RyaN aNd daRIo
could have benefited from him being
champion, but missed the chance. Way to
shoot yourself in the foot and the balls…
Finally, let’s talk engines. Obviously you
two are going to be on opposite ends of
the discussion, but are you pleased with
the balance between Chevrolet and
Honda and the way it was handled?
RYAN I feel like Honda is going to be
back this year, because we put too many
arrows in the giant. At some point they’re
going to wake up mad. Dario and Scott
[Dixon] both had some pretty
disappointing moments last year. Dario
was on pole at Iowa and blew up before
the start. Still, I wasn’t too pissed to see
that. I was like, “Wow, this early?” It was
spectacular, and as slow as we were
going on the pace laps, we really got
to take it all in. That was nice.
DARIO Well, thanks.
RYAN But I expect it to be much tougher
this year. I expect there won’t be nearly
as much up and down. I expect it to be
even keel. I would not doubt at all that
Honda can come strong out of the gate. I
can see us trying to dig deep early in the
year for more performance. I’m definitely
not underestimating Honda and its lead
teams. I think Dario and Scott will again
be the lead Honda teams and Simon
Dario Franchitti is
one of the best
people to assess
2012 IndyCar title
campaign, since his
back in ’07 (BELOW)
was also achieved
Like Ryan, Dario
scored four wins
and prevailed in a
Paul Webb/La T
F. Peirce Williams/La T
Kevin york/La T
Pagenaud is the real deal: He’ll be a major
pain in the ass. Then, on the Chevrolet
side, you have Penske with Will [Power]
and Helio [Castroneves]. I think the
picture essentially remains the same as to
who qualifies and runs up front.
DARIO I think you’re right, 100 percent.
It’s going to have a very similar look.
Obviously there are some changes with
Graham Rahal driving for his dad and
Takuma Sato in A.J. Foyt’s car. Those guys
have the potential to have good days, but
I think a lot of it is going to depend on the
engine battle. What have Honda managed
to gain over the winter in all kinds of
areas, not just horsepower? How have
Chevy done their homework?
The pace of development was amazing
in 2012 and there were times when we
felt like we’d made huge gains. At Fontana
we thought we really had something, but
(aBoVE) as a four-time
IndyCar champ, dario
was the guy with the
bullseye on his chest.
Beating him (aBoVE
LEFT) had long been
one of Ryan’s ambitions.
the Chevy guys must have been laughing.
Then there was the gain we made at
Indianapolis between qualifying and the
race. It will be very interesting to see
what happens. The improvements in
fuel consumption and reliability from
both sides were remarkable last year,
and I think they’ll play into the
championship again this year.
“The engine battle made things
more interesting – working on
boost maps, drivability”
Is this kind of competition between
manufacturers better for IndyCar than
it was with just one manufacturer?
DARIO If you’ve got the advantage,
obviously you like it and so I quite liked
the Honda-only period because my
record there was pretty good. But it’s
up to us now to work with Honda to
make a better mousetrap.
RYAN It’s certainly made things more
interesting. I definitely wasn’t a happy
camper on Carb Day at Indy when we saw
how much faster those guys were. We were
on the other side of it that weekend. But the
engine battle made things more interesting,
working on boost maps, drivability and
other stuff I’d never done. I’m not sure
“geek out” is the right term, but there was
an opportunity to work with an engine
manufacturer to customize and personalize
boost maps. That was pretty cool.
60 SPRING 2013