IndyCar Series: Indy Japan 300
Topics: Indy Japan 300
September 19, 2009
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by race winner Scott Dixon. Scott, quite a day out there. Big jump from third to first in the points. Looks like it's winner-take-all down in Miami. Talk about your run out there.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it was definitely not the way we wanted to start. The car was pretty good for the first five to 10 laps, then started to pick up a lot of understeer. We actually thought that because today seemed to be a little warmer than it had been yesterday, it was definitely very tough in traffic. I definitely didn't have the speed that Dario had in the first or second stint. We tried making a change to the tire pressures in the second stint. It didn't help us. And then after the second stint, we finally put some front wing in the car and the car came alive. To make the pass on Dario, he had a bit of a mishap in turn two with Matos, which enabled me to get a run going down the back straight into turn three. From that point on, we led the last two stints. The car was definitely running very smoothly.
As you just mentioned, a fantastic day for team Target. A 1-2. For me it's tremendous. It's a track I've always wanted to win in. I kind of put Motegi just below the Indy 500. It's a very difficult circuit. I remember coming here in the early years and competing for different engine manufacturers and how much emphasis is put on this race. If you have a fast car, you can still get to the front. Puts on a good show. Over the moon. Definitely a good day for points and very happy.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.
Q. What was going through your mind when you came around lap after lap and kept seeing the 6 car in the pits?
SCOTT DIXON: We saw the 6 more than we thought we should. I think he had cycled to the front because he beat us out. I kind of noticed there were some sparks coming out the car, the cone sticking out the side of it. He went through a closed pit but passed the field again, which was quite strange. I thought I was seeing about four, five, six cars.
But, yeah, you know, it's a feel-good moment, to be honest. He probably had the same feeling when we had a terrible race in Sonoma. It's what we needed. We needed to get maximum points. Dario and I 1-2 in the championship going down to the last race, it's what we expect for IndyCar. It's going to come down to the final lap, the final corner of Miami.
Yeah, that was a feel-good moment.
Q. Could you see the situation between Dario and Matos developing in front of you?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, I kind of saw it. Dario I thought through the race had been extremely brave actually with the traffic. I was kind of being a little more cautious with it. He was definitely throwing the car in there. He totally different styles for turn three. I don't brake all and lift off the throttle a lot earlier. And he drives right in there and brakes right into the apex. He was definitely making some pretty spectacular passes going into this. Earlier on in the race, I think E.J. Viso or Hunter-Reay, I did the same thing in turn two, went to the outside. There were definitely lots of marbles up there. The car started to slack off. Dario got definitely a lot higher than I did, lost a lot more speed, was definitely enough and a break for us to go on the inside into turn three.
Q. Talk about the excitement level racing your teammate and Briscoe, shooting it out, winner-take-all down in Homestead.
SCOTT DIXON: It's always tough racing your teammate. You tend to feel at least racing with him you're going to get a little more room on the track. But when it comes down to it, it's winner takes all or whoever is ahead of each other in that race. It's a tough kind of decision. You definitely don't want to take each other out, maybe have Briscoe sitting in third and he's laughing all the way to the bank when he wins.
It's going to be one of those things we'll just have to play it by ear, see how we're going. I think it's huge for Team Target to have both of us at the point of one and two in the championship. That's definitely what it's about. We definitely have to make sure we emphasize taking the championship. It's even more interesting that both teams are testing next week in Miami on the Friday as well. There's no real advantage for us that we thought we were going to have a test by ourselves.
Q. It's a mile-and-a-half oval again. Previous races, Penske had a little bit of an advantage. This time you won. What is it going to be the situation at Homestead?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, you know, here is totally different. It's a one-and-a-half-mile track, but it's very handling-dependent. Turn three and four is the craziest corner we have on the schedule. It's a lot of fun, this track. It takes a lot of determination, things like that.
So I think Homestead is definitely a totally different layout. It's your typical high-banked mile-and-a-half. Definitely over the last two or three years the track has lost a lot of grip. It's becoming more of a handling circuit. The first 25 to 30 laps are pretty consistent, and not too bad to keep it on the bottom of the track. The last 20 laps of a stint, you start chasing up, turn three and four become difficult at Homestead as well. Hopefully we can find a bit of an edge at the test. Typically, mile-and-a-half, high banks, Penske has had an edge on us through the season. If you look at Texas, even Kentucky. The only place we seemed to be fairly strong was Kansas. We definitely got to dig in a lot and make a lot of improvements to the car.
Q. Certainly not overlooking Ryan at all, but the fact is Dario is now your teammate. Rewind two years ago, do you feel like you want to even the score with him after the '07 battle?
SCOTT DIXON: It would only be fair to do it that way. I'll mention that to him before the race.
It's going to be a crazy race. Obviously the three of us are going to be pushing to the maximum. The only other player is maybe Helio to make it interesting because he'll be trying to help. Ryan, but he's totally out of the chase of taking the championship. That will play into it, I'm sure. We just have to make sure that our cars are quick. I think we've of driven better races. Chicago I think the 9 car team had a perfect race but we still came up short. Penske and such definitely had more speed. We've definitely got to try and make a gain the next few weeks here.
Q. I think I heard about the time you took the checkered flag that you had a right rear tire going down.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, I guess two laps before the finish we had a cut right rear tire and we started to leak on the last lap. We were about eight or nine pounds of pressure out of the tire. I backed off a little bit once they told me because we had a sizable gap. But luckily it didn't happen too much earlier than that
THE MODERATOR: Scott, thank you very much. We'll see you in Miami.
SCOTT DIXON: Thank you.
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