MODERATOR: Tim, elaborate if you will on this boost increase and how you deal with it in terms of setup and so forth.
CINDRIC: It is a bit challenging. I think it's difficult sometimes for the fans to understand as well because there's an anticipation typically of the speeds building through the month, and then on Friday you have this large buildup in terms of the speeds. And the teams, it's difficult for us to actually work on qualifying setups throughout the week until today. Today we have a weather situation where you might have rain from 3 o'clock on. It kind of amplifies the day. But today's the day when the pressure really starts to mount in terms of for the drivers and really trying to understand how to get ready in a very short period of time. And understanding how the speeds will then affect the balance of the car. It's a lot to ask of these guys to have that increase in speed, this 5- to 7-mile an hour difference, where they'll get – you know, if it rains today two or three hours of that today and then right into qualifying tomorrow morning.
So it's very challenging and, you know, I think that it's good in terms of the overall impact to the sport to continue to go faster on qualifying day. It's just difficult to do that in a very short period of time like we have. But I'm certainly an advocate of trying to set new track records here, so I think we need to continue to work toward the right balance of safety and speed.
MODERATOR: So 230 is likely, you think?
CINDRIC: I think you'll see 230 in terms of the times in practice and tomorrow morning. In qualifying, I think it really depends on the engine manufacturers, and I think that's yet to be seen. But I guess last year I think it was a low 227. So I think 230 might be a stretch. So I don't want to put that expectation out there, but I think we'll see those laps with some draft.
Q: Each of the drivers – well, in fact both of you, Rick and Tim, can weigh in, too. What is it about your love of the Indianapolis 500 that keeps bringing you back? What makes it special to you personally?
ALLMENDINGER: For me, I mean it's the prestige of the race. You know, it's one of those races, and it may be the biggest race in the world when it comes to, you know, if you're not even a race fan, you don't really know anything about racing, but you say you won the Indianapolis 500, they know that's pretty special. And for me, that's something that the first time I signed with Penske last year, you know, you walk into the main office and the Borg-Warner Trophy is there with the helmets of everybody that's won the race. You know, for me, it's like as soon as I walk in, being a NASCAR driver, at that point that's special right there. You see what that means.
And to me, just to – it would be special to have my face on that trophy, have that trophy in your trophy case. And, you know, once you become an Indy 500 winner, that will never be taken away. You're part of a special club. And that to me is what makes this race so amazing is the fact that, it doesn't matter who you say it to, if you say you're an Indianapolis 500 champion, that's pretty special.
MEARS: Pretty much the same thing. For myself it was, we had heard about Indy, listened to it on the radio early on. Then finally when they came out with a little bit of the live coverage growing up. But for me it was way out of my league. There was no way. We were just racing around home for fun as a hobby and recreation, and I never even thought about coming here until about six months before I actually got into an Indy car.
I didn't dream about because I didn't think it would ever happen. There was no question. So to be able to accomplish that and hook up with Team Penske and the right organization and have the tools to be able to accomplish what we have here is just incredible.
POWER: Much the same as Rick and A.J. said. I didn't realize how big the event was until I'd actually been through the process of the month. Couldn't believe the media coverage, and Race Day is the biggest eye-opener when you walk out into pit lane and just the amount of people. It's phenomenal.
And apart from all that, it's a challenge of getting it right because, you know, it's such a hard place to get right in the car. And when things aren't working, you don't even want to be out there. It's just so hard. But when they do work, you have a good car and you're passing people, you know, it's the best feeling in the world. So it's a very unique place, nothing like it in the world.
CINDRIC: For me it's pretty simple. I grew up watching all the history being made. And to be part of and have the opportunity to work with these guys and Roger, it kind of all puts it full circle and perspective for me to understand how difficult it is. I watched my father try and win this race with an engine for 30 years and he never got that done. And to have the chance to be part of five of those is a big deal.
And, you know, Rick, I tell the story all the time about the time when I was kid he went back and got me a hat. And I never forgot that. So, you know, to work with him and these guys, it's a big deal for me.
CASTRONEVES: Well, several things. History, challenging of going for 500 miles in this place, when you're able to accomplish that, it's just an amazing accomplishment. And drinking the milk. It's all about, do you want to be there. I guarantee everybody's thinking I want to drink that milk. Those are the things.
Q: Helio, has there been a change, sort of a transition in mentorship between you having Rick your rookie year and then now seeing somebody like A.J. coming in, have you kind of taken over that role of kind of being his mentor and teacher here? I know he's not a rookie to the Speedway itself but to these Indy cars?
CASTRONEVES: It's amazing. Helping Jr. here – it's been quite challenge, you know (Laughter). Certainly Rick would be my mentor. I don't know if I'm Jr.'s mentor, but I'm certainly trying to keep him in line, but he doesn't need much to be honest, he seems to know exactly what he wants, and it's good.