Monday, March 27, 2023

2022 IndyCar Driver Reviews: Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon on pit road in the 2022 Indianapolis 500.
Scott Dixon on pit road in the 2022 Indianapolis 500. Photo courtesy of Joe Skibinski/Penske Entertainment.

Continuing our driver review series of the top 20 drivers of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series championship, we are continuing our single-driver reviews until reaching Will Power, the 2022 IndyCar Series champion.

Here, we will focus on Scott Dixon, the third placed driver in the championship points.

The photo choice for this review is a distinct reminder. Scott Dixon’s possible seventh IndyCar championship came undone on pit road at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Instead of winning his second Indianapolis 500 and having a much firmer grasp on the championship trophy, Dixon had to perform a drive-through penalty after speeding in the pits for his last pit stop.

Dixon was about one mph over the pit road speed limit as he entered pit road for his Lap 175 pit stop. Race control levied the penalty that dropped the No. 9 Honda down the order.

Instead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s most dominant driver winning that day, it was their afterthought entry that picked up the large points haul for winning.

Dixon still won two races in 2022, placing him second on the all-time winners list ahead of Mario Andretti. Those wins were part of an incredible season with 15 top-10 finishes out of 17 races, but the 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner will look back on Indianapolis and wonder what could have been.

Marcus Ericsson received 226 points for winning the 500. Dixon received 166. Dixon’s gap to Will Power at the end of the season was only 39 points.

Yeah, that’s something that will sting a while. But that mistake shouldn’t take away from his results all season.

Dixon won at Toronto despite all of the drama surrounding Alex Palou’s contact situation at the team. The chaos at Nashville never touched Dixon for his final win of the season. Podium finishes at the final IndyCar race at Belle Isle and at Portland bolstered Dixon’s championship hopes, but five finishes between eighth and 10th places dragged Dixon behind as Power kept his lead as the season wound down.

Dixon’s chance for another title and Indianapolis 500 will come next year, and another title will continue the 3 and 8-year championship streak. 

Four of Dixon’s championships have come in years ending in 3 or 8: 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2018. 2023 could easily be title number seven.

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