Watkins Glen: Post-race press conference, part 1

Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen Post-Race Transcript Watkins Glen International July 5, 2009 AN INTERVIEW WITH JUSTIN WILSON, DALE COYNE, RYAN BRISCOE AND SCOTT DIXON THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we are joined by Scott Dixon.

Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen Post-Race Transcript
Watkins Glen International
July 5, 2009


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we are joined by Scott Dixon. Scott took over the IndyCar Series point lead with his third place finish, leading by 19 points over Ryan Briscoe, and his teammate Dario Franchitti who are tied for second.

His fifth podium finish of the season, his best on a road or street course in the season, and the fourth time he's been on the podium after having won it his first three years in 2005, '06 and '07.

Scott, you were close all day. Did you ever think that you had a real shot at the win? Anything you could have done differently?

SCOTT DIXON: The car was pretty decent. We showed on the first stint, we opted to run a 10-lap pit, hoping and thinking we'd get a caution fairly early on. While we did, it was too early, so nobody fell into that.

So trying to run the race for all my 30 laps with about four laps to go we had pretty much destroyed them, so that was frustrating. Also with Marco (Andretti), I don't know what the goal was thinking getting in the mix of the leaders. Even though he finished up pretty decent today, it still wasn't -- I guess what goes around comes around.

All in all, not a bad day. I'm not sure we could have improved too much. It was definitely tough. I was hoping that we had a little more speed to get out in front of the Penskes with the extra lap we did on fuel, but it didn't work out that way.

When you're full tank and not quite at speed going up that hill was very tough, and they definitely got the pass. So a huge day for Justin (Wilson). He drove superb, huge weekend for him, and very happy for him.

Q: Scott, after having so much success here in the first four years racing here, where everything's pretty much on the same tire at all points of the race. How big a variable was it today with the options and people using the Reds and Justin was on the Reds at the end, and he was pretty well able to speed away from Ryan.

SCOTT DIXON: I think there were a few of us. For me, I don't think we were trimmed enough to pass the Penskes. We could get close, but once we got to the straits we couldn't pass them. So that was a good call for them.

We were much quicker on the corners than Ryan (Briscoe), but that was making it tough. So I think it adds definitely a different element. Definitely hurt us on the first. If we had some caution laps there and a pack-up, I think I would have gotten passed by a few people, which is definitely what we're looking for.

With the option tire and the different tires throughout the race, I think it made it a little more interesting. I think once you're running at the top, the guys on Red or Blacks are going to be tough to pass.

Q: Teammate gets into trouble early on. Talk about the swing in the points?

SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, you know, it's obviously good for me. But tough for the team. You never want to see that. Especially Dario's had a tremendous season so far, and to go through very good on the road courses, and you'd expect a much better finish out of that.

SCOTT DIXON: I'm not really sure what happened, whether he got caught up. I think it was when (Mario) Moraes cause a bit of a chain reaction up there and some of us.

You know, but you always want to make sure that the team can keep its points throughout the season. So you're racing your teammates more than some of the others. And we're all going to have bad days. I had two on the road courses earlier in the year, and he's had one today. So it's frustrating for him and not a good thing.

Q: (No microphone).

SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it's good to keep I guess the target cars ahead. The Penskes especially. I think Helio had the advantage with the entrant points. We've got to make sure we keep them behind, so he doesn't get the pit selection, because being pit up is definitely going to a help.

Q: You had Reds on when you started. You went 18 laps and then TV said you were showing cords. Did you make an adjustment to the car taking care of that later on, or is that the only time you ran on Reds?

SCOTT DIXON: No, we ran Reds at the end as well, but those Reds that we started with already had 10 laps on them from qualifying. We thought we could maybe get lucky with an early caution and use them.

It seems like the Reds are quite a bit easier to get up to speed on. And yeah, we definitely had a long run, 18 laps plus 10, 28, so it was a stint and a half, which is pretty tough on those soft tires

Q: In a season that's been dominated by your team and Ryan's team, what does it say for the series to have Dale Coyne win on a day like this? And a follow-up to that would be two street races coming up in July, there is nothing to think that Justin won't be a factor in those either?

SCOTT DIXON: No, I think it's fantastic. It's great for the sport. And it's cool to see some of the small teams win. I think that's probably one of the smallest teams that we have.

So I know those guys have put a lot of emphasis on the road courses. They've been here, they've tested. I don't think any of us guys tested at this track. But obviously their focus is the road courses, and, clearly, they're very well accomplished. They're good at what they do.

I think the series has done a good job of keeping the cars pretty similar. There's only so much you can do. I think the damper and springs is about the only options that are quite open, so the cars are fairly even.

It just shows when you have a good driver like Justin, he can definitely take it to the best

Q: How big a factor do you think he'll be at Toronto and Edmonton?

SCOTT DIXON: Big. He's been a big factor at any of the road and street courses we've gone to so far, so he'll be a tough man to beat.

THE MODERATOR: We've been joined by Ryan Briscoe. He's second place tied in points with Dario Franchitti, 19 points behind Scott. And this is his fifth top three finish of the season. He has a road and/or street course victory at St. Petersburg.

Ryan, you by the way do keep the record of pole winners not winning in this event. You were second in the early stages, you were second in the late stages. You had some pretty major adventures in between.

RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, it was definitely an exciting race. And I think both Scott and I got caught up with that yellow early on and found ourselves way back in the pack and had to work pretty hard to come back through, make some passes and have some good pit stops. It definitely made it exciting.

Justin certainly got the luck of the draw there pitting a lap earlier, missing the caution and just staying out in fronts, sort of going easy out in front today.

But I was pretty surprised and happy when I came out of my last pit stop and was side by side Justin coming down the hill. At first I wasn't sure if I was racing him for the lead or if I was a lap down or what was going on. I thought, "Wow, this is pretty good, let's go."

But, it was great to be able to come back up to second, and then hold Scott off for the position.

THE MODERATOR: You actually went from 7th to 2nd on the second pit stop rotation. Questions for Ryan Briscoe.

Q: On the Red tires, did you know that Scott had 28 laps on his tires? Did your team know that?

RYAN BRISCOE: Which stop?

Q: Scott just said he had 28 laps on the Red tires. Did you guys know that he used the same set that he had tried to qualify on?

RYAN BRISCOE: No, I didn't know that.

Q: Today, the course very fast. Wilson was a little better. What of the pit stops that you felt today, was there any difference in your car today? Anything that was a little off? Anything you noticed in the cockpit throughout the day?

RYAN BRISCOE: Did we look that slow (laughing)? I thought we definitely had the speed. And I think giving Justin the chance in the final qualifying session with new tires he definitely would have been challenging for the pole.

But the car was good. I think at the end that very last stint I probably looked a bit off the pace because I was running on the harder compound tire compared to Justin and Scott. And on the restart, it really showed what the difference was.

I thought I was actually quicker than Justin before that caution came out and I was able to catch back up to him. But, yeah, as soon as the tires cord off, it was really hard going for the first three or four laps getting up to speed, and then the race was over.

Q: Which one of the yellows was for the race more detrimental? The first one where you had to pit again or the last one because of the raw tires?

RYAN BRISCOE: I think the first one, because we had been running very close to Justin and saving a bit more fuel. We were going a lap further than him. So, in theory, I was going to come out in front of him in that first pit stop. Instead of coming out in the lead we came out in whatever position it was. I couldn't see the safety car. We were way back.

So I'd say for sure the first one. Certainly the risk factor of the race as well. You saw what happened to Dario. I haven't seen it, but the kind of stuff that can happen when you end up getting back in the pack and not just running the race in the front.

Q: In kind of a round about way when you were part of the series in '05, you left for a couple of years. You had to kind of fight your way back into it. Now here you are scratching and clawing for a points championship. Now when you look at a story like that, do you see a few parallels with a guy like Dale Coyne. He had to pretty much fight and scratch his way to a race victory. So how do you feel about seeing a little guy like that win? And discuss how you reached the point that you're out there seriously contending for this year's title?

RYAN BRISCOE: Just echo what Scott said about Dale Coyne. It's awesome. It shows they can certainly get the job done. And Justin's a great driver.

For me it's exciting to be in this title hunt. First time that long time I've been going for a championship. And it is a lot of fun. It's going to be a tough one, I think. It's going to go right down to the wire. But it's great. We're racing with a bunch of very good drivers and it's a lot of fun.

Q: Scott talked a little about the two races coming up in Canada. What did you learn today that you can possibly put to use in Toronto and then Edmonton after that?

RYAN BRISCOE: I don't know. They're very different tracks. I haven't seen Toronto yet. But street courses, I think, will be sort of reflecting a bit more back on what happened in St. Petersburg in Long Beach.

Moving into these races, I think the car set-ups will be a little bit different. But, I don't know. We just try to take something from every race and see what happens.

Q: At the start of the race you got the lead and three or four laps into it within a couple of laps Justin was kind of making moves on you and he finally got it done lap four, lap five. Can you take us through that part of the race and how he got around you?

RYAN BRISCOE: Yeah, we sort of had a fuel number we needed to reach to make this a two stopper. And Justin was all over me. And in order to hold him off I was going to have to run rich.

So we went lean, and you know, the second try we just sort of let him go and pass me. Then I was able to stay in his stream and save even more fuel. At the time it seemed like it was going to work out good, you know. I thought I was making a bit better mileage than he was and staying right there under his rear wing.

It was very early in the race, so I thought we were in very good position.

Q: How satisfying was it to finish off the top two finish that you probably should have had last year, not the one from the team perspective today?

RYAN BRISCOE: It's good. Every time you go out you want to try to win. But Justin and the whole Dale Coyne operation did a great job today and all weekend.

The racing is tough. I just love this track. It's definitely my favorite road course that we go to. It's always a lot of fun to come here and battle for the win.

Q: I believe it was Lap 7 when you and Justin were out there racing and you came up on Marco who was about to be lapped. But he didn't race like he was about to be lapped. At any point were you wondering like, "What is he doing? Why is he in our way? Why isn't he moving over?"

RYAN BRISCOE: I've been pretty disappointed. We've been seeing a lot of that this year with lap traffic blocking the leaders as the leaders come around to lap cars.

I think something should be said to have a bit more respect for lead cars coming around and lapping the field. Because several times this year lapping cars there have almost been accidents with cars that are not in it.

I think at a certain point some guys out there should have a bit more respect and let the race unfold.

Continued in part 2

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Scott Dixon , Ryan Briscoe , Dale Coyne