AUSTIN, TX – Scott Dixon heads into the 2019 season in a familiar position. For the fifth time, he heads into a new year as the defending champion. There’s not much left that Dixon hasn’t done during his illustrious NTT IndyCar Series career. His 44 wins rank him third most in the history of the series. His 14 straight seasons with at least one victory is most ever among any driver to ever race. His 27 poles rank him tied with Al Unser for 10th all-time. His 40 second place finishes are third, one behind Helio Castroneves for second. His 105 podiums are third ever with his 154 top fives are second most.
Last year, Dixon won his fifth career IndyCar title. Only A.J. Foyt has more. With all of those accolades, you would think that there’s not much more Dixon can do.
Well, Dixon is after one thing this season – a repeat championship. That’s something the Chip Ganassi Racing driver has remarkably yet to pull off.
In the seasons after he won his previous four championships, Dixon has finished 10th, second, third and third respectively in the final standings.
His goal now is to change that trend.
Dixon, is coming off of a year in which he won three times and had 12 top five finishes in the final 13 events of the season. Where he’s struggled though is starting the season off on the right footing.
In 2018, Dixon had one top five finish in the first four races. In fact, over the last eight years, Dixon reached victory lane in the first five races of the season just twice.
If he wants to repeat as a champion, he has to start better.
Speaking of wins though, that’s something Chip Ganassi Racing is hoping to get more of out of the second car. Since 2015, the organization has reached victory lane in the series nine times. All nine of those wins came via Dixon.
The last time CGR won a race with someone other than Dixon was with Tony Kanaan in the 2014 season finale.
Ed Jones had two top five finishes all season in 2018. Tony Kanaan had three in his final year in the No. 10 Honda in 2017. Combined, that’s five top five finishes in two years. Dixon on the other hand, had six in the final six races last year alone.
This No. 10 entry used to rival Dixon’s No. 9 in terms of wins and championships. Dario Franchitti had a five year stretch (2009-2013) of three titles (2009-2011) and 13 wins. In that same time frame, Dixon had one title (2013) to go along with 16 victories.
Since, Dixon has two championships, 11 wins and 46 top fives. The No. 10 entry has no championship hardware, one win and 22 top fives.
See the drop off?
The team is hoping Felix Rosenqvist can bolster this car and give Dixon some help. It’s basically been Dixon vs. the Team Penske and Andretti Autosport entries for the title. Ganassi, would like to get another car up front again to help take points away from Dixon’s challengers.
Dixon, says that Rosenqvist can have a season that rivals to what last year’s Rookie of the Year Robert Wickens had. The Swede says he’s coming in with a vengeance and expects to contend too.
“I’m not afraid to mess around,” said Rosenqvist at the IndyCar Media Day. “I’m her eto win. I’m here to stay.”