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IndyCar Series: Firestone Indy 200

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Firestone Indy 200

IndyCar Series: Firestone Indy 200

Scott Dixon
July 15, 2007


THE MODERATOR: Dario, thank you very much.
We're joined by race winner Scott Dixon. Second win of the season. Back-to-back wins in Watkins Glen and today in Nashville. Back to back wins here in Nashville the last two seasons.
Dario just left here and said, Close but no guitar. For you it's two guitars. Talk about your day.
SCOTT DIXON: That's a good way of putting it. He's quick. Yeah, no, it was a tough day. Probably to be honest, the start, the first part of the race, I didn't think we had a very good car. Loose on the first five laps of every stint. That showed at the start when I had to lift and Dario went right around the outside of me.
Dan seemed to be very fast on that first stint, and we seemed to back up. His car was pretty neutral, which enabled him to do that. Our car was understeering in the middle of the stint. As the day went on, I think the track got pretty loose and those guys backed up. I know Dan had some problems in the pits.
But all in all, it was an average day for us. I'd say our car just stayed very consistent. I knew what it was going to do. It was tough, as I said, on restarts. I think the key probably for us was going into the lead, that three-wide pass going into three, just having clean pits to enable us to stay clear of the rest of the guys.

Q. As the guy chasing for the points lead, do you feel any pressure or is that the way you'd prefer it at this point in the season?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, you know, there is pressure because the two of us are starting to, you know, sort of get away a little bit. It's always nice to have a buffer. I think he's probably still up by 33 points or something, 34 points, which is still a healthy margin. If he keeps running second, it's going to take till the end of the season for us to try and pass him.
Dario is very consistent this year. He's been extremely fast on the road courses as well. You know, I like being in this position. We've kind of got nothing to lose now. We can just go as hard as we possibly can and try and go for race wins. That's what we struggled with at the first part of the season where maybe we were a little too reserved. We sort of came up with a run of second places. That's where it's hurt us. I think now we've got to go all out and try to get as many wins as possible.

Q. Dario said that affected his strategy, looking at the big picture, didn't want to make a mistake.
SCOTT DIXON: You can back off too much sometimes. I think it gets you in a bad situation. I think we were lucky that both our cars were decent today. We were fairly good in traffic. And probably towards the end there with the lapped cars between everybody, I think it sort of made the restart not as difficult. I was very cautious on my first three laps of every start, sort of lifting at both ends making sure I wasn't going to do anything stupid. I'm sure Dario was doing the same.
It's always race by race, you know, the circumstances of what situation you're going to be in. It could be totally different next weekend.

Q. With setting up your car originally to run at night, then run in the afternoon in the heat, how much change did you have to make to the car to adjust?
SCOTT DIXON: Not too much typically because luckily we run through the day when we've had the practice sessions, it's been around this time of day anyway. It's a little warmer today. Didn't have the cloud cover. The only thing we changed was probably more downforce.
On the first stint, the second stint, I was kind of kicking myself. The car had a lot of grip. A little too much drag in this car, it's going to be too slow. Are they going to speed up once the track rubbers in, get past us? I think as the day heated up, the track just got worse. We had enough grip to be good in traffic and keep it flat when we needed to.

Q. Can you talk about the pass to take the lead.
SCOTT DIXON: What I saw was a (indiscernible). I think going through one and two, everybody sort of just got bottled up there with some lap traffic. I had a good run. I sort of backed off a bit. I sort of anticipated, seeing it coming. I didn't think they were going to slow down that much, to be honest. I thought I maybe would have been able to get one of them. It so happened that they split one person, then I went on the inside of both of them three-wide going into three, which is not always a good situation.
But, you know, I trust Dario. He's a great competitor, a very fair guy to race with. I knew if I was on the inside of him, he was going to give me the room.
But then it's tough for the guy on the outside. Dan, he probably didn't even know I was there. Luckily he gave us the room that we needed. It was pretty hairy there for a few seconds.

Q. (No microphone.)
SCOTT DIXON: I don't know. It was one of those moves where you're going in there and you're like, Shit, is this the thing to do, because it could have been pretty bad. Not just wreck your car, but maybe wreck yourself.
It is, you know, one of those things where, you know, I just stayed on it. I think I had the confidence of Dario. I knew he was in a situation where he might be thinking, I'm going to back off because I've got the lead in points. Yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking.

Q. Your teammate took some criticism of some blocking out there. Did you experience any other cars blocking?
SCOTT DIXON: I just spoke to a few reporters on that. To be honest, I thought a lot of guys out there were pretty kind to me today. I got a lot of room. I got stuck behind a couple people in some situations. I know I caught up with Tomas there and a train of about four people. He was trying to pass them as well.
I think everybody was good today. I know there were a lot of people complaining about lap traffic. To be honest, everybody was very good to me.

Q. Two wins in a row gives you a lot of momentum.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it's big. I was looking forward to this situation through the year, going to Watkins Glen and then having Nashville right up after it. Two races we won last year.
To come back and repeat at both of them is, you know, fantastic. I think it is good for our momentum. You could tell even after Watkins Glen, we rolled off the truck, the car was fast in every session. I think we led every session of the weekend. It's just what we need to do. You can see it in the guys, too. The pits stops are much smoother. It's like clockwork at the moment. We've got to try to carry that through to the end.

Q. You set several records in this race. First one to win it back to back, lead the most laps and win it. How does a team like this suddenly hit their stride and start going?
SCOTT DIXON: You know, it's hard to say. That question has come up a lot as well. Things just seem to roll. To be honest, things seem to come a little easier for me.
I think it is a confidence level. Coming into these two races that were back to back, we've proven ourselves here last year, so you do come into a race weekend with more confidence. That's really all I can put it down to.
Everything is just flying. Everybody is working together really well. When you win, everybody's happier. You don't have any bitching going on, there's no people feeling sorry for themselves, anything like that. Everything seems to roll. That's all I can put it down to.
The team is doing pretty much the same thing on both sides of the team, everybody's got equal equipment. Just seems that at the moment the moves that we're making are the right ones.

Q. I guess you're anxious to get to Mid-Ohio next weekend.
SCOTT DIXON: And so is Dario, I'm sure.
It's going to be tough. I would be a little happier if we were going into a situation and we were racing maybe Sam or Dan for the championship going into all these road courses, but it's Dario. I don't know, he probably still holds the lap record at Mid-Ohio from the CART days.
You know, it is good for us going in there confidence-wise, knowing it's a road course, then Michigan, and I think another road course maybe.
Our competition's going to be very tough at these places as well. You know, it's not going to be easy.

Q. How tough is it chasing Dario in the points race when he seems to be in the top five every race?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it's getting old. We've had two bad races so far this season. Not that I wish any bad luck on Dario, but we're due for a (indiscernible) one.
It is tough. But, you know, that's how championships are won. I'm sure Dario is trying as hard as he possibly can. Those guys are just super consistent. If they're not winning, they're either second or third. That's going to be very tough to beat.

Q. This year's schedule has very few off weeks. We have one in two weeks. Talk about momentum going into an off week as opposed to a week-to-week basis.
SCOTT DIXON: Yes, I guess it could work. I think it's good to have it through the stretch to be honest because then you're keeping the pressure on the guys. Off week, people can regroup, rest up a bit, think about different things. Coming back, a lot of people are always a little more determined I think once you've had a weekend off.
To get on it the start of a five-week stretch would have been nice, then just see if it snowballed a bit. I think everybody, you know, they're all out there, they're all very competitive. Maybe a little bit of mind games might help. I doubt it. Everybody's been in these situations before. They know exactly what's going on.

Q. Having not been on the track since Friday, would you like to see the league implement a special circumstance where you could go out on a warmup since you have not been on the track since Friday?
SCOTT DIXON: It's hard to say. It's good for us that they didn't do that because our cars were pretty good. It just gives the other guys a little more time to catch up. Depends on the situation.
To be honest, I think the league maybe need to bring back the warmup because, you know, you do get time to practice, but everybody gets lost in trying to go fast and qualify well, whereas the warmup is always concentrated. You go out full tanks, you run in groups, try to get the car good for the race. I think it's hurt the racing this year. That's my point of view.
THE MODERATOR: Scott, one last question. You walked out of here last year with a guitar in your hand, said you were going to take lessons. Now you have two guitars. Did you ever take those lessons?
SCOTT DIXON: Sad to say I didn't. As least now I have another one to play with. I'll try and learn a few chords, come back next year.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

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