Dario Franchitti, 2012 Indy 500 Post-Race Interview - SHAKEDOWN


Uploaded by drive on 01.06.2012

Transcript:

LEO PARENTE: We're here in Central Park in New York to
talk racing.
No, they're not announcing a New York Grand Prix.
We're here at the Boathouse restaurant in the park to meet
Dario Franchitti, 2012 Indy 500 champion.
You know, the race is a one day event, a three hour race.
But for the champion, it never ends.
The days after, now he's doing the PR tour.
And we're going to get a chance to talk to Dario,
listen to what he was thinking in that turn one episode, what
happened in the entire race, and how Honda got their act
together to win the 500.
Let's go hear what he has to say.

Indy 500 Champion--
I've got to start with two disclaimers, Dario.
Number one, we share a couple of passions--
Jim Clark, and Simraceway.
We both have a sponsor.
But the number two disclaimer--
just because I'm short doesn't mean I had a favorite at the
end of the race.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: [LAUGHS]
I appreciate that.
LEO PARENTE: No problem.
Take me through a little bit of what was in your head as
you came off turn four, that last lap, and you saw Takuma
right behind you.
What was going on?
What did you see?
What were you anticipating?
How were you thinking through that?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah.
Exit of turn four, I was still turning, and I could see him.
And he was close enough.
You get that feeling throughout the race, you see
the distances that people have to close to pass you.
He was getting within that distance.
And sure enough, my sponsor starts counting him.
He's like, he's two back, he's one b--
Oh, he's got a good run.
And he's talking.
And so I start drifting over to defend, which you're now
allowed to do.
Last year, you weren't allowed to do it.
You are allowed to defend.
The rule is I have to leave a foot plus a car width.
So I'm drifting over, but I felt, no.
Because the other rule is you can't do it in reaction to the
car behind, and I was starting to do that.
So I pulled back over and gave him way, way more
room than I had to.
And we start to turn on the corner.
And I still wasn't comfortable,
so I moved up further.
My biggest worry, as I turned in, was
obviously him on the inside.
But I was in the gray at this point.
And I had about half a car in the gray.
But he still wasn't halfway alongside, so I just moved up
that little bit, and then he started to spin.
And sure enough, as he spun, he was going backwards a
little bit.
And he collected my car, and I had to catch about a half-turn
of opposite, and got it straight again.
And off we went.
LEO PARENTE: I missed the end car, so I apologize.
Was there a lift for you, turning into one, or was it
enough room that you knew you had to stay flat to keep even?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: No, there wasn't any lift.
I knew that I had to stay flat to have any chance
of winning the race.
And it's the last lap of the 500, so my options were to
lift and lose it, or to try and stay on the outside.
And I had enough grip.
I was quite happy, actually.
As I turned in, the car wasn't sliding.
I was able to keep it flat.
But he just couldn't hold it down there.
His car was-- he had it set up very, very loose, very
oversteer-y.
He afterwards said I didn't give him enough room.
That upset me, because I gave him more than I had to, and
it's not my fault that he messed it up.
LEO PARENTE: Well, in our defense, our show covered just
what you did.
And we showed some photos.
So there was a lot of debate--
I'm not asking to pick sides--
Takuma versus you and what you did.
But there was a lot of debate about the whole turn.
One thing, talk to me a little bit about how the wind was
affecting where you could make passes.
There was a story that I was kind of sensing that into
three-- the back straightaway--
was not as prime a spot to make passes as one.
Am I right or wrong?
It's OK if I'm wrong.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: No, I think you definitely paid good
attention there.
Two people have asked me that question, and both were very
knowledgeable about the speedway.
You've been going there for a lot of years, so you're
obviously paying good attention there.
LEO PARENTE: Short not stupid.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: [LAUGHS]
LEO PARENTE: Or whatever.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Perfect size for a racing
driver, you know that.

Going into one, you were going at a head wind.
So the car would have more front downforce going into
exit of four.
So you're going to get the front wings working better.
So normally, when you're close to a car in Indy, you
lose a front end.
So that would help you there.
But also, the car that's breaking the air is going at a
headwind, whereas going into three is going into tailwind.
So that all contributed to the passes being made in one.
When I was coming back through the field, from that spin with
Viso early, I was able to make passes both into
one and into three.
But when it really came to it and it was the leader is
going, it seemed that one was about the only place.
LEO PARENTE: Speaking about pit lane, we share the Italian
thing, too.
And I heard the name calling.
My name call for some drivers just kind of digresses into
cursing and swearing, as a Scotch person.
Do you have any other creative names, or have you heard
creative names calling him?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Oh, yeah.
I have--
LEO PARENTE: Give me a list.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: No, I can't.
We'll get in trouble.
I have come up with some really good ones.

He made a mistake.
I actually moved to the inside.
They say don't brake in the outside lane.
I actually had moved to the inside lane and braked, and he
still hit me.
Which was surprising, because here was a whole other lane to
the right side that he could have used.
So I just think he was disoriented or something.
When I was backwards, and the front wing had been snapped
off, I wasn't feeling particularly charitable
towards him, and not very excited about our prospects
for the rest of the race.
LEO PARENTE: I've called people human berms.
Is that OK?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah.
Oh yeah.
LEO PARENTE: OK, good.
We met at Daytona.
And it was too early to talk about the performance of this
new car, the DW12.
But clearly, things have evolved.
Talk to me a little bit about how that car felt on the Indy
track, and where it was and where there's still room for a
little bit of improvement.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Well, I think it put on a good race.
I think it put on a great race, a great showcase for the
Indy car series.
Because what we did at Indy 500, we do every week.
There just is more eyeballs on the Indy 500.
So it was a showcase.
The car itself--
I'd love them to turn the boost up.
I'd love them to have the road course boost at Indy.
I think that would be really exciting.
The speeds would be higher, but also it
would be a bigger challenge.
It's already a big, big challenge, but I think it
would get rid of some of this sitting duck for the leader.
And you would have to make a really good move to get within
striking distance of the leader.
Whereas the 500, it seems, if you just sit close, you get
sucked along in their draft.
LEO PARENTE: Well, and not to lose the thought on the car,
but I was going to ask about this.
It felt like you couldn't help yourself but slingshot.
That if you lifted or did something to try to stay
behind, you were losing all sorts of momentum.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Mm-hmm.
LEO PARENTE: Is that--
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, it was.
Indy has always momentum track, and it's about timing
your passes as well.
But I would just like more horsepower.
Everybody does.
That's what we want.
I would say that.
Next year's going to be different, because we're going
to have the body kits.
LEO PARENTE: Honda will have one?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I don't know who's going to do them yet,
but there's definitely going to be body kits.
This car, in this current configuration is very, very
affected by crosswind.
Unbelievably so.
And the guys ran it in Milwaukee on Tuesday, and they
felt the same thing.
Any kind of wind.
We're very lucky.
There was quite low wind all month at Indy.
It will make a massive difference for that handling.
I mean, Indy, you think, four corners, they're all the same.
But the crosswinds change it, and especially
with this new car.
LEO PARENTE: Were you getting enough grip?
Even though it was hot, the track was not greasy, or--
was there a catch?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: You always tune the car to the--
How do I put this?
You tune it to limit of the grip, if you know what I mean.
Both aerodynamically, first of all, and we--
Scott and myself--
were able to run, looked like, less downforce than the people
around us, and still have the grip.
So I think, mechanically, we had a very good setup.
But the car was sliding.
The trick was to get it to a certain feeling in traffic
when it's sliding a little bit, but not too much.
And we think we did a good job, both Scott, myself, and
the whole target team, of getting that.
LEO PARENTE: So I read a little bit.
You qualified P16.
You won, just like Dan did in 2005.
But something happened between qualifying and the race.
And I know they played the artificial boost for
qualifying.
What can you share about what happened with Honda and what
they did between that time to give you the guns you needed?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, well, with the new engine rules this
year-- the engines have almost 2,000 miles on them, maybe
more than 2000.
The engine has to be in the car.
If you make a change, it's a penalty before that.
We saw that in Long Beach with all the Chevys.
Before the 500, the whole field was allowed to change
their motors for a new engine.
Honda, right about Long Beach time, they had the
specification locked in for this new motor.
They said it was going to be an improvement.
And we were, of course, saying, can we have it for
qualifying, please?
But they couldn't do that with the rules.
It was a big step.
It was a big step in performance, but
also in fuel mileage.
LEO PARENTE: I was just going to ask.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Very, very impressive that they'd make
such a step.
And obviously, Chevy had the same opportunity to make that.
And Chevy's done a fantastic job in the
start of the season.
So it's game on.
It's battle on.
And we're both manufacturers fighting, and obviously lots
of us are trying to catch up.
LEO PARENTE: So I have two game plan questions.
It looked like you and the team and Scott had a game plan
for this race.
Was there, in fact, a plan, or did it just evolve?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think it kind of evolved.
Scott was driving a very smart race.
Didn't want to lead.
Could have led a lot more laps, I think, because he made
good progress in the first, and didn't
get spun in the pits.
But Scott drove very smart race.
My plan was to try and get to the front as soon as possible,
but not take any risks.
But then, when I got spun, that changed everything.
And then, there was obviously that thing at the end, of
trying to position yourself.
And I had opportunity to get in the lead, and I thought, if
a caution comes out, I want to in the lead here.
And if somebody does pass me, I'll do my best
to pass them back.
So that was my plan.
And I felt I could sit closer to other guys than maybe they
could sit to me.
Scott was my biggest worry, though He looked very strong,
as he always does.
LEO PARENTE: So, out of respect, a couple of
questions about Dan.
I know subconsciously, he was with you.
But were there times in the car where, consciously, Dan
crept back into your head?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Before the start, absolutely.
And that's not normal.
Normally I'm very focused.
But Indy, there's so much tradition at the start.
All the neighbors singing back home again in Indiana, that
kind of stuff.
And so many tributes to Dan all month.
I definitely thought about him before the start.
And it was emotional.
And there was one point, maybe 20 laps to go, when I looked
up at the pole under caution, and I saw the order of things.
And it was a lot of Dan's good friends up there.
And that struck me, and then I got my head back into gear and
got ready to go back to racing.
LEO PARENTE: To that point, was there a game plan?
I'll start with a preface.
I, personally, was very concerned that the TV and
IndyCar was going to turn into a soap opera about Dan.
But when you, the drivers, took over, it was
very, very well done.
Was there a game plan between the three friends, Dixon,
Tony, yourself, of what you were hoping to happen, what
you were going to do with this moment?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: No.
LEO PARENTE: OK.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: No.
LEO PARENTE: It just happened.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: There was no plan at all.
Obviously the TV guys did their tribute.
The thing we have to remember is, at Indy, the winner from
the last season is honored.
It's on the ticket.
He comes up and gets the ring, the trophy, the applause of
the crowd, and everything.
Susie came up and did all that.
That was very touching.
And I think the crowd--
Dan loved Indianapolis.
And the crowd loved him there.
And they wanted to do a special thing and honor him.
And this was the last chance to really make a big deal and
just show everybody what Dan meant to all of us.
LEO PARENTE: So I have two questions.
The fans always have an opinion about everyone.
And two people in your life--
Chip Ganassi and your wife Ashley, people have opinions.
What is it that people don't know, first, about Chip that
they should know to respect more about what he does, and
what he does for you as a driver.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think just look at the
results of the team.
It's what Chip Ganassi the racer is all about.
Chip Ganassi the person--
when somebody is in trouble--
I might get in trouble for this myself-- but when
somebody, a member of the team's family or one of his
friends is in trouble--
Certainly last year, for instance, my team manager
Barry Wanser, his son Michael died of cancer.
When they were going through that-- and
there's many other examples--
I can say Chip is the first one there to offer any kind of
help he can.

As I said, I'll get in trouble for this.
But he is a hard businessman, but he's got a heart of gold.
And I love racing for him, as well, because I think he is an
out-and-out racer and loves to win.
He's a good guy.
LEO PARENTE: He's now tied number two on the list of--
OK.
So Ashley.
Ashley's become a race fan.
What is it that people don't understand about Ashley's
passion for what you do and for racing?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Well, I think any--
not just Ashley, but any--
of the partners of anybody who drives a racing car, but
especially drives an Indy car at Indianapolis and stuff,
it's a very stressful thing they do.
And a lot of the times, they don't choose it.
They don't choose to do that.

And we're all lucky to get the support-- and in my case,
unwavering support of Ashley, what she does.
She loves racing.
But it's a tough thing to be a racing partner.
And I think Ashley and the other wives, and the other
girlfriends, and the girls, their boyfriends, they handle
it very, very well.
LEO PARENTE: So, our audience isn't all serious.
So here comes the hypothetical.
It's that last lap.
In your earpiece, you hear two voices.
You've got Chip on this voice.
You've got Ashley over here in this earpiece.
Who are you talking to?
What do you do?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Well, I only listen--
Chip is the only one that's got the ability to talk to me
in that situation.
LEO PARENTE: So now you're in trouble on the other side.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Well, Ashley doesn't have a
radio to talk to me.
She can only listen.
So that's all good.
LEO PARENTE: So we shared--
I'm not stalking you.
We're heading to Detroit.
Good luck there.
You like that place.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I do.
LEO PARENTE: Heading back.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah.
We won there in '99.
I actually did my deal with Chip to come back and race
Indy cars at the end of '08 at Detroit.
So good memories of that place.
LEO PARENTE: So you're really going to screw up Chevrolet's
life by going to try to win that race.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: We're going to try and win every race, but
those guys are going to make it as difficult as they
possibly can.
LEO PARENTE: Thanks again.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Thank you.
LEO PARENTE: Ciao.
Thanks.
[MUSIC PLAYING]