Racing insider: Dixon, Ganassi seeking another title
By Ralph N. Paulk
Published: Saturday, April 13, 2013, 11:36 p.m.
If Scott Dixon was a card-toting member of the PGA Tour, he would be characterized as a grinder — someone who plows along without distraction and unblinkingly deals with adversity.
Dixon, a two-time IndyCar Series champion, scratched his way into contention at the Brickyard the past two years when victory in the Indianapolis 500 appeared unlikely. He overcame a couple of hiccups to finish second behind teammate Dario Franchitti in last year's race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
So far this season, Dixon has been the driving force behind Target Chip Ganassi Racing. The New Zealander opened with a fifth-place finish in St. Petersburg and last week recorded a runner-up finish in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama.
Dixon's performance, coupled with the surprising start of third-year driver Charlie Kimball, has overshadowed the uncharacteristically slow start of Franchitti, a four-time series champion and three-time Indy 500 winner who sits 26th in points.
“Scott always finds a way to get the most out of the cars we give him,” said Fox Chapel native Chip Ganassi. “He has a chance to win the championship every year, and I know that's what he expects.”
Dixon, second in points behind leader Helio Castroneves, is off to a fast start in the Honda-powered No. 9 car, in part, because he's easily handled every crooked turn he's faced. Also, he's managed to race his way into contention after two average qualifying runs — including starting 20th in St. Petersburg.
“For me, a lot of it has to do with the team,” Dixon said. “Unfortunately, we haven't capitalized on some of the finishes we would like.
“I love being a part of the team. I enjoy every part of my job, but our goal is to get more 500 wins.”
Dixon, the 2008 Indy 500 winner, has had a splendid 11-year run with Ganassi. And he hopes to deliver CGR's 100th IndyCar Series victory during next week's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Prix.
Dixon made a strong charge over the final 10 laps in Birmingham last Sunday. He roared past Castroneves to secure second but ran out of time on the 17-turn, 2.38-mile road course and finished .6368 of a second behind defending points champion Ryan Hunter-Reay.
“I admire Chip's pure love for competition,” Dixon said. “He wants to win. If you had a bad race, a bad year, then Chip gets angry. But that's good to see because we all want to achieve great things.
“We work well together. It's been fantastic winning championships. We're right up there with some of the great teams. You look at Roger (Penske) and see Chip right next to him.”
Dixon might not possess Franchitti's charisma, but he has unmatched aspirations. It's why he's haunted by his recent failures at the Brickyard.
“You always analyze how you're performing,” he said. “Every weekend is different. There are different things you're trying to achieve. It's always about bettering yourself and the team. It's about winning, too.”
Ralph N. Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @RalphPaulk_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kovacevic: A great day to appreciate No. 68
- Orpik skates with injured teammates
- Steelers safety Polamalu finds himself in tough position
- LeBeau wants to come back as Steelers defensive coordinator
- Firefighters battle house fire in Bloomfield
- Tractor-trailer overturns on I-70 at New Stanton exit
- Penguins notebook: Popularity with female fans brings test event to Consol
- Pitt’s Donald sweeps Outland, Bednarik awards, named All-American
- Power play, penalty kill help put Penguins on another 100-point pace
- Man wounded in Mt. Lebanon apartment shooting
- Industrial past inspires Fairmont’s ‘Garden of Titans’ holiday tree