IndyCar Series: Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio
Topics: Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio
August 9, 2009
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by our race winner, Scott Dixon, his 20th win in the IndyCar Series, surpassing Sam Hornish, Jr.'s career record. Scott now also has 21 career open-wheel victories, 19th on the all-time list, tied with his teammate, Dario Franchitti. With his win today, Scott moved into the points lead with 460, three points ahead of Ryan Briscoe. This is the 12th time in 13 races the points lead has changed after a race.
Scott, talk about your run out there today.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, the Target car was great from the get-go. The start was clean. I think that was worrying a few people I think with what was going to go on there. It was good to see everybody kept it tidy.
Pretty much from that part there, once Justin got a break on Ryan, you could kind of see that Ryan was maybe a little bit in trouble or just not as quick as we thought he was gonna be early on in the race. I made a couple of runs or attempts, but he was really good power down, especially out of the keyhole. Tough to get close to him to try to make a move down the back straight.
We saved a ton of fuel. Went a lap longer. Jumped him in the pits. Obviously then caught up to Justin. Justin then, because he pitted three or four laps ahead of us, had to save more fuel on that one stint. That's why I think we were able to catch him so quickly, then able to pass him down the straights. Then obviously with the mix with Milka between four, five and six made it pretty exciting.
Once the car got to the front, got some clean air, it was really good.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.
Q. The historical perspective of passing Sam Hornish. For years he was considered to be Mr. IRL. I guess that title now goes to you.
SCOTT DIXON: You know, unfortunately Sam's not still here to defend that. That's the sad side of it. Obviously it's a fantastic milestone for myself and obviously for the team. I've achieved all of those wins with Target. Without them, it wouldn't have been possible.
To finally be labeled that I think in this series is a big deal to me, a big deal to the team. But it's going to be tough to hang on to that. I think Helio is pretty close. He's at, what, 16 or so. Maybe a couple others are on 14 or 15. To keep that going, I'm definitely going to have to keep racing for a lot more years. If I got to 25, 30 or 35, that would be pretty cool.
Q. You obviously saw Milka. Justin said she didn't play a factor as far as what happened with him. Were you setting it up to use her, so to speak?
SCOTT DIXON: No, I know what you mean. I think whenever you see traffic coming up, of course you're going to push a little bit harder and try to get as close as possible. I think at that point we did have a really big run on Wilson. He was saving fuel. I was able to run full rich. I could push the button. We had probably three, four, five more miles an hour on the straight. Going into four, I think we were already past him before we ran into Milka.
She made it exciting for another couple of corners, but that was about it.
Q. You mentioned yesterday how this is kind of a weird season, that nobody really wants to be in the lead. With the performance like this, do you think what you did today can give you a little bit of momentum advantage going ahead?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, maybe if we had three or four races at Mid-Ohio to go, you'd be pretty happy about that. Obviously there's a good mix with some road courses and ovals coming up. I think, you know, Sonoma is going to be another tough one, especially for us. We had a rough race there last year. I think finished out of the top 12. That was difficult.
We'll just have to see how it goes. We've got a test there this week. But, you know, even with the championship, nobody wanting to lead it, you know, you still look they three guys that finished on the podium today, it's the three leaders of the championship. It's going to come down to the wire. Penske definitely aren't going to let up. My teammate Dario isn't going to let up either. He's in the same equipment, so that makes it even tougher.
Whether we see a runaway start the next couple races, who knows. Penske are going to be extremely tough to beat at Sonoma.
Q. Did the 'push to pass' help you today? How did that work?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, I think it did in a few circumstances. I never really used it when I was racing against somebody. That was probably full fuel or a different strategy. It does help. There's no doubt that it helps. The extra rpm definitely helps the gear shifts. Obviously the added power, you probably come to the end of the back straight two, three, four miles an hour quicker, which definitely make a pass a little bit easier.
How different that would be with two people racing on the same strategy, the same speed, I'm not sure.
Q. The way this points lead has changed after each race, is it almost the guy that's second going into Homestead?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, you know, I don't really care for leading the championship now. The only time you want to lead it is at the end. If you can get a runaway now and start building some points on those guys, that's going to be important. But definitely, as you said, I think in the last how many ever races the lead has been changing a ton between the three or four of us.
I can see that happening all down to the wire. I'll happily be second going into Homestead.
Q. Nobody is saying this was easy today, but you made it look that way. Was this one of those days when you hit the ball right down the middle? Did it feel smooth and good?
SCOTT DIXON: It did feel smooth and good (laughter). The car was just really good. It's normally very hard to keep close to a car in front of you when you're on the same strategy and running for the same pit windows. As we did with Briscoe, we were running leaner than them and sticking on the gearbox. It was fun.
You don't get cars like this too often or days that go this smoothly. Today I think midway through the race you're waiting for a yellow to come out at the wrong time and a strategy to kind of screw it up. The last time I had a dominant car like this, purely on a street course or road course, was Detroit last year. With strategy there, we just got hung out. It was nice to see where the yellows and things fell. But it still didn't hurt us too much.
Q. Heading to Infineon, that race last year was one you climbed out of the car pretty upset. Do you almost kind of feel like you want to go out there and prove a point in two weeks?
SCOTT DIXON: You know, we haven't got anything to lose. Hopefully we're racing with the same people. If you're gonna push it, you might be able to get a little bit added out of it.
Last year we got into the stupid scenario of racing and looking at points, racing for a championship, as opposed to just keeping them race by race. The championship decisions I think come in the car when you might be diving underneath somebody, trying to figure out whether that's going to be a crash car or a car that's going to get to the front.
Sonoma and Detroit, there's a few places towards the end of the season where we as a team, myself included, the way even cautions fell, helped us out there. I think this year we're just definitely going to go race by race and try to clean up.
THE MODERATOR: Scott, thank you very much.
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