Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon says he didn’t expect to end the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at Gateway Motorsports Park on the podium on Saturday night. The four time series champion started the race from seventh place on the grid and did a fantastic job to finish the race in second place to stay within touching distance of the series championship.
The Iceman who was driving the No.9 NTT DATA Honda commented after the race by saying:
I’ll be honest, we didn’t expect to finish on the podium. “But I think we saw in the warmup (Friday night practice) that the gap had closed significantly with the trim level that we were able to achieve. I think mechanically our car was very good.
“Then also we had some misfortunes (for other drivers) that played in to help us out, especially with Simon and Josef in Turn 1.”
Dixon went on to say:
I guess that’s the best we could have hoped for. It was definitely going to be a tough race for us, but the car was actually very good. I think we had a better mechanical grip than the group we were racing with, with the Penskes, and especially toward the end of the run. We could sort of come back towards them. We had so much drag. We could get to them, but we couldn’t pull out and pass them. Definitely pretty hard to defend right there at the end with Simon (Pagenaud). It was pretty exciting to watch Josef (Newgarden) and Simon with that pass into Turn 1, which was pretty interesting, pretty tight. I was hoping it went a little bit different than what it actually did and could have picked up two spots, but huge credit to everybody on the NTT Data No. 9 car. Strong tonight. Strong pit stops. And how about the fans, man? This was awesome to come back to St. Louis and see the fans and how excited they were for this race.
Charlie Kimball in the No.83 Tresiba® Honda started the race from 18th place and had a great battle with AJ Foyt Racing’s Conor Daly. Kimball finished the race in seventh place and speaking following the event he commented by saying:
I’m just really proud of the guys. We didn’t get the chance to test here, but we learned from the No. 9 car’s test. We made the car better and better from first thing yesterday afternoon, through qualifying, even though we didn’t get the qualifying result we wanted. Through the race tonight, the car was actually pretty good. We just kept making it better. It was just tough racing. With the package like it was, it was really hard to close up and pass anyone, especially into the first turn. We took advantage of some momentum shifts, like when guys didn’t get great restarts. I’m really happy to come away with a seventh tonight, especially here when we knew it might be a little bit compromised.
It was a disappointing race for Tony Kanaan in the No.10 NTT DATA Honda who was forced to retire from the race with a mechanical issue. Max Chilton in the No.8 Gallagher Honda was also forced to retire from the race following contact.
Speaking following the race he commented by saying:
It just all happened very quickly. I was just stuck behind (Carlos) Munoz prior to that last stop for probably 40 or so laps. We came out just behind him on the exchange and were desperate to get around him. I had a really good run in Turn 3, but the car just turned around on me. We added a turn of front wing on that last stop and it just caught me out. We were struggling with straight line speed, so you had to stay as close as you could to the guy in front of you. That was it and it was game over pretty quickly for the Gallagher car.