Q: Charlie, you're on the uptake, it looks like. How do you feel about chances this year and about this season and a minor question. What is the significance are your number 83?
KIMBALL: Well, it's always great to be back at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and to have the opportunity to just compete in the Indy 500. It's very special. But to do it with a team like Chip Ganassi Racing has been fantastic.
The season started out really well, and we're seeing some momentum and seeing some results that, frankly, are necessary. Are expected as we gain experiences.
So predictions, ideally, as a team, I think every single one of us is here to win. We don't come to a racetrack to finish second. So the idea is that we're doing everything we can this week to prepare ourselves. And this weekend to be in position, as Mike said, to race for the win at the end of the race. So, that's our goal and that's kind of our expectation.
As far as the number, it's 30 years, this year actually, since Chip's best result as a driver here at the Indianapolis 500. And he happened to be driving a car that my dad had a hand in designing. So it's important for me to recognize Chip's history as a driver and his success here by running the number 83.
Q: Scott, as a former winner you've been very close to being a multiple winner here the last couple years. Last year looked like you might have a great shot. Just that kind of magnifying, just how difficult it is to win here, as many second-place finishes that you've had since your victory.
DIXON: I think two of those have been behind Dario. When are you retiring? (Laughter).
You know, I love this place – everybody loves this place. It's good to be back here. Everyone here, Charlie and everybody up here has mentioned, the goal is the same. We want to win the race. I think we're very fortunate to be with a great team that can put you in that position.
Yes, we've come up short a couple times. I think probably 2011 was a clear race that we maybe stood on our own feet and should have had a great shot at it. Luckily it went to another great driver. As long as you keep fighting and keep knocking on the door – last year was the perfect scenario, obviously, have a 1-2 finish. Especially on Target's 50th anniversary. But that's what we strive for, to be in that position, every time we come here. Nothing's changed on that. Nobody remembers the second-place finishers, so we need to try to bump up a couple more.
Q: For all the drivers. Talk about road race driving as opposed to oval, what's your strengths and what do you enjoy?
FRANCHITTI: I think they are very different skill sets. Driving on an oval, whether is a short oval, that's one skill set, superspeedway, another road course, street course being another. And it does take some adapting to. We've all driven on road courses racing go-karts. It's something you definitely have to learn. Preferences, I think, it's one of the great thing about the IndyCar Series you have to be good at all of them. You can't have a preference. We all loving coming to Indianapolis, and this is the jewel in the crown in the IndyCar Series, for sure.
You have to be good on every track if you want to challenge for championship.
DIXON: I think, to reiterate, this is the toughest championship to win. To be good at all the disciplines, short oval, super speedway, Indianapolis. It's one of the toughest series to get everything together.
And I think it's kind of what we like about it, the challenge, that we have a hand. I didn't come to race on an oval until 1999 when I first started Indy Lights. But it's a great mix. I love both for different reasons. They are both are very challenging. And I think we have a good mix right now. Maybe a few more ovals would even it up pretty good.
KIMBALL: I can't agree with Scott and Dario more. I mean the only other comment I have is that it's a testament to a championship-caliber team that the engineers and the mechanics are so versatile that they are able to come up with winning equipment, give us the opportunity as drivers to run up front and be successful on multiple types of tracks and types of races, throughout the season, throughout the championship. That's a credit to them and to the management that has put them in place.
BRISCOE: They really said it all, but I mean honestly, for me, as well. I love them both. When you get to a track, you know, your mindset just changes to what that track is. And you know, that really is the most – the best thing about IndyCar Series here is the diversity. It's tough on the drivers, it's tough on the mechanics and the engineers, because the engineering of the car is so different from a track like this to a Milwaukee and then to a Baltimore.
So that's the beauty and the challenge of IndyCar racing, and it makes it unique to anything else in the world.
Q: As kind of a follow-up, if each of the drivers can tell us their love for the Indianapolis 500, what it is about the lure of this race and why you guys love coming here.
BRISCOE: It's everything to do with it. It's something about this place when you drive in through the tunnel where it makes hair stand up on the back of your neck. It's a race that's known by everybody in the world. It's by far the most important race for any driver or any team to win in any form of racing. So I think it's all that, the history and how people are remembered for having done well at this track.
KIMBALL: Ryan hit on a couple of key points. Being lucky enough to live here in Indianapolis, even when I just drive past it on 16th Street, even in the dead of winter with snow on the ground, it still makes you feel special knowing that you get to come here and compete in the Indy 500 and everything that means for a driver, for a team. Have the opportunity to go out and try and win it.
Somebody asked me earlier in the week what it was like for my third race, third time here. You know, each year it just gets more and more special because you have your own history to add to the rich history of the race itself.
DIXON: It's the key point to the history that sums it all up. To be in a sport doing something very similar or the same for over a hundred years. Tradition is very important. I think those definitely stand out.
I think, for me personally, to be on a short list of 67 different who have won at this place, that's special to me. Dario is on a much shorter list of winning it three times. It's everything that's involved. You know, I think a lot of us have been lucky to go to World Cup, Super Bowl, Wimbledon, the Olympics, and nothing compares to Indianapolis. As an event and race day with so many people here, the sheer size of this facility, it's really special.
FRANCHITTI: Yeah, I absolutely agree with everything these guys said. But I think it's one of the few things I've done in my life the more you do it, the more it means to you. That's a very odd feeling. Each time you come back here you just – it gets deeper, deeper. It's such a great event.
You think what a challenge it is to race here, to try to win. People take most of their life to try to compete in this race. It means so much to all involved. It's a special place. It's a great, great feeling to win it. It hurts like hell when you don't.
Q: Race drivers live in the now, but the two gentlemen who have won the race, do you have a moment to reflect? Do you reflect and say, "I am really part of the history of the sport, having my image on the Borg-Warner Trophy"?
FRANCHITTI: I think when you see your likeness on the Borg-Warner Trophy, it kind of takes me back a little bit. Rocks me back on my feet. You see all the people beside you, whether it's great drivers that are friends that you know, and guys you consider heroes, guys from really the past who you never met that you are part of that whole hundred years of tradition now. And you're on that very short list. What did Scott say – 67 winners. That's very, very special.
Not only to the drivers feel that, but every member of the crew and the team. I think Chip as a team owner there. We all feel it.
Q: How about you, Scott?
DIXON: As Dario said, I think in looking back at my youth coming from New Zealand and a lot of farmland and not big circuits and the occasional sheep, it's definitely, you know, special to be able to come through a long road and make it to the world stage and with such a prominent team and achieve – I think that's what you dream about. So actually you know, make one of your dreams come true is very special.
So, yeah, I guess, as I said, the whole history and the tradition and, you know, what this place means to you just racing. To win it is definitely the top piece, but coming back and trying to do it again after you've already done it, it gets tougher. But it also – it makes you want it that much more as well.