CHEVY INDYCAR AT LONG BEACH: Andretti Autosport Driver Press Conf. Transcript

ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT CHEVROLET INDYCAR V6 DRIVERS met with members of the media at the Streets of Long Beach. Full transcript of the press conference:


ON SEASON SO FAR: “I really worked on consistency in the off season so it’s a decent start to that. But when I look at two of my teammates who have won the first two races , I need to be consistently better. I think if we keep knocking on the door like we have been…like even last weekend, we had another good shot at another podium, but we lost a lot of time coming out behind another car. We’ve been driving good, so we have to keep doing that.”

ON HISTORICAL SIGNIFGANCE OF LONG BEACH RACE: “To echo my teammates. It’s just the history and the tradition. It is the same reason why Indy (Indianapolis 500) is so important to us as drivers as well. My family alone has a lot of history here. A lot of wins between them (Michael, his Dad, and Mario, his grandfather). I think my dad won his first and last race here if I’m not mistaken. For the family it means a lot as well.”


ON RETURNING TO LONG BEACH: “This race has been fantastic in the past. There are a lot of positives here for me. This week I am really looking forward to continuing that roll that Andretti Autosport has had for the good part of the last half a year. There is no atmosphere like Long Beach. It is going to be incredibly tough again.

“It is sort of a home race for me having lived here for 8 years in Southern California My wife’s whole family is from here. I have family out here so this feels like the second home race of the season for me. Long Beach is a race I have been watching for a long time. Came here as a kid and as an INDYCAR fan. The whole Southern California really embraces this race which is what makes a difference. Everybody wants to come to this race. It’s an event; it’s a happening every year. We’re just honored to be here putting on the show.”

ON DEVELOPMENT OF THE NEW CAR: “We are constantly tweaking it; we are constantly developing it. For instance, last year at Barber for myself at least – our team, we struggled there. And, we developed the car to be a lot better there (this year). We are constantly making it better. We are pushing the aero side of it; the mechanical grip side of it. In those areas, you give engineers a lot of time, and we’ll find some speed.”


ON LONG BEACH RACE: “This race is so awesome. The atmosphere, I think It is the second longest running race we have next to the [Indy] 500. There is a reason it has gone on for 40 years. It is a hell of an event. Great city. They do a great job. It’s always treated me pretty well. Had some success here in Indy Lights. My first IZOD IndyCar top-five; first IndyCar podium. It would be nice to keep that streak alive.

“The fact that the race has been around for so long. There is one thing you can’t buy, and that is history. You can build the biggest, fanciest, most expensive race track in the world if you want; but year one is still year one. And there is not history to it. This place used to host a Formula One race. It has hosted IndyCar for years and year. All the legends have raced here. All the legends have won here. You add that on to the atmosphere, the environment, the fans, it being right here near the boats, the setting. The combination is what makes it so special.”


ON LONG BEACH RACE: “This is an amazing track to come to already and I keep having great performances here on qualifying days. I think I have been two or three times in the top-six. This year I’m not thinking too much about qualifying but thinking of the race. Hopefully we can make it happen this weekend.

“As Marco said with two teammates who have very proudly won the first two races and the championship which I feel like gives me a lot of confidence that we have a very strong and stable platform that is going to allow us to do the same. We really work hard as a team, and I really like the energy that is always put into the team. Not only the racing aspect, but in every other single department, which is important. Hopefully Long Beach is going to be the one for me.

“It is just a great track for a street course. It is very fast; probably faster than any other street course. It has a great combination of different kinds of surfaces which gives you different grip levels. So you really need to understand the car in every part of the track which behaves completely different. There are curbs you normally don’t take in during the first part of the weekend, but you end up eating them during the race. It is a track that really makes you think hard, and I love it.”
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Matt Cleary
Sunday Group Management

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