I think right now, we just assume that A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti are the best there ever were in terms of open wheel racers in North America. I mean heading into this season, they were the top two in nearly every statistical category there ever was in the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Foyt had seven championship, most ever. Andretti had four. Foyt had 67 wins, most ever, Andretti has 52, second most ever. In terms of poles, Andretti has 67, most ever, Foyt had 53, second ever.
They were 1-2 in most starts ever, most podiums and most top fives.
No one could top them. Or could they?
Dixon, has rose up the charts in a big way in 2018. He now has 44 wins, which ranks third most ever only trailing Foyt and Andretti. He has 104 podiums, which too is third most trailing only Andretti’s 144 and Foyt’s 119. He has 153 top five’s which passed Foyt for second ever and trails Andretti’s 193 by 42. Now, if he can win the series championship on Sunday afternoon at the Sonoma Raceway, he’d end a tie with Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais and Dario Franchitti for second and move into sole possession of second place in all-time championships with five. He’d trail Foyt by just two for the most ever.
Despite all of those accolades, Dixon isn’t looking at his place in INDYCAR’s lore. He’s humble and those things aren’t something that he concentrates on. But, we have to start doing so in general. If he wins this weekend’s championship, he has to be put in the conversation as the best ever.
I mean, he’s got a great chance to be the leader in nearly every category.
Can he catch Foyt for championships? Absolutely. His team owner Chip Ganassi is saying this season may be the best Dixon’s ever drove. This would be his third title in the last six years. Three more would give him eight which would be most ever.
He only needs 16 podiums to pass Foyt for second and 41 to pass Andretti. He’s had 14 in just the last two years alone and 26 since the start of the 2014 season. So, there’s a very good chance he passes Foyt and a decent one he’ll be close to Andretti.
In terms of top five finishes, Dixon only needs 42 to catch Andretti. He’s averaged nine top five finishes over the last six years. He’s scored 10 or more top fives in eight of his last 12 seasons. He can honestly catch Andretti by 2022 or 2023 in that category and almost every other one.
We’re watching a legend and not giving him legend status or credit. It’s time we start doing so.
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