Scott Dixon has continued his streak. Will Power has four races remaining to extend his.
The NTT IndyCar Series rivals own the longest streaks in the sport's history of consecutive seasons with at least one race victory. Dixon, the five-time series champion driving for Chip Ganassi Racing, pushed his record number to 15 seasons with a victory in June in Detroit. But Power, the 2014 series champion driving for Team Penske, is still stuck on 12 entering the final stretch of the season. With four races to go, beginning with Sunday's ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway, time is getting short.
Power had high hopes for earning that first 2019 victory in his last start after winning the pole for the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, but he finished fourth as Dixon won.
Extending the streak is important but can't be top of mind, Power said.
“Those are good records that will be lasting in the books,” he said. “But you don’t want to know about it because you don’t want to think about it because then it doesn’t happen. If you’re thinking about that, you’re thinking about the wrong thing. You can’t be thinking about winning the race.”
That said, Power admitted the fact that he’s winless is in the back of his mind.
To put the streaks of Dixon and Power in context, consider that the next three drivers on the sport's all-time list are Bobby Unser, Emerson Fittipaldi and Helio Castroneves at 11 consecutive years. And, of course, all three of those streaks are no longer active.
Among active streaks, the next-closest driver to Power is Team Penske's Josef Newgarden with five. He has already won this season. Alexander Rossi of Andretti Autosport also has extended his streak, which stands at four seasons.
Dixon has always reiterated his tunnel vision for focusing on just the next race. Mention records and accomplishments to him and he usually reminds that the time to reflect on those are when he’s retired.
But Ganassi Racing team advisor and former Dixon teammate Dario Franchitti knows that if Dixon were in Power’s position right now, he would be thinking about it.
“It’s the type of thing that if it doesn’t happen, it would annoy him,” Franchitti said. “But he’s got more important things on his mind, like trying to win the championship.”
Dixon improved to fourth in the points with his latest victory. He is 62 points behind Newgarden, the series leader..
“If you look at the formulas he won those races in, the different regulations, different styles of driving, completely different, that’s bloody impressive. That’s really impressive,” Franchitti said of Dixon.
“Of course you’ve got to respect (a streak like this). To be able to be that competitive in all of those different regulations against a very tight field as well, it’s quite something. If you go back to ’05 when (Chip Ganassi Racing) really struggled and were far from competitive because of the engine situation, and he still won.”
Dixon is on the verge of tying for another record: Most seasons with at least one victory. With a win in 2020, Dixon would tie A.J. Foyt’s record (18). Mario Andretti and Helio Castroneves had 16, Michael Andretti 15.
If wondering how much drivers think about such streaks, consider that Michael Andretti is well aware of where he should rank on the consecutive season win list.
“I went F1 and that broke my (Indy car) streak,” Andretti said of his year away in 1993. “If you take that year out, I’d have the longest streak.”
He’s right. He won races in 16 consecutive INDYCAR series seasons from 1986 to 2002, except for that one year he didn’t make a start.
“Those are all nice things to look at when you’re done racing,” Andretti said. “It’s not what drives us, but it’s fun to look back at when you’re done driving.”
Mario Andretti contends he always won a race in something each year, but his longest stretch of consecutive seasons with an INDYCAR win was six, from 1965 to 1970.
“It does matter, yeah,” Mario said. “You go out there with mindset that you’re going to do the very best you can possibly do every time out. Then the rest falls to the records. You either get it done or not.”
Mario mentions how today’s series drivers operate safer vehicles that are more likely to finish races, hence a greater chance to win each year. He drove in a different era where car engines failed more often.
“You know how many races I was leading and then the engine ran out?” Mario said. “Things are different today.”
But the Hall of Famer gives credit where it is due when asked about Dixon’s streak.
“When you look at the numbers, it’s impressive,” he said. “You look at guys like Dixon and what he’s doing, I have complete respect and admiration for that because I know what it takes.
“It takes a lot of commitment and love for what you’re doing, to be able to do it well. No one loved the sport any more than I did or do. Whenever I see others in the same category, I relish that.”
MOST CONSECUTIVE SEASONS WITH ONE OR MORE INDYCAR WINS
Scott Dixon, 15
Will Power, 12
Bobby Unser, 11
Emerson Fittipaldi, 11
Helio Castroneves, 11
Johnny Rutherford, 9
Michael Andretti, 9
Rick Mears, 8
Bobby Rahal, 8
Al Unser Jr., 8
Rodger Ward, 7
Gordon Johncock, 7
Scott Sharp, 7
Sam Hornish Jr., 7
Tony Kanaan, 6
Ryan Hunter-Reay, 6
Next up for the NTT IndyCar Series is Sunday's race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The ABC Supply 500 is the first of four races to close the 2019 season. NBCSN will have the television coverage at 2 p.m. ET (green flag at 2:45 p.m. ET). The Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network provides the radio call, with coverage on SiriusXM Radio (XM 209, Sirius 98, Internet/App 970). Qualifying is Saturday at 12:30 p.m. (delayed on NBCSN until 2:30 p.m.).