Here’s what NBCSN’s IndyCar announcers had to say about Scott Dixon’s championship and how the season-ending Grand Prix of Sonoma played out on Sunday:
STAMFORD, Conn. – September 16, 2018 – Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) won his fifth career Verizon IndyCar Series championship today on NBCSN, earning a second-place finish at the IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway to clinch the title. Dixon’s five series wins now rank second only behind A.J. Foyt (7) for the most IndyCar championships in history.
Dixon won the championship by 57 points over Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport), who battled back to finish seventh in Sunday’s race after suffering damage to his front wing and tire on the first lap. Ryan Hunter-Reay (Andretti Autosport) took the checkered flag at Sonoma to win his second race of the 2018 campaign.
NBC Sports’ lead IndyCar play-by-play commentator Leigh Diffey called the Grand Prix of Sonoma from Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., on NBCSN, alongside analysts and former drivers Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell. Robin Miller, Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee, and Katie Hargitt reported from the pits.
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Following are notes and quotes from NBC Sports’ IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma coverage on NBCSN:
Diffey on Dixon: “We witness something that hasn’t been done in more than half a century – Scott Dixon is a five-time IndyCar champion!”
Dixon during his post-race interview with Beekhuis after winning the title: “We had a lot of things that could have gone wrong today…this is so awesome. I can’t believe that it’s actually happened. You always doubt these situations so much, that it’s never going to happen. I can’t thank everyone enough.”
Rossi during his post-race interview with Lee, discussing contact on the first lap: “I got a good start. I don’t know if he lifted, or if I misjudged…it is what it is. It was going to be a tough day to beat Scott anyway…it’s unfortunate for it to go out like that. I wish I could replay that a million more times…at the end of the day, we have to look at 2018 and be pretty happy.”
Tracy on Dixon: “We call him the ‘Ice Man’ – you will not meet a driver on or off the track who is as cool as Scott Dixon.”
Bell on Dixon: “He’s still at the top of his game in every measurable category with no signs of slowing down any time soon.”
Diffey on Rossi: “He borders on fearless…when he’s chasing and in attack mode, it’s pretty special to watch. The way he has not given up today – this kid just doesn’t give up.”
Bell on Rossi’s aggressive driving style: “It’s worked out remarkably well everywhere – except today. We kept saying it all season long, that Rossi makes these moves and he comes out looking like a champ every time. Unfortunately…it was a little too much and a little ill-timed. He’s done a brilliant job to come back, but I know in a long offseason, he’ll definitely be analyzing that opening lap move.”
Tracy on Rossi on lap 20: “He’s had a very messy weekend. He’s had a lot of offs. He’s been in the dirt a lot. He made a mistake at the start. I think the nervous anticipation was super high. He made a small mistake and now he’s got to fight to come back.”
Tracy on Hunter-Reay: “He’s been so unlucky all year. He’s been at the front all year and in position to do really well at a lot of races and had mechanical problems…there’s no one that’s had worse luck than Hunter-Reay this year.”
Bell on Hunter-Reay: “He always bounces back. He can come off a horrendous weekend, show up at Sonoma – and he’s been dominant in practice, qualifying, and now the race. It’s ironic that he’s having a totally uneventful, quiet day at the front, and reminding everyone why he’s an IndyCar champion.”
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