Yeah, I think it bodes well for sure. I hope we're not too new of a face. It's good to hear that we are. With James winning last week, great personality, great kid. He really drove, like I said, to a very deserving win.
It's great to be in Victory Lane, showing that last year we were for real. This was one of our weakest tracks. To be on pole and win, I hope it's a sign of things to come.
It's amazing when I think about it how different the weekend could be. Let's say I didn't put that lap in qualifying in the end, you start second or third, the whole weekend is changed. It can hinge at any point. That's the beauty of racing. That's the things that the fans don't get to see, is how precise the whole entire execution of the weekend is.
Big picture question, but does it feel any different today racing in the lead as a champion? Different spot now.
The only way it feels different is you're in the lead, you should win it. You've got the pressure. You're in the lead. Champions do not give up the lead, they win the race. That was the biggest pressure about it. That's how I felt about the race car, too. When you have a car capable of winning, you don't give that opportunity up because they don't come very often.
Yeah, those two together, that's the pressure. Hey, you know, champions don't give up the lead when they're in it. They seize the moment and make the most of it, so...
It's a good pressure, though. Last year we were under much more pressure than anything I felt today, which helps. Having gone through the stress of fighting a championship helps on days like today.
At times in your career you probably thought that you could win this race. Has the mindset changed to you should win this race?
Well, you should win the race when you have a 12-second lead. That's when I felt like, oh, no, everything could go wrong at this point. There's a little bit of 'I should.' We've won races in the past last year, and we had the car capable of winning. That was a bit of the 'I should' one. I'm in the lead, got the car to win, we're defending champions.
But that doesn't apply every weekend.
You are a former Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach winner. One of your better tracks. How confident do you feel going out there in two weeks?
I really feel confident. In IndyCar, the momentum can swing at any point because the competition is so close, the drivers are so talented. You could be going to your best racetrack, have a little bit of a mistake in qualifying, be 10th or 11th. Your weekend is changed at that point. You have to go to a different tyre strategy, whatever it is.
We'll be looking to have another mistake-free weekend at Long Beach. That's one of my favourite events as a whole.
We'll wrap it up. Congratulations on a great win.
Thank you. Appreciate it.
Transcript courtesy of the IZOD IndyCar Series. FastScripts by ASAP Sports