This article was first published by the Herald on May 31, 2008.

Just about every little boy growing up wants to either be a fireman, a train driver or a racing car driver. Many realise their dreams - but few reach the very top of their chosen profession.

In winning the Indianapolis 500, motor racing's greatest spectacle, Scott Dixon can now be regarded as one of the greatest New Zealand racing drivers, fit to rub shoulders with best.

While the Indy sits alongside the Monaco Grand Prix and Le Mans 24-Hour race, Dixon now stands alongside the likes of Denny Hulme, Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon.


New Zealand can now lay claim to the Triple Crown of motorsport; Hulme the F1 title in 1967; McLaren and Amon won Le Mans in 1966 and now Dixon in the Indy500.

Many have tried (Hulme finished fourth twice) but Dixon is the first Kiwi to have his likeness fused on the giant Borg-Warner trophy beside the likes of Graham Hill, Jim Clark, AJ Foyt, Mario Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi.

Dixon has always been one to keep his feet firmly on the ground - but it's got be a bit surreal. He said: "I don't think it's really hit home. During all the ceremonial stuff, you get a taste - but when I sit back and reflect, it really hasn't sunk in yet."

The 27-year-old has been the darling of the media circus and has been booked for the late-night David Letterman show.

"It's been so busy, it's been crazy, I've done hundreds of interviews," said Dixon. "We weren't supposed to come home tonight [Thursday] but go straight to Chicago. But I said let's go home and stop for a night and sleep in our own bed."

Dixon slapped the gauntlet down early in May, being quickest during the rain-affected practice in the run-up to Indy qualifying.

The story as it appeared in the Herald on May 31, 2008.

Dixon said: "We'd been testing and knew we could go faster. Even on an average lap for us, we still had the field covered - that's how strong we were."

Dixon, like previous winners, has always stated you need a fair amount of luck to win at the Brickyard. He had lady luck locked-and-loaded and was serene as he went about his business.


"The race was uncannily smooth, at no point were we worried about the people I let pass," said Dixon. "The car was super fast and felt good. I only put my foot wrong once - and that was on lap five, when I nearly spun at turn one. It woke me up, as I was a bit too relaxed at that stage. But I almost felt something had to go wrong in the race."

Nothing, however, did go wrong for Dixon as he remained aloof from all the madness happening around him during the latter part of the race.

"The race to me was a little boring as you never got into a flow," said Dixon.

"It was frustrating especially when you're the leader the last thing you want is restarts. You want to get out build up a lead."

Vitor Meira's audacious pass, when he threaded between Dixon and Carpenter, will be subject to debate for years to come.

While the jack-in-the-box manoeuvre will no doubt head into folk-lore, it was Dixon's consummate skill over 200 laps that won him the race and left the others flailing in his wake.

"When I was in the race I didn't know where the hell he came from," said Dixon. "I was like he must be quick because he's got to this point. But watching the video afterwards I realised he may have gotten a bit lucky when he passed all those cars further back.

"I was never at the point that I didn't think I couldn't get back past him."

Dixon has given a great deal of credit to his pit crew and rightly so, as the last pit stop was pure poetry and he headed out of pit lane for the last stanza in the lead and waltzed away for the win.

"The team did it for me and that made it a lot easier. But the key for me was the restarts because you're a sitting duck. The guy behind you gets a much better draft and nine times out of 10 will pass you. So I brake-checked him [Meira] and got the jump on him and made a bit of a break we kept until the finish."

Dixon now has to refocus on this weekend's race in Milwaukee and in the 51 times the Mile has followed Indianapolis, only eight drivers have done the double.

"I have a lot of media commitments up until then but as soon as I put the helmet on the focus comes back," said Dixon. "And speaking to the engineers, they should have the car pretty much set up."

The past three Indy winners, Dan Wheldon, Sam Hornish jnr and Dario Franchitti, have all gone on to win the IndyCar title in the same season.

Dixon earned a record $3.9 million for winning the 92nd Indianapolis 500 and now leads the championship on 191 points with Helio Castroneves on 176 points and Wheldon in third with 153 points.