DIXON'S SIMPLE BIRTHDAY WISH
By Dave Lewandowski, IndyCar.com
EDMONTON, Alberta -- There’s better ways to spend your 31st birthday than at soggy airport racetrack, which is kind of unique in itself. Scott Dixon didn’t object.
There was plenty of time to accept well-wishes, catch up with colleagues after visiting Paris and London with the family during the off week, and think about multiple victories in the second half of the season.
The latter could be characterized as a birthday wish.
Dixon, who’s won two of the past three IZOD IndyCar Series races in Edmonton, is looking for his first victory of 2011. He’s been the race runner-up four times and has a streak of six top-10 finishes, but the two-time series champion wants/needs a win. He’s third in the title chase, 83 points behind front-running teammate Dario Franchitti entering Round 10 of the schedule.
“It’s probably one of the longest streaks I’ve had without a win so it’s kind of frustrating,” said Dixon, who’s eager to get his feet wet on the new 2.24-mile, 13-turn circuit in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car. “It’s been an odd season from my side of the team. Obviously, Dario is having a stellar year, which is fantastic for the whole group.
“It’s a big lead but definitely not unbeatable, and he hasn’t really had any bad luck this year – and I’m not wishing any upon him – but a few of us others have had some pretty bad luck.”
Case in point: the season opener on another airport circuit when Dixon’s car was involved in a Turn 1 incident at the start of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. He returned to finish 16th. There also was Long Beach (18th place) and rainy Sao Paulo, Brazil (12th place after starting third).
Since then, it’s been relative sunny days for the New Zealander. After tying a career record by advancing 21 positions to finish third at Iowa Speedway, he checked in second behind Franchitti on July 10 at Toronto. More top fives, sprinkled with a victory or two in the remaining eight races (his last win was at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the 2010 season finale) and Dixon could again duel with Franchitti for the championship.
“Fingers crossed, we can still be in the fight, especially down to the wire, which is the way everybody wants to see the championship finish,” Dixon said. “Dario (four victories) is making that quite tough at the moment.”