66 Magazine Issue 3 Spring 2018 - Page 47

Indy500). With double points on offer there is more at stake than just a bottle of milk and getting your face on the Borg-Warner trophy. Dixon had just made the perfect start to the week, having claimed pole for the 500, so he and four-time IndyCar Champ Dario Franchitti decided to make a food run to Taco Bell for the team. Before they’d left the drive-thru lane, they were held up at gunpoint by two teenaged boys. Both Dixon and Franchitti initially refused to give up their wallets. “It was only afterwards that I realised that was a much bigger deal when you think about how bad it could go when you’re not easily giving up your cell phone or wallet. It’s just dumb shit when you should be saying ‘Here just take this’,” he says. A year on, Dixon can also see the lighter side of the incident; like Franchitti claiming to not have a wallet, while the wallet Dixon Far left Dixon’s number 9 Dallara DW12 has been a familiar sight at the pointy-end of the pack… Left …as has a victorious salute at the end of several rounds. Lower left Dixon says he has never been involved in a championship that has been without adversity. But he believes in putting his head down and going for it. Below Dixon described the 350km/h crash which destroyed his car as a “wild ride”. eventually handed over…was his wife, Emma’s (he’d misplaced his). Still, keeping calm under pressure is why Dixon earned the nickname ‘The Iceman’. A week later that famously calm demeanour was seen again when he walked away from an horrific lap-45 crash after a lapped driver slipped up in front of him. The 350km/h crash destroyed his car, with Dixon describing it straight after as a “wild ride”. Looking back Dixon admits he was lucky, although when the car came to a rest on the inside wall, all he was thinking was, “This is double points race, and we just took a hammering because we came last.” At the time Emma was less worried about the points, telling reporters shortly after the smash, “I really didn’t think he was coming home. That is the worst thing I have ever seen.” It was a harsh reminder for Dixon of the other side of IndyCar; the side drivers hate, and hate talking about. “The crashes are never easy to deal with. It’s part of the sport, it’s the worst part of the sport – we all know that. It is much safer now, but it can all change pretty quickly. The hard part is that a lot of these people are your friends. It’s the families, the kids and the parents. Take Dan (Wheldon), Tony (Renna), Justin (Wilson)… these people are doing what they love. It’s what made them feel alive.” This season has seen Dixon regularly in the limelight; whether as Championship frontrunner or after passing Michael Andretti to sit third on the all-time winner's list. “When you look at the win list it feels strange: (AJ) Foyt, (Mario) Andretti, Dixon. For me, I just look at it as we’re in the business of winning races, and if you’re not, then you’re not going to be around for too much longer.” The renewal of his contract with Chip Ganassi became public 66 MagAzine SPRING 2018 45