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: