Scott Dixon has commanded much of the 2020 IndyCar season, but that doesn’t mean he’s relaxing as the NTT IndyCar Series enters its home stretch. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver is determined to secure the championship at the first-ever Harvest Grand Prix this weekend (Oct. 3-4), which would be his sixth Astor Cup in an already storied career.
Dixon spoke to Frontstretch ahead of the doubleheader to discuss his outlook going into the final three races, how he’s regrouping after a Mid-Ohio weekend that didn’t go according to plan, and if he sees any similarities between himself and his closest 2020 rival, defending IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden.
Brittany Frederick, Frontstretch: Scott, this is IndyCar’s last doubleheader weekend, which makes it a great opportunity for you to either secure the championship outright or gain enough points to extend your lead. What’s your approach going into the Harvest GP?
Scott Dixon: That’s the ultimate goal, right, is to leave this weekend without having to worry about the championship. The reality is that it’s still going to be very tough. We don’t really change our approach each weekend. I think when you come down to the nitty-gritty of the championship, you are aware of the points and the outcomes a little bit more than you would be, say, at the start or middle part of the season.
We’ll focus on doing what we always try to do, and that’s win the race. If we can win Race 1 or Race 2, that makes things a lot easier. If we can win the both of them, that seals the deal. We’ll go in there with that mindset, see what we come out with.
Frontstretch: You did win on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course earlier this season in the 2020 GMR Grand Prix. Does that help you at all returning to the same track this weekend?
Scott Dixon: I don’t think you can really rely on past races, even if it’s at the same track. The track conditions are going to be a lot different; I think [from] 90 degrees to maybe in the 50’s, somebody said to me yesterday. We’ll see.
Race distances have changed. We have two different race distances. Fuel mileage will favor one group slightly more than the other. I think our team is confident in the cooler conditions; we seem to fare a little bit better, especially for qualifying speeds. Hopefully that plays true.
Again, you just can’t rely on any of that stuff. It’s a new weekend, one we’re going to have to approach flat-out and make sure we get the best out of it.
Frontstretch: You’re contending with Josef Newgarden, who now has two IndyCar titles under his belt, one of which was last season. Do you see any similarities between the two of you, being drivers for top teams who each have multiple championships?
Scott Dixon: I think everybody is unique in their own way. There’s different portions that every driver maybe does a little bit different, or a little bit better or a little bit worse. There’s no doubt that Josef is a fantastic driver, very accomplished. What he’s achieved so far is huge. I suspect there’s going to be many, many more race wins, many more championships.
He’s a good person. He’s a good friend. We get to enjoy racing against each other for many years so far and hopefully for a few more into the future.
I think everybody is very unique in the way they go about championships, the places they maybe struggle at a little bit more, the ones they’re very confident and strong at. I wouldn’t label Josef similar to me. In some ways maybe he is, but he’s his own person and one that has some amazing stats already.
Frontstretch: Should you win the 2020 IndyCar championship, how would this one go down in your personal record book, considering how unpredictable the season has been both on and off the track? Would this be the most challenging title run in your career?
Scott Dixon: I think it would probably be the strangest, just [with] how the season’s gone—the schedule changes, the ups and downs. Honestly, I’m so thankful that the NTT IndyCar Series and everybody involved were able to get the ball rolling. A huge thanks to NASCAR for paving the way, letting us kind of use their handbook a little bit with the COVID situation, get back to it.
No, I don’t know. All of them are very unique. They’re all very different, at least from my memory. But I think each one becomes that much more meaningful. This one, for me, would definitely mean the most.
The 2020 IndyCar season continues with the Harvest Grand Prix on Oct. 3-4 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Race 1 airs at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA.