Q: Chip, obviously, you started the year in just fabulous fashion, winning the Daytona 500 with Jamie McMurray, and you've got two guys who are capable of winning here. That has to have crossed your mind with some regularity.
CHIP GANASSI: It's certainly crossed my mind, and I try to stay focused on the job at hand and let other people think about those kinds of things. I'm just worried about the task at hand. That's kind of the way I look at it. It means nothing, so let's just focus on what we're supposed to be focused on here.
Q: Mike, we've got a new qualifying procedure, which is going to be very interesting. Secondly, I was thinking from an engineering point of view, we've had this kind of weather constantly days on end, and then discussions about sunny and 75, 80, depending on what forecast you look for the weekend. I can't pull much hair out, but if I had hair, and I were in your position, that's exactly what I would be doing now. So how about those two challenges for you?
MIKE HULL: I think it's actually a lot better. Normally we run – I know the weather is always a factor at Indianapolis, but it seems like for the last few years every Saturday morning we've been sitting here wondering is it going to rain, is it not going to rain, is it cold, is the wind going to blow? At least it's going to be a great day. So I think the people sitting here as well as everybody up and down pit lane and the people who are going to come and watch this thing unfold on Saturday are going to be excited about the fact they can wear a T-shirt and come out here and watch this thing happen. It's great for us that the weather is going to be conducive to being able to run all day long.
Q: Dario and Scott, you've had a very solid month so far. Talk about your thoughts going into pole qualifying day.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: I think today is the day for us that we're really going to find out what we've got in terms of a set qualifying setup. We've worked really on race stuff up until now. Yesterday, Scott and I were doing race runs together right up until the last minute, and then we swapped over to qualifying trim and the rain came. So we don't quite know what we've got yet for that. We feel quite comfortable with the Target car, both the 9 and the 10, I think, in race trim. We don't quite know what we've got for qualifying yet. So today is going to be an interesting day. The forecasters are getting it wrong almost a hundred (percent) of the time it looks like because they said yesterday was going to be dry, today was going to rain, and it hasn't quite come that way yet. But, as we know about Indianapolis, it's kind of like Scotland; if you want the weather to change, just hang on five minutes and it's liable to happen.
SCOTT DIXON: It's been a tough week, I think, obviously with the compressed schedule and then trying to work out what we need to attack first-hand. Obviously, race setup is the most important I think on our side just to make sure we have great cars in the race, qualifying. Hopefully we can trim out a good racecar and it's going to work fairly well in qualifying trim. But we've really only done kind of a half go and attempt maybe not yesterday but the day before. So there was definitely a few cars yesterday getting some qualifying trims in, attempts which looked pretty interesting. But I think all the speeds that they were doing were definitely achievable for us, and hopefully we can have a good run at the pole tomorrow.
Q: Chip, you're in this because you want to win, and that's the goal in anything that you do. What drives you? As I think about this, you've got two guys who have done just that as drivers, guys who have won championships for you. You've had a long relationship with Mike and people are pointing to you. You have to feel good when you have that kind of lineup about your chances.
GANASSI: Well, you do. It's true, I have a – obviously you know, I'm the guy who likes to be down on the inside. You guys probably all know by now I like to be down in the pit lane and in on the racing side of the business, you know, as opposed to the hoopla side or the merchandise side or the – and I love to be down asking about the cars, finding out about what the guys are into. It's just the way I've come up in this sport, I guess. I like being down in the action. And I don't mean to be short with you about talking about Daytona versus Indy or whatever, but that's not why I'm here almost; I'm here because I want to win, and I want to win the next race. I want to win the Indy 500, and after the Indy 500 I want to go in Texas. And, you know, after Texas I want to go win…
GANASSI: Thank you. (laughter). So that's why I'm in it. That's what it's about. We've come to so many races and how many did we walk away with the trophy? I think that's important in today's world, especially because I think we lose sight of the fact that racing is about, you know – I don't want to sound like a purist, but racing is about passing other people and being at the front and getting to the checkered flag. I don't think there's enough talk about that. In sports today, we talk about so many other things, but let's get back to the reason why we're all here in the first place; it's to win. And that's what I like about having these three guys to my right, each, in their own respective way, they understand that and they understand the level of commitment, the level of performance, the level of just general activity it takes on their particular part to accomplish that. And that's why I'm lucky to represent these three guys when I go talk to sponsors or whatever, you know, is because the three of them understand what the commitment is to this team and to – and that's what it is, a commitment to the team. It's not a commitment to me or, you know, the mechanics, it's a commitment to the team. There are a lot of people in this garage area, these three guys can probably all go get jobs in the next hour if they had to in the garage area, and probably get paid more money. That's why I'm fortunate to have them on the team. So, you know, but they've chosen to be a part of a group of people who have a common goal and that common goal is winning the next race.
Q: How do the qualifying changes affect the way both of you drivers form your outlook on what you need to do tomorrow and perhaps next week, too?
DIXON: I think everybody takes it in different strides. Everybody is on the same page as far as time and running times and things like that for us. You know, we're definitely the team that I think has stood out and just concentrating on race setup. So we hope the choices that we make are the right ones. It is a hard decision to know when to go from a race setup to a qualifying setup and things like that. But, from now on, we're definitely going to start concentrating on the qualifying setup.
I think the format is going to be interesting for all of us. It's going to be tougher on the teams, tougher on the drivers, tougher to make the right calls I think at the right time. But some of that's going to come into luck, too, just how the timing works out, especially if you get into the fast nine. I think it's going to be a lot more stress on everybody tomorrow and it's going to be hard to fight for that pole. But I think in the big picture of putting on a great show for the fans is definitely what it's all about.
FRANCHITTI: I think timing is more important this week. If you get late to pit lane and you miss that group to practice, your race simulation, that's been quite tough. Obviously, with the weather coming in and out, as well, there will be no time for messing around. Anytime there's been a green track, the flag has been green, we've had to be on it, which has been kind of weird sometimes because we've been sitting out there and the rest of pit lane has been empty. So kind of curious about what some people have been up to.
But we've been really, as Scott has said, focused on that race setup and then today we're going to switch over to the qualifying simulation. Qualifying, I think it's going to be more difficult with this new format because anytime you go out here in qualifying trim whether it's in practice or for the real deal, you're absolutely on the edge for those four laps. We're going to have to do it a good number of times today, but then tomorrow, upward of three, four times probably. We're going to earn our money tomorrow, for sure. I think Chip's stress level is going to be fairly high tomorrow, as well.