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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.

?There were times on the Monday or Tuesday before the next weekend race that I?d have to say ?I don?t know how I?m going to find the money for a new set of tires,? Ron said. ?I was trying to be realistic and prepare him, but Scott was always so optimistic. He never seemed to worry about it.?

It helped that Scott had the type of talent that opened eyes. And, eventually, wallets.

Ken Smith, 67, a New Zealand racing legend, first saw Dixon in the Formula Vee series, driving with his special license. Smith was struck by the 13-year-old?s on-track maturity.

?Scott is kind of a freak,? Smith said. ?At a young age, he was very, very smooth and he was a thinking driver. You see a lot of young drivers who drive the (heck) out of a car trying to get it up to speed. Scott would think about what he was going to do.?

Smith used his contacts to help Dixon compete outside New Zealand when he was 17. In 1997, Dixon debuted in the Australian Formula Holden Series, where he was the Rookie of the Year before winning the series championship in 1998.

Dixon would leave school to fly to Australia on Thursdays. His mom would pick him up at the airport early on Monday mornings and he would return to school.

The arrangement was expensive, but Ron Dixon solicited friends, family, business associates and companies to raise money ? a project in which he invested at least 20 hours a week.

In 1999, Dixon set out for the United States and his father knew informal solicitations would no longer pay the bills. He established Scott Dixon Motorsport, a company of about 30 shareholders who paid $5,000 for each share in Dixon?s career. It raised about $750,000.

It was a risk for the shareholders. But there was immediately evidence they might get a return on their investment.

At a test at Sebring Race Way in Florida, Dixon broke the Indy Lights lap record on his eighth circuit and was signed to an Indy Lights team. At 19, Dixon finished fifth on the developmental circuit. The next year, he won the title.

In 2001, he graduated to the CART series and at 20 became the youngest winner of a major U.S. open-wheel race. In 2003, he won his first race in the IndyCar Series and claimed the series championship in his debut season.

His success allowed him to buy out Scott Dixon Motorsport. Over the course of about two years, he paid back his shareholders, who earned $25,000 for each $5,000 invested. He?s also bought his parents a house.

Life is indeed good.

Ron and Glenys live near their son in Indianapolis and travel the country watching him race, thanks to Ron?s job as the manager of drivers on the Indy Lights series. Scott, who married former British track star Emma Davies in February, is at the peak of a career that seemed destined years ago.

Of course, realizing his destiny didn?t come cheap.

The payoff, however, has been priceless.

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