MotorSportsTalk will look through the Verizon IndyCar Series field driver-by-driver, a month on from the season finale at Sonoma Raceway.
We start off with the champion, Scott Dixon.
Scott Dixon, No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
- 2014: 3rd Place, 2 Wins, 1 Pole, 4 Podiums, 11 Top-5, 12 Top-10, 97 Laps Led, 8.9 Avg. Start, 8.3 Avg. Finish
- 2015: Champion, 3 Wins, 2 Poles, 4 Podiums, 7 Top-5, 12 Top-10, 306 Laps Led, 6.1 Avg. Start, 7.7 Avg. Finish
Few drivers could realistically overcome a 47-point deficit in one race to score the championship but then again, few drivers are Scott Dixon. And while it took a perfect storm of circumstances to occur – Juan Pablo Montoya making a rare unforced error, the Ganassi team moving Dixon forward in the pits and double points being on offer – Dixon still had to deliver the goods, and did so nicely in the Sonoma season finale.
The championship capped off, if not a roller coaster season, a season that probably wasn’t Dixon’s best to date. When the New Zealander said after Sonoma that really no one had a stellar season, he was right, and he probably was including himself in that statement. Although he had a series-high three wins, he only had one other podium, and that spoke to how diverse the year was and the fact no one really pulled away.
For while his early season wins at Long Beach and Texas were good, Texas notable thanks to his crew making the right call on downforce, sometimes it seemed Dixon was either on the bad side of caution flags or relatively anonymous during the weekend. That last bit seems hard to type. Relative “meh” results from Toronto through Milwaukee followed the Texas win, and Iowa was nearly the title lost except it became the title gained after his crew got him back out with enough left to score one more point.
He had similar bad luck at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis and Mid-Ohio but in both cases made something out of nothing. Despite getting speared at Turn 1 at Indy, Dixon rebounded to 10th, and despite losing the lead on an ill-timed yellow at Mid-Ohio he salvaged a fourth. It’s results like that, where you overcome adversity, where titles are truly won or lost, and Dixon’s drive even on tough days shown through nicely. Things like getting a position on the last lap at Milwaukee, for example, may not seem like much at the time but it becomes important later on.
The fact it was Dixon who picked up the title eased the sting of the double points effect. Had it been one of the longer shots who were outside a standard race win points gap, there might have been louder cries that double points fully affected things. Dixon and Montoya weren’t separated by much throughout the year, and Dixon will certainly be viewed as a fitting champion.