Dixon says Honda simulator work was key to “amazing car” at Texas

Scott Dixon credits the Chip Ganassi Racing team’s simulator work with Honda for his dominant performance at Texas Motor Speedway, that produced his 47th career win and fourth at TMS.

Dixon says Honda simulator work was key to “amazing car” at Texas

Although he was narrowly beaten to pole for the Genesys 300 by Team Penske-Chevrolet’s Josef Newgarden and spent most of the first stint behind the defending champion, Dixon set a scorching pace as soon as he hit the front. Only a slight miscue on pitlane and an impressive drive from teammate Felix Rosenqvist threatened to throw his victory run off the rails.

“The DIL, the simulator with Honda that we've been using for the last three weeks in preparation for Texas, has been really good,” said the five-time IndyCar champion. “Lots of things we didn't think we would try or have the time to try on track, we were able to kind of do that. Gave us some ideas. We were able to sort of verify them once we got here.

“We worked pretty hard on trying to calm the entry and exits, especially of Turns 1 and 2, from last year. That's what got really tricky. I think [Colton] Herta last year was really good. He was able to sit a little bit high, arc that corner a lot more than we were able to.

“[So] we worked on that a lot in the simulator. We found some things that kind of seemed to work. You never know if that's going to work in real life.

“As we rolled off, it did straightaway. The car felt really secure. Some of those areas going into Turn 1 later on older tires, definitely for me I couldn't do it. The car was still very loose. Seeing that some others were pretty strong there when we were getting to race pretty tight. When the tires were fairly new, outside moves, it was a lot of fun.”

Read Also:

Over the winter, Dixon’s former race engineer Chris Simmons has become Chip Ganassi Racing’s competition manager, and Michael Cannon was drafted in from Dale Coyne Racing as his replacement. In addition, Ganassi was able to integrate some of his former IMSA/WEC sportscar staff into the IndyCar team as it grew to three cars with the arrival of Marcus Ericsson.

Dixon commented: “The car rolled off really well. I know we'd been working extremely hard on just trying to fix some of the issues we had last year. We have some new people, plus a ton coming back over from the GT program. The engineering depth and everything got a lot stronger, so development was good through the winter.

“The PNC Bank #9 car was strong all night. We had a couple little issues in the pit stop there. I don't know if I went long. We had a bit of a bobble and I went from first back to third. The car just had some really good speed. It was just nice to drive in traffic. Never really had to push too hard. Just trying to make sure we could stay ahead of the rest of them.

“Not often you get a car like that. Just very thankful to have that. The team gave me an amazing car. It was a fun night for us on the #9. It's great to be back in the car after such a long break, to do it like that.”

Dixon also alluded to the fact that he felt the series had overreacted to the ‘unknown’ of the 2019 tires on cars with a new center of gravity, when it imposed a stint limit of 35 laps per set.

“Got to give a big shout out to Firestone, too,” he said. “I know everybody was a little bit worried coming here on a tire that was a bit unknown. The thing was fantastic. I think we could have gone 65 laps! They just kept on producing. I could still at the end of a stint run 210s, 211s. Thanks to them.”

shares
comments
Third-placed Newgarden on Texas trials: “I feel like we won!”

Previous article

Third-placed Newgarden on Texas trials: “I feel like we won!”

Next article

Daly rejoices in strong start for Carlin's IndyCar season

Daly rejoices in strong start for Carlin's IndyCar season
Load comments
The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review Prime

The winners and losers in IndyCar 2021 – Mid-season review

At the halfway point in the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels? David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Prime

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all for us. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, Helio explained his tactics to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Prime

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after sweeping around the outside of Alex Palou on the penultimate lap in a thrilling climax. In one race, he validated Michael Shank's and Jim Meyer's faith in him, and Helio himself discovered there's life after Penske after all.

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021
Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious? Prime

Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious?

A quarter of the drivers racing in the 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500 are former winners - but are they the favourites? The veteran drivers largely impressed in qualifying - but there's also a plethora of young guns looking to secure victory at IndyCar's flagship race...

IndyCar
May 25, 2021
What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1? Prime

What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1?

The FIA says it wants American drivers in Formula 1, but would it take an IndyCar driver to transfer or does an American need to join the European junior ladder system to get there? By David Malsher-Lopez.

Formula 1
May 19, 2021
Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life Prime

Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life

After spending the majority of his 179-race Formula 1 career in middling to tail-end machinery, Romain Grosjean finds himself once again with an underdog team in IndyCar. While not without its challenges, he's relishing the more level playing field that means his Dale Coyne Racing crew can expect to claim a few scalps...

IndyCar
May 14, 2021
Why IndyCar's new aero parts should improve racing at Indy Prime

Why IndyCar's new aero parts should improve racing at Indy

Tino Belli, IndyCar’s director of aerodynamic development, believes the changes to the underside of the cars will allow them to run closer at Indy and make passes. The moment of truth comes on its biggest stage, writes David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
May 10, 2021