If Scott Dixon hadn?t been so brilliant at such a young age, perhaps his parents could have let his obscenely expensive dream die.
Maybe they wouldn?t have mortgaged their house. Or hit up friends and family for money. Or sold $5,000 shares of their son, making him a stock in hopes he would have the resources to become a star.
To some, it might sound foolish ? going broke so your kid can go for broke in a race car.
But what if your kid could do things that had never been done before? At 13, Dixon was granted a special license and became the youngest driver to compete in a single-seat, open-wheel car in New Zealand.
Then he became the youngest driver ? in any country ? to win in a single-seater, in races against drivers more than twice his age. Television crews came to his school, including one from Japan that produced a documentary on the prodigy.
So what were Ron and Glenys Dixon supposed to do? Tell him his future was limitless but their bank account wasn?t?
No, they?d find a way. Or go bankrupt trying.
?When he was 13 and first got in the single-seater car and showed so much talent, that was it,? Glenys Dixon said. ?We couldn?t stop there.?
As a result, their son hasn?t stopped since.
Dixon, 28, enters Sunday?s Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County at Infineon Raceway riding the biggest wave in a career filled with peaks.
In May, he won the Indianapolis 500 ? a sporting achievement hailed as the greatest in New Zealand history ? and is presently on the verge of claiming his second IndyCar Series title. Dixon has a record-tying six wins this season, giving him a 78-point lead with three races remaining. He?s a good bet to extend his lead on Sunday ? he is the race?s defending champion and finished fourth at Infineon in 2006.
He has nearly $10 million in career winnings and is an icon in New Zealand. In other words, he?s living a dream that nearly died on countless occasions.
Dixon says he always believed in his ability, but he also knew his talent alone wasn?t enough.
?I think for me, because I was young, I always just wanted to race and always just wanted to win,? Dixon said. ?The only parts I weren?t sure about were the money sort of things becasue my parents had nothing ... Year to year we were never sure if I was going to be racing again.?
Dixon?s parents are former dirt-track racers who owned a quarter-mile race track in Australia, where Scott was born before the Dixons moved to New Zealand.
Dixon began racing go-karts at 7 and the family, which includes two older sisters, Traci and Adelle, traveled the country as Scott won 30 major races.
For Ron, who bought cars from Japan and exported them, and Glenys, who worked in the clothing department of a retail store, the financial burdens mounted as Scott progressed.
They tried to shelter their son, but sometimes the truth was the only option. For some time, Ron would ?ring the bank? and mortgage the house again. But there were other moments when it appeared they were about to drain their last dollar.