Eric Thompson: Dixon again victim of daylight robbery

Dario Franchitti, left, of Scotland, is congratulated by Scott Dixon, of New Zealand. Photo / AP
Dario Franchitti, left, of Scotland, is congratulated by Scott Dixon, of New Zealand. Photo / AP

Robbed again. If he's not running out of fuel, or almost being punted off the track, New Zealand IndyCar driver Scott Dixon would have more than just the one Indianapolis Borg-Warner trophy to his name.

Dixon has one of the most enviable records, while not outright wins, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The flying Kiwi has never failed to qualify in his 10 starts at the Indianapolis 500 and finished outside the top 10 only twice - both times after being caught up in an accident.

He won the event in 2008 and, as of 7am yesterday, has a brace of second placings.

Again Dixon was a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time just as he was about to launch an attack on race leader Dario Franchitti and Takuma Sato over the closing laps.

With two laps to go Dixon was nestled in behind Franchitti and Sato.

A bit of background: it was the first time the new Dallara DW12 cars had been to Indianapolis and everyone knew with the huge hole the cars punched in the air, there would be a lot of drafting and passing (in fact, a race record was set for the number of race lead changes, 35, so the drivers knew being out front wasn't the best place to be).

Dixon said afterwards he was confident he could get past Sato on the back straight and then set Franchitti up in the run down the front straight.

The Target Chip Ganassi team-mates had been swapping the lead on and off all race long. Dixon was comfortable in the knowledge the driver behind always got a good tow and could slingshot past at the opportune moment.

And so the finish was set with the Kiwi driver in the box seat until the red mist descended and Sato lunged down the inside of Franchitti in a desperate effort to gain the lead.

As Dixon got out off the throttle to give the over-enthusiastic Japanese driver room, Sato lost control and clipped Franchitti before firing up the track into the wall, ending his race.

"Sato was definitely a guy throwing it in there all day. I thought [I was] going to get really lucky because they touched and I thought they were both going to end up in the fence," Dixon said.

All credit to Franchitti, who managed to gather up his out-of-shape car and continued the short distance under caution to win his third Indy 500 - all of which have been under a yellow flag.

What makes Dixon a safe bet each year at the Indy 500 is his consistency. He's always qualified on Pole Day, thus avoiding Bump Day when the drivers who miss out on the 24 top spots have to battle it out for the remaining nine places on the grid.

He's led in all bar three of his races, and aged just 31 (Franchitti is 39) there's plenty of time for Dixon to add to his one Indy 500 title.

- NZ Herald

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