to go, he was 92 points behind series
leader Helio Castroneves. But at the very
next race, Dixon led Charlie Kimball and
Franchitti to a Ganassi 1-2-3 finish, the
irony being that it came on the Pocono
tri-oval, and thus owed nothing to the
work done at Sebring! Instead, it was the
race smarts of the team that prevailed
(see sidebar on page 42) – the choices
made by their respective race engineers,
Ben Bretzman, Bradley Goldberg and
Chris Simmons, and the strategies issued
by Mike Hull, Tom Wurtz and Chip himself.
If that victory was down to tactics,
though, the work at Sebring paid off
big-time in Toronto’s double-header. Had
Dixon not made errors on his qualifying
runs for Race 1, he’d probably have taken
pole. In the race, although it took until lap
61 for him to hit the front, each car ahead
of him had looked like tethered prey and
the victory was almost inevitable. For
Race 2, after finally nailing his first pole of
the year, Dixon left the field behind.
Suddenly he was second in the title race,
only 29 points adrift of Castroneves, who’d
pocketed a sixth and a second in Canada.
“I thought it was game on from that
point,” says Scott, “because any time you
win three races in a row, that’s special, and
not something you do often in your career.
“But then at Sonoma and Baltimore,
we were kicked in the crotch again….”
Even before those disasters, his progress
had been halted at Mid-Ohio, where Dixon
had won four times in the last six seasons.
This year, Scott – like other fast guys – was
jumped as the No. 9 team tried to make a
tortuous two-stop strategy work, and he
was beaten to sixth by Castroneves.
Yet far more damaging were the pit lane
incident at Sonoma, in which he hit one of
Power’s pit crew and served a drive-through
penalty, and the restart in Baltimore where
Will unknowingly bounced Scott into a wall.
It left the latter facing a 49-point deficit to
Castroneves with three rounds to go.
A family tragedy put such matters into
perspective over the ensuing five-week
gap, and that makes it even more
admirable that Scott returned to action
for the Houston double-header with his
sense of resolve as sharp as ever.
One of the aspects of Dixon’s season
that appeals to all red-blooded race fans
is that not once did he drive a cautious
race, even with the title at stake. To an
extent, circumstances forced an all-or-nothing approach to races because the
double whammy of 15th in Sonoma/19th
in Baltimore meant that, until the season
finale, Scott was always in the role of
2013 INdycaR sERIEs
In Toronto, Dixon
completed his first
run since 2007. Also,
plucked from our
Facts ’n’ Trivia Dept.,
the second TO win
was Dixon’s first from
a standing start.
“Any time you win three
races in a row, that’s special.
But then at Sonoma and
Baltimore, we were kicked
in the crotch again…”
Crew chief Ricky Davis has been at
Ganassi for 18 years, and has worked
with Scott for all but one of the 13
seasons the driver has spent in Target
colors. Here they congratulate each
other on a job very well done in Toronto.