Scott Dixon and Emma Davies: the speed daters
It is one of sport's great love stories. Kiwi motor racing driver meets glamorous but heartbroken British athlete in a London restaurant. He rekindles her passion for the race track and she helps to train him to Indy 500 glory.
Race fans got their first glimpse of Scott Dixon's new wife Emma Davies-Dixon last weekend when she ran to his side for a victory kiss moments after he'd crossed the line. They wouldn't have realised she ran faster than most or that her athletic prowess has played a part in Dixon's success.
A former Welsh and British 800m champion, Davies, 29, reached the semifinals at the Kuala Lumpur and Manchester Commonwealth Games and has been taking Dixon on daily runs of 8-14km. "I'm really proud that I can still beat him," she laughs. "But he is much fitter than when I first met him."
And she believes his fitness has helped him on the track.
"People don't realise it, but to be in the car for the 500, which is a gruelling three-hour race, you have to be fit mentally and physically..."
Now Dixon is pushing her to resume her athletics career and "I'm toying with the idea. Whenever I go to the racetrack to watch him I get the same adrenalin and the buzz I used to get before a race."
The couple met in March 2006 when a mutual friend asked Davies to take Dixon out for the evening.Only six months before, her 47-year-old father and former coach had died from bowel cancer and Davies says his death ended her competitive career.
"I was so used to travelling and racing with him next to me that it didn't feel the same any more. I kept looking to where I knew he'd normally be standing and it just got too painful. He must have sent Scott to me..."
When they met, there was instant chemistry.
"He was shy and humble and I normally went for loud guys but when he has something to say he's worth listening to."
Both were coming to the end of other relationships and Dixon pursued her determinedly. "He was texting the next day."
"We were smitten after the second day," she says.
"It got serious very quickly."
Within a few weeks, they had met up in New York and were talking marriage. In December that year, on her first visit to New Zealand, Dixon had arranged a huge banner in the arrivals hall in Welsh and English: `Emma Davies I love you, will you marry me?' and got down on one knee to propose. The couple married in February.
The global publicity since Dixon's Indy win has focused on Davies-Dixon as a hot chick, a new "wag". "It's kind of flattering I suppose but I don't think I am a wag. I'm not a fake-tan lover. Me and Scott aren't really flashy a great night for us is a movie, cuddled up with our dogs and our best friends."
It has helped that Davies-Dixon has experienced the media spotlight, not only through her athletics but also a short stint fronting a Sky Sport soccer programme and a former high-profile relationship with singer Craig David.
She is adamant there'll be no spending spree with the Indy's $3m prize purse. They're thinking of the future, she says, and children are part of that.
"I can't wait to have loads of them with Scott. "
Before the race, Dixon had asked her `If I win the Indy, can you give me a baby? and I said OK."
Behind the fun, wealth and glamour, though, is constant fear for his safety.
"I hadn't really worried until I saw him in a really bad crash when Dario [Franchitti] came down on top of him in Michigan last year.
"Since then every time he goes out, I've been nervous. I say `Just be safe, be safe'."
Sunday Star Times