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June 25, 2011
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by our third place finisher, Scott Dixon of Target Chip Ganassi Racing. This is Scott's best finish at Iowa Speedway. Scott started 23rd to finish third. Talk about making up those 20 spots.
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it actually felt like a win today. It was a tough weekend. You know, we missed obviously big time in qualifying and nearly crashed on the first lap, so had to lift, and once you lose some momentum at this place you really lose a lot of speed and obviously a lot of positions.
Starting tonight it was a bit of mayhem to start with. It's always fairly easy to get past the first sort of ten going off, sort of like Texas a few weeks ago, but once you get up to the competitive cars and people sort of jostle for position, it was extremely tough, and we didn't have the best car. We had to work on it all night. Started out with quite a bit of understeer and then got a bit worse in the middle stints and started to fall back at the second to last stint just because the car was so loose.
Luckily we caught the yellow there, made adjustments to the car. At the end was the best it was all night, still not as good to obviously compete with maybe TK or Marco. But huge credit to Marco; it was a hell of a race he drove and it's a very deserving win.
THE MODERATOR: Also important tonight with the finish it moves you up in the points. If you can talk about how important it is to get these kind of finishes.
SCOTT DIXON: It's very important. When you have your bad weekends, if you can sort of extract the best points or the best finishing position, that's what you need to do. I think that's what Dario has been very strong at throughout the last few years; where they maybe haven't had the best car, they've still come up with a hell of a good finish at the end.
For us it was a lot of work. This track is evolving to be a very difficult circuit with all the low grip, or the lack of grip throughout the winters and obviously the years where the tart has just lost grip and obviously the bumps over the tunnel are getting more challenging and caught a few people out tonight.
It's a good night for points for both of us. Obviously Will having a crash there and losing a lot of points was definitely good for Dario in the championship and also helped us a bit, too.
Q. Do you think they should do something about the bump in turn 2?
SCOTT DIXON: You know, it adds character to the track. You know, there's a lot of tracks that could have things fixed or improved, but it doesn't always make the racing better. It's a challenge of what this place is.
I think everybody remembers when we came here in 2007 everybody just sat on the bottom and followed the leader. It's nice that the track has actually had a bit of wear and tear, and it makes it tough to drive around. As you can see, it's catching out the best of people, and the good cars go to the front and the cars that are slightly off balance are quite challenging.
I think this year obviously with the bump getting a bit bigger, the lack of grip from the track, and Firestone bringing a harder tire, it's a tough race to drive.
Q. I don't know what the points situation is, but you gained a couple points on Dario tonight and you're probably 70, 80 points back. Is the championship still something you're thinking about? Is it realistic?
SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, you know, obviously Dario is a master of -- just keeps knocking out results. You know, I've had four or five races this year where I've scored hardly any points, and Will and Dario until tonight have been pretty scot-free as far as having bad results.
I remember in 2008 when I won the championship, I think with five races to go I was 86 points ahead and nearly lost the championship. You know, it's a tough championship; if you get into a bit of a rut and even get mixed up in the wrong programs, you can lose a lot of points quickly. If you have a good weekend it's 53 points as opposed to somebody maybe making 12, so you can close the gap pretty quickly.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Congratulations on the podium. We'll see you in Toronto.
We're pleased to be joined by Tony Kanaan of KV Racing Technology who finished second tonight. This is the best finish of the season for Tony. Let's get to it. Talk about that battle with your old friend Marco.
TONY KANAAN: It was a great race. I don't think we quite had the car. I chose to start with a lot of downforce and felt that we had a top three car. After the last stop, I kind of sat back the whole race, just watched Dario. Dario was really strong, let a couple people by and just sat there, and I said, we'll wait until it's time to go, and it was time to go, and all of a sudden I got a great start and get behind Marco and then we're racing.
It was pretty fun. Seven laps to go, he protected himself pretty good. That's part of racing. It's for the win, so it's all good. I would have done the same, I think. It was quite a battle there. If I hadn't lifted I think we were both going to end up in the wall.
Great race. I'm happy for him. I think when you win one race and it takes you another four years to win one, it's probably a relief, and for us, a great result, we move to fourth in the championship, the best result for the team ever. Still trying to give them a win, but looks like it's coming, so eventually we'll make it happen.
Q. Since there were so many of those back-and-forths, what was it specifically that Marco did that you weren't happy with?
TONY KANAAN: It's not that I'm not happy, it's just -- yeah, well, obviously we ran the low line the whole time. The lower line was quicker, and I set him up, he came out of 4 a little high, and I came to the bottom. And what happens is you can't say it's a block because he gave me space for a car, but coming into turn 1 that tight all the way on the white line, there was no way I was going to turn. I was going to actually start to wash up a little bit. And what he did, he just stayed there; he didn't give me any space, so I had to lift.
You know, like I said, it's not a block. He did exactly what he needed to do to win the race. It was just -- I needed it to be at least one wheel ahead of him to be able to pull that off, and when I made the move, I didn't go further enough, and then I had to lift, and after that I knew the race was over. I was pretty happy with second place then.
Q. You were Marco's teammate when he won his previous race and there were a lot of people that kind of credited circumstances toward the end of the race for helping him win, but I guess on a night like this he definitely earned it.
TONY KANAAN: Oh, definitely. I think you need to forget about the first race and think about the second. If anybody had a doubt that he could win a race, if they watched the race today, he won it fair and square. I think he deserved it and he had a good car. He was strong all night long.
I was watching the leaderboard. We had plenty of yellow flags in the beginning, so every lap I was just watching and looking who was there, and he was always in the top 10. You know, it was a great effort for him.
Q. Having been with Marco so long, I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about maybe how much this means to him having gone five years without a win.
TONY KANAAN: I think it's a big relief for him, for Michael. I mean, Michael, obviously it's his son who's been pushing pretty hard to have Marco to succeed, and he's giving Marco everything he can as far as equipment, team, personnel to make the kid successful, and it paid off today. Hopefully, like I said -- I told him at the podium, hopefully it won't take another five years for you to win another one.
You know, he's been driving great, and he got it. That's not a lot to talk about. I think the kid proved that he can win. Now he did his second one. I told him, now it's just a matter of getting more.
Q. Talk about the team right now. A pole this weekend for KV, a second place finish. What's going on that they're gelling so well?
TONY KANAAN: I don't know. I mean, my off-season made me pretty sad and motivated me even more to be able to push myself to the limit. I think the team, if I remember right, when they first game to the series with Oriol and Will, they were pretty strong, then they had a couple hiccups and the past few years they're throwing equipment back and forth, which didn't help them at all.
I think when we were able to put a deal together five days before the first race, with my experience, things that I know that I want from the car, together with what they already had, because it is the same car that we had four years ago, it was a great combination. It's Takuma's second year, he's not a rookie anymore, he's fast, he knows what he needs from the car, so we're just developing more and more confidence on the team.
For me to be able to come in -- if you had asked me if I was going to be sitting fourth in the championship right now with two podiums missing every single winter test, I was going to say you guys are dreaming. So extremely pleased with the team.
I didn't feel I had to prove a point to anybody about the misfortune that happened in the off-season with us and going away with no contract and not having a job. I'm just having a lot of fun, enjoying a lot of my time with the team. Now I probably realize it was time for a change, just for some reason it is different, for some reason I'm having more fun than I used to. I don't think I can get into details why, but I just think that it's different. It's a different atmosphere, and after a long time I think it was good for both parties.
Look at the team; they won two races this year already. We only won two races last year and they still have plenty of races to do.
Look at me, it's been a while that I've been top four in the championship. What it is, I don't know, but whatever we have, it's been pretty good.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations. For the second consecutive year you find yourself in victory lane as a team owner here at Iowa.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I'm beginning to really love Iowa.
THE MODERATOR: Talk about tonight's race and seeing Marco get that win.
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I'm just so happy and relieved for him. There's been a huge monkey on his back, and it was on mine, as well. There was just a lot of pressure on us, him as a driver, me as an owner, because of some of the past things that happened at Indy and stuff. So to come back and win like this, it was just a great, great day.
I'm happy for all the Venom guys. They did a great job. The last pit stop they brought him out P1. They did it when we needed it. It was just really truly a team effort, and Marco drove a hell of a race there in the end. To be driving the guys -- he was beating the best. He had Tony out there, he had Dario, Dixon, and he drove very well there in the end.
Q. Not to get overly dramatic about how much the team needed this victory, but how much did the team need this victory?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: It was a big win for us for sure. I think a lot of people were really pounding on us and thought we were down and out, but I can tell you this team has got tons of fight in it, and we are never out. We got together and made a few little changes in the team, and everybody just rallied and everybody worked their butts off, and here we are. I'm just proud of everybody on this team.
Q. You guys have won three of the five races here at Iowa. What is it that makes you so good here at Iowa?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I don't know. I think, one, the drivers like the track. I think that's a start. We tend to have pretty good cars on the smaller ovals. From the past we've always seemed to have good setups for the races, and it was that way today.
His car did really well. He drove up through the field. He didn't inherit anything. He earned every spot out there.
But I don't know why. I'm not complaining. We like coming here.
THE MODERATOR: We have also been joined by race winner Marco Andretti. Great battle tonight. Talk about making that big move on TK.
MARCO ANDRETTI: I mean, it was fun racing. You know, it's always nice at the front. You know you can always trust those guys. It was close, it was dicy, but that's what the fans want. We had a packed house tonight. It was good to see. I'm glad we could put on a bit of a show anyway.
But yeah, I think the last 30 laps I was really asking how many laps to go because I didn't want to wait until three laps to go to make the move because if he would have chopped me or something, I would have been way back kind of like what I did to him. I wanted to kind of be in the driver's seat and kind of make the move when he was least expecting it, and from there we had to really put our head down.
I got the lead a couple times so I kind of knew what I needed to stay on the bottom. I was really aggressive with the tools in the car and stuff, and we made it work.
Q. To kind of follow up on the earning it part, a lot of people -- your previous victory a lot of people always wanted to say matter of circumstance, the way the race came out you were able to finish with that tank of fuel. This is one you went out and raced your ass off. Talk about how satisfying this victory is for you.
MARCO ANDRETTI: Well, it is, but at the same time nothing has changed in my driving since. All I've gained is experience. We've been in a position to win a lot of races we've come up short, so it's more, I think, relieved is the word. You know, I never doubted the team, never doubted myself. I always said as soon as the stars were aligned and a little bit of luck goes my way that we'd be sitting here.
Q. I wonder if you could contrast the feeling of winning tonight as opposed to five years ago because five years ago you were a rookie. Do you have a different perspective on winning now as opposed to back then?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Still feels good, man. No, I think it's just the drought, so to speak, just made me appreciate what we have here in IndyCar racing. From the drivers to the teams, it just makes us appreciate being here that much more because we know we beat those guys.
The competition is unbelievable if you look at qualifying. That's what IndyCar racing is all about. It made me appreciate it. We've been in positions to win races but we fell short, but it's good to capitalize tonight.
Q. How important is it for this series to have an Andretti back in victory lane?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, it's important for us, I know that. But I think it's great. I think it's something that we needed. I think it's going to be a popular win, and I think we need to get him up there winning more than just this one, and hopefully Graham will get up there, too, and get a little rivalry going. I think that sort of thing is always good.
Q. And also, five-year drought included -- you were only 19 when you won that first race so a lot of guys don't even start their IndyCar career at your age right now. Do you think this is the start of something big?
MARCO ANDRETTI: I'm going to be looking to make a habit of this, that's for sure. You know, it definitely gets the monkey off our back a bit because, you know, we can quiet a lot of my doubters at the same time. It feels so good.
Q. Just a couple days ago you were out at a local ethanol promotion. We had 2,500 corn growers here today. Just a comment you might make to them and this fuel that you're driving on?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, you know, I think it's great that we can be green and still have performance. We're thankful to have their support. I love this place. I mean, Iowa is great. It's my third podium. I've been on every level of the podium here. It's a unique place as far as to drive, so I love coming here.
Q. Tony being your former teammate, did it make it easier racing against him at the end? Did you kind of have an idea what he would do since you guys used to be teammates and talk a lot and strategy and so forth?
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, you kind of learn people, but I had the car to do it. That's what it came down to. You know, I was trying a couple times on the outside, but I knew I had to go on the inside when he was least expecting it, like he did to me a couple times. It was good racing for a while. We were clean, and you know, if I did anything mean to him, I'm sure he understands it's for the win, and I wouldn't be belly aching if he chopped me. It's for first place.
THE MODERATOR: Looking ahead for both of you, how important is this win headed into Toronto, a track synonymous with the Andretti name from both a team and driver's standpoint?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, I think it's huge, and hopefully we can get the momentum going here. It's always nice to get a win. I think it just lifts everybody within the team and hopefully we can just now ride this momentum. I'd love to see him winning in Toronto. That would be just huge.
MARCO ANDRETTI: Yeah, I mean, as is here, but the Canadian race fans are great. We love going up there. Obviously Dad is like a god up there, seven wins. But I'm looking to make my mark up there for sure.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports