One of the seemingly ageless Dixon’s main strengths has been his consistency and ability to come back time and again. It was five years before he would take his next drivers’ title in 2008, but he would do so by winning his first Indianapolis 500 and equalling the record number of wins for a driver in the IndyCar Series (Champ Car and the Indy Racing League had by now unified) – six.
Dixon would have to then wait another five years for his next title, when he would pip Helio Castroneves, then added a fourth two years later, winning an against-the-odds showdown with Juan Pablo Montoya and taking advantage of double points in the season finale to win the crown on a tiebreaker. He also managed to claim overall Daytona 24 Hours honours in 2014.
The tireless Dixon still wanted more though and his relentless will to win was showcased again in 2018 at the penultimate round in Portland. Facing elimination from the title chase after being involved in a 5-car pile-up which saw Marco Andretti’s car fly over the top of him on lap one, the Kiwi would get restarted and surge back through the field and finish fifth, before a second at Sonoma would secure his fifth title.
After coming first in the championship to claim a sixth title in 2020, 2021 would be a relatively fallow year for Dixon with just one victory, however this meant he set another record, as he became the first Indycar driver to win in 19 seasons, beating AJ Foyt’s record.
Dixon is someone who has seen rivals, teams and races come and go in Indycar racing but now, into his 22nd season at American open-wheel’s top table, he can’t be counted out from challenging for the title once more in 2022.
One of Dixon’s almost ever-present rivals in Indycars has been Helio Castroneves. A serial winner and record-equalling four-time Indy 500 champion, the only thing eluding the catch fence-climbing Brazilian was a top-level title, though he secured this by winning the 2020 IMSA DPi class.
Similar to Dixon, Castroneves moved to a top team (Penske in this instance) in just his third year of CART, though the latter had to wait a little longer for his first win, coming at Detroit in 2000.
Six more victories would come in the next two years, including his debut Brickyard triumph at his first attempt in 2001. Castroneves would repeat the feat the next year, marking him out as a budding Indy specialist.