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Massa enjoys fun final F1 outing in Abu Dhabi after Alonso fight

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Felipe Massa signed off his Formula 1 career with a run to 10th place in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, spending most of the race fighting with former teammate Fernando Alonso.

Massa confirmed ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix he would be quitting F1 at the end of the season – a year after his original planned retirement – following more than 15 years in the sport.

Following a near-perfect display at his home race in Brazil two weeks ago that saw him finish seventh, Massa followed it up with another run into the points in Abu Dhabi, taking the checkered flag 10th.

Massa spent much of the race scrapping with Alonso, who he raced alongside at Ferrari between 2010 and 2013, finishing 3.4 seconds behind the McLaren driver at the checkered flag.

“it was good fun today. I really enjoyed the race I did, fighting from the beginning to the end – fighting with Fernando again from the beginning to the end!” Massa told NBCSN after the race.

“But what can I say? I’m so lucky to be passing through all of these years, racing for great teams, meeting great people, fighting against the best drivers in the world. I’m very lucky.

“I just need to say thank you to all of you guys who have been following me for such a long time. It was a great pleasure. I can say I’m very happy for all of this.”

Massa is known to be exploring alternative racing options for next year, and has been linked with an official FIA role as well, with the Brazilian confirming he would still be around the paddock.

“Staying at home is not a great thing to do, I cannot do it. But we’ll invent something interesting to do,” Massa said.

“I’m looking forward to that. I’m sure I’ll have some great opportunities in front of me.

“We just need to have the time to think about it and do it in the right way, not taking whatever occasion.

“That’s the way I am, and that’s the way I’ll try to be.”

Could Scott Dixon someday break Foyt, Andretti wins and championships records?

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With five races left in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season, Scott Dixon is in the driver’s seat to potentially earn a fifth career IndyCar championship.

After winning Sunday at Toronto, Dixon now has a 62-point edge over second-ranked and defending series champ Josef Newgarden and a 70-point lead over third-ranked Alexander Rossi.

The triumph north of the border was Dixon’s third there, as well as his 44th career IndyCar win, third-highest in IndyCar annals.

Add in the four IndyCar championships and those are stellar numbers indeed.

What makes things all the more amazing is Dixon has done all that in under 18 full seasons on the IndyCar circuit. Heck, he’s only 37 years old, too (although he turns 38 on July 22).

Dixon’s championships have come in 2003 (his first full season in IndyCar after two prior seasons in CART/Champ Car), 2008, 2013 and most recently in 2015.

The quiet, unassuming New Zealander has been one of the most successful drivers ever not just in IndyCar, but in all forms of motorsports.

When his name is mentioned, it’s typically included with the only two drivers who have more career wins than he does: A.J. Foyt (67 wins and seven championships, both records) and Mario Andretti (52 wins and four titles).

That’s a pretty lofty pair to be part of.

One might think that after all the success he’s had, Dixon could easily walk away from IndyCar and Chip Ganassi Racing and enjoy an early retirement.

But competing in and winning races isn’t really a job for Dixon. He enjoys what he’s doing so much that he easily could keep doing what he’s doing – and at a high level – for another seven or more years, at least.

So, can Dixon catch Mario and A.J.? The former would be easier than the latter, for sure.

Numerically, it’s possible – at least part of it:

* Dixon can easily be competitive into his mid-40s.

* He’s averaged three-plus wins every season since 2007 (37 wins from then through Sunday). That means if he can keep that average going, he could reach 24 more wins – to overtake Foyt – by 2026. Yes, that may be a stretch to even imagine, but if there’s any current driver who potentially could overtake Foyt, it’s Dixon.

* Dixon already has three wins this season, and with five more races still to go, he could easily win another one, two or maybe even three more in 2018 as he continues his road to the championship. And let’s not forget that with each additional win, that’s one win closer to overtaking Andretti and Foyt.

In his usual modest and humble manner, Dixon downplays not just talk comparing him with Andretti and Foyt, but also overtaking one or both.

“I think A.J. is pretty safe,” he said. “He’s a long ways ahead. … Eight (championships) is an infinity away. Takes a long time to get eight.”

But that doesn’t mean Dixon can’t keep working at approaching Foyt’s mark.

“I think for us, we take it race by race,” he said. “We’re in the business of winning races. If we’re not doing that, I won’t have a job for too long. That’s the focus for right now.”

If he wins the championship this year, he’ll pass Andretti’s championship mark. That would be one record down, three to go.

And if he can win nine more races over the next few seasons, he’ll pass Andretti’s 52 career wins, making it two records down and two more to go.

“Right now with 44 wins, next on the list is Mario I think at 52 or something,” Dixon said after Sunday’s win. “We’ll see how it goes. Right now, we’re just trying to get the job done for the team.”

And he’s doing a darn good job at that indeed – with likely even more success still to come.

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