Dario Franchitti emerged victorious from a hard, tough race at the Milwaukee Mile, but his first thought wasn't about the win - but about how Helio Castroneves had been driving.
"It was Helio's usual blocking crap and I don't know what it's going to take to understand blocking is not part of what we do in the IndyCar Series," said Dario in the immediate post-race interview. "He was blocking inside and outside, and it's no wonder he got a flat tyre considering some of the parts of the track he was using."
It's unusually strong criticism from Franchitti, who is usually one of the most polished and media-savvy of the current generation of IndyCar drivers. Unsurprisingly, Castroneves was not happy with the remarks.
“I'm very sorry he that he feels that way,” said Helio on Tuesday. “I definitely want to talk to him. I want to find out what happened; why he would have such a harsh comment about me.”
He was surprised that Franchitti's first thought after the race should be to make the attack on him. "He's our champion; he should be just enjoying his victory and act like a champion,” Castroneves said. “He won the race; there were other cars between me and him ... Now I just want to move on to Iowa this week and try to win that race.”
Franchitti did have much more positive words to say about Tony Kanaan, who provided the strongest challenge of anyone during the race.
"The first part of the race I thought I had a bit of an advantage on everybody," said Franchitti. "Then Tony came marching along and he looked really, really strong, and he gave me a hard time as usual. Racing with Tony is a pleasure. An absolute pleasure. Just inches apart, giving each other room and respect.
"It was fun to race with Tony," Franchitti continued. "He was very aggressive, but in the best possible sense," pointedly drawing parallels with Kanaan's Brazilian compatriot Castroneves. "I think we have a respect for each other ... We race each other bloody hard, but there's always that respect there, too." Franchitti and Kanaan were team mates back at Andretti-Green Racing in 2005 along with Bryan Herta and Dan Wheldon, and the group remains firm friends dubbed "the Four Musketeers".
Castroneves was eventually eliminated from the lead by a left rear puncture, while Kanaan exited the race on lap 195 when he hit the wall.