Q: Chip, obviously the goal tomorrow is winning the pole but when you get to the final shoot-out and everything, how do you see that shaping up for you in terms of maybe guessing games or, you know, your gambling skills? Just how much are you really going to push the envelope tomorrow when you get to that point?
GANASSI: Well, I think, first of all, how much are we going to push the envelope? We're going to push it all the way tomorrow. OK, we're here – yes, there's a new format, yes, the race is a week away, but right now our focus is on qualifying. If we're going to focus on qualifying, let's focus on being on the pole. If we're not focused on being on the pole, we wouldn't focus on qualifying. But we're here to focus on that tomorrow.
Is it going to be a high level of stress? I think so but, I mean, that's what the fans pay for, that's what the sponsors pay for, that's what we get paid to do. And like I said, I have a good group of guys here who I think are up for the task. We obviously talked about different scenarios this week about what could happen and what-ifs, how things have changed a bit. You know, there's some thought if you have three or four shots tomorrow, if you can't get your car figured out in three or four shots, you're not going to get it figured out. But you do have to be ready, you're going to have to be ready a little quicker than maybe in the past and you're going to be...and you're going to have to maintain a high level of preparedness all day. Obviously, you want to first get into that fast nine and make sure you're solidly in there.
I think there's going to be a couple interesting races tomorrow. One of them is going to be at about quarter to four or maybe 3:30, because I think there's going to be a big race for the last spot, one, two, three spots at the end there.
Also, the important thing to point out is the pits are going to be picked off of what we call Segment 1 tomorrow. So that's an important – it's important to go fast in Segment 1 because that's going to pick your pits for the race. So, you know, you don't want to give it a half effort and then have something happen. You can have a half-effort tomorrow and you can pay for it on lap, you know, 180 of the Indy 500. I wouldn't want to have that happen. So it's going to be important you have a good pit selection, which is going to come in Segment 1 tomorrow. So don't let that fall out of the importance level that it's going to take tomorrow and how important it is to run fast in Segment 1.
Having said that, you want to run fast in Segment 1, but you obviously want to save something for Segment 2, which is the shoot-out. You know, you want to save something for that because, OK, now you have a good pit selection, you can have the first pit and still start the race in the third row. I'm not interested in that either.
So there's sort of two different things going on here. The guy who walks away with the pole here tomorrow night is going to have played his hand certainly with four aces. You're going to need all four aces in your hand tomorrow afternoon at 6. Whoever has those four aces is going to have earned something, I can tell you that. He's going to have earned something because he's going to have played his hand all day very well, I think. And I think you're going to see the same thing, like I said, back at the seven, eight, nine position or eight, nine, 10, 11 position, you're going to see a lot of activity there.
So, yes, it's something new, but, hey, let's face it, if we can do something to improve the show or improve it for the fans, I think it's about time we start doing it.
Q: Chip, yesterday it was reported that when Brian Barnhart changed the rules about if you have to go to a backup car, you go to the back of the field, now you'll stay in your spot, that you weren't real happy about that. Could you explain your thoughts on that?
GANASSI: Well, I think what I was unhappy about was I think at one point there was a difference if you were in the (first) nine versus the remaining part of the field.
HULL: What was said by the president of the competition of IRL (Brian Barnhart) was the top nine guys basically had no consequences. You could go out and tattoo the fence, and you were still in the race in the first three rows. Whereas if you were in the other rows and you went out and crashed at any point in time, you were going to start at the back in a spare car. That's where the difference of opinion was.
GANASSI: That's all. It was matter of just what's good for the front nine is good for the back, you know, 24 or whatever.
HULL: This isn't the first tradition that's been changed at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and I'll guarantee you – I think anyway, I don't work for them – it won't be the last. But we've got to go with the flow here. We've got to get the brand back in business. This is a good attempt at doing that. If Brian wants the fastest drivers on the planet who qualify in the first three rows to start at the front to make a good race on race day, that's what we should support.