Q: Dario, congratulations. You were dominant all day long, but everything got a little unusual. I'm sure you have all seen races where the dominant car did not win.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah, last year springs to mind. You know there's a big puddle of oil under the car. I think we broke an oil cooler, seriously.
Q: You're the king of extreme weather.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah. What can I tell you? We tried our best in qualifying, and we came up a little short. None of us were happy with that. We worked, Scott in particular on Bump Day worked very hard on the car. On Carb Day we did again. We left thinking the car was good. From the first lap today, yeah, it wasn't easy to drive, it was bouncing around in Turn 1 as much as I've had a car move around here in the rear, but I couldn't fix that because it was in balance other corners. But it was fast. Everybody had a problem in traffic, but we seemed to get through.
It was all looking good right up until that whole yellow, then we had to save fuel, were we saving enough, was Tony going to catch us? Turned out he wasn't. Turns out we had plenty of fuel because of the slow-down lap. Came in to pit lane, did some burnouts, still had some fuel in it. There was enough.
Q. You're a student of motor racing. This puts you in an elite category, your hero Jim Clark won here 45 years ago today. What does that mean right now?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: They showed me a list of two-time winners. Those guys are legends. I said the other night, "I'm just a driver, those guys are legends." I'm so lucky to be driving for Chip and Team Target, getting in good cars, especially having gone away after we won in '07. To be invited back was pretty cool. To have won a championship and an Indy 500, I didn't expect any of this. I said before, I expected to be retired by the time I was 35. This is all bonus and it's pretty cool.Q. It looked that little bit of wing you added at the first stop changed your day. Watching the timing, you were half a second clear per lap. Reminded me a lot of Montoya. Did the car feel as solid as it looked?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I don't know how other people's were to drive. My car was a handful, but it was a fast handful. When it's fast, you can hang on to it. When it's not quite like that, you have to start making adjustments. It was a handful particularly in 1, but it was a handful doing 223s when other guys were doing 221s. Looked better after the tires. We made one change.
Q. Last week when you were asked about the possibility of the $20 million bonus for running this race and the Coca-Cola 600, you said that the 500 was enough. Now that you have the 500 in your pocket, is it still enough?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Yeah. Quite frankly, it's a lot of money, 20 million bucks. Hasn't been announced they're doing it yet. For me, this is enough. Physically, this is enough. That was a tough day out there. For me it's enough.
I think if you want to win either of these races, the Coke 600 or the Indianapolis 500, you have to specialize at it. Chip might change my mind at some point. He seems pretty happy at some point as the man who won the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 in one year, that's pretty cool.
Q. Chip said early on, the first lap going into Turn 1, when you got around Power, you stuck it in there, it's sort of like you sat up in the seat. He felt it was like a moment of you realizing you had command of this race. Was there such a moment?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I thought I had a good chance. I thought I had a fast car by the time I did the first stint because I knew how the car was running through the whole thing. At that point, I thought, We're in the fight here. That move at the start, though, I knew the car was capable of it. It's something I've done before here. When I got past Will, I thought, "Fair enough." I was sitting on Helio's gearbox. I thought, "Damn, this is good." Pulled on past him, the yellow came out. Restart, but different people, we were able to gap them on the restart and go.
Again, we made a lot of right choices in the car setup. All day from lap 1 to lap 200 I drove the thing as hard as I know how.Q. Chip Ganassi is the first owner to win the Daytona 500 and the Indy 500 in the same year. You know first hand what a different world NASCAR is. What does this accomplishment by Chip mean to you?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I wish we would have had those cars in '08 (laughter). Mind you, might not have been sitting here, which would be a real shame. It all worked out perfectly. We said that at Long Beach last year, didn't we? Worked out perfectly. Got to have a holiday, come back, have some fun.
I think it says a lot about Chip, the people he employees. The mindset, whether it's here or down in Concord, it's the same mindset: we're here to win. All he wants to do is win. If you're not interested in that, if you take your eye off the ball, he lets you know. That's all he cares about. Mike is the same. We go racing, and we like to win. To be a part of a team like that just makes your job so easy as a driver. You're going to get beaten, absolutely. But you know everybody is on it all the time. That comes from the top down.