IndyCar racer Scott Dixon's record since he started racing in the United States almost beggars belief. The Kiwi has won an Indy Lights championship (2000), five IndyCar titles (2003, 2008, 2013, 2015, 2018) and an amazing Indianapolis 500 win (2008).
Dixon's prodigious talent and record has been ably guided by his long-term race strategist Mike Hull, who has been on the radio with him from his first race at Ganassi Racing back in 2003. The pair have forged a relationship that is the envy of every team in pit lane and is as successful now as it was back then. Since the IndyCar series resumed in June, Dixon and Hull are two race wins from two starts.
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Unassuming, quiet and measured, Hull has been the managing director of Ganassi Racing since 1992 and has overseen 12 series championships, four Indy 500s, two Daytona 24 Hour race wins and a Le Mans 24 Hour class title.
"When Scott first joined us in 2002 I was on Kenny Brack's stand, and when we went back to cars the following year I went across to Scott. We've been together ever since," Hull told the Weekend Herald .
"No matter what age a driver is, they have an intangible thing that's hard to describe and hard for people to understand from a distance. But up close you can see what it is.
"Scott has a passion and a drive that was obvious right from the start and we were lucky enough we were available for each other at that time.
"Racing is about the match-up and having everything lined up on both sides — the driver and the team — and when they intersect you want to keep that going for a while. In Scott's case, it has been quite a while.
"It has been a great, great union of Scott Dixon and the people at Chip Ganassi Racing."
The enduring relationship Dixon and Hull have is founded on mutual respect as well as the belief and trust they have in each other. Like all relationships between two highly competitive people who have a single-minded goal of winning, there's going to be the odd difference of opinion under the heat and pressure of racing a car at 300-plus kilometres an hour.
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"If you don't continue to work on relationships, they won't work. It's a simple statement but a statement of fact. You not only respect each other, you listen to each other and continue to learn from each other.
"I don't think either of us has grown tired from doing that. It's easier now as just an inflection in the voice from either of us tells a whole story. It's a matter of communicating in the right way and getting the most out of each other.
"There's also an understanding of what the level of tolerance has to be [if either is having a dig]. I get upset some times and he gets upset some times, and the secret is not to get upset at the same time," said Hull.
There are not many athletes who can remain, let alone keep winning, at an elite level for nearly 20 years. Hull's rationale as to why Dixon remains so competitive and focused is as simple as it is insightful.
"Scott's all about getting the most of what's right in front of him. He doesn't get dissuaded by adversity. If there's a problem with the car, in the pits, traffic or whatever, we don't miss a beat and focus on getting the most out of the day.
"His record of winning is extraordinary, but his record of being consistent is probably much better that. With some drivers when things aren't going their way they will just back up. He doesn't do that. To have an athlete in any sport who's like that is pretty special," he said.
The Ganassi Racing team, and Dixon in particular, have started the truncated season like a scaled cat. Dixon comprehensively won at the opening race in Texas and was dominant again on the road course at Indianapolis. His teammates Felix Rosenqvist and Marcus Ericsson haven't been too shabby either.
"Pre-season that turned into pre-Covid we had worked really, really hard on doing some things for our team. We had moved some people around, hired new people and we had people from the sportscar programme we could integrate into the IndyCar programme," explains Hull.
"With that you get a lot of fresh thinking and no more groupthink. Our group worked really hard from different perspectives on what our problems are. We weren't as good as we needed to be on ovals so we worked on that and improved as was evident at Texas.
"By moving people around we solved problems in a different way and hope we can continue to do that."
When some athletes peak they live on that for a time, and sometimes get away with it, but Dixon is not that sort of driver who wants to coast. He's all about continuous improvement and wanting to be better.
Dixon is at Road America, Wisconsin this weekend and it wouldn't be a great surprise when the chequered flag is waved if the New Zealander goes three from three.