Stop the retirement questions. Scott Dixon not going anywhere 'for next 5 years at least'

Nathan Brown
Indianapolis Star

Perhaps you can chalk it up to the fact he’s in the middle of his longest winless streak in IndyCar since 2005 (21 at the moment). Or that he’s won just once over his past 30 starts. But as the 2022 season has drawn on, Scott Dixon has had fans and members of the paddock alike wondering if the end of his career is near.

At 41 -- he turns 42 in July -- he is the fourth-oldest full-timer in IndyCar. When asked near the end of a media Zoom call Wednesday ahead of Sunday’s race at Mid-Ohio about the potential for Dixon to move back to his native New Zealand to raise his family, Dixon was clear.

“Honestly, I don’t see anything changing in what I’m doing currently for the next five years at least,” Dixon said.

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon (9) takes off his helmet Friday, May 20, 2022, during Fast Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The six-time series champion's future became a topic of discussion this week amid reports Arrow McLaren SP had made another run at Dixon for the team’s open third seat for the 2023 season. Alongside what undoubtedly would have to be a lucrative offer to lure Dixon away from his IndyCar home of more than 20 years, reports had mentioned a leadership role within AMSP would be waiting for him upon his decision to step away from full-time racing.

Though such an approach likely would’ve involved his longtime manager Stefan Johansson rather than Dixon directly, the driver went so far as to say he didn’t know where such rumors and reports had come from.

“I haven’t been a part of any of these conversations, so not really sure where a lot of these things came from. Obviously, a lot of people talk. I even got a few messages from people asking about the same thing,” Dixon said. “If people are having these conversations, I haven’t been a part of them.

“For me, I love doing what I’m doing and being part of the team that I’m with. Who knows what comes in the future, but as of right now, I’m just focusing on this season. That’s all I’ve got to say. There’s really nothing to it.”

More:'Horrendous' start to 2022, has Scott Dixon tempering expectations

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon (9) takes an interview in pit lane Sunday, May 22, 2022, during the second day of qualifying for the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

When asked if some sort of managerial role within an IndyCar team would interest him when he does decide to step out of the cockpit, Dixon said he hadn’t given it much thought.

“It’s hard to really comment. I don’t see myself giving up any time soon, and in motorsports, it’s hard to make a decision even just one year to the next, as opposed to five years down the road or more,” he said. “For me right now, it’s just about enjoying IndyCar, trying to win races and trying to get back to where we need to be. That’s where the focus is.

“After I’m done, I’d love to be part of the sport, but what that means and what capacity, I really have no idea. I love the sport, and it’s been my passion since I was 5 or 6 years old, and it’s definitely something I want to be part of for many more years. But as of right now, that’s not even on the radar.”

With a runway of five years or more left of full-time driving, IndyCar’s two most hallowed records would certainly still be in play for Dixon. He’s won 51 times over his career, just one shy of tying Mario Andretti (52) for second all-time and 16 back of record-holder A.J. Foyt (67). At six titles – his last coming in 2020 – Dixon is one shy of Foyt’s mark of seven. Last month, the 41-year-old became the fastest polesitter in 500 history with a four-lap average speed above 234 mph. By leading 95 of the 200 laps, Dixon also took the all-time laps led mark for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing from previous leader Al Unser Sr. (644), pushing the mark up to 665.

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon (9) celebrates pole position during qualifying for the 106th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 22, 2022, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in Indianapolis.

Dixon also holds IndyCar’s all-time marks in consecutive seasons with a win (17) and different seasons with at least one victory (19), though he’s yet to find the top step of the podium this season. His closest call came at the 500, where he’d thoroughly dominated the race and looked to have the strongest car when he was caught speeding on pitlane by a fraction of a mile per hour, leading to a drive-through penalty with fewer than 30 laps remaining that dropped him down to 21st by the race’s end.

IndyCar at the halfway point:

He’s registered a single podium, coming at Detroit, and has two other top-5s but is yet to finish outside the top-10 beyond the 500. That level of consistency has him 6th in points entering Mid-Ohio, 69 back of Ganassi teammate Marcus Ericsson in first. Dixon has had more success at the Lexington, Ohio racetrack than any other circuit, leading to six wins. (Though he’s only done so once over his last eight starts there.) Still within reach of the championship lead, Dixon said Wednesday he doesn’t feel there’s been any through line to the No. 9 Honda team’s shortcomings over the first eight races, instead saying that, at times, he felt he and the team were “over-trying.”

“I think it’s easy in this scenario where it’s not as relaxed or rolling as smoothly as it could be that whether it’s me or the team with the adjustments we make, it’s just over the top,” he said. “We’ve just got to get back to the basics and understand what we need and stop trying to overthink things.

“Having a smooth weekend and getting on a roll will help that flow a lot quicker and a lot easier.”

Email IndyStar motor sports reporter Nathan Brown at Follow him on Twitter: @By_NathanBrown.