IndyCar Series: Firestone Indy 200
Topics: Firestone Indy 200
July 15, 2006
THE MODERATOR: Sam Hornish is still in the lead, five points ahead of Scott Dixon, who has now moved into second place. Sam Hornish, five points over Scott Dixon. The top four, Hornish in first place with 316, Dixon second with 311, Castroneves third at 310, and Wheldon fourth at 300.
We're joined now by race winner Scott Dixon, his second win of the season, sixth career win. Scott has eight top 10 finishes in his last nine races. Scott's last oval win, Richmond 2003.
Scott, why don't you tell us about your evening.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it wasn't too bad. The car was pretty consistent. I lost a few spots at the start there when I actually had contact with the 3 car and Helio. It looked like he was a little worse off. I think we bent some of our front suspension. The car couldn't turn as well, but still fairly consistent throughout the night.
I think for us the biggest advantage tonight, we just saved fuel, worked on fuel. Towards the end we just cycled to the front. It seemed a lot easier for us to save the fuel. I think on our second stop, we went about six laps longer than Dan. I think that's what got us to the front, then what enabled us to run quick at the end and stay in front of them all.
THE MODERATOR: For the Target Chip Ganassi team, it's their first 1-2 finish since joining the IndyCar Series in the 2003 season.
We'll open it up to questions for Scott.
Q. Talk about what it means to get the guitar.
SCOTT DIXON: It's very cool, you know. It's actually nice to come to these places and get a trophy that's so special and so unique I think to the place you go to. I actually got another guitar for a pole position in Nazareth. I don't know why that was. Now I've got two of them. I guess I need to start trying to learn how to play the bloody things (laughter).
No, it's very special. I think any time anybody walks into your house and sees a guitar, what is that all about, rather than looking at the trophy. I think it's very unique. It's great for all of us drivers that get a chance to win them.
Q. Dan (sic), how anxious were you those final laps? You had a pretty desperate driver on your rear bumper in Wheldon.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, Dan was behind me (laughter).
I think with Vitor and Dan, they were both very quick. I think any car that's out front, you're trying to push a lot of air out there. It's very easy for the cars behind to catch up. I think Dan definitely had a little more speed than most people throughout the night. I think I was definitely more worried about him being behind me than Vitor. I think I could see once Vitor got behind me, I could move my line around enough to sort of screw with his air, not have him to be so much of a problem.
I think he had a pretty dirty move on Dan there in running him under the line going into three, which he's been doing a fair bit lately. Hopefully he can clean that up. But coming down towards the end, Dan was very fast. I was hoping and praying those laps were going to start falling a lot quicker to get towards the end. I think we just had a good enough car that stuck on the bottom. Very hard to go around the outside here. Once I saw him try it two or three times, I knew we were pretty comfortable.
Q. You're now second, five points behind Sam. Talk a little about really closing the gap yourself on Sam.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it's unfortunate that Sam didn't get to finish. I think for our team, it was definitely a big gain. He opened up a bit of a gap, nearly 40 points on us, I think coming into this race. It's always been nothing but looking towards the championship and trying to win the championship this year, and nothing's changed since.
But this definitely helps the situation a lot. Now we just need to make sure that both the 9 and the 10 car is very competitive and can try and win a few more of these next few races.
Q. What does it mean to you with the team finishing 1-2 tonight?
SCOTT DIXON: It's very good. I think going into every race, it's the goal that you go in with. It's very unique or not very often that you had that situation. There's normally only one car that's just not quick enough, and you have someone cycle out and not have it happen. It's very hard to have an outcome like that.
So as a team and for Chip and for Target, I think it's tremendous. It's huge. It's a big night for us. It's our first 1-2 since we've been in the series.
Q. You had trouble qualifying yesterday. They fixed the car, you qualified third. I understand you and Dan got together and you did work together as a team. I know Chip was excited about that part. You seem to get along well and get on well together.
SCOTT DIXON: It's been good. We've had a few issues in the last couple races where I don't think both sides have worked together enough. I think both of us have stressed it a little bit. Especially for me because it's a new package for me. The engine and the chassis is something totally different. Dan has had it for the last three or four years. I'm definitely willing to have their help. I know it's very hard on race weekends to have that situation because you're flat out, especially on two-day events, you don't have much time to sit down and discuss what's going on.
This weekend we got to run two laps in the second 45-minute session, the gearbox blew up, then we go in qualifying, get stuck in the neutral limiter, will only do 140 miles an hour. It was very tough.
Basically all we did was just copy their setup. The car was fairly decent. It was very good for the race. Those guys have done a good job all year.
Q. You had 71 laps since you last pitted. I'm sure the yellow helped. At what point were you confident you could finish the race?
SCOTT DIXON: It was going to be tough if we didn't get any yellow. I think we were going to be about three laps short. I think it was the same for everybody else. As I said, our fuel mileage was very good throughout the day. I think the guys that pitted only got about an extra gallon than us, which was not enough to make a significant amount.
I could see everybody. We leaned back. Everybody kind of set behind me while I was leading trying to do the same thing. Obviously with my team, we can see what Dan is doing. He was trying to save fuel as well. Once we got that yellow, they swept the groove a little, also with the wall problem they had up there, I think it helped everybody out to make sure they could get to the end.
Q. Long stretch on the oval portions. Tough to keep your spirits and confidence up? Do you sag a little at times?
SCOTT DIXON: You get down a little. I think we've been competitive. We've had a few seconds and things like that. We've been in the top five. The car has been quick. We just haven't been able to pull through. I think it's been the same for the team in many senses throughout this season alone, it's been hard for us to seal the deal, we've made so many little mistakes. I think we've been confident we've had the speed to do it on either side of the team. It's just finally come for me.
Q. It's been a couple years since you've had success. Now this year you're running well. Has to be a good feeling to get back to where you were a couple years ago.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it's been good. I think a lot of it's the big changes that we had over the winter with the chassis and the engine. It's been a huge help I think to be back on an even playing field. Toyota were great in '03, then we struggled for a couple years. It was frustrating because you never really saw the light at the end of the tunnel, which is a situation nobody likes to be in.
But going into this year, and lucky enough for me I got to stay with Ganassi and do another year with him, has been a blessing in disguise for myself, enabled the both of us, or myself mainly, to get back to the top and has been great.
We still need to work on a little bit of speed out of our side to step it up. Dan has been very competitive at every stage throughout the year.
Q. Dan admitted to being confused with the fuel mileage. If you were able to get six more laps than he was, does that number kind of surprise you, with fairly identical cars?
SCOTT DIXON: We've seen it before. But that's the problem. When you're leading, you burn a lot of fuel. Maybe Dan needed to slip back into second or something.
The situation I was in, I was behind four cars, it was easy for me to save fuel. He had to keep pushing all that wind and tow the other cars behind him. I think he pitted two or three laps before anybody else. That's the consequence you get. Maybe they should have leaned out a little more. We have seen in a few different races this year that the engines are a little different on mileage throughout the year.
THE MODERATOR: Scott, we appreciate your time. Congratulations on the win. Good luck with the guitar lessons.
SCOTT DIXON: Thank you.
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