Scott Dixon has been in this position before – going to the final race of the season and protecting a championship lead.

He knows with an error-free drive and a little bit of luck he will celebrate a stunning fifth Indycar Championship on Monday morning at Sonoma Raceway in California.

The 38-year-old first experienced that feeling back in 2003, when he claimed his maiden title. Since then Dixon has gone on to forge one of the all-time great Indycar careers, winning another three titles, an Indianapolis 500 and a stunning 44 race wins in total that puts him third on the all-time wins list.

But don't think for a second that Monday's title bid would be a fitting end to a glittering career. Dixon is just as motivated as he ever was, especially having just re-signed with Chip Ganassi Racing to a multi-year deal.


"I am still extremely driven and the competition and just the sport itself and love for the speed and racing and everything that comes with it has not changed," Dixon told Radio Sport. "If anything it has probably grown.

"When I won my first championship in 2003 I didn't really know what I had achieved. As you understand it more over these 15 plus years you understand what it means.

"It would be huge to try and capture a fifth title and it puts you in a pretty small category of people that have ever been able to achieve that."

Dixon leads Alexander Rossi by 29 points heading into the final double points showdown. That gap has come down over the past few races, although Dixon managed to hold Rossi off with a stunning comeback finish at the penultimate race in Portland a fortnight ago.

"It has definitely been one of those up and down last few weeks," Dixon said. "All through the season the team has done a stellar job.

"Hopefully we can have a smooth weekend and capture a fifth championship.

"Our cars have been strong in places where we wouldn't necessarily have thought. It is a pretty big learning curve for everyone this year with the unified aero kit, a lot less downforce and cars require different tuning efforts to get them where you'd like them.

"Sonoma has been good to us in the past – we have won there a couple of times before – and that is the goal – we will go there this weekend to try and win.


"You can have a flip of the hat with the way the cautions fall and strategy so we need a bit of luck as well."

Qualifying has been a bit of an issue for Dixon recently, particularly on road courses like Sonoma. It will be vital for the Kiwi to be as far up the front as possible come race start and avoid the drama of the mid-pack, where you can be so prone to being taken out.

"We have actually had a bit of a rough run in qualifying on road courses," he said. "Our street courses and short course ovals and even super speedways have been fantastic but where our team is normally very strong, on the roads courses, we have struggled quite a bit.

"We have delved into that over the last couple of weeks and understand a little bit more about why that is happening. Hopefully we will see some gains this weekend."