Just one year ago, Scott Dixon used Pocono Raceway as the launching pad that propelled him to a third career IndyCar Series title. He entered the 2013 Pocono INDYCAR 400 Fueled by Sunoco seventh in the standings, 92 points out of the lead. He led a 1-2-3 Ganassi Racing sweep at Pocono and then a double-header sweep the following weekend in the Honda “Two in T.O.” Dixon had won three races in just eight days.
Dixon realizes he is going to need something drastic to happen again if he is going to be a viable contender in the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship.
The talented driver from Auckland, New Zealand enters Sunday’s Pocono INDYCAR 500 Fueled by Sunoco ninth in the standings, 168 points behind leader Will Power.
“We’re looking for a turning point at any race right now,” Dixon told FOXSports.com. “If Pocono is going to be the one that would be awesome. Fantastic track and a lot of fun. A 500-mile race is going to be extremely tough at Pocono. We’ll have to work hard for it if we get a podium or a win.
“The championship is a bit tough but for us right now we need to go out and win races. If we can win races that is the main part for us to concentrate on.”
Dixon has won 33 races in his IndyCar career. The only drivers with more victories are the three Unsers, two Andrettis and a Foyt – very elite company in this sport.
But none of those 33 victories have come in 2014. Through 10 races this season Dixon has finished out of the top 10 six times. He crashed in the Indianapolis 500 when he smacked the Turn 4 wall and finished 29th. Last weekend in the Grand Prix of Houston Dixon finished 19th on Saturday after he was involved in a crash and was 18th on Sunday.
“It was frustrating,” Dixon said. “Last Saturday we had the downshift issue and Sunday we lost the brakes and that could have been pretty big. We had a reservoir that came unattached and the brakes were sucking air. The only luck we had is bad luck.”
A win – or even a good finish – would be very important to Dixon because this is one of three 500-mile races that pay double points throughout the field. He experienced the downside of double points with a 29th-place finish at Indy.
“You can’t dwell on that stuff,” Dixon said. “To be honest I have no idea about the championship points system but that isn’t going to make our season any better. If you are going to be strong you have to be strong at all the races to win the championship and right now we are ninth best at it.”
Dixon has experienced seasons like this in the past. In 2003 he won his first IndyCar title but in 2004 he had a disastrous season.
“In 2004 we knew what the problem was,” Dixon said, referring to running a lackluster Toyota engine that season. “This year our pace has been pretty good at a lot of places. I’ve messed up a couple of times, which is frustrating and then last week at Houston it was just something that came unattached. That year (2004) we struggled for speed and tried to overextend ourselves.
“This time our speed is acceptable we have been in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Dixon realizes the right place is Victory Lane and that time is soon – such as Sunday at Pocono.
Be sure to catch Bruce Martin’s Honda IndyCar Report on RACEDAY on FOX Sports Radio every Sunday from 6-8 a.m. Eastern Time.