On a night where crashes and mechanical failures claimed more than half of the 25-car starting field, the New Zealander did exactly what was required to clinch the title over rival Helio Castroneves.
Dixon came to the 19th and final race of the 2013 season with a 25-point lead knowing all he needed was a top five finish to take the crown. Even so, he worked his Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda to the front of the field, and battled for the lead for much of the night, before backing off in the final laps.
With Castroneves among those experiencing misfortunes, fifth place was more than enough for Dixon to secure the title.
“It was a crazy race,” admitted Dixon. “I still can’t believe we won the championship. Mid-year, I did not think we had a chance of doing this, but it all turned around at Pocono [where Dixon scored Honda’s 200th Indy car victory]. We dug deep and Honda stepped up, and together we made it happen.”
ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT JOINS HONDA FOR 2014
One of the most famous names in global motor sport – Andretti Autosport – has signed a multi-year agreement to run Honda-powered machines in the IndyCar Series from 2014.
Led by racing legend Michael Andretti, the team captured three series championships with Honda (2004, 2005, 2007), as well as two Indianapolis 500 victories (2005, 2007) before switching to Chevy engines in 2012.
Since its inception in 2003, Andretti Autosport has won 48 IndyCar Series race victories – 39 of those under Honda power.
“We look forward to working with Honda again; for us, it’s like being back home. I have no doubt that together we will see great success,” said Michael Andretti, the team’s Chairman, President and CEO.
HONDA ENDS ALMS ERA ON ANOTHER HIGH
Having already clinched Driver, Team and Manufacturer titles in the LMP1 category, Honda Performance Development completed another clean sweep in the LMP2 class.
Ryan Briscoe and Marino Franchitti helped Scott Tucker to his fourth consecutive championship by taking top LMP2 honours – and finishing second overall – in the season-ending Petit Le Mans 1000-mile race at Road Atlanta.
The victorious Level 5 Motorsports entry came out on top by just 1.394 seconds after a race-long duel with the similar HPD ARX-03b entered by Extreme Speed Motorsports.
The LMP1 championship winning Muscle Milk Pickett Racing HPD-03c-Honda had been on target to extend its winning streak to nine consecutive victories when leading by a clear lap at the five-hour mark but was then forced into retirement with overheating issues.
Despite that brief disappointment, HPD ended the American Le Mans Series era in glorious style winning both LMP1 and LMP2 Manufacturer and Engine titles, while Honda-powered outfits won Drivers and Team titles in both categories.