By David Morgan, Associate Editor
FORT WORTH, Texas – Scott Dixon enters Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway as not only the defending race winner, but also the active wins leader with three victories at the track.
When he took to the track for qualifying Friday afternoon in his No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, he showed exactly why he leads the way on the 1.5-mile circuit, posting the second fastest two-lap average time at 47.0738 seconds (220.250 mph) to claim the outside pole alongside Takuma Sato.
The qualifying run comes after leading first practice on Thursday evening, followed by a sixth-place result in second practice earlier Friday afternoon.
“Not real exciting for us, to be honest,” said Dixon. “It was close. Congrats to Taku. Did a hell of a job there.
“Don’t feel like we did too much wrong in that qual run. Got a little bit loose in one and two on the second lap. Definitely scrubbed some speed. I think that could have been enough. We were actually bottoming in three and four as well. Always a few things you can clean up.
“Great starting position for us. I think the PNC Bank No. 9 has been running strong in all the sessions. Definitely interesting to see some of the cars struggle out there, some of the big hitters we thought were going to be very fast, maybe trimmed too much and couldn’t keep it flat.
“Qualifying doesn’t really mean much here, I don’t think. You definitely want to be in the front half of the field. I think last year we were maybe seventh or something. A little bit better. Hopefully we can stay up front.”
Dixon comes to Texas having just won last weekend in the second race at Detroit for his first victory of the season.
Though the two tracks are as different as can be between a street course and high-speed oval, the five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion noted the momentum gained as a result of the win is a big boost for both him and his team, not only for this race, but the remainder of the season, as the 38-year old Auckland, New Zealand native currently sits fourth in the standings.
“I think for us it was pretty big,” Dixon said of the win and the momentum it brings. “We were getting to the point where we were almost out of it for the championship. We always look at that kind of hundred-point marker. We’ve come back from that and won a championship. You really don’t want it to get much bigger than that, especially these days I think with the competition. And generally, the competition finishes a lot of races.
“That was a bummer for us on Saturday at Detroit. But a great redemption to get us back there. Another point would have been great today as well.
“I think there’s still a lot of strong cars, a lot of strong teams, that this championship is going to be very tough.”
The DXC Technology 600 is scheduled for 248 laps, 357.12 miles and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network at 8:00 pm Eastern.