Chip Ganassi driver Scott Dixon discusses his 2020 IndyCar championship season win.
His boss of nearly 20 years runs a competitive NASCAR team. He’s had the chance to watch up-close Jimmie Johnson’s own thrill in jumping into IndyCar as a 45-year-old rookie. But don’t expect Scott Dixon to slide in behind the wheel of a stock car when he hops out of an open-wheel car for the final time.
Namely, because he’s already tried.
Seven-time NASCAR series champion Jimmie Johnson (right) tested an Indy car for the first time Tuesday, with the help of Chip Ganassi Racing veteran Scott Dixon. (Photo: Provided by IndyCar)
Before embarking on his quest for a record-tying seventh IndyCar title, Dixon spoke with series media during the second of two Content Days and, as you’d expect, was asked numerous times about his ever-evolving relationship with close-friend-turned-teammate Johnson. The 2020 IndyCar champ said he fields Johnson’s texts and calls frequently – “He definitely blows up your phone” – but is likewise thoroughly impressed with Johnson’s enthusiasm and work ethic, given the massive pile of data the Cup Series veteran has had to parse through during his transition.
Never one to shy away from challenge or competition, Dixon said it wouldn’t be the uphill battle he’d face dabbling in NASCAR after retiring from IndyCar, that would make him think twice about such an adventure. Simply put, he plans to race until he doesn’t find joy in it anymore. At that point, it would be hard to imagine the time away from his wife and kids being worth trying something he’s not sure he’d enjoy or find success when he would have lost the energy for what he “loves more than anything” presently.
Razor-focused now on matching A.J. Foyt’s seven American open-wheel championships, as well as trying to secure repeat titles for the first time in his career, Dixon said he did inquire about at least dipping his toe into stock car racing during his stint with Chip Ganassi Racing that dates back to 2002.
“I would still love to try it, NASCAR. I’ve tried a few times with Chip and kind of booked it and then he said I would have to pay for it if I crashed it,” Dixon said with a chuckle. “So then, that’s kind of where it’s been left.”
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To see Johnson, who’s won one more championship than Dixon, finding the mental fortitude and patience to fend off slowing life down now that what’s familiar is no longer there, is supremely impressive to the IndyCar veteran.
“He’s the man for doing it,” Dixon said. “The transition I think is just so tough these days, and with no track testing in both formulas, it’s almost impossible. The short amount of time just trying to get up to speed is going to be pretty brutal.”