats to Alex. He did a tremendous job to beat us all.
A bit of a shame that we got beaten by a 10th. Entire Andretti Autosport work together and I'm very proud to be a part of it.
THE MODERATOR: Many drivers making their career-best start here, including Charlie Kimball, who will be starting fifth in tomorrow's race for Chip Ganassi Racing.
Charlie, you only ran two laps in practice, one yesterday. It seemed from then on, it got faster and faster, worked your way up to this fifth place start for tomorrow's race. What did you figure out to get you where you are right now?
CHARLIE KIMBALL: Honestly, I'm very proud of the effort from the 83 crew, all the help from everybody at Chip Ganassi Racing. We had an electrical issue in the engine yesterday in practice one, so we didn't get any real laps in. We were scheduled to change the engine, it was mileaged out at the end of yesterday. With the electronics issue, they decided to change it between practice one and practice two. The guys did a great job getting it done in the time available.
From then on, we just kind of picked up right where our teammates were. So we were able to make the car a little bit better yesterday afternoon. I think we ended up seventh quickest, just a skosh off the top six.
Going into today, it was definitely my goal and thought if we could make the car a little bit better, we would end up inside the Firestone Fast Six. We missed the mark by a little bit more this morning, and so being able to find it this afternoon when the temperature came up was really good. I thought any time you can be within three and a half 10ths of Scott Dixon around Watkins Glen, you're doing pretty well.
A huge congratulations to Alexander getting his first pole. Having done that in Texas this year, it's a great feeling. So a big congrats to him. Honestly, I'm just happy to have a couple of Ganassi cars inside the top six to try and get as many points for Chip Ganassi Racing heading into the season's finale in a couple of weeks.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. Charlie, you started off the race 14th last year, wound up finishing sixth. This year you're starting fifth. Does that give you a little bit of a jump in your step going into tomorrow? CHARLIE KIMBALL: Yeah. I feel like I exorcized some demons this year. Pocono last year we crashed in practice. Qualifying wasn't particularly stellar. Long Beach we missed the top six by two hundredths. To get my first Firestone Fast Six appearance at a road course here at Watkins Glen feels really good. Last year we missed the strategy a little bit. I didn't get the lap time to get into the top 12 last year.
So it feel goods to exorcize those demons, get inside not only the top 12 but also the top 6. Gives me a good starting spot, as you said. If I do the math from 14 to six, then five, doesn't leave me that much further to go forward.
Q. For any driver, Firestone rain tires are new tires that have never been run in a race before. How important will tomorrow morning's practice session be in the rain, assuming it's going to rain, since you probably haven't run those tires before? HELIO CASTRONEVES: That's a very good question. I think we going to find out tomorrow. But obviously Firestone does a great job all these years developing sometimes when things doesn't go well. We going to find out for sure tomorrow. But I have no problem in trusting obviously the engineers.
It will be fun. It will be interesting. It's been quite a long time we maybe just practice in rain, but not racing. And I think it's going to be interesting tomorrow.
Q. How much of a guess is it for the drivers, it rains in the morning, you don't know if it's going to be raining for the race, so do you go with a full wet setup? How much do you have to guess? How close to the start of the race do you actually make changes to the car looking at the weather forecast? JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I think it will come down to sort of a later decision on setup stuff just depending on how the weather's progressing. Even from Thursday this week when you're looking at the weather for the weekend, it's changed quite a bit.
I'm sure we'll be watching it closely tomorrow morning and deciding the setup. It's really probably going to be a mixed bag. If it looks like it's going to dry out during the race, some guys will run a dry setup, thinking for the long game. Once it dries up, you want to have a dry setup on the car. Other guys might gamble on a full wet. Depends on how everyone views the weather situation. Probably will be a mixed bag between a lot of people. Those decision can be made pretty late up to the race, probably within an hour, hour and a half, you can still tweak on the car a little bit.
CHARLIE KIMBALL: Being a little further back in the championship standings, I don't have a lot to lose points-wise. You may see some drivers gamble more with setup. If it looks like it's wet but may dry out, start on wets, then start with a full wet setup, hope that it stays, or another band, it gets cloudy, doesn't dry up as quickly.
I think people who towards the end of the season like this maybe need to try and make a splash for the future, justify the job they've done earlier in the year, will take bigger risks on setup.
But as far as the forecast, I think you could flip a coin and get as much accuracy as a lot of the forecasts out there. Hopefully that band that's coming, is just south, moves through quickly overnight, and we put on -- most importantly put on a great show for the fans.
Q. With this format, it seems like the challenges in order to be first, you got to go out last. How hard is it to really time your best lap to come so close to the end of the session? CHARLIE KIMBALL: All the engineers have the same calculators. It's simply math. It's just a question of how much do you want to risk losing that last lap, getting that last lap right at the end.
But I think for us at least, that last session, we ran the Firestone primaries. It took all of six and a half minutes to come up to temperature and come up to grip, so that last lap was the most important.
If you did that, if you were the last guy across the line when you did that, fair enough. But it was more about how many laps you had on the tires.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I'm going to be very honest with you. Helio and me didn't hear that question. I'm so sorry. We apologize.
Q. With this format, in order to be first, you have to go out last. How hard is it to time that fast lap for the very end? JOSEF NEWGARDEN: I don't think that made a difference today. I think it's about hitting it right on the lap that you need to. For me specifically, I won't speak for everyone, but for me specifically I messed it up on the third lap, and that kind of messed up the fourth lap, too.
I don't think there was a difference in being the last guy, not at this track. It was gripped up for everybody, very stable. Wherever you were in line didn't really matter. You just want to maximize your run.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: If you're talking about oval, then you're right. I don't think here on the road course or street course makes much of a difference.
Dixon will start 2nd
Q. Even though he won the Indianapolis 500 last year, are we just now starting to see how good Alexander Rossi is really going to be? JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yes, you are. You're starting to see the real deal here.
No, there he is. I mean, you will for sure. I think this championship is very much rewarding for experience. I think that's why you've seen guys in it for so many years, they don't tend to drop off as much. It makes more of a difference I would find in the IndyCar Series than others. That's speaking from only driving in the IndyCar Series. I don't know how it is in other championships. It seems like that from the outside.
I think Alex is starting to figure things out more and more as we all have. I know for me it's made a huge difference spending time in the championship. He's obviously going to be a tremendous competitor many years to come, in my opinion.
TAKUMA SATO: I mean, he did a tremendous job not only for today, the whole entire season. Today is the day for him. He beat us all. He's a good teammate to work together. Congrats, Alex. Enjoy the pole. We will have a good show tomorrow. That's what's important.
Q. Helio and Josef, two races left to go, qualifying is fairly important. Your other two teammates locked in the championship with you as well. Thoughts about Will starting eighth, Simon back in 12th. A little bit of a strange day with half the Penske cars locked in the championship but starting well behind you. Relieve any pressure for you guys or you focus on your own programs? HELIO CASTRONEVES: As I said before, we're always working together well. Fortunately as we said, our goal was actually to be in the top six. Once you have that kind of competition, you know, two might be going to be out, one might be going to be in. In this situation, I don't think it's anything wrong. Just was unfortunate.
As a championship, qualifying, I don't think it pays much, especially with what the situation might be tomorrow with rain. I don't think it's a problem. At least I'm not focused on, as I say, where you started, but obviously where you finish.
JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, I mean, I don't think it's going to make too much of a difference. Obviously you want to be as far up as you can in the grid. Especially when it's raining, you'd prefer to be as far up as possible.
I think IndyCar is so shaken up, every time we go racing on a road or street course, especially you throw in rain, what if it turns out tomorrow that it ends up being better to be in the back of the start. You just never know in these races.
I'd like to think we're in a good position, but our guys are not too far behind us. We're all kind of clustered in there. Have no idea how it's going to shake out. People have been asking me about the points lead. I don't think it's that big of a lead. I think 31 points is very easy to push past. If I have a bad race tomorrow and Scott wins, he'd come out of here with the points lead.
Tomorrow everyone has to try to maximize what they got to do. We're going to try to do that as a team. I still think it's going to come down to Sonoma. That's where it's really going to matter. That's where we're going to have to have a very strong race.
Q. Charlie, given that nothing is certain right now for 2018, how important is this race for you tomorrow? CHARLIE KIMBALL: I think every race is important if you have a job past tomorrow or not. The goal is still the same. It's to go out, qualify as best as possible, do as good a job for the team, then get the result that's maximum points and opportunities in the race.
I think it's irrelevant where the future lies. Honestly, you know, you do the best job, you do your job on the racetrack, everything else takes care of itself.
Q. Josef, although you didn't get the pole, are you relieved Dixon didn't get it either? JOSEF NEWGARDEN: Yeah, every point counts, so for sure I think it helps. It's small. Small little detail. But it adds up.
But I'm happy we're in striking distance, for sure. I hope that pans out well tomorrow. Like I was saying before, I think tomorrow could be a very mixed-up day. We have no idea where you actually want to start this race. You would think it would be on the pole and that would be the best thing. But this is IndyCar. We've seen a lot of strange things happen in these sort of races. See how it works out.
Q. You talk about how high commitment this place is. I've seeing a lot of offs at nine, which is not where I would expect that. Can you make up a lot of time there? JOSEF NEWGARDEN: For me, I thought I had to get everything out of nine, as well. We had done such a big lap up to that. I'm like, If we want to have a shot with these Hondas, we've got to get everything out of nine, too. I think it ends up being more of a mistake. Nine is turning into one of those corners where you just need to do it cleanly. I feel like more people are making mistakes there. There's more to lose there than there is to gain. A lot of us try to gain. We end up dropping wheels. I think the corner sucks you in, the geometry of it. You have a little bit of road extra on the exit. You feel confident, go back to throttle. It ends up sucking you back into a false sense of getting back to throttle. You end up two-wide on the corner dropping wheels. I think that's why you've seen a lot of guys do that.
Probably a bad approach for me. Probably a bad approach from a lot of people this weekend.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations. Thank you very much for joining us. Good luck tomorrow.
We'll welcome up our polesitter. We are joined by the Verizon P1 award winner, Alexander Rossi, driving the No. 98 NAPA Auto Parts Honda for Andretti Autosport. Won pole for tomorrow with a time of 1:22.4639 seconds. Alexander's career best start here at Watkins Glen International, but also his first career pole.
You started and finished in the top 10 in the last four races. Do you feel like this is a building of momentum for yourself, but also for the team, especially in light of yesterday's announcement that you'll be remaining with the team for a while to come?
ALEXANDER ROSSI: Yeah, I certainly hope so. As you saw most of you on Friday or Thursday or whatever day it was, it is the momentum that's building. So there's a lot of positivity amongst the whole team. I talked about all the gains we made in the off-season, and we've been kind of ticking forward with the gains we've had and still improving upon that.
I think this is a representation of that, to have Takuma right there, as well, and Ryan really just miss out on advancing to the Fast Six by a hundredth or whatever. It just shows how strong our cars are. That's a huge difference from last year. Huge credit to the whole team.
THE MODERATOR: I understand you always come into a weekend hoping and knowing that your team has the potential to win. When you look at qualifying with the group of people that are starting around you, like Scott Dixon that has done very well at this track, did you come into qualifying knowing you had a shot at pole?
ALEXANDER ROSSI: Yeah, I think so. I mean, we never were out of the top five all through practice. We tested here actually with Scott three weeks ago. We were right there with him. So we knew we had a good package coming here. It was all about executing.
The first two rounds weren't great for us. We were just kind of battling the car. As each advancement happened, and we put it all together at the right time for the third one. It's something we failed to do in the past, honestly. So it's good that we've done that. I hope this will have a similar kind of effect as our podium did in Toronto. It will get the monkey off our back, we can focus on going forward and repeating knowing we absolutely can do it.
THE MODERATOR: This is only your second IndyCar start here. When you think of the course in general, iconic road course, what are some of the things that strike you most about it?
ALEXANDER ROSSI: I love this place. It's one of my favorite road courses in the whole world actually. It's amazing to come here. It's a joy to drive an IndyCar around here. This is IndyCars at their absolute best, Watkins Glen.
It's a privilege. It was so exciting to me because I'd always watched Watkins Glen as a track in the old races, Formula One. I knew that kind of from hearsay it was an amazing track from guys over in Europe. I'd never been able to be here. There was a period of time when Skip Barber raced here. Because I was under the age of 18, which was a New York state law age to drive at Watkins Glen. Always a place on my bucket list. Never had the opportunity to do it. Such a late addition to the 2016 calendar, when it finally happened, I was pretty stoked about it.
I'm glad my first career pole is here. It's fitting based on the fact that this is a track that is similar to the tracks that I kind of was racing on in Europe for so many years. It just all clicked here today.
THE MODERATOR: Not to take away from your pole win, you were here just a few weeks ago for the NASCAR event as well. What were your impressions of that event?
ALEXANDER ROSSI: I loved it actually. Surprisingly, I guess. I'd never been to a Cup race at a road course before. It was pretty cool to see. The biggest thing that struck me and surprised me was how racing fans are racing fans. Doesn't matter what championship it is. If you're at a beautiful racetrack, racecars going around, they love it.
It was cool to see people there for Cup racing in a Kyle Busch shirt were interested in talking to me. That reaffirmed how much growth this championship has seen, that everything is on an upward trend.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Is there something about this track that clicks for you as a driver? For example, yesterday Dixon talked about the high commitment level is something he really responds to. Does that bring out the best in you? ALEXANDER ROSSI: It is high commitment. I would struggle to find any IndyCar track on the calendar that's not high commitment just based on the cars we're in and how competitive it is. Even if it's a super low-grip surface like Toronto or Detroit, it's still very high commitment. Higher corner range speed than other places.
I think for me it's truly very much a traditional European-type road course, right? It's not very bumpy. You can get into a really good rhythm. Low and sweeping corners. Not a lot of Mickey Mouse sections. It's a track I can relate to. I don't know if it's one thing other than the general layout, smoothness of it.
Q. We've seen Josef Newgarden this year respond very well first year with a new engineer, Brian Kampe. You and Jeremy Milless are working well together. Has that taken time to reach this position of getting into a pole or has it been there really from the start, just taken a little longer to achieve that pole? ALEXANDER ROSSI: I would say May onwards it's been there. I think we had a shot to be on pole in Detroit. Takuma got it. I made a mistake in the final corner, next day we chose the wrong tire, but we were really fast all weekend. I think Detroit we had the chance. I have think Texas we had the chance. Pocono we had the chance.
I think we've been there, just haven't put it together, executed it. Definitely Jeremy and I and Robin are clicking.
Q. Describe the last lap, what it took to do your maneuver. ALEXANDER ROSSI: Yeah, I mean, each lap was faster. We've seen that on the black tires. Each lap, they get better and better. Penultimate lap I did was quick, but it was a little bit sloppy. I knew that as grip came up, if I just cleaned up a couple years areas, I would be faster. It's just the way that those tires work.
The golden lap is really lap five. Lap four is always going to be better than lap three.
Q. Did I hear you did your fast lap on black tires? ALEXANDER ROSSI: Yes. A lot of people did.
Q. Is there a reason why you didn't choose the softer reds? ALEXANDER ROSSI: They were used. I didn't have any new reds.
Q. You've been fast all weekend in the dry. Tomorrow it might rain. Are you hoping it's going to clear up for the race or are you concerned about that at all? ALEXANDER ROSSI: No. I mean, I was talking to someone. My last pole was 2015 in Monaco in the wet. So I love the wet. I would be really jacked if it rained tomorrow. Bring it on.
Q. You said earlier you were testing here two or three weeks ago. Were the weather conditions identical or the same or similar? Did you come out for the pole lap with the identical setup package or did you do any changes? ALEXANDER ROSSI: The weather was not the same for the test at all. The wind was different. It was a lot warmer. But we still came with the same package. It's difficult. We had a very successful test. It's difficult to then just say, It's cooler so we're going to wholesale the car. P1 caught us by surprise a bit. The car was a lot more positive than we wanted it to be. It took P1 and P2 to dial it back for the cooler temperatures. But the overall car was the same as what we had in the test.
Q. In such a short session as we have with each of these sessions, how hard is it to make the timing to be able to get the lap that fast with such limited amount of time left for anybody else to even have a shot at it? ALEXANDER ROSSI: Fortunately, that's not my decision nor my job. I kind of just go when Rob tells me to. It's always a fine line. I think the other guys answered it pretty well. On a oval it makes a difference. Here because it's such high grip, already rubbered in by the time you reach the Fast Six, doesn't make that much of a difference. Whereas in round one, when you still have the support series rubber done, the final laps are going to be the best because you're starting to put the Firestone rubber back down.
I think it varies from track to track, from condition to condition. But today it wasn't really in our thought process. The reason we went last is just to have the gap to the cars there.
Q. Change in expectations in qualifying this year, where now you're disappointed if your third or fourth, as opposed to last year when you would have killed to be 12th or something? ALEXANDER ROSSI: Thanks for bringing that up, yeah (laughter).
It's nice, for sure. It was difficult last year to put in a really good lap. Brian would come over the radio, yeah P17. You'd be like, Sweet. It's nice. I would still say we're not quite at the point where we would be disappointed with a third. We haven't made very many Firestone Fast Sixes. We haven't been where we needed to be. But the second half of the year has been better.
I'd say we were disappointed with a ninth in Pocono. If we had been second or third there, would I have been disappointed? No. It's kind of a moving target. Because we're not Scott Dixon or at the Team Penske level of where we're getting poles every weekend. Hopefully we're there and this can be the momentum we need in the off-season.
Q. As far as where you're starting, you're surrounded by Dixie and Newgarden, do you feel you're able to take more chances with them because they're going to be cautious battling for the championship? You can be intimidating? ALEXANDER ROSSI: Yeah, no doubt. I mean, that's for sure in my mind. At the same time, you know, I would never put someone in position to hurt their championship. I'm also fighting. I mean, I have the guys and Dixon behind me. We need to capitalize and get good points tomorrow. If it's a move for the win at the end, I'm going to be a able to take more of a risk than they can.
Q. It's been a long time since somebody from Andretti has won on a road course. What would it mean to you and to Michael Andretti, the whole team, if you were to pull one out tomorrow? ALEXANDER ROSSI: A lot. I mean, our struggles have been well-documented by everyone in this room. It is something that we're very aware of. The fact that our only wins really in the past two years have been at Indianapolis is not something -- we're proud of it in one respect, but in another respect we're not.
We have two races left to accomplish what we're trying to do and to prove that we've made the step forward that we've all talked about. We've accomplished 50% of the weekend today. We have a lot of work to do tonight to be prepared for tomorrow. It's not going to be an easy day, regardless of the weather condition.
Q. Would you give any credit to getting the whole contractual thing settled this week, maybe being able to relax, just do your job this weekend? ALEXANDER ROSSI: Consciously, no. But I don't know the effect that may have subconsciously on not only me but the whole team. Everyone from a mechanic, engineering, to management side, season takes a toll on everyone in different ways, right?
Possibly. I don't know the answer to that. I don't think there's any condition where I was in the car where I felt more relaxed than I was in Gateway, per se. It always helps when you know you have a fast racecar, you don't really think about it, you just get into the car and roll out of pit lane. You're not thinking about, I need to do this in turn three, that in turn six, that in turn 12. You know you're going to find the time. Let's just go out there and enjoy type of thing. That comes down to the racecar.
For sure I wouldn't dismiss or argue the fact that subconsciously it might have had a positive impact on all of us.
Q. You and Josef Newgarden were in Europe on the track to try to get to F1. For various reasons, didn't make it. Now you're both here. Two young Americans. Might we be seeing a young American rivalry in the future between the two of you? ALEXANDER ROSSI: Sure, yeah. I mean, yeah. I think Josef is obviously proving this year that he's a championship contender. I've got a bit to go and some more race wins to get before I'm at that point.
Yeah, I mean, I imagine he'll be in this series for a very long time. If everything goes the way I'm planning it, I will be, too. It's great to have the kind of future, if you will, between Americans. That's a wonderful thing for the Verizon IndyCar Series, for our fan base, for us as racing drivers. I think it's a wonderful thing. As much as we love the Scotts and Helios and Tonys of the world, to have Americans in front is an important thing.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations. Thank you very much.
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