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THREE TIMES A WINNER: With three wins in one week, Scott Dixon is suddenly in very lofty company in the IndyCar record books.
He won at Pocono on July 7 for his first win of the season, then added two more last weekend in the doubleheader at Toronto to become the winningest active driver in IndyCar. His 32 career wins ranks seventh all-time behind some of the biggest names in open-wheel racing: Three Unsers, two Andrettis, and the all-time leader, A.J. Foyt.
It’s a position Dixon never dreamed he’d be in when the New Zealander joined the Champ Car Series as a 20-year-old in 2001.
“I started this when? I was 20 or 21 _ I was probably trying to think of where to go that night instead of what my future was holding,” he said.
With his two wins at Toronto, Dixon passed teammate Dario Franchitti, Paul Tracy and Sebastien Bourdais, who all have 31. But Dixon has a ton of ground to gain on the competition: Tracy has retired from full-time IndyCar competition and Bourdais is saddled with inferior equipment at Dragon Racing. Franchitti turned 40 this year and nobody knows _ including him _ how long he’ll continue racing full-time.
Dixon turns 33 next week and has a lot of racing left in his future while driving for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, where he’s been since the fourth race of the 2002 season.
“I tried to just concentrate on it on a day-by-day basis, week-by-week,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to have 31 of those wins with this team, 12 years with this team. I think me and Helio (Castroneves) are probably the longest active drivers with one team, which I think says a lot for the wins we’ve had and what we’ve achieved together. It’s cool to be on that list and moving up it.”
Foyt leads all drivers with 67 wins. Mario Andretti is next with 52 followed by son Michael’s 42 victories. Fourth on the list is Al Unser with 39 wins, followed by Bobby Unser at 35 and Al Unser Jr.’s 34 victories.
“It does feel amazing,” Dixon said. “Moving closer to some of these guys, years ago I didn’t think I’d ever be in this position. I was a happy kid from New Zealand racing cars, then it worked into one day I was actually getting paid to race cars. It was a win-win situation.
“But for me, I think stats are for maybe when you retire, you kind of look back on it. No disrespect to anybody or anything about it. I want to race. I hope we can win more races together. But to be on that list, yeah, it’s amazing to be among those names. What I hope for is we can win a few more.”
GET OUT THE WAY!: Helio Castroneves knew he didn’t have the car to catch Scott Dixon in Sunday’s race at Toronto. He figured his only shot was on restarts, and he got two in the final 15 laps.
But IndyCar allows lapped cars to line up with the leaders on restarts before the final 10 laps of the race, and dealing with that traffic cost Castroneves his chance on the second-to-last restart.
It’s a rule the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner wants changed.
“What are you going to do, 15 laps to go? You’re not going to lap the field, you’re not going to get your lap back,” he said. “It’s very unusual for you to be very lucky, get your lap back, have a very good finish. I think we should review that kind of scenario, because even if I would be in that situation, which I’ve been, it’s not fun because what are you doing there? You’re in the middle of the leaders and you can cause a big mess.
By John R. Bolton
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