Dario Franchitti, the winner of the first of the Firestone Texas Twin 275s, still bristles over having to start from near the back in the second.
Q: Dario, talk about making up those 21 positions in a caution-free event.
“The first thing is we should never have been in that position to start with. To have a championship in the IndyCar Series, drawing the grid out of a hat is a joke.
“Through no fault of our own, we started 25 places behind Will. Will, he took advantage of it tonight and did a great job.
“Through no fault of myself or the Target team, we had a massive handicap. Great pit stops. I drove as hard as I could all night. We made up 21 places and then, through no fault of our own, lost a load of championship points.
“There's enough variables out there. We don't need to be throwing dice to be deciding grid positions. That made me mad. I'm sitting there, OK, I won the first race, but at the same point my emotion right now has been pissed off about the hand we were dealt.”
Q: Do you think the series will be receptive to looking at this for next year or the desire for the fans will win out?
“Will and I were talking about it. We had similar feelings before the race. If they inverted it, I would have started two places worse off. I would have been fine with that, because we all would have been in the same boat. Actually, the fans would have gotten a better show. Will, myself, Dixie, all those guys trying to get out to the front takes out the complete element of chance, which we don't need.
“At the end of the day, it's a sport. It's entertainment, too. They have to balance the sport and entertainment aspect. Trust me, it would have been entertaining if we all started at the back. It's really not a good situation.”
Q: With the exception of the draw, would you like to see more races done like this, split in half, invert the second race?
“No, I wouldn't. Qualifying for me is based on skill as much as the race is based on skill, from the team, the driver, all those things. I think one is maybe OK.
“I'll tell you what the best thing would be. If we did this as kind of a stand-alone without championship implications, then it would be 'have at it.' If that's what you want to do, have at it, you can invert, draw out of a hat, do whatever the hell you want, put up a bunch of prize money.
“But this race tonight was a championship round. It's a shame. Again, it's a shame. To win here at Texas for the first time in front of a great crowd, I should be celebrating about that right now. On the one hand, that was good, but on the other hand, yeah...”
Q: Were you surprised there was only one yellow on the night?
“Hell, yeah. I'm sure somebody lost a lot of money on that one. We didn't have one in the second race, which didn't help us coming from the back. But it went quickly, that second race, no yellow.
“I think some of it's luck, for sure, because of some of the driving going on out there. A lot of the drivers did a good job of taking it to the limit but not beyond. There was a lot of good avoiding going on out there, too. I think all the drivers were put in a difficult position tonight. I think they all did a pretty good job.”
Q: Were you counting on a yellow to help you?
“No, I was going as quickly as I could. I just had to pick 'em off when I could. When the guys are two wide in front of you going five miles an hour slower than I could go, Will was marching off in the distance, there was nothing I could about it. A yellow would have been good. But I wasn't counting on anything. I was just trying to make up any place I could whenever I could.”
Q: Would more pushes to pass have made a difference?
“You can't use the 'push to pass' when there's guys side by side in front of you. No. I still had two or three 'pushes to pass' left coming out of the last pit stop there. I just couldn't use them. The track's blocked in front of you. There's nowhere to go. So, no.
Dixon had a good idea. He reckoned you should give points for each pass you make.”
Q: If this were 150 laps, what would the difference have been?
“I have no idea. If there hadn't been a yellow, no, we wouldn't have done another stop. The guys were so far ahead at that point, it wouldn't have made any difference.
“When we were running around earlier, it was like the difference between 212.4, 212.6. You start inching away. You're not going to make up seconds unless there's some big catastrophe in traffic. I think I was 18 seconds behind, that's because of some laps sitting behind guys doing 206 miles an hour. That's the hand we were dealt, unfortunately.”