Auto Club Speedway (ACS) in Fontana will be hosting the IZOD IndyCar finale under the lights in September when the series returns to SoCal, and today, Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon came to ACS to treat a small group of fans to a lunchtime visit that included interviews, Q&A, a photo session, and a sampling of their signature cuisine.
Gillian Zucker, President of Auto Club Speedway was the event host, and she did a nice job of interviewing and engaging the drivers with audience submitted questions. Both of these guys quickly make connections to a crowd and are approachable good sports.
Scott Dixon is currently 4th in the standings and 28 points behind IndyCar series leader Will Power with three races to go. He has a chance of winning the Championship if he has a couple of good races at Sonoma and Baltimore heading into the finale – especially if Power (1st), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2nd), and Helio Castroneves (3rd) founder. Dario Franchitti is currently 8th with no realistic chance of defending his Champion status. Aside from a fabulous month of May that saw him win his third Indy 500, Dario has had a tough year in which just about anything that could go wrong, did. Aside from trying to take wins, his main role for the rest of the season will be supporting Dixon, his Target Ganassi teammate.
During the interview we learned that Dario’s family fled Mussolini’s Italy for the ‘place with the worst weather.’ His maternal grandmother is, in fact, Scottish. Scott Dixon’s wife Emma was a former top middle distance runner for Great Britain. Dario favors street courses, while Scott favors road courses.
Dario and Scott are both lukewarm on the push-to-pass. In the recent race, the 5 second push-to-pass delay made it confusing and difficult to use it properly at the start. How do you time the boost that will happen 5 seconds in the future when you don’t know exactly when the green flag will drop? Everybody got it wrong. Supposedly the delay is going away.
Both of them felt the finale will be an interesting race with changing conditions as the sun goes down – compromising vision – and the track cools off. 500 miles around the Auto Club Speedway will be exciting and tough.
After the interview and a picture session, fans were invited to sample Scott Tots and Franchitti Ziti – really.
Both of these guys are passionate racers, and the fans love them. They’re great ambassadors for the sport, and I wish them well for the rest of the season.