Gunpoint robbery brings shocked Scott Dixon back to earth after Indy 500 pole

The New Zealander and his teammate Dario Franchitti in disbelief after being accosted at Taco Bell just hours after qualifying

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 May, 2017, 12:48pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 May, 2017, 10:39pm

The plan had been to celebrate Scott Dixon’s pole-winning run for the Indianapolis 500 at a downtown Italian restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina.

But the restaurant was closed by the time Dixon had completed his media obligations last Sunday.

“Really only the next choice was to get fast food,” Dixon said.

So Dixon and friend Dario Franchitti headed to Taco Bell, where Dixon planned to order his usual Cheesy Gordita Crunch, subbing the meat for beans.

Just down the road from the hallowed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the two were robbed at gunpoint while waiting in the drive-through lane.

“It was definitely shocking, disbelief for the most part,” said Dixon, who acknowledged the “bizarre contrast” of being robbed a few hours after the high of winning the pole for the fabled race coming up on Sunday. “It will make you feel really small again,” Dixon said.

Dixon has been advised not to discuss details of the robbery, in which police arrested two boys, ages 14 and 15, a short time later.

Tony Kanaan, a teammate of Dixon’s with Chip Ganassi Racing, said Dixon and Franchitti had their windows down when they were approached at gunpoint.

“They held a gun at Dixon’s head and asked him for his wallet and his phone,” Kanaan said.

Dixon, who is nicknamed “The Iceman” because nothing seems to rattle him, said he felt they remained calm throughout the incident.

Dixon said the vintage Rolex he was wearing and “a Daytona edition that Dario has been wearing as his lucky watch” were the two most valuable things in the car. Neither was taken.

Watch: Scott Dixon’s Indy 500 pole run

It is the third pole at Indy for Dixon, the 2008 race winner and a four-time series champion, and he understands the significance of the achievement.

“Winning the pole really means a lot for the drivers,” he said. “You are trying to keep the car on its limits, so there’s kind of respect amongst yourselves, in this community.

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“Although the race is the important part, there’s a great sense of pride in what we did on Sunday.”

Two days removed from the roller coaster of emotions, Dixon seemed intent on putting the robbery behind him and focusing on winning his second Indianapolis 500 as he made the annual media tour, this time to Toronto.

The New Zealander did have some reflection about his experience at Taco Bell – the choice only because McDonald’s, a Ganassi team sponsor that had a location next door, was closed for renovations.

“I think the biggest thing is you are just hoping that everything is OK, grateful that nothing silly happened,” Dixon said.

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“That’s the world of difference. That aside, personally, it maybe brings you to think about choices you make.”

Like going to Taco Bell at 10pm after winning the pole? “I’d still go,” he laughed.