IRL: Dixon currently trails, ahem, Stanton Barrett

So this is what they mean when they say it’s tougher to repeat as a champion than win it in the first place.

Scott Dixon? The defending IndyCar Series champion is 55 points behind Dario Franchitti and in 17th place after two races. Two races, two sub-par finishes. It happens.

But Dixon’s misery has happened on two street circuits, and there’s only one thing that needs to be said to put a little perspective on how bad his season has gone thus far.

He trails Stanton Barrett.

That’s right. Barrett, the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver who has practically no road racing acumen, has scored two points more than Dixon through events at St. Petersburg and Long Beach.

Barrett finished 12th at St. Pete, 17th at the Beach, and to his credit he finished both races for first-year Team 3G. Seat time is invaluable. Dixon, who isn’t lacking for seat time for owner Chip Ganassi, finished 16th and 15th.

It may be the only time in his IndyCar career that Barrett has bragging rights on Dixon. The IRL races at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, and even though it’s on a 1.5-mile oval that plays more to Barrett’s strength, if Dixon finishes the race he’s unlikely to still trail Barrett come Monday morning.

Barrett was notoriously slow on the street courses, but the Hollywood stuntman will be interesting to watch on ovals — and there’s going to be six in a row — especially compared to a couple of other drivers who are making their season debuts: Sarah Fisher and Milka Duno.

Although open wheel drivers have struggled in NASCAR attempts, Barrett provides a chance to see a NASCAR driver attempt to get up to speed against open wheel drivers. It’s not exactly Jimmie Johnson or Kurt Busch taking their shot, but it should be interesting, nevertheless.

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