IZOD IndyCar Series: Honda Indy Toronto
Topics: Honda Indy Toronto
July 13, 2013
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you for your time today. We'll get to do it all again tomorrow.
We'll now bring up our race winner, Scott Dixon. This is Scott's first win in Toronto, second win of the season, and his 31st career win, which ties him with Sebastien Bourdais, Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy for seventh on the all-time win list. This is his fifth top-five finish at Toronto. Scott sits third in the championship points standings.
A great race and good points.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, that's been the biggest thing. The way the year started, I didn't think we'd even be close towards the front of the championship. I think there's been a fair share of other good guys, guys that have had good points that have had their issues, as well. It's actually closed the gap a fair bit.
Today was good. We worked on the car a little bit last night. We didn't make too many changes. Rolled out, the car was definitely quicker, easier to drive. I got the pole in morning practice for race two. We moved on to the race. We seemed to be able to hold on to the tires a little bit better than some of the others and our pace on blacks, we were just quicker.
We had a few mishaps throughout the day that made it a little tougher. Obviously the pit stop exchange when T.K. came in, I couldn't leave, that cost us a few seconds. Then we got into a bit of a battle with Power out of the pits. I don't know where he was thinking he was going on that late-break pass he tried to pull off. Obviously, he went on the runoff. Luckily I saw him coming and gave him some room so he didn't take us out.
Then when we got to the restarts towards the end, it was nice to know we had some speed in reserve. The second to last restart was a complete joke, in my view. It's the same jump-start situation that Ryan Hunter-Reay did on Briscoe last year at Baltimore. We discussed it so many times in the meetings, the polesitter has to be the first person to go, and the flagman obviously isn't watching the race either. We'll talk about that and see what's going to happen there.
Luckily we had the speed to get around him after he burned up his overtakes. That was kind of it.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. Here you are charging for the championship. Talk about the value of this victory.
SCOTT DIXON: You know, I think the biggest turning point for us was obviously Pocono. To win at a track I think where we knew we might have been at a disadvantage on straight-out speed was nice to come through like that. Obviously some of the others not having a great day, we made a ton of points. Obviously today with Hunter-Reay, I saw him in the fence. He would have had a tough day with points, too.
This is the stretch that we need to make, you know, a good time of it. Helio has had pretty much a free run this year. He hasn't had any DNF's. I think he's finished on the lead lap of every race. No mechanicals. Hunter-Reay has had a few DNF's, been involved in a few accidents, and so have other people.
Hopefully we can make a good strong run towards the end, but Pocono was the turning point to us.
Q. Talk about what is ahead for tomorrow?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, you know, it sounds simple, right? But it's not going to be. I know that strategy is going to be tough tomorrow. There will be people trying to mix it up. People that had a bad day today will be trying to make it up in race two.
It's mostly been about being clean, trying to maximize the points, if we get off strategy, trying to pass people cleanly. You're just going to have to take it as it is. To go out and think you're going to lead every lap, have no problems, is very optimistic and you can pretty much count that that's not going to happen.
We'll go in thinking we're going to have to work extremely hard for it, which we'll have to. The competition has been tough this weekend. The grid is different than today. We'll take it as it goes and see where we end up.
Q. What is it about Toronto that always seems to bring out this craziness every year?
SCOTT DIXON: I don't know. I think the layout of the track. Turn one this year is pretty bumpy. You have that long straight into three. You always get people trying to fight for the inside on five. Same with eight.
There's actually so many great passing opportunities, especially if somebody's tires start going off, people start getting aggressive. Then towards the end of the race when you get restarts...
I don't know. It's a fantastic layout for a street course. A lot of street courses, the flow is very tough to pass. Here people most of the time, if they have a bad pit sequence, they're able to fight back if they have the speed. I think that was shown by a few people today.
I think it's definitely because of the layout of the circuit.
Q. On the next to the last restart, double-file restart, where Bourdais took the lead, it looked like you barely came out of the last turn and the green flag threw. Shouldn't there be a couple of rows on a double-file restart?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah. Not to go into details, but we spoke about this exact reason. The problem is we have different starters occasionally. They're not always in the meetings. This guy wasn't in the meeting. I didn't even know who the starter was today. I'm not even sure if he knew who the leader was. Maybe he just saw a car come around. You can't do that. There's a lot on the line. Restarts, a lot of positions or a race can be lost as well. It's disappointing to see that happen.
It is up front because we had such a discussion over what happened in Baltimore where Hunter-Reay clearly jumped the start, as well. I hate dwelling on bad things, but I think it's a point that needs to be addressed.
Q. What did you think about the decision to make the single file on the final restart?
SCOTT DIXON: That was definitely cool. We had definitely spoken about that in the prerace drivers meeting, just for the fact that turn 11 gets so much buildup, nobody wants to go out there unless they sweep. If they were going to sweep, then we would have finished under yellow.
I think it was a great call actually by Barnhart or whoever was up there, let's get this race going, finish it under green. That was good to see.
Q. The win moved you into a tie on the wins list. Some big names ahead of you. What are your thoughts on that?
SCOTT DIXON: Obviously for me it means a lot. To think we're all tied for seventh or something, but to think the next group of people have last names of Unser, Andretti and Foyt, that's pretty special to be even on the same list of those guys. I've always had a lot of respect for them. I remember watching races when I was very young.
It's exciting. I think the time to look back on those sort of things is once you're done with your career. For me it's more about today, looking forward to tomorrow, trying to improve on that. If we can get more victories, we're obviously doing something right. I credit a lot of that to the team. I think 30 of those victories have been with this team. That's nice.
Q. The standing start was aborted. Your thoughts on that. Would you be willing to try it tomorrow, because the fans were upset by it? Some of the calls that were made, the restart with you, a no call, Dario getting stripped of third. Did you feel the race was officiated poorly?
SCOTT DIXON: Not really. Obviously, on my situation, yeah, which I thought was black and white, I was just waiting for him to get a penalty. You know, I haven't spoken to them yet, so I don't really understand it. I think I was in a similar situation with Will when he tried to pull off that same move on me.
To review it, I have no idea. Maybe it was slightly different. 25-second penalty is pretty crazy. You know, obviously it wasn't that bad if one carried on and the other guy was probably clearly going too quick and that's why he ended up in the tires. Until we look at it, I have no idea.
Standing starts? I don't know. Going in, I thought it was going to be aborted. It's not something that all of us have had time to address. I know from our side of things I think it's been a bit rushed. I don't think the system is really built for it. Whether we do it tomorrow, that's not our decision. I could take it or leave it.
I have a feeling if they do do it, it may result in the same thing that happened today. The cars are pretty tricky. It's easy to stall. It's very difficult to set the brake point. I don't know. I'm on the fence.
Q. What about the decision to open up basically the curbs that was made partway through the race or was that discussed beforehand? Did it have any effect on the outcome?
SCOTT DIXON: The problem with the tires, they're constantly moving. Each lap you're not sure where they're going to be. Qualifying, somebody hits it, moves it, it changes the speed of the track. Maybe we should just not have them.
To be honest, I didn't think the cars would go that far onto the curb until I saw some pictures actually of my teammate (laughter). You know, I know in the race they were talking about it. They told me to not cut the corners too much. Typically where I was driving, I couldn't find speed going that far.
I saw when Bourdais passed Dario, guessing he was clearly, you know, way over on the curb. But I think they realized quickly they couldn't police it. Probably way too much of it going on, pretty much the whole field was going to start getting penalties, so they let it go, which I think was probably a good decision.
Q. In your 31 times as a winner, being on a podium, have you ever been on a more bizarre podium where one of the guys next to you drops a trophy and the other guy that has champagne in his hair actually finished 13th?
SCOTT DIXON: I've been on some strange podiums. I'd have to think hard about that.
But, no. I felt bad for Sebastien. That sucks. A nice trophy. It bounced twice, too. Third time lucky, it smashed. The funniest thing, you see it go past Dario, and he's like just watching it. That was pretty funny. I think we have it on camera, on video. We'll have a look at that later.
I feel bad for Dario. He always races clean. Always races me clean. Obviously him and Power have had some dust-ups in that corner before. I don't know. I can't comment on it.
Q. Scott, last race one of your secrets to winning was trimming the car out, getting better fuel mileage, still having the car handle well. Bourdais said you were trimmed out more than him today and that's why you were faster. Have you found something in the mechanical grip you can now run trimmed out and still be fast in the corners?
SCOTT DIXON: Possibly. We noticed this morning some of the other cars started trimming out a little further to where we are. That's kind of how we rolled off. We seemed to find an area that we think we're in a pretty good condition. The car still brakes well, obviously has mechanical grip, looks after the tires pretty well, too.
Yeah, I think we should probably credit some of the gains that we made, everybody went and tested at Pocono, tested at other places, we went to Sebring in the middle of summer, which is never too much fun. Worked on the car, worked on some of the issues we had at the start the year, tried to zero in on where we were going wrong, and I think that's definitely helped.
Q. Given how much coming and going tends to happen at Toronto, a lot of passing, do you think even though everybody wants to be on the pole for the points, do you necessarily think you could be a bit of a sitting duck?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, no, I don't see it that way. I think in the past when it was full caution pits closed, then you're a sitting duck. Been on the receiving end of that so many times. Always just figured in situations like that that the (indiscernible) car pitted before the yellow and automatically moved to the front.
It looks after the leader a lot more with these full caution pits open. Today there was no real strategy gains from anybody. I think the mid pack got sort of switched up a little bit. I'd have to look back at the race to see how that went. There was no real gains, and a lot of that has been cleaned up because of these pits open yellow.
You're exactly right, you're always waiting for something to go the wrong way. Typically of all places, like Toronto, it happens. If you're a fast car, you're still going to make your way to the front.
I think a thing that's a little bit different this year is the fact is they haven't opened up the inside to three. You're allowed to block now. It seemed like the outside, I made a couple moves early on, there's pretty good grip out there. I thought that was going to be a bit of an issue and make it difficult throughout the day, but it didn't seem to be the case.
Q. The schedule is shaping up really good for you. You have tomorrow starting on pole. They almost renamed the Mid-Ohio course after you you've won there so many times. You have to feel confident. This could be a chance for you to win another championship.
SCOTT DIXON: You probably just jinxed it there. This is my last win of the season, I can guarantee it now (laughter).
It's unfortunate we gave up so many points throughout the year. Texas, I was excited about how good our car was, thought we could really race for a victory there. Even Iowa, could have gone a little better, too. Having those engine problems there. Actually, it was an electrical problem with our car that we ended up finding at Pocono.
You think more about the ones you gave up, sort of dwell on you a little bit more. We'll go into these race weekends with an open mind and try to do the best we can. Obviously we go to every race weekend trying to win. That's what we'll try to do for, what have we got, seven more races to go.
Q. There's some very angry drivers out there today. How is everyone going to temper their feelings and get through the race in some clean fashion tomorrow?
SCOTT DIXON: It won't happen probably. You know, I think that's kind of the tough part about today. If people had a bad day today, they're going to take it out on tomorrow. I guess if you had a good day, you just hope you're not on the receiving end of that.
But it's good to see. It mixes it up. People are going to be trying extremely hard. Some people had bad qualifying positions and maybe got blocked. I think there were a couple of people in qualifying today, so they think they can move up pretty quickly as well.
It's still going to be the typical Toronto, a lot of action, a lot of passing. As you pointed out, probably a little more aggression tomorrow.
Q. Sitting where you are right now, how do you feel about having to do this whole thing again tomorrow?
SCOTT DIXON: You know, don't know. Tough kind of question. It would have been nice to go out and have a few beers, a few drinks tonight. Obviously that's not going to be the way to do it.
I think you got to take it as the car is good right now. We have a great shot at making some serious points and do the best that we can. That's all we can focus on.
But, yeah, you can't focus on the people behind you, what they're up to. We have to race our own race and try and keep it as clean as possible and hopefully be on the right strategy, put ourselves on the best situation at the end.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations and good luck tomorrow.
SCOTT DIXON: Thank you.
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