(This is the next in a series of stories tracing the roots of Verizon IndyCar Series drivers through their own words. We’ll look at where they grew up and what first sparked their interest in racing. Today’s subject: Scott Dixon.)
Four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing discussed “cleaning up” as a kid in a grandstand search for money with IndyCar.com writer Phillip B. Wilson.
Wilson: What is your earliest memory of childhood? Where was it?
Dixon: It was actually in Australia (where he was born, before his family moved to New Zealand). My parents worked at Townsend Speedway, a dirt track. I was actually walking underneath the seats (smiling) and picking up the money. I think I was about 4.
Wilson: Really? Was that lucrative?
Dixon: Yeah, it was pretty good actually.
Wilson: Do you remember how much you scored?
Dixon: I remember it being a note, maybe five bucks or so. That’s a lot of money for 1984 or 1985 for a 4- or 5-year-old. A couple of times, I found some big notes, a 20. I would check out under the big grandstands. Most of it was just wrappers, chip packets and stuff.
Wilson: So where did you go from there?
Dixon: I spent the money on candy, sweets.
Wilson: What’s a good candy then?
Dixon: I think Milk Bottles.
Wilson: Did you do this every race?
Dixon: Yeah, yeah, it was like a weekly race, or at least every other week. It was always the day after an event, when everybody was cleaning up.
Wilson: You’d be surprised how much you can find there?
Dixon: It was lots, but I had to turn most of it into my parents.
Dixon: I’ve got to chip in, you know?
Wilson: You got a percentage, right?
Dixon: I don’t think my percentage was very good. (Smiles.) So that was my first childhood memory.
Wilson: Do you remember anything from school?
Dixon: I remember getting my first car: Honda Prelude, automatic, 1984, red one with pop-up lights. And only one of the pop-up lights worked. I only had it for a little while. I think I broke it. I blew it up.
Wilson: How did you break it?
Dixon: Just being a kid, a very rambunctious 15- or 16-year-old.
Wilson: You always wanted to push the envelope.
Dixon: I think it was very easy to be egged on by fellow friends at that age. I wasn’t very mature.
Wilson: And what car came next?
Dixon: Then there was a Honda Civic. My first really cool car was a Subaru Impreza WRX.
(Read previous Racing Roots entries on Marco Andretti and Sebastien Bourdais.)