Q. Helio and Tim, this is a question about the unusual teams in the top nine. Graham Rahal, Ed Carpenter, Tagliani. Can you give me your thoughts on how did that happen or is that just the way the competition is now?
TIM CINDRIC: Yeah, I really appreciate your question. I grew up with my father coming here. The engines and the cars that he typically worked on were the ones that came in on Bump Day. So I have an appreciation for that side of the field that maybe some people don't realize.
One suggestion that I made earlier about this format was that, you know, I felt like those guys are as big a story as we are. You know, the expectation is that this guy should contend for the pole. The Graham Rahal program, Bobby and those guys put that group together, don't know how it's going to all turn out. Obviously I know a lot of those guys. You see the 20 car, that to me is as big a story as what we did, for them to beat some of the big powerhouse teams to get in that top nine.
One suggestion that I made is that although it might make it a little bit more difficult, when we come here on Saturday, the fans are the ones that need to determine this, if you determined your top nine all the way to 6:00 today, then if it rains tomorrow, at that point in time that's the pole. So today we're running for a provisional pole and we're also running for the first pit box. Then you guys can help explain to everybody how tomorrow goes down. But those guys are then the stories, too. They become as big a story tonight as the rest of us. And then you go into Sunday and you bump till 4:00 tomorrow, then you shoot this thing out until 6:00 on Sunday.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: What, 24 hours waiting (laughter)? You're kidding me. One day is enough. This guy is unbelievable.
TIM CINDRIC: You only had to go three times today, two times tomorrow. You get a rest.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, right.
TIM CINDRIC: But to me, then I think everybody understands even better. Then I also think that those guys that were in that group get a lot more accolades than maybe what they'll get tonight.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I have one suggestion. Please, today write about those guys, too. That's it. Will be over (laughter).
Q. Helio, can you speak to your thoughts about Tony and his misfortune today, not to be able to compete with you.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Yeah, it's tough. When you have a situation like that, that's exactly my point. You got to go and try your first attempt not knowing much, especially this morning. I was turning 224 this morning because of the weather. Just to show that the weather makes a big difference, sometimes when you going out there, the weather change, and you don't have much choice, you just got to go. Even an experienced driver like Tony, he gets surprised.
It's a shame. Certainly it's a shame. I don't wish this to anybody, especially in this place. But I'm sure he has a great team. He's a good driver. He'll be able to bump that, overcome that blip on the radar, and come back strong in the race.
Q. Getting back to your pole-winning run, it almost kind of deflated the other eight drivers. When that number got to be that high, did that almost even surprise you? Seemed like you threw down the challenge.
HELIO CASTRONEVES: That was the plan, man. "Deflate" is the word? That was a good word. I wanted to deflate them, make them in the panic mode. I wanted to do everything to make them, Let's give up and go home. Didn't seem that way. They were trying, trying and they were getting close. Even Ed achieved 228. You see my teammate coming back every time. I actually have my hands tight because there is not much I can do. We really reached the limit.
Sometimes out here, even that is the toughest thing, but you encourage especially your teammates. If he did it, I can do it as well. You go out there, Bam.
The good news is this track is very tricky. As Cindric said, you got to go at the right time. We went at the right time. Turned out to be great.
TIM CINDRIC: Today I felt we had to be on offense. You saw we just missed Tagliani there in the first run of the day. I was really hoping for a break in the line. But, you know, again, that risk of being 25th today, you know, I told him, I said, We have to see it, we have to see that we can go faster than Tagliani and then go do it. We did exactly that.
When it came time to figure out when to go, I knew in those conditions what he was capable of. I knew he was in the right mindset. Again, you have to be on offense here. That's what we did today. Another time, another day, you know, that might not be the time to go, but I thought that was for us.
Q. What does that domination today mean for the race? Is there that much domination in the race setup?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: I have to say that qualifying is a totally different scenario than the race. Again, sometimes not the fastest car is the one that win the race. We actually had that experience in 2003. So we don't want to fall in that situation again. We want to learn from those situations and make it better.
So certainly to say 'intimidate the other guys,' it's not, because they are trying. But they might respect. They know that 500 miles is a long, long race. Everybody here is very capable, the level of the teams and drivers are incredible. So saying that, everybody's going to turn the page, including us, focus on what we need to focus on the race, continue finishing the job.
Q. We're here talking on qualifying day a lot. We're also talking on race day a lot with if not you one of your teammates. What is it that Team Penske does that allows you to be so successful?
TIM CINDRIC: We hire the right guys. We hire the right people to drive 'em. We hire the right people to work on 'em. We have the right people to engineer 'em. We have the right guy that sets the tone. He's the catalyst for what we do. He'll be the first one to tell you it's about people.
Obviously, you have to prepare the right things, have to bring the fast car, that type of thing. But the people are the ones that do that. At the end of the day, I think that anticipation, we had to go through all the different scenarios today. Everybody has to know what their role is. If everybody is trying to determine when we go in line, tell him what the line is around the racetrack, what gear to be in, everybody has to know their role and be the best at what they can do.
The thing I say in times like today is you have to focus on what you can control as an individual. If you can't control whatever you're talking about, then it's not worth talking about today. You need to worry about what you can control, otherwise you're going to make a mistake. That's what kind of our focus and our mindset is throughout today.
Q. I kind of expected Ryan to be alongside you. Are you surprised at all to have a new wing man starting next to you?
HELIO CASTRONEVES: Let me tell you, sometimes things happen. Ryan was working as hard as anybody in our team, especially yesterday. Everyone was helping, you know, changing engine, changing car, to make sure what happened to his car. Certainly we know what he's capable to doing.
And I have to say, fourth place was to his credit. That team, that group, No. 6, was working extremely hard to find the issues. Till this day, we don't know what happened.
We're like, What happened?
But I have to give credit to him. It's all to the guys. It's not Will. I'm not the asset in this team to make everyone push each other, to hopefully we have three guys out there. If whatever happens during the race, we have another one, happen to that guy, we have a third chance, I do believe that.
Today sitting here in the pole position, it's a credit for those guys as well. Will and Ryan, as the atmosphere continues in the team, we all benefiting from that. Hopefully we continue like that.
TIM CINDRIC: Will proved today he's one of those guys that is going to evolve into an Helio type here in terms of being able to put him in those pressure situations. He understood what his role was last year. He learned a lot from last year.