Why Scott Dixon can still win the IndyCar title, despite being 4th in points
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New Zealand IndyCar racer Scott Dixon has four races left in the 2019 season, and he's one of four drivers still in contention for the championship.
Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden has a 35-point advantage over Andretti Autosport's Alexander Rossi, with another Penske pilot Simon Pagenaud 40 points off the lead and Chip Ganassi Racing driver Dixon is hanging in there 52 points back.
For most people, making up 52 points over three races would be a big ask. But with a race win worth 50 points, it's not as bad as it looks. And there are a number of things in Dixon's favour in his quest for a sixth title.
First up is his experience; 16 years at elite level means he's seen it all. Second, he has more race wins than anyone else in the field and is third on the all-time winners' list with 46. Third is that he came from behind to win the 2015 championship from Pablo Montoya.
And fourth is that the last race of the season at Laguna Seca is worth double points.
Not many drivers — four, including Dixon — have come from fourth to take the title with three races to go, but it's not impossible. If anyone can do it, the Kiwi can.
The one thing that has made Dixon the man to beat and a perennial championship contender is his ability to win races on all sorts of tracks. Most drivers in the field have a preference for one or the other style of track but not the Kiwi.
Dixon has 21 wins on ovals, with six coming from short ovals, 13 from intermediate ovals and two from superspeedways. His 21 wins on ovals are more than any other active driver, so the omens are good.
The next circuit on the calendar is Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois. The 1.25-mile oval returned to the IndyCar Series calendar in 2017 after a 14-year hiatus.
For Dixon, the short track is a relatively happy hunting ground. He claimed a crucial third-place here last year, and a second the year prior. The main issue for the Ganassi racer is that on both past occasions, he was beaten to the win by a Penske Chevrolet.