From third to fatherhood

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:25 AM ET

A pleasant surprise awaited Scott Dixon at the conclusion of his IndyCar race at Watkins Glen on Sunday.

The defending series champion and current points leader found out after the race his wife Emma had gone into labour.

So Dixon flew home to Indianapolis immediately after placing third in the event and arrived in time for the birth of his first child.

"I made it with three hours to spare," Dixon said yesterday. "It was a pretty crazy experience. My wife was four weeks early and I had spoken to her just before the race. She said everything was fine, so I had no inkling that we were going to have a baby that night.

"But when I was done the race, I got back to my phone and saw that there were some messages there. Obviously from there I raced for the plane and got back as quick as possible. It was an interesting way to find out your wife is going to have a baby, but to not have to worry about that during the race was kind of nice."

The birth of his daughter Poppy capped off a pretty successful day as Dixon claimed his fifth podium finish of the season at the Glen.

"The car ran not bad, it was a tough race," Dixon said. "We were running fourth at the early points at the race. We got passed early on. We started on older tires and everyone else was on new tires.

"This year we've been trying to extend our fuel a little bit, and we got caught out on a caution which dropped us down to 12th or 13th in the field. So to be able to race back to third was fantastic."

Dixon finished behind Ryan Briscoe and Justin Wilson, who gave Dale Coyne Racing their first victory in over 25 years.

"Justin Wilson drove the wheels off the car," Dixon said. "He did a hell of a job. Justin is a very accomplished driver, he drove in Formula One, the guy is a fantastic driver. He did a great job.

"Going into the weekend, we knew they had been one of the few teams to test there and he was going to be one of the teams to beat."

Generally that mantal is reserved for Dixon.

SECOND CHAMPIONSHIP

Last season, he won his second IndyCar points championship for Target Chip Ganassi Racing, claiming six checkered flags in the process, which tied a series record for wins in a season.

This year he's on pace to repeat the feat, having won three races by the midway point of the season.

"It's actually been an up and down season, to be honest," Dixon said. "It's nice to have three wins, but we were taken out of the first two races this year, which put us 18th in the points standings, and I don't think I've ever been 18th in the points standings in my life.

"That was hard to deal with, especially coming off such a strong season. But that quickly turned around in Kansas, which jumped up to fourth in points with a win there. But the next disappointing thing for me after that was the (Indianapolis) 500. We expected a lot more there. If it was the Indy 375, I think we would have won it."

Dixon finished sixth at the Brickyard despite leading for a race-high 73 laps. However, he rebounded with a win in Milwaukee the following week and then went on to win in Richmond a few weeks later.

This weekend, he's expected to be in the running as the series heads to Toronto, and he will then try to defend his title in Edmonton two weeks after that.

"Edmonton is a lot of fun," Dixon said. "I think the best thing about that track is that it gives you a lot of options to pass. Edmonton was a tough race for us to start with last year. We qualified third or fourth and then were able to make passes during the race. I really enjoy it, the city is a lot of fun, the fans are enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and the key is to getting all of that together for a good race."


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