While 30 points might seem like a large margin to erase in one race, Helio Castroneves is convinced that it can be done.
"I'm the hunter," Castroneves said Friday afternoon in the Team Penske motorcoach at Chicagoland Speedway. "I can be more aggressive. I can do what I want.
"The focus point for me is there, but for Scott (Dixon), even if he thinks he has his eye on the ball, he has other things to think about. I have to take chances. I have to be in front. I'm thinking only about the win. He's not in that situation."
Scott Dixon leads Castroneves by 30 points heading into Saturday's qualifying for the season-ending Peak Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway's 1.5-mile tri-oval, meaning Dixon has to finish eighth or worse to give Castroneves a shot at the IndyCar Series championship.
Dixon, who has been nearly impeccable this season, winning six races, has finished eighth or higher only three times in 16 races this season.
However, in nine of the 10 oval races this season, Dixon has been on the podium. While that statistic doesn't give the Penske camp cause for hope, it hasn't stopped Castroneves.
"We have 28 cars; that's more obstacles for him," Castroneves said, noting the slightly larger field for Sunday's finale.
"Yes, he's been doing great on the ovals and he'll have a great car here, but last year we were very fast here. On ovals, anything can happen. If something goes wrong, it goes wrong. There's no coming back. It's not like a road course where you can spin out and come back. Here, if you spin, it's bad."
On Sunday in Detroit, Castroneves fumed after a decision by IRL director of operations Brian Barnhart to black flag him for position for impeding Justin Wilson, who went on to win.
Castroneves, who was leading at the time of the penalty, finished second -- his record eighth runner-up finish of the season -- but he trimmed 13 more points from Dixon's lead.
"They're in a situation where they have to be very careful," Castroneves said of Dixon's Target Chip Ganassi Racing team.
"For me, it's very simple, which is why I believe I have a better chance: I just have to win. I just have to focus on being in front. That's it. For them, they have to focus on where I'm at. If I'm second or third and they're fifth, they're in a good place.
"But anything can happen. That's distracting. That might cause them to lose this championship."