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Sebastien Bourdais looks for another trophy in Sebring

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Sebastien Bourdais and his family returned to the United States six years ago with nothing but the clothes they could pack in their suitcases. Left behind in France were all the physical mementos – his trophies – from the dominant early days of his racing career.

“We didn’t bring anything,” Bourdais said. “We just came with all the luggage, I went to Ikea, and that was that. There was nothing in the house.”

Slowly but surely, Bourdais is building quite a little trophy shelf.

He just added another IndyCar trophy with a second consecutive victory in his hometown of St. Petersburg, and now heads south for IMSA’s Twelve Hours of Sebring, looking for another piece of hardware.

“The shelving is starting to be a little crowded in St. Pete,” said Bourdais, a four-time series champion from Champ Car who ranks sixth on American open wheel’s all-time win list. He has six victories in IndyCar since returning from France in 2012, but has also picked up sports car victories at Sebring, Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Bourdais was part of the overall winning team at Sebring in 2015, but the Ganassi group will be racing for a class victory in GT Le Mans. Bourdais was on the Ganassi team that finished second last year to Corvette Racing.

He also was part of the lineup that finished second in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in January to its sister Ganassi team. The two Ganassi entries led all but nine of the 783 laps at Daytona, with Bourdais’ team of Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller dominating for nearly 22 hours. They were beat by the Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook, Scott Dixon lineup on strategy and a faster final pit stop.

It’s a bit similar to the Sebring situation last year, when Corvette Racing handled Bourdais’ Ganassi team by 4.453 seconds.

“We really just put everything on the table,” said Hand. “If you finish second, the one thing you want to make sure of is that you did everything you could to win the race.”

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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