IndyCar legend has literally had three Hall of Fame careers in one

Sunday's IndyCar race in Long Beach left no doubt: Scott Dixon is, in fact, still Scott Dixon.
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing, Long Beach, IndyCar
Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing, Long Beach, IndyCar / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

More than a year removed from his most recent IndyCar win and with just four more chances to extend an already record 18-year winning streak, there was just that hint of a belief last August that perhaps Chip Ganassi Racing legend Scott Dixon was indeed nearing the end of his career.

His lone finish lower than seventh place through the first 13 races of the 2023 season was a DNF he couldn't have prevented, so he hadn't lost his signature Dixon consistency. But one year after a speeding penalty cost him both an Indy 500 win and a seventh IndyCar title, he had only finished on the podium twice.

Teammate Alex Palou, who beat him to the championship in their first year as teammates in 2021, was miles ahead in the title race, and Dixon was faced with his second year-plus losing streak in the last two seasons alone.

If that reality vs. the reality in which we are now living isn't enough to get the point across that you can never write him off, I honestly don't know what to tell you.

The 43-year-old Kiwi earned his fourth win in the last six races going back to last season on Sunday, and while it came from his highest starting position among those four starts (a modest eighth), it was arguably his most impressive yet.

Fuel conservation, top-notch race craft, and quite simply understanding the assignment was what it took to wheel the No. 9 Honda to victory lane on the streets of Long Beach, California.

Was there ever any doubt that the Ice Man could pull it off, even if Josef Newgarden wasn't rear-ended by Colton Herta in the hairpin?

Dixon's 57th career win brings him to within 10 victories of a mark that not too long ago seemed impossible to catch: A.J. Foyt's record of 67. Go back four years, and Dixon's win total was 46. Since June 2020, he is more than halfway there.

Following odds-defying wins from 15th, 16th, 11th, and eighth place on the grid, it really a stretch to see the greatest driver of this generation -- arguably ever -- doing what he is doing for another four years?

Scott Dixon's three Hall of Fame careers

Dixon was just inducted into the Open Wheel category of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America last month, so this breakdown felt particularly appropriate after he earned his first win of the 2024 season.

I've seen a similar breakdown for Tom Brady's NFL career, factoring in what he accomplished in his 20s, 30s, and 40s (specifically his multiple Super Bowl rings in each). And perhaps nobody in any sport fits the "never count him out" mantra used so often to describe Brady than Dixon.

In the 2000s, Dixon won two championships and 21 races. Only two active drivers have those numbers for their careers (Newgarden, two and 30, and Will Power, two and 41). In the 2010s, Dixon won three championships and 25 races, and less than five years into the 2020s, he is already an 11-race winner and a champion.

Palou, twice a champion this decade, has nine wins.

A seventh championship for Dixon would, of course, match Foyt's record, and it would give him two championships in every decade he has competed. No other active full-time driver has won more than two titles, period. Only three others have won at all (though all are indeed two-time champions).

He's also done what he's done in the open-wheel series that is subjectively the world's most competitive -- and during what is subjectively the sport's most competitive era.

Think about that: 20 straight winning seasons. Power entered last year as the reigning champion and wasn't even able to extend his streak, the next highest all-time, to 17.

Before Dixon, the record was 11.

He has finished lower than fourth place in the championship standings just once since 2005. He recorded four top two finishes in the 2000s, eight top three finishes in the 2010s, and has finished everywhere from first through fourth in the 2020s.

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Dixon is set to go for his 58th career win at a track where he has yet to win, that being Barber Motorsports Park, this coming Sunday, April 28. NBC is set to broadcast the Children's of Alabama Indy Grand Prix live beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET. Will he trim the gap to Foyt down to single digits? Begin a free trial of FuboTV now and don't miss it!