IndyCar Portland GP Saturday Press Conference
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?
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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