Q. This is your second IndyCar Series championship. Could you kind of compare this, how important this was to you to win this? And of course you're very competitive, but how does this compare to your first championship?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think Chip prefers this one. How does it compare is tough. It hasn't really sunk in yet. In '07 there was a lot of satisfaction in getting that one done. And now to come back from where we were a year ago. I think that's what makes it sweeter is we've got everybody together, and you've got a more balanced schedule, as well.
That gives me really a lot of satisfaction, having to beat guys like – look down the list. Look at the drivers we're competing against, Ryan and certainly Scott at the top of that. To beat those guys and to beat Scott on team equipment –you beat Scott Dixon, you've had a great day. But you've got to push like hell to get one over on him.
Q. Chip was talking about the team drivers that – I might be paraphrasing, hold back that 1 percent. He said that you and Scott did not do that. How do you not do it, I mean, when the stakes are so high? Did you ever race for a team where you either did hold back or did what other people do?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: What do you mean?
Q. What I understood what he said is they did not share everything, that was my understanding. Hold back information from your team. That 1 percent, how hard is it to go over that hump, and then did you ever race for a team where you thought people did hold back?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It's a trust issue, and it's something you develop, and I was lucky enough with Paul Tracy to develop that. The first guy I developed it with was Brian Snider. He said, we want to beat each other, but in order to beat each other we have to work together, and we ended up being great friends. I was lucky enough with Paul (Tracy), with Michael (Andretti). Michael took a little time, but we got there. And then it became part of the plan with Tony (Kanaan), Bryan (Herta), Dan (Wheldon), Marco, Danica, all those guys.
At first Scott was maybe just a touch guarded, but it was a full set of information going back and forth to the point we'd actually talk about certain corners, if you drive the car here, you can do this, it goes through really quick, help around the corner. There's one track, I don't remember which one it was, and we were joking that we could have a car with two seats and two steering wheels because he was very good through the first and not very good through the second and I was crap through the first part and great through the second. We work very, very well together.
Q. You mentioned that a couple years ago you were kind of wondering if you had kind of lost a step, and I was wondering if – there was a couple crashes just before you went to NASCAR, I don't know if you want to talk about it, but the media kind of was wondering if that had some effect on you and if that was part of your decision to go to NASCAR.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: My decision was motivation, nothing to do with the crashes. And anybody that took the trouble to ask me that question, I told them that. It had nothing to do with those crashes. I just didn't want to do it. But that wasn't the case.
Q. Just talk about Briscoe and Dixon. Those two guys today did everything they could possibly do to win this and at some point had an uh‑oh moment and realized that you were smarter or the team put yourselves in that position. Do you have empathy for what they were going through realizing that they ran really a tremendous race?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think those guys did a great job. It was crucial because I think if we would have been more balanced in that first stint I would have been right up there with them. But again, I think they did everything right, and I think we did everything right today, we just had different strategies going on. We got some luck, too. You've got to have luck to win a championship, and you can look back and look at every race we've done this year, the ones I've thrown away through bad luck or mistakes by myself, the team, whatever, we've all done it. It's a whole season's worth of points get you to this situation.
Q. To be sitting up there now, you'd think maybe the whole NASCAR thing, maybe I shouldn't have done it, maybe I should have just stayed right where I was, and I mean, even though you said it was worth taking a stab, but coming back to this series, how did you have to adapt to it coming back, and when you think about the NASCAR experience and that not working out, what was your thinking about, okay, I know I could come back to the IndyCar Series, but how do I strike it up? How do I adapt to what I left behind, if that makes sense.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I wouldn't change anything, and I've said that all along. I wouldn't change the decisions I made. I got to go do something completely different, have a bit of a holiday and realize what I was missing and come back and come back with the best team in the paddock.
I learned things as a driver. I got out – to drive in stock car, I got out of my comfort zone, and I learned a lot of new things, and there's things that I can apply to IndyCar. That's made me a better driver, I think.
I'm absolutely where I should be. I should be in IndyCars. That is what I grew up to do, race in the IndyCar Series. I wouldn't change my decision I made.
Q. Who did you want to win this championship more for, yourself or for your team?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Well, we win and lose as a team. I know it's a bit trite, but we win and lose as a team. In the garage after Indy, you see the look on those guys' face, to get it done for the whole Target team, because we're one team. To get that done and to finish one‑two in the championship, it certainly makes it very sweet.
I love being part of a team, I really – people think sometimes this is an individual sport, but this is a team sport, and I love being part of a team. When a team is working well, it's a great thing. It's a cool thing to be a part of.
Q. At the end of the race, it probably became very apparent to you that you were going to have fuel and those guys were going to have to pit again. Would you have guessed that this race was going to go caution free, however, and what were you thinking those last ten laps? Were you just kind of expecting any time now it was going to come out or just your emotions there at the end when you knew they were going to have to pit but yet there hadn't been a caution and that was kind of crazy.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I was hoping there wouldn't be a caution. I knew pretty much from the start of that last stint, we knew the position everybody was in. I was just hoping there wasn't going to be that caution. If it had been in the last five laps, we would have finished under yellow, because those crashes, it takes quite a while to clean them up. I'm glad it finished under green. What was the record? Was that record speed today? It must have been.
THE MODERATOR: Second. California in '03 was 207.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Was that caution‑free?
THE MODERATOR: One.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: It's got a history if you look at the caution summaries we do at our strategy meetings, there's not a lot of cautions. And with the tricky conditions I think it was surprising because the cars were sliding a lot, and our cars were handling better than most, and I was catching it sometimes off of 2 and 4, big slides at the corners, and I could see that other people were doing the same. They would have done a good job of hanging on to them today.
Q. Two years ago you had a deal with Scott that no matter who won you guys were going to meet for a drink. He was bummed out; he stood you up. Tonight he says he's not going to stand you up. How important is this going to be to share it with your teammates who came so close to winning a championship?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Ryan is coming out, too. He assured us he's coming out, too. We had a deal, look, no matter who wins it, we'll go and have a beer tonight. TK (Tony Kanaan) is coming out, too. There's always a rumor that TK is paying. He pays all the time; he's his own worst enemy. TK is always the first man to reach for his credit card.
It's very important to celebrate it with Scott. We have this attitude as a team, and I'll go back to Tony, it's an attitude that him and I had, too; some days you're going to be better than me, some days what you choose is going to work out better, and we've had that attitude all season, and we've pushed each other on. It's always in a positive, forward‑looking manner.
It's like, good job, man. I'm going to have to go home and think about it and come back stronger, and we've done that all season. He's a great teammate, and I love working with him, and hopefully we can do it again next year.