EXCLUSIVE: Scott Dixon believes Ganassi program again formidable

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Five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon participated in INDYCAR’s “Spring Training” at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas as he prepares for the 2019 season. The mid-February, two-day test gave the Chip Ganassi Racing driver a strong indication that his team remains a formidable challenger for the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series championship.

Dixon finished the two-day test session, eighth on the combined chart with a fast lap at 47.3684 around the 20-turn, 3.41-mile road course for a speed of 114.335 miles per hour in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda. He ran a total of 82 laps in the two days of testing.

“It was OK, we were kind of the next best behind the Andretti cars,” Dixon told the NTT INDYCAR App. “Andretti’s cars seemed to be quite fast. Colton Herta did a hell of a job right out of the gate. You can see that group has some speed right now. All in all, it was OK. The conditions will be quite different when we get back. We tried to make sure we were cognizant of that and didn’t chase down a ‘Rabbit Hole.’

“The tires will be interesting. Most of the race will be done on (the Firestone alternate red tires) when we did most of the testing on (the standard tires)”

Dixon will attempt to win a sixth NTT IndyCar Series championship when the season begins in the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 10.

After the COTA test, Dixon made a quick trip to the 61st Daytona 500 on Feb. 17 to honor his friend and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Jamie McMurray before the final race of his career. Dixon was announced to the crowd at the Daytona 500 drivers meeting. It was his first Daytona 500 to attend.

“To me, this was about Jamie McMurray and this being his last race, that’s why I came,” Dixon said of McMurray, who won both the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2010. “He’s been a teammate and a great friend over the years, and I wanted to come and see him before his last race.

“For me, it was fun catching up and saying hello to a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a while.”

Dixon watched the race from McMurray’s pit box.

Among the goals for Dixon in 2019 is a second Indianapolis 500 victory. Dixon won the famed race in 2008 and has been a strong contender for a second victory in the 500 on several occasions.

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