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Already a star in his native New Zealand, Dixon’s legend would only grow if he takes fifth IndyCar title

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Scott Dixon has finally started to receive recognition in the United States, after climbing to third on the all-time IndyCar wins list and putting himself in position to possibly win a fifth Verizon IndyCar IndyCar Series title.

However, in his native New Zealand, Dixon has been a long-time star and one of its great sporting heroes.

Case and point, the New Zealand Herald has spotlighted Dixon in post-race features after every Verizon indyCar Series event this year, meaning Dixon is very much a focal point of their racing coverage. (An archive of the New Zealand Herald’s coverage of Dixon can be viewed here).

Last year, the New Zealand outlet Driven published a story examining how Dixon might be one of, if not the most, underappreciated drivers ever.

“I think he’s extremely underappreciated,” said Ryan Hunter-Reay in that piece. “I think he’s a legend for what he’s accomplished. I don’t want to say that too much because I’m racing against him every weekend.”

He added, “It’s been amazing what he’s been able to do. And through the eras of IndyCar racing, this is the tightest it’s ever been. The data shows that. From P1 to P-last, whatever that may be, this is the tightest Indycar has ever been. To be consistent nowadays, it seems to be even harder.”

The extensive coverage Dixon has received also extends into Australia, where he spent his formative years as a racing driver. Speedcafe, one of Australia’s leading motorsports news outlets, has been analyzing Dixon’s place among the greats for years now – going back to 2015, they posted a story on Dixon passing Bobby Unser on the all-time list. (This came after his win in that year’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach).

Speedcafe took their honoring of Dixon further with a look back to his days racing in Australia, highlighting a specific race of his at Sandowne Racecourse in 1998, when he was competing in Formula Holdens.

You get the idea. When you go to New Zealand, or even Australia, Dixon’s star power is immense. Of course, his popularity is expected to grow even more with Born Racer, the documentary profiling Dixon, set to the released this month.

Dixon is already well placed among the legends to come out of New Zealand’s motorsports scene. Such names include Denny Hulme, former Formula 1 world champion, and Bruce McLaren, himself a race-winning Formula 1 driver before founding the McLaren racing team.

Other New Zealand racing heroes include current stars like Earl Bamber (former overall winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and current factory sports car driver with Porsche), and Brendon Hartley (also a former Le Mans winner, and current Formula 1 driver with Toro Rosso), along with pioneers like Chris Amon (widely regarded as one of the best drivers to never win an F1 race).

In some ways, Dixon may have passed several people on that list, at least in terms of racing accomplishments. In addition to his IndyCar championships, he has an Indianapolis 500 triumph, and a pair of overall wins in the Rolex 24 at Daytona (and a GTLM class win in that event as well).

And another IndyCar championship would only add to his legendary status, and make him even more popular in his home country.

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Christopher Bell wins third straight Chili Bowl

@cbnationals, Twitter
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Christopher Bell passed Kyle Larson on the final lap of the 55-lap A-Feature to win the 33rd Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. Bell is only the second driver in event history to win three consecutive Golden Drillers, joining Kevin Swindell who holds the record with four.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to win the Chili Bowl,” Bell said at ChiliBowl.com. “To do it three straight times is just unbelievable, but man, I don’t even care about three straight. What about that race? I don’t think I’ve ever really been a part of a last lap race like that, so I’m just glad that thing came out in the end.”

As the white flag waved on his eighth appearance in Saturday’s main event, it seemed Larson was finally going to walk away with his first Golden Driller. This was closest he’s been to the win.

Larson took the lead from Logan Seavey on Lap 21 after a five-lap hot pursuit. Bell moved into second for the first time on Lap 27 but a caution forced him back to third as the field realigned to the last completed lap.

On Lap 33, Bell passed Seavey again for second before another caution reset the field. On the next restart Bell road the rim diving to the hub in Turns 3 and 4. With Larson in sight, Bell started to think about where he was going to put his third trophy.

The final caution flag of the night waved with 20 to go to set up the Bell vs. Larson shootout fans had been waiting for since Larson retired early from the race last year. Larson pulled away on the highline in Turns 1 and 2. He switched to the low in 3 and 4.

With five laps to go Larson hit traffic. That gave Bell the opportunity to close the gap. With two to go Bell was on top of Larson and challenging for the lead. On the final lap Bell passed Larson in Turn 2 as they bumped tires. Glued together through the final pair of turns, they touched twice more before Bell pulled away on the final stretch.

The action wasn’t over, however. Bell wound up on his lid following the win. His donuts got a little out of control and he rolled his midget.

Justin Grant took third by passing Brady Bacon on Lap 36. Bacon followed for fourth with Zach Daum in tow to complete the top five.

Tyler Courtney was the hard charger of the night finishing sixth after starting in 22nd. Brad Sweet and CJ Leary finished seventh and eighth.

Seavey was able to hold onto third until late in the race but ultimately the pole sitter who led the first 20 laps faded to ninth.

Tanner Thorson rounded out the top ten.

Friday’s Main Event

1. Christopher Bell
2. Kyle Larson
3. Justin Grant
4. Brady Bacon
5. Zach Daum
6. Tyler Courtney
7. Brad Sweet
8. CJ Leary
9. Logan Seavey
10. Tanner Thorson
11. Danny Stratton
12. Jonathan Beason
13. Tucker Klaasmeyer
14. Colby Copeland
15. Rico Abreu
16. Michael Faccinto
17. Chad Boat
18. David Gravel
19. Cole Bodine
20. Robert Dalby
21. Jake Neuman
22. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
23. Shane Golobic
24. Sean McClelland