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Dixon driven despite being low on IndyCar engines

- Associated Press - Thursday, July 5, 2012

TORONTO (AP) - Scott Dixon has run out of IndyCar-approved engines. That doesn't mean the veteran driver has stopped believing he can contend for the series championship.

"You've got to roll with it," Dixon said Thursday as he prepares for the Honda Indy Toronto on Sunday. "There's nothing we can change. It is what it is. A little bit of concern, but you can't do anything by sitting up all night worrying about it."

Third in the season standings, Dixon is the most notable of five drivers on their fifth and final engine. And that means Dixon would be penalized 10 spots on the starting grid the next time he switches to a new engine.

With six races still left, that's considered a likely possibility, and would be a significant blow for any driver, especially on road courses where it's difficult to gain ground.

The penalty is part of new rules IndyCar put in place this season at the request of the engine manufacturers. It allows them to contain costs and ensure parity so the manufacturers aren't put into a position to design engines specific for certain races. Honda was the sole engine provider from 2006-11, and has since been joined by Chevy and Lotus.

Simon Pagenaud, who is sixth in the standings, also is on his last engine, as are Takuma Sato (18th), Mike Conway (22nd) and Simona de Silvestro (24th).

By comparison, points leader Will Power has one fresh engine available. Ryan Hunter-Reay is in an even better position. The second-place driver has two engines left, as does Hunter-Reay's Andretti Autosport teammate, James Hinchcliffe, who ranks fifth.

"With six races to go, I guess it kind of depends on what happens to the other people we're racing with for the championship," Dixon said. "But yeah, it's probably more worrisome on our end because we already know we have that issue and it can only get worse."

Dixon said the trouble began when his team switched engines and discovered the new one had an immediate problem.

His hope is that Power and Hunter-Reay might find themselves in the same predicament before the season's out.

"I guess it kind of depends on what happens to the other people we're racing with for the championship," Dixon said. "If we have some good luck, and we have just the one time we have to change, there's a great possibility that they will have that as well."

Defending three-time series champion Dario Franchitti feels for his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate.

"It definitely could play into the championship," said Franchitti, who has two engines left and sits in eighth place. "I think certainly Scott, being on his fifth, is a worry for him."

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