Scott Dixon: From Back to Front (Part Two)
Written by Cameron Gale, Edited by Sameena Khan
In the 2010–12 seasons, Dixon won seven races and finished third in the Championship yearly (twice behind teammate Franchitti).
2013 saw Indycar return to Pocono Raceway. Dixon began the season with a win, and he managed to maintain this form for the next two races. At the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, he ran into a Will Power pit crew member and was penalised. Dixon argued that the worker had walked in front of his car while driving to his pit box. Still, Beaux Barfield (Indycar's race director at the time) stated that he had driven into Will Power's work area. The following week, Dixon was involved in another incident with Power. His team requested to tow his car back to the pitlane for repairs, but the request was rejected. The team then called for Barfield to be placed on probation, and on 6/12/2013, Barfield was fined $300,000 and placed on probation. After that, Dixon won the double-header at Houston and secured fifth in the Championship.
In 2014, Dixon was voted New Zealand sportsman of the year. He also finished third in the Championship and won two races. During the off-season, Dixon claimed third place in the Dan Wheldon Karting challenge and the 2014 Petit Le Man's endurance race.
In 2015, he started the season well by winning the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona for Chip Ganassi Racing. His Indycar campaign started slowly, with him only placing 15th in the first race at St Petersburg and 11th in Louisiana. Dixon soon returned to his winning ways when he won the Grand Prix of Long Beach. He also secured his second Indianapolis 500 pole and led 87 laps, but failed to win and finished fourth to winner Juan Pablo Montoya. Dixon had a miserable weekend at Detroit as he got wrecked in the second duel by his teammate Charlie Kimball. However, Dixon recovered and gained his second win of the season as he dominated the Firestone 600 at Texas. Dixon consistently finished in the top 10, and his worst finish was 18th at Iowa. In the penultimate two races, Dixon finished 4th and 9th, meaning he needed Montoya to finish 5th or below in the season finale to secure the Championship. Dixon won on countback, as both drivers finished with equal points. However, Dixon had three wins compared to Montoya's two. Thus he secured both the 2015 Indycar championship and his fourth Championship.
Dixon struggled in the 2016 championship, managing two victories at Phoenix and Watkins Glen but only finishing sixth in the standings. This was the first time since 2006 that Dixon hadn't finished in the top three of the championship. With his sponsor, Target, disappointed with the result, they withdrew at the end of the year, ending a 27-year partnership with Ganassi and a 13-year relationship with Dixon.
Dixon opened in 2017 with third place at St Petersburg, his best finish since 2014. He followed this with an excellent four consecutive top 5 finishes leading up to the Indy 500. He gained pole position with the fastest lap time since Arie Luyendyk 21 years earlier. However, he was taken out on lap 53 when his car collided with Jay Howard, who had hit the turn-two walls. His car became airborne and flipped, landing on its side pod on the inside wall. This crumbled the catch fence and ripped the rear assembly from the vehicle. Dixon was uninjured, but the incident caused a 20-minute red flag.
In Detroit, he finished second, though he was taken out again at Texas. He was battling with Will Power and Takuma Sato when with only six laps left, Sato lost control and touched Dixon's car, causing them to spin off the track. At Road America, Dixon scored his only win of the season and finished third in the championship.
In 2018 Dixon began a title partnership with PNC Bank, his sponsor. To this date, he also had started to run the number 9. Dixon started the year with 9th after he locked wheels with Takuma Sato at St Petersburg. Dixon eventually recorded his first win at the duel in Detroit. He then dominated Texas the following weekend, redemption for last year after being taken out late. Dixon led 119 of 248 laps. After capitalising on other drivers' mistakes, Dixon went on to win in Toronto when he passed Josef Newgarden on the restart when he hit the wall. Dixon held off Robert Wickens and Simon Pagenaud to win. After several bad results and a crash, Dixon finished fifth in the championship.
Dixon won the three opening races of the 2020 season: Texas, Indianapolis Road Course and Road America. He led the championship for the whole season. A rare feat last achieved in 2001 by Sam Hornish. It edged Newgarden at the season finale in St Petersburg after finishing third. This was after Newgarden managed to gain a lot of points in the final part of the season. Dixon qualified second for the Indy 500 but missed out on the pole. Marco Andretti secured this. He was second in the race for the third time. The race, won by Japanese driver Takuma Sato, ran the last five laps under caution, which denied Dixon any chance of racing for the win.
In 2021 Dixon had seven rivals for the championship. Including regular rival Newgarden and newcomers Mexican Alex Palou, Marcus Ericsson and rising star Pato O' Ward. This would be the first time in over ten years that Dixon had title contenders from his team as he was the lead driver for Chip Ganassi Racing. Ganassi and lead strategist Mike Hull let Dixon and his teammates know that no one would be favoured in the team. They would be able to compete on the track without having to abide by team orders as long as they didn't make contact on the track. Dixon took an early points lead but only finished fourth in the championship.
Nevertheless, he managed to win at Texas, guaranteeing him a win every season for the nineteenth consecutive year. He qualified first for the Indy 500, only his fourth pole. He was considered the favourite going into the season. However, his car stalled during the race, and he only managed to finish seventeenth. He would only work five podiums, with rising star Alex Palou winning the championship.
2022 Dixon started with no podiums in the first six races, the first time since 2003. He qualified on the pole for the 106th Indianapolis 500, setting a 234.046 mph average, the second-quickest qualifying speed in the history of the Indy 500. He failed to capture his second Indianapolis 500 victory after incurring a drive-thru penalty for speeding in the pit lane late in the race. Instead, he picked up his first podium at Detroit and his first win at Toronto. The win tied Dixon with Mario Andretti for total Indycar victories. It guaranteed him success for the eighteenth consecutive season in the Indycar season. Dixon broke Andretti's record with a second win at Nashville, putting him in contention for the championship alongside points leader Will Power and Marcus Ericsson. Dixon did not secure his seventh championship and tied for third in the standings.
So there you have it, an in-depth view of Scott Dixon's career from when he was a child to the present day. With 5 Indycar championships, 52 wins, 126 podiums and 32 poles, and 2 Daytona 24-hour trophies, he is one of the most successful Indycar drivers ever. Even though he may be 42 years old, he still has the pace and talent to keep up with the young skills coming into Indycar.