IndyCar Series: SunTrust Indy Challenge
Topics: SunTrust Indy Challenge
June 27, 2009
THE MODERATOR: Now we have the winner of tonight's SunTrust Indy Challenge, Scott Dixon. This is your second career victory at Richmond. This is your second win of the 2009 season. Also won in Milwaukee earlier this year. 19th career victory in the IndyCar Series. Ties him now with Sam Hornish, Jr. for the most in series history. Talk a little bit about tonight's race.
SCOTT DIXON: It was a bit of a procession, unfortunately. It was very tough to pass because of the track. I think it's just the last couple of years we've really slipped into a car that is not enabling a whole lot of passing.
So tonight was a premium of trying to save some fuel. I saved a little bit more than Dario, and he got caught out with that yellow and I was able to continue on and jump him in the pits.
So that was the pass for the lead. There was a few other cars I think throughout the night that were popping up. There was AGR cars, I think they did a fantastic job to jump up from where they were.
But it was totally down to strategy. Even once you got to lap traffic it was very tough to pass. It was kind of one line out there. If you tried to go around the outside or even move up or make dives, it was very slippery off the track.
So it was a frustrating night. Fantastic night for Team Target. Obviously one-two in points, too, now. And to gain over the Penske cars was a big night for us.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Scott, you and Dario were able to open up a gap, a little bit of a gap between you and the Team Penske in the points. Just wanted to ask, how much momentum does this give you in the second half of the season, especially in July with the street and road courses coming up there?
SCOTT DIXON: Anytime you can get a gain on Penske, you've got to take it and run with it. It's not too often they make mistakes like they did tonight. I don't know what happened with Helio, maybe he got caught up in some traffic there, and Ryan just spun coming out of 2.
We've had some bad races at the start of the year, and obviously Helio started a little bit later. Gotta hope that we can continue to be a little bit more consistent than them and gain points when we need to.
So tonight was a big gain for us and could be a pivotal point of the season.
Q. Scott, it looked like today was more like, tonight was more like not making any mistakes. Looked like some people made mistakes going out of the turn. How were you able to maintain?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, you just really had to stay focused and be almost cautious. It was very hard to throw the car down underneath somebody.
The most excitement I saw tonight was probably my teammate on the first stint, throwing the car under a few people. Looked like some of them weren't actually going to -- he was going to make it through.
But he did. And that was pretty hairy to watch. But he pulled it off. I think that might have been kind of one of the only passes I think during the race for a position up front, when he passed Danica.
So it was tough. You just had to try not to go in too deep, get off line. As soon as you got off line it was really slippery. And then if you picked up some of the mottles, you continued to be slow for the next few laps. So you just had to try to follow the car in front of you, to be honest.
Q. Looks like you may have another car to be contending with on those ovals besides the Penske cars. Looks like Graham Rahal is starting to get this mess figured out.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it was a great night for Graham. I think he's had a rough start to the season, especially with some of the ovals, like Texas and even I remember seeing him at Iowa and I felt bad for the guy. He had his hands full there.
But to come away with this place on the podium is nothing to sneeze at. And I think those guys have been working hard at it. Hopefully we can have more of a mix like that throughout the season.
To be honest, people like him getting in the mix is going to help us out a lot. If we can stay on the point end and have them in between the Penskes, it would be pretty nice.
Q. Scott, tying Sam Hornish, Jr., I know when you came in here, he was the big name, and just a little over six years you've tied him for most victories in this series.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it's pretty cool. Definitely would like one more so we can have that record outright. But achievements like that are something that you can look back and really treasure.
And I know there's many years, hopefully, in my career that I can try and build on that. But there's a lot of people that I think are like T.K. and Helio that are pretty close.
I have to stick at it for a long time to try and keep that going. But it's pretty cool to be in that position. I know Sam really well. He's a fantastic driver and definitely had this series captured many years ago when he was first in here, and to leave on the note he did, with 500 and a championship, was pretty special as well.
Q. Also, there's been a lot of drivers that have been complaining about the fact that the cars are difficult to pass. You keep waiting for some decisions to be made with maybe some rules changes here and there. Are you beginning to run out of patience that there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of movement in that direction?
SCOTT DIXON: Fortunately for us, I'm just the driver. I get put in it and told to go fast. I'll do that no matter what. And I'll complain as much as the person next to me about what we need to fix. It's fine for a situation, say, for me tonight, when I'm out front, it's pretty cool because you're not going to get too much pressure.
The only guy that kind of got close is my teammate and, to be honest, I don't think there was any way he was going to pass me even if I went a half second or second slower. It's not one thing. It's not going to be one thing. There's many things we've changed over the last two years that have maybe stopped the amount of passing that we have had. But we've got to keep in mind what we're here to do.
And we're here to race. We're here to put on a show. Without our fans, we don't exist. I definitely want to keep on racing for many years. I want to put on a show because I want the fans to come and watch and love what we do.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
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