News & Multimedia

Pruett's Preview: Going For It at Pocono

Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon sits third in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship. The three-time title winner is accustomed to being at the sharp end of the standings with the season drawing to a close, and with this weekend’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono’s tri-oval offering a chance to move up to first or second in points, the New Zealander says his game plan is incredibly simple.

“You just have to go for it,” the driver of the No. 9 Chevy confirmed. “It really isn’t all that complicated from where we’re sitting in the championship. It’s two races to go, and there isn’t any kind of special approach to take other than giving everything you’ve got until it’s all over and done.”

Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya has led the championship from the very first race. The 1999 CART Indy car champion owns a small lead over Graham Rahal with his No. 2 Chevy entry, and with Rahal just nine points back in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda, 500 miles of racing at Pocono could see a new name atop the standings when the series arrives in Sonoma for the title decider on August 30.

Dixon needs 34 points to catch Montoya, and with a maximum of 54 points available at Pocono, the championship lead could change hands if Montoya’s day goes horribly wrong and Dixon wins. And with double points in place at Sonoma, the field will have a chance to capture 104 total points, which will surely shape the final standings. 

Dixon won Pocono in 2013, Montoya won the race last year, and Dixon won at Sonoma in 2014, giving both veterans fairly good odds to show well at both events. And with Rahal having his best year to date, the young Ohioan could come away with his first IndyCar title. The drivers behind Montoya, Rahal, and Dixon could also feature at both of the remaining rounds to move up—or ahead—of the current top three. 

With little more than a week left in the season, Dixon predicts Pocono will be the start of a furious trek from Pennsylvania to the championship showdown in Northern California. 

“Everybody behind Juan will be on the attack,” he said. “Pocono’s been strong for us, it’s been strong for Penske, and it’s the same for Sonoma. I think we’ve been a little bit better at Sonoma recently, and that would help if it continues with all the points up for grabs there, but man, you really can’t worry about points at this stage. It’s not like you can go out this weekend and plan on finishing in this position, then go to Sonoma and finish in that position, and have them add up to a championship. The only thing you absolutely have to do is finish. Everything after that is a free-for-all.”

One thing Dixon can guarantee is a minimal amount of championship-related radio chatter at Pocono.

“I know in the back of my mind pretty much where the points are when I’m cruising along, and I don’t need to hear a running dialogue of where we’re at in the points versus where Juan’s at on any given lap,” Dixon confirmed. “I think we’ll pay more attention to that at Sonoma, but the mission is pretty basic. We have to finish ahead of all our competitors.” 

Show More Show Less
Items 738 - 742 of 1,055