Chevy Racing–INDYCAR–Sonoma Post Race

AUGUST 30, 2015
Scott Dixon Shines at Sonoma – Wins Race to Claim Fourth Verizon IndyCar Series Championship
Chevrolet Captures Fourth Straight Manufacturer Championship
SONOMA, Calif. (August 30, 2015) – Scott Dixon and the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet team executed a perfect race strategy in winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway and capturing the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship in come-from-behind style. The win was Dixon’s third of the season and his fourth IndyCar driver title. It was also the 100th Indy car victory for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams.

“Congratulations to Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi, Mike Hull and the No. 9 Target Chevrolet team on their race win and capturing the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Championship,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports for Chevrolet. “Scott drove a flawless race, the crew had outstanding pits stops and Mike Hull made great strategy decisions throughout the race, resulting in a big win today. It was a combination that resulted in a thrilling championship title.

“I also want to congratulate Juan Pablo Montoya and Team Penske on an incredible year, and a hard-fought finish to the season.”
The race win and resulting titles capped off a standout year for Chevrolet in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Chevrolet not only won 10 of the 16 races, swept the podium six times, won all the Verizon P1 Awards, swept the front row 15 out of 16 races including the Indianapolis 500, but it was the first time since 2012 that a manufacturer had won the Manufacturer Championship, Driver Championship, Owner Championship and the Indy 500 in the same season.
The thrilling finish came down to Team Penske driver Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet and Dixon in the waning laps of the race. Dixon held the lead while Montoya moved from eighth to sixth over the final stretch. Montoya finished sixth while Dixon led the most laps and won the race, earning the maximum amount of points he could to leave the drivers deadlocked in the overall point standings. The win gave Dixon the tiebreaker in a three-to-two margin in season victories and thus the 2015 title.
“Congratulations to Scott Dixon and the whole Ganassi Racing organization for winning the Driver Championship and doing so by winning for the 100th time in Indy- style racing,” said Chris Berube, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager for the Verizon IndyCar Series. “This result is a validation of the ‘never give up’ mentality, which can be traced to success in so many pursuits and to the origin of the United States. IndyCar racing is alive and well.”
Montoya’s Team Penske teammate and 2014 Verizon IndyCar Champion Will Power brought his No. 1 Verizon Chevrolet home seventh in the race and finished third in the final driver standings. Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves could not overcome early contact in the event and finished 15th in the race, but notched another top-five in the point standings in placing fifth in the final standings giving Chevrolet four of the final top five in points.
Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Charlie Kimball, No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Chevrolet, and Tony Kanaan, No. 10 NTT Data Chevrolet, finished third and fourth, respectively, to give Team Chevy three of the top four in the final finishing order.
Chevrolet will return to defend its Verizon IndyCar Series titles in 2016.

GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
Post-Race Press Conference with Jim Campbell and Chris Berube
Aug. 30, 2015

THE MODERATOR: We’re joined on my far left by Jim Campbell, who is the U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports for Chevrolet and next to him is Chris Berube, the Chevrolet racing program manager. Gentlemen, we’ll go through a few of these facts and figures first. Chevrolet actually clinched the championship even going into the race today, fourth consecutive manufacturer’s championship for Chevrolet, swept it since you guys came back into IndyCar racing in 2012, 10 race victories this year, swept the podium six times this year, won every possible Verizon P1 Award for pole position in 2015, top two qualifiers in 15 of the 16 races this year, and this is the first time since there’s been the manufacturer competition resumed in 2012 that a manufacturer has swept the manufacturer’s championship, the driver’s championship and won the Indianapolis 500. Some pretty incredible numbers.

JIM CAMPBELL: Thank you for summarizing that. This is a true team effort like it always is in motorsports. It’s about preparation, it’s about great strategy and great execution, and on top of that, you must have great teams, and we in fact do, and I want to thank Chris Berube for the job he’s done working with our four major teams that really contributed those valuable manufacturer points all season long that enabled us to get our fourth manufacturer’s championship. And it was a special year in the fact, as you said, the driver’s championship today with Scott Dixon, obviously Juan Pablo Montoya and the Penske team won the Indy 500 and then our fourth manufacturer’s championship, so that was pretty special. It’s one of the goals you have every year when you come into the series is to win each of those, and it hasn’t happened since we reentered in 2012, so this was a special year. Also special thanks to our partners at our Chevrolet powertrain team, and I have Dan Nicholson here, who’s our vice president of global powertrains for our company. Dan, thank you for your team’s effort along with all the great work from he Elmore and Pratt & Miller and Hitachi. It’s been a true team effort.

THE MODERATOR: Chris, maybe you can address in addition to putting out tremendous power plants, you took on the task of adding the aero kits this year and how that program developed and the success of that as well.

CHRIS BERUBE: Yeah, absolutely, as Jim said, it’s a team effort there, as well. It’s a culmination of multiple years of development and execution. You have the start of the year from a part supply standpoint was a little rocky but we outran the bear and never had to park a car, but really proud of that team that put that aero kit together. It’s about setting goals. It’s about getting the right people in place to achieve them and it’s about execution and you can pretty much apply that model to the driver’s championship, the manufacturer’s championship, and that’s how we get things done at Chevrolet.

JIM CAMPBELL: If I could add one item to that, obviously the aero kits were scheduled to come into the series a little bit earlier. They got delayed a couple times and I’m really proud of Chris and his team, they did not yield one minute. Every time there was a delay, they stayed on the gas, they stayed developing, they did not skip a beat over two delays of the introduction, and so we finally did get to introduce the kit, and we did that introduction in terms of to the press at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We talked about delivering the best combination of downforce, drag and engine performance, and that’s what it took to put those kind of results on the board this year, so I want to thank Chris and the entire team. And really the fact is that when we had the delays in the introduction to the series we stayed on the gas in development and we did not miss a beat.

Q. Chris, obviously the full season you’ve tried your aero kits on a lot of different types of racetracks. Can you kind of elaborate on what the rules are for next year, and I know you can’t tell me specifics, but what kind of changes you want to make?

CHRIS BERUBE: Well, the aero kits, the aero kit regulations of record would allow us to change three volume boxes, so that’s our focus at the moment. Can’t tell you which ones we’re changing at the moment, but there will be some changes. You’ll see the difference. As Jim alluded to, we don’t stop developing. We’ve learned throughout the season what our strengths and weaknesses are with the aero kit and we apply those volume boxes to where we think we can further increase performance.

Q. Jim, when you’ve won the manufacturer’s championship just with engines the last couple of years, to be able to not win it with just engines again, but with the aero kits, what does that mean to have both of those all in one?

JIM CAMPBELL: Yeah, it’s very special, and at the end of last season, we gathered as an entire team with our engine partners and our engineers that were working on the aero kit and said, hey, going into next year it’s both of us, it’s a team, we have to fully integrate the aero kit and engine performance and that’s really what we said at Indy when we introduced the kit about delivering the optimal combination of downforce, drag and engine performance, and that’s really what the team did. They looked at the integrated system, not unlike what we do in our development of our production cars and powertrains for the showroom. It’s about total integration. You can’t look and develop one system independent to the other. It’s very special and a lot of credit to our teams. I said this earlier in terms of the race teams: We have some of the best in the business, and they helped us on the development all the way through, and obviously once you get into the race season, that accelerates even quicker because you have only a certain amount of time between big events. So I want to thank them for the great job they did, and again, back to the manufacturer’s championship for putting valuable manufacturer’s points up on the board every week we raced.

Q. After your big success now, do you think it’s a realistic possibility you can supply more teams or have you reached already the limit with supplying teams with aero kits and with engines?

JIM CAMPBELL: What I would say is when there’s two manufacturers in the series, we have a minimum that we have to supply for the season, and so we’re prepared to do that. Whether we go beyond that or not, at this point we haven’t made a decision, but we’ll certainly meet our obligations to IndyCar and our obligations via the contract, and we’ve done that each year and we’ll continue to do that. When it comes to races like the Indy 500 we obviously pick up a lot of one‑race entries. I think we had a little bit more than half the field last year, but between us and Honda we typically split the field, which is kind of how we like to see it.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations on a terrific season.

GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
Post-Race Press Conference with Chip Ganassi, Mike Hull and Scott Dixon
Aug. 30, 2015

THE MODERATOR: We’ll continue now with our championship press conference with the winning owner of today’s race winner and 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series champion, Chip Ganassi. Chip, you were kind of shaking your head as you walked in. Is it reality yet?

CHIP GANASSI: Not really. I’ll tell you, I’m shocked. Obviously this morning we went over the scenarios all week and we knew we had the car to be at the front, but you know you need a lot of other things to happen today and they all seemed to happen for one reason for another.

THE MODERATOR: Some pretty impressive statistics. The 100th IndyCar race victory for Chip Ganassi Racing today, the 11th IndyCar championship, which includes six of the last eight seasons. Just an organization that you know is built well that has some great people involved.

CHIP GANASSI: Thank you, yeah. It’s amazing. Obviously my hat’s off to Roger and Juan. Everybody knows the depth of that organization and their level of competitiveness and the type of team that they run, the type of driver that Juan is, and I’ve got a lot of respect for what they do and how they do it. Today they just for one reason or another didn’t get it done. It was their title all season, and we knew we had a shot at it, and we gave it everything we had.

Q. Even though his career is still very much ongoing obviously, can you sort of categorize his career historically, put him in perspective?

CHIP GANASSI: Yeah, Scott is obviously ‑‑ I think he’s arguably the driver of our generation. The IndyCar driver of our generation for sure. I think his stats speak for themselves. His numbers against the other all‑time winners and what have you, he’s up on the list there. There’s not anybody I’d rather have driving our cars, I can tell you. I mean, he’s just a quality ‑‑ obviously a quality driver but a quality person, a father, a husband, just the kind of guy you want in your organization. It’s that simple. All around, on the track, off the track, he’s the complete package.

Q. When Scott shows up at a race weekend he’s usually fairly relaxed, friendly, jovial. This week he came in with like a laser‑like focus. Maybe that had to do with Justin Wilson’s situation, but it really looked like he came in here and had tunnel vision for this championship. Is that the way he –

CHIP GANASSI: Yeah, I think you could be right there, that some of that was obviously due in part to last week’s activities. He and Justin were pretty close. I know their families were close, and Julia, they were close with her, Emma and Julia.

But yeah, I think that was part of it, but I think he also had a laser focus on what he needed to do this weekend. They had a stop there, the second stop or something there when they beat Will (Power) and (Josef) Newgarden out ‑‑ was it Will and Newgarden out? They beat them out of the pits. That was a big move. So if you look at the race, the move of the race or something, that was one of the moves of the race if not the move of the race was right after that second stop. So that was kind of important in the total scheme of things.

But he knew what he had to do and we knew what he had to do. I tell the guys in the morning, every team ‑‑ all four of our teams call the races to win. They don’t call it to finish second or call it to finish ‑‑ if we can’t win from where we’re at, we change our strategy to figure out something else to win because if you’re not going to win today, you might as well finish 15th. My hat’s off to the other three teams, as well, and the job they did today.

Q. You made both championship, first Champ Car and then IndyCar later on when it was founded. Is there anything in those championships from the technology point of view, you’re very impressed, aero package, engine, whatever?

CHIP GANASSI: Well, I mean, all of it is. It’s a matter of ‑‑ I think from our point of view, we’re just the race team. I mean, we look at the rule book, this guy to my right and I, you look at the rule book each year and you figure out what the rules are, and you go out and try to win races with what the sanctioning body gives you, what the drivers give you, what the engine manufacturers give you, what the tires give you. You’ve got all these sort of inputs and you’ve got to take all those sort of inputs and you have to make something of it, and whoever makes the best of that package, whatever it is, is going to be the champion at the end of the year. And that’s how it’s been for every championship.

Each one ‑‑ none are the same. None of the championships are the same because the rules are different, a little different each year. The points systems are different. You know, the technology is different. We’ve done it with different engine packages, we’ve done it with different tires, we’ve done it with different cars and we’ve done it with different drivers. My hat’s off to Mike here on my right for putting the team together so many times over the years that just takes all these inputs that you have from different constituencies in the sport. In actual fact we have very little control ‑‑ teams have no control over the sanctioning body, we have no control over the rules, we have no control over the engines, we have no control over the tires. We give our opinion, but I think rarely ‑‑ if we give our opinion, they do the opposite, you know. But it’s just a matter of taking all those things that they give you and putting them in a ‑‑ I refer to it as baking the pie. You put all those ingredients together and you put it in the oven and at the beginning of the season. You hope at the end of the season the pie comes out good, and fortunately it did here today.

THE MODERATOR: We’re pleased to be joined as well by the Managing Director of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Mr. Mike Hull. Chip touched on it before you got here but maybe you can speak to what the mindset of the team was going into the race today, what you needed to do.

MIKE HULL: Well, I need to say two things first. First of all, a really close friend of Justin Wilson came over to me after the race and said Justin would have been really proud of what you guys did today. That’s certainly on our minds, and we know he is.

The second thing is I would like to applaud Penske Racing and Juan Montoya in particular because we know how difficult he is on the racetrack to get around in terms of being able to finish at the front and do things the way it takes to win championships, and we’ve done both with him. They deserve a lot of credit for what happened today.

In terms of ‑‑ what was the question?

THE MODERATOR: The mindset going in, what you needed to accomplish today.

MIKE HULL: I’m sorry, I can only do two things at once. We knew we had to win the race. We knew that before we arrived here. We did get the opportunity to come, IndyCar extended the opportunity with the rule book for us to come here and test two weeks ago. We spent half a day with Scott on the racetrack, and Friday we used all day and we virtually wore the tires out trying to understand what we would need today, and that’s what we did today, and we worked on what we call the mechanical balance of the race car to achieve what we achieved today.

It just really is important when you have a driver like Scott as an owner like Chip and people that work for us and a sponsor like Target that you do get the most out of every day, and I think that’s what we did today, but it started well before today in terms of having a raceable product.

Q. Chip, I first knew Scott back in Formula Holden back last century, and he’s a very different man to the one that I see now in front of me. He came to you as a fairly raw sort of a kid, but you’ve turned him into not only one hell of a driver but somebody you’ve talked about as being the driver of the year. Can you tell me what you put into him sort of thing?

CHIP GANASSI: Yeah, believe me, I’d like to take the credit for it, or I’m sure Mike would. But it’s everybody that helped Scott along the way, from a group of guys that saw something in him from back home and sponsored him ‑‑ I think like we talked earlier today, his parents didn’t have two nickels to rub together back when his career was getting started and he had some investors that helped him get started, he had good management along the way. He has a good wife that’s very supportive, his family is very supportive.

I think while it would be nice for Mike and I could take all the credit, it’s not true at all. He’s made good decisions about the people that he’s put around him throughout his career, from when I met him in his early 20s until today he’s got a good group of what I would call his inner circle around him that’s his sort of group of advisors, great people that keep him focused, down to his wife. I think his wife is a great racing wife, if you will, driver’s wife. He’s got two great girls, two great young girls, and I think it’s ‑‑ like I said earlier, he’s just the total package.

But it’s not anything Mike and I do. I guess we add to it, I think, but it’s the attitude that he came to us with, and it’s just the maturation of that attitude over time. He’s just matured in a way that we’re all very ‑‑ couldn’t be more pleased with.

Q. Mike, a couple of drivers told me it’s very difficult to overtake here. Was your strategy before the race built on pit stops to bring Scott to the front?

MIKE HULL: Pit on lap 61, that’s what ‑‑ well, we came in on 62, so even we make a mistake.
We wanted it to be a three‑stop race, so what we did was we worked really hard from the very beginning of the weekend to create a three‑stop event for us this weekend, and we knew we had to get to 61. If we could get to 61 as everybody thinned out on the racetrack with the track position gained throughout the stops, we thought we had a chance to win the race. We didn’t think it would turn out quite the way it did in terms of we thought there would be two or three other guys there trying to make it hard on us, and at the end it was a little easier than what we thought to be honest about it, but it was still very difficult. I think what you do as a race team when you deal with strategy is you look at what you have. If you know you have a driver and car capable of winning the race, then what you simply do is work for the pit windows that you need to have to achieve something at the front.

But the bottom ‑‑ the denominator is we had to win. We had to win the race.

Q. But the good thing is (inaudible) is Saavedra. Was he instructed to back him up?

MIKE HULL: No, not really. We had did have a meeting before the event like we always have, a race meeting, and we wanted all four of our drivers to race their race. That’s the key to being successful, and I think you saw other teams that have multiple drivers do exactly the same thing we did today, and not only today in the IndyCar Series, but they do it all season, because if you compile points as you go on through the season you’re at the top of the ladder at the end, and you do that by having good teammates, and I’m glad you pointed that out because we share unselfishly between the four drivers. They sit in the same room. They share the same data. That’s the M.O. of Chip Ganassi Racing. That’s how we operate. If they get a little headstrong, we knock their heads together. That’s how we do it. They helped us today because we could read what their cars were doing on the racetrack when it came time for Scott to come to the pit lane. And we changed tire pressure a couple of times based on what one of our other teammates was doing, so it does help, so I hope that answers the question.

THE MODERATOR: We’re very pleased now to be joined by the winner of today’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and your 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon. Congratulations. If you can maybe first of all sum up your thoughts, feelings right now.

SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, still feels a bit strange. You know, obviously it was a day where we needed a lot of things to go our way, and I think for the first part we just ‑‑ we had to win, as Mike sort of mentioned there, and sorry if I missed earlier comments, but that’s what we had to do. It was going to make our only real shot at it, and it was a bit of a longshot. Obviously things had to maneuver into place, and as the race sort of unfolded, I knew our car was very good, but huge credit to the team, obviously, for strategy, and the pit stop that jumped us ahead of the 1 and the 67 I think was very key to how our strategy played out and at least gave us some breathing room and set us in the right direction.

None of this happens with one person, and from Chip leading this team to Mike leading the Indianapolis part and every crew member and teammates ‑‑ my teammates this year have been phenomenal. They’ve been fantastic, very good to work with, and sharing ‑‑ we share everything, to obviously push the program forward. Obviously we would have liked to have gone into this last race leading the championship and having a few more points, but you know, as Chip said, this is definitely one of if not the most sweetest championships we’ve had. To come in and finish it the way we did, I can’t thank enough people between Team Target, all the Target people who were here this weekend, 400 or 500, all in Turn 7, was very sweet, was a sweet way to do it, and obviously Chevrolet for their part and obviously the performance and the aero kits and the drivability and the fuel mileage today for us was phenomenal. On the other side of things, we’ll race with heavy hearts this week. Thoughts and prayers obviously to all of the Wilson family. I know Stefan his little brother was here today and Julia is back home in Colorado with Jane and Jess and Keith and Lynne. It’s been a very tough week. It’s such a small community, and they’re such great people and such a loving family, it’s been very tough.

But as Justin would have wanted, he would have wanted us to go out and race, and today I gave it my all from when the green flag dropped, I was giving it the most I could, and had some good, clean racing out there to enable us to move up quickly at the start as definitely key, but heavy hearts, but much love to the Wilson family.

Q. When you talk about how sweet this is, I think back to how you lost in 2007 and even 2009. Are those two near misses what kind of makes this one so sweet?

SCOTT DIXON: It was very Dario‑esque, I think, which was quite nice to slip through there and take it so maybe he’s been rubbing off on me, which is a very positive thing. Obviously someone of his caliber and truly a really great friend of mine, to obviously have him as part of the team and a huge thanks to Chip and Mike for enabling that, but he’s such a credit, and three Indy 500 championships and four IndyCar championships is amazing in its own, and to be able to work with him and give up some of his secrets ‑‑ it was kind of amazing how many secrets he had even though he was a teammate of mine for three or four years. It’s been obviously a pleasure to work with him, and it’s one team effort. It’s not ‑‑ as I keep saying, it’s never one single person, everybody back at the shop to everybody that comes here on race weekend, it’s a team effort.

Q. When you made the move to the U.S. to start racing here, what was your dream goal? I know you had investors and that was probably the first thing, I’ve got to get a job and pay these guys back, but was the dream ever to have this much success? Was that ever in the picture?

SCOTT DIXON: I think you have dreams, but reality is pretty crushing sometimes. It wasn’t a smooth road. I think I was very lucky with the transitions that I had from my younger career and actually one of PJ’s sons is here, Peter Johnson, who’s a key person and still is in my life and just a great person. But he was one of the ones that obviously with my dad founded the drive and the investors to get me over here.

But this is still surreal and unreal in many ways. For me coming from South Auckland, New Zealand is a small country and it doesn’t have a whole lot of funding, but for the way that my career went and the turns that it took, just the stars aligned, I guess, in a lot of ways, and once I found home here with Mr. Ganassi’s team back in 2002 through Toyota was definitely a change in my life. We’ve been through ups and downs through our careers together but we’ve achieved a hell of a lot. I think for me it’s ‑‑ the racing is one thing, but the friendships, Mike, Chip, Hunter and Barry and obviously all the friends that I’ve made through this career is what makes it what it is today.

Q. Chip, the crowd surfing, what prompted it, and Scott, what prompted that whole deal?

CHIP GANASSI: Well, I mean, just all of our supporters, those were all the Team Target people out there, and they were just screaming. There were just so many of them down there. They were just screaming, and I went over and I gave my high thing, and I just kind of gave them the two‑hand, like that, in jubilation, and then they all came over and they started saying, jump, jump or whatever, like oh, my, I lined myself up for that. I couldn’t say no then.

I can tell you I’ve never done that before, body surfed like that. That was really something, I’ve got to tell you. What a better place and a better way to do that for the first time. Yeah, that was something.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Mike and Chip.

Q. Scott, according to the statistic, you’re now the most winning driver for Chip Ganassi, 37 wins, fourth title. Nevertheless, if you think all your success came here in IndyCar racing, if you think outside the IndyCar racing world, is there any championship or racecar you would like to dive except an IndyCar?

SCOTT DIXON: I don’t know, that’s a tough one. I love the Verizon IndyCar Series is one, and the cars are quite fun to drive. I think over the course of my career of 14 years with this team and one other with PacWest, we’ve driven very different cars. I think the fun part about this team is that you get to drive different sports cars, you get to do different races, which I’ll have later this year at Petit Le Mans, and the GT program is obviously pretty fun, as well. I think obviously the new WEC cars are fantastic to drive. I was lucky to drive probably one of the best Formula 1 cars in 2004, the V‑10 with Williams, so that is still one of my all‑time favorite cars, the Ferrari 333 SP when I drove in 1999 with Stefan at Petit Le Mans was definitely one, as well.

I don’t know, I think it’s more the gratification of getting the most out of any car and having to win a championship here in IndyCar I think with the depth of competition, it’s all the small pieces that you really have to get out of it, and as a team I think we really do a good job of that. Right now the Le Mans cars look amazing to drive, but that’s kind of it, and in my near future I don’t see that happening.

Q. Is there a chance you’ll drive the Ford GT Le Mans?

SCOTT DIXON: I haven’t been to Le Mans, so I think with the program that’s starting out, it’s probably not something that would be needed. I think it’s something that maybe I’ll drive later on in the year at different races, maybe the 12‑hour at Sebring or Petit depending on the driver lineup, but it’s obviously a dream of mine to race at Le Mans, it’s a dream of mine to race at Bathurst at some point, too, maybe start there with the 12‑hour at some point early in the year. But yeah, the GT program is very pushed by Ford, so who knows.

THE MODERATOR: You have some impressive numbers.

SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, they are. Sounds good. My head is getting bigger by the minute. But we win them as a team, and just I feel very blessed to obviously do what I do. I love IndyCar racing. I think the Verizon IndyCar Series is one of the best series in the world. We put on amazing races, and the talent that we have here, the depth is fantastic. I don’t know, I feel blessed and love waking up to myself being an IndyCar racer as a champion and hope for many more years.

Q. Scott, what’s that like over those last few laps where you’re leading and you have guys behind you but really the person you’re racing for the championship is five or six cars behind you? What do you do mentally in that situation?

SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, it was tough. The team wasn’t really saying much, so I knew it was pretty tight, and all we focused on was winning the race. That was really all we could do. There was nothing outside of that. We needed to try and obviously lead a lap, lead the most laps, and go on and win the race, and that was our focus. But I knew as we were coming to the wire, you kind of look and look at the pylon and unfortunately the pylon here ‑‑ which hopefully in years to come they can make it a little bit taller so there’s more cars on there that you can see, because it only has the top 5, so it was hard to know exactly where Juan was. I knew he was going to be strong at the end of the race. He’s always a hard charger and one that is definitely going to intimidate some people that are in front of him. It wasn’t going to be over until after the last lap, and even after we finished as a team, I was like, we won the race, that’s fantastic, what about the championship kind of deal, and it wasn’t until maybe the carousel where they came back and said, we won the championship. It felt so surreal, the things that needed to happen.
But yeah, I think in the back of your mind you’re constantly following what’s going on with the race.

Q. You’ve exceeded your expectations on coming to America and winning the championships and the 500s. You’ve got to reset those expectations. Have you got a contract for two, three years, and how long would you expect to be racing in the IndyCar Series?

SCOTT DIXON: Yeah, I think exceeding expectations, I think coming over here, of course it’s exceeded my expectations to no end. I wanted to come over here and race, and good thing racing worked out because I wasn’t good at too many other things.

Yeah, you know, it has exceeded. We extended the contract. I was up this year actually and we extended I think right around Mid‑Ohio maybe, or before that, so obviously there was no real kind of back and forth. It was just Chip, hey, do you want me to stay, he’s like, yep, okay, sweet, let’s do it, and that’s how it’s gone on for 14 years. It’s obviously a great relationship, and I respect him to no end and what he’s had as a team.

Future‑wise, it’s hard to know. I’m 35 right now. I think guys like Helio and T.K. and Montoya are all over 40 definitely helps. Actually I think Montoya might be 40 later in the year, so I won’t give that to him yet. But yeah, so I think on the short list you can see maybe another five years. It depends.

Q. Does it mean more to win a championship on a road course where it takes strategy, team effort, fuel saving, tire saving, et cetera, compared to on three different ovals in the past?

SCOTT DIXON: I don’t know, it never comes ‑‑ to be in this position is not because of this one race. Yes, it’s definitely helped and obviously the way it turned out was definitely exciting, but a championship is built on the whole season. You know, so I think that the hardest part is you always think about Iowa, man, we had a mechanical, or Grand Prix of Indy, Helio took me out, and there’s always different scenarios that you’re always thinking about those lost points that you had throughout the season.

I don’t know, it definitely felt a little odd coming to the last race on a road course, but the way it turned out, I think it’s fantastic, and maybe it should finish this way for a few more years.

THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, your 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series champion, Scott Dixon.

SCOTT DIXON: Thank you very much.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
Post-Race Press Conference with Juan Pablo Montoya
Aug. 30, 2015

THE MODERATOR: We will get started with our post‑race press conference now. We are joined by Juan Pablo Montoya, driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet who finished sixth in the race today, which left him in a tie with points for the championship and Scott Dixon wins on the tiebreaker. Juan, if you could just summarize your day, first of all.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: We had a good car. We had a good start, and you know, we did everything we needed to do at the beginning. Will (Power) overshot and I was fighting with (Josef) Newgarden, we shot the corner, we got inside and (Will) cut across and I was there, and we touched and that was it. We came from behind and did our best, just wasn’t enough. It’s tough there, tires are going off, and it’s one of those days. As I told you, it could happen, and it happened. It sucks, but when you make double points the last race in a road course and you change the tire and you do everything you did for this weekend and you put so many variables, it doesn’t even matter what you do all year. Dixon had a shit season all year and had one good race, and we paid the penalty.

THE MODERATOR: Once that incident happens, you have to obviously shift gears mentally and change your strategy. What were you doing to get yourself back into the picture?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Nothing. We did what we needed to do, and we ran as hard as we could, and that was it.

Q. Juan, you’ve said all weekend long that this would be nice, but it’s been a good year. You’ve succeeded in the things you wanted to do. So you did succeed in the things you set out to do this year.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Yeah, we had a great year. We opened the year with a win and we won the Indy 500 and led the points all year. Yeah, we did ‑‑ as I said, it would have been great if we could close it, and there were so many variables, we got through Mid‑Ohio and here again, and that’s what it is. It’s racing, and we move on.

Q. You took up with the rules of the double points, do you think it needs to change sort of?

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: Well, we’ll see if they change it, but they like the excitement for the last race. Is it fair? No, but we go into the last race of the year knowing it’s a double‑points race. Is it fair for a normal championship? No, it’s not fair, but it’s the rules they want to play with, and if you don’t like the rules, don’t race.

Q. How hard is it to accept that you led all year long and here at the last second –

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA: It wasn’t that bad. I had like 45 laps to figure it out, or 50 laps or something. So no, it wasn’t that hard. I did everything I could. I drove my butt off as hard as I could. Just luck of the draw, I guess.

THE MODERATOR: Juan Pablo, thank you very much.