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That head is now pointing directly at Helio Castroneves.

While Dixon stresses it’s still too early to start thinking about the big picture, he trails the popular Brazilian by just 26 points with a third of the schedule remaining. The 92-point deficit he faced after Iowa suddenly seems a lot more manageable.

Just don’t expect Dixon to spend a lot of time this weekend searching for Castroneves’ No. 3. It’s still August. The season finale in California isn’t for another two-plus months. There’s time to either gain or give back ground no matter what happens on Sunday.

“It can get overwhelming if you start micromanaging points,” Dixon said. “Being in a session and being like, `Where’s Helio?’ If you’re not thinking about the object at hand, you can get sidetracked.”

The championship won’t be won in Ohio. It won’t be lost either. Dixon, though, won’t complain if the competition starts trending downward as he tries to ascend.

“We’ve had some (bad) races this year,” he said. “Hopefully that bad luck will spread out through some of the others that have not had that much bad luck.”