IRL: Road to Indy: Dixon laments one that got away

Road to Indy: Dixon, Ganassi aim for 500 win: In his first season in the IRL IndyCar Series, Scott Dixon won three races, five poles and the 2003 series title. But he still laments the one race that got away. Dixon ran solidly in the top 10 in...

Road to Indy: Dixon, Ganassi aim for 500 win: In his first season in the IRL IndyCar Series, Scott Dixon won three races, five poles and the 2003 series title.

But he still laments the one race that got away.

Dixon ran solidly in the top 10 in his first Indianapolis 500, but an uncharacteristic mistake while running under yellow cost him a chance at winning "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

"I think we had a pretty good month in general," Dixon said. "We just had a rough race. We ended up having to push it a bit. Then I sort of messed up toward the end."

Dixon and the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team know what it takes to win races -- including the Indianapolis 500. The team won an unprecedented four straight championship titles (1996-99,) and added a fifth with the crowning of Dixon.

This year, Dixon is looking to do what Juan Pablo Montoya did in 2000 with the Target team; win the Indy 500 following a championship series win.

"I think it's probably everybody's goal is to win the Indianapolis 500," Dixon said. "I think the emphasis of the team is going to be on it this year because it's so early in the year, compared to the championship, that's what we're focusing on right at the moment."

Dixon is coming off a second-place finish in the Copper World Indy 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. He has finished second in four of the last five IndyCar Series events and said finishing second has weighed upon his mind at times.

"It does get frustrating. The last five races I've had four seconds," he said. "I don't know, second, it's great points and good for the championships. I think if you finish second most of the time, you're going to win a championship.

"Our time will come. I think it's great that we are able to be at that end of the field every race pretty much we compete in and every qualifying we compete in. I think it's inevitable that we are going to come out with a win here shortly."

The 23-year-old native of New Zealand is one of the few Kiwis to ever compete at the Indianapolis 500, and may be one of his country's most famous athletes. He said winning the race would be the highlight of his racing career.

"That would be huge," he said. "You know, the Indianapolis 500, as everyone knows is the biggest race in the world. Everybody in New Zealand knows, especially the motor racing community down there, probably half of them are going to be at the race, but it should be pretty good."

But the driver who is called the "Iceman" for is calm demeanor in the car is taking the same approach he takes to every race.

"I think there's always an urgency in trying to win this race," Dixon said. "I think any chance you can you get to do it, as Chip says, there's years that you can see when the team that you're with, or for himself that he owns, has a great opportunity in winning this race. And I think this year, as we did last year, we have a great opportunity. We just need to make sure we can gain from it. And I hope every year that I can compete will be a year I try to win it."

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Wheldon launches new web site: Fresh off his first career IndyCar Series pole position and a third-place finish at the Copper World 200 in Phoenix, Dan Wheldon of Andretti Green Racing officially relaunched his web site March 25 at www.danwheldon.com.

Racing fans and media members alike will be able to get the latest news on Wheldon's 2004 IndyCar Series season, and his quest to win the series championship in the No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

The site includes press releases about Wheldon on and off the track, his career highlights, information on his 2004 sponsors and an extensive photo gallery, which includes lifestyles photos from the IRL's driver marketing campaign.

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The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season continues with the Indy Japan 300 at 11:30 p.m. (EDT) on April 16 at Twin Ring Motegi. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and the IMS Radio Network. The Menards Infiniti Pro Series Freedom 100 will take place May 22 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be broadcast live by ESPN2.

-ims-

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing