Four-time Verizon IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon has made his decision. The 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner will return to Chip Ganassi Racing, signing a multi-year contract with the only team he has driven for since 2002.
The Kiwi has collected all but one of his 44 career wins with Chip Ganassi’s team, which is third on the all-time list, trailing only AJ Foyt (67) and Mario Andretti (52). Dixon is currently leading the championship, with a 46-point lead with four races remaining. He could inch his way closer to a 5th championship this weekend at Pocono, where he has won before.
Other milestones of note include being the longest tenured driver in history, and recently becoming just the ninth driver to ever start 300 races. He is the youngest driver to accomplish that feat. Dixon and the Ganassi team also worked with Universal Pictures on a feature-length documentary Born Racer, which is scheduled to debut later this Fall.
Dixon was thrilled to share the news on Monday. “I have always said I have a massive amount of respect for Chip and what he’s done in this sport. This is not an easy business. His resume speaks for itself, and he’s the type of team owner any driver would want to drive for. He gives you the tools you need to go out and get the job done, with the right group of people. This team has been like a family to me since way back in 2002, and I’m glad I’ll be here trying to fight for more wins, championships and Indianapolis 500s for years to come.”
Chip was relieved to have his driver back. “I think when you mention the name Scott Dixon, the numbers and the records start to speak for themselves. We have achieved a lot together, but there are no signs of him slowing down. He’s still the guy the championship goes through, and you know you have to beat him to get on the top step. He’s a driver that’s always thinking about the next race and how he’s going to approach it, attack it and ultimately win it. I’m very happy that we have the opportunity to continue this relationship and look forward to many more successful years together.”
Despite the rumors and speculation of a McLaren IndyCar team, a move to Andretti Autosport, or even Team Penske, Dixon made the call to stay loyal to Chip Ganassi. It just feels right. His success in IndyCar is one thing, but also his sportscar opportunities in Ganassi’s Ford GT program. This allows him to participate in the great endurance events such as Le Mans, and the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Continuity with the familiar faces of Managing Director Mike Hull, team manager Scott Harner, and engineer Chris Simmons are also great aspects to consider in this decision.
The days of athletes staying with one team for the duration of their career seem to be gone. It isn’t necessarily a lack of loyalty, or the desire for a change of scenery. Often, it is just the nature of the business. IndyCar is no different, but there are always exceptions. Larry Bird would bleed green as a Celtic, and Tim Duncan quietly would always be a Spur. Like them, Dixon is staying loyal, and collecting his championships as he writes his legacy as one of the all-time greats.