DIXON LAUGHS ABOUT TWITTER FLARE-UP
Though Will Power's memorable postrace Toronto rant — calling Franchitti a dirty driver and "Princess" on Twitter — might have hit close to home for a Target Chip Ganassi driver, it still had Dixon in stitches.
"I was on the ground laughing," he said. "His comments were hilarious. That's great for the sport, and everybody loves it. But whether it plays out on the track, I don't think so. They're smart enough to know they're in great position."
Dixon, third in points, could be the driver to benefit most if the acrimony between the top two drivers were to flare again. Franchitti and Power seemed to settle their differences with a short conversation on the grid before the last race in Edmonton. But another shunt would dovetail with the season's overarching theme: road rage.
IndyCar put Ryan Hunter-Reay, Mike Conway and Tagliani on probation Tuesday for avoidable contact in multiple races, and Dixon said further punishment should be meted out if necessary.
"They need to step it up," Dixon said. "(IndyCar President) Brian (Barnhart) tries to let us have a little free reign and says, 'You have to look after each other.' We understand that, but we're race car drivers, man. We're not the smartest people on Earth. There needs to be consequences."
The 2011 debut of double-file restarts caused mayhem at every green flag, and Dixon was knocked out by other drivers in three of the first four races. The two-time champion has climbed 13 spots by notching top-fives in five of six races.
"To start the year so dreadful, I'm proud of our team," said Dixon, who hasn't won but has three seconds and a third. "To be third in the championship is kind of mind-boggling."
His quiet march toward the front came while Dixon's personal life was on overdrive. The two-time champion has spent three days at his Indianapolis home over the last five weeks. He took a 48-hour, 8,000-mile trip to his native New Zealand last week (for a party honoring racing legend Kenny Smith) and made two jaunts to London.
The jet-setting ends at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, which is a good place for a championship push. Dixon has two wins, a third and a fifth in Sunday's race (which will be televised by Versus), but he needs more than results.
"I don't want to wish anyone bad luck," he said, "but we need Dario and Will to have some for us to shine through."