Scott Dixon's instincts, lady luck and top-end tech prevent major harm to Kiwi driver in 350km/h crash

Scott Dixon was lucky to walk away after becoming airborne and smashing into a fence at over 350 km/h an hour in Indianapolis yesterday, but what kept him alive while his car disintegrating?

Motor racing experts say Dixon was saved simply by a few degrees or centimetres and his cockpit safety cell.

Barrie Thomlinson, a former driver and now current manager of the Toyota Racing Series for the past 14 seasons said luck also played its part, as his head stayed out of harm's way.

"The head is very exposed in these sorts of crashes, so that's the big worry for a driver," he said.

After 14 years running the successful TRS without an injured driver Thomlinson is in a perfect position to talk about safety.

The cars use a monocoque system with the chassis made out of layers of carbon fibre and aluminium honey comb at the centre.

Toyota Racing Series manager Barrie Thomlinson says the science behind the chassis strength of open wheel race cars makes a significant difference. Source: 1 NEWS

"The whole thing makes a very, very strong structure," Thomlinson said.

The driver is buckled into an all-encompassing shell, complete with individual moulded seats.

But it isn’t enough to just have top-end thinking surrounding the driver – some of the reason Dixon walked away from yesterday’s crash unharmed was on his own thinking as well.

"These guys train themselves to take their hands off the wheel so that when the car impacts they're not going to break arms, wrists or anything like that," Thomlinson said.

"He's very, very lucky the car landed on its side - he has a deformable structure in the side pod of the car.

"He can go buy himself a lotto ticket tonight, that’s for sure."

The man at the centre of the drama appears to be the most relaxed about it.

"Glad everyone's ok," Dixon said moments after the crash.

"It was definitely a wild ride."

That's the ice cool attitude which has helped Dixon survive 15 years in IndyCar at close to 400 km/h an hour week in and week out.

Speaking of which, he'll be back racing again in Detroit - in just five days.



Four-time IndyCar champ in awe of former teammate Scott Dixon's dominance

One of Indycar's most successful drivers has described his former teammate Scott Dixon as "a chameleon" with "exceptional desire" after surpassing him for career driver's championship wins.

Dixon won his fifth IndyCar title on Monday to sit second only to American great AJ Foyt who won seven championships.

With the achievement, the 38-year-old Kiwi broke away from the four-time winners group of Dario Franchitti, Mario Andretti and Sebastien Bourdais.

Franchitti drove alongside Dixon before becoming an adviser to Chip Ganassi Racing - the team Dixon races for - and said the Kiwi's ability to adapt was phenomenal.

"He's like a chameleon. He adapts to different styles of cars and different styles of tyres," Franchitti told IndyCar.com.

"He learns from every teammate he's got. He uses every resource he can get, and he'll ask questions of them. You see the results.

"Talent only gets you so far. He's got lots of it, maybe more than I've ever raced against. That's saying a lot with some of the people I've raced against. He just keeps working at it. That desire is exceptional."

But Dixon said after yesterday's triumph it was more than just him.

"It’s all about the people, I’m the lucky one that gets to take it across the line," he said.

"I can’t thank my wife, Emma, enough, she’s been so amazing through the whole season, it’s actually the anniversary of her father’s passing today so it’s an emotional time."

The Kiwi driver notched up the milestone at Sonoma Raceway in California. Source: Seven Sharp


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'It's been a while!' Hayden Paddon claims seventh career podium finish at Rally Turkey

Kiwi rally driver Hayden Paddon has earned his first podium finish of the 2018 World Rally Championship season after a clean final day in Turkey.

Paddon and British co-driver Seb Marshall stuck to their game plan of racing a consistent race in the final four stages of Rally Turkey, allowing them to finish in third.

The pair went into the final day with a firm grip on third place - they were nearly a minute behind second-placed Jari-Matti Latvala but ahead of fourth-placed Teemu Suninen by a safe margin of over two minutes.

Paddon said racing with the concept of preserving third place instead of chasing those ahead of him felt like being in no man's land.

"It's a about playing the long game in this rally. When you're in 'no man's land' it can be really hard because you have to look after the car. It can be really painful but it's what you have to do."

The finish is Paddon's seventh on a WRC podium.

"I am really happy to take our first podium of the season. It has been a very tough rally. We have adopted a particular strategy this weekend that has required us to hold back and be patient," he said.

"Thankfully that approach has paid off and we have been rewarded with third place - it's been a while since we've been on the podium."

Paddon is coming to New Zealand for the Ashley Forest Rallysprint in Canterbury next weekend before he returns to Europe for the Wales Rally GB next month.

The Kiwi rally driver had a clean run on the final day to finish strong in his fifth race of the season. Source: TVNZ DUKE


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Scott Dixon in rarefied air after winning fifth IndyCar title - 'I’m the lucky one'

Scott Dixon has won his fifth IndyCar championship with a second-place finish at Sonoma Raceway.

The Kiwi needed only a steady race to hold off challenger Alexander Rossi in the championship fight. Rossi broke his front wing on the opening lap when he ran into teammate Marco Andretti and it effectively ended his chances.

The Kiwi driver notched up the milestone at Sonoma Raceway in California. Source: Seven Sharp

Dixon from there didn't take any chances and coasted to the title. His five championships trail only the seven won by A.J. Foyt.

He was in disbelief at securing a historic fifth title.

“Man, this is so awesome, I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it’s actually happened,” he said.

“I don’t know, you always doubt these situations so much that it’s never going to happen.”

Dixon was also full of praise for his wife, Emma.

"It’s all about the people, I’m the lucky one that gets to take it across the line," he said.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

"I can’t thank my wife, Emma, enough, she’s been so amazing through the whole season, it’s actually the anniversary of her father’s passing today so it’s an emotional time."

Ryan Hunter-Reay won the race from the pole.


Kiwi Scott Dixon wins fifth IndyCar title with perfect final race at Sonoma

Relive 1 NEWS NOW's live coverage of the 2018 IndyCar series finale, from Sonoma.

12:49pm: Lap 85 of 85 - SCOTT DIXON WINS FIFTH INDYCAR TITLE

Into the final lap! Hunter-Reay will take the win, but Dixon will come home in second to take the title. Rossi's early gaffe has cost him a title, as Dixon adds Championship number five to his collection.

12:43pm: Lap 81 of 85

Just five laps of the season to go! Dixon in pole position for the trophy, with Rossi slipping to sixth.

12:37pm: Lap 77 of 85

Less than 10 laps to go and it's all in Dixon's hands. He's pushed his lead out to 13 seconds over Rossi, and barring disaster, should be good to take the title.

12:30pm: Lap 73 of 85

Dixon under a bit of pressure from Power now! He's still got a hold of second, but the Aussie is hot on his heels. Rossi is in fifth, around nine seconds back.

12:24pm: Lap 68 of 85

That's it as far as pit stops are concerned for the rest of this race. Dixon sits four seconds behind Hunter-Reay, but eight seconds in front of Rossi. Race within a race now.

12:20pm: Lap 64 of 85

Dixon back up to second, but Rossi into fifth. If Dixon can keep this up though, the title is his. 

12:14pm: Lap 60 of 85

Rossi and Dixon both pit for a tyre change coming to the close of the race. The Kiwi temporarily down to ninth as a result.

12:07pm: Lap 55 of 85

Rossi's on the charge! He's now into seventh, 12 seconds behind the Hunter-Reay, 11 behind Dixon.

Not to worry just yet though, the Kiwi just needs to finish ahead of him to take the championship.

12:01pm: Lap 51 of 85

The yellow flag has seen Rossi come roaring back though! He's up to 11th now, just 10 seconds behind the leading pair. Dixon around 0.8 seconds shy of Hunter-Reay.

11:59am: Lap 48 of 85

Dixon now less than a second behind Hunter-Reay! Will this be where the Kiwi makes his move? He'll have to wait for the end of the yellow flag of course, but that shouldn't be too far away.

11:53am: Lap 46 of 85

Rossi now under 30 seconds back from Dixon. He'll still have a lot to do, but don't write off his title shot just yet.

11:48am: Lap 44 of 85 

Yellow flag and Rossi can make up some ground on Dixon! Graham Rahal has crashed out.

11:43am: Lap 42 of 85

Hunter-Reay and Dixon lose the top spots temporarily with their second pit stops. Both looking to keep their tyres fresh going into the second half of this race. 

The pair are quickly back to the front of the grid though. Meanwhile, Rossi has moved up into 12th spot, still around 48 seconds back of Dixon though.

11:34am: Lap 35 of 85

Dixon keeping pace with Hunter-Reay, doing enough to keep himself in pole position for the championship. The Kiwi is still second, but 12s ahead of third. 

11:24am: Lap 28 of 85

Dixon and Hunter-Reay now pulling clear of the chasing pack, with Simon Pagenaud over 11 seconds behind the leader. Dixon 2.5s behind.

11:16am: Lap 21 of 85

Dixon now back into second, with Hunter-Reay's lead cut to less than 2s. Rossi lingering down in 23rd, 42 seconds back from the leader.

11:09am: Lap 17 of 85

Hunter-Reay and Dixon now in the pit. Tyre change for the Kiwi as Josef Newgarden takes the lead. It's probably worth mentioning that should both Dixon and Rossi fail to finish, then Newgarden and Will Power will move into title contention.

Power hits the front as Dixon re-enters, he's now down to fourth, Hunter-Reay in third.

11:04am: Lap 14 of 85

The first pit stops of the race have come about, but the leading group hold fire for now. Dixon just under four seconds back from Hunter-Reay.

10:56am: Lap 8 of 85

Dixon nearly three seconds behind Hunter-Reay, but Rossi is at the back by over a minute. Advantage Dixon.

10:51am: Lap 4 of 85

Rossi re-enters the fray, but he's at the back of the grid. Dixon still in second, Hunter-Reay leads.

10:47am: Lap 2 of 85

Great news for Dixon - Rossi suffers wing damage and is under some early pressure, can he come back? Rossi smacked into Marco Andretti at the start, Dixon comfortable in second.

10:46am

They're away!

PREVIEW

After 16 races, Kiwi driver Scott Dixon is within touching distance of his fifth IndyCar title, with today's season finale in Sonoma seemingly just a formality for the Manurewa native.

With three wins and eight podiums this season, Dixon holds a 29-point advantage over his next closest competitor, USA's Alexander Rossi.

Dixon effectively just needs to finish higher that Rossi to seal the title. 

The Kiwi was leading the way to a pole position in qualifying - in what would have been his first of the season - before being pipped by American Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Dixon will instead line up in second spot, with rival Rossi having to settle for sixth.


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