Preview: Title rivals aim for consistency

Consistency. It's easier said than done. Just ask Scott Dixon. The Ganassi Racing driver has been one of the most dominant drivers during the first 10 races of the 2003 IRL IndyCar Series, winning three times and leading 343 consecutive laps through three races. However, this weekend's Emerson Indy 250 at Gateway International Raceway marks only the second time he's entered an event atop the IRL standings

Preview: Title rivals aim for consistency

The reason? Lack of consistency. When Dixon wasn't winning, he wasn't finishing particularly well. Since a string of poor finishes early in the season, though, Dixon hasn't finished worse than sixth in the last six races.

"In this series, if you have a mechanical, you've got to fix it and get back out there," Dixon said. "You have to try to pick up as many points as possible. We've had scenarios that we're kicking ourselves over now - like the one at Phoenix, where we should have come back to the garage and fix the gearbox and gone back out. Things like that will drive you crazy."

As teams prepare for Saturday's qualifying session, Dixon holds a one-point lead over Tony Kanaan, who had led the IRL standings since the Indianapolis 500. Dixon also returns to his strength - tracks of odd shapes and lengths. Gateway's 1.25-mile oval has turns of distinctly different radii and banking.

"It's a fun circuit," Dixon said. "I think I'm better suited to the smaller ovals. This is more familiar. I enjoy circuits that have a big difference - where (turns) three and four are just about flat out, but then you've got to downshift twice going into (turns) one and two. I think it's a lot more fun."

Dixon isn't the only driver making a mathematical surge. Gil de Ferran, who missed a race because of an injury, has rallied with two wins and three thirds to move into third place in the standings, three points behind Dixon.

"You just have to be consistently up front," de Ferran said. "Win when you can, and when you cannot, you have to finish second. If you cannot even finish second, you have to finish third. You just have to stay, hopefully, in the top three in the last six races. It is very important to finish every race and keep doing well."

Others, including de Ferran's teammate, Helio Castroneves, remain in contention as the series enters its final six races. In fact, the top nine drivers in the standings are separated by just 104 points. Just don't look for the leaders to take any wild chances during the final events.

"We'll just keep trying to win races," Dixon said. "There might be the occasional thing where you anticipate things. If you think it's a big chance, maybe you won't take it. You'll still race hard. You can't look into it too much. You have to carry on as usual."

shares
comments
Wheldon hoping for strong finish

Previous article

Wheldon hoping for strong finish

Next article

Qualifying: Castroneves quickest

Qualifying: Castroneves quickest
Load comments
The lasting legacy of a fallen Indycar rookie Plus

The lasting legacy of a fallen Indycar rookie

Jeff Krosnoff was plucked out of obscurity to become a respected and highly popular professional in Japan, and then got his big break in Indycar for 1996. But a tragic accident at Toronto 25 years ago cut short a promising career and curtailed his regular team-mate Mauro Martini's passion for racing

IndyCar
Jul 14, 2021
The two key areas where Dixon needs to re-assert his authority Plus

The two key areas where Dixon needs to re-assert his authority

OPINION: Having been Chip Ganassi Racing's IndyCar focal point for the best part of a decade, Scott Dixon has been so far outgunned by new team-mate Alex Palou in 2021. After finishing behind the Spaniard at his traditional happy hunting ground at Mid-Ohio, Dixon has work to do to assume his traditional position in the team and the standings

IndyCar
Jul 6, 2021
The winners and losers of IndyCar 2021 so far Plus

The winners and losers of IndyCar 2021 so far

At the halfway point in the 2021 IndyCar Series season, we've had seven winners in eight races, spread between five teams – none of them Team Penske. In this unusual season, even by IndyCar standards, who’s excelling and who’s dragging their heels?

IndyCar
Jun 18, 2021
Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history Plus

Castroneves: How I kept it under control to make Indy 500 history

Helio Castroneves’ overwhelming vivaciousness outside the cockpit belies a hardcore racer who knows how to plot his moves – and then recall it all. A day after his fourth Indy 500 win, he explained his tactics

IndyCar
Jun 2, 2021
How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status Plus

How 'chess master' Castroneves cemented his Indy legend status

Helio Castroneves joined AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears with the most Indianapolis 500 wins after edging past Alex Palou on the penultimate lap of a thrilling race that validated Michael Shank's faith in the veteran Brazilian - who is discovering that there is life after Penske after all

IndyCar
Jun 1, 2021
Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious at the Brickyard? Plus

Indy 500 preview: Will experience or youth be victorious at the Brickyard?

A quarter of the drivers racing in the 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500 are former winners - but are they the favourites? The veteran drivers largely impressed in qualifying - but there's also a plethora of young guns looking to secure victory at IndyCar's flagship race...

IndyCar
May 27, 2021
What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1? Plus

What will it take to get American drivers in Formula 1?

The FIA says it wants American drivers in Formula 1, but would it take an IndyCar driver to transfer or does an American need to join the European junior ladder system to get there?

Formula 1
May 19, 2021
Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life Plus

Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life

After spending the majority of his 179-race Formula 1 career in middling to tail-end machinery, Romain Grosjean finds himself once again with an underdog team in IndyCar. While not without its challenges, he's relishing the more level playing field that means his Dale Coyne Racing crew can expect to claim a few scalps...

IndyCar
May 14, 2021