many different small things that leads to
winning races, and championships.”
OK, so that’s a start. But drilling a little
deeper offers a hint that the first step lies
in understanding how to make the format
of the season work to your advantage.
“If I look at my first championship in
2003, I had three wins and six DNFs and
I still won it,” Dixon says. “These days, if
you have six DNFs you’ll barely scrape
into the top eight. It’s definitely become a
numbers game, of being competitive at
every kind of track and trying to minimize
the damage from your not-so-good races.
“It’s never just one factor. You’ve got to
be good everywhere, and you’ve got to be
consistent. And sometimes that’s a matter
of understanding that it’s not going to be
your day, but still trying to maximize the
result. Look at what happened last year,
with the championship going to a
fight, ranging from the team’s
performance to sheer good (or bad) luck.
But numbers like Dixon’s don’t just
happen by accident. So putting aside all
of the things a driver can’t control, what
exactly is it that separates the occasional
contenders from the serial champions?
“It’s a lot of different things,” says Dixon.
“That’s what I’ve come to realize. It’s never
just down to one thing. It’s the sum of
s winning a Verizon IndyCar Series
championship an art or a science?
Whatever the answer, Scott Dixon does
it better than most. His 2015 crown was
his fourth, and he’s won all of them in
completely different ways: DNFs offset by
a bunch of wins (2003); leading from the
front (2008 and ’ 13); smash ’n’ grab raid
from seemingly nowhere (2015). In the
last nine years, he’s never finished lower
than third in the final standings.
Clearly, there’s something intangible
that separates the drivers with the speed
to win a few races from those who are
capable of successfully charting a course
through the perilous waters of a
season-long championship campaign.
True, it’s not purely down to the driver –
after all, there are any number of
elements outside of the driver’s control
that can influence the outcome of a title
Numero Uno again...
But Dixon’s fourth
IndyCar Series title
came down to a
tie-break. (LEFT) Top
IndyCar teams such
as Ganassi work
endlessly to eliminate