Scott Dixon is hoping to make a run for the Borg-Warner from his fifth Indy 500 pole


INDIANAPOLIS – Scott Dixon celebrated his record run for his fifth Indy 500 pole position as one might expect: Stopping at a local Taco Bell.

“Except this one was on the north side of town near my home,” Dixon said. “The other one where Dario Franchitti and I were held up has been closed for a few years now.”

That, of course, was the infamous location on 16th Street, less than a mile to the east of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Dixon and Franchitti were held up at gunpoint in the drive-through window after Dixon won the Indy 500 pole in 2017.

There was no such drama Sunday night for Dixon.


After his media interviews were completed, the six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion and winner of 51 races went back to the Chip Ganassi Racing garage in Gasoline Alley and hung out with his crew until 9:30 p.m. ET.

The 20-minute drive to his neighborhood on the fashionable north side of Indianapolis was followed by the celebratory trip to Taco Bell.

After that, he returned home to discover his 2-year-old son, Kit, still was awake.

“Kit and I stayed up and watched the Australian Supercars race on television,” Dixon (who also celebrated his sixth title with Taco Bell in 2020) told in an exclusive interview Monday morning in Gasoline Alley at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “It was a nice way to celebrate the Indy 500 pole, with my son watching Supercars on TV.”

Dixon provided the drama earlier in the day when he stunned the crowd with the fastest pole-winning run in Indianapolis 500 history. Dixon turned the fastest four-lap average speed in history for an Indianapolis 500 pole winner at 234. 046 mph. The previous record was 233.718 mph set in 1996 by the late Scott Brayton.

Arie Luyendyk set the all-time four-lap qualifying average speed record of 236.986 mph in 1996, but his run came on the second day of qualifications and wasn’t eligible for the pole.

Dixon, like many of the fans who witnessed Sunday’s historic run, were also unfamiliar that it was a record run for an Indy 500 pole winner.

“I actually didn’t know the late Scott Brayton was the current holder of the record because you hear so much of Arie’s lap,” said Dixon, who maintained his pace Monday by turning the second-fastest lap in practice behind teammate Alex Palou (the defending series champion was second Sunday). “Even that confused me a little bit that it wasn’t an actual pole-winning time.

“It shows the effort this team puts in. What is even crazier about is that was an effort of five cars and almost all five made it to the Fast Six. Sometimes that effort can get diluted when you add extra cars.

“For me, it’s huge. I feel privileged and lucky in some ways to be in this position. But it’s all about the race.

“All about the race.”

It was Dixon’s fifth career Indy 500 pole, one short of Rick Mears’ record. Mears liked to say the Indianapolis 500 is actually two races. The first is the race to the pole position, and Dixon claimed that on Sunday.

“It’s cool,” Dixon said. “Rick is absolutely right; it is two races. Qualifying is even more so a team effort because of the amount of work that goes into preparing these cars. It’s hundreds of small things that create the speed.

“Chip Ganassi (team owner) said it well this morning: It’s years of work that goes into this effort. You are proud and happy for so many people on this team that work so deep and so hard for years to get this to work.

“It’s the first part. It doesn’t guarantee you anything, but we are starting in a great position and hopefully we can keep it there. Hopefully, one of Chip’s cars will be celebrating and drinking some milk.”

Dixon’s wife, Emma, told prior to the start of Sunday’s qualifications that she wasn’t sure she wanted to see her husband win the pole.

“The pole has been a bit unlucky for us in this race,” she said — before she was reminded that Dixon’s only Indianapolis 500 win in 2008 came from the pole.

“Oh, I forgot that we were on pole that year,” Emma Dixon said.

When told of that exchange, Scott Dixon smiled.

“Of course, you want the pole,” he said. “I told Emma this year, we won’t put as much emphasis on it as we have in recent years. If we didn’t get the pole, I wouldn’t be too disappointed because it hasn’t converted.

“Four poles and only one win, hopefully pole No. 5 brings the second Indianapolis 500 win.

“It sucks you win the pole and don’t win the race. But also, almost being out the Fast 12 and not even converting Sunday’s qualifying run was going to be tough. But we got lucky. Some bad weather came in and that really helped us if we were going to run again on Saturday. We were lucky to be able to run on Sunday, and we had the speed. The car was fast, super-fast. Kudos to (engineer) Michael Cannon. The first run was aggressive, maybe too aggressive when the car took off in Turn 2 with a gust of wind there.

“But on the pole-winning run, the car was almost perfect.”

Dixon was able to put his car, and himself, on the line, not once, but twice on Sunday in two of the most intense qualifying runs of his career coming on the same day.

“It’s super intense,” he said. “Gone on the days of one run and you are done. The emotional roller-coaster you go through from lap-to-lap, even on the waiting you do, everyone on pit lane wants the pole.

“Everybody was super excited. The crowd loved it. They loved the excitement and the way it rolled. For the drivers, knowing the conditions were going to get better for the second run gave me a sense of ease.”

Dixon knew the first run on Sunday was going to be more difficult than the final run because temperatures were getting cooler, raising the speedway’s grip level.

When Dixon’s first lap at 234.437 mph was announced over the track’s massive public address system, the crowd let out a huge, spontaneous roar that could be heard over the scream of his Honda engine.

Dixon, of course, was concentrating on his four-lap run, but when he saw that number pop up for the first lap, he knew he had started a great run.

The next three laps were 234.162, 233.859 and 233.726 mph for a four-lap average of 234.046 mph.

“It was huge,” Dixon said. “I was lucky enough to see videos of people watching in the stands, and there were a lot of people here on Sunday. It’s so cool to hear those comments. In the car, you don’t get to hear it or see it because you are so focused and you have an engine loud in your ears, you don’t get to hear it.

“That format played into it, the way it staggered everything and built it up. Kudos for the team for trimming it out for those big numbers.”

All four of Dixon’s teammates and the team’s special consultant – Franchitti, the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and four-time IndyCar champion – were there to celebrate Dixon’s pole when he drove onto pit lane after his run.

“Honestly, they are my friends,” Dixon said. “We are great friends. All of us are tight. I’ve probably known Jimmie Johnson the least amount of time, but in his final years in NASCAR Cup we used to chat once or twice a month. It’s just a lot of fun hanging out with these people.

“Even when I leave the sport, I will go on vacations and be tight friends with this people.

“We are great friends and that is what I love about this sport. The IndyCar group as a whole are a tight-knit family. That is what I will take away from this sport when that day comes that I leave racing.”

INDY 500 PRIMERImportant details, schedule for watching on NBC

Dixon, who posed alongside the Borg-Warner Trophy with the Indy 500 field Monday, has also taken great delight in seeing Johnson’s level of progression in IndyCar since he joined the series in 2021.

“Just to see the excitement on his face, just to see the enthusiasm he has for IndyCar racing, the way he handles it and who he is as a person, you can see why he is successful,” Dixon said. “Even when he first joined the team, he has lifted the team. That is who he is and his personality and what he has achieved.

“I have loved seeing how much he has enjoyed it.”

The former winners of the Indy 500 who will be racing in the 106th Indy 500. Top row (left to right): Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya, Alexander Rossi. Bottom row: Will Power, Takuma Sato, Tony Kanaan, Scott Dixon. (Mike Levitt/BorgWarner)

Race No. 1 at Indianapolis is over, and Dixon won it by winning the pole. But it’s the big race on May 29 that counts – the 106th Indianapolis 500.

For Dixon, at least he has won it once, but that was back in 2008. Since then, he has come so close to winning several more Indianapolis 500s but fell short.

He remains determined to win his second Indianapolis 500.

“I’m as determined as ever,” Dixon said. “The longer you come to this place, and you have four or five second-place finishes and three of those have been under caution, those are the ones that hurt the most because you couldn’t even fight for it. One of those was a given if it had run its full course. Those suck.

“But that is also what keeps the fire really strong. Those close misses keep you up at night and anger you, too.

“This place owes me nothing. I love coming here. It’s a privilege coming here, and I’m very lucky coming with one of the best teams in the sport. We’ll keep digging. We’ll keep knocking on the door and one day, hopefully, it opens.

“Maybe one day. Maybe one day, I’ll get my second.”

Maybe that day will be Sunday, May 29, 2022.

“If it’s going to be hot, it’s going to be very tough and very tough to pass,” Dixon said. “You have to have a flawless day and we’ll need some luck.

“We are really going to need Lady Luck on our side on Race Day.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

The field of the 106th Indy 500 (Mike Levitt/BorgWarner)

Jett Lawrence wins Hangtown Pro Motocross, remains perfect in 450s

Lawrence Hangtown Motocross
Align Media

Jett Lawrence remains perfect in the Pro Motocross series after recording another perfect round at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California. In his second start on a 450, Lawrence won his second National with his fourth consecutive moto win. It is getting increasingly difficult to find the right superlatives to describe the exploits on the reigning 250 West Supercross champion.

“The track was so brutal out there,” Lawrence told NBC Sports Jason Thomas. “The bike handles amazing even when it’s not too friendly. You had to be really patient; you couldn’t take too much. I didn’t eat enough before that second moto. I kind of lost energy halfway through, but luckily I could use technique and balance and just keep that flow going.”

Lawrence leaves Hangtown with an 18-point advantage over Ferrandis in the 450 Motocross standings, but perhaps more importantly, he climbed to 19th in the SuperMotocross standings and should he stay there, he has an automatic invitation to the Main events in the SMX Championship.

“On this track, you just have to manage,” Lawrence continued. “If you try to take too much and not respect the track, it will bite you very quickly. It was humbling on the first few laps. I got kicked on the cutout at the start of the third section, the tabletop going to the left. I had to get my focus because the boys were coming.”

Still in his first few races since returning from a concussion suffered at Houston in the Supercross series, Dylan Ferrandis finished second with results of third in Moto 1 and second in Moto 2. While Ferrandis was happy with the result, he remains hopeful that he will contend for victory shortly.

“The first moto was very hard for my physically, Ferrandis said. “I got arm pump and when you get arm pump your body gets tired. But I’m very happy because we made a big change for the second moto. We tried stuff every session today and in the last moto the bike was much better, but unfortunately I wasn’t sure what I could do with this bike because the track was very hard and difficult to pass.”

RESULTS: How they finished in the 450 Overall at Hangtown

With the rash of injuries at the end of the Supercross season, the podium was filled with heartwarming stories. Cooper Webb returned to action last week in Pala and failed to make the podium. He is steadily improving with a third-place finish in Hangtown. after finishing with a 4-2.

“It’s incredible what seven days can do,” Webb said. “Last week I felt like I was going to get lapped in the second moto. This week, I could see the leader. It was nice. I fought hard, learned how to suffer again there and that felt nice.

Moto 2 wasn’t pretty for Lawrence. On several occasions in the opening laps, he nearly high sided as he rode the front wheel through the ruts. The reward was worth the risk. By the halfway point, Lawrence had 4.5-second lead over Webb, who was embroiled in a tight three-rider battle for second with his teammate Aaron Plessinger pressuring him and Ferrandis ready to take advantage if those made contact.

It took 20 minutes for Plessinger to get around Webb and once he did, he trailed Lawrence by four seconds. But then, with three minutes remaining, Plessinger crashed and had difficulty restarting the bike, handing second back to Webb who has seven seconds behind Lawrence. Plessinger fell to fourth with results of third and sixth.

Adam Cianciarulo rounded out the top five with a 5-4.

Last week Hunter Lawrence won the overall with a 3-1. He repeated that feat in Hangtown in an exact replica of his Fox Raceway results last week. In Moto 1, Lawrence got off to a slow start and lost 10 seconds in the opening laps. Forced to overcome a sixth-place position in the race at the end of Lap 1, he once again caught the riders ahead of him when the field hit heavy traffic. For the second week, scored another 3-1 for the Hangtown National win.

“The start was crucial’ I knew I had to go,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Jason Thomas. “They laid a lot of water down, so I didn’t want to be behind any longer than [I was]. First hot one of the year, was a bit of a wakeup call, so I’m happy to get out of here safe and healthy.”

Lawrence’s third-place finish in Moto 1 featured a fierce battle for final spot on the podium when he caught Spain’s Guillem Farres and France’s Tom Vialle. With Lawrence hailing from Australia, the international nature of the sport was highlighted.

Lawrence left Hangtown with a 10-point advantage over Haiden Deegan in the Pro Motocross championship battle.

Click here for 250 overall results

Justin Cooper finished second in both motos to finish second overall. Hangtown represented a huge improvement from Fox Raceway where he finished fifth overall with a 5-4 finish in the two motos. Cooper pressured Haiden Deegan in the second half of Moto 1 and he earned the holeshot in the second moto and stayed within three seconds of Lawrence in that race.

“He was following me a little bit, checking out my lines, seeing where he was better,” Cooper said. “It’s disappointing to give up the lead like that but it was way better than last weekend. I will definitely take two seconds. I want to be on the top of the step. I feel like I get close to the top step but I never get it done. That’s building up the frustration – the fire. I really want to get one of these wins, so it’s time to start digging.”

Haiden Deegan earned the first holeshot of his career in Moto 1 and rode away from the field, building a four-second lead in the opening laps. Cooper trimmed the lead at the halfway point and for a while it leveled off at two seconds. Then Cooper made another charge with three to go and closed to within a second. Deegan was biding his time, however.

“I was saving a little. I knew at the end Justin was going to try and put a charge on. I let him get up close and then sent it super hard at the end to break him a little at the end.”

Deegan’s first moto win comes in only his fourth National and he remains perfect in regard to podiums this year.

“This was a dream since I was a little kid, to win,” Deegan said. “And in my fourth race, it’s gnarly. I was just sending it. I was getting a little tired at the end becasue I left my mouth open the whole time. It’s unreal; I’m so hyped. I wanted to win bad and I proved it to you guys.”

Chaos erupted in turn 1 in Moto 2 Jeremy Martin went and another rider ran over his arm. Michael Mosiman crashed further down the track on that same lap. Both riders were helped off course by the Alpinestars Medical team.

2023 Motocross Race Recaps

Fox Raceway: Jett Lawrence wins in first 450 start

2023 Supercross Race Recaps

Salt Lake City: Chase Sexton ends the season with win
Denver: Chase Sexton wins, takes points’ lead with Eli Tomac injury
Nashville: Chase Sexton keeps hope alive; Cooper Webb out
New Jersey: Justin Barcia wins muddy race; first in two years
Atlanta: Chase Sexton is back in the championship picture
Glendale: Eli Tomac wins 51st, breaks tie with James Stewart
Seattle: Eli Tomac wins and ties Webb for first
Detroit: Chase Sexton inherits win after Aaron Plessinger falls
Indianapolis: Ken Roczen gets first win in more than a year
Daytona: Eli Tomac extends Daytona record with seventh win
Arlington: Cooper Webb wins for second time, closes to two of Tomac
Oakland: Eli Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael with 48 wins
Tampa: Cooper Webb gets first 2023 win
Houston: Eli Tomac bounces back from A2 crash to win third race of 2023
Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Eli Tomac wins opener for the first time

More SuperMotocross coverage

Chase Sexton is out for Hangtown
Enzo Lopes re-signs with Club MX for 2024
Record Supercross attendance reported in 2023
SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Pala
Results and points after Pala
Jett Lawrence wins Pala in his first MX start
450 Champion Chase Sexton takes back what he gave away
250 West Supercross champion Jett Lawrence ends dream career
250 East Supercross champion Hunter Lawrence overcomes doubt and injury