IZOD IndyCar Series: Shell-Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston
Topics: Shell-Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston
October 5, 2013
THE MODERATOR: We are now pleased to be joined by our race winner, Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing. This is Scott's 33rd career IndyCar victory. His most recent win came this year at Toronto Race 2, and today's win now closes the gap between Scott and Helio to eight points in the championship points standing. Today's win also makes Scott eligible for the $50,000 Sonex finish award should he sweep the double headers here at Reliant.
Talk about this great second half of the season you're having and being able to pull off the win today and make up that deficit against Helio.
SCOTT DIXON: I think the last two races it could have been a lot better. Yeah, it's been strong. The car, the guys have not given up. They've been working hard. We had a couple of good tests, one in Sebring and one in California to try and improve, and the development has still been strong on the team side and with Honda, as well.
You know, coming here we probably liked the chances just for the fact that it's a street course, and both the 9 and the 10 have been strong at the street courses just recently. We struggled a little bit in qualifying. The car felt pretty good, started to get up to speed on the reds and then Pagenaud came out and trying to get back up to speed on the reds was a bit of a tough run for us, so I think we got the maximum that we could have maybe got out of it then.
Hopefully we can slightly improve tomorrow in qualifying. Should be interesting.
But yeah, the car has been really good, good balance. Honda has done a great job with the driveability and the power for these street courses, and it was definitely a turnaround today.
Going into this race after the last two, the points deficit was big. It was 49 points. We talked about the scenarios and the scenario that we needed was for the 3 car to have a bad day and us to have a good one, and that would make a big difference in the championship fight. It was nice to see that today.
Tomorrow is another day. It could be the opposite, and we could be in the hole tomorrow. It's a nice move for us today, and hopefully we can build on that.
Q. Coming in with the 49‑point deficit, I'm sure you thought maybe you had three races to kind it break it up. Could you in your wildest dreams have imagined almost taking the maximum amount of points off of Helio today at 41?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, can could have only been better if we had gotten the pole today, an extra point, which when it comes down to it could be what we needed. But yeah, you hope for days like this, and it was kind of similar in Toronto. Yes, Toronto race 2, Helio finished second, so he made that difference pretty small there, but to have that scenario play out, and like I said earlier, to even have a yellow go our way, we were in a pit road and a yellow came out. I haven't been in one of those situations for years. So that was pretty nice.
But yeah, you hope for those days, but in reality, they very rarely come by.
Q. I was just wondering with the track being as bumpy as it is how your hands are and if you've had any problems with blistering or anything?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, I must be using too much moisturizer or something. I've got a few blisters, but it's nothing too bad. I think some of the other people I saw out there, their hands were pretty bad.
Q. Can you talk about the last pit stop you had where you dove in right before the full course yellow that came out that closed the pits?
SCOTT DIXON: Why we did that?
Q. Just talk about how much advance notice you had, what the team was telling you, etcetera.
SCOTT DIXON: You kind of get feelings for it. I knew it was going to be that lap or‑‑ actually I thought it might have been the lap before just because we were approaching a lot of lap traffic, and the pit window is very wide at that point. Once you start catching the back of the pack, they get very aggressive and start trying to pull moves that maybe cause accidents just to stay on the lead lap. So yeah, just at Turn 9 we decided, they made the call, we're going to pit, we're going to pit, and luckily‑‑ I can't remember which caution it was or what happened, but it worked out perfectly for us.
Q. Today was very hot. Tomorrow is supposed to be a lot cooler. Do you anticipate a lot of changes in the car from the different temperature?
SCOTT DIXON: You know, the track changed a lot today. It's definitely gripped up a lot. I think we're almost matching qualifying times with full tanks and even on the black tires. I imagine tomorrow qualifying is going to be pretty quick, pretty stout, some big times being thrown down.
You know, as far as it getting cooler, typically the car just works better. The engine works better. The car has more grip. When it does heat up, you normally have to put a turn or two or a front wing just to try and balance the COP, so yeah, it might be a little more neutral tomorrow in those conditions. That's why the engineers get paid the big bucks, to figure that stuff out.
Q. When you were chasing Will, it looked like you were quicker going into the left‑hander just before the Astrodome, and then he was quicker coming out I think the penultimate corner coming onto the straight. Is that a characteristic of the Honda engine and the Chevy engine compared to each other, or was it just down to your driving styles?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, I think I was really just being a bit of a girl into Turn 10. You know, it's a corner. If you mess it up, it's going to go wrong in a big way, and that's going to be the end of your day. It's like the chicane yesterday. There's places you can push and you're going to get rewarded and places you're not going to get the most out of it. Will definitely struggled I think in Turn 4 before Turn 5 around the stadium there, not sure‑‑ it's all so hard to tell as far as performance wise. We were saving fuel, were they saving fuel, mixtures. Some of those mixtures can be 20 horsepower. You know, it can be a big difference to see.
But yeah, definitely in Turn 10 for me, I was being overcautious and just making sure that I made it clean through there. You also lose a lot of downforce through that corner. It's fourth gear; it's pretty quick.
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