Dixon ‘over the moon’ after losing debate leads to second Texas win (VIDEO)


FORT WORTH – Thirty minutes before the start of the Firestone 600, Scott Dixon was moaning.

He hadn’t gotten his way.

Sitting seventh on the starting grid, Dixon knew the front four cars, three of them belonging to Team Penske, had low-downforce settings simialar to what Dixon wanted.

The three-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion had engaged in a 24-hour debate with Chris Simmons, the engineer on his No. 9 Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

Following the final Friday night practice session for the Firestone 600, Dixon wanted low downforce, Simmons wanted high.

Dixon thought the debate had gone his way.

“Then at about 1:00 this afternoon I got a text message from Chris Simmons saying we were going the other way,” Dixon said Saturday night. “Then I went and saw him and tried to push him to go back.”

Dixon’s argument didn’t work. After leading a race-high 97 laps and winning his 37th career IndyCar race, he wasn’t moaning. In victory lane, Dixon was “over the moon.”

“You put yourself in a situation to race hard at the end of the night with some good speed and we actually put a lot more (downforce) on,” Dixon said.

The debate went back and forth. We were thinking about splitting the cars as far as (downforce) levels and things like that. But in hindsight, I’m glad they understood what they were doing. That’s why they do what they do. I just drive the car.”

Dixon drove his way to his second win at Texas Motor Speedway, the first coming in 2008. His second win of 2015 gained him 20 points on championship leader Juan Pablo Montoya.

“At the start of the race I think we got a little bit too far back in the pack,” Dixon said.  “With the understeer we already had, it just built more.  By the middle run, we just had no front tires left on the car.

source: Getty Images

“That’s where I think the team did a really good job through the night.”

Dixon’s strategist, Mike Hull said he believed three of the four Penske cars were running 10 percent less downforce than his car.

“As Scott said, the first go there, the first run, we were terrible,” Hull said. “The one that raced with us all night (Castroneves) was probably halfway between our downforce level and the other three cars.”

Dixon’s teammate, Tony Kanaan took the lead for the second on Lap 103 and by Lap 110, Dixon was in second, remaining less than a second behind Kanaan for the next 30 laps.

“I knew obviously with the speed and how Tony had moved up there that the car was good because we weren’t too different, you know, especially on the levels of downforce,” Dixon said. “The mechanical side was a little bit different, but fairly close. I knew once we got the balance right, we could be up there with him, probably duel it out with him towards the end.”

On Lap 139 Kanaan hit pit road and Dixon assumed the lead for the first time. The rest of the 248-lap race, outside of green flag pit stop sequences, belonged to Dixon. He would get his dual with Kanaan but the Brazillian was never able to retake the point position. Dixon ultimately finished with a 7.8 second lead after green flag stops.

“Mid to latter part of the race, we were running a lot of flat-out laps,” Dixon said. “That was a transition where I thought there might be a crossover with some of the other guys that were trimmed out. We were able to manage the tires in the last 10 laps of a stint where it really counted, and we didn’t have much falloff, and that’s really what made the difference.”

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change