Impressive Start For Dixon
March 3, 2003 | 12:05 A.M. EST
Dixon sliced through the field from his 12th place starting position up to second using great pit stops and hard driving to vault him into striking distance of the leader, Gil de Ferran. A yellow flag on lap 140 enabled Dixon to close up on de Ferran. Lightning-fast work by the #9 Target pit crew gave Dixon into the lead leaving pit road and the Kiwi never looked back. Dixon led the last 53 laps en route to the second victory of his career. The 22-year old was elated with his victory.
"This is awesome," Dixon explained. "The Target guys gave me great stops today, I'm proud of the effort they put in. We had a good start and picked up a few positions at the beginning of the race. The car seemed to get better as the day wore on. I was patient and picked up spots where I could because I knew that we had a car capable of finishing near the front. The last pit stop is what really won the race for us today. The Toyota engine was great and it was a big part of our win today."
With the victory, the 22-year old Kiwi becomes just the 3rd driver to win in his IRL debut. The last to accomplish the feat was former Team Target driver Juan Montoya in the 2000 Indy 500. It also gives engine supplier Toyota their first IRL victory.
Dixon's teammate, Tomas Scheckter also recorded a top-10 finish on the day, ending up 8th. Scheckter had a fast car at the beginning of the race, moving all the way up to 3rd by lap 56. "We had a strong car at the beginning of the race, and I felt that we had a chance to win it." As the day wore on, the track changed at the hurt the balance of the #10 Target Toyota. "The track got hotter and hotter and the car was getting tough to drive, but we got some points and had a solid finish today."
Mike Hull, the team managing director was impressed with Dixon and the effort put forth by the team.
"The guys worked really hard to do what we did today," Hull explained. "We have now won two in a row here at Team Target. We've got a great group of guys here and they all want to win. I'm also impressed with the job that Scott did out there today. He ran a smart, aggressive race and I'm proud of the job that he did."