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IndyCar Series: The Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  The Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance

IndyCar Series: The Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance

Scott Dixon
July 22, 2007


LEXINGTON, OHIO

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by race winner Scott Dixon. Scott has won three straight races, which ties a league record set by Kenny Brack in 1998, matched by Dan Wheldon in 2005. He currently trails Dario Franchitti by 24 points in the championship points standings. Most importantly, today is Scott's birthday. Happy birthday.
SCOTT DIXON: Thank you very much.
THE MODERATOR: Talk about your day out there.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it was a tough day. I think the start of the day and the start of the race is what really made it better for us, I guess. We moved from sixth position to second. Took a few of the AGR guys out of the equation there. For us, racing for the championship with Dario, we thought they could play into how our outcome came, as well.
We saved fuel. I could tell Helio was doing the same thing. We just kept saving a bit more. Luckily, we got the extra lap. I think Penske was scouting us. I think they thought we were coming in that lap, but we went that one extra. That enabled us to jump them in the pits, make our day a little easier.
The third stint was just flat out. It was like qualifying laps one after another. It was very tough. I was trying to hold onto Helio. He jumped us in the pits with short filling on fuel. We were a little on our toes there because we weren't sure how they got past us. But as that stint played out, we worked out why.
All in all, it was a pretty good day. The car was fantastic. The Target guys in the pits definitely helped me out, made my day a lot easier. It's always good when you come out with a win, you can't complain too much.

Q. (No microphone.)
SCOTT DIXON: It was tough. The biggest problem for us today was there were so many strategies. We had to keep our eye on Helio, we had to keep our eye on T.K., who was way out of sync, and also Dario. Dario was the tough one at the end because he kept running, he kept going. I think they were all waiting for a yellow, which would have totally hurt us big time. So luckily there wasn't a caution in the last few laps which would have made it a lot easier for Dario.
Definitely trying to figure out where we stood, how fast I needed to go, and the team definitely stayed on top of me trying to lay down lap times. Mike did a terrific job of that. Until the last few laps, you weren't really sure what was going to happen. I think for the fans it was a great race if they could understand what was going on, because even I couldn't.
Today I have to say the amount of fans that were here today were unbelievable. The first pace laps, I got on the radio to the teams, the hills were packed, there were so many people here. It was great to see. It's great to be back here at Mid-Ohio.

Q. (No microphone.)
SCOTT DIXON: We didn't take tires. I think Dario didn't take tires. I think Helio might have. We double-stinted our last stint and took I think about four seconds of fuel.

Q. (No microphone.)
SCOTT DIXON: Coming into this weekend, I think after qualifying, I was like, you know, this might be the end of our streak with two, going for three. I know we sort of had a bit of luck on our side. Things have been rolling our way.
I'd have to say that our car was very competitive today. We'd been struggling all weekend, especially qualifying, just getting enough front grip. In hindsight, we ran the same qualifying car as we raced. I think it was a good race car. That's all it came down to.
But the team is definitely on a roll. Everybody is full of confidence. Things just seem to click a little easier. Your decisions come a bit quicker. I think that's definitely the key behind it. As I said to you I think earlier in the week, there's not one or two things that changed that make any difference for how we've picked up these wins, it's just everybody is working together a lot better.

Q. (No microphone.)
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it's been good. I think that's the unfortunate point. The last race we won, I brought up, I'd be a lot more comfortable if we were racing maybe my teammate or Sam for the championship with the amount of road courses left. Unfortunately, Dario is very fast on all of them. As you can see, he's been consistently on the podium when we've won. It's been very tough to try and close that gap.
I know what you're saying about a streak. It may come down to a mechanical. I hope it is a true race to the finish, not a silly accident or mechanical problem that one of us has.

Q. (No microphone.)
SCOTT DIXON: No, not really. I think I commented on that just before. I don't think there is any key things that has changed. You know, I know going into the start of the season, there was probably no spotlight on me or Dario. We were both kind of under the radio -- radar. A little too much champagne (laughter). But it's something that's definitely changed. I think Dan was definitely one of the highlighted guys, was off to a hot streak to start with, was definitely talked about a lot.
But I think, you know, it definitely changed after Indy for us and for Dario. We've sort of both been on a streak. But I'm sure if you ask him the same question, there's no one thing or two things or three things, it's just a bunch of small things that have changed.
But, you know, to be honest, you cannot be winning races and the confidence -- I think a lot of it is how the guys work together. When you're not doing well or one guy on the other side of the team is doing really well, people get a bit shitty, they don't do their work as well. It's a fact. I think my guys are pretty happy at the moment. I'll try and do my best to keep that going.

Q. Does it get frustrating that you win but there Dario is right there with you?
SCOTT DIXON: It's tough. There's no doubt about it. It's getting frustrating. I said the same thing to Chip and Mike. They came back straightaway, Well, at least he's not in front of us. That's the thing that we're doing. We're doing as much as we possibly can. We are applying as much pressure as possible. We're closing the gap. Three races ago we were 65 behind, now we're 24. If we keep going at that rate, it's going to be good.
The other thing, Dario has had such good consistency, I think he just about hasn't been outside of the top five in all the races this season. You know, the ones that he did struggle at, like St. Pete with his problems, and Texas, he still came away with a lot of points. Those days we had rough programs. I think we've had our bad luck. It would be nice to say we just have consistency coming. But it's very tough. As I said before, not to wish him any bad luck, but, man, some is due.

Q. Are you glad to have the off week?
SCOTT DIXON: I'm glad to have a week off. It's been a tough five in a row. Becoming NASCAR here. I think they had their second week off for the year. We get a lot more weekends off. It's good to see the compressed season. I think it keeps the fans interested in what we're doing. For the drivers, we love to drive. But I'm looking forward to this week off, relax a little bit, maybe do a bit of fishing, hang out with some friends.

Q. Where is the birthday party?
SCOTT DIXON: It's going to have to be back in Indianapolis tonight. I'm not sure. It's a pity it's Sunday and everything closes at midnight. Maybe back at the (indiscernible) house.

Q. You had a great '03 season, won the title. A couple bad seasons (indiscernible).
SCOTT DIXON: '04, '05 were tough seasons. '03 was probably a little unexpected. I fastly came onto the scene as a team, coming into the IndyCar Series, and winning races, and taking a championship. I think that was a problem because we built ourselves up so high, and the harder you fall after that. We definitely fell pretty hard in '04, '05. '06 was definitely a big year for us. We had even equipment with teams that were winning. Dan was a huge addition for our team, with the momentum he brought from winning the 500 and the championship in '05. I'd say the huge turn for us and for me was definitely last year and now it's sort of just redefining a little. We're making the car a little bit better for myself, just zoning in, I guess.
But last year was a big turn for our team.

Q. Take us through the start, what you saw.
SCOTT DIXON: I could tell with Helio being on pole that it was just about going to start the lap before the start. He always goes so early. I think he kind of screwed Danica there, to be honest, because the pace car pulled to the left and he went as soon as the pace car went. So she had nowhere to go. She had to wait an extra few seconds before the pace car actually pulled off. Our line was already strung out.
I guess in some ways it's good to go early because people don't get into each other. But the AGR guys, T.K. I think maybe got a little bit into Danica, spun himself, and that took care of Marco. Taking two of the AGR out on the first corner is not a good thing.
I stayed to the left of Dario, actually trying to go around the outside of him in four, because he blocked -- not blocked, he just used the inside line going into four, so I only had to go around the outside. Luckily he pushed me that way or maneuvered me that way, which gave us a clean track. Everybody just sort of fell off, flipped in front of us, gave us a clear track.

Q. Of the remaining five races, which do you look forward to most?
SCOTT DIXON: All of them, I guess. We have Michigan, Kentucky. Michigan's never been a favorite of my places. It's a tough race. You get a lot of people that come up with good cars and can factor in there. For that one I think we will have fast cars, but we just need to make it a clean one. Kentucky has been a good race for us. Last year we were quick. We ended up second I think. We just had a bad restart, and Sam won that race.
You know, the road courses for us at the moment has to be the lucky spots. We've got Detroit and Sonoma. Looking forward to those. It's going to be good to get back to Detroit. It's been a while. I think that track has changed a bit. You know, Sonoma, I think we have a bit of unfinished business. We had the pole, led a lot of laps there last year. We had a problem in the pits that took us out of winning it. I'd really like to win there this year.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Scott.
SCOTT DIXON: Thank you.



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