Born Racer Epitomizes the Excellence of Five-Time IndyCar Champ Scott Dixon
The documentary focuses on Dixon's career at the top level of motorsport while also highlighting the dangers of racing and competition.
Five-time IndyCar series champion Scott Dixon touts a proven formula of equal parts skill and humility that has placed him on an uncommonly modest path to the level of excellence first pioneered by racing heroes from yesteryear—Andretti, Senna, and the most eminent being A.J. Foyt. His driving know-how is nearly unmatched, as are his accomplishments, yet Dixon's composed demeanor distances himself from the archetypal surnames that are often mentioned in the same breath as his.
That being said, his approach to the sport has elevated him beyond simple success and into an elite echelon that is detailed in the documentary Born Racer, a nearly 90-minute film that broadcasts Dixon's triumphs and hardships with bombastic depth and emotion.
Predominantly focusing on the 2017 IndyCar season, perhaps the veteran's most theatrical to date, Born Racer follows Dixon and his wife, Emma, from point to point garnering previously unseen insight from the duo's home and professional dynamic. In efforts of highlighting the intangibles of a top-level athlete, the motion picture captures intensity and elation all the same with the former flaring up early and often. Meanwhile, the seemingly unspoken human aspect is driven home by including Dixon's family, featuring his two daughters Poppy and Tilly as well as Emma throughout.
The story picks up at the 2017 Indianapolis 500 where Dixon managed pole position and had hopes of earning his second victory at the famed "Greatest Spectacle in Racing." Early on, it accurately depicts the significance of Indy and lays the groundwork for what has become an infamous moment in the Chip Ganassi Racing driver's career—a wreck that sent him flying end-over-end, shortchanging his shot at the win and leaving him lucky to escape with only a broken left ankle.
Emma, who had seen two IndyCar drivers lose their lives in the past decade including Dixon's former teammate Dan Wheldon and then Justin Wilson in 2015, reiterated her emotions: "I thought that was going to be my turn." This distress isn't exclusive to her but rather all-encompassing of the families that watch their loved ones pilot these cars at 220 miles per hour, speaking volumes for their bravery in addition to their undoubtedly irrational dedication to such a dangerous lifestyle.
“The Indy 500, it’s a very nervous day for us," Emma Davies-Dixon explained in a call with The Drive. "I’m still close friends with the girls that have lost their partners in the IndyCar series and there are times that I am nervous, wondering if it’s going to be my turn. I won’t lie, when Scott had that crash, I was really thinking ‘Here it is. This is it.’”
When asked his thoughts on the wreck and what it changes for him as a driver, Scott calmly responded, "It's not something you tune into too much. I've been racing since I was seven and I've had many crashes; that wasn't my first and it won't be my last." He went on to mention that while it hasn't steered him away from racing, it's important for the public to see as it's an issue that's not pushed near enough: the danger of motorsports can have serious repercussions that go deeper than drivers' careers and into their home lives.
That statement is valid in more than one sense. Team owner Chip Ganassi explained the adversities that he has faced over time, solemnly reflecting on a divorce and the near-impossible balance of family and the racing industry. While Dixon seems to strike that happy medium, had his month of May wreck ended differently, his girls would be left to grow up without a father and Emma without her husband. This culmination of contextual emotion brings drivers' stories to the forefront with trophies and titles drifting aft in light of the sacrifices made by those who want this life the most.
Moving forward, Born Racer showcases Dixon's fight for a fifth championship against Team Penske young gun Josef Newgarden and ever-present rival Helio Castroneves. The storyline moves along naturally while maintaining the climactic highs that ride from start to finish at the season finale in Sonoma. From heated team radio blips to moments of solace between races, the movie displays aspects that were closed off from television and instead surface in a defining work that could at last give IndyCar the notoriety many feel it deserves.
After all, Dixon admittedly believes that the purpose of the documentary is not to solely highlight himself but rather promote the sport to different demographics that may not have had the chance to witness, in his own words, "the greatest racing in the world."
Born Racer will be available on DVD and via digital download on Oct. 2.
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