Franchitti: Dixon is “perfect wingman” for Palou’s IndyCar title bid

Four-time IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti believes Scott Dixon will be the “perfect wingman” as his teammate Alex Palou aims to seal a first title success at Long Beach.

Franchitti: Dixon is “perfect wingman” for Palou’s IndyCar title bid

Franchitti, who works with both Palou and Dixon in his role as driver advisor at Chip Ganassi Racing, says that the working relationship between them this year has been key to Palou’s remarkable first season with the team. 

Franchitti won three of his titles with Ganassi and Dixon was his teammate throughout his five-year stint there.

Palou goes into the series finale on the streets of the Californian city leading by 35 points over Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward. Dixon lost his mathematical chance of retaining the title after a 13th-place finish at Laguna Seca, following his clash with a spinning Takuma Sato at the Corkscrew.

“When Scott and I were teammates here, we were generally both going for the title, I think it was only one year that we weren’t both fighting for it,” Franchitti told Autosport.

“And Scott was the perfect wingman for that. He said ‘I’ve got your back’ and he really did. I think he’s already said [to Palou] ‘Whatever you need, I’m there,’ and that’s great.

“Scott’s been good with Alex all year. He’s been helping him, he’s not been holding anything back. That’s actually surprised me, there’s not been any kept secrets. Everybody is showing their hands, which is nice and it’s great for the team.”

 

Franchitti describes Dixon as the “quarterback of this team,” and reflected on the magnitude of his misfortune in 2021.

“He’s just had some horrendous luck this year,” said Franchitti of Dixon.

“I think he has benefited from having Alex in the team, because it’s been a while since he’s had someone really pushing him from within consistently. 

“In the past, a lot of the pressure here has just fallen right on Scott. But he’s just a machine. He wants to drive racing cars and he wants to win. There’s no slowing down with him.”

After replacing Felix Rosenqvist at CGR, Palou has won three races in his first season with the team – and only his second year in the series – and needs only to finish 11th in Long Beach to be guaranteed of the title, regardless of O’Ward’s result.

Franchitti added that Palou’s addition has rejuvenated the #10 car’s team members this year.

“Another thing with Alex is that he’s got Julian Robertson [race engineer] on the car, who goes all the way back to engineering Jimmy Vasser [Ganassi's first Indy car champion in 1996].

"Having Alex in the car has re-energised him, and given a new lease of life to the #10 group, along with Ricky Davis the crew chief.”

shares
comments

Related video

Palou "cannot relax" in IndyCar finale despite strong points lead

Previous article

Palou "cannot relax" in IndyCar finale despite strong points lead

Next article

The "character-building" lessons of IndyCar's rookie champion-elect

The "character-building" lessons of IndyCar's rookie champion-elect
Load comments
Have Harvey and RLL formed IndyCar’s next winning match-up? Plus

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

Despite appearing to have an IndyCar job for life with Meyer Shank Racing, Jack Harvey’s departure and move to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing sparked plenty of debate. However, Harvey's and RLL's combined strengths could prove to be a winning combination - if they get the balance right

IndyCar
Oct 17, 2021
Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win Plus

Remembering Dan Wheldon and his last and most amazing IndyCar win

Saturday 16 October marks the 10th anniversary of 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
Why Kyle Kirkwood is America's new IndyCar ace-in-waiting Plus

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 junior career and scholarship money, his next move is far from clear

IndyCar
Oct 6, 2021
Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star Plus

Why IndyCar title glory is just the start for Ganassi's new star

Newly-crowned IndyCar champion Alex Palou has been lauded as a complete driver and veteran-like in only his second season. The 24-year-old is still in the early days of his career, but the parallels are there for all to see with his six-time champion Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate who has been CGR's team leader since 2014

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

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

One of motorsport’s worst-kept secrets is 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
Why IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still far from over Plus

Why IndyCar’s longest silly-season is still far from over

OPINION: The 2021 IndyCar silly season has been one of the silliest for many years, as many talented drivers remain in play – with new pieces to the puzzle being added all the time. Here's what we know so far about who will end up where in 2022

IndyCar
Sep 15, 2021
Why IndyCar's generational shift isn't as stark as it appears Plus

Why IndyCar's generational shift isn't as stark as it appears

OPINION: The rise of two drivers racing only their second full-season IndyCar campaigns to head the points with four races to go has led to some observers doubting the credentials of the old guard. But they haven't faded away, there's merely a deeper talent pool that is helping to make this season one of the best in recent years

IndyCar
Aug 20, 2021
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Formula 1
Jul 31, 2021