And the third reason I knew we'd be fine was through experience. I remembered how the car felt in 2008 – which is when I did my best work at Indy as a driver, in my opinion – and I felt that this year the Venom car was as good if not better than that. And I stayed on that upswing throughout the race. If it was going to go the distance under green, I thought Dario was human in traffic and we were coming through, for sure. Now, though, that's in the past, and all I can say is that I had fun that day because I had a great car beneath me, and I'm happy that my teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay and Mike Conway weren't more badly hurt in that shunt at the end. That accident could have been far worse.
The race at Texas was good for Andretti Autosport – we got all four cars in the top seven, and I was happy to get another third, which moves me into ninth place in the championship. I guess I'm beginning to sound like a broken record here, but it's the same story at every track: when everyone's absolutely flat-out in qualifying, teams like Penske and Ganassi have something over us, no question. But when it comes to handling and balance on race day, in the dirty air, we hit it right a lot of the time. And the Texas race was one of those times. Actually, that was a strange first stint (possibly because of the intense heat?), we were all having to lift off the gas a lot, which is unusual there. We were driving Texas Motor Speedway almost like we would a short oval, but the balance on the Venom Energy car was good enough that we were able to deal with that, and come through the pack again.
At Texas, I did my usual deal where I set it up to be able to run the high line, so when other people were lifting, it makes me look good! Obviously there's an increased risk that you're going to hit marbles up there and then the wall, too, but you quickly learn how high is too high. We had to battle through I don't know how many times, so it was vital that we were able to run the outside groove. That's the luxury of TMS: you're never out of it, so even when our wheel came off in pit lane, we were able to battle back through and get another strong result.
Next up is Iowa and I'm definitely optimistic, because traditionally Andretti Autosport cars have run well here. It's a unique track: we can't bring another track's setups here, so I think as a team we've just always hit it spot on from the moment we rolled out of the box. I credit a bit of that to Dario Franchitti from when he was here in 2007. I won't lie – I went straight to his setup that year, and we ended up 1-2 on the grid, so he must have been doing something right! I've been on two steps of the podium at Iowa but not the one that counts, so let's hope this weekend we can break the Penske/Ganassi grip on the ovals.
Then we head back to the road and street courses, starting with Watkins Glen. Again, it's important that we're quick right out of the box with it being just a two-day weekend, but again I'm upbeat about that. Last year we got a fifth place there, despite being run into and given a puncture, so hopefully a podium is a real possibility in 2010. I'll get back to you after that race.
Finally, I just want to add that I've really come to appreciate both the U.S. and European fans' support over the last few weeks. Thanks a lot.