SIMMONS WINS CORNING 100
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2005 -- Scott Dixon won his first IRL IndyCar® Series race in more than two seasons, winning the inaugural Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix presented by Argent Mortgage at Watkins Glen International.
Dixon, the 2003 IndyCar Series champion, inherited the lead when Sam Hornish Jr. pitted with 13 laps remaining in the 60-lap event. He then held off Tony Kanaan on a restart with four laps to go to win his first race since he won at Richmond in June of 2003 -- a span of 40 races.
Kanaan finished second, while his Andretti Green Racing teammate Dario Franchitti was third. Road racing specialist Giorgio Pantano, Dixon's Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate for the weekend, recorded his best career finish by finishing fourth.
Dan Wheldon clinched the 2005 IndyCar Series title by finishing fifth, while Danica Patrick locked up the Bombardier Rookie of the Year title.
CORNING 100 POST-RACE QUOTES:
JEFF SIMMONS (No. 24 Team ISI Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, Corning 100 winner): ""I knew we had a chance to get back in the lead. We've been one of the quickest cars all weekend, and so was Wade (Cunningham). Marco (Andretti) hadn't been that quick, and he drove a heck of a race obviously to fight to the end. I couldn't get the brake balance right on the car. We made a lot of changes actually sitting in the line to go out for the race. I didn't get a chance to test any of that stuff. I just had a lot of problems with the brakes early on and was able to sort that out most of the way. I locked up the rear brakes a lot in the race, and that's what sent me wide. I'm just happy that I saved that spin, got the 360 done and was able to keep going. To spin and win, I don't think that's really a good thing. Danny Sullivan got a lot of good credit for it, but when you spin it means you made a mistake." (About the pass of Marco) "He and I were both kind of hard on the brakes trying to avoid the car that slid in front of him. In a way, I was hoping there wasn't going to be traffic, because it can mess you up just as easy as it's going to help you. Fortunately, it worked out OK for me, but I was measuring him up any way trying to get him out on the open track. It worked out well for us and gave us the gap we needed to make it to the end." (About moving into second in the championship) "It's actually in a way a little bittersweet. We have a chance mathematically in the points. If Wade has problems and we're able to win again, we have a chance. It's a little bittersweet because we had mechanical problems and got taken out a couple of times early in the year, so we know that we could have been way ahead in the points right now. To still have a chance after all of the problems we had, we came back in such a short amount of time, I'm proud of everyone on Team ISI and the Kenn Hardley Racing for sticking with it."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 26 Vonage Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished second): "The lapped car didn't have his eyes open. Obviously, he didn't know I was there, or he would have just moved over. If he would have, it would have been my race. It happens. I still had a shot at the end, but then I got a little aero push."
WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 33 Motorsport New Zealand Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished third): ""It was a tough day. Everything wasn't quite right. We had the car set up for higher downforce. It was difficult, but once everything settled down, the car was fast. I was quick, if not a little quicker than the guys in front of me, and I just couldn't go anywhere behind them. I couldn't get close enough to make a pass going into the corners. Other than that it was OK, third place, and we'll get ready for California (Speedway)."
CHRIS FESTA (No. 19 SpacePak/CareCentric/SSM Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished fourth): "The race went much better than the whole weekend. We're very happy with that. We finished 4th so that's a pretty good result. We got some points back that we needed. It just wasn't our weekend All weekend we haven't run the pace that some other guys had, so it wasn't the best weekend for us. We'll put it in the book and go to Fontana. It's (Watkins Glen) is a great track. It's high speed but it's also technical. You have to push the car hard to get what you want out of it. It's a great track for people like us to come and learn before we move into the big cars."
NICK BUSSELL (No. 9 Vision Racing Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished fifth): "Yeah, it was a good run from where we started. The times got better too. We made improvements all around. I'm happy with the guys. They got the car ready after we changed motors and all kinds of things like that. We changed a lot overnight. They were the last guys out here. I'm glad to get in the top five for them. It was a little slick out there. The set up is kind of a guess. The track was a little slower than it's been, and we were running times that we were running before. We obviously made big improvements."
TRAVIS GREGG (No. 7 Lucas Oil Products/SSM Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone, finished 12th): "I spun in Turn 8, and I think confidence-wise, it hurt me a little bit because I didn't push as hard. I had a problem this morning and I didn't want to tear any more equipment up. We struggled on a road course as always, but we usually have a good car. It's just me working up to speed." (About remaining in the title chase): "We've been strong on the ovals all year, and I'm actually looking forward to getting back on an oval. My team won the pole last year (at California Speedway), so we should be in good shape."