The measure of a champion is determined by what he or she does on the track or on the field of play.
A legend is determined by a champion’s overall body of work and how they portrayed themselves over the course of their career and their life.
That is why Scott Dixon is becoming a legend of the NTT IndyCar Series. His success on the race track places him in a category with the greats of the sport, including A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti.
But there is more to Dixon than just what he does on the race track. He is the epitome of what it means to be a man and how every man should try to live his life.
He is a man of character.
“I feel like it’s a privilege to race against Scott Dixon, 100 percent,” said Andretti Autosport driver Alexander Rossi. “I tell that to him to his face. If you can beat him, you know you are doing a great job. It’s just an honor to compete with him, not just on the same race track, but actually going wheel to wheel with him and racing him for a championship.”
As the November edition of SPEED SPORT Magazine went to press, Dixon entered the Oct. 25 season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg with a 32-point lead over defending and two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden.
“We want to keep Dixie (Scott Dixon) at the sharp end of the stick,” said team owner Chip Ganassi of his driver who is one of only three drivers in Indy car history with 50 victories. Andretti has won 52 races and Foyt earned 67 victories.
Dixon turned 40 on July 22.
“You’d be hard pressed to argue that Scott Dixon’s age has slowed him,” Ganassi said.
When Dixon arrived in the United States in the late 1990s, he was one of former driver Stefan Johansson’s young international protégés. Dixon was a teenager from New Zealand who had raced his way through the junior formulas in Australia and in Europe.
In 1999, Dixon finished fifth in the Indy Lights championship. The following year, he won the series title.
Dixon landed with PacWest Racing in the CART Champ Car Series the following season and three events into his Indy car career, he raced from 23rd on the grid to win at Pennsylvania’s Nazareth Speedway, becoming the youngest winner in Indy car history at that time as a 20-year-old.
He finished his rookie season eighth in the standings. The following year, he drove the first three races for PacWest before Toyota moved him to Chip Ganassi Racing for the fourth race of 2002.
It’s a team Dixon has never left.
Team owner Ganassi uprooted his CART team to join the old Indy Racing League full time in 2003. Instead of driving on street and road courses, the 22-year-old Dixon was in an “all-oval” series that featured 16 races. Dixon won his first IRL start at Homestead-Miami Speedway and added two more victories that season.
Despite five DNFs, Dixon captured the 2003 Indy Racing League championship.
Shy and sometimes overly frank, Dixon was unimpressed with the series and the formula of race cars. But over time, Dixon has come to appreciate his accomplishments, especially in the early years of his career.
“I didn’t really know what I had achieved,” Dixon said. “In some ways, that was not great. But reflecting on those early years and how special they were, mean a lot more now than at that time.
“That’s where it all started. It’s what enabled me to continue in the sport, remain with the team and win another championship.”
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