IndyCar Series: Bombardier Learjet 500
Topics: SunTrust Indy Challenge
June 10, 2006
FORT WORTH, TEXAS
THE MODERATOR: We'll start with Scott Dixon, tying tonight his best finish at Texas with his 2003 fall performance, second place. Four top 5's for 2006.
Scott, talk about the race tonight. A close run at the end.
SCOTT DIXON: It was kind of a frustrating night for me. The car had a lot of understeer to start with. We kept on getting cords on the right rear. First part of the stint we had a lot of understeer, then get loose in a big hurry. I don't know, throughout the night we worked on the car. It got a lot better. Definitely very easy to drive later on, the last two or three stints. Flat out for about 150 laps. The car is just draggy, it has been since Indianapolis. We had the same difference between the 10 and the 9 about half mile an hour. We can't seem to find it. We always run the same car pretty much. It's just been that way.
I think we're pretty happy. It's sad that Dan didn't win. He definitely dominated the race. I think he had the speed to do it.
THE MODERATOR: Speaking of Dan, he obviously pitted there about 14, 15 laps to go. What were you thinking at that time? It might be a two- or three-car run at the end?
SCOTT DIXON: It gets like that. A lot of it can be down to in-and-out laps. For me coming in with Helio definitely helped because you have someone to benchmark yourself off. Helio is definitely quick in and out.
We had a bit of a bobble on our stop with the left front I think, we lost a bit of time getting out of the pits. He put a bit of a gap on us. But I just didn't have the speed.
I don't know. You know, I think with Sam, too, I think they tried to stretch it on fuel. They ran him out of fuel in the end. I think they tried to stay on the same tires. I know he had cords as well. That was a pretty big gamble. It's always going to get a bit funky at the end with people coming in and out of the pits, how much time they gain and lose.
THE MODERATOR: Your season, it kind of shifts towards the second half of the season with Texas kind of being a swing race. You still have a win, four top 5's. Your thoughts about how it's going so far .
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it's been pretty good. I think once again we've been a little disappointed. I think there's two or three other races that the team should have won, if it wasn't Dan or myself, which is pretty good to be frustrated about, I think being second in the points. Had some good finishes.
We really need to capitalize on these. Penske definitely has been, and you can see Helio has a bit of a jump again now. We need to work a bit harder.
For myself, it's been a great year back. It's very nice to race at the proper end of the field, race with other great teams. I think for myself and Ganassi, it's been a lot of fun so far.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. Were you surprised as to how relatively clean the race was?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, I don't think -- has there ever been an IndyCar race with no crashes? I don't know. I think for Texas, it's pretty amazing, to be honest. I think everybody definitely kept it pretty clean.
I think some of the situations with how the car has changed, the tires, don't allow you to be in one big pack for very long. It's only at the first part of the stint where you have a ton of grip. I think that definitely helped. You get the better team, better cars, start moving away from each other.
THE MODERATOR: It is unofficially the third fastest race in IndyCar history with an average speed of 185.7 miles per hour.
Q. There was a lot of talk at the end of the race on the last stop whether you were going to change tires. Did you change your tires? How did the tires hold up?
SCOTT DIXON: The team didn't want to. After how the first couple stints had gone on my car, the right rear was pretty much toast. We had a lot of cords on the first stint. They said, How about we change the right rear? I wasn't really up for it. I think it was easier, safer and better for the championship to put on new tires and go for it, whereas you can see with Sam they tried the other route, it sort of caught them out maybe on the fuel side. I think every other team changed tires.
Q. After qualifying, many of the drivers were saying qualifying doesn't matter at Texas, you can move around. The top qualifying drivers stayed out front the entire race. Has the track changed enough that qualifying does matter here now?
SCOTT DIXON: No, I think you still see the fastest cars move to the front. I was struggling earlier, slipped back a bit. After we started, we sort of moved back up. I think it's just the trend of the season so far. There are a few teams that are a little better than anybody else. It's going to take a few more races for those other guys to catch up. You can see Kanaan and AGR definitely stepping it up, getting a lot closer. We'll have to see how it plays out.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Scott.
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