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IZOD IndyCar Series: Honda Indy Toronto

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Honda Indy Toronto

IZOD IndyCar Series: Honda Indy Toronto

Scott Dixon
Ryan Hunter-Reay
July 10, 2011


TORONTO, ONTARIO

THE MODERATOR: We'll start with Scott here. What are your initial thoughts for the members of the press here in Toronto?
SCOTT DIXON: You know, it was definitely a tough day. For us it was pretty smooth for the first sort of 20 or 25 laps, kind of just got into fuel conservation mode behind Will, and it looked like he was having to drive a little more aggressive to us, and his tires were burning off a little quicker.
I think Dario made a good call obviously once we got James Jakes coming out of the pits in front of us and slowed our pace down probably about eight tenths of a second a lap. They dove in the pits, and I actually got on the radio and I said, I guarantee you there will be a yellow in the next few laps, and of course there was, so that catapulted the 10 car obviously to the lead and we dropped back to 15th or something.
So from that point on it was just a race to try and stay in the race. I thought to try and stay clean was extremely tough. The cars were really hard to drive today, especially on the first couple laps of the restarts. Everybody was fighting everywhere, and then we kind of just got onto a roll there where it was restart after restart after restart, especially towards the end. Yellows breed yellows, and I think that was definitely the case today.
We had a good car. I think we had a car to win. Track position was definitely key. When it came down to the end it was not so bad to pass some of the guys back in the pack, but once you get to the front and obviously try and pass the ones that are quick, that's definitely more difficult.
Rahal was being a pain in the ass with about ten laps to go, as well, so I think he got his just deserts there at the end. Obviously not a bad day for Team Target, obviously, a one-two.
THE MODERATOR: Ryan, finished third, your best finish of the season. What are your thoughts on today's performance?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: It was just a crazy race. I don't know when I sustained wing damage there. All of a sudden the wing was down, and I was running fourth, third, something like that, and I knew we were going to have to pit for it at some point. The scary part about driving around like that is you know at some point at 170 miles an hour that the wing is going to fold under, get under the front tires, and that's when things become bad. It just dropped down all at once and I had to come into the pits.
There was times of the day we thought we were out of it, times of the day we thought we could win it, and that's Toronto. It's just a crazy race. Like Scott was saying, on the restarts it was so difficult. You could warm your tires to no end, and it didn't matter; you were sliding around almost losing the car at every corner. It was some crazy racing out there, that's for sure.

Q. Do you think after today what happened with Will now has really been a big boost for you to now put some pressure on him?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, definitely helps. I don't even know, it was probably about 30 points or something now away from him or even in the 20s even. That's a good gain obviously on a track where he should do well and maybe even make the gap a little larger. He definitely took a big hit today.
As Ryan said, Toronto is just so frustrating. You can go to the front, to the back. You never really know where you're at here, and it can turn around real quickly. Yeah, it's a big blow to them today. Obviously the gap now for Dario is like 50 points in the lead. They've got a lot to get back now. Dario is Mr. Consistent, man. Even if he's having a bad day he seems to pull something out and they get on the podium and get good points.

Q. At what point do you start to try to pressure Dario into making a mistake?
SCOTT DIXON: You know, we have always raced clean together. It's like at the end I think I could have probably -- on the first lap of the restart I could have probably slid it in there on turn 3, but I don't know, Chip and a lot of Target folks were here today, and that probably wouldn't have been the smartest thing to do, so kept it clean, and obviously we're in the championship battle now.
He hasn't had any bad luck, so maybe some will come. I'm not going to wish it upon him, but that's definitely what we would need to try and make a good run at the championship.

Q. What can or should be done about the track here?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Well, the double file restarts were just nuts. It was like a free-for-all. You had that first tight turn 1 that's really just slick as glass on a restart, so everybody is sliding through there trying not to hit the wall. Then you get through turn 2 and then your rear end steps out. Then you have this long six-gear straight where everybody gets a draft on each other, then you've got to shut it down to first gear. So it's prime for just no-holds-barred racing, just absolute kind of messy racing like we had today, which was -- you can go for a pass, and at Toronto, seven times out of ten there will be contact on a restart, and that's what we saw. I was lucky to keep my -- keep the wheels on it and everything on the restarts, and the Target guys were just really quick, and once they got out front they were gone.
That's the thing about Toronto. It's bumpy, it's messy. It makes for some good racing. Unfortunately we were under yellow a little too long today. But it makes for some good racing. It was hard work in the car, really hard work. I was just trying not to crash sometimes.
But that's Toronto, right? Every track has to have its character, and this place has character.

Q. Is it more fun or frustrating?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Depends. Depends if you're running up front and you've got a great car and you're laughing in your mirrors, or are you trying to get through the field and dealing with all that. It can be four different races in one. All of a sudden you're having fun, next thing you want to do is just get out of here.
But the Canadian fans are awesome. I love coming to Toronto. I think everybody does. It's just the character of the place. It's unique.

Q. We've talked about how the track is challenging. A lot of drivers in IndyCars enjoy Toronto. Do you find with all the stops and starts that it's misleading?
SCOTT DIXON: Well, I think from a fan's point of view it's better obviously with the yellows, the cautions. They obviously breed cautions. It makes the racing -- it's packed up a lot more. That's exciting. For the drivers it gets a bit frustrating; kind of all you want to do is get into a rhythm and try and let the race evolve that way.
But you know, as far -- as Ryan said, it's good at one minute, it's bad at another. I think it's exciting. At no point it's not exciting at this place. It's like a NASCAR Bristol race. It's tough to do obviously with an IndyCar, make contact, but we sure do a good job of it when we're here.

Q. Scott, Will said, and I'm paraphrasing here, that he always races Dario clean and Dario races him dirty. You're around him enough. Can you respond either way?
SCOTT DIXON: You know, I think they race each other the same. Today was an unfortunate situation. Once you get onto that concrete, the front takes off straightaway and then you kind of wait a little bit for the rear to come around. Will probably had a little more grip on the outside there and then was able to turn back, and they just kind of made contact.
I was still coming around the corner when I saw Will was already hit, so I don't know much about what happened there. But Dario is not known to be a dirty guy. If you leave an opening he's definitely going to try and take it, but the last thing on his mind is to make contact and take somebody out. I think that was just an unfortunate part of the race today when those two got into it. It could have been someone else in that same situation, but I wouldn't say either of them raced the other a different way.

Q. Do you have plans to speak to Graham?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, I'll speak to Graham, yes.

Q. Your message?
SCOTT DIXON: Well, especially -- well, we're meant to be teammates, and racing the way he was is -- I was alongside him going down the back straight, and then the kink he just comes right across. If I didn't brake it would have been a massive crash. Luckily enough I sort of got another run back into the braking zone, but even that was touch and go with him squeezing. I know it's eight laps to go, but he didn't have the pace of any of us up front, and you get into situations like that where you're going to piss somebody off, it's just going to end in tears because somebody will end up crashing into you.

Q. Are you teammates or not?
SCOTT DIXON: I'm teammates with Dario, and I believe that's the way. You know, we're all a big team, but as far as -- I guess you could say teammates. But as far as what we do, we debrief with myself and Dario, and that's -- as far as the team goes, yeah, they try to operate and do development and some things like that a little bit more. I'm sure next year they're going to try and merge the two a little more.

Q. Speaking of Graham, describe your end of it.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Well, I saw it happen with him and Scott. I had a similar incident earlier on a restart. I was on the inside, had a great run on him, and if I hadn't have lifted, he was coming across in turn 2 and we would have had a big wreck there, and I was alongside of him. It doesn't have anything to do with the incident later, though. The incident toward the end of the race, when Scott got by him, Graham got way out into the marbles there, and then he started coming across, and there was more than enough room for two cars, and I got up in there, I already had my momentum, I was coming to the corner. I wasn't even trying to go by him, I was just trying to race him up to 3-4, and he just came straight across.
He had to know -- he looked in his mirror. He knew Scott was there. He knew I was behind Scott, and they went in, got tangled together, Scott took off, and he just came straight across. I don't know if he expected for me to just lift out of it, but I had my own momentum there, and it was a huge piece of real estate for me to fill, and I went for it. He could have raced me up to the next corner, though. There was room for two cars.

Q. Graham said on pit lane he wants to talk with you. Are you willing to discuss it all with him?
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Yeah, of course, absolutely.

Q. Scott, I'm sorry to point out an unpleasant statistic, but you haven't had a win all year. Are you feeling any pressure?
SCOTT DIXON: No, not really. I think we've had situations where it could have definitely gone our way. It's just been one of those seasons that's been awfully frustrating. Indy was a big blow. I think we were definitely looking for great results there, and even on some of the road courses early in the season we had good potential.
Even for Ryan, they've been qualifying well, getting up front, and some of us, even Helio, it's been rough. Obviously these two-wide restarts have been a huge problem just to get consistency and maybe put yourself in the right place at the right time. Yeah, obviously not winning a race this deep in is frustrating, but I wouldn't say getting worried or anything like that. That's just the way it rolls sometimes, and you've got to roll with the good and bad and hopefully you come out on the top at some point.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, Edmonton is next. Any thoughts leading up to the next race before you leave us here in Toronto?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, looking forward to it. Racing in Canada is fantastic. Toronto has always been a favorite of mine. I haven't raced here maybe as long as some of the others, but the dedication and the enthusiasm that the fans have here is a lot of fun. It's good to see. There was a lot of action here today. I hope they enjoyed it.
Obviously moving on to Edmonton, it's a different circuit for us, so we're going to have to learn it pretty quickly, and hopefully the racing will be good there. Yeah, I definitely enjoy it. It's a lot of fun, a lot of fun.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: Yeah, same here. It's a new layout, so it looks like some of the corners are maybe just about as tight as the Long Beach hairpin, and we've got a fourth-gear straight preceding one of them, so that should be pretty interesting. Can you imagine?
So we'll see what it looks like, but yeah, I love going to Edmonton. As Scott said, the Canadian races are so much fun. There's a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of support from the fans, and any time we have that, we're happy to go out there and put on a great show. It doesn't matter where it is.

Q. Do you think Helio is going to learn the blocking rule at Edmonton this year?
SCOTT DIXON: It worked for me last year, so it was fine. (Laughter.)
THE MODERATOR: On behalf of everyone here, thanks for having fun with us and putting up with the frustrating racing.
RYAN HUNTER-REAY: No, the racing is good. It's nothing like that. It's heated racing.



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