Scott Dixon is coming into the NTT IndyCar Series season opener hoping to leave is a much more different spot than he’s ever been in. Yes, a five-time series champion, with 45 career victories is hoping to get his 18th season in the sport started off differently.
In the 17 past years, Dixon has only won the season opener in the series just twice. He won the season opener in 2003 and again in 2008. Both years coincidentally enough, he won the season championship too. But, in those years, the season opener for Indy Car was at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. From 2009 on, with the exception of 2010, the first race of the season has annually taken place on the streets of St. Pete.
That’s a place remarkably enough, Dixon has never won at.
Dixon, comes into the 2020 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete (2:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN/IndyCar Radio Network) 0-for-15 on the western Florida street circuit. For a driver that sits near the top of the all-time wins list, it’s rare that he’s made this many starts at one track and has never won.
He’s also never won at Iowa (0-for-13), Barber (0-for-10), IMS Road Course (0-for-6), Gateway (0-for-4), Portland (0-for-4), Laguna Seca (0-for-3) and COTA (0-for-1).
Meanwhile, Dixon has also won at 11 venues currently not on the schedule too: Motegi, Houston, Kansas, Edmonton, Homestead, Richmond, Nashville, Kentucky, Watkins Glen, Pikes Peak and Nazareth.
Is St. Pete though the one that’s puzzling that he’s never won at?
“No, they’re all tough,” said Dixon. “There’s quite a few others. I don’t know. I think we finished second there four times or something. I don’t know. I’ve led races there, checking out, hit the wall, done crazy stuff. We’ve been in similar situations with strategy where it’s been flipped as well.
“It’s tough, man. It’s tough to win. Place doesn’t owe us anything. We just got to work harder and try to eventually get to that top spot. Each year I swear just keeps getting more difficult.
“There’s never one thing. I think it’s constantly changing. Just keep our head down and keep working hard, man.”
Dixon, has been close in the past though. He’s finished runner-up four times on the 1.8-mile street circuit including just last year. He also has four straight top seven finishes in St. Pete to go along with two podiums in the last three years.
Maybe Sunday will be different for Dixon.