LEXINGTON, Ohio — There’s no one better than Scott Dixon at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where The Iceman has a record six IndyCar wins and has finished outside the top 10 just twice in his career.
So he’s the favorite to win on Sunday, right?
Well, not so fast.
Dixon is mired in one of the longest losing streaks of his career — 21 races and counting dating back to the start of last season — and he hasn’t won at Mid-Ohio since 2019. He also slipped one step in the Chip Ganassi Racing lineup, which boasts reigning IndyCar champion Alex Palu and current Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson, who heads into Sunday’s race as the IndyCar points leader.
Palu is ranked fifth in the standings, while Dixon, the six-time champion and most accomplished driver of his generation, is sixth and looking to get into the title race.
“It should — I guess that’s the obvious answer,” Dixon said of his season’s start. “I was hoping that the Indy 500 would be that twist and hit that we needed. It’s been an interesting year, lots of ups and downs and some missed opportunities.”
Dixon was the class of the field in May at the Indianapolis 500 and dominated the race until he was flagged for speeding on the road. The ensuing penalty crippled his shot to win.
As the New Zealander dealt with the emotions of that defeat, his name suddenly surfaced in a hit free agency rumor. Zak Brown, the McLaren Racing boss, has long wanted Dixon, and after Indianapolis word spread that Brown was trying to lure Dixon away from Ganassi with the promise of a leadership role in the Arrow McLaren SP.
Dixon, who turns 42 later this month and is IndyCar’s fourth-oldest full-time driver, said he had not spoken to McLaren. His management may have offered an offer, but Dixon remains above the fray.
“A lot of people are talking. I even got a few messages from people asking the same thing,” Dixon said. “If people are having these conversations, I haven’t been a part of them. I love doing what I do and being part of the team I’m with. Who knows what the future holds, but right now I’m focusing on this season. That’s all I have to say. There’s really nothing to it.
Dixon does have a career plan he would like to pursue. His 51 career wins rank him third all-time, one win behind Mario Andretti for second, and he is one championship away from tying AJ Foyt’s mark of 7.
“Honestly, I don’t see anything changing in what I’m doing right now for at least the next five years,” said Dixon, who enjoys a Ganassi lineup that includes seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson.
“I think the balance as far as we’ve come I think it’s working very well and I think if you look at how competitive the team has been, of course there’s always areas where we can improve and trust me we’re working as hard as we can -diligently to make this possible,” Dixon said. “I love the momentum right now. It’s a lot of fun, it’s a great group and they’ve already achieved one goal this year and that’s to win the Indy 500. Hopefully we can capture that second championship goal.”
THE STATUS STATUS
Ganassi recently said he expects his four-car lineup to return in 2023, an indication that things are progressing with Johnson for a third year in IndyCar. Johnson said Friday that the return of No. 48 next season is still in the works.
“Status quo — I saw Chip’s comments and I thought that was a very PC way of saying things stay the same,” Johnson said. “I share the same thought. We all hope so, that is the intention. Many sponsors, you can talk to them and it takes until October or November before some decisions are made. I sure hope it doesn’t go that deep.