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IndyCar Series: Roadrunner Turbo Indy 300

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Roadrunner Turbo Indy 300

IndyCar Series: Roadrunner Turbo Indy 300

Scott Dixon
Tony Kanaan
April 27, 2008


THE MODERATOR: We're joined by our second and third place finishers, Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon. We'll start with Tony. This is your best finish of the year. Talk to us a little bit about how your year's been going and how the race was today?
TONY KANAAN: Well, after the day that we had yesterday, only putting like ten laps overall all day, I think it was a pretty good result.
I think we got a little lucky at the end with Scott's misfortune on the yellow flag. I think we definitely had the car to finish in the top three, but not to beat either one of the Ganassi guys. So pretty good day, like you said. It was my best finish of the year.
You know, I can't complain. I think the race itself was kind of boring for all of us and I think for the fans, too. So I don't know what can we do to try to make these races better. The only probably exciting part of my race is when I land for 20 laps right beside A.J. Foyt IV, and the last lap with Scott in the back markers. I think they tried to give us a little action, just to see if the public would get more excited about it. But happy about the result, for sure.
THE MODERATOR: All right, Scott, you want to tell us about your day.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, I thought it was pretty good from the git-go. The car was definitely quick. Led a lot of laps. Just trying to work out what we needed to do fuelwise, and that was the concentration of that last sort of stint. We had enough to get to the end, you know, we were just putting it a lap earlier than everybody else, and that so happened that Rice crashed in two and put that caution out while we were in the pits. That pretty much ruined our day. That put us a lap down, and we got the pass around but we got 15 cars back, so there was no way to challenge the two guys up front with Dan and T.K. that broke away.
So it was pretty frustrating. You know, it was one of those days that he had a good car and you thought you should have won, but you came up short. So seems somewhat like Japan, and it's a bit frustrating two weeks in a row.

Q. You're back in 7th with 28 to go on that last restart. Did you think you had enough time to pedal your way back to the front, or did you really just feel like it was kind of a futile thing to get all the way to the front?
SCOTT DIXON: I think we might have been 7th, but there was so much lap traffic between us. We were probably 15 cars back. When you have the cars trying to go three wide, and still lifting and doing laps on the turn, the front guys just sort of break away. So it was just trying to feed through those guys without crashing, and then getting to the faster guys trying to pick up some spots.
But, you know, definitely I think T.K. and Dan knew that that was the case, and they just pushed as hard as they could to get away from the two Penske cars, and they did that quite handily.
So I knew it was going to be tough. We probably needed another caution for it to sort of pack up again, and you know, once I was clear of that mid pack, there was no chance.

Q. You mentioned working through traffic in the back markers. A lot of them oval rookies. Next time you're on the track with them, obviously, Indianapolis, stakes are higher. How ready do you think they are for that?
SCOTT DIXON: Well, I think the guys have done a very good job. Look at Homestead and look at this race. We've had, you know, bickering stints, crashes and single car crashes. I think I saw Scheckter and maybe somebody get into it. But that was the only one I saw.
You know, very early in my IndyCar career, there was a lot more crashes than that just from us guys being involved in them. So I think they've kept it very clean.
I know you always have a few problems when you're feeding through a lot of guys where you get sort of slowed down and things like that. But I think they've done a bloody good job, so.

Q. What exactly about this race as a driver made it boring for you to drive through?
TONY KANAAN: Well, I mean we wanted to see some actions. And once the races start you see Scott pulling away, Dan following him, and we just†-- then we realized that we need to just get in line and keep following everybody, you know. And, to me, that was boring. I'm not criticizing the type of racetrack or the top of cars. I'm just saying we had some more exciting races in Kansas.
And I think like Scott said, we, as the drivers we did such a good job that it wasn't a caution in the last 30 laps of the race, and that actually made the laps exciting. Probably for Scott trying to catch us. But I have to say if it goes yellow 12 laps to go, it was going to be pretty exciting for everybody.
So it's just the way that the race played out. It's not any particular reason. You know, it was just the way it went.

Q. Looking ahead to Indy, there's a flat track, almost four distinct corners almost favors guys with road course experience more than this track?
TONY KANAAN: Indy's an open road, so for sure, I think everybody's going to have a chance to do really well there. If you remember when anyone asked Bourdais and Bruno, they were pretty strong there that year. So I don't see why not they can come back there and be as strong.
They're very good race car drivers. I mean, Indy's a whole different game. So I'm pretty sure there are a lot of those guys going to be up to speed pretty fast.

Q. For a while there Tony and Helio were jockeying for third and fourth. When did you feel you could make a move and get in the top three?
SCOTT DIXON: It was Ryan and Helio, right?
TONY KANAAN: It was Briscoe, I think.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, Briscoe and Helio.
TONY KANAAN: Yeah, I was with Dan.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, he was already up with Dan. So I think it was somebody else that me and Ryan were racing with, and then we passed him pretty quick. And the only thing I didn't want Ryan to do was go side by side with Helio, and luckily enough I had enough run on them coming out of four that I was able to pinch Ryan down on the bottom and get a run past Helio.
So once I got to Helio and got into that position in turn four and I knew I had a run on Ryan, I figured, you know, once I got two wide, it was going to be all over. But once I strung out on the front, we were fine.

Q. As the afternoon went on, I was up in the backstretch up on the hill, it got windy; did the wind and cold temperature bother you much?
TONY KANAAN: I was following Dan the whole time, so I had no wind. So, no, I couldn't tell.

SCOTT DIXON: No, you could feel it occasionally. But I think that was some of the reason why today was so easy, I think, was because we had so much more grip than in years past. Typically this is a track, you're racing in 90∞ heat, and you pick up a ton of downforce and grip from the car, just made it that much easier to drive. So I think that from a standpoint of where some of us maybe thought it was a bit boring, it was probably because of that. The cars were so easy to drive because of the grip.

Q. Michael said it's kind of a sign of how strong the team is when the team owner can leave here disappointed with two cars in the top 5. Talk a little bit about that, because you were second, Marco was fifth. There were some good things, obviously, Danica dropping out was a downer for him, but still had two cars in the top 5.

TONY KANAAN: Well, I mean, if we're going to be happy with the second and fifth place, why should we go racing? We want to win. I think Michael was a racer before. If you remember the way he used to race, either it was a win or nothing. So that's the way he thinks, and that's the way we think as well.
As a team, I think he's frustrated because I don't think we did a good of enough job over the weekend. I mean, we had many, many mechanical problems with all of our cars. Then when you have the two Ganassi guys that unload the cars are so fast, it's pretty hard to catch them when you don't run. And I think that's what he meant.
So we definitely have to regroup and fix the problems that we think we had this weekend and move forward. So I totally agree with Michael. I think we could have done a better job.

Q. Could you both talk about what it means to you guys to be able to race at Indy?
TONY KANAAN: I mean, Indy's always going to be Indy. I think everybody wants to be there. Everybody wants to win that race. Especially me and Scott here. We've been close so many times.
And I think, you know, it's kind of a place that you create a lot of expectations which I try not to do because you can leave that place pretty disappointed. So it's one race, yes, it is a big race. But I think in the big picture we still have a chance to go. If I have a car to win, it would definitely mean a lot to me. And that's something that I wanted to do. But it's not the end of the world if I don't.
SCOTT DIXON: I think you left out you win a lot of money if you win that, yeah. No, it's a special place. The whole festivities and on the track for drivers. You're on the track so much and that's the best part for me. Every day you wake up, for me, it's where I live. Wake up, drive to the track and jump in the car. So that's fantastic, something that we don't get to do too often.
The race, because it does come around once a year, and as Tony said, we've been pretty unlucky in some years when we've had good cars and we've come up short. And last year with the weather I think everybody was trying to work out what to do.
But I think it's just that fact that you only get a chance to do it once a year. Well, a championship's different, you can work towards it, but if you come up short on the day, you don't win.

Q. (Indiscernible).
SCOTT DIXON: Can he repeat the question, I can't hear him.

Q. (Indiscernible).
SCOTT DIXON: It's hard to tell. I don't know who was on pit lane, because we thought we were only going to be one lap earlier or maybe two, possibly. And, you know, we had sort of just about finished up, so I thought maybe those guys had already got on to pit lane. But once we got out and I had realized that nobody had pitted and they had come in just for a splash under the caution, I knew it was going to be very tough then.
You know, last year it wouldn't have been such an issue because you wouldn't have all the lap traffic between you. It's a tough thing to get through on the first few laps and you lose a lot of ground. Once, you know, I clear air, these two guys are probably a whole stretch ahead of me and there's going to be no chance of catching them.
If Dan had enough? Oh, I don't think so. Our cars were very quick, but I think they were pretty even. And if we were in front of him, I think he would have had a pretty tough time to get past just because the high line was so much longer around, even for me. Some of the slower guys it was very tough to pass once you got up high.

Q. Usually the guy that wins this last race before Indy is the favor to win. Do you think that Dixon has to be the favorite going in?
TONY KANAAN: I think if you look at Scott's run through the first four races, I would say, yes, for sure. But I was looking at his results, and I think they've been in the top 4 every single session the whole year. So Scott's been very strong. He has shown that sometimes other things have let him down. So I think Scott is one of the favorites, for sure.

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