Chip Ganassi Racing’s six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Honda says he hopes that the team’s strong performance in the opening race of the 2021 season at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday will give them momentum to bring forward to the weekend’s second race of the season, the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg.
Speaking to Paddock Eye following the race which saw the Iceman score his ninth career Barber podium with third place, Dixon said:
Yeah, I hope so. I know Alex is going to be pretty pumped, so I think that will pull the whole team along. I think even when you have a bit of a bad day in that situation, that’s going to pump you up, as well, just because the team has done so well.
Obviously a very different circuit, very different tires. There’s a lot of different things that go into it. We’ll keep our head down, of course, for confidence and feeling good this is a huge weekend for us as a whole, but it doesn’t guarantee you anything.
You’ve got to work hard and put in the effort, and hopefully all of our cars will be strong come next week.
Speaking about Jimmie Johnson and how he expects his new teammate to fare at the Firestone Grand Prix of St Pete, Dixon said:
It’s definitely going to be an eye opener for Jimmie. He’s spent a good amount of time on the (indiscernible)^ which is definitely going to help the transition somewhat.
But a lot of us, it’s more of like a commitment level that you kind of have to step outside the bounds a little bit to get the tire to work and then to get the confidence again, and it kind of just rolls into something.
So if you’re a bit timid, the car feels horrible and you never really get on top of it. You’ve got to be aggressive but confidently aggressive, and I think we’ve tried to do enough sort of prep work with Jimmie that will help him get into it.
Detroit will be definitely a lot more difficult I think just for the first street course because of the grip levels there. Hopefully it goes well, but I know he’s definitely put in the time and effort.
But again, you just get such limited track time these days with a couple of sessions and then you’re straight into qualifying, so hopefully it goes well for him.
Dixon’s other teammate, Alex Palou in the No.10 Segi.TV Honda who claimed his maiden NTT IndyCar Series victory on Sunday commented on his win saying:
We knew we’re with the best team, and had a great car today. So we knew a win was possible. Everyone on the team did an amazing job. The team was telling me on the radio ‘keep doing what you’re doing’. It was one of those days when everything went well. We had good fuel mileage, good tire management and good pace. This team is amazing. Honda gave us a great engine. Honda and Chip Ganassi Racing, what else can I ask for?”
David Salters (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s season-opening Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama: “
It was a good day for Honda Power here in Alabama. A big ‘thank you’ to the amazing team at HPD, who worked tirelessly to provide the best possible performance for our teams. It was particularly rewarding to see our colleagues here from Alabama, who manufacture rugged vehicles such as the Pilot, Passport and HPD Ridgeline. A big thanks to our teams, who all raced well, and a big hug to race winner Alex Palou, who drove simply outstanding all day to record his first INDYCAR victory. We all extremely proud to represent Honda in what was a great weekend of racing for the company.”