Hey RACER readers, I just finished the opening week at Indianapolis and Pole Weekend which went pretty good for me. You might have seen that I qualified the No. 11 Hydroxycut car on the fourth row in 12th place, and that's a good starting point to discuss for my blog.
Last year I qualified eighth. This year we missed the setup a little bit. Just a little bit. And that was enough not to put us on the Fast 9, which is very easy to happen. But with the rain delay, we never got a chance to go out there and try again, so that field was set. The way I looked at it, I didn't have it for the pole, I can assure you that. I had it for the third row. But I'm on the fourth row…so figure I can fix that by the end of lap one...
So really, it wasn't a big deal. I would be frustrated if I had enough for the pole and I couldn't show it, but that wasn't the case.
Even though I have a few more cars to pass to get to the front this year, I can tell you that I'm very pleased with the work the KV Racing team has done to get our car ready for the race. But it wasn't easy.
I found a lot more things on what not to do than actually what to do. Some people found the race setups right away. Some people found it in practice on Bump Day, and I'm one of them. Better late than never, so I'm very happy. We were looking for – and eventually found – a consistent car through the entire run. Understeer, oversteer, you don't want to have it. I would say a neutral car that would be very similar from lap one to the last lap is the dream can you hope you have in the race.
I think it's going to be a very difficult race anyway. Everybody, we're running so close. And, guys, I've learned at this place that it doesn't matter who looks good with the big speeds in practice or qualifying.
Who would have said, and if I had to bet you, that front row you're looking at right now would be those three guys? Nobody. I'm not taking anything away from them, so don't start tweeting that Tony Kanaan is saying a bunch of bad stuff, but you have to admit that the Penske guys and Ganassi guys are the normal ones to expect to be up front on Pole Day. This just shows you how unpredictable the race can be.
Having Simona De Silvestro as my teammate for Indy for the first time has been interesting so far. We haven't been able to do the normal deal where we both help each other, but I've been here a lot longer and you know she's not had the best luck at this place, but she's learning fast with a lot of good people at KV supporting her.
And, since she's never had a teammate, having an old guy like me to bounce stuff off of or to learn from has been a big step. You can learn only so much and only so quickly when you're by yourself every year.
So it's a step toward the future. I think she will be able to overcome all the obstacles that she had in this place and in the ovals and get better as we go. And then I will start benefiting from it like I do on the road and street courses. But the team is upbeat; it's a more positive environment and she's such a happy person that it's impossible not to laugh when she's around.
Now we go into many days of media stuff and promotions for the race, and if you're a guy like me who just wants to drive all the time, it's a lot like going from eating your favorite food to forcing yourself to eat things that maybe your mouth doesn't like, but you know is good for you. We have to do it, it's important, but c'mon…would you really trade driving around Indy to just talking about driving around Indy?
Some people start to stress at this point in the month. I'm not one of them. Yeah, it's strange going from busy days in the car to no driving at all for almost a week, but I don't get like extremely worked up about it or nervous.
And I have always been like that. The way I look at it is like this: I've done everything I could, I think my car is good, but I might be wrong, but there is nothing I could do about it. From now I'm going to find out race day. What are you going to worry about if you can't fix it until then?
So that's all the serious stuff to talk about before we get to next weekend. When we've had some spare time this past week, we've also had some fun. Being my teammate is a hazard, sometimes…
Simona isn't new to IndyCar racing, obviously, but she's new to being my teammate, and there are some traditions I would hate to have her miss out on, you know? The first day I put a lot of grease on the door handle of her Chevy Volt. She went to grab it and almost fell over…so then I had to clean her hand.
The next day I put a lot of lead into her hubcaps – one in the right rear and one in the left front. She had a rough ride home! The last one is, actually we're in a hunt to find a boyfriend for her. So any guy out there reading this who wants to "try out," message your info here. Résumés are actually more important than pix because we need to know more than just what you look like. What you do for a living, if you're financially stable. And I'm going to pick the guy and hopefully that lucky guy will have a week to get ready for his dream date because we'll bring him to the Indy 500 banquet to meet Simona and introduce her to her future boyfriend. She has no choice on that. It's Kanaan-Match.com.
I'd also like to wish my great friend Dario Franchitti a happy 60th birthday. You don't look a day over 59!
I'll speak with you guys after we get back to business on Carb Day.