FONTANA, Calif. — Scott Dixon won his first championship at 23, too young to appreciate what he’d accomplished in his first full season with Chip Ganassi Racing and their first year competing in the IndyCar Series.
The next title five seasons later capped one of those years you only dream about: Dixon won six races, the Indianapolis 500, married his wife, Emma, and topped it all off with his second championship.
Then Dario Franchitti returned to IndyCar, as his teammate at Ganassi, and Dixon became an also-ran. He won 10 races over the next three years, but lost the championship every time to his new teammate.
“The first one, I think I was young, just didn’t really understand what I had won. My perspective when I was 22 or 23 of what I actually did to what I understand now is totally different,” he said. “And ‘08 was a dream year. Got married, won the Indy 500 and the championship. Pretty hard to beat that.”
“This year I think has been far different, just in the fact midseason we didn’t think we had a shot at the championship.”
Winless after the 10th race of the season, Dixon’s 16th-place finish at Iowa had dropped him to seventh in the standings. He and Franchitti had both been written out of the championship picture.
However, Dixon broke through at Pocono for his first victory of the year. He then swept the doubleheader in Toronto and was one his way.
TRUCK SERIES: Justin Lofton is recovering from a fractured left thumb he sustained in a wild crash on the final lap of the race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Lofton was taken to the hospital after 12 trucks wrecked in a crowded dash to the finish line in front of the main grandstand.