Dixon: “We know the deficits we have, but we can overcome those”

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon is confident that he can fight for his fifth Verizon IndyCar Series title tomorrow, despite being outpaced by his title rivals in qualifying at Sonoma Raceway.

Dixon: “We know the deficits we have, but we can overcome those”
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Takuma Sato, Andretti Autosport Honda
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Championship leader Josef Newgarden set a new track record to claim a bonus point and pole position at 1min15.5205sec, and his three Penske-Chevrolet teammates, along with the Andretti Autosport-Honda of Takuma Sato, also outqualified the #9 Ganassi-Honda of Dixon.

However, Dixon is confident that being just four points behind Newgarden he is still firmly in contention for the 2017 title, and says in the circumstances, qualifying sixth was a respectable achievement.

“As a team, I think this is always one of our most difficult circuits,” he said. “This morning, we made some good gains, but the conditions this afternoon, we just didn't have the grip. It was kind of strange. The balance felt good. The car was kind of decent to drive, but just couldn't carry the speed through the corners.

“We almost didn't make it past Group 1, then just squeaked through in Q2. Good to make it through to where we did. It was definitely hard work so a big credit to the team.

“Sixth position, you can definitely make lots happen from there. I think in '15 we started ninth and we won that race. Definitely you'd want to be a little further up, but that's the way it goes. We'll make the most of the starting position and see what tomorrow brings.”

Dixon said that previous successes – he’s won at Sonoma three times – had no bearing on how much confidence he carried into tomorrow’s showdown.

“You can't really dwell on those,” he said. “Each of them are very different in how they occur.

“We'll just have to see how the car is on the long run. We always know that the Penskes are going to be strong here. The other manufacturer's aerokit is going to be strong at this track. We know the deficits that we have. But we can still as a team overcome those, whether it's through strategy or by having a car on the long run that's hopefully going to be good.

On the subject of strategies and responding to cautions, Dixon added: “We all know how big a caution can be and when it falls, what it does to the field. So sometimes if you're at the front, you're a bit of a sitting duck in a scenario like that, as we've seen in the past. I don't know. We'll see what our options are.”

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