Scott Dixon gives Chevrolet IndyCar V6 first victory at Mid-Ohio

IndyCar, IndyCar News/Releases, Manufacturer PR — By on August 4, 2014 8:50 am
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[Source: Chevrolet PR]
LEXINGTON, OHIO (August 3, 2014) – Scott Dixon scored an impressive win today at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to give the Chevrolet IndyCar V6 engine its first win at the storied track.  Piloting his familiar red No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevy-powered car, the three-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion led twice for a total of 45 laps to take the victory by 5.3864 seconds over fellow Team Chevy driver Sebastien Bourdais, No. 11 Team Mistic KVSH Racing Chevrolet.

“Simply impressive,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Great strategy by Mike Hull and the team. Incredible drive by Scott Dixon who delivered performance and fuel economy all race long. It was terrific to get our first IndyCar win with Chip Ganassi and his team.”
After starting last on the field following a penalty assessed during qualifying, great race strategy and fuel mileage propelled Dixon to his first win of the season; the 34th of his career and his fifth at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.  His win from the 22nd starting position shattered the previous record for how deep in the field the winner started.  Before today’s performance by the No. 9 Chevrolet team, eighth place was the deepest place in the field the winning driver started the race.
In addition, during the 90-lap/203.22-mile race Dixon’s engine exceeded the Series rule of running a mandatory 2,500 miles before change-out. The No. 9 Target Chevy rolled into Victory Lane with 2,594 miles run.
The victory is the ninth of the season for Team Chevy in the Verizon IndyCar Series, and extends Chevrolet’s lead in the Series’ manufacturer standings.

“Congratulations to Scott Dixon and his Target Chevy team for a fabulous strategic drive from dead last to win again at Mid-Ohio,” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, Verizon IndyCar Series. “Scott did what most would say was too difficult and instead demonstrated a “Never Give Up” attitude by working the situation he was presented with.  We are proud of what the team was able to accomplish today with a Chevy engine that went 94 miles beyond the 2,500 mile change-out limit during that epic drive.  Kudos also to Sebastien Bourdais for starting on pole and bringing it home in P2.  Team Chevy is still on a roll and focusing forward to the next race at The Milwaukee Mile.”
Chevrolet’s Will Power took over the top spot in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship point standings with a sixth-place finish in his No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.  Power was able to leap frog his Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves for the lead in the standings after Castroneves experienced a stuck throttle prior to taking the green flag.  Castroneves joined the race in his No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet five laps down finishing 19th.  Power now holds a four point lead with three races remaining in the 2014 season.

“Will Power in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet persevered all race long to take the points lead back with three races to go,” Campbell added.“It is going to be an exciting championship battle to the end.”
Round 16 of the 18-race Verizon IndyCar Series Season will be August 17, 2014 at the Milwaukee Mile.  Live TV coverage will be provided by NBC Sports Network.  Live radio coverage is provided by IMS Radio Network XM209/Sirius 213 as well as timing and scoring.
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR:  We’ll get started with today’s Verizon IndyCar Series post race press conference. We’re pleased to be joined by Sebastien Bourdais.  This is Sebastien’s second podium finish of the season.  He won Toronto race one earlier this month.  This is his fifth top five and seventh top ten finish of the season, also his best finish at Mid-Ohio. Sebastien, I know you were going through the race and the challenges you faced on restarts and throughout the race.  Tell us how you drove up to second for this race. 
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  We drove from first to second (laughter).  You know, obviously you can never be disappointed with a podium.  To be honest, we really didn’t have anything for Dixie, so nothing to be frustrated about.  But in the meantime you look at the scenario of the race and that safety car period couldn’t fall on a worst moment because I don’t think Dixie’s strategy was ever going to work without that.  It is what it is.  The fastest car won the race.  That’s pretty much all that matters in the end.  They got it.  On our end, we’re obviously still learning.  The car was actually really good on blacks and I was very happy with my stint on black tires.  I think it was very competitive.  We pulled away from the guys who had the same tires at the time.  It was good. But the problem is we just didn’t have the pace on reds.  That’s pretty much it.  Really it’s the story of the race.  Had way too much understeer.  But still very proud of the guys.  They did a great job, solid pit stops, we had a solid race, didn’t make any mistakes.  We got a podium.  At the end of the day, strong points, another podium, keep it moving. Obviously we still have a couple races to go until the end of the season.  Hopefully we can score a couple more of these.  That would be fine. 
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Sebastien. 
Q.        What was it like to look up and see Dixon there? 
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  To be honest with you, I wasn’t focusing so much on Dixie.  I was hoping he wasn’t going to make the fuel mileage.  When I saw how late he made it on the last pit stop, it was pretty clear he was not only making the mileage but also faster than us.  There was no hope there.  As far as I was concerned, I had to pass around the outside after a pit sequence.  That’s when confidence obviously comes into play.  I had to believe in the car. The car was good.  Like I said, it was just a little short of being capable of winning the race.  That’s fine.  We’re still learning.  This is the first time we used that setup on reds, and it was just not quite good enough.  We’ll keep looking at it and hopefully get something better for next year. 
Q.        Sebastien, you mentioned you didn’t have anything for Scott Dixon.  Did you have anything for Josef Newgarden?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  I think it was closely matched with a lot of the guys out there.  I think James was a bit faster, as well.  We had to save a bit more fuel.  We stopped one lap earlier than he did on the last stop.  It looks like we’re in the mix but just missing a little bit. Josef obviously pulled away.  I pulled away when I was on blacks, he was on reds.  When he was on reds on the restart, I knew I was dead because after the restart the track is completely green and on reds you can survive, but on blacks you’re slipping and sliding for five laps until the track starts to rubber up again.  That was pretty much the end of it.  The gap kind of stabilized a little bit, but the damage was done.  That was that pretty much.  It’s a real shame for him what happened at the pit stop.  He had a solid day.  He deserved much better than that.  I feel bad for him.  As far as we’re concerned, we had a solid race, strong showing today, and we got one of the best possible results we could have expected with the pace we had.
Q.        Was it zero surprise to see Dixon up there? 
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  Obviously, when the yellow came, being at the front with the closed pits, you know you’re going to get screwed.  It’s inevitable.  It’s a shame that we’ve had to go that route because of procedures.  It’s the safest thing to do, but obviously it ruins the races of guys at the front more often than not.  Today, like I said, fortunately it’s the quickest car that won the race.  But sometimes it’s not the case and it makes a mess of the race.  To me it’s not right.  Today there was nothing to say.  He tried something, and obviously they had a bad break yesterday in qualifying, and they recovered just about as good as it gets really.  You got to have things going your way.  It did.  But in the end, still had to make it stick.  He was pulling away from me with a lot harder fuel mileage to make.  Hats off, that’s it. 
Q.        Sebastien, after the victory you had at Toronto and the weekend you had here, do you feel like you’re back to swinging away with the big boys again?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  I think, quite honestly, we’ve been running up front a lot, really being top five contenders week in, week out since the beginning of the season, better or worse, but around there.  To be honest with you, I was kind of surprised with that earlier on and really happy.  I’m still very happy because we are clearly making progress.  We’re building the group.  We’re building a database.  Obviously we’re fighting guys that have been together for sometimes three years with that same car.  They know exactly what they unload when they get to the track.  We have no idea.  We restarted pretty much from, you know, scratch after the not-so-great year we had last year.  We’re just doing our own thing, and it’s working out.  It seems like it’s paying dividends that we’re finally learning more and more about the car.  We’re trying to play catch-up, but it seems to be working pretty good so far. 
Q.        What is the financial commitment or the overall commitment of your team to your program and your car, especially given next year with aero kits coming in?  Do you feel you can maintain that competitive edge against the big boy teams next year?
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  We are doing an awesome job of finding sponsors.  Everybody is onboard.  We have a pretty straightforward affair over there.  There’s been a line that’s been drawn and we’re just holding the thing.  I don’t think there’s anything holding up.  We have a solid two-year deal.  Hopefully we can add a second car to that program.  Do you want to join in (laughter)? 
Q.        (No microphone.)
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  No, we cannot call ourselves Penskes, Ganassis or even Andrettis.  But we’re definitely on the right path.  They want to expand and grow the program.  I think they have the right structure with the financial side of things being completely disconnected from the operational side of things.  Both sides are really well managed. Next year obviously the aero kits are coming into play.  It’s just bodywork.  There’s nothing crazy expense-wise as far as the teams are concerned.  We’re just going to keep on doing our thing and hope that we can carry whatever we learned this year to next year and make it even better. 
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  We’ve been talking shit about you, man, sorry. 
Q.        Sebastien, did you know he ran out like 150 yards after the start/finish line? 
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  Did you or did you just park it? 
SCOTT DIXON:  No, I parked it, yeah.  They said it might have been a long walk had it run out. 
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS:  No, they’re better than that.  They know their fuel error and everything.  They’re not going to run the thing dry before the finish line.  They might run it after the finish line, but it’s all controlled, for sure. 
THE MODERATOR:  We’ll let Sebastien go.   Thank you very much.  We’ll introduce our race winner, Scott Dixon.  Scott, obviously a very strong track for you.  How gratifying is it to be able to get Target’s first win here? 
SCOTT DIXON:  Relief is the biggest thing.  It’s a lot later in the season than we’re used to as a team.  Sometimes you can understand if one of us hasn’t won at this point, but all four of us.  The way the weekend started, even the test, the car was extremely fast and looked good until I made the mistake in qualifying.  I thought to try to come from last on the grid here to even a top 10 was going to be extremely tough to do.  We tried different strategies early on in the race.  I think we’d done two pit stops in the first 20 or 30 laps, which is kind of unheard of.  I think had we continued on that rate, we would have run out of tires.  I think Justin Wilson was the one that ended up making us switch.  He wasn’t running the pace, between him and the 7 car.  So I just said to the guys, We got to do something different here or we’re going to run around mid pack.  We switched, were laying down some quick laps, jumped some people, then got that caution.  We had to make massive fuel mileage after that to what you typically have to do.  So that was the challenge, was to maintain the pace obviously in front of people that have just pit and put on new tires. We had to try and really extend the stint.  It was good that Bourdais had the restart on blacks and held up the pack a little bit.  The reds were good.  We already got through our black tires.  That helped the situation.  But the fuel mileage, Chevy did a fantastic job.  They’ve been working really hard on it all year.  It’s great to see the numbers that they were getting today.  But I think, you know, at the end with 10 laps to go, Mike said, We’re good on fuel, you don’t have to save.  Luckily enough there was something in the back of my head that said keep saving, maintain pace, we don’t need to get too greedy here.  The fuel light came on two laps earlier than we thought.  Had I continued on not saving fuel, we would have been a lap short.  It definitely worked out.  Just so happy for the team and everybody on it.  It’s been a tough year.  It’s nice to have a bit luck go our way.  Everybody on the team made of most of it. 
Q.        When did the light come on?
SCOTT DIXON:  Typically on a road course, it depends on everybody’s collectors, how it works, but for us it’s about a lap to go.  About a lap and a half to go, it came on.  I don’t know if anybody was listening to the radios, but there was a lot of radio chatter on the last lap and a half.  Went to yellow mixture and just coasted for most of the last lap.  It was pretty tight.  I think we would have maybe got back to the pits on the cool-down lap.  Knowing my luck and how the year had been going, it would have run out in turn six and I would have had a long way to walk back. 
Q.        What part was prerace strategy and what part did you go by the seat of your pants?
SCOTT DIXON:  Yeah, prerace strategy, I think for us, for most of the field, seemed like it was a basic three-stop race.  Last year was the last time we saw everybody trying to do a two stopper.  Charlie and a few others, Pagenaud, made it through.  We were actually going for a four stopper right off the bat, see if we could pass cars, start on the blacks, then stop around lap 15. With that caution at the start, some different things, we decided to pit on that caution.  We ended up pitting on lap 10 or 12, which put us in a crazy situation, but we were just getting held up.  We couldn’t make any progression. Unfortunately we had a bit of a fumble on that pit stop, that got us stuck behind Justin Wilson.  He just wasn’t running the pace.  I don’t know which lap it was, but maybe 10 laps later or 15 laps later we decided to stop again, get into some clear track.  That was really the turning point, probably around lap 30, that we had to