- Scott Dixon
Infobox racing driver
name = Scott Dixon
caption = Scott Dixon and wife Emma.
nationality = NZL
date of birth = Birth date and age|1980|07|22
place of birth =
related to =
current series = IRL
first year = 2003
current team =
Chip Ganassi Racing
car number = 9
former teams =
starts = 97
wins = 16
poles = 14
fastest laps =
best finish = 1st
year = 2003 & 2008
prev series =
CARTChamp Car Indy Lights
prev series years = 2001-2002
IndyCar Series IndyCar Series Indy Lights Australian Drivers' Championship
NZ Formula Ford Class I
NZ Formula Ford Class II
Formula VeeClass II
title years = 2008
awards = [http://www.motorsport.org.nz/Awards/premierawards.htm Jim Clark Trophy]
CART Rookie of the Year
Jim Clark Trophy
Jim Clark Trophy
award years = 1999
Scott Ronald Dixon (born July 22, 1980) is a
New Zealandmotor racing driver who has twice won the Indy Racing League(IRL) championship in the United States, in 2003 on his first attempt, and again in 2008. He won the 92nd running of the Indianapolis 500in 2008, from pole position. At Kentucky in August that year he equalled the record for six wins in a season. Known as a consistent race finisher, Dixon has twice in his IndyCar career set the record for finishing the highest number of consecutive races, 28, at Watkins Glen in 2005, and again at Mid-Ohio in 2007 [ [http://www.indycar.com/stats/supplements/records_milestones.pdf Records and Milestones] ]
Dixon was born in Brisbane,
Australia, [ [http://www.stuff.co.nz/4560821a13275.html Stuff's Scott Dixon Factbox] ] to New Zealandparents Ron and Glenys Dixon who were both race car drivers. [ [http://www.champcarworldseries.com/Drivers/Driver.asp?ID=15 Champcarworldseries_biography:Scott Dixon] ] The family returned to Aucklandin New Zealand when Dixon was at a very young age. He began racing karts as a seven year old [ [http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20080820/sports/10662&tc=yahoo Press Democrat Staff Writer] ] , and caught the attention of the New Zealand public when granted a special dispensation to obtain a competition licence to race a saloon car as a 13-year-old. [ [http://www.nzmotorsport.co.nz/content/blackbullet.cfm?ID=7526 Black Bullet Profile :Scott Dixon] ] New Zealanders cannot obtain a road licence until turning 15 years old.
Dixon was competing at
Pukekohe Park Racewayin a one-make series featuring the NissanSentra when he rolled the car onto its roof. He caught national attention when TV showed him struggling from the upturned car with a cushion strapped to his waist to enable him to reach the pedals, and wiping a tear from his eye. [This Is Your Life, TV1, September 21, 2008] Dixon went on to win in every series he competed in.
In 1994 he won the New Zealand
Formula Veechampionship, [ [http://www.formulafirst.co.nz/newsarticle.asp?id=2888&o=&p= NZ_Formula_First_Graduates_- _The_'Internationa_Boys' ] ] before taking the Formula FordClass 2 series in 1995 with 13 wins from 14 races, and then the full New Zealand Formula Ford championship the next year.
In 1997 Dixon decided to race in Australia. With no money to carry on racing, Rotorua businessman Christopher Wingate provided Dixon and his mentor, Kiwi racing hero Kenny Smith, with both money and airfares between New Zealand and Australia to ensure Dixon's career moved ahead. In 1997 Dixon won Rookie of the Year and third overall in the Australian
Formula Holdenseries. This resulted in him being offered a drive with top team SH Racing. As the budgets were going to exceed $250,000, Wingate suggested a company be formed to fund Dixon's career. That company was called Scott Dixon Motorsport (SDMS), funded by shareholders who over the next two years invested more than $1m in Dixon. This allowed him to pursue his career without worrying about money. In 1998 Dixon won the Formula Holden series outright. That win brought offers to race in the Australian V8 Supercarseries but that was not where he wanted to make his mark, so arrangements were made for him to go to the USA to test in the Indy Lights series.
With the backing of Scott Dixon Motorsport investors, Dixon moved to the United States in 1999. After a test in Sebring where Dixon broke the track record on his eighth lap, he was signed to Johansson Motorsports
Indy Lightsteam, beginning a long management association with the team's owner, former Ferrariand McLaren Formula Onedriver Stefan Johansson. He set a lap record when taking pole position for the Chicago oval race which he won. He was consistently fast throughout the year but had five DNFs, which limited him to fifth place in the series.
In 2000 Dixon remained in Indy Lights, moving to the
PacWestteam. He took the championship in resounding fashion, scoring six wins and seven podium finishes.
PacWest Racinggraduated Dixon to its full CARTteam in 2001. Dixon immediately out-paced his team-mate, the former Formula One driver Mauricio Gugelmin. Dixon led his first race in Mexico for 14 laps. Just two races later he won at Nazareth Speedway. At the age of 20 years, 9 months and 14 days it was widely reported that he became the youngest winner of a major U.S. open-wheel race, but this achievement already belonged to Jimmy Davieswho was six months younger when winning the 100 mile AAA Championship race at Del Mar, Californiain 1949. Dixon scored championship points in 11 of 20 starts, and led the FedEx Champ Car Series in laps completed with 2,521 out of a possible 2,610. He won the Jim TruemanTrophy for Rookie of the Year and was eighth in the championship.
Dixon remained with PacWest, owned by
Bruce McCawof McCaw Cellular, for 2002 but it soon became clear the team was woefully short of cash due to the dot com crash. When it eventually collapsed, Toyotaarranged an introduction to Target Chip Ganassi Racing which added a third car to its squad to accommodate Dixon. It was his first experience of a true top-level team, which had the then top-level engine supplier, Toyota. Dixon posted 12 top ten finishes, including a second place at Denver.
Indy Racing League
Chip Ganassi joined CART teams Penske and
Andretti-Green Racingin 2003 to switch to the all-oval Indy Racing League. Dixon won the season opener at Homestead in Florida. A tangle with Tony Kanaanin Japan left Dixon with a shattered hand, but he recovered to take two more victories and win the championship at his first try. Along the way he also set a record with 343 consecutive laps led, the first time a driver had led consecutive laps in three successive races. At Pikes Peak he led the last 84 laps to win, then led every lap of the next event at Richmond, and at the next event, at Kansas, led the first 53 laps. [ [http://www.sjwatch.net/management.php Stephan Johansson Driver Management] ] Although it was his first year in the IRL, and he won the championship, Dixon was not rookie of the year due to his ChampCar experience.
The year ended on a tragic note for Dixon. Ganassi had recruited
Tony Rennaas his team-mate. The young American and Dixon were already close friends. But at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, during Renna's first practice session for the team, he spun across the track and became airborne in the third turn. Renna's car hit a post at high speed and was demolished, the cockpit splitting on impact. Renna was killed instantly of blunt force trauma to the head and chest.
Dixon did not succesfully defend his title. The
Toyotaengine had lost its edge. He did, however, have the opportunity to stake his claim for a drive in Formula One, when he tested for the Williams-BMW. His 2003 championship also earned him the right to represent the IRL in the 2004 International Race of Championswhere he finished 10th.
The 2005 season was even worse for Dixon with the Toyota engine not matching competitors' engines. Dixon and his Ganassi team-mates,
Ryan Briscoeand Darren Manning, were struggling, and they wrote off or seriously damaged 28 cars in a seemingly never ending series of crashes. Manning was fired, and Australian Briscoe was lucky to escape with his life when his car became airborne and disintegrated after touching another car and slamming into the outside retaining wall of Chicagoland Speedway's third turn. Amid rumours Dixon could also be sacked, the Kiwi bounced back to score his and the team's first win since 2003, the Indy Grand Prix at Watkins Glen International. Soon after, Dixon re-signed for a further two seasons with Ganassi.
Toyota later withdrew its IRL involvement for the 2006 season. Dixon was partnered with Englishman
Dan Wheldon, the 2005 Indianapolis 500winner and IRL series champion. Before the IRL season even started, they successfully combined as a one-car team (with Casey Mears) to win the 24 Hours of Daytona. Dixon repeated his 2005 Indy Grand Prix win at Watkins Glen, and became the first man ever to win an IRL race run in wet conditions. At Nashville Superspeedway, he won the Gibson Guitar Trophy by a couple of car lengths over his team mate Wheldon. He finished fourth in the standings, completing a series-high 2,504 of a possible 2,510 laps and being the only driver to finish every race [ [http://www.sjwatch.net/management.php Stephan Johansson Driver Management] ] , and finishing just 15 points behind Sam Hornish Jr.and Wheldon.
Dixon was the runner-up in the
2007 IndyCar Series season, 13 points behind Dario Franchitti, after running out of fuel while leading on the final lap of the final race. Earlier he had achieved his fourth win of the year at Infineon Raceway, and his third consecutive Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix. He had four second place finishes, including in the rain shortened Indianapolis 500, and finished in the top five in 10 races this season. He dominated the rain-delayed Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway, his second consecutive win in the event, and second consecutive win of the season. He won the next race too, the Honda 200 on July 22, to become the third driver in history to win three IRL races in a row, joining Dan Wheldonand Kenny Bräck.
August 5, Dixon was attempting to win a fourth straight race at the Firestone Indy 400 when he was involved in a six-car accident that sent Dario Franchitti's car airborne. Dixon's crew repaired his car sufficiently to run two more laps, earning him valuable points in his battle with Franchitti for the driver's championship despite not finishing the race. This ended a streak of 28 consecutive races — since retiring at the Chicagoland Speedwayevent in September 2005 — in which Dixon did not retire. During the last event at Chicagoland, battling Franchitti for the win and the championship, Dixon was leading Franchitti on the last lap when he ran out of fuel, [ [http://www.chipganassiracing.com/news/index.cfm?cid=3868&series=indycar Dixon loses after running out of fuel] ] giving Franchitti the race win and the championship.
This was a highly successful season for Dixon who won the series championship for the second time, and won his first Indianapolis 500, from the pole, to give car owner Chip Ganassi his second win in the race. He also won this season at Homestead, Texas, Nashville, Edmonton and Kentucky, a record equalling six wins for a season in the series. In the final points scoring race of the series, at
Chicagoland Speedway, Dixon needed to finish no worse than eighth if Castroneves won the race. He placed second to Castroneves in a tight photo finish. Speaking to the media later he said it had been an amazing, unforgettable year. "Getting married, winning the 500, winning a championship in one year - not too many people can probably say they've done that." [ [http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/4/story.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10531053 Dixon relieved and exstatic after win] ] Motorsport.com took it further, saying that Dixon "can now say he's the 'best of the best' in American open-wheel racing, especially after this year's unification with Champ Car". [ [http://www.motorsport.com/news/article.asp?ID=307002&FS=INDYCAR Dixon_standing_tall_after_second_title] ]
At Kentucky he took his career laps-led tally to 2,149, becoming the fifth driver in the series to lead for more than 2000 laps. [ [http://www.motorsport.com/news/article.asp?ID=304366&FS=INDYCAR Chip Ganassi Racing Review] ] Also at Kentucky, Dixon replaced
Alex Zanardias the winningest IndyCar driver for Chip Ganassi (16th victory), and his pole position achieved on August 30 for the Detroit Indy Grand Prixgave him seven for the year, and took him to second all-time leading pole-setter with 15. [ [http://www.tsn.ca/auto_racing/story/?id=247989 Dixon Snatches Detroit Indy Grand Prix Pole] ] . Also, he led 869 laps during the year, an all-time record for a single season. Just before the Chicagoland event, it was announced that team mate Wheldon would be moving to Panther Racing[ [http://www.motorsport.com/news/article.asp?ID=306234&FS=INDYCAR Panther Racing Signs Wheldon] ] in 2009, and Dixon's new partner would be Franchitti who will return from Nascar. [ [http://www.tribstar.com/sports/local_story_246222717.html?keyword=secondarystory Darion Franchitti heding back to IndyCar] ]
Dixon performed a secret test with
Prost Grand Prixjunior Formula 3000team.
BMWwho gave Dixon the chance to realize his ambition and drive a Formula One car, even while he raced with Toyotaengines in the CART series. At the Paul Ricard Circuitin France, Dixon drove a Williams, and made a respectable showing during a one-day test. His times were not far off those of regular driver Ralf Schumacher.
However, a two day test six weeks later in Barcelona was not a success, with Dixon failing to land a spot with the team. Although Dixon maintains his desire to break into Formula One, as strong as ever, few drivers his age are brought to F1 as rookies.
After attending one race meeting as an observer, Dixon tested New Zealand's
A1 Grand Prixcar during the sixth round of the series in Dubai. It is reported that Dixon was becoming familiar with the car, before racing it during the 2006 A1GP rounds in the USA and Mexico, but he could not secure a release from Ganassi.
Dixon drove in the 2004, 2005 and 2006
24 Hours of Daytonaraces for Ganassi Racing. He won the 2006 race with teammates Dan Wheldonand Casey Mears, logging the most laps in their Lexuspowered Riley.
() (Races in bold indicate pole position)
* [http://www.scottdixon.co.nz/ Scott Dixon official website]
* [http://www.champcarworldseries.com/Drivers/Driver.asp?ID=15 Scott Dixon Biography in US]
* [http://www.f1network.net/main/s599/st123776.htm IRL Profile: Scott Dixon]
* [http://desmoinesregister.stats.com/racing/drivers.asp?series=IRL&driver=1028 2008 Stats]
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