IndyCar Series: Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix
Topics: Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix
July 8, 2007
WATKINS GLEN, NEW YORK
MODERATOR: Thank you, Sam, and congratulations.
Dario, congratulations. He continues to lead the IndyCar Series point standings by a substantial margin.
We've been joined by our Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix winner Scott Dixon. He's the winner of this event for the third year in a row. The only three years in its existence. In terms of winning a major open cockpit race at Watkins Glen three years in a row, he joins the company Graham Hill, which is a pretty good company to join.
Did it really come down to the last pit stop?
SCOTT DIXON: Yes, in some ways it did it was a tough race. One of the toughest ones mainly because you had some yellows. And it's like Sonoma last year, where you're not sure what yellow to take. That was the frustrating part. Because you know you've got a good car, fast car. But other people can start to get in front of you through pit stops and yellow flags. So definitely dealing with traffic was very difficult.
You're racing back in the pack, you don't know how hard and how on the edge you want to go in trying to pass them. They're going to fight for it, obviously, and it can take you out of the other race. In hindsight you know it's going to cycle through.
You'll work your way through to the front because you're going to run longer. It's hard to withhold your emotions sometimes from trying to push and pass those guys.
It's one of the toughest races I've been involved in. Physically it gripped really hard and felt really good. And physically it was quite tough.
MODERATOR: How close were you to Helio when he crashed up here in turn 11? On TV it didn't look that close, but those pictures can lie.
SCOTT DIXON: I was pretty close. I could see him get wiggles on the entry of it. I backed out of it a little bit because I knew he was going to run high and I could get a run on him. But it was lucky that I had sort of slowed up off a bit because he came down the track pretty quick, enabled me to have enough time to turn to the right and just missed him.
I think when he came back towards the inside he was pretty close to us. But it's unfortunate for Helio. I could definitely see they were struggling with a loose car. I knew he probably had enough speed for him. Later on, because we were struggling with understeer early on, where we took from wing end and I think we would have had enough. But it worked for us.
Q. Did you find the Dallara chassis particularly suited to running this road course, and how did the Honda engine's new configuration affect the way you ran this course today?
SCOTT DIXON: They've done a fantastic job. Honda has been very good in making sure the engines they do supply are very even. I think as a driver that's the only thing you have in the back of your mind is do they favor some people; do some people have better engines here and there. But I think at a road course it doesn't play into it as much. But they've done fantastic on reliability.
These engines are going to do -- Watkins Glen, Nashville and Mid-Ohio, three big races, one engine. So those guys have definitely turned it around. Great to be a part of them. Because in the latter years when I was with Toyota, they definitely kicked our butts. So it's good to be on their end of it now. But Dallara for me was a little more physically challenging today. The G forces a little, I turn the steering a little easier to drive on the edge.
So I think there's some chassis changes that we can make that will make the difference for the next road courses that we have. But definitely can't complain about.
Q. With three in a row, I understand that there's talk about talk to change this to the Dixon Glen as opposed to Watkins Glen?
SCOTT DIXON: You'll have to talk to Graham Hill about that, too, I guess. It's just great. I look forward to coming to this race every year. I love coming and doing the pre-media events here. It's just been a fantastic track for myself.
Every time I've come here we've had great cars from Chip Ganassi Racing. And today, just all things played our way. And I was waiting the last 10 laps for something to break, with the luck we've had in recent races. I was thinking something has got to go wrong here. But luckily we held onto it and we're going to try to go for another one next year and make it four.
Q. Let's go back to when you were following Helio. Did you think that was for the race right there; if you could get by him there it was done?
SCOTT DIXON: I think in the first instance, we were struggling with understeer as I mentioned before. We had a good car in the warm-up. It was a bit on the edge for me. I didn't want to have to drive it that way for the whole race. But I sort of kicked myself after that decision, because coming into the race, first few laps I knew we had gone the wrong way.
I think on the second, after we put the wing in, we were definitely quicker, could have had a shot at him because I could see he was struggling with his car and shoot through the high speed onto the front straight and also onto the back straight. If he hadn't missed out there, I think we would have got him sooner or later.
Q. I want to take a look at the big picture here. Sam Hornish gets his best road course finish behind you. Could you give me a big picture of how competitive this road racing has become in the IndyCar Series and how well you like today because you gained a little bit, not so much on Dario?
SCOTT DIXON: I'm not sure what Dario ended up. Third or fourth? Third.
You kind of sort of edge your way at it. It's great results for Sam. I can't believe it when they told me he was right behind me and putting pressure and laying down some good laps. That's fantastic for him. I know he's come a long way on the road courses and Penske has helped him out on that area. And that shows the depth of the field and what these guys are capable of just getting the cars and experience under them, competing against. A lot of us guys that have done a few years of Champ Car and a lot of single seater racing, road courses haven't done so much. I think that was a good result for him.
Q. We were talking yesterday about your relatively low profile here. After winning two races. Is somehow after the third people are going to start paying more attention to you around here?
SCOTT DIXON: I don't know. I like to, as I've said in the past, keep it quiet and just get on with my job and let the results sort of speak for themselves. This year I think we've had situations where we've come close many times. We've had four second places in the early parts of the season, which it's tough when you keep doing that so often.
So it's definitely good now that we've come up with a win, especially in the second half of the series and we've got to start laying on the pressure through AGR and Dario mainly. We've got to put our face out there and hopefully next year I think coming back here people will definitely listen up.
Q. Are you a little surprised to see that kind of fire coming on pit lane between two competitors afterwards?
SCOTT DIXON: I don't know what happened there. I kind of heard a little bit. I don't even know who it was between. I'll have to Tivo direct and check it out. It's tough. Guys in the pits competing against each other. They've been fighting for the fastest pit stops and things like that. Especially if somebody squeezes somebody in the pits or does something, it's going to fire those guys up.
MODERATOR: That will wrap it up for our formal press conference here. Congratulations to Scott Dixon for his third consecutive victory here at the Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix.
|Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library|