Dixon's concerns on how he'll do next season are not all that unfounded, especially since his first title-defending experience in the series didn't go very well. After clinching the 2003 title at his very first attempt, the Brisbane-born driver performed poorly during the following season, highlighting a runner-up place in Phoenix en route to a disappointing 10th place overall.
However, the IndyCar ace will now have to face some tough competition from new teammate Dario Franchitti, to whom he lost the chance to clinch his second IRL crown in 2007. The Scottish driver left the series for a shot inside NASCAR in 2008, but poor results in the famous stock car competition made him switch back to the championship that made him famous in the first place.
“Winning is tough, but to defend is harder. Last time we tried it, it didn't work out too well. But next year I think the team looks very strong, the development has been good in the off-season, already the car is super fast, and I have a new teammate (Dario Franchitti) joining me.”
“I think there's definitely momentum one season over another, though 2003 to 2004 is probably a bad choice. There wasn't much carryover. Actually, for the first three or four races there was. I led at Homestead in 2004 and finished second at Phoenix. Then we went into the Month of May (started fourth and finished 17th at Indianapolis).”
“2007 to 2008 was a scenario where momentum definitely carried on. We were very strong in the latter part and carried that right through, winning the first race in 2008. I hope we can definitely carry that on,” said Dixon.
The Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver will try to make it two in a row in the series for the first time in career, with the first stop being scheduled April 5th, on the Streets of St. Petersburg.