Dixon on the hot seat

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IndyCar penalizes Dixon, and hands the Kiwi a hefty fine and probation

The past month has been arguably one of the most difficult of Scott Dixon’s life. His race team lost one of their biggest supporters in Floyd Ganassi, father of team owner Chip, and he lost an in law on top of that. He could and should be forgiven for being a bit testy and more than a little upset over experiencing all this loss while contending in a tight points battle for the IndyCar championship with Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves.

As I have covered Scott for over 14 years now, I have known him to be both a tough competitor on the track and ever a gentleman off of it.

I must admit it’s been tough over the past three weeks to see him enraged over his penalty during the closing laps at the Sonoma race, which definitely cost him a win in week one; seeing him upset to not receive the help he needed to resume the race after contact with Power during week two, and then demanding Race Director Beaux Barfield’s head on a platter; and when week three came, Dixon was penalized by IndyCar, receiving probation until December and a fine of $30,000 for the things he said about Barfield.

At each of these incidents, IndyCar acted in accordance with its rules as should be noted. What makes all of this crazy is that Scott is a driver almost no one expected to have something like this happen him. This might explain in part the rather biased reporting of the PitGate incident in Sonoma by NBCSN’s Townsend Bell and Leigh Diffey, who like latter day psychics purported to know why this happened (dirty tricks by the Penskes) almost immediately.

I haven’t seen as much biased reporting since Michelle Bachmann’s last campaign rally. If you were still impressed Stiffey’s lack of objectivity, or Bell’s being out of tune, consider that both commentators immediately said that Team Penske was in the wrong and then continued to tell us, the home viewers, how right they were a week later.

PitGate began to recede in our collective memories within days. The only collateral damage was to Travis Law, a working man who was just trying to do his job and got hit by Dixon’s race car for his trouble.

In my opinion, Scott and the Psychic TV Commentators all owe Mr. Law an apology. However, I consider this unlikely to happen except for Scott. In fact, knowing him, he perhaps has already apologized to Power’s rear tire changer and made peace with Travis. But if he has not, I urge him to do so.

Moving on to the Baltimore race in week two or the Schlimazel Grand Prix as I like to call it. Most of what made this race crazy had little to do with Dixon and more to do with an insane race track that needs a facelift worse than any aging Hollywood star.

I can completely understand why Scott was upset that the series refused to tow his car back to the pits so he could resume the race. However, laying all of the blame at Barfield’s door may not be entirely fair and politically, it was certainly not his best move. But, it happened, much to most of our surprise, and now, Scott has this penalty and probation to deal with.

Hopefully, he will take the time to give Barfield a call and make this as right as he can with Beaux. I dunno. It’s up to them.

What really bodes well for this Fall of Dixon’s Discontent is that there are no more IndyCar races until October. There is plenty of time for him to rest and reflect, if he cares to, that is. I will make the bold prediction that by Houston, we will see the Scott Dixon we all know and love back in the race car again.

All of this craziness will melt into insignificance and pretty soon we will forget how very difficult the past month has been for Scott Dixon. We may be able to forget, but somehow I fear that Scott will not.

In the meantime, Dixon is back in an Ganassi car but this time at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Scott and his Scottish teammate, Dario Franchitti, are driving one of the team's BMW Riley Daytona Prototype in the Grand-Am Rolex sports car series.

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About this article
Series INDYCAR
Article type Commentary
Tags announcers, baltimore, barfield, dixon, ganassi, hefty fine, penalty, penske, pitgate, power, probation, sonoma, tyre