Q: Helio Castroneves is going for his fourth Indy 500 win, and obviously as a competitor you don't want to see him get that. But the drivers in the garage, can you kind of empathize on how special it would be to be part of that, something that hasn't happened in this generation of drivers?
“Rick Mears is around, and he did it four times. If it's not you, it doesn't really matter. Everybody wants their own win. I was saying last night as I was driving by the [Castroneves] billboard that said ‘Triple Triumph,' I'm like, ‘He's got three, some of us want just one, even.' I mean, that's great for him. It's a massive accomplishment, for sure, but it doesn't affect me.
Q: How important is a good spotter – in the case of this track, two spotters?
“I think spotters can be overlooked, for sure. I think that their value comes with lapped traffic and things like that. Accidents happen. The other day when [Dan] Wheldon spun, I saw it in my rearview mirror. I saw the smoke, I saw the fire. I mean, I saw it. So there's a lot of stuff that we see as drivers, but one thing we can't really control is what the driver ahead of us knows. So, blocking or things like that, drivers not doing what they're supposed to be doing, they need to be on it – and on it with the official up top with the spotters and the other driver's spotter. Lapped traffic comes, and I'll be like, ‘Hey, let that car know that I'm coming. Let's be proactive.'
So, I think spotters can be very useful. But, you know, at the end of the day, you're still driving the car. It can take away some risks if, you know, a spotter is working hard for you.”
Q: In years past, you've kind of come in here and have been the big story. But this year it just kind of seems like with the way the season started and with some of the other story lines that are going on, you're not as much in the spotlight as you were. Is that something you relish, kind of being off the center stage a little bit, or do you want to be back to being the big story?
“No, I'd like to be the big story because it usually means I've done something good! But, I don't know – what is the big story this year?”
Q: Helio, the new format, fast nine?
“Yeah, so we're talking more about racing. We're talking more about the activity and the racing. And Helio has been fastest both days, so he's well deserving of that media. So, yeah, I would love to be the lead story, but it will come when good things happen. If we get out there and I'm quickest today, it will be the story then.”
Q: You've got a couple of new women added to the field this year. You have a lot of experience that they don't have. Do you give them any advice or have you talked to them?
“No. I've met Simona [De Silvestro] and Ana [Beatriz], and they both are really nice. They both have talent. If they ask me a question, I would answer it. But, you know, I don't even see them. It's funny how you can all be in the same area so often and – even my teammates sometimes – you cross paths, and if we didn't have the communal engineering room where we are around each other all the time, you don't see very many people. Just because you head out to pit lane and you do your thing, and you come back in and you're in the garages and we're in garages with no windows. So it's amazing how little you see people. I probably see more people in the gym than I see out on the racetrack.”