SCOTT DIXONTONY KANAANCHARLIE KIMBALL
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by 'The Veterans,' Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan. We have the stars of Ganassi Racing. We also have Charlie Kimball joining us.
Tony and Scott, been busy already this year.
SCOTT DIXON: Yes. Obviously excited to be talking about IndyCar and kicking it off and getting ready for the season. Testing for us, we've had a few weeks off, looking forward to the new aero kits, Chevy showing a little bit of theirs today. Hopefully we get to see Honda's sometime soon.
Yeah, obviously starting off the year in a winning way, which is always exciting. The combination, how we won the race this year at the Daytona 24 Hour was exciting for the team and a lot of fun. Hopefully a sign of things to come, some momentum we can carry from the first part of the IndyCar season.
THE MODERATOR: Great to put that kind of victory along with Indianapolis.
TONY KANAAN: Sure. I remember watching some of my competitors racing the 24, Charlie in the day, Scott. I was always anxious about doing it. Finally last year I got a chance to do it with Chip. We obviously struggled a little bit. Sure enough, the year I come, all of a sudden they struggle (laughter).
This year we had a great time. I think it was a great team effort. I got the watch.
THE MODERATOR: Charlie, I always make this comment. We announced your opportunity to come to Indianapolis on a day much like today, cold. You have won in the series, a veteran driver at Indianapolis. Talk about your opportunities racing with this squad.
CHARLIE KIMBALL: It's always great to be on a team like Chip Ganassi Racing, have great partners. It's always a great opportunity to come in and learn. You know you have the tools to be able to succeed. There's pressure, because you know you have to go out and win racing. Having won in 2013, last year not having won a race, something that's high on our priority list for this year.
It's always fun driving into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, even when it's covered with snow, it's only 10 degrees outside. It's great to be at the racetrack talking about IndyCar. A lot of fun to spend time with these guys, all of the Chip Ganassi Racing drivers at the Rolex 24, having both cars running on the lead lap until a mechanical failure on the lead lap.
At the Christmas party, a couple of the drivers talked about wanting a watch. Tony said, You can keep the watch, I want a ring in May.
TONY KANAAN: I get a ring in May, I'll give you the watch (laughter).
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. Tony, when you were testing the aero kit, what were some of the biggest differences you noticed?
TONY KANAAN: It looks quite a bit different, that's for sure. It's hard for us to tell because we went to Phoenix. The last time I was there was a different track layout. They did actually change the track. We went much quicker this time.
But it felt good. Obviously, like I said, it's hard to give a comparison because it was on a track that I hadn't driven the new DW12 currently. But it felt good.
We had a pretty good day there. We did maybe like 500 miles in one day. It was very reliable and it felt good.
Q. Each of you is a teammate. What is it like when you're on the pavement out there racing and only one of you is going to win? How do you look at each other during the race?
SCOTT DIXON: We obviously work very hard as a team. At Chip Ganassi Racing, it's open book, and we try to push the envelope to advance all the cars.
Some days you have to understand maybe it's not your day. But when it comes down to the wire, you're going to fight your teammates as hard as anybody else. The last thing we get told is to make sure you don't crash each other out of the race by Chip. That's something we focus on. In the past we've done a pretty good job of that and hopefully that continues.
Yeah, you're out there to win. We're all very competitive. We're going to do whatever it takes to try to get there, but maybe give our teammates a little bit more room.
TONY KANAAN: I think the way to look at it, if I can't win, I'd rather have one of my teammates win because it's a whole organization. We call it one team. Obviously I'm not going to say if I don't win I'm going to be satisfied. If there is a good way of losing, it's actually having your teammate win the race for the team.
CHARLIE KIMBALL: To follow on Tony's comments, that one-team mentality has permeated through the team, the IndyCar team. To have all the IndyCars under one roof, really working well together as a group and organization translates well. When you finish 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4, I don't think the boss cares who wins the race as long as one of his cars wins and one of his cars wins second.
I don't think I've seen a bigger smile when Scott, Dario and I finished 1-2-3 on the podium at Pocono a couple years ago, so we'd like to replicate that again coming up.
Q. Is the new aero package harder to drive? Things that are hard about it?
SCOTT DIXON: It's been split up between the teams. Phoenix test is all we could go off. The loads were higher, speeds faster. It's a track we never ran at before. The track has gone through a change, different corner radius, banking, all that kind of stuff. Kind of hard for a reference.
I think we understand the car is going to be more efficient on both sides of the fence with both manufacturers. Physically the cars are going to become more demanding.
It's kind of all we know at this point until we get to tracks and see comparative times, the loads in competitive environments rather than just fact checking.
Q. Tony, how did you feel after they canceled the Brazil race?
TONY KANAAN: Awesome. Couldn't come at a better time.
It's disappointing. I mean, I've lived there my entire life and I knew it was a possibility. My biggest concern was how this was going to affect the series. I guess Mark Miles and his team did a great job protecting that, which at least on that matter I think he explained here couple minutes ago.
It's a big disappointment. I think everybody got caught by surprise. I worry about the fans that got disappointed. I worry about the TV station. They got a lot of stake in the race, got caught by surprise as well. We sold a bunch of tickets. A lot of sponsorship went away with it as well on my end.
So disappointing. Nothing I can do about it. Nothing the series can do about it. Nothing even the TV, that was the promoter, could do about it. It was a lot higher than that.
I don't know. It's hard to swallow, hard to understand, and extremely disappointing. I don't know. I don't know what else to say. A big disappointment in my country of what they've done for us.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you.