Dixon’s Ganassi Squad Rules Pit Contest

Scott Dixon speeds away from his crew during the final round of the pit stop competition at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Friday. (Photo Courtesy IZOD IndyCar Series)
Scott Dixon speeds away from his crew during the final round of the pit stop competition at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Friday. (Photo Courtesy IZOD IndyCar Series)

INDIANAPOLIS — While Scott Dixon is attempting to win his third Indianapolis 500 — his second with Target/Chip Ganassi Racing — Scott Dixon and his crew delivered the team its first IZOD Pit Stop Challenge victory Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The team had finished second three times, in 1992 with driver Eddie Cheever Jr., in 2002 with Jeff Ward and in 2011 with Dario Franchitti. By winning the competition, Target Chip Ganassi earned $50,000 for its victory in the IZOD Pit Stop Challenge. It was also the first time Dixon and his crew advanced to the finals.

Dixon and his crew defeated Oriol Servia’s Panther/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing operation in the finals.

“It’s nice to have days like this and moments for the guys because, you know, they are forgotten sometimes but prepare harder than all of us,” Dixon said. “So they’ve worked hard, extremely hard over the winter. There’s been a few change-ups and things like that, but today was flawless. They didn’t make a mistake. I think there was some points that, especially on the right lane it wasn’ as quick, but they were able to make up the time. It’s not about me; it’s about them today. That’s what it’s really about. I’m so proud of these guys. I’ve been with a lot of these guys for many years. To actually win it, we’ve never done it, and I think it’s a huge achievement right at the top with a lot of things we do and get to take credit for. I’m so happy for them, and it’s a big day.”

Ricky Davis is the chief mechanic for Dixon and is the outside right front tire changer.

“Like Scott said, it’s an amazing feeling,” Davis said. “I just told the guys on the ride up here I’ve been trying to win this competition for over 20 years. Though I wasn’t over the wall today, I work with these guys every day. They have to put up with me. They do some of the most ridiculous things I ask them to do. They’ve busted their butts. They’ve done everything I’ve asked them to do, and I’m as proud as if I was going over the wall. I can’t be happier. These guys behind me, these are the guys who get all the credit for what they did out there today. They were fantastic. To get to the finals is something, but then to watch the guys make up the time in the pit box and get our car out front, I was as happy as if I was going over the wall. And these are the guys right here that did it.”

The last time the IZOD Pit Stop Challenge winner also won the Indianapolis 500 in the same year was 2009, when Team Penske and driver Helio Castroneves pulled off “the double.” The feat has been achieved only six times since the Pit Stop Challenge started in 1977.

“You know, you win and lose as a team,” Dixon said. “It’s really a team effort. That’s the thing I probably dislike the most, is that the drivers get to take the credit because they take it across the line, but that’s just a little bit of the effort that goes in. These guys especially this year with the engine development and the new cars, they’ve just been working nonstop. Days like this make a big difference. Makes a big difference in team morale and how everybody feels and, you know, I go out there sometimes and wreck a car, and they have to fix it. Sometimes it just snowballs. So it’s all about them, and that’s the biggest thing for me and just so proud of them and so happy to be a part of the team. But I think for all of us, it’s such a cool thing to win. It’s not too many people, especially with Penske taking up the last six or seven years in a row. So to knock Will (Power) out I think was a good part, I think everybody was probably most proud about that. But you’ve got to hand it to Dreyer & Reinbold, too, they did the little team that could today and they were definitely giving it a fair fight. But super-proud of the guys and thank you guys so much. It’s been pretty cool today.”