Five time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda goes into Sunday’s 2020 season ending Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg leading the championship by 32 points from from defending series champion Josef Newgarden.
The Iceman had a difficult qualifying session as he starts the race from 11th place and speaking to Paddock Eye following the race he commented saying:
Not really. I think for us, ultimately we’re at St. Pete, if you guess the strategy right, you can win from any spot. The likeliness of that, we just got to stay clean and obviously try to move up a little bit just on pace and hopefully good pit stops and things like that, eliminate any kind of issues there. If we catch a lucky break, so be it.
We’re not starting on the first couple rows so we have to understand where we’re starting. We’re mid pack. Traffic and starts are going to be pretty interesting as well. We definitely need to focus on just trying to keep it clean, pick up cars when we can.
It’s unfortunate because I think the car, race pace over a long run, is going to be really good. Again, all year actually all of us have been struggling to get the pace out of the car. It’s been really frustrating.
It was announced on Saturday that Jimmie Johnson will drive the No.48 Carvana Chip Ganassi Racing Honda and speaking to Paddock Eye during the post qualifying Zoom call, Dixon said:
Yeah, I think it’s big for the NTT INDYCAR Series. Jimmie is a seven-time NASCAR champion. He’s definitely coming over to go up a pretty steep hill. It’s definitely tough. I think he’s starting to see. He came to Indy GP, been to a few races this year. I think he’s starting to see how tight the competition is, how one little mistake can have you fall five, six, seven spots.
It’s definitely going to be a tough transition. I think obviously if he had done ovals, it’s would have been a bit more of a sweet spot for him. That’s obviously not the case.
I’m excited for him. Fantastic to see a new sponsor coming over a new brand. I think it’s huge for the sport. Excited to hopefully hear a couple other announcements here in the next couple weeks, as well.
Dixon commented on his qualifying saying:
The first qualifying session the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda felt pretty good. We just didn’t piece it together that well. We flip flopped how we did it in the first run. In the first run we did three laps on blacks and four on reds. We thought the reds came in quick enough, but then with how the traffic was and having to slow down, there were really only two laps. The car was getting more grip in each corner, but we needed another lap. It is what it is. I think we’re starting P11 now and Newgarden is in P8. That definitely helps us a lot with him not qualifying on pole and getting extra points. We will keep working hard. We’ve got a warmup session in the morning and we’re going to see what we can make of it.
Marcus Ericsson in the No.8 Huski Chocolate Honda starts the race from 14th with a time of 01:00.9619s and speaking following the action he commented saying:
I think practice was pretty good. We got a lot of laps in and a good read on the car. I was pretty happy going into qualifying. Then I think we had a good qualifying session , and everything went according to plan. However, it’s super disappointing to miss out on advancing by less than a tenth of a second. This is disappointing because I felt like we had a good car and drove well. We have a bit of work to do tomorrow
Felix Rosenqvist starts the race from 22nd place after having his two fastest times deleted in his group and speaking following the action he commented saying:
I thought the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda felt good. I had a bit of traffic on my laps, but I put a decent lap together to get us through. Then unfortunately we got penalized because we blocked the No. 55 car, which our software told us that he was on his out lap, but he wasn’t. Obviously, we trust the software that INDYCAR provides us, but it showed us the wrong thing, and we paid the price for it. It’s tough because thesame thing happened to us last year at Laguna. It is what it is.