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Dixon admits `09 title will be tough.

With three months to go before he starts the defence of his 2008 IndyCar Series crown, Scott Dixon is trying his best to ensure that as little pressure as possible is placed upon his shoulders.

The Kiwi knows that he should probably have wrapped up last season earlier than the last round at Chicagoland, such was his apparent dominance, but can use Helio Castroneves' dogged pursuit as reason to expect an equally protracted 2009 battle. The Target Chip Ganassi driver takes the middle road when pressed for a prediction, attempting not to appear arrogant while not devaluing confidence in his abilities or those of the #9 crew.

"Winning is tough, but to defend is harder," said Dixon, who won a series record-tying six races in 2008 but only claimed his second IndyCar crown by a scant 17 points, "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 - the car is already super-fast - and I have a new team-mate joining me."

Dixon led a record 899 laps and started from the pole six times over the 17-race 2008 season, remaining as points leader after winning the 92nd Indianapolis 500, and only finishing outside the top ten on three occasions despite fields averaging 26 cars. He will be joined by his immediate predecessor as champion, Dario Franchitti, for 2009, as the Scot returns from a brief sojourn in NASCAR with the Ganassi operation.

"I think there's definitely momentum one season over another, though '03 to '04 is probably a bad choice, as there wasn't much carryover then," Dixon reflected, aware that he followed his rookie season championship with tenth place in the 2004 point standings

"Actually, for the first three or four races there was - I led at Homestead in '04 and finished second at Phoenix - but then we went into the Month of May...."

The 28-year old sees the 2007 season, in which he finished runner-up to Franchitti by 13 points in another title battle that wasn't decided until the final lap of the final race, as key in setting up his '08 success. In the five-race closing stretch that season, Dixon won at Infineon and finished second at both Kentucky and the Chicagoland finale, and he again closed strongly last season, finishing first or second in three of the final five events.

"2007 to 2008 was a scenario where momentum definitely carries on," he agreed, "We were very strong in the latter part and carried that right through winning the first race [from pole] at Homestead in '08. I hope we can definitely carry that on."


Related Pictures

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Indy Racing League.  6-7 September 2008. Chicagoland Speedway. Joliet, Il. 2008 IRL Champion, Scott Dixon.
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) celebrates winning the 2016 IndyCar title with victory at Sonoma   [pic credit: Chris Owens]
Indy Lights title contender Santiago Urrutia, Ed Jones, Dean Stoneman, Felix Serralles, Kyle Kaiser and Zach Veach   [pic credit: IndyCar Media]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]
Scott Dixon - Target Chip Ganassi Racing   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/JOE SKIBINSKI]
Max Chilton, Chip Ganassi, [Credit: Max Chilton PR]
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi [credit: IndyCar Series]
Scott Dixon - Chip Ganassi [credit: IndyCar Series]
Scott Dixon sprays the champagne in Victory Circle following his win in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon is congratulated by Dario Franchitti after winning the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon with a victory kiss from his wife, Emma, following clinching the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates his victory in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship. (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon wins the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship, his fourth series championship of his career. (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Ernie Masche/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Sunday, August 30, 2015, after winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Joining him on the podium is Charlie Kimball, driver of the #83 Novolog Flexpen Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 who finished third. Chevrolet won its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag Sunday, August 30, 2015, winning the final Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season and the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Driver`s Championship at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California. Chevrolet also wins its fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Perry Nelson/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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