Photo: Joe Skibinski, Indycar
Scott Dixon is just a couple of small steps from the rarefied air of Indycar all time greatness. In 2020 he became the third driver in history to win 50 races. Three more wins will put Dixon in second place all time, passing Mario Andretti. Repeating as series champion will tie him with A. J. Foyt at seven titles. Dixon has two goals for 2021- to repeat as series champion, which he has never done despite his six Astor Cups, and to improve the team’s qualifying efforts from last season.
On repeating and winning a seventh championship, Dixon said,
“Seven sounds a lot better than six, so why not? I’ve never been able to repeat, so that’s goal number one, is to go back-to-back.It’s always tough. I think even to win the last two out ofthree has been pretty exceptional for our team, and it’s been fantastic for PNC and welcoming them to the sport and on board the 9.
To me it would mean everything to me to be able to do that. I think even to get the sixth was — in the current landscape is extremely tough and very difficult to do. Very proud of that. The obvious goal is to add to that. That will be what we’re trying to do.”
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Road course qualifying was a challenge for the Chip Ganassi racing team in 2020. Despite Dixon’s consistent finishes and four victories, he was starting mid pack. Dixon thinks they have found a solution.
“Yeah, I think we’ve found some better understanding of maybe the process of — it was kind of weird, I think ’19 we maybe had the best average of the field for qualifying position, and then ’20 was a pretty rough year, especially for road course I think for our team as a whole. Street course was okay, ovals were pretty good,with the exception I think of Iowa where we had a problem.We have some ideas. I think the problem that we’ve faced I think in recent years is when you do this testing,especially in winter months, the tracks are very cold and the conditions are extremely different to what you get to.”
Dixon also acknowledged that he has some some things to work on as a driver as well.
“You think you have a process, but we probably won’t understand it until we get into a few races and see if we can rectify it. Personally I think there’s definitely somethings I needed to change and apply differently, which I’m pretty cognizant of that and have tried to apply that I think to some of our testing thus far, even though we’ve only had two or three days.It’ll be a season-long process, I think, trying to get to that point and knowing if we can fix it.”
Dixon usually hits his stride just after the Indianapolis 500, which may explain his hot start to last season, which began in June.Indycar has not seen a back to back title winner since Dario Franchitti, who the championship in three consecutive years, 2009-2011. Dixon hopes to join his former teammate. Even if he fails to repeat, he is certain to finish in the top five.