Kiwi Scott Dixon ice cool ahead of Penske showdown
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Kiwi Indycar star Scott Dixon will shoot for a fifth championship on Monday morning in the season finale double points race at Sonoma Raceway in California.
The 37-year-old goes into the final race with a three point deficit to Josef Newgarden but with a track record of succeeding in this situation. He won at Sonoma in 2015 to secure his fourth career championship.
"The way you have got to approach it in its simplest form is that it is just another race and try not to think about what you are ultimately fighting for," Dixon told Radio Sport.
"It is definitely exciting - it is no different to just about every year. I expect the Verizon Indycar series to come down to the last race and it sure has this year with four contenders - myself and three Penske drivers.
"They [Penske] are very dominant there - I think they locked out the first two rows there last year.
"It is what it is - we just have to try and minimize any mistakes and I think if we have a competitive car we should have a great shot at going for the number five championship."
A potential seven different drivers are a mathematical chance of winning the title but it will almost certainly come down to Dixon or the four-car Penske juggernaut. Newgarden, third-placed Helio Castroneves, fourth-placed Simon Pagenaud and fifth-placed Will Power all drive for the famous Penske team.
The task could be very tough for Dixon if the Penske drivers work together to try and get a result for one of their cars but each driver will have their own dreams of claiming the title.
Newgarden seems most likely but he cracked under the pressure a fortnight ago at Watkins Glen to allow Dixon to come roaring back into contention. Of the major contenders he is clearly the most inexperienced having never been in a championship fight at the last race of the year before.
Castroneves has never won a championship in his two decade-long career and will finish up as a fulltime driver at the end of the weekend so he will put it all on the line to finish in spectacular fashion.
Pagenaud is the reigning series champ. He was the victim of a questionable pass by Newgarden at Gateway Motorsport Park a few weeks ago and there appeared to be some bad blood between the two while Power is a fierce racer, who is renowned for never giving an inch.
"It's hard to answer. No. 1, it's how realistic are everyone's chances throughout the weekend," Penske president Tim Cindric said. "All we can do is stress how important it is for the team - overall, our sponsors and partners - that a Team Penske driver win the championship.
"We all have to be honest with ourselves and be realistic as the weekend plays out. And that will determine how hard you race one another."
- NZ Herald