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Oct 21, 2013 - 11:58 AM
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Scott Dixon now a Three-Time IndyCar Champion
Posted by: BGerhart on Oct 21, 2013 - 11:47 AM
Feature Articles
Scott Dixon now a Three-Time IndyCar Champion


By Brad Gerhart

One final race for the championship.

That’s what the MAVTV 500 at the Auto Club Speedway became on Saturday night for the 2014 IZOD IndyCar season.

A 25 point cushion separated two-time series champion Scott Dixon and 16-year open wheel veteran Helio Castroneves from obtaining his very first series championship. Before the half way point Castroneves held his own and kept Dixon behind him, for the most part of the first half of the race. Actually at the halfway point Castroneves led and Dixon ran in seventh, which had Castroneves in the championship lead. Unfortunately for Castroneves his car became rather loose shortly after and although he hung on to the bitter end, again it would not be his year for the championship.

“I’m certainly disappointed, but it’s not the first time. We just need to bounce back and look to 2014. There’s just nothing you can do about it,” said Castroneves. “We did everything we could in our power to make that win happen. You just have to understand that we didn’t lose.”

 

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Yes, Dixon won his first championship for Ganassi back in 2003, his first year in IndyCar, after he competed two seasons in CART, where he finished eighth in his rookie season and 13th in his final season before the series switch. Dixon did win the IndyCar series title five years later in 2008 and of course five years later, this year in 2013, he accomplished the feat, yet again.

The season had many ups and downs, but the stretch of four wins, not to mention a second at Houston put Dixon back in the championship hunt and he sure closed the deal with a fifth place Fontana finish to close out a highly competitive 2013 IZOD IndyCar season. “This one's pretty special, I have to say, because of certainly how our season started out,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “The fact that Scott Dixon did it. We had a tough, tough beginning of the season. We had a tough Indy 500. We had a tough mid-season. Obviously Honda turned around at Pocono.” The team also endured close personal issues, with the loss of Ganassi’s father and the death of Dixon’s sister in law as well.

With around 60 laps to go Dixon’s No.9 Honda began to experience high engine temperatures which immediately brought huge concerns to the team. Luckily Castroneves had to come in as well and Dixon’s pit stop, kept him on the lead lap, the last car on the lead lap. Whereas Castroneves lost a lap and really could not recover from it.

“They tried to pull as much as they could out of the radiator and some off the side pod to help cool it. The engine ran okay towards the end,” said Dixon. “Still getting pretty hot, but it was going to be pretty tough to lose it at that point with sort of 15 laps to go.” Dixon did admit he was unaware of the actual problem, but knew something was up when the team made him pit out of sequence. Nevertheless, the Honda engine held its own through the 500 miles and Dixon literally cruised around the last handful of laps to secure the fifth place finish.

Now, Dixon the three-time series champion got asked about how this one compares to the others, he quickly responded with, ‘ '08 was a dream year. Got married, won the Indy 500 and the championship. Pretty hard to beat that.”

Yes, no one can really argue with him on that one. But, the entire Ganassi organization sure persevered throughout the season, in a never give up mentality all the way to the end. There’s no doubt Scott Dixon totally deserves this years championship and he’ll continue to make his way through the historic IndyCar record books as one of the best all-time.




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