Honda Indy 225 Winner's Press Conference Transcript Scott Dixon Sunday, June 15, 2003, Pikes Peak International Raceway MODERATOR: Congratulations, Scott, on your win today. You started sixth, ended up first. The comments coming from second and...
Honda Indy 225
Winner's Press Conference Transcript
Sunday, June 15, 2003, Pikes Peak International Raceway
MODERATOR: Congratulations, Scott, on your win today. You started sixth, ended up first. The comments coming from second and third place today said you were very tough because the car was great on long stints out there. It seemed you were able to keep it going when they were backing out a little bit.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, we were fairly decent. You know, at the start of the race we just leaned back and were saving gas. We got caught there I think with Foyt. We were actually inside, he ran me under the white line. I think a few guys out there were having problems with their cars. I think we lost like four spots then. Everybody just blew by me on the outside. I think going on through the run, everybody was fairly consistent to start with. You know, our car was a little better mid to the end of the run, maybe not as fast at the start. You know, we had a good, decent car. The first few runs, couldn't adjust the weight jacker. It had bound up. That made some of the adjustments a little difficult. As the run went on, the understeer just got worse, and we couldn't help it out.
Q: Scott, could you talk about your problem in the morning practice and how you felt heading into the race after that happened?
DIXON: I don't know. It was a bit of a shame. You know, we only did the install lap. Then when we went to go out next time, I think we broke the drivetrain, I think it was a tripod on the inside of the wheel, which we can't do much about. Guess we had to swap the gearboxes because I guess it had broke something else inside the gearbox, as well.
Q: What was your thoughts, caution at 219, then 220, what was going through your mind?
DIXON: I think, you know, the first one, wasn't worried too much because I knew we only had six laps til the end and, you know, we had a car between us, so I knew I'd get the jump at the start anyway. It was going to be pretty hard. I think once the cars were sort of, you know, at their maximum speed, it was going to be tough to pass. You could sort of see that through the race. At the end, once people were going around the same lap speed, you couldn't make a big move. So we were fairly confident, but anything could happen. Then, you know, that next caution, which unfortunately finished the race under yellow.
Q: You've become a multiple winner here. Do you find irony in the fact you're becoming the poster boy for the Indy Racing League?
DIXON: I wouldn't say that (laughter). We come out every weekend and we try our best. I've been lucky that Team Target has given me a great car every time we rolled off the trailer. You know, even like today, I don't think we were the fastest car, but we had a good, clean run. You know, other guys are there a lot and (inaudible).
Q: You took at lead at 142. Can you describe how you worked your way up?
DIXON: We basically saved fuel. I think we picked maybe a few up in the pits. Gil (de Ferran) actually got us. The cars were much better when they were newer. The car was a lot faster. Basically I think over the course of the first one, we tried to pick off as many people as we could. Tomas (Scheckter) had the incident in the pits, which made us jump them. I think the next one we were able to get past Gil in some traffic.
Q: I think you were the last person to pit today, around 93 or so. Can you talk about your car's setup, what allowed it to last so long without a pit stop?
DIXON: You know, the things seemed like here, you didn't need too much horsepower, especially once the tires got older. But the Toyota engine just gave it great fuel mileage. We just leaned the thing back, and we were able to still pick people off. We're a little leaner than what everybody else had been. Also in the draft, even like with Texas, I think we can save a little more fuel once you're behind somebody.
Q: You're back in the championship hunt. Are you seriously starting to think about the title or you've always thought about it anyway?
DIXON: We have, from the start. I've been a little frustrated recently. You know, we've had good cars, but, you know, we haven't been able to finish, sometimes crash, or we'd have a mechanical problem. It's been the same for Tomas, as well. We've really tried to, you know, maybe not get the car that's the fastest, but make sure we have a good, consistent car to rack up the points. As can you see from Tony, I think he's still probably 50 points ahead of us. And that's all he's done, is finished, apart from Motegi. I think here, as long as you keep finishing in the top four, you're going to do really well in the championship.
Q: It never seemed like whoever was out in front today, that you could sense they were going to pull away. Was it the same for you or was there a point where you thought you had something over those guys?
DIXON: There were times when you thought you could pull away, and then you'd look in the mirror again, and there would be somebody creeping up. It was really tough. During the whole course of the day, there was people that were faster at the start of the stint or the middle. We were better I think middle to end. And it seemed to like everybody would pull away, catch up, pull away. Nobody could just ever drive away.
Q: Are you conceding that it's going to be a Pennsylvania owner win the championship this year?
DIXON: Sorry, I missed that.
Q: Are you guys conceding that there's going to be a Pennsylvania owner win the championship this year?
DIXON: I don't know about that. Yeah, I guess. I don't know. Just got to see how it plays out really. Are they all?
DIXON: There you go (laughter). I didn't realize all three of them were from there.
Q: There was the possibility that there was some blocking going on, Scheckter. Did Chip say anything to you guys?
DIXON: I haven't heard anything. I saw a little I thought in my mirrors. But, you know, Tomas was also very fast. I think he ended up passing me. I don't think there's anything in that, to be honest.
Q: Do you think the performance today helps you overcome the bum rap you may have got in Japan? You showed a lot of patience today. Do you think this victory kind of quiets the criticism from Japan?
DIXON: It did. Japan, I think depends who you talk to. I don't see where I've talked to. I've asked Brian (Barnhart) many a time. He needs to sit me down with Al (Unser) and JR (Johnny Rutherford) to show me what I did wrong, because I feel I wasn't in the wrong. You know, I've looked at the tapes many a time, and still nobody has ever come back to me. If it was my fault, you know, whatever. But I think it was a racing incident. I was there racing. You know, maybe today I was a little more cautious. You know, it's basically because we need to finish races.
Q: Can you tell us specifically where the problem was?
DIXON: I think it was Turn 1 and 2.
Q: And then I think that was the cluster. There was a sequence there where there were about 10 cars in the space of five.
DIXON: I had a run on Tony and I got caught on the inside. I think Tony passed me, Tomas, and I think one of the green cars, Dario.
Q: Aggressive hundred-lap sprint. Slippery track. Can you talk about the first half of the race, how difficult and high-paced that was?
DIXON: I think at the start of the race, you could be a little more aggressive because it didn't matter how far off line you got opposed toward the end. When we were driving under those cautions toward the end, the track had so many marbles on it. But there was a lot of people. You know, I think in many races in the IRL, it's all about momentum. You know, you got to charge pretty hard to get, you know, ahead of the guy, even lap traffic, or as it showed today, the guys behind are just going to take over.
Q: If Tomas didn't have that problem in the pits, did he have basically a faster car than you?
DIXON: It's hard to say. I think our car was pretty decent at the end. Then when he passed us at the end, we let him by. Yeah, I think he just came out of the pits or whatever. But, I don't know. It was hard to gauge. After the first run, he got a good, clean run through. We were saving fuel; he might have been saving fuel. I don't know. I haven't spoken to any of them. But I do know he did have a very fast car, yeah.