Pre-race Kiwi ‘barbie’ to put Dixon on the right track
03 Jul 2008
New Zealand’ motorsport champion Scott Dixon will enjoy a good old Kiwi barbecue in New York before his next IndyCar series - thanks to a group of ex-pat New Zealanders.
Dixon will tuck into a venison appetiser, cuts of beer and lamb and a chunk of pavlova covered in cream and kiwifruit - washed down with a Steilanger or sav blanc if he’s allowed. The traditional Kiwi fare is to be laid on by the expats before IndyCar series leader Dixon races at Watkins Glen in upstate New York.
The barbecue idea came about after Dixon met a group of Kiwis in Manhattan during the hoop-la promotional tour that followed his win in the Indy500 in May.
KEA (Kiwi expats) regional manager Geoff Andrews slipped Dixon a note from NZ Lamb Cooperative boss Shane O'Hara, offering the champion a barbecue when he was free.
"He stuck it in his pocket," Andrews told the New Zealand Press Association from New York.
"Bugger me days, then I got this call saying Scott would love us to host this barbecue at Watkins Glen."
Chefs from Dixon's Target Chip Ganassi Racing team offered to do the cooking in their 18-wheel mobile kitchens, but the New Zealanders weren't having any of that - Andrews and O'Shea would do their own cooking, thanks.
Problem was, they then learned Dixon's parents Ron and Glenys would be there, then IndyCar racing organisers caught on to it and wanted to video the event for television.
Suddenly the numbers had blown out to nearly 50, with more on the way.
"It's taken on a life of its own," Andrews lamented.
"We've been teasing (the Chip Ganassi team) saying it's going to be a huge event. Scott's really gung ho on it."
One face that will be missing is team owner Chip Ganassi, a millionaire who owns two car racing teams, and once part-owned a major league baseball franchise.
"He contacted me disappointed he can't make the barbecue, but asked that we leave lamb and pavlova for him on Sunday...he'll be lucky!"
Dixon holds a 43-point lead in the IndyCar series, and has not finished outside the top four in any of the nine races in 2008.
The 27 year old has received wide recognition among sports fans in the United States and is a strong ambassador for New Zealand.
He is the first New Zealander to have won the Indy 500 and is being hailed as one of the country’s greatest sporting heroes. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark described Dixon's win as 'phenomenal' and placed him in the same echelon as great Kiwi athletes Peter Snell, Murray Halberg and golfer Bob Charles.
Dixon is the son of two dirt track racers and began racing at the age of 13 getting a special dispensation to race in the New Zealand Formula Vee series.
Although born in Australia he was brought up in New Zealand. Apart from racing his other loves include trains and occasionally competing in triathlons. He says on his official website that he has a secret obsession with chocolate and his favourite gizmo is his ipod. He is married to former Welsh and British 800m champion Emma Davies who has also been the subject of special media interest in glamour magazines since Dixon’s win.
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