"Wow, what a race." Actually, the racing was great years and years and years ago. Indianapolis racing was number one when I was involved. I had a major choice to make when I got started, whether it was Indy racing or NASCAR-type. I chose the Indy Racing because it was number one racing. It was the way to get a sponsor at that time and that's why I went that way. It worked out for a long time, but unfortunately, when CART and USAC split, that started the separation and NASCAR took over. Right now, NASCAR is number one in racing. It hurts me because basically, we have the background in Indy Racing, although I did race a few NASCAR races. Watching that race yesterday brought back memories of what I went through as a driver. A lot of accidents happened and for various reasons. Stupid little things like someone running into the back of someone on a yellow all the way down to needlessly having some spins because you got a little bit below the line etc., etc. There was examples in the race yesterday that reminded me of the old days. Everybody was competitive. Everybody was on the edge. Everybody was running hard.
The competition was tremendous. Thirty-seven, I believe, lead changes and fifteen lead changes in just the last few laps, fifteen laps. There was lead change after lead change. That was exciting and competitive. The cars were very competitive. They were safe. Obviously, you saw the accidents, so the change of the rules went the right direction, obviously. I just think that if they'd have more races like that, that competitive, that Indy Racing would be number one again because that was an example of tremendous racing, not just follow the leader and wait until the last five laps. There was competition going on that whole race one way or another. There were people trying to save fuel so that they could actually stretch it out and take a faster pit stop. I don't know if anybody noticed it, but in the race, there was times when cars could've passed, but they, basically, wanted to try to stretch the fuel out. Yes, they wanted to lead some laps, so therefore, they did pass. Then they'd lead and realize oh, I think I'm better off if I'm behind somebody, so the other car would lead.
You had a lot of strategy going on, a tremendous amount of strategy going on in that race yesterday. The fans used to follow that kind of strategy years ago and they used to know what was going on. Today's fans just are not really up with all of that knowledge that's going on on the race track, but I think they would shortly get there because the TV broadcasters did a magnificent job of explaining of what was happening. I thought the fact that they were talking about what might happen and it did happen. They were talking about what might happen and it didn't happen, but on the other side of the coin, they kept the audience on their seats all the way though the race. That was better than in the old days.
The new commentators, in my opinion, are more educated as to what's happening on the racetrack right now. Although Paul Page, back in the old days and a few people like that were pretty knowledgeable, when you're using the people they're using today in commentating, I think it's like one time I was asked to narrate for ESPN. I was already qualified and I was asked to narrate the last day of qualifying for ESPN. That's when one of the world champions, I forget his name now, Emerson Fittipaldi, I think, was going around the track. I said, "If he does that one or two more times, he's going to spin out turn four." It wasn't even two laps later when he spun out in turn four. I explained why and what was causing that and where it would bite him and it did. That's because I had the experience as a driver. I think that the commentators today have that kind of experience. At least, if they weren't actually driving, they've been alongside commentating with some of the drivers who have educated them along the way because that helps make the race, with the fans have an idea of what's really going on.
The pit stops, the whole thing. When Juan Pablo won the race, actually came sliding into the pits, part of the reason he overshot the pit on that one deal and had to back his car up is because in Indianapolis Racing, there's a penalty if you use too many slips going out. That's why you see the cars take a sharp right turn because if they go through too many pits there's a penalty. They want you to get into that lane and out. They don't want you running through other people's pits. You saw a couple of times when there was a few warnings in that area. When he went over his hose, that's a penalty if you don't correct it. It's a warning if you correct it. The time loss for him was about five seconds. He backed up five seconds. Five seconds on that track, at two hundred miles an hour, is a long ways, so basically, that was his penalty. What caused it was as he's coming into the pits, they decided to put a little front wing in, so he basically, is talking to his team, which shows just that second of distraction caused him to overshoot his pit.
There was multitude of those things going on in the race. Expert drivers, professional drivers, that just plain missed it. You saw the gentleman who had won the Indy race many times spin out and hit the wall. That was because, in my opinion, I was watching it, they just plain pinched the turn, got under the line a little bit, and they had just made a change. That's where the commentator helped. The commentator basically said they just made a change in his car. In fact, Chip Ganassi even volunteered to say, "We, unfortunately, just made a change and it caught him." His mind, at that point, was on charging hard. He even said, after they interviewed him afterwards, "I'd rather, if I can't win, I'd rather end up having a good, competitive, strong race and if I don't finish, I don't finish."
I think Mario Andretti was that example. Mario Andretti ran Indy for years and only won once. In fact, the fans used to say, "And Mario Andretti is slowing down," usually because he blew up his car or something happened because he was always running it on the edge. That's what they were talking about at this point. The race was coming to and end. They made a change so that at the end of the race, similar, perhaps, change that Will Powers made. Will Powers, they took rear wing out and front wing in. When you put front wing into a car, that pins the front a little bit more and makes the back loose. To take wing out of the back, that makes it even looser, so you've got to be on your toes like no tomorrow. That's what the commentator explained to the fans, exactly what I just said. When you've got the commentators explaining it that closely, then the fans can see and then see the results.
Will Power didn't lose it. I forget his name, driving for Chip Ganassi, he led a lot of the race. Oh, gosh, I can look it up for you. Anyway, he's won the race three times. He was going after a fourth. He's very talented, but at that speed, one little fraction of a second that you lose concentration and you're in the wall. He was a good example of that right there. You saw him twitch. The twitch was just a little more because his reaction wasn't right on top of it. Will Powers, I saw his car twitch a couple times, but he caught it. That's because at that particular point, he was concentrating more on it than, perhaps, the other gentleman. I don't know. Who knows, maybe his car was adjusted a little bit too much more than Will Powers was, but when you take rear wing out, you are asking to be on the fine edge of that car actually making a lap around there in one piece.
That's exciting. It's the same thing as qualifying. When I used to qualify, I don't think I ever took a breath in four consecutive laps. I don't know if you're holding your breath or whether you're just sitting there not breathing, but I would get on that last lap as I'd come across the finish line and I'd take that gulp of air like it was, "Whew, I just made it," because you're on that fine edge. Picture yourself driving on a blacktop road. You come around a corner and there's trees shading the road and it's wet. It's all of a sudden icy and your whole car starts to slide. Now the only way you can make that corner is not to get out of the throttle. Your car will spin right off the road. Not to get in the throttle harder, your car will spin off. Your key to that is neutralize everything and let the car do its own thing and steer your way around a corner in a full slide. That's some of what was going on yesterday. Some people saved them in those conditions and some people didn't. It was competitive. The race was truly, truly competitive and I liked it very much. If they have any more races like that, I'm sure the fans will look back strong.
He made a change on real power similar to what they did on [canonce 00:00:05] so, they put front wing. They took the rear wing out. They didn't put front wing in. On Powers. They took rear ring out which speeded up Powers' straightaway speed. Now the whole thought of doing that is so that when you're drafting someone and you pull out into the air, if your car has less drag than theirs, you'll still move a little faster than theirs. He almost pulled it off at the end of the race by 0.10 thousandth of a second. The fourth closest finish in history so, what it amounted to is, if he'd take a sixty-forth of an inch more out of the rear wing, he'd have won the race.
Would he have spun the car out? I don't know. He waited to that last little run to take advantage of the fact, knowing that he had less rear wing than the other car probably had. Knowing that if he got up parallel to him, he could probably keep going because the drag on the other car would be more. Now, when he made that change, even on television, the commentators made a comment that, "Oh my god, they just took downforce out of Will Powers' car and he's going to have to hang on to that." They made that comment because it's going to be tough but if he can hang onto it and stay up front, that means the last of the race, he can make that dart for the finish line.
You've got draft and you lag back maybe 25, 30, 40, 50 feet and then you step on it because you're being pulled by that car so you're at three quarter throttle. Now you put your throttle all the way down. You're coming up 5 miles an hour faster than he is and you dart out with that 5 mile an hour. It takes you a little bit of time to slow down to the same speed but if you haven't got the wing? If you'd have watched the race, you saw that's what they did the whole race. When somebody wanted to pass somebody, they slingshotted and that's why there were some many changes.
There's not a thing you can do except what Juan [Mantovia 00:02:50] did the last lap. He went like this - up and down and Powers was following him like this until the very last corner. They went around the corner and then Powers lagged back enough that he had a good run and comes out here and just before the finish line, he caught up. If the finish line had been another 20 feet, he'd have won. That is engineering and I engineered all the cars that we had so I understand all that. That's taking a shot. You can lose the car. It's not safe that way but it's fast and they took a chance.
He left him with the standard downforce that they had which, in traffic, allowed him to do a lot of stuff. Okay. Not turbulence didn't bother him as much because he ahd downforce and changed the other car that he had to qualifying trim. In other words, Juan could do what he wanted. He could turn down, turn up and jerk his car around and the other one had to be a little more careful because without the downforce, you're asking your car to spin out so, Pitsky, having 2 guys right up front - one with standard downforce, one with qualifying