Three-time Indy 500 champion Dario Franchitti, of Scotland, watches from the pit box of Scott Dixon, of New Zealand, during practice for the Indianapolis 500 IndyCar auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Monday, May 22, 2017, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Indy 500 winners Dixon, Franchitti robbed at a Taco Bell

INDIANAPOLIS — After winning the Indianapolis 500 pole, collecting a $100,000 check and doing the usual interview circuit, Scott Dixon tried to relax.

Instead, he got the scare of his life.

As he ordered dinner for his teammates at one of the few fast-food restaurants still open near Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Dixon and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti were robbed at gunpoint while waiting in the drive-thru line.

Neither was injured and two boys, ages 15 and 14, were arrested a short time later.

“While they were ordering with their windows down two guys approached at gunpoint,” said Tony Kannan, a teammate of Dixon’s with Chip Ganassi Racing. “They held a gun at Dixon’s head and asked him for his wallet and his phone. You don’t expect that to happen, especially here.”

The robbery happened shortly before 10 p.m. less than a mile from one of the world’s most famous racing venues, where Dixon had just earned the top starting position in IndyCar’s showcase race coming up on Sunday. Police did not immediately disclose what was taken from the two drivers.

By Monday, when drivers returned to the track for practice, Dixon had become the target of some good-natured humour.

His team owner joked on Twitter that the alleged incident would cost him a sponsorship deal with the fast-food chain.

Kanaan cracked that because he’s from Brazil, he’s a little more accustomed to handling “this stuff.”

While the notion that one of IndyCar’s biggest and best-paid stars was making a late-night fast food run seemed odd to some, that wasn’t the case in Gasoline Alley where Dixon is one of the most respected drivers.

“Actually, I have done that a few times,” team owner and former IndyCar star Michael Andretti said. “When you’re driving, you’re in the motorhome and sometimes you eat late and you just want to get a quick bite. And things around here close early.”

Clearly, Dixon isn’t the only IndyCar driver with a hankering for fast food.

American Graham Rahal is currently sponsored by Steak ‘n Shake and has previously been sponsored by McDonald’s.

Four-time 500 champ Rick Mears celebrated his first victory, in 1979, at Wendy’s.

Former Indy pole-winner and three-time NASCAR champ Tony Stewart made no secret of his craving for burgers. And former NASCAR driver Larry Foyt said it’s no different down South.

“There’s a lot of fun, a lot of camaraderie in the motorhomes,” the team president of A.J. Foyt Racing said. “But sometimes people went out like that. For Scott, I’m sure it’s a little bit of normalcy to get away from all the emotions of Pole Day.”

Dixon declined to comment on Monday. He is scheduled to appear Tuesday in Toronto as part of the series’ media tour — and he’s likely to be peppered with questions about what happened.

Until then, Ganassi and his team are not talking to reporters so they can focus on getting ready for Sunday’s race.

It sure didn’t affect him Monday. The New Zealander posted the third fastest lap of the day at 227.165 mph.

“Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti are completely fine after being held up last night by two men at a fast-food restaurant,” the team said in a statement. “We will allow the Speedway/Indianapolis police departments to handle the situation and while they conduct their investigation we will refrain from making any further comments to allow Scott to focus on the upcoming Indianapolis 500.”

According to the police report, detectives said surveillance cameras showed a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot before the robbery.

About 30 minutes later, the report said, officers stopped the car and the passenger fled. He was apprehended by a police dog. One of the suspects was taken to Marion County Holding at Eskenazi Hospital while the other went to the local juvenile detention centre.

Police said one of the suspects was identified by one of the robbery victims. The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office will review the case and make a changing decision.

Dixon won the 2008 Indy 500 from the pole. He is fourth all-time on the series’ career list for wins (40), is tied for second in most series championships (four) and is now one of five drivers to win the Indy pole three times. He also is a friend of longtime teammate Franchitti, a Scot who was forced into retirement following a serious crash late in the 2013 season at Houston.

Franchitti won 31 IndyCar races, tied for ninth all-time, and like Dixon won four series titles. Franchitti and Brazil’s Helio Castroneves are the only foreign-born drivers to win the Indy 500 three times.

“We’re all very relieved to hear that everyone is safe and that the suspects were caught,” Taco Bell Corp. spokesman Rob Poetsch said in an email.

Just Posted

Four Red Deer skiers off to Alberta Winter Games

Four young Red Deer skiers are headed to the Alberta Winter Games.… Continue reading

Hurry Hard: Red Deer Oilmen’s Bonspiel starts on Friday

A January tradition in Red Deer, the Oilmen’s Bonspiel takes to the… Continue reading

City Hall briefly evacuated

Carbon monoxide false alarm behind evacuation

Charges laid in home invasion in Maskwacis

Three people injured with stab wounds

Town of Sylvan Lake takes over provincial park

Provincial government announced official transfer of park to town on Thursday

WATCH: Marijuana in the Workplace information luncheon held in Red Deer

Central Alberta businesses need to prepare for the legalization of marijuana. That… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month