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Scott Dixon quietly moves up in IndyCar record books, goes for sixth title

Scott Dixon was a quiet child with rosy pink cheeks when he left New Zealand wanting for a profession racing vehicles. He had little to say off the observe and relied on efficiency to separate himself in a paddock filled with superstars.

He gained his third profession CART Series begin at tough Nazareth Speedway however Dixon in any other case trudged together with a group most acknowledged as a result of its vehicles starred in the racing film “Driven.” When the group folded, then-manufacturer Toyota went to proprietor Chip Ganassi hoping he would assist hold the the 20-year-old prospect in the system.

“Why not?” Ganassi remembered Monday. “He was a young kid and he didn’t really say much and he seemed to be fast. And he won right out of the box with PacWest at Nazareth, which in those days was not an easy track. I mean, that’s what I remember, just a quiet kid who was fast.”

Ganassi had no concept he had simply employed the best driver of his technology.

In the 19 seasons since Dixon paired with Ganassi, the motive force has rocketed by way of the American open wheel record books and is poised for one other milestone. Dixon will race Sunday for his sixth IndyCar championship in the season finale on the streets of downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.

Dixon should solely end ninth or higher to clinch the championship and transfer inside one title of A.J. Foyt’s record seven crowns. Foyt gained his closing title in 1979 and Dixon is the primary driver since to rival that season-after-season consistency.

Dixon has 50 profession victories, rating him third all-time behind Foyt (67) and Mario Andretti (52), he’s gained a minimum of one race in all however one season of IndyCar competitors, and he has been in title rivalry yearly since 2007.

Five of these title fights went to Dixon, however Ganassi argues that Dixon’s resume doesn’t put sufficient emphasis on the 9 consecutive years Dixon completed in the highest three in championships that had been determined in the finale. Dixon was overwhelmed 4 occasions by Dario Franchitti, together with three consecutive years as Ganassi teammates.

“You know everybody talks about how many wins Dixon has and how many championships he has, he’s had an unrivaled career in the modern day,” Ganassi mentioned. “But what goes unnoticed is all the second and thirds he’s had in the series. It’s just such a pleasure to have somebody in your cars that anywhere you go, you can win. There aren’t too many guys like that.”

A sixth title is just not computerized Sunday for Dixon even after he constructed a seemingly insurmountable factors lead with three consecutive victories to open the pandemic-disrupted season. Most challengers conceded the title to Dixon by August, however reigning sequence champion Josef Newgarden didn’t.

Newgarden, winner of three races this season, has minimize Dixon’s result in 32 factors with one race remaining. But even when Newgarden wins the race, Dixon would want a disastrous day to lose the title.

Dixon very not often has disastrous days.

There’s each a steadiness and a professionalism about Dixon that makes him probably the most calculated racers of his time. He is a clear and sensible racer, one who doesn’t make errors and avoids inserting his automobile in harmful positions.

“I’ve always felt that he and I were very similar and have approached racing the same way — very methodical, calculated, risk assessment is usually very good,” mentioned seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson.

Now linked at Ganassi as teammates for Johnson’s 2021 transfer to IndyCar, others have famous similarities in the 2 normal bearers for their respective sequence. When the 2 started working collectively, Johnson discovered he and Dixon debrief in an identical method.

“Looking at data with him, it was like I was talking to a teammate I’d been with for years. It’s so methodical,” Johnson mentioned.

Dixon, now a 40-year-old father of three, is Ganassi’s most tenured driver however nonetheless the identical quiet Kiwi first employed in 2002.

“He still doesn’t have much to say, it’s his temperament. There’s certain things he gets involved in, and if it doesn’t affect him, he doesn’t get involved,” Ganassi mentioned. “In some sense, he’s still that same guy. But that’s what makes him good.”

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