Just 23 points separates Scott Dixon from the top of the IRL IndyCar Series points lead.
The 2003 series champion is third entering Sunday's Kansas Lottery Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway, a race the Kiwi sees as a crucial point in his quest for a second series title.
"It's definitely time to start chasing the Penskes down," Dixon said of Marlboro Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr., who lead the points one and two, respectively. "It's time to get on it and make a break and start dominating the Penske cars."
The New Zealand native comes to Kansas Speedway having captured a win this year at Watkins Glen, along with four top-five finishes in seven races. Contending for the title this year is a reversal of fortunes from his past two years driving the Target Chip Ganassi car. During that time, Dixon had only one win and led only 28 laps. The four-year veteran of the series credits the new engine package and his new teammate and defending IRL IndyCar Series champion Dan Wheldon for his recent resurgence.
Learning how to handle the new Dallara chassis and engine and sharing information with Wheldon has elevated Dixon and the organization. But he said the team needs to work harder to capitalize on opportunities.
"It's been a good year for us but still we know we are very disappointed knowing we haven't been able to do a little better," he said. "All in all I'm pretty happy and it's great to be racing at the top."
Kansas Speedway has proven a difficult track for Dixon. He's only finished in the top 10 once in three tries.
But despite his recent difficulties at Kansas Speedway, Dixon is optimistic he and his teammate can gain ground on Penske drivers Helio Catsroneves and Sam Hornish Jr., who lead the points one and two, respectively. In a recent test here, the Ganassi duo topped the speed charts circling the track in excess of 216 mph.
"Kansas is always a very tough race," he said. "I think this year we have the speed, we just need a good consistent race car."
Dixon and the stars of the IRL IndyCar Series rev up their engines this Saturday when they qualify for the Kansas Lottery Indy 300 at 12:45 p.m. This kicks off a day filled with action-packed racing as the NASCAR Craftsmen Truck Series and ARCA RE/MAX Series hit the track.
The Kansas Lottery Indy 300 is set for Sunday.
Fans can be part of the action by calling 913.328.RACE (7223) or toll free at 866.460.RACE (7223) for tickets.