Ahead of this weekend's championship-deciding Cafes do Brasil Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, championship contenders Will Power and Dario Franchitti answer media questions. Full transcript:
Q. Will, as the points leader, you get the first question. Can you just talk a little bit about the season that you've had so far and about fighting it out with Dario for what could be your first championship here in America?
WILL POWER: Yeah, I mean, it's been my best season to date, my entire career. And going into this season I guess a few months, I wasn't even sure I would be full time.
So it was a great start. And it continued through the whole season. I think this is the first time I've been in the position in my career where I've got all the tools to win races. A fantastic team that has all the engineering and all the personnel to give you the best possible chance of winning, the best equipment.
So the only thing that I saw coming this season that would be tough for me is really getting up to speed on ovals, which I have. And I feel as though I've learned a lot and I feel I'm in a position to win on ovals now. So, yeah, it's been a great season.
Q. Dario, you've been in this title fight situation before. And you came out on top last year and in 2007. Do you approach this final race any differently from the years past?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I don't think so. We know how to get the job done. The guys at Team Target know how to win it, too. We're not going to go out and change our game plan. We're going to go out to win the race. We've got to make up the points. We've got to get a 13-point advantage, which is not going to be easy, but we think we've got the equipment to do it. We know how to do it. So we've been talking about a lot this week about the ins and outs and the championships and the points.
At this point, we just want to get on the track and fight out there.
Q. Dario, in 1999 you had that great points race with Juan Pablo Montoya. You did basically everything you could do except win more races than him. You ended up tied. What did you learn from that championship battle? And also, how difficult was it from 2000 until 2007 before you were really in the thick of another chance to win the championship?
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think what I learned there is that every point counts. Whether it's the first race, the fifth race, the last race, every single one of those points count. And that's something I've definitely tried to kind of put into practice, I guess.
And I think the speed's always been there. The trick is to get the consistency there. The other times, it's to get the speed and the consistency working together. Between 2000 and 2002 I think we were in the championship battle I think until the last race. And then 2005, we were reasonably competitive. We just had crappy luck. When 2007 came along and we really had a series challenge after that, that was a good feeling. Obviously did that again last year. It was nice to finally get those championship wins after years of winning a lot of races but not closing the championships out.
Q. Will, I know that in 2007 you were over in Champ Car, but does it kind of amaze you to a large degree that the last three seasons that Dario has raced in IndyCar, that he's been involved in a down to the end last race of the championship battle?
WILL POWER: Does it surprise me? Not really. I mean, he's been in great teams, and he's a very strong, consistent driver. So you would expect him to be up there every year that he's racing. So, yeah, that's the answer to your question.