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2019 Point Standings
After Laguna Seca
Rank Driver Points

1 Newgarden, Josef 641
2 Pagenaud, Simon 616
3 Rossi, Alexander 608
4 Dixon, Scott 578
5 Power, Will 550
6 Rosenqvist, Felix (R) 425
7 Herta, Colton (R) 420
8 Hunter-Reay, Ryan 420
9 Sato, Takuma 415
10 Rahal, Graham 389
11 Bourdais, Sebastien 387
12 Hinchcliffe, James 370
13 Ferrucci, Santino (R) 351
14 Pigot, Spencer 335
15 Kanaan, Tony 304
16 Andretti, Marco 303
17 Ericsson, Marcus (R) 290
18 Veach, Zach 271
19 Leist, Matheus 261
20 Jones, Ed 217
21 Harvey, Jack 186
22 Chilton, Max 184
23 Carpenter, Ed 161
24 Daly, Conor 149
25 Kimball, Charlie 117
26 O'Ward, Patricio (R) 115
27 Karam, Sage 39
28 Davison, James 36
29 Castroneves, Helio 33
30 Hanley, Ben (R) 31
31 Mann, Pippa 28
32 Kaiser, Kyle (R) 22
33 Hildebrand, JR 20
34 Servia, Oriol 16
35 Enerson, RC (R) 13
36 King, Jordan (R) 12

Rookie of Year Standings
1 Rosenqvist, Felix 425
2 Herta, Colton 420
3 Ferrucci, Santino 351
4 Ericsson, Marcus 290
5 O'Ward, Patricio 115
6 Hanley, Ben 31
7 Kaiser, Kyle 22
8 RC Enerson 13
9 King, Jordan 12

Manufacturer Standings
1. Honda 1436
2. Chevy 1387

IndyCar Portland GP Saturday Press Conference

Top-2 qualifiers
Saturday, August 31, 2019

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Polesitter Colton Herta
Polesitter Colton Herta
Drivers:

1 - Colton Herta, Harding Steinbrenner Racing
2 - Will Power, Team Penske

THE MODERATOR: We welcome to the press conference now two-time NTT P1 award winner Colton Herta. Initial thoughts? A good lap there on the exit?

COLTON HERTA: Yeah, that was crazy. Yeah, it was crazy how close the field is here. Always seems to be that way, and yeah, I didn't really expect to have the lap, one lap on used reds, but the grip was kind of in right away, so it was all good.

THE MODERATOR: The separation first to third, 0.0244 of a second.

COLTON HERTA: Yeah, I didn't know that. I knew it was close. I knew I was third before I hit the timing line, and yeah, we kind of went with an off-the-wall strategy with the new blacks instead of the used reds, and it ended up being pretty close in the end to what was right and what was wrong.

THE MODERATOR: Would you describe this almost a perfect weekend so far?

COLTON HERTA: Yeah, I think so, so far. I don't want to call it that yet, though.

Q. You don't want to refer to that, but is it starting to look COTA-esque?
COLTON HERTA: Yeah, COTA was weird, though, because I don't think we were as dominant as this weekend. You know, I think we were close to the top, but I don't think I led any -- I led the first practice session at COTA. That's the only practice session I led, and I qualified fourth. You know, I think it's something about these permanent road courses that just kind of gels with my driving style, and yeah, I don't know why, but it's just when I'm at my best.

Q. The other thing is your poles have come at Road America and now Portland, and those are two pretty stout road courses, so how do you feel just being a kid being able to master --
COLTON HERTA: Oh, yeah, super excited, super honored. I think happy right now, but I know that the real task kind of starts tomorrow. It's 105 laps, going to be difficult, and we've got the best starting spot and the best view going into Turn 1.

Q. Colton, you led two of the three practice sessions, only fourth in the other session. Do you feel like pole could have been almost a foregone conclusion given that you led two out of the three practice sessions? Were you expecting it almost?
COLTON HERTA: Yeah, I knew it was definitely possible. I knew we had a good chance at it, as long as we did what we were supposed to do. And everyone stayed focused and we had a good race car. We didn't make that big of changes from practice 3 to qualifying, and the changes that we did make helped the car. Yeah, it was very strange how the grip level came and went. I think group 1 and group 2 were pretty close on grip level, and then in the second round for some reason I think the grip level went away and everybody kind of went a little slower except for Will. Yeah, so it was a bit of a weird session.

Q. I was just wondering, even before they came on the radio and told you what your time was, that you were P1, were you like, oh, I nailed that? Were you thinking it was a good lap?
COLTON HERTA: I thought it was a good lap for my first lap on used reds. I thought the better lap would come on the second lap of used reds. I don't know what everyone did, but that was just my natural feeling. Like I said, I was surprised by the grip, how quick it came in, and you know, it was a good lap for the first lap, and I was surprised by the lap time. Although I didn't understand where I was at the time. I thought I was still quickest going on to the used reds, so I didn't know I got bumped back to third.

Yeah, but obviously they came on the radio and I heard everybody was super loud, so I just thought at that point we had to have had pole. I would have been disappointed if I pulled in and they told me third after hearing everybody cheering.

Q. Road America was a tough race on tires for you. I remember the strategy was a little off. What can you take from that race to help you in tomorrow's race?
COLTON HERTA: You know, I think we -- despite us having quite a lot of tire wear in that race, we were still really quick. Obviously we had really good pace on blacks, and I think the used tire pace that we had was pretty stout.

Obviously I think you can take away from abusing the tires. You can calm down a little bit. But I think the tire is so stiff at this track that I don't think it's really going to be as big of a problem as Road America. But I'm not sure, though, because 30- to 35-lap stints, you know, so it's going to be a long race. Who knows how the tires are going to hold up. We'll just have to wait and see. I think the most I've done on a set it's 15 or 16, so about a half a stint, close to half a stint of a two-stop and a little bit past half a stint of a three-stop.

Q. How hard is it to overtake on this track?
COLTON HERTA: It is tough. I think any time you have that many cars on a 57-second lap, the traffic does get tough. Obviously, you know, I tried my best to stay out of the way when I did it, but it's tough to see when you go on the runoff in the chicane, in the festival chicane there, so it's kind of tough to see when you come back on, so you really need help from the radio for that. And with that, the rear wings on these cars are so massive and quite low to the ground that it's hard to see out the back as it is.

I think we were lucky enough to find some clean track. I think it definitely made it easier in qualifying. In practice when you had 23, 24 cars rotating it was very difficult. But yeah, I think when you had that 12 or 13 cars in the group 1, group 2 and Q2, it made it easier.

Will Power just misses pole
Will Power just misses pole
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started with today's post-qualifying press conference with No. 2 qualifier Will Power of Team Penske. Will, extremely close again as we've seen from the series time and again. What are your thoughts on how the qualifying lap went there at the end?

WILL POWER: Yeah, not good. Unfortunately I flat spotted a tire and had a flat spot the next lap. Yeah, it's disappointing. We had a pretty good buffer on everyone. It should have been better.

THE MODERATOR: Probably not the time to ask you about the pole winner, but the pole winner continues to show really well despite his age.

WILL POWER: Yeah, no, he's good. (Laughter.) No, he does a very good job. Very strong rookie year.

THE MODERATOR: We've also seen that the championship contenders are in a little bit of a deep, muddy field.

WILL POWER: Yeah, it's interesting how that all plays out and spices things up. But yeah, I mean, you never know. You saw how nuts this race was last year, the way the yellows fell and all that. Who knows what can happen. We'll be just going for a race win.

Q. Will, it seems like a lot of guys have struggled on the reds so far this weekend. How have you been with the balance on them so far?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I was good on both. Good balance, yeah, definitely couldn't fault it. It was good. I just needed to put it together better there. Basically need to warm the brakes up a bit more. I grabbed the brake and flat spotted the tire. But apart from that, the car is good.

Q. It's disappointing not to be on pole, but generally it's not a bad starting position for tomorrow.
WILL POWER: Yeah, it's definitely a good starting position.

Q. As disappointed as you are that you don't have the pole, generally it's a good starting position, right?
WILL POWER: Yeah, definitely. Definitely a good starting spot. It's better than third, put it that way. I was disappointed, yeah, because it was there to be had. I kind of just -- just disappointed in myself.

Q. Will, from what you've learned about this track before and as hot as it is and the way the reds are reacting, does this track get slippery, because it's going to be hotter tomorrow. How do you forecast the way the track is going to be?
WILL POWER: Yeah, it's actually pretty good. It takes rubber. It takes rubber well. Yeah, I mean, I think the conditions are going to be similar to today. I think there will be some tire deg. It didn't seem like that much last year. It'll be interesting. It'll be an interesting race just because if there's enough yellows and it goes into a two-stopper and fuel save and all that sort of stuff, so we'll see all it all plays out.

Q. Will it be strategic or --
WILL POWER: Last year there was passing. There was for sure. But I think Firestone made the tires too close this year. Last year there was quite a difference between reds and blacks. Now to me they're just a little too close. But maybe they degrade in a different way, I don't know. Because that always creates passing if you have a big difference between the two.

Q. Will, you've got a couple of drivers in the top 12, basically fighting for their racing lives. You've got Conor Daly in ninth and Jack Harvey starting right behind you in fourth. Do you think their level of aggression might be a worry at the start or no?
WILL POWER: No, those guys probably won't have a good finish. To them it's not about winning; to them it would be finishing in the top three or six. It just ruins their reputation. If you're out in the first lap, everyone is like, ugh. But if you hang out all day and you get a top six, yeah, the guy is pretty solid.

Q. Was it a surprise to see some of the younger guys like Harvey and Daly in the top 10?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I don't know where they qualified. Jack Harvey? Yeah, that's pretty good. He's been good, man. I think Jack Harvey would be a good guy to pick. I was thinking for McLaren it's hard to find a driver right now, but every time Jack Harvey has been out on a road course recently, he's been very strong. That's a guy who needs a ride, a full-time ride, and he is performing each time he goes out. To me that's good -- and would Conor get in the top 10? Which is probably real good for him. Did he? I don't know. Seventh, yeah. Is he seventh or Rossi?

THE MODERATOR: Conor was eighth or ninth. Ninth.

WILL POWER: Yeah, that's pretty good.

Q. I noticed that you were very consistent, you were consistently quick when you were qualifying. You landed in second, but you were so close to your times every single time, and I'm sure that's going to lend itself during the race, but PIR is deceptive narrow. Do you feel like there are going to be many passing opportunities during the race tomorrow?
WILL POWER: Yes, I do. Yeah. I think it's all going to be when the tires degrade a bit. We'll see. It depends on strategy and all that. It can be hard. I mean, a lot of good drivers and teams here. It can be difficult. But it's not -- I mean, Turn 7 is a pretty good spot and then into 1 is a good spot, so we'll see how that all plays out, as well.

Q. I think this is the 26th race here at Portland, and there's been a lot of different interesting starts going down into Turn 1. Do you think you can get the lead from Colton on the start?
WILL POWER: I don't know. It's a long race, honestly, but you know, I think -- who knows. You never know if it's going to be a clean start or not. Obviously would be very good for me to get him, but you can't predict. You can't. Just got to take it as it comes.

Q. Why did you do so well and your teammates didn't?
WILL POWER: I don't know. I was very surprised to see -- well, particularly Josef (Newgarden) because he's been strong all weekend. Simon (Pagenaud) has kind of struggled a bit, but yeah, it's a surprise. I don't know what happened.

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