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Scott Dixon: Best IndyCar Driver Ever?

It’s said that the first auto race occurred as soon as they built a second car.

Auto racing has a long, rich history that dates back to the 19th century, and since then there has always been the discussion as to who is the all-time best

While the list of drivers in that discussion is long and distinguished, it almost always includes the names A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti.

That’s for good reason of course. Foyt is the all-time leader in IndyCar wins (67) and championships (seven), while Andretti has 52 wins and four championship trophies on his mantle. Not to mention, both drivers have Daytona 500 wins on their resumes, as well as sports car wins at places like Sebring, Daytona and Le Mans.

If there is a Mount Rushmore of drivers, it includes both of their faces.

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When it comes to IndyCar racing specifically, which one of them is the best?

Neither.

That would be one Scott Ronald Dixon.

There, it’s been said. Scott Dixon is the greatest IndyCar driver of all time.

That statement is made with no disrespect toward either A.J. or Mario. Their accomplishments are mind-boggling, as were their talents. But what the 43-year-old Kiwi has done in his brilliant career stands alone.

Here are some facts:

His win at the 2023 Gallagher Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course was the 54th of his career, second all-time behind Foyt. Over the course of the last half-century, no one has won as many IndyCar races as Dixon.

Of the drivers who comprise the top 15 in wins, Dixon has raced against eight of them. While some were nearing the ends of their careers, like Michael Andretti, Al Unser Jr., and Paul Tracy, or others weren’t as successful post IndyCar unification, like Sebastien Bourdais, he’s also gone head-to-head with several drivers in their primes, including Will Power, Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves, and Josef Newgarden.

That quartet alone has combined for 142 wins, and in the case of Newgarden and Power, still counting. While Power is still competitive, his career seems to be winding down, but if he retired today his 41 wins (5th all-time) and record 70 poles makes him an IndyCar great.

To be fair to Newgarden, it seems he is still getting better. With 29 wins at age 32, it’s a reasonable bet that he will someday join Foyt, Dixon and Mario Andretti in the 50-win club.

When Dixon doesn’t win, he almost always is running at the front. His win Saturday marked the 134th podium of his career, and the 200th top-10 finish. That means in 382 career starts, he has finished on the podium a remarkable 35 percent of the time.

Then, there is the consistency. Saturday marked his 319th consecutive IndyCar start, which broke a record he shared with good friend Tony Kanaan.

He won for the 19th consecutive season, and has won in 21 of the 23 seasons he has contested in IndyCar, both of which are records. His six championships is just one fewer than Foyt’s, and since 2006 he has only once finished outside of the top five in points.

All of this has been done in the spec-era of IndyCar, which has arguably also been the most competitive era of the sport.

In 2023, 36 drivers have competed and secured some amount of points, 21 of them have won at least one IndyCar race. The series wants for nothing in terms of parity.

Though, unlike drivers of another era who drove anything with four wheels, Dixon hasn’t driven in several different forms of racing, but when he has raced outside of IndyCar, he has proven successful. Dixon has made 19 starts in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, and has three overall wins and an additional class victory.

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He’s also won the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and finished third in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016.

“What it all comes down to for me is I love racing,” Dixon said after his Gallagher Grand Prix win. “That’s the fun part for me, is when the race starts or when we go even to a test, I enjoy being in the car.

“It’s tough, the NTT IndyCar Series right now is extremely competitive. There’s so much depth between the driver and team combos, that it’s very hard to win. You constantly are chasing a moving target, which is fun. That’s what I think keeps you fresh, inspired. Especially when you have great teammates that are very fast, as well. Yeah, I love this sport, and hope it continues for a lot of years.”

At 43, Dixon shows no sign of slowing down. Considered one of the fittest drivers in the paddock, Dixon’s dominant years may be behind him, but he’s still got plenty in the tank.

Numbers don’t lie. By the time he climbs out of the cockpit of an IndyCar for the final time, Dixon being the greatest driver the series has even seen will be a no doubter.

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John

I’d love to see A.J. and Mario in their prime running against Dixon just to prove that you are wrong.

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