If he can’t retain title, Dixon OK to play wingman for Palou

Six-time and reigning IndyCar champion Scott Dixon has confirmed he’s prepared to work for teammate Alex Palou should he himself be eliminated from championship contention this weekend.

If he can’t retain title, Dixon OK to play wingman for Palou

After Palou and Dixon finished first and third respectively at last week’s Grand Prix of Portland, Dixon saw his deficit to his Chip Ganassi Racing-Honda teammate reach 49 points with two rounds to go.

With a win worth 50 points – barring the bonus point for pole, bonus point for leading a lap and two bonus points for leading the most laps – this weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca sees Dixon fighting to remain a title contender in next week’s finale, the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. If he finishes this Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey behind Palou, his championship hopes are over.

But the 41-year-old said he would help Palou in his battle against his two other title rivals, Pato O’Ward (Arrow McLaren SP-Chevrolet) and Josef Newgarden (Team Penske-Chevrolet) at Long Beach, if he can.

Asked if he was prepared to play wingman for Palou, Dixon replied, “Of course! I had a few years like that with Dario [Franchitti].

“Goal number one for me is to keep the championship with Chip. He’s the guy that butters the bread, so yeah, that’s the main goal.

“It’s been an interesting year,” he went on. “We’ve had races where we thought we’d have good results and we’ve been a little bit off, or we’ve missed on one of the sequences. Even last week, we had got ahead of the #10 [Palou] but got jumped on a pitstop sequence. Places where we needed to make sure we capitalized, it’s been very tough.

“Losing all those points like we did at Indianapolis 500 was another bad one. [Palou finished second, polesitter Dixon was only 17th after his car ran out of fuel while the pits were closed and then wouldn’t refire until he had gone down a lap]. We lost 50 or 60 points to the #10 car in a single race.

“It’s fun to still be in the chase even with such a ‘blah’ year, but ultimately we’re all here to win.”

Dixon said he believes Laguna Seca should see an even battle between Chevrolet and Honda.

“You look at Nashville and it was bizarrely one sided, Honda with the advantage over the other,” he said. “If you look at how things were here last race [2019], especially in qualifying, you may say it was slightly skewed in Honda’s favor, but ultimately in the race it was fair and square between them.”

Dixon also observed that the test that Ganassi ran at Laguna Seca in February was not a huge help seven months later and that potential changes by IndyCar will help all teams save money in 2022.

“I think what IndyCar is aiming to do next year – a set amount of days but you can use them whenever you want – makes a lot more sense. Hopefully they can open up situations where you can test on a Thursday before the race, like we used to at, say, Sonoma.

“If you look at what we did at Portland – take everything out there to test in July, bring everything back, and then go out again for the race – it’s a massive expense, so hopefully they can change that.”

shares
comments
“Hard to get a read” on fickle Laguna Seca, say Herta, Newgarden
Previous article

“Hard to get a read” on fickle Laguna Seca, say Herta, Newgarden

Next article

Castroneves: Partnering Pagenaud again at MSR “would be awesome”

Castroneves: Partnering Pagenaud again at MSR “would be awesome”
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 IndyCar drivers of 2021

In an enthralling 2021 IndyCar campaign, the series bounced back from its COVID-19 truncated year prior and series sophomore Alex Palou defeated both the established order and his fellow young guns to clinch a maiden title. It capped a remarkable season with plenty of standout performers

IndyCar
Nov 22, 2021
How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar Prime

How Marcus Ericsson finally unlocked his potential in IndyCar

Marcus Ericsson enjoyed a breakout year in the IndyCar Series in 2021, winning twice and finishing sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. How did he finally unlock the potential that was masked by five years of toil in Formula 1 with Caterham and Sauber/Alfa Romeo?

IndyCar
Nov 16, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win Prime

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing win

Saturday, Oct. 16th, marks the 10th anniversary Dan Wheldon’s death. David Malsher-Lopez pays tribute, then asks Wheldon’s race engineer from 2011, Todd Malloy, to recall that magical second victory at the Indianapolis 500.

IndyCar
Oct 16, 2021
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Prime

Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up?

Jack Harvey’s move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate, but their combined strength could prove golden, says David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 15, 2021
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Prime

Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting

Kyle Kirkwood, the record-setting junior formula driver, sealed the Indy Lights championship last weekend. But despite an absurdly strong résumé and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear. By David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star Prime

2021 IndyCar title is just the start for Ganassi's newest star

Alex Palou has captured Chip Ganassi Racing's 14th IndyCar drivers' championship, and in truly stellar manner. David Malsher-Lopez explains what made the Palou-Ganassi combo so potent so soon.

IndyCar
Sep 28, 2021
Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar Prime

Why Grosjean's oval commitment shows he's serious about IndyCar

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets now out in the open, and Romain Grosjean has been confirmed as an Andretti Autosport IndyCar driver in 2022. It marks a remarkable turnaround after the abrupt end to his Formula 1 career, and is a firm indication of his commitment to challenge for the IndyCar Series title  

IndyCar
Sep 24, 2021
IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch Prime

IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still at fever pitch

The 2021 IndyCar silly season is one of the silliest of all, but it’s satisfying to see so many talented drivers in play – including Callum Ilott. David Malsher-Lopez reports.

IndyCar
Sep 11, 2021