Today’s question: Scott Dixon has earned his 54th and 55th career INDYCAR SERIES victories in the last two races this season, on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and World Wide Technology Raceway. At age 43, what is Dixon’s victory ceiling in his NTT INDYCAR SERIES career, and can he win 13 more races and pass A.J. Foyt as the all-time race winner in the sport?
Curt Cavin: There are several layers to this question, and it begins with the time Dixon has left in the series. He is 43 years old and, as Chip Ganassi’s lead driver, figures to have control over how long he continues. Three more years seems likely, five seems like the maximum. I know Dixon has had a season where he won six races, but that was 2008 and in a place in his life and a different era of the sport. I think it’s best to consider how Dixon has fared the past five years – 11 race wins in that stretch and an average of 2.2 per season. Based on that, driving five more years could give him 66 wins by the end of the 2028 season, and that would leave him an incredibly interesting decision to make. But I don’t think he drives five more seasons. Three sounds right. Since wins have been more difficult to come by in recent years, I’ll project 1.5 more per season, giving him 59 or 60 for his career. Must gut says he gets 60 and steps away. Foyt then would have to worry about Josef Newgarden, who at his Team Penske pace will be at the record-breaking doorstep in not much more than 10 years. At that point he would be roughly the age Dixon is now.
Paul Kelly: Like most of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES field probably thinks, there may be a chance Scott Dixon’s ceiling either is non-existent or higher than a cathedral ceiling. He’s that good, arguably a member of the sport’s Mount Rushmore as one of its four all-time greatest drivers. But we also need to acknowledge the reality that The Iceman is 43, not 33. Time waits for no one and is the only undefeated team in sports history. As Curt said, Dixon is averaging 2.2 wins per season over the last five years, which means he will need to drive six more seasons to catch and pass Foyt, when he’ll be 49. Only two drivers have won an INDYCAR SERIES race past age 48, Louis Unser in 1953 at age 57 when the Pikes Peak Hill Climb was awarded AAA championship points, and Mario Andretti at 53 in 1993 at Phoenix. I’m not seeing Dixon reaching Foyt’s win total unless he unleashes a monster season of five or six victories in 2024 or 2025, and that’s a tough ask even for a driver of Dixon’s caliber considering the depth and talent of this generation’s INDYCAR SERIES field. I think Dixon drives full time for three more seasons, earns five or six more checkered flags (including another Indianapolis 500 victory) and hangs up his helmet with a win total around 60 or 61 to cement his legend forever.