Indycar & Formula One™ Notes & Quotes – Sunday, March 24

nbc-sports-networkIZOD INDYCAR – HONDA GRAND PRIX OF ST. PETERSBURG NOTES & QUOTES

NEW YORK, NY – March 24, 2013 – Leigh Diffey (play-by-play), Wally Dallenbach, Jr. (analyst) and Townsend Bell (analyst) hosted NBC Sports Network’s coverage of the inaugural race of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar season – the Honday Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Fla.). Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee, Brian Till and Robin Miller served as reporters.

Following are notes and quotes from this afternoon’s coverage:

PRE-RACE COVERAGE

Defending IndyCar season champion Ryan Hunter-Reay to Kevin Lee: “Last year was great, but right now, we’re not thinking about last year anymore. This is what it’s all about – the IndyCar season opener.”

Three-time series runner up and pole sitter Will Power: “Imagine if I’d won the championship the last three years. I’d have no motivation.”

Dallenbach: “If I’m Will Power, I going to want to have this championship wrapped up by the time I get to Houston.”

Bell on female driver Simona de Silvestro, who has a new engine and finished third in qualifying: “There’s this wave building of support for Simona…the ultimate compliment in this paddock, her fellow drivers absolutely tell me across the board, ‘she is super fast.’”

Dallenbach on more teams stepping up performance: “This is going to be the most competitive IndyCar season in 10 or 15 years.”

Bell on the track: “At St. Pete, it’s all about the start, critical to get a good start. It’s so tough to pass at this track.”

RACE COVERAGE

Team owner David Letterman on Graham and Bobby Rahal being on same team: “I think it’s delightful. I love Bobby. I love Graham. Graham’s a tremendous racer. Bobby was in a class by himself. I think it provides great energy.”

Dallenbach on Dario Franchitti’s crash after pitting: “These cars are treacherous on cold tires. They are a handful.”

Franchitti to Beekhuis on his crash: “We’ve really struggled with the car. I was just saying to Chip, you know, I have to make it up somewhere, and I just stepped over the line there. Cold tires, hit a bump…totally my mistake, just pushing too hard.”

Beehuis: “You would expect that they would start the season as strongly as anyone, but they’re struggling.”

Dallenbach on restarts: “This is such a tightrope walk for these guys…making the decision, this is my only chance to really make passes, make positions here, but I’ve got to think championship, I’ve got to finish the race. Hardest part about this deal, first lap on a restart.”

Diffey on Helio Castroneves, who has had success at St. Pete and who is the current leader: “Helio just seems to find another gear around this 1.8 mile track.”

Bell on Hunter-Reay: “If there’s one thing that Ryan proved last year, it’s that, in the face of adversity, he doesn’t lose his cool. Don’t count this guy out.”

Dallenbach: “You have so much respect for Roger Penske and what he’s done in motorsports. He’s incredible.”

JR Hildebrand on contact with Will Power: “It was totally my fault.”

Diffey on Marco Andretti, who was battling de Silvestro for third place in the final laps: “This is the Marco Andretti Andretti autosport fans have been waiting for for some time – fighting until the end, vying for podiums, in the mix.”

Diffey on James Hinchcliffe’s win: “The Mayor of Hinchtown is now an IndyCar series winner.”

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FORMULA ONE™ – MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX NOTES & QUOTES

STAMFORD, CT – March 24, 2013 – Bob Varsha (play-by-play) filled in for Leigh Diffey, who was on-site calling IndyCar’s St. Pete race, and was joined by David Hobbs (analyst), Steve Matchett (analyst) and Will Buxton (on-site reporter) for NBC Sports Network’s live coverage of the second race of the 2013 Formula One™ season – the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Following are notes and quotes from this morning’s coverage:

PRE-RACE COVERAGE

Hobbs on drivers not wearing cooling vests in the car despite the heat in Malaysia: “Formula One is so obsessed with weight that it’s very difficult to get a real cooling system that works.”

Matchett on course necessitating high speeds followed by steep braking: “This track has everything.”

RACE COVERAGE

Matchett before race on whether teams should use medium or dry tires based on unpredictable weather: “That’s the conundrum the teams face.”

Matchett after Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso did not pit after the first lap despite damage to the car: “My best guess here would be the FIA will make a decision and show Alonso that flag to return to the pits.” Note: Immediately after this comment, Alonso wrecked due to the damage.

Matchett: “You could see it coming, guys, and now look what’s happened. Alonso going to be pretty much out of this Grand Prix. He had the opportunity to come into the pits. It was there for him. They could have put him onto slick tires. He is out of the race. That is a terrible faux pas and a drop of strategy by Ferrari. Don’t understand it.”

Hobbs: “You’re right. That sort of strategic thinking is just absolutely crazy.”

Varsha on Ferrari’s decision: “A huge faux pas from the greatest name in worldwide motorsport.”

Buxton: “I don’t believe for one moment that was a Ferrari decision. I’m standing right here by their pit box. They were ready and waiting for him. I think Fernando decided to stay out.”

Matchett on slow Force India pit stop: “A disaster for the team.”

Hobbs: “What a shame.”

Varsha after Lewis Hamilton went to wrong pit block: “Second weekend of the season and everyone looking a little under-rehearsed at this point.” (laughter)

Hobbs revisiting Alonso: “An incredible lack of judgment for one of the finest drivers out there…For him to make a mistake like that, it’s very uncharacteristic.”

Matchett on Force India retiring both cars: “Clearly they saw a design or an engineering error that could have affected the safety of both cars. So, it’s a very good call by in terms of safety by Force India.”

Matchett on Red Bull drivers Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel vying for the lead: “It’s hard to believe they are on the same team.”

Hobbs: “Another great win for Vettel. Red Bull still looking like their top of the heap.”

–NBC SPORTS GROUP–

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