IZOD IndyCar Series: RoadRunner Turbo Indy 300
Topics: RoadRunner Turbo Indy 300
May 1, 2010
KANSAS CITY, KANSAS
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. Congratulations.
We're joined by race winner Scott Dixon. This is his second consecutive win here at Kansas Speedway, and he extends his number of wins to 22 in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Target Chip Ganassi has won four consecutive races at Kansas Speedway, with Dan Wheldon in 2007 and 2008, and now Scott.
Earlier this week, the Indy Racing League announced plans to crown an oval champion and a road champion as drivers pursue the overall IZOD IndyCar Series championship. Will Power leads the road championship. After today's first oval race of the season, Dixon leads the oval championship. Our overall leader points leader is Will Power. The top five in points are separated by 38.
Scott, tell us about your race.
SCOTT DIXON: It was a short weekend for everybody. Track time, there wasn't much of it. I think rolling off the truck was important. We made a few minor changes to the car for the race setup, just tried to make it more consistent over a long run. It definitely showed in the race today.
I had a few problems to start with just trying to be too loose. I tried to get by Briscoe, nearly spun in one, backed up to third spot behind Dario. Took me a while to adjust the car with some weight and the bars to get it to drive a little nicer on the high line. After about 10 laps, it kind of came to us.
I think Briscoe tried the high line where we had been quite good for most of the race. I thought I'd try the inside lane, and it worked out well for us to make the pass. I think from that point on, lap 30 or so, the car was just really fast, nice to drive, really consistent, great in traffic, could put on the low line or high line. Had a few hairy moments in traffic, less grip, older tires.
It was a huge day for us. Good for the points. 1-2 finish for team Target. The pit stops were impeccable today, as well.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up to questions.
Q. Scott, we talked yesterday about your success here. The team's success, four in a row now here. Just talk about that confidence when you do unload here. The TV camera showed your wife with a penny. Is there something about a lucky penny?
SCOTT DIXON: I didn't see that. I don't know anything about that.
Back to the team part. You know, it's definitely been a really good track for us. It's a track where I think in the past we've done quite a few Firestone tire tests here. Not sure we did the last one. We've always rolled off the truck fairly well, made minor changes, and the cars got a little bit better. We just stayed consistent.
I think straight out grip-wise today for speed wasn't what you needed. It was a consistent car over the long runs. We could run a 210.3 at the start of the run of lap one and the same on the last lap before we came into pit.
Success here for us has been fantastic. I hope we can carry this momentum for another 30 days. It's totally different from the month of May. The Speedway is obviously a lot different. We got our work cut out for us. I could see the competition was pretty tight back there, a lot of passing and stuff going on. So I just hope we can carry the momentum over.
Q. It has been 2008 since a car other than Penske or Target has won on an oval. Can you talk about why you are so much ahead of the pack.
SCOTT DIXON: You know, I think obviously they've got a great bunch of people that work at these teams. I know there's a lot of development that's continuous, that the teams don't rest in the winter. I know our big deal this years with body fits, making the car as slick as possible in the air, which is a huge push for Indy. That's when we need it most.
It's not five big things. That's what our team keeps going on about. It's the same mentality that Penske has. It's 20 small things that make up those five big things.
They're forever working on the car and rubbing on the car to make sure there's not a little piece of tape or anything like that. It's definitely attention to detail that I believe that's gotten these teams to where they're at.
Q. Since you've been in this spot, how long do the smiles from today last, knowing you have May coming up?
SCOTT DIXON: Not very long. It's going to be head down, bum up. We're going to be working as hard as possible. Indy is such a different stroke from what we've been doing here. Next week is busy, Kentucky test on Tuesday and Friday test at Texas. We're in the car a bit heading into the month of May. Hopefully we can have a good start there.
But it's totally different. We'll be smiling, but we know we got a lot of work ahead of us.
Q. Can you talk about leading the last 150 laps. What goes through your mind when you're leading that long?
SCOTT DIXON: When you're leading that long, you're waiting for something to go wrong, whether it's the engine, you hear noises, or if you're going to have a tire go flat. In that scenario, it's going quite smoothly. It's not going easy, but it's going smoothly. You're waiting for maybe lap traffic.
Definitely at the end I was worried because we've been caught out so many times with the pit sequence. We pitted so late. There's going to be a yellow come out here shortly and it's going a catch us out. Sure enough, just as we pitted, it came out. It didn't affect us. If we'd gone one lap longer, the last 10 or 15 laps could have been a different story. Luckily enough it worked out for us. That's what is constantly going through your mind, is picking up on what is going to go wrong.
Q. Going back to those cautions, could you talk a little bit more about them and the restarts. Obviously you had a little bit of a cushion with some cars that weren't among the lead cars that helped you a little bit.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, the restarts for us were pretty relaxed because we had a good four, five cars between us to second place at that point, which is a nice place to be, 'cause some of those cars were going to be tough to pass to get to me. Obviously weren't as fast as we were.
The other thing was, we saved the 'push to pass', I think we had 18 left when we went back to green. It was actually huge. I was running 210.3, 210.0 out front the last four laps. I was hitting the button, I was almost at 212. A good difference to what we've typically had. If we were a little further back in the race, it could have been good for passing.
The restarts were pretty smooth up front for me. No major issues. I was quite surprised we had a caution after the first attempt of a restart towards the end.
Q. I'm not sure if toward the end of the race, before that last yellow, you pitted just before it, if you had a lap on the field. But when you were in the pits, I thought, Oh, no.
SCOTT DIXON: That's what runs through your mind, especially when you know your teammates pit, too. Are we playing it too smart but too on the edge? We've been caught out so many times during that. Obviously it's an advantage if you can pit at the last minute. The stop is a lot quicker, a lot less fuel has to go in the car, makes it a lot quicker for the end because you got better tires. That was the reason for it.
But, yeah, another lap could have killed us.
Q. Was it two years ago you really dominated, you pitted, the yellow came out, that put you back a lot farther?
SCOTT DIXON: Exactly.
Q. Do you think race control, it was a matter of them not getting the pace car out fast enough?
SCOTT DIXON: I'm not sure. I don't know what happened as far as sequence. I know the only time we would have been a lap ahead was because we were the last car to pit. But I think we had lapped up to seventh or sixth anyway. The first six cars had done a pretty good job of good speed.
But, yeah, I don't know. I know I came out just before Tagliani. I don't know where the rest of the cars were. Normally if you're in the pit and it goes yellow, it's almost working better for you because you're just going to pop out on the other side and they have to start slowing down for you. There were no major issues.
It hurt us here in 2007 or 2008, where we led pretty much the whole race, and on the last stop we cycled back to 10th. Same thing happened to Briscoe here last year. It's tough when you have 50-lap stints and it's a 200-lap race.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Scott.
SCOTT DIXON: Thank you.
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