Dixon looks to repeat at Edmonton Indy

Scott Dixon returns to the Alberta capital this weekend to defend his 2008 victory at the Rexall Edmonton Indy and, with any luck, regain the points lead from teammate Dario Franchitti in what has become a back-and-forth battle.

Dario Franchitti and Target Chip Ganassi Racing Teammate Scott Dixon will battle for the points lead in Edmonton on Sunday.

Dario Franchitti and Target Chip Ganassi Racing Teammate Scott Dixon will battle for the points lead in Edmonton on Sunday.

EDMONTON — Scott Dixon returns to the Alberta capital this weekend to defend his 2008 victory at the Rexall Edmonton Indy and, with any luck, regain the points lead from teammate Dario Franchitti in what has become a back-and-forth battle.

“Now is probably a turning point,” said Dixon in a phone interview Wednesday from Indianapolis prior to him flying to Edmonton for Sunday’s race (4 p.m., Versus).

“With Edmonton, Kentucky, Mid-Ohio and Sonoma, the next few races are all going to be very challenging.

“I think we need a little bit of luck to roll our way, especially on the road courses.”

The New Zealander, who celebrated his 29th birthday Wednesday, won the inaugural IndyCar event on the 1.96 mile (3.2 km) airport-road course at the City Centre Airport, edging Helio Castroneves out of pit row and leading the final 30 laps to victory.

The track — with wide corners and bumpy stretches — favours the daring and punishes the hesitant, said the man who drives the blood red No. 9 Dallara Honda, a bulls eye painted on the side, for Target Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Edmonton is actually really funny. It’s almost like a road course, but it has the bumps of a street course. It’s really rough, but it’s super-wide, super fast.”

Franchitti captured the checkered flag in the last event in Toronto on July 12, matching Dixon with three victories apiece this season. With 347 points, the Scottish driver took over top spot in the overall standings, just two ahead points ahead of Dixon.

It was the third consecutive weekend the two Ganassi drivers team swapped the points lead, and the sixth race of the season that one of the two has been on top of the standings.

It’s a bit of deja vu for Dixon, who won the overall championship in 2008 with six victories, but in 2007 was on his way to the crown when he ran out of gas on the last lap of the final race, at Chicagoland. Franchitti, then with Andretti Green Racing, roared past him for the championship.

With seven races to go, Dixon said he isn’t thinking about exorcising demons from two years back.

“I don’t look back on it, but a lot of people do,” he said.

Rather, he said, “I hope this is the time where both Dario and myself can step it up and try and put a bit of a gap between us and (Team Penske rival Ryan Briscoe), because if that guy gets it all going right, he’ll be tough to beat.”

Briscoe sits third, just 13 points back of Franchitti, who returned to open wheel this season after struggling on the NASCAR circuit in 2008.

“Dario had a bit of a rough season last year,” said Dixon, “He’s super-motivated. He wants to prove a point. And motivation can sometimes push you through things.”

Not only has Dixon been dealing with Franchitti, but also with first-time fatherhood (daughter Poppy was born earlier this month), and rumours he may leave Ganassi to team up with friend Gil de Ferran’s expected two-car IndyCar entry in 2010.

Dixon said the rumours are just that — rumours.

“I like Gil as a friend. We go back and forth, but it’s early days on that whole progress of where he’s at and if we can do anything in the future.

“We’re talking probably a long time down the road, but it’s very hard to give up or change from such a successful team.”

Dixon, a pilot, triathlete and a driver who won his first championship at age 13, is also on the verge of IndyCar history.

A win Sunday will be his 20th in IndyCar, surpassing Sam Hornish Jr. for most career wins in the series.

That would be a high-profile accomplishment for a man whose motto is “Fly under the Radar.” Team owner Chip Ganassi, in an email interview, said keeping a low profile, staying patient, is Dixon’s strength.

“He rarely makes mistakes. He always waits for the right opportunity and then rarely misses chances at making mes,” said Ganassi.

“It is certainly not that he doesn’t take risks. It’s just that Scott takes calculated risks. He is a talent like few others.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Red Deer Boxing Club has raised money to expand programming but still needs a larger space to operate in when it’s allowed to reopen. (Contributed photo).
Red Deer Boxing Club has obtained $70,000 in grants but is still seeking a larger space

Without expanded programming, the grants must be returned: manager

Red Deer city council gave final approval to a mask bylaw that will go into effect on Nov. 30. (Black Press file photo).
Red Deer city council approves mask bylaw that takes effect Monday

It could be ‘superceded’ by a provincial mask bylaw, if one is announced Tuesday

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced more than 1,500 active cases in Alberta Monday afternoon and five additional deaths. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
New COVID rules coming

Central zone active cases up by 100 in last 24 hours

(Black Press file photo.)
Rocky police charge three suspects after pellet gun shootings

Three incidents results in several injuries

Lynn Van Laar, chair of this year’s Christmas Wish Breakfast, said the event was planned outdoors to minimize the risk of COVID. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Outdoor Christmas Wish Breakfast helps central Alberta families this holiday season

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to stop children from having a merry… Continue reading

Hockey Canada president and CEO Scott Smith speaks during a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. Hockey Canada announced Tuesday that two players at its nation junior selection camp have tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Two players at Canada’s World Junior selection camp test positive for COVID-19

Canada’s World Junior selection camp in Red Deer came to a screeching… Continue reading

Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) knocks a pass away from Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
Goff throws for 376 yards, 3 TDs in Rams’ 27-24 win vs Bucs

Goff throws for 376 yards, 3 TDs in Rams’ 27-24 win vs Bucs

New York Red Bulls midfielder Dru Yearwood, left, fights for the ball against Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio during an MLS soccer match in Harrison, N.J., on November 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
Experienced Toronto FC ready to take on upstart Nashville SC in playoff action

Experienced Toronto FC ready to take on upstart Nashville SC in playoff action

Canada's head coach Dave Lowry during practice at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland, on Wednesday, December 30, 2015. The Winnipeg Jets have hired Lowry as an assistant coach. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Former WHL head coach Dave Lowry joins Paul Maurice’s staff in Winnipeg

Former WHL head coach Dave Lowry joins Paul Maurice’s staff in Winnipeg

Felix Auger-Aliassime, of Canada, returns a shot to Dominic Thiem, of Austria, during the fourth round of the US Open tennis championships in New York on September 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Seth Wenig
A steady if unspectacular season comes to a close for Canada’s Auger-Aliassime

A steady if unspectacular season comes to a close for Canada’s Auger-Aliassime

Sacramento Kings' Alex Len (25) collects a rebound against Brooklyn Nets' Jarrett Allen (31) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Aug. 7, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ashley Landis
Raptors continue to shore up frontcourt, signing Alex Len to one-year deal

Raptors continue to shore up frontcourt, signing Alex Len to one-year deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Freeland says Liberals will deliver economic, fiscal update on Nov. 30

Freeland says Liberals will deliver economic, fiscal update on Nov. 30

Canadian Joint Operations Commander Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau speaks during a news conference on the recent Canadian Forces helicopter crash, Tuesday, May 19, 2020 in Ottawa. The Canadian Armed Forces is preparing to formally apologize to victims of sexual misconduct. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canadian Armed Forces to formally apologize to victims for sexual misconduct

Canadian Armed Forces to formally apologize to victims for sexual misconduct

Most Read