Q: Simona, on a week where you might wind up playing more racquetball than actually being on the track because of all the rain, how much pressure does that add for you going into qualifications this weekend?
SDS: Yeah, it's kind of weird not having that many laps out there, and it's already Wednesday. But I think tomorrow and Friday, it will be nice. So we're going to be out there quite a bit. You know, we're pretty confident. We really did only one run on new tires, and it went OK. So I think we have a direction we want to go with the setups – we want to try a couple of different things.
For sure, as a driver you want to do more laps, because it is an intimidating place. The first lap I did on Saturday, I was, "Wow, it is pretty fast out there!" Your mind has to kind of get used to the speed and things like that. So throughout the week it goes better, but we didn't run that much. You have to kind of fast-forward that. But I think we're going to be good, and I think the Nuclear Clean Energy car will be all right.
Q: When you say getting used to this place, what is the most difficult thing about doing that?
SDS: Well, it really is, I think it's the speed. You know, going down the straightaway, which is so long, and then thinking you're going to be flat-out through the corner, too, it takes a little time to get used to that. Especially when you go on the ovals, your brain has to get used to the speed. In the beginning, you're all stressed out because it's so fast and then you start to relax; especially here at the Speedway, it's even more so. So you have to do a couple laps and kind of calm down about it and get comfortable with the car, because especially when you come from road courses, the car feels so different on the ovals. You know, it's a completely different animal out there, so you just have to get used to that.
Q: You had said you were looking forward to the ovals. Are you surprised that that's something that you say now?
SDS: Yeah, definitely. Last year it was a big eye-opener for me. When you look at it [oval racing] on TV, it looks kind of easy but it's definitely not. It's completely a different art of racing. This year I have a new engineer, Brent Harvey, who has had a lot of experience on the ovals, so it gives you as a driver a little bit more confidence, because you kind of know what he really is talking about. I had fun last year on the ovals; when it was going well, it was a lot of fun. So I really hope we're going to have a couple of good races on the ovals, and especially here at Indy.
Q: Your season has gotten off to a great start. Were you a little disappointed you were going to an oval and not staying on the street and road courses for a while?
SDS: No, I don't think so. I feel like this is almost like a new start of the season. For me it's always like the road courses is one season and the ovals is another season. I think the cool thing about the IndyCar Series is that we change so many tracks, and as a driver you have to be good on all of them. It just adds that challenge.
I know on the road courses we can be competitive, and now I want to know on the ovals we can be competitive, too. I think it's just going to be a lot of hard work, but I'm excited that it's four races on a road course and four races on the ovals, because what you learn from the last weekend you can bring into the next weekend.