NBCSN announcers all agree: Scott Dixon will win IndyCar crown on Sunday in Sonoma

NBC Sports
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SONOMA, California – It’s unanimous: Scott Dixon will win the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series championship.

That’s how NBCSN announcers Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell, Paul Tracy, Robin Miller, Katie Hargitt, Jon Beekhuis and Kevin Lee all predict how Sunday’s season-ending and more importantly the championship-deciding Grand Prix of Sonoma will play out.

Admittedly, there is some sentiment to see Alexander Rossi win the title, but when all is said and done, Dixon is the man.

NBCSN IndyCar booth announcers Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy and all four pit reporters are picking Scott Dixon to win the championship on Sunday at Sonoma.

 

MotorSportsTalk polled all seven announcers – make sure you tune in to the live broadcast Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT – and they had some very interesting insights:

Leigh Diffey (play-by-play): “Scott Dixon is my pick and I think it’s pretty straight-forward as to the reason why. For almost 20 years now, he’s shown us the true caliber of the driver he is. He’s very difficult to get flustered, he’s so calm, he’s so consistent, he’s incredibly strong, he’s the complete package as we know. And I’m excited from the historical standpoint that if he wins the championship, or in my opinion when he wins the championship, it’s going to be 51 years since we’ve seen a five-time champion and he’ll join A.J. Foyt as a five-time champion. Of course, A.J. Foyt has seven (championships), but I just think from that historical perspective, that’s the feeling I have in my gut that he’ll do it. I love that aspect to it. I think that this upswing that we’re all witnessing and enjoying in IndyCar at the moment, I think it would be appropriate for Scott to win. Likewise, if Rossi wins, it’s a great American story, a young American champion and there’s plenty of merit to that side of the story a lot of merit, as well, but I still think Dixon’s going to do it.”

Townsend Bell (analyst): “I would pick Scott Dixon because if both Dixon and (Alexander) Rossi were given truth serum, I think Alexander Rossi would say Dixon (will win the title) just because of the unbelievable luck that Rossi feels Dixon has experienced this season. And, I think Dixon would pick Dixon because that’s what he does, he wins championships. So I’m picking Scott Dixon, if for no other reason, that he comes into this with a decent lead in the championship, regardless of double points, you want to be ahead, he is ahead and I think he’ll stay ahead.”

Paul Tracy (analyst): “I’m torn. I mean, I’d like to see Rossi win because I think he’s driven incredibly well this year. But if I had to go to Vegas and put my money in terms of winning, I would say Dixon is going to win it.”

Robin Miller (pit reporter): “If I could borrow money on my condo and triple-mortgage it that Scott Dixon with a 29-point lead, I’d borrow everything I could because he’s not going to lose. He’s too smart, he’s too smooth, he’s too fast. And as great of a season as Alex has had and challenging (Dixon) and done a great job, I don’t know if there’s ever been a guy that you want (to win the title as Dixon). If Dixon was 29 points behind Rossi, I’d still bet on him. People are talking about pressure and things like that, but brother, he doesn’t feel any pressure whether he’s ahead or behind. It looks just like another day in the park for him. And for NBCSN viewers, I wish it would come down to the last lap, but I don’t think so. The Penske guys (Will Power and Josef Newgarden) have no chance. It’s Dixie in a walk. In 303 starts, Scott has finished 21st or worse in just 14 starts. That’s a pretty staggering statistic. A bad race for him is fifth. He’s unbelievable.”

Katie Hargitt (pit reporter): “I think Scott Dixon is going to win the championship, but I would like Alex to win it. I want Alex to win because I feel he’s the future of IndyCar, he’s a young American who has been basically a human highlight reel all season. He’s been my favorite thing to watch all season long, really just bold passes. And his personality is, ‘I don’t care, I’m going to go out and do out and do whatever it takes to win.’ I think his attitude and his performance on-track just make him a fascinating character in IndyCar right now.”

Kevin Lee (pit reporter): “I think Will Power will win the pole and the race. That means Scott Dixon wins the championship because he has the advantage, he’ll be able to stay within range – if not in front – of Rossi. To win the championship, Rossi really needs to win the race, because Dixon is going to finish in the top five. I think most people around the sport know how good Scott Dixon is, but this will make it easier to define, just put up a raw number out there. When you can say A.J. Foyt only has as many championships as Scott Dixon, that’s about enough. And when you have more than Mario Andretti, you’re in a different real estate area than everybody else.”

Jon Beekhuis (pit reporter): “I think it’ll be Scott Dixon. When you see what happened at Portland a couple weeks ago, what we’re killing ‘the miracle on dirt,’ you have to think wow! If he could escape that cloud of dust with a car that was mostly undamaged and go back and finish ahead of his rival. Oftentimes, years when you win championships, things just fall into place. There’s no guarantee that it falls into place here in Sonoma, but it’s certainly looking that way and he’s definitely a worthy champion.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

World of Outlaws release 2023 Sprint Car Series schedule

2023 Outlaws Sprint schedule
World of Outlaws
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The 2023 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series schedule features 87 races, almost identical to the last year’s number, to be contested at 36 venues across 19 states. With cancelations for mostly weather, they closed out this year’s calendar on November 5 with 69 events in the books. Carson Macedo won a series high 11 races.

In 2022, David Gravel chased Brad Sweet into the three-race finale on the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in one of the most hotly contested championships in Outlaws history. Sweet emerged victorious for the fourth straight year.

For the 19th consecutive season, the Outlaws Sprints will begin their season at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals from Feb. 9-11 and will return March 5-6 for another two-day show before hitting the road with a three-track swing into Pennsylvania to take on the Posse.

MORE: 2023 World of Outlaws Late Model Schedule

“Every year we continue to build the best schedule we can for drivers and fans across the country,” said World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter is a series release. “I’m excited for the journey we’ve put together, which includes the biggest races in Sprint Car racing, our new Spring Swing through Pennsylvania, the thrill of combining the World of Outlaws and ‘Bike Week’ and so much more.”

Some tracks returning from hiatus and one brand new course include 81 Speedway in Park City, Kans. in April and again in October, Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon City, Ill. in April, Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway in June and BAPS Motor Speedway in York Haven, Penn.

BAPS hosts its first race in more than 30 years when the track was known as Susquehanna Speedway. This midweek show will give the local Pennsylvania Posse 14 attempts to beat the traveling Outlaws.

Ogilvie Speedway is completely new to the series and makes it the 224th different venue they will have challenged.

MORE: Brad Sweet protects his place in history

Notably missing from the calendar are Vado (N.M.) Speedway Park, Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas, Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway and the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track.

In addition to the new spring Pennsylvania Swing, the second date at Volusia Speedway will coincide with Daytona Beach’s Bike Week and bring new eyes to the sport.

Knoxville Raceway adds another multi-night show to the calendar in April, giving this track eight sanctioned events in 2023.

And of course, there are plenty of mainstays and high dollar events, such as the Memorial Day Spectacular at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, the 35th running of the Brad Doty Classic in July and the Labor Day Spectacular at Gray’s Harbor in Elma, Wash.

Several big paydays are on the line in 2023 including the 40th annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio paying $175,000 to the winner, the Huset’s High Bank Nationals’ $250,000-to-win finale and the grandaddy of them all, the 62nd Knoxville Nationals with a total purse exceeding $1 million.

2023 Outlaws Sprint Schedule

Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)

Sunday-Monday, March 5-6 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)
Friday-Saturday, March 10-11 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, March 17 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday, March 18 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday, March 24 – Talladega Short Track (Eastaboga, AL)
Saturday, March 25 – Magnolia Motor Speedway (Columbus, MS)
Friday, March 31-Saturday, April 1 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX)

Friday, April 7 – US-36 Raceway (Osborn, MO)
Saturday, April 8 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, April 14-15 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Friday-Saturday, April 21-22 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday, April 28 – Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
Saturday, April 29 – Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)

Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, May 10 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday-Saturday, May 12-13 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Friday, May 19 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Saturday, May 20 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, May 26-27 – Atomic Speedway (Chillicothe, OH)
Monday, May 29 – Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)

Friday, June 2 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, June 3 – Ogilvie Raceway (Ogilvie, MN)
Friday-Saturday, June 9-10 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday-Saturday, June 16-17 – Beaver Dam Raceway (Beaver Dam, WI)
Wednesday-Saturday, June 21-24 – Huset’s Speedway (Brandon, SD)
Friday, June 30-Saturday, July 1 – Cedar Lake Speedway (New Richmond, WI)

Friday, July 7 – 34 Raceway (West Burlington, IA)
Saturday, July 8 – Wilmot Raceway (Wilmot, WI)
Tuesday, July 11 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Friday-Saturday, July 14-15 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, July 19 – BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Friday-Saturday, July 21-22 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday-Sunday, July 29-30 – Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY)

Friday-Saturday, Aug. 4-5 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 9-12 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 17-19 – Jackson Motorplex (Jackson, MN)
Friday, Aug. 25 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, Aug. 26 – Red River Valley Speedway (West Fargo, ND)
Thursday, Aug. 31-Saturday, September 2 – Skagit Speedway (Alger, WA)

Monday, Sept. 4 – Grays Harbor Raceway (Elma, WA)
Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 7-9 – Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico, CA)
Friday, Sept. 15 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford, CA)
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Placerville Speedway (Placerville, CA)
Friday, Sept. 22 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 29-30 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 6-7 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, Oct. 13 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Saturday, Oct. 14 – Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 20-21 – TBA

Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 1-4 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Concord, NC)