LEXINGTON, Ohio ( Associated Press) — There’s no one better than Scott Dixon at the Mid-Ohio sports car course, where The Iceman has a record six IndyCar wins and has dropped out of the top-10 only twice in his career.
So he’s the favorite to win on Sunday, right?
Well, not so fast.
Dixon has been mired in one of the longest losing streaks of his career—21 races and counting, at the start of last season—and he hasn’t won in Mid-Ohio since 2019. He has slipped down a notch in the Chip Ganassi Racing lineup, which boasts IndyCar champion Alex Palu and current Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson, who heads into Sunday’s race as the IndyCar points leader.
Palu is placed fifth in the standings and Dixon, a six-time champion and the most accomplished driver of his generation, is in sixth and looking to battle for the title.
“We need to — I think that’s the obvious answer,” Dixon said of jumping off his season. “I was expecting the Indy 500 to be the turn and kick we needed. It has been an interesting year, a lot of ups and downs and some missed opportunities.”
Dixon was square to the field at the Indianapolis 500 in May and dominated the race until he was flagged for speeding on a pothole road. The ensuing penalty paralyzed his shot at the win.
As the New Zealander worked through his feelings of defeat, his name suddenly surfaced in a blockbuster free agency rumor. McLaren Racing chief Zak Brown has long spread word after Dixon and Indianapolis that Brown was trying to wean Dixon away from Ganassi with the promise of a leadership role at Arrow McLaren SP.
Dixon, who turns 42 later this month and is the fourth-oldest full-time IndyCar driver, said he has not spoken with McLaren. It’s possible that his management made a proposal, but Dixon is staying above ground.
“A lot of people talk. I also got some messages from people asking about this,” Dixon said. “If people are having these conversations, I have not been a part of them. I am doing what I do. I love to work and be a part of the team I’m with. Who knows what will happen in the future, but right now I’m just focused on this season. That’s all I have to say. There’s really something to it Neither is.”
Dixon has a career timeline he’d like to follow. His 51 career victories rank third so far, a win over Mario Andretti in second, and he is one championship away from tying AJ Foyt’s mark of seven.
“Honestly, I don’t see anything changing from what I’m currently doing for at least the next five years,” said Dixon, who enjoyed the Ganassi lineup, which also includes seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmy Johnson. Are included.
“We’ve done a really good job as far as we’ve got the balance there, I think, and I think if you look at how competitive the team has been, of course, there’s always been such areas. that we can improve on, and believe me, we’re working as hard as possible to make it possible,” Dixon said. “I just love the dynamic. It’s so much fun, it’s a good group and they’ve already achieved one goal this year and that’s to win the Indy 500. Hopefully we can get to that second goal of the championship.” Huh. “
Ganassi recently said he expects his four-car lineup to return in 2023, an indicator that things are moving forward with Johnson in his third year at IndyCar. Johnson said on Friday that work is still underway to return No. 48 next season.
“The status quo — I looked at Chip’s comments and thought it was a very PC way of saying that everything is staying the same,” Johnson said. “I share the same view. We all hope, that’s the intention. Lots of sponsors, you can talk to them and it takes until October or November before some decisions are made. I certainly hope so.” That it won’t go that deep.”
With every new free agency rumour, Felix Rosenquist couldn’t help but wonder where he might land and if he has any shots at keeping his job at Arrow McLaren SP.
He’s going to be a McLaren driver next year, but the Swede doesn’t know where he’ll be wearing the papaya orange. McLaren signed him to a multi-year contract extension, but Zak Brown has yet to decide whether Rosenquist will return to his seat at IndyCar or headline his upcoming Formula E team.
Rosenquist did not want to reveal his choice for 2023, but he was mostly humble as his ambition is clearly to stay at IndyCar. He and teammate Pato O’Ward are good friends and the team is expanding to add Alexander Rossi to a third car next season.
Rosenquist noted that he is on the fast track with four finishes of 10th or higher in a row. He was fourth in the Indy 500.
“Without saying what I would prefer, I think the poor results here will make the choice of Zak easier,” Rosenquist said.
More Associated Press Auto Racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports