With a fifth IndyCar Series championship, Scott Dixon proved once again that he is a race driver for the ages.
The only driver with more than Dixon’s five IndyCar championships is A.J. Foyt with seven. Dixon’s 44 victories are only exceeded by Foyt’s 67 and Mario Andretti’s 52.
“If you were going to make a movie and you called Central Casting and said, ‘Send me the prototypical legendary race car driver,’ Scott Dixon would show up,” IndyCar CEO Mark Miles said. “He is superb as a competitor. He is hard-nosed and never gives up, but he’s a sportsman at the same time and is respected by all of his fellow drivers. He is great away from the races and race weekends; he always does what he can to promote the series and does that very ably. He is just outstanding.”
And they have made a movie about Dixon, the recent Universal Studios documentary “Born Racer,” produced by Matthew Metcalfe.
The movie chronicles Dixon’s 2017 season, when he finished second to Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden. The final scene of the movie fades to black and tells the viewer that Dixon went on to win his title in 2018.
“This movie will capture the attention of lots of Scott Dixon fans, lots of folks in New Zealand and lots of people in the United States,” Miles said. “Scott deserves it and we hope he is along for many more years to add to that legacy.”
At 38 and set to remain at Chip Ganassi Racing with a contract extension announced in August, Dixon has many more good years left in his career.
“He indicates he wants to still be out there and as long as he is hooked up with Chip Ganassi Racing, he is going to be at the top of the grid one way or another,” Miles said. “One other thing about this year is that there was a great combination of veterans like Scott, but also young guys coming in like Alexander Rossi. We still think of him as a young guy challenging for the top of the grid. Now, we know of a couple of young guys who will be joining us next year who will be really exciting.”
When Dixon arrived as a pudgy-faced kid from New Zealand in the Indy Lights Series in 1999, he was a shy teenager. He did all of his speaking on the track as he scored one win, four podiums and one pole in his Indy Lights rookie season. Dixon broke through in 2000 with six wins, seven podiums and one pole to win the Indy Lights championship.
He moved to CART in 2001 with PacWest Racing. A victory at Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway in his third race made him the youngest driver in Indy car history at 20 years, 9 months and 14 days.
Dixon was a star on the rise but after just three races in 2002, PacWest was in financial trouble and ready to shut its doors. Toyota went to team owner Chip Ganassi, who gave Dixon a ride. The two have been together ever since.
All five of Dixon’s championships have come with Chip Ganassi Racing and 43 of his 44 career wins, including the 2008 Indianapolis 500, have come in the No. 9 Indy car.
When Ganassi bolted CART at the end of the 2002 season and joined the then-Indy Racing League, Dixon was a bit reluctant because at that time the old IRL was an all-oval series. But in 2003, Dixon won the first of his five IndyCar Series championships and has become the most successful driver in the IndyCar Series era.
Dixon is a legend for all eras of IndyCar.
“When you talk about records, A.J., Mario, all these guys, obviously Scott’s name is in that group now, with A.J. just in front of him in championships,” Ganassi said. “That’s something that someday we’ll look back on and talk about it and compare, ‘Was this guy better than that guy?’
“That’s the great thing about sports: someone in today’s era, are they as good as another driver back in another era. In any sport, we question that. We’ll never know the answer. That’s what is great about sports, is that comparison.”
Mike Hull is the managing director of Chip Ganassi Racing and calls Dixon’s race strategy. The two have been together since 2002 and have a tremendous level of appreciation for what has been accomplished.
“Growing up, I was a big Indy car fan,” Hull said. “I watched A.J. and Mario try to knock each other into the fence pretty regularly when they were both 135-pound guys. They did it generationally. The ability that they had carried them over a generation or two. They still stayed after it maybe longer than they should have, but they stayed after it.
“I think Scott now is doing the same thing generationally,” Hull continued. ‘The young kid from Mexico, Patricio O’Ward, told me from the time he could remember motor racing, he admired Scott Dixon. When he was on the race track with Scott at Sonoma, they were running around with each other on the race track, he appreciated the fact that he wasn’t treated like a rookie.
“I think that’s the mark of a race driver like Scott Dixon. He remembers where he came from. He has a high degree of appreciation for the people that are on the race track around him, most of them.”