hear that from him, because I believe
that’s how he really felt.
We desperately needed that second-place at Edmonton. Finally, we got a good
result! The double-file restarts worked
well for us, and the No. 3 Penske Truck
Rental crew gave us perfect pit stops, so
we were able to get a positive finish. This
one was all about the engineers and crew.
We were having a really tough time in
practice with the brakes, so before the
race the team changed everything from
the pads to the calipers. The car was
completely different with the new
brakes. They were consistent, and they
never faded. I could do whatever I
wanted with the car, and it made all the
difference in the world.
Sometimes you search and search for
the right thing to adjust on the car and
never find it. Sometimes it’s as simple as
the brakes, but as complicated as a
complete rebuild. The guys put all they
had into that change, and it made the
difference between second place and an
I barely broke a sweat in the race at
Edmonton, the car was so good. Will did
a great job to win there. He made a few
minor mistakes while I was chasing him
– and I was definitely pushing hard – but
nothing that allowed me a chance
to get around him. I wasn’t
going to take unnecessary
chances and, at the end of
the day, second place is
a great result.
Speaking of brakes,
I’m still using my right
foot. I’ve been practicing
left-foot braking – I just
did it recently during a
test at Mid-Ohio – but I’ve
decided to stick with
right-foot braking through
the remainder of the season.
It’s like teaching an old dog a
new trick. I’ve been braking with my
right foot since I started racing, mostly
because I always drove cars with a clutch.
Next year, when we go to the new cars
and only have two pedals, I’ll switch to
left-foot braking. It would be a tough
switch to make in the middle of the year,
especially on a narrow street circuit like
Toronto. The great advantage of it is fuel
mileage, but I felt like at this point it was
important to stick with what I was used to.
We can only hope that next year has
the same level of rivalry and intensity
that we’ve seen so far in 2011. It’s hot out
there. Let’s hope it stays that way.
Helio has enjoyed a healthy rivalry with Kanaan (on left)
for most of his career. His rivalry with Franchitti (center)
has been more abrasive since Milwaukee!
IF HE DIDN’T HAVE BAD LUCK… Helio would have no luck at all. At two
successive races – Milwaukee and Iowa – our man picked up punctures while
running in the top three and contending for victory. He faced the situation as
equably as ever, commenting, “It’s a shame but it happens. We’ve got great
momentum now, we’ll get that good finish.” Two races later, he was proven right.