Heading to this weekend’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono it is a case of ‘one down, four wins to go’ for reigning NTT INDYCAR Series champion Scott Dixon.
An impressive victory last time out at Mid-Ohio catapulted the Kiwi back into championship contention. But a 62-point gap to championship leader Josef Newgarden leaves Dixon in no doubt as to the approach he must adopt with four races remaining.
From Pocono to Laguna Seca, it’s win or bust for Dixon
“Race wins are all that matter at this stage in the season if you want to have a shot at defending this championship title”, said the 5-time series champion. “It’s now time to roll the dice and take chances.”
Taking chances at the right time in the closing stages of an INDYCAR season has made Dixon a racing legend. A master of the late season charge, few drivers are better at turning a points deficit into a championship victory.
A challenge that Dixon is ready to embrace, starting at the Tricky Triangle this weekend.
Dixon at Pocono: fast and consistent
The championship veteran knows what it takes to win at Pocono having taken victory in 2013, the first INDYCAR race at the legendary tri-oval since 1989.
“Pocono is really fast and produces great INDYCAR racing. It’s such a unique challenge to get everything right”, said the 39-year-old.
Dixon’s form at Pocono is a mirror image of his INDYCAR career to date; fast and consistent. In six previous visits Dixon is yet to record a finish outside the top 10.
“The team swept the podium in 2013 and that is a perfect example of things going your way here when you get everything right”, remarked Dixon. That win propelled Dixon to his 3rd INDYCAR title and a repeat victory is essential for his hopes of landing a 6th for Chip Ganassi Racing.
In fact, the INDYCAR history books suggest that playing catch-up in the closing races of the season is not neccesarily a bad thing.
Playing the hunter or hunted makes no difference for Dixon
In the ultra-competitive world of INDYCAR, topping the point standings at this stage of the season is no guarantee of success. Though Dixon secured two of his five titles when leading the points with four races to go (2008 and 2018), since 2008 that has only been replicated a further four times (2011, 2012, 2016 and 2017).
Conversely, the points leader has failed to clinch the title on five occasions.
On balance, there seems little to choose between playing the role of hunter or hunted at this stage of the season. A master of both, Dixon is ready and pumped to chase down another INDYCAR title.
Next: Newgarden hits ‘reset’ on championship challenge after Mid-Ohio nightmare
ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway
Practice for the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway starts 9.30am (local) Saturday, August 17 with live coverage on NBC Sports Gold followed by qualifying for the NTT P1 Award from 12.30pm (local).
The green flag drops on the field at 2.45pm on Sunday, August 18 for 200 laps.