Saturday, April 28, 2012

Live from Trackside - Sao Paulo, Brazil

Sunday, April 29
3:50 p.m.
It was a really interesting race—a lot happened for sure! It was a ton of fun, especially in the end. We had a great racecar, so I have to thank the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing crew for everything. All I had to do was drive the wheels off the car!

Strategy-wise, they worked really hard on the pit stand to give me the opportunity, and when I had clear track they gave me the best tires so I was quick and could push. We got caught up in a couple of reds; I have to thank the Holmatro Safety Team for working hard to keep me on the lead lap there.

We made the most of it today. To come through reasonably clean and with a career-best eighth, it feels really good. I’m looking forward to taking this momentum into the whole month of May and from there, building on it for the rest of the season.

9:41 a.m.
Just finished up our warm-up here in Brazil. It rained overnight and it started to rain right as we started our session. All of those days racing in the wet in England just might be helpful today!

The biggest challenge in the wet is always going to be vision. The vision’s really tough with the spray. When it stopped raining there and we moved some of the water off, instead of a sheen of wet race track, it was sort of semi-matte so there was a little bit of grip. The brake was pretty good; this car’s always pretty impressive on the brakes. Firestone brought a pretty good rain tire for us.  It looks like the clouds are breaking up now. If it thunderstorms again, it could be standing water out there. It will be really interesting. It sound like INDYCAR might start the race a half hour earlier to try to get as much in before the storms come in this afternoon. I don’t think I’ll be able to see anything going into turn one at the start, but we’ll make the most of it and see where we shake out come the checkered flag.

Be sure to tune in at 11 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Network!

Saturday, April 28
3:48 p.m.
We had a pretty good qualifying session and I think our best on a road course so far this year. Our lap time was so close to the top 12 and that was our goal. When you’re a tenth and a half off of that and hundredths from seventh, it’s frustrating. If it rains, the vision back there from 16th is going to be pretty tough. But that also means if it goes wrong up front, I’ll hopefully have enough time to avoid everything. The weather’s the big question, but I think we have a really good car if it stays dry and a really good car if it rains. We are making good progress and getting there. Looking forward to tomorrow with the Novo Nordisk team here in Brazil!

12:31 p.m.
It was a better second practice session. The track stayed dry and the sun even tried to come out a bit. We got a little caught out there at the end with the red flags—a lot of people going off, just really trying hard. I think with a clean lap, we would have been higher up on the charts, maybe 10th. We’re in really good shape come qualifying. The car’s pretty good, so thanks to the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team. I’m still figuring out the track a little bit. We’ll get it better. There’s every chance we’ll be in the top-15, shooting for the top-10, for qualifying. 

Time for lunch!

9:58 a.m.
Woke up to a cloudy and humid, but dry, day here in Sao Paolo. It didn’t rain overnight so the track was pretty dry before we got out there for our first session.

It was a good first practice. The track was really, really dirty to start with. By the end it started to rubber up. Now I remember how fun this place is in the dry! I hope the weather holds up and stays dry so the fans get to see a great qualifying session this afternoon. In general, I think we’re in pretty good shape. We have a few optimizations for the car but the engineers are working hard for the next practice in a couple of hours.

Friday, April 27
12:30 p.m.
Hello from Sao Paulo! I just arrived and got to the hotel. Guess what?! It's raining! Yes, it looks like it'll be another wet weekend here in Brazil. No matter the forecast, we'll be ready to give it a shot for another top-10 result.

I'm headed to the garage soon, but here's a quick run-down of the weekend schedule (all times local; that's one hour ahead of Eastern). Live timing & scoring all weekend here.

Saturday, April 28:
8-9:20 a.m. Practice
11:05 a.m.-12:05 p.m. Practice
2:05-3:20 p.m. Qualifying (also on NBC Sports Network at 6 p.m. ET)

Sunday, April 29:
8:30-9 am. Warm-up
12 p.m. Race (Live on NBC Sports Network!)

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