There are some things you can always count on every season in IndyCar. One of those is that Dixon will be a title contender. More often than not, he will be one of the drivers to beat each and every weekend. This will be the 17th time in the last 20 years that Dixon will have finished inside the top-four in the championship.

Winning the title this year would tie him with the legendary AJ Foyt for the most all-time. It would also ease his mind after making the biggest mistake of his racing career back in May.

Dixon scored his fifth Indianapolis 500 pole in record-breaking fashion. His 234.046 mph average speed over four laps is the fastest pole speed in the history of the event, and the second-fastest ever, trailing only Arie Luyendyk's 236.986 average in 1996.

"That's what this place is about, the ups and downs that you have just in one day," Dixon said. Little did he know how true those words would become.

After leading 95 laps on race day, Dixon hit pit lane for what would be his final pit stop. No one could catch him, much less find their way around him. He had the race in the palm of his hand, when it happened.

Dixon was nailed for speeding on pit lane, and the Borg Warner Trophy evaporated right in front of him. Losing the biggest race in the world because of a speeding penalty is bad enough, but considering that the race awards double-points, it is the ultimate gut punch for he and the No. 9 Ganassi team.

The mistake ultimately cost Dixon 75 points in the championship. "I think had we finished even in the top-three, this championship would be pretty easy right now," Dixon said. "But I can’t change that. It’s history. It’s long gone. And you’ve got to move forward." That is much easier said than done.

A second Indy 500 victory and a seventh championship have slipped through his fingers, all because he was 0.6 mph over the speed limit.

Coming into the weekend, Dixon was 20 points behind Will Power in the championship standings, tied with Josef Newgarden. Going into today’s race, he is now 21 points out of the lead after Power earned a bonus point for qualifying on pole. When Newgarden brought out a red flag during qualifying, drivers had just one shot at getting in a good lap.

Dixon got stuck behind rookie Kyle Kirkwood on his out lap, and couldn’t maximize his lap. He was knocked out of the first round of qualifying by Simon Pagenaud – the final car on track. It was a crushing blow to The Iceman, as he starts 13th today.

The situation couldn’t be much worse for Dixon. There have been 24 races at Laguna Seca and 20 of them have been won by a driver starting on the front row. Only two were won by a driver starting lower than 3rd on the grid.

Qualifying has been this team’s biggest obstacle all season. Dixon’s 11.1 average starting position this season is the third-worst of his 22-year career. His last pole outside of Indianapolis came more than six years ago at Watkins Glen.

For Dixon to be able to win the title, he is going to need a minor miracle – even by Scott Dixon standards. Even if Dixon wins the race, Power can still win the championship by finishing right behind him. Despite the gloomy outlook, Dixon insists his team will never give up.

"I think strategy was always going to be key for this one," Dixon said after qualifying. "It’s a very slippery, low-grip track, and that’s going to play into more cautions and the factor of flipping a strategy. We’ll see what happens, everything’s to play for. This year might be a bit different from a typical Monterey."

Ironically enough, Power has been beating Dixon at his own game this season. After spending the majority of his career pushing the limit and trying to get every ounce out of his car, Power has become more relaxed and smarter in his approach. If he has a top-five car, he'll gladly take a 4th place finish over pushing for the win and making a mistake.

That change in mindset has only produced one race win this season for Power, but even though it is less than Dixon's total, he is the one in the driver's seat today. Power is in prime position for his second title, denying his longtime rival a landmark achievement.

At the ripe age of 42, Dixon still has plenty of fuel in the tank. Retirement is not on the horizon for the New Zealander, and his prowess on track is proof that he still has it. History has shown that he will be right back in the hunt for his seventh title again next year, but he knows premature talk of that means nothing.

"It’s great to talk about after your accomplishments, but I’ve got six, I don’t have seven. If you look at the historical side of it, seven is definitely at the top of the heap and it would of course be very special. But I have six now and that’s the facts." Dixon was referencing the seven championships that AJ Foyt, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Jimmie Johnson, Michael Schumacher, and Lewis Hamilton all have.

It is very likely Dixon would join that club today had it not been for his mistake at Indianapolis. That is something he is going to have to live with, no matter what happens today. If anyone is actually capable of that, it is Dixon.