So very, very small changes, just fine-tuning, just trying to pick up those few tenths of a mile an hour to move up a few spots or defend your position. But you also need to eat and relax a little bit and reserve a bit of energy. It's amazing how much energy just four laps around Indianapolis when you're going for pole can take out of you.
Talk a little bit about your success at Indy in general. We mentioned the first year you had a top-10 finish, moved up 14 spots during the race. In '07 it was a one-off and you finished fifth. Last year a front-row start and ran well for most of the race. You seem to do really well here at Indianapolis.
Well, I hope so. I hope I can do better this year. I love that track. I love the race. I just love the whole atmosphere. But in previous years, I've always sort of gone into it without that much experience or current experience going into the event.
Coming off of a full season and coming off an oval where I just ran strong, I really feel good going into it this year. And hopefully we can just keep things simple. I know I'm going to have a fast car, but it's such a tough race, anything can happen. A bit of luck on your side can always help, as well.
Hopefully we just keep things smooth and it all goes well.
Talk a little bit about the situation earlier this year with Helio [Castroneves] and Will [Power]. That involved those two guys primarily, and you were kind of off a little bit to the side. Was that a distraction at all for you in your preparations to the season?
No. I've sort of gone about things as I would. But obviously lots has been going on with the team. It's probably harder for those guys. Especially Helio not doing the first round or any pre-season testing. I've got to tell you in Kansas last week, it was like nothing had ever happened. Helio was his old self, as quick as ever. Just regular combos within the team.
As for Will, he's been such a great addition to the team. He brings so much talent. Obviously it's difficult for him not doing all of the races, but I think this has been a huge opportunity for him. I'm really looking forward to working with him as a three-car operation this month.
You've got a new engineer this year, Eric Cowdin, came over at the end of last year. How was that adjustment period and what has he brought to your car and Team Penske?
He's great. He's just such a great guy and very good to work with, extremely intelligent. But he's coming into a situation where the team also has a lot of experience. We've just been combining the knowledge and not doing anything big, just keeping things as simple as possible.
He's got a lot of motivation to do well, as do I, as does the whole team. He's really been an amazing addition. He got to work with Roger [Penske] for the first time in St. Petersburg. They're obviously getting to know each other and everything is going great. So he's just a great guy to work with.