NTT IndyCar Series points leader Scott Dixon in the No.9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda says the team will all out to win the season ending Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg in three weeks follow some frustrating races in recent weeks for the Iceman.
The Iceman has seen his points lead twindle to just 32 points following two difficult races over the course of the Harvest Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend following an ninth and eighth place finish respectively.
Dixon heads to the season ending championship deciding Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg with a 32 point lead over Josef Newgarden, the defending series champion took victory in the opening race of the weekend while his team mate Will Power took victory in today’s race.
Speaking following the race, a frustrated Dixon said:
It’s definitely been a trying last few race weekends. I’m still mad at myself for making that mistake at Mid-Ohio, and letting those [championship] points get away. As always, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES points title will come down to the last race. I’m just really proud of this PNC Bank team and everyone who works so hard to win. Honda has been pushing hard, and we’re always proud to be powered by them along with HPD. Congrats to Will [Power] and Josef [Newgarden] on the wins this weekend – that’s what we’ll be trying to do in St. Petersburg.
Andretti Harding Steinbrenner Autosport’s Colton Herta in the No.88 Capstone Honda started the race from second and that is where he finished and speaking following the race he commented saying:
The Capstone Honda was really good and I’m happy to be powered by HPD. I think I kind of left everything out there [on track]. I used up a lot of my tires trying to catch back up to those guys. We just didn’t really have it at the end, I think I burned up the rears a little bit too much to the point where Will could hold me back. I do think we were a little bit faster than him, but, unfortunately, we just didn’t put it together in the first stint until too far back and that kind of hurt us going into the next two stints.
Alexander Rossi in the No.27 AutoNation Honda for Andretti Autosport took his fourth podium finish in a row with third place and speaking following the race he commented saying:
Ultimately, another good day. It was the best qualifying we’ve had all year, so it’s good to be able to finally start up front. I think our pace through the first two stints was good. I think myself, Will [Power] and Colton [Herta] were kind of in our own league and it was whoever could make the best, last stint happen. We went with [Firestone Primary] ‘Blacks’ because we thought it was a good option. We were the only car that did Blacks on the last stint. Ultimately, we tried something different – I’m not mad about it – but it was the wrong tire choice. Did it cost us the win? Maybe not. Did it cost us second? Probably. But, ultimately, four races [at Mid-Ohio and Indianapolis] and four podiums, we’re pretty happy.
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal in the No.15 United Rentals Honda finished the race in seventh and speaking following the race he said:
Another seventh-place finish. I’m disappointed from the standpoint that I thought yesterday the United Rentals car had good pace but today we struggled a little. I think a lot of guys struggled more today just for whatever reason it was kind of a handful out there. We got two seventh-place finishes, we’re still sixth in the points and 22 behind Pato so we’ve got to have a good weekend in St. Pete, and we can get into the top-five. But we were just missing it a little bit this weekend. We’ll work hard and try to figure it out and come back stronger. In the end it was a good weekend for Turns for Troops and Soldier Strong with our United Rentals program. We raised a lot of money to help our veterans.
Takuma Sato in the No.30 Keihin Honda finished the race in 14th and speaking following the action he said:
It was a hard race today. Once again there were no yellows, so it was very difficult to make up positions and strategy-wise it was almost fixed. We fought, almost all the race long and in the end, we gained some positions. One guy pushed me off to the grass which was a shame because we lost a few positions but, in the end, we finished 14th after a hard battle which was a little frustrating but at least we raced hard today.”
David Salter, HPD Technical Director and soon to be new HPD President commented on today’s race and the new agreement between HPD, Chevrolet and the NTT IndyCar Series saying:
The closing laps of today’s race were exciting, as Colton [Herta] gave everything he had in search of the victory. Now the championship fights – both manufacturers’ and driver – will once again go on to the final race of the season, and our team at HPD are ready to take the fight on to St. Petersburg. We were excited to be part of today’s announcement securing the future of our participation in this great sport, and we’re already looking forward to the start of the new, hybrid era of Indy car racing.”