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Kiwi race driver Scott Dixon is now 'a part of history' said his jubilant father Ron from the Indianapolis 500 post-race victory party.

Dixon won today's Indianapolis 500, after qualifying on pole position, to become the first New Zealander to ever win it.

"Proud doesn't even come close to describing how I'm feeling," an emotional Ron Dixon told nzherald.co.nz from the celebration.

"It's just incredible that he's done this - it's an amazing result. There have been a couple of times when we thought we'd had it, but today it's finally happened."

Dixon was once 'black flagged' while leading the Indy 500, forced to take a drive through penalty which took him out of contention.

He agrees that Scott now the ranks of motorsport's immortals, with his name on the same trophy as the likes of AJ Foyt, Al Unser Snr, Jacques Villeneuve, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti and Graham Hill.

"Someone said to me that he's a part of motorsport history now - he'll never, ever be forgotten. It is just huge.

"This is the absolute pinnacle of motorsport here - in America this is ten times bigger than winning the Formula One world championship."

He said the feeling was even better than watching his talented 27-year-old son win the Indy series in 2003.

Dixon, who was operating as a spotter for another race team, said he battled massive crowds as he headed down to the winner's circle to congratulate his son, who was celebrating with wife Emma.

"I was yelling and jumping up and down, he was yelling too, going 'we did it, we did it!' - it was just an unbelievable feeling. I am very, very proud - it's just an incredible thing.

"There's a big party going on - it's only just started and I've got no idea when it's going to stop."

Dixon will pocket US$2.5 million ($3.22m) after his potentially career-defining result.

As well as a few million in winnings, the buoyant corporate support for motor racing in north America means he will surely be swamped by suitors offering sponsorship and product endorsement deals.

The total prize purse for the premier American sporting event is US$13.4m and will be split between the 33 drivers - only 21 of whom actually completed the race.

Dixon started the 500-mile (804km) event from pole position, and led 115 of the 200 laps to take home the iconic trophy.

"What a day!" he said from victory lane. "I just couldn't believe it."

The 27-year-old recently said that a win at the Indy500 would mean more to him than winning the IndyCar championship again.

"We seemed to have a good car all day," he said after the race, "and just had to try and stay ahead of those guys on the restart"

Dixon, whose win has catapulted him to first place in the IndyCar championship standings, said that the number of yellow flags and safety car periods made the race challenging.

He said his tactics in the latter stages of the marathon race centred on fuel conservation.

"I was trying to save fuel and just see how the car was in traffic," he said.

"We were trying to work on it all the time. I think the car had a little too much drag in it but coming towards the end as long as we got a bit of a jump on those guys I didn't think they were going to get past us."

As the race neared its end, the Team Chip Gnassi Racing driver had built a solid lead over Vitor Meira in second place after retaking the lead from the Brazilian after a pit stop.

Meira had put a stunning pass on Dixon on lap 159.

With just four laps remaining, Vitor Meira had another run on Dixon, but as lap traffic came into play, the flying Kiwi proved untouchable, crossing the line 1.74 seconds in front with an average speed of 231km/h (143.567mph).

His qualifying speed was a massive 364.3km/h (226.336mph).

America's sweetheart Danica Patrick, who recently became the first woman to win an IndyCar race with victory at Japan's Twin Ring Motegi, did not finish the race after being spun in pit lane with less than 30 of the 200 laps remaining.

Previous series leader Helio Castroneves managed to battle his way from the back of the pack after a broken front wing cause problems. He pushed through to third before losing his place to Marco Andretti with just a few laps to go.

Team boss Chip Gnassi has now won the race three times, and this morning described Dixon as the 'Ice Man', who kept his cool for the 500 miles (804km).

Dixon's best finish at the Brickyard was last year when he came second behind Brit Dario Franchitti, who also won the series.

Dixon, who took the IndyCar title in 2003, thanked his British 800m runner wife Emma Davies for putting up with his Indy 500 build up.

"She definitely helped me a lot this month and put up with my moods."

The Kiwi - who is known in American racing circles for his reserve - kept his build up low-key, even after setting an early pole.

"I always try to lay lower than most," Dixon said earlier in the weekend. "Especially before such a big race.

"I think it's a nice way to go into it so you don't set massively big expectations or talk a big game until you're over and done with it. I'd rather fly low and have a good day."

Yesterday, up and coming Kiwi Wade Cunningham managed a podium finish, racing in the IndyLights feeder series' Indy 100.

New Plymouth's Marc Williams and A1GP driver Jonny Reid both finished the race.

- NZ HERALD STAFF / NZPA