Again, it's so hard to win a race. It's even harder to pick a race to win. I'm glad I put myself out of that group and put myself in the other group.
Before the race, it was very special. Parnelli came to me and said, "I want you to win." I'm like, "Whoa, all right." I've always admired the legends of this place. Rick Mears, A.J., Mario, Parnelli. It starts to get into you. Then to have these people telling you they want you to win, it's awesome.
I'm glad I'm on the other side and I can put my big nose on that trophy (smiling).
Did you ever think the bad luck bug might get you as the laps were winding down? When Earnhardt won Daytona, that was such a popular victory. Does it almost feel like that, someone finally got something they've been longing for?
The first question, I never thought about it until one lap to go. I started to check everything in my car. Do we have enough fuel, have four wheels (laughter)? You kind of go crazy. The Pace Car guy, whoever was on the side, this guy is actually celebrating. I'm like, Go, can you go quicker? It's going to be a long lap if you keep doing that.
Up until it went yellow, I didn't. Obviously, we're racing, trying to concentrate on that.
Your second question, I don't know, man. I was already in America when he did that. I thought it was so cool. I came down pit lane. It was not the same, but it was close. I saw a lot of teams and people that thought I really deserved to win. It was awesome. It's a great feeling.
Tony, enough bad luck had come to you before. The first caution, when Graham brought out the caution, were you worried you wouldn't get a chance? When they did restart it, did you think, I'm going to have to go right now in case another caution comes out?
I knew there was going to be time. You can tell the way they conduct the things, the Pace Car got really slow. We were going to finish the race under green. On top of that, I knew a yellow flag with six, seven, eight laps to go, it's a big potential for another yellow right away.
I didn't want to be in the lead because I knew I was going to get caught on the restart. Again, it fell through. I was in the perfect place, exactly where I want to be, right behind the leader, with three to go because I knew a potential yellow could happen. It happened. I guess it was right.
Did you have to set that up at all or did you just go?
You can't predict a yellow. I was second. When it went green, I went. I said, I'm going for the lead. I was going to try to lead the last three laps. I said, I want to be first, because if something happens, I know because I've been back there. Anytime it goes yellow 15 laps to go on, people just turn crazy. I've got caught on that at times. Then it's time to race.
Before you could see it, Please, Ryan, you go. Marco, you go. It's your turn. Rubens said that to me last year. Twenty laps to go, people turn mad. I said, No, then we start racing. I knew there was a big potential, that's why I did what I did.
Jimmy, what makes Tony so special with all his rivals?
I have plenty stories of you, too, Jimmy (laughter). Remember Italy?
Well, yes. Enough, enough (laughter).