Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon shares a first-time "Chevy engine" team moment with fellow team member Penske Racing's Will Power. Too weird to think of these two very competitive teams being linked together through an engine program ... especially since Dixon won the 2013 Championship with a Honda. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)
Pre-Season, Pre-Race Interview With 2013 IICS Champion Scott Dixon
We are sitting down for a brief conversation with open wheel race car driver and 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series Champion, Australian born, New Zealand native Scott Dixon. Welcome to the program.
The occasion finds Scott preparing for the first race of an 18 race season - the temporary street course at The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg - that will showcase for the first time, points modifications for hitting milage marks, and later in the season, double points awarded for the three 500-mile events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Auto Club Speedway.
With the Dallara DW12 going into its third year and coming off of one of the most competitive years in recent memory some fans who had turned their back on open wheel racing in North America may be missing out on some of the most competitive car racing on the planet. It is not the same bunch of 3 or 4 drivers winning all the time. 2013 not only witnessed Scott Dixon’s third series championship, it saw 10 drivers from seven different teams climb the podium over the 19 races — four drivers for the first time.
Juan Pablo Montoyoa explains the difference between driving a 'Cup' car and a Dallara DW12. Dixon's TCGR team-mate Charlie Kimball and Penske Racing team-mate Will Power enjoy the exchange. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)
Juan Pablo Montoya is returning to open-wheel racing for the first time since he left Formula 1 for NASCAR in 2006, this time with Team Penske. Coincidentally, 2006 was the last year Roger Penske Racing claimed an IndyCar Series Championship title.
New Dixon team-mate Ryan Briscoe studies the information displayed on the DW12 steering wheel. Briscoe and Tony Kanaan bring considerable Chevy engine experience to the four car Ganassi team. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2014)
At Chip Ganassi Racing, Franchitti’s seat has been filled by reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan. A fourth car has been added to the team to compliment you, Scott Dixon – with Kanaan and Kimball - for the return of Australian driver Ryan Briscoe, who parted ways with Team Penske at the end of 2012 and spent 2013 picking up rides between IndyCar Series and sports-car series.
Ganassi has also changed engines — from Honda to Chevrolet.
With this as a background going into the first race of the season …
Interview Audio File >>>
1. Does the combination of a four car team and an engine manufacturer switch to Chevy at Fontana last season make it harder to defend your title in 2014?
2. It appears as if you have a combination of team-mates in Kanaan, Kimball, and Briscoe who have relatively calm personalities, does this make intramural sharing easier or is it more competitive under the surface?
3. Obviously, Juan Pablo Montoya is back with a ride in open wheel racing …. the early money says that while he will be getting a grip on things, his nature will see him in a controversy … mainly with a Ganassi car … are you guys keeping an extra eye on him at St. Pete?
4. What do you think of the complexity of the new rules for double points at the three big 500 mile oval races scheduled for Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Auto Club Speedway? Should the Verizon IndyCar Series awarding more points for particular races or mileage marks?
5. Michele Rahal, our Motorsports Unplugged president and Formula One expert, says that the IndyCar Series, right now, is the best open wheel product in the world, given all the confusion in GP and the close lap-times being shown at the IndyCar test at Barber … what is your opinion?
Come on out to see reigning AND 3-time IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon compete, who, of course, will be hoping to repeat this year, as the Verizon IndyCar Series kicks off on Sunday, March 30 … with the opener at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Fla. … followed by the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13.
For those following the Verizon IndyCar Series on Twitter, use #VICS #spgp #tcgr #indycar #DW12 to index the conversation.
... notes from The EDJE
This 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series, Dixon tries to cement his spot in history books:
Scott Dixon’s racing resume ranks with some of the legends of the sport. He’s the active leader with 33 victories and ranks only behind A.J. Foyt, Andretti (Mario and Michael) and Unser (Al, Bobby and Al Jr.) on the career list. In 2014, he’ll attempt to successfully defend his championship – something he’s never done in his career – and join A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais and Dario Franchitti as the only drivers to win four titles.
If Scott Dixon should win the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship, he will join A.J. Foyt, Dario Franchitti, Sebastien Bourdais and Mario Andretti as the only drivers to win four Indy car titles in his career. Foyt won seven championships in his career, while Andretti, Bourdais and Franchitti each won four titles.
Scott Dixon will tie Al Unser Jr., for sixth on the all-time win list. Dixon, the active leader for wins, won his 33rd race at Houston’s Reliant Park in October 2013. With a victory in 2014, Scott Dixon will extend his streak of consecutive seasons with a win to 10. With one pole in 2014, Scott Dixon will extend his Verizon IndyCar Series streak to eight consecutive seasons.