Dixon wins Sonoma, Power carries championship lead into finale

IndyCar, IndyCar News/Releases, INDYCAR PR — By on August 26, 2014 9:33 am

GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Quote Sheet:

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Hydroxycut KVSH Racing Chevrolet): “It was a pretty difficult day for the Hydroxycut – KVSH Racing team. The start of the race was messy. Everybody went for it and braked real late. Cars got shuffled around and were going in every direction. I ended up sideways, hit Briscoe and lost the engine. I got re-fired, but the car was really banged up and difficult to drive. We still had good pace and the team came up with a really good strategy. Things were looking pretty good, we were moving up. Then on one of the restarts I got a run on the inside of my teammate (Sebastian Saavedra) and then Helio (Castroneves) came on the inside of me to make it three wide. When Sebastian turned in, there was enough room for me, but not for both me and Helio. I was in the middle and got sandwiched. At that point all the damage on the car started to pile up, but I was still running okay…as weird as that sounds. At that point I was back to last, which is a shame, because we were on a good strategy. We moved up when some guys pitted for fuel, then we picked up a couple of places at the end when some guys ran out of fuel, but ultimately 11th was all we could salvage.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “It’s a pretty disappointing finish, to be honest. The Hitachi Chevy was really fast all weekend and to get hit so early on in the race was really tough. That certainly put us behind, fixing the damage in the front and back of the car and it was tough to recover. So now, we are 50 points behind in the championship heading to the finale at Auto Club Speedway and with the double points there anything can happen. We are not giving up. We will keep on it and give everything we have next weekend to try and reach our goal. We are still in it and we know what we need to do now over the 500 miles.”

CARLOS HUERTAS (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “I am disappointed with the day. I really wanted to finish the race and try to gain a few positions from where I started, but the car gave up and I had to retire. The first lap incident was crazy but I made it through and gained a few positions. The team did a great job all weekend and I just wish I could have finished the race. I have to put today aside and focus on having a good race next week.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda): “Sonoma is such a hard track to pass on so we made the race in the pits really. The pit stops were awesome and …that’s what made us jump so many positions. Strategy was very frustrating, very tough for me because I had to save so much fuel but we made it past Conway in the last corner and third (place), it’s fantastic. This morning I never thought we would be third. I’m delighted and we’re going into Fontana with a chance at the title so, as you know, that is something that is very important to me.”

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 Automatic Fire Sprinklers KV AFS Chevrolet): “It was an interesting race from the back. I had a great start and managed to avoid a big incident in turn two and then gained nine positions. I was pretty happy with the Automatic Fire Sprinklers – KV AFS car and the crew did a great job. Unfortunately on the restart I got in a bit of an accident with my teammate, when Helio Castroneves pushed him out, and that’s something that really hurt my race as I was fighting for a top-10 spot with Pagenaud. Coming from the back, I had some great passes, we just needed one more lap as a lot of cars needed fuel and I could have then had a top five, but that’s racing and I look forward to getting back on track and doing it again next weekend.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It took me by surprise when I spun. Thankfully I kept if off the clutch when it happened. That’s just racing. I tried to save fuel towards the end there with no overtake so I could make it to the end there, just going for points. Would have liked to had a better finish but the Verizon Chevy Team will look to Fontana working towards the Championship.”

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was a good weekend for the Verizon Chevy. I knew we had a really good car and that’s why I was a bit upset that we weren’t able to start up front yesterday. If we could’ve been in the top five, even in the top 10, I think we could be talking about a different result here today. But, unfortunately, I put us in a bit of a hole in qualifying. This Chevrolet was really, really fast today. I passed a lot of people and had a blast. We are no longer in the title fight, but we are going to Auto Club Speedway next weekend with one goal and that’s winning the race.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): “It wasn’t the day we planned for, obviously. On the first lap going into Turn 2, Scott (Dixon) just really didn’t give me enough room. He didn’t do anything intentional, but he pinched me right down to the curb. I tried to get out of his way; he had plenty of track to the left but decided to use all the track I was trying to use and ended up spinning us. At a track that’s as track-position dependent as this one, that absolutely murdered our day, and he gets away scot free. It’s kind of disappointing. Helio (Castroneves) got caught up in that, too. It’s just tough, you know? The United Fiber & Data crew and I rebounded really well from practice to qualifying on the second row, and our day was done two corners in. We did what we could to battle back to 12th, but it’s tough back there. It was a track position kind of day… tough break, I’m really disappointed. Again, it kind of sums up the year that we’ve had.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 Snapple Honda): “We got caught out by a yellow flag. It was a really frustrating day. The Snapple car had position, but we couldn’t really take advantage and capitalize on it, so we’re a little disappointed.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We had a really good car, so I was able to move through traffic when I needed to. That last set of tires on there — for some reason we missed the pressures on them. They went high. I’m not sure what happened but just had an imbalance and had nothing for Scott. I was able to keep his pace. We passed the cars we needed to, got through there and with one lap we kind of ran out of steam. Unfortunately, second, like you said, is not what we needed but, you know, it’s a pretty good day. It’s nice for sure. When you have the championship on the line, though, we needed Will to have two really bad weekends. Well, he had one and we needed to win today. The guys did a great job. We have everybody from DHL here and it’s just a good team effort today.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 34 Cinsay AndrettiTV.com HVM Honda): “Another race to forget. Again I was involved in the little confusion at the start, and it cost me a lot of positions. After that, our strategy unfortunately didn’t pay off at all. It’s really hard to pass here, and it was just an awful day after that mistake. We have to rebuild for Fontana and finish the championship in a good position.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil/Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda): “I think the positive take-away from this weekend is that we secured a solid top-10 result on one of our more difficult tracks over the last couple of years. We’ve made big strides in what we’re doing and the direction we’ve gone. Today I think the temperature hurt us quite a bit. It was a hot day and it just didn’t suit what we were doing very well. We were much better in the morning when it was cooler and we just weren’t as strong when the temperature went up and also as the track got slower from dust and wind pickup. It just got slower all afternoon and we just got worse and worse and it didn’t cater to what we were doing setup wise. We ended up sixth, I think we had the potential to be inside the top-5 but sixth is a solid top-10 for us. The tire degradation is what was bad. We were out to lunch on that and I think that could be attributed to temperature. We were strong in some aspects, but it just didn’t play out for us today.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): “Very happy. It was a great effort by the whole ABC Supply team. We had another unlucky morning–after the warm up we had to change the engine. The guys did a tremendous job to change it in such a short time and give me a competitive car. Unfortunately, we caught debris in the first accident and we had to change the nose and tires. We stayed on the lead lap and kept topping off fuel to make a slightly different sequence of pit stops from everyone else. Larry and the engineers made good calls on strategy and it worked out really well. The crew did a great job on the stops. Unfortunately on the last stop, we were leaving when Marco was coming in [pitted in box ahead of Sato] and I had to stop to avoid hitting him. Nevertheless I overtook a few cars on the track, our strategy worked and the Honda engine did a great job in the end. Everyone is very happy.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 National Guard Honda): “The National Guard car was great today. We fought hard and obviously we passed the guys that we needed to pass when we needed to pass them and got to the front. Unfortunately we came up short again. Man, I don’t know when things are going to break for me. We’ll just have to keep working hard, keep our heads down. I think the car has some speed. We’ve got one more race to get National Guard a win and I hope we can do it. For a second I thought it (a win) might happen. The team didn’t say anything to me for a while and I thought ‘Shoot, I might have gotten the mileage. They were just counting down the laps to go and the next thing I know, the light comes on and I’ve got to pit. All around it’s disappointing but that’s the way it goes. We were taking extreme measures (to stretch the fuel), we were running a yellow (situation) map and running with all kinds of stuff off to try to get an extra bit of fuel and we got what we needed to get. It just wasn’t going to be enough. I said to the team in the strategy meeting “Guys, a double, triple, or homerun doesn’t do anything for us now. Only a Grand Slam does.’ But we missed.”

RYAN BRISCOE (No. 8 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “Well, that was a really unfortunate finish here at Sonoma. The No. 8 NTT DATA Chevrolet was just so fast all weekend and we were so strong coming into this race. That incident on the first lap that caused us to have to change my rear wing just completely screwed up our whole race. It’s frustrating for me and I know it’s frustrating for the whole NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing team when we have these types of days. On a more positive note, I’m so happy for Dixon and his win today.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet): “It’s frustrating that the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet finished the race the way it did. I think there was some error in the fuel system or something just wasn’t right on that last stop, but we’ll figure it out. Once again, the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing guys did a great job and a big congrats to Dixon and the 9 team for getting the win here today. We’ve got an opportunity next week with the 500-mile race at Auto Club Speedway to finish out the year with a win. We ran really well there last year, and I can’t wait to take the Chevy power there this year.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet): “It was tough. There were so many strategies going on and they were just slightly off so I didn’t know who could make it, who couldn’t. Conway, I think, pushed hard to start with but then, obviously, at the end it looked like he needed to save some fuel. So first, I want to say “hi” to Emma back home and Poppy and Tilly. They’ve been watching. I spoke to them just before the race. Love you, babe, love you girls. So excited man. This is big for our team. We’ve had a pretty rats year so far but strategy was perfect. It was a little mixed up, but so happy. We have a huge amount of Target people here this weekend. About 400-500 people. Big shout out to them.”
(about not feeling well this weekend) “I’ve been a little under the weather. But, as you said, some people actually do better when they are not feeling so well. We were close all weekend. As soon as the car rolled off, the Target team is has been very strong. Man, I’m just so happy, just so happy to end on this note and thanks obviously to all the fans out here this weekend. It’s a big race for us in wine country and love coming here. I hope everybody’s safe after that big rock and roll last night.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet): “We just tried to play a little bit with our strategy to see if it was going to work and unfortunately it didn’t turn out in our favor today. It was a gamble, and if it would’ve worked we could’ve been up there celebrating with Dixie. I’m really happy for the guys on the 9 car, especially with all of our Target guests here. It was just one of those days for us that you just have to take and move on.”

JUSTIN WILSON (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): “It was a tough day because we weren’t the best on our tires. I knew this would be key in having a good race and I wasn’t able to make them last. I pushed as hard as I could but the end result is frustrating. We had a good strategy and in the end, moving up from 16th to ninth isn’t the worst result in the world. The team did a great job and if things had fallen a bit differently, I think I could have finished a little bit higher. We have a quick turnaround to next weekend where I hope I can have a better performance.”

MIKE CONWAY (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “I was doing all I could keep Scott (Dixon) and Ryan (Hunter-Reay) behind me. The team knew that Graham (Rahal) had to pit for fuel. I could see that the boys behind me were a little quicker and I was trying to save as much fuel as possible too. It was tricky but I thought I was making a good job of it. I was hitting my fuel number through the last stint. I thought it would be good but I suppose the lap when I used the overtake button to keep back Scott came back to cost us. There wasn’t much more I could do at that point and I thought I could hang on for a podium finish. But when I got to turn 10 on the last lap, the engine just died. It picked up a little into turn 11 but finally just shut off in the corner. It was a tough way to finish the year with the Ed Carpenter Racing team with the Fuzzy’s Vodka car. I really want to thank Ed and his guys, the Fuzzy’s boys, Chevrolet and our suppliers for a great year. It was a very good year. Two wins for me and one for Ed so far. I would love to see Ed win it next week in Fontana too.”


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