Honda Indy Toronto winner Ryan Hunter-Reay and his car owner Michael Andretti meet the media after their third straight IZOD IndyCar Series win.
What can I say, I love Toronto. I think everybody knows that. It's been a great track to me as a driver. We struggled here a little bit from the owner's standpoint. It was great to finally get to Victory Lane.
Ryan did a fantastic drive. The team did great pit stops. The whole DHL team, couldn't ask for a better team for them.
Q: Michael, in 1989, your first win here, tremendous feeling. Is there any similarity at all to today, your first win as an owner? And are there six more to come?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I hope so! I don't know. It's always different as an owner and a driver. They're both really special in their way. As a driver there's more of that self-satisfaction. As an owner it's a great feeling, too. More the camaraderie of the people.
I feel happy for everybody on the team that has worked so hard. But it's great. I do hope there's more than six, because hopefully I can be an owner a lot longer than I was a driver.
Q: Three weeks ago Ryan wins at Milwaukee, then he wins at Iowa; he's great on the short tracks. Now it's three in a row. How formidable do you see him being in the championship?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I think he's a real factor in the championship. He's really strong on these types of [street] tracks as well. He doesn't have a weakness when he's driving. That's what you need to have as a driver. As a team owner, to have a driver like that, that's something we liked about Ryan, that we could be competitive on all types of tracks.
We're looking forward to the next how many races we have. I don't think there's a weak track for him.
Q: James Hinchcliffe came into this weekend with a lot of expectation locally. He had a disappointing weekend. Can you talk about that?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I feel bad for him because he was doing a helluva job. He was going to be a factor for the win watching the times he was running. They did a good strategy as well, and then his engine had a problem which was a shame.
It wasn't anything Ryan did wrong. I think he was driving a helluva race. The whole Go Daddy team is doing a good job with their strategy. I thought we were looking at a really strong contender there. I was hoping for a shot at the 1-2. I mean, he just had bad luck, plain and simple.
Q: Michael, as a driver and as an owner you've seen streaks. What do you advise your driver who is probably on the hottest streak of his career how to handle it going into the next few races?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Don't do anything different than you've been doing the last three races. He's been late every Thursday for his engineering meeting, so he's got to plan on being late for the next one in Edmonton.
I don't think Ryan should do anything different. I don't think the team should do anything different. We should just continue to do our job. If everybody does their job, we should be OK. If there's no mistakes made the rest of the year, I think we have a good shot at winning the championship.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: It's great to be sitting here. Toronto is one of my favorite races, so this is a special one for sure. Three in a row is awesome. We're just concentrating on doing well, doing what we've been doing.
We've been good on street circuits in the past. It's nice to go from the ovals to a street course and be able to win on both. It shows that this team is capable of a lot. It's all about them. It's all about the car they give me and the job they do in the pits. Just how the whole team is working together, it's a real pleasure to be a part of.
Q: At what point did you know this was yours?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Right from the get-go when we slotted in. We were fifth or sixth. I knew I had a pretty good car. I was content with staying there for a little bit, saving fuel, waiting for the track to rubber-in a little bit.
We pit. All of a sudden the track started coming to us. We were going quicker than we were in the first stint by a lot. When we put on the Firestone reds at the end, we were really fast.
It's been nice. The last few times we led at the right times, at the end. Like the guys said, it sounds cliché, to jump into pit lane and have a flawless pit stop each time is instrumental to winning. Those guys just did an awesome job. The car was great. To win here in Canada with Chevrolet, it's great.
Certainly we're on a streak, but I see it more that we're reaching our capability in what we can do. I certainly hope there's a lot more to come. We just need to have a real strong end to the season like we did last year.
Q: You had a comfortable lead going into the final five laps, and all of a sudden the yellow comes out. You know there's going to be the restart. How antsy were you knowing what this course can do, knowing that the comfortable lead you had was going to be done?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Was a strange feeling. I'm eight laps in the lead and I couldn't see anybody ahead of me, nobody behind me. You're sitting there leading the race. It's a weird feeling because you're all by yourself, but you still have to push 110%.
I'm thinking 20 laps, 10 laps, still no yellow. There's no way this thing can go green the whole thing. Then, boom, the yellow comes out.
The worst thing about a restart when you're leading is getting the rubber accumulation, the marbles on the tires. That is the worst part. You're just trying to tiptoe around, keep the tires clean, and hope you don't step wrong on the first corner, because that's when the tires are at their worst and you could easily go offline picking up marbles. That could take you another lap to clean off tires.
We got through it and had a great restart. It was unfortunate to finish under yellow. I would have liked the fans to have seen a green finish, but that's Toronto. Turn 3 is Mayhem Corner, so...
Q: Hard to believe that just a few days after the 4th of July there's only five races left to the season and here you are in the lead. This is like the stretch drive here for the title. How do you prepare yourself for that?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: I think, like Michael said, we keep doing what we're doing. We just won two races in a row. We came here and didn't do anything else. People weren't acting any different. We were having fun doing what we do.
Like I said, the team is really clicking together. We're all good friends. It's the right environment. We just keep doing that. The only nerve-wracking part about the points bit, the championship chase, is that you don't want to come under anybody else's mistake. It's not so bad if you, yourself, take yourself out of the race. That's your own fault. If somebody just cleans you out, that's what you worry about most. But that's natural.
We're just going to keep doing what we're doing, nothing overcomplicated, and really enjoy it. If you're not enjoying it, you're not going to win, that's for sure.