Huertas lands first IndyCar win in bizarre Houston double-header opener

IndyCar, IndyCar News/Releases, INDYCAR PR — By on June 29, 2014 7:16 am


CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “It was a really long race and I really struggled on the wet. I had no pace, so I decided to stay very calm, and normally I’m calm but today I had to stay more calm because people were passing me, and I just didn’t have any grip. Then when it started drying up, I thought maybe we had a chance, and then I kept asking how many laps to the end of the race because I thought we could make it on the fuel. Funny enough, before the race on the strategy meeting, I asked the team if it was possible to do the race with just one stop, and they started laughing, and they said, if you have a pace of 80 seconds, then for sure, but I wouldn’t recommend it. But yeah, it was a great day. I was worried when Justin wasn’t pitting because I think he was trying to make it to the end, but then they realized they couldn’t make it. I’m very happy I won. In every series I’ve won at least once, so it’s great. And winning in a professional series like this one is incredible.”

MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Honda): “I was gaining Takuma (Sato) from the outside and he closed the inside and I was thinking he was going to leave me some space on the outside, but then he closed the inside and he started to close the outside as well. I had nowhere to go at this point. So unfortunately, there’s nothing we could do. Basically, it all started when Mike Conway ran into my back and that’s why I was in the back of the field. I was going to be up there, if not for this first accident. I was trying to gain my lap and I was actually a bit surprised. I was faster than Takuma at this point and I wasn’t even a full lap down so I just needed to get my lap. It was just a strange situation because he was in the inside then I took the outside lane and then he closed the outside as well. It’s just frustrating results for our team because we had a good car and we were doing well. Everything was going well until the moment Mike Conway ran into my back when this all started.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Mistic KVSH Racing Chevrolet): “A very solid day for the KVSH Racing Mistic machine and the whole group. We did everything right and everything we had to do. We just got hurt by the yellows. The first yellow, when we switch to slick tires, a lot of things didn’t quite work out, but we seemed to come out of it strong, P2 behind Hinchcliffe. Unfortunately, another yellow came out and that really did it because we were good to go on fuel with one more stop and some of the other guys behind us stopped on an earlier yellow. But since it was a timed race, every time there was a yellow the race got shorter and shorter and they were not using as much fuel. So, a few of them stayed in front of us, but we salvaged a fourth which was a very solid result. Of course I am disappointed in a way because I think we could have finished higher, but I am pretty happy for the Mistic crew.”

MIKE CONWAY (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “The track was drying and we decided to pit (on lap 26) and put on the red Firestones slicks. I wanted to make some time but I locked up the tires in turn 3. It was still a little wet on the outside. And I got the car into the tire barrier. The right front wing was wrecked and the car stalled. The impact bent the steering column a bit and it twisted my left thumb pretty well too. It is hurting but nothing serious. It will be sore tomorrow. I just feel badly for the ECR/Fuzzy’s team because the way the race finished up. We could have been in the mix at the end. We need to get ready for Sunday’s race now.”

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “That was kind of a tough day. We kept at it and were leading there for a while but we needed one more caution to make it to the end and it didn’t come. That is just the way it goes. We will keep working on it and try to get into that position tomorrow. I am very pleased for the team and it is great for Carlos to get his first IndyCar win and I think that was fantastic. I am happy for everyone and hopefully we can have a decent shot at it tomorrow.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “Nobody wanted to finish like this – big disappointment in the end. I got off the line really well so I overtook two cars but then I was sandwiched between two cars so I had to back off. But the car was very good which allowed me to overtake and eventually get the lead. It was really fun, everything was under control. Marco came out of the pit in front of me on cold tires. I was much faster and he was holding me up. He got the blue flag for I don’t know how many laps and he just ignored it. I lost a lot of time and finally the league blackflagged him, but by then the damage was done. Hinchcliffe was right behind me and we had to both pit and unfortunately we lost one place to him so now we are second. On that restart, Aleshin was behind but he was a lap down so I concentrated on Hinchcliffe. Going into the long sweep on turn five, the only place to overtake was on the inside and that was a wet line too so I stayed on the dry line and he just came in too deep on the outside. We tangled. What was he going to achieve? You can’t overtake on the outside on that hairpin. The team did a great job and we had a great car in the race. The conditions were changing but we made the right decisions and I was really happy to be in the car. It’s a shame. [Hand?] It’s sore but we’ll be fine for tomorrow.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 National Guard Honda): “Obviously I told Tony (Kanaan) I was sorry. It was my mistake and I feel bad for Tony. With the stack up on the restart, I was trying to keep the tires as dry as I could and I was to the left and when it stacked up I just didn’t see it at all and I got into the back of him. Obviously this sort of thing has happened about 100 times this year but it doesn’t make it right. I said last night that I thought this National Guard car could win today. We didn’t qualify as well as we thought we could have but everybody saw how quick we were on the race track. The National Guard car was phenomenal. We have to go back out there tomorrow and try to qualify a little better and run up front. I think if the race ended under green I would have won this race for sure. And I feel confident saying that because I was moving by those guys in a hurry. Should’a, could’a, would’a. I made a mistake and I don’t even know where we finished.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Hard day today. If we could have hung in there a little longer we could have been in good shape. I made a mistake there and I feel bad for the Verizon Chevy boys after I went into the wall. That’s racing. We’ll try it again tomorrow and go for better result.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports): “The start went really well. The track was damp, but we managed to stay out front for four laps. Almost instantly we started having an issue with the brake temperature in one of our front axels, however. We’ve been struggling with the problem all weekend. We’ve tried mixing the brakes with all of the different shocks that we have, but we can’t find any that behave normally. To make it easy to understand, when a brake rotor has a high temperature it performs very well. Inversely, when a rotor is colder it doesn’t stop like it should. I was having trouble slowing down and stopping the car on the wet surfaces at the beginning of the race.”


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