Dixon’s Road America livery is as eye-popping as his travel schedule

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So let’s recap the last nine days for the driver of the guy Chip Ganassi Racing Teams president Steve Lauletta is now calling “Freak 9” on Twitter, the driver of the No. 9 car in the Verizon IndyCar Series, Scott Dixon.

It’s usually the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, but it will shift to Clorox yellow colors this week.

And quite how it got there almost mirrors how crazy his last nine days have been.

Dixon raced in what he thought would be a full Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, June 12, which was already delayed a day anyway owing to a track that wouldn’t dry following a day of rain.

He and wife Emma then boarded a Cessna plane to go to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he’d need to arrive by Monday, June 13, French time to ensure he made it to scrutineering (technical inspection) and get checked in for the week. He missed the team shoot on Sunday, as did Sebastien Bourdais – no matter.

Wednesday, June 15, he took his first ever laps of the 8.47-mile Circuit de la Sarthe, because although he’d gone to France earlier this year for simulator work, he’d not actually driven on the track yet. He missed the Le Mans Test Day on June 5 because of his IndyCar commitments at Detroit, where he promptly took a car with a broken suspension and drove it all race to finish fifth.

He was on track at Le Mans through June 19, the end of the race, where together with Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook he finished third in the GTE-Pro class in the No. 69 Ford Chip Ganassi Team US Ford GT. For good measure, the Le Mans rookie promptly set the fastest lap of the race, a 3:51.514 on Lap 329 of Lap 340 – he got to close the race out. Dixon was one of a number of IndyCar stars who starred at Le Mans.

He then flew straight from Le Mans, with some other Ganassi crew members, to Watkins Glen International, for testing on Monday on the newly paved track surface. It was fast. Dixon won there multiple times when IndyCar last raced there from 2005 through 2010.

And then, today, we saw his livery unveiled for Road America and this weekend’s KOHLER Grand Prix (Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

This livery, like Simon Pagenaud’s, is eye-retina popping yellow. It is bananas… b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

And it perfectly encapsulates just what a freak of nature Dixon is, because he’s an incredible talent, driver and human sometimes seemingly not of this planet.

His engineer, Chris Simmons, sums it up well:

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”