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More from Dario

What do you expect at Iowa this weekend, the track has changed quite a bit since you last ran there?

I think the big difference will be the track, not so much the cars. They’re very similar to how they were when we raced last time. The track has aged for sure since when we were there last time. It’s a little bumpier than before. But I think we should see a similar type of race to last year.

What is the biggest challenge of the track?

One of the big challenges is the balance between cold tires to warmer tires. We run the superspeedway tires because of the loads they are under and they get temperature in the tire quickly. But it definitely makes for a couple of exciting laps. It makes it a bit dicey. You’ve got to get up to pace quick or you’re going to be under attack

Do you approach a track where you already have won any differently?

You try to approach them all the same. It definitely gives you some more confidence. I really want to get to the car and drive in it. This is the car that Dan Wheldon won in last year and the same team. We tested here last week as well, so that’ll help a little bit.

There hasn’t been as much passing and as much side-by-side stuff this year, why do you think that is?

Texas and Milwaukee were a bit disappointing in that way. I think part of it is that they’ve taken away some of the freedom in the rules packages. Some of the smaller teams were complaining that that was the reason that the Target team and the AGR and Penske were running away with it was because of the rules. But you’ve still got the same cars up front now, and it’s just really hard to get any passing. I’d like to see them open up the rules a bit more to promote some passing. The fact that the cars are so similar, they’re so close is that it’s almost impossible to overtake.

How quickly did you re-adjust to being in an IndyCar? Is it like riding a bike?

I’d say there was a certain adjustment of maybe a day, day and a half. It came back very very quickly. It was a surprise because I was a bit concerned about that really. Things happen so much quicker in an IndyCar than they do in a stock car.

Are you comfortable with this team now, how long did it take to get comfortable?

I’m very comfortable. That was one of the big reasons to come back. I knew that with the Target team I had the chance to compete for wins and championships. I was lucky enough to be with AGR for all those years. And coming back to the Target team really made it easy for me. It’s slightly different than I’m used to, but it’s worked quite well and it’s going very smoothly.

How is this team different than AGR?

It’s more in the way they set the car up and in the way the engineering executes. They work just a little different. But it works very well. It’s not that one is better than the other. It’s just different.

What is it like having Scott as a teammate; you had a rivalry going in 2007, a bit, with the title being decided on the final lap?

We had all kinds of rivalries over the years. But it’s friendly rivalry. So to be teammates with him, it’s really nice. He’s really a good guy to have as a teammate. I’ve really been lucky to have some great teammates, and Scott is right there at the top of that list. Scott really works hard and pushes hard, and he pushes me too.

Do you and Scott talk much about flying? He has a pilot’s license, too.

We talk quite a bit about it. We flew together when we did the 24 hours of Daytona together. A couple of weeks ago we flew. We both share the passion for flying, and it’s great.

Why are so many racing guys into flying?

I think that people who race are into anything mechanical, whether it’s cars or planes. We’re really into that stuff.

How often do you go up in the helicopter?

I sold my helicopter when I went to NASCAR because I just didn’t have any opportunities to fly it.

Is the Iowa gas pump trophy the strangest one you have?

I have a gold hamburger from a race in Germany in 1998. I also have the guitar from Nashville, so the Iowa fuel pump fits right in there.

You would never smash the guitar trophy would you?

We were talking about that this morning and I wouldn’t personally do it. But it’s entirely up to him with what he wants to do with it. And he did it for the best of reasons because he wanted to give pieces of it to the crew. But that’s not for me.

Are you a Kentucky basketball fan like your wife, Ashley Judd?

It’s really selfish for me. I just hope it’s going well for her, so she’s happy. She’s really excited about (the new coach), so that’s really good for her.

How is your collection of Jim Clark stuff coming?

The collection is going well. One of the cool things after winning Indy in 07 is that people found out I was into Jim Clark. People come up and say, hey I’ve got this piece that you might like. And people have some really nice pictures. It’s very very cool.

Do you have room in your trophy case for another gas pump?

Absolutely. I’ve got all kinds of room and it would fit very well.

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