Scott Dixon (right) and team owner Chip Ganassi (left) were honored Thursday after capturing the NTT IndyCar Series championship. (IndyCar Photo)
Scott Dixon (right) and team owner Chip Ganassi (left) were honored Thursday after capturing the NTT IndyCar Series championship. (IndyCar Photo)

Dixon Honored After Sixth IndyCar Series Crown

MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Scott Dixon and Chip Ganassi Racing were honored Thursday night as the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series champions.

Instead of being honored at a public setting surrounded by members of the IndyCar and motorsports industry, Thursday night’s event was a virtual presentation that was live streamed by IndyCar.

Known as the IndyCar Victory Lap, it was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum and was hosted by Andretti Autosport driver and part-time NBC Sports analyst James Hinchcliffe.

In addition to the awards that go to the championship driver (Dixon), team owner (Chip Ganassi) and chief mechanic (Blair Julian), there were also five awards determined by fan vote.

Daly received an award for the best “iRacing Moment” for a clip where he screamed, “Oh My Gosh, there was a man, and he was flying” when Jimmie Johnson’s virtual car went flying through the air.

Formula One driver Lando Norris of McLaren F1 was named “iRacing Favorite Guest Driver,” defeating Johnson, Scott McLaughlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch and Scott Speed.

The third fan award was Best Radio Moment and the winner was Takuma Sato’s call to his Rahal Letterman Lanigan crew after winning his second Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23.

The Best On Track Moment fan vote went to Andretti winning the pole for the 104th Indianapolis 500. He became the first Andretti to win the Indianapolis 500 pole since his grandfather, Mario, won the pole in 1987.

The final fan award was the Fan Favorite and it went to Alexander Rossi. He was rewarded with a cold pizza.

As for the on-track awards, Rinus VeeKay of Ed Carpenter Racing was honored as the IndyCar Rookie of the Year.

“It was a goal for me,” VeeKay said. “You are only rookie for one year, so you need to go for it, and I got it.

“After the Indianapolis 500, my results started getting better and better. At the end, I could feel I was getting so much more experience. Qualifying fourth for the Indianapolis 500 was very special, but the first pole for the Harvest GP is one that I will never forget, then getting podium the day after.”

Team Penske’s Will Power was honored as the 2020 NTT P1 Award winner for his five poles in 2020 and 62 for his career. He is second on all-time poles to Mario Andretti, who has 67.

“I can’t say I ever expected to be near Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt,” Power said. “I’m slowly closing in on Mario. It seems very possible I could at least equal him and my goal is to pass him.

“It’s a great accomplishment with a great amount of satisfaction with poles.”

Josef Newgarden and Team Penske won the Firestone Pit Performance Award for the shortest amount of time on pit road throughout the season. Simon Pagenaud of Team Penske won the TAG Heuer Don’t Crack Under Pressure Award for advancing the most positions in races over the course of the season. He started 23rd and passed the field to win the first race of a doubleheader at Iowa Speedway.

Blair Julian was honored as the championship chief mechanic award and Barry Wanser the championship team manager award.

Honda scored seven wins this season and won its third-straight Manufacturer’s Award.

Herta was acknowledged for his third-place finish in the championship and Newgarden for finishing second to Dixon in the championship race.

For championship team owner Ganassi, it was his 13th IndyCar championship.

“In an otherwise crazy year that every single person has had, the one steady thing is Scott Dixon,” Ganassi said. “My name is on the front door, but there are so many great people that we have.

“We learned to adapt in this business.”

The man who received the biggest honor was Dixon, who became the third driver in the last 20 years to lead the points from start to finish. Sam Hornish Jr. (2001) and Sebastien Bourdais (2006) also accomplished it.

“It was crazy with COVID and everything that happened this season,” Dixon said. “We came out on fire, winning the first three races and the first four with Felix Rosenqvist getting his first victory. To get 90 percent of the season in was fantastic.

“We’re in the business of winning races and if you are winning races, the championship will come with it. It feels so great and so humbling to be mentioned in the names of A.J. Foyt, the Unsers and Andrettis. This is a pretty cool era to be in.”

With six championships, he is just one behind Foyt’s record of seven titles.

“Seven sounds better than six,” Dixon said. “Now, it’s only one, so that sounds a lot more achievable.

“We’ve achieved a lot together and I hope it continues.”