It takes more than just a driver to win races and five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon’s crew chief and fellow New Zealander Blair Julian has been recognised for his incredible mechanical success on the American stage by becoming the recipient of the Clint Brawner Mechanical Excellence Award.
Presented annually since 1987 by the Clint Brawner Foundation and underwritten by Firestone Racing, the award acknowledges the mechanical and scientific creativity, ingenuity, dedication and expertise of an Indy 500 chief mechanic.
It’s namesake, Clint Brawner, claimed 51 AAA- and USAC-sanctioned races; whereas Julian has been at the side of all 48 of Dixon’s career wins.
The unassuming face behind Dixon’s success, the mechanic from New Plymouth says receiving the award was an immense honour and is pleased to have his success with Dixon recognised at a formal prize ceremony.
“It was a big surprise; walking up there to the podium, I didn’t know what was going on,” Julian told RACER.
“I’m very honoured to receive it, and you immediately think about all your crew guys who put you in that position to be considered for an award like this.
It’s nice to have everyone’s work on the No. 9 car recognized, and to be recognized individually.”
Julian received the IndyCar mechanic of the year award back in 2015 but admits having his name thrown around the likes of Clint Brawner is an amazing achievement.
“It’s a little bit different these days with the rules and restrictions, but on the other side, getting all the little details right makes the difference.
“Having a good team around you makes it easier for Scott, or any of our drivers, to go out there and look good. I certainly don’t think of myself anywhere near like Clint Brawner, but it’s cool to be mentioned in the same breath.”
Julian and Dixon are in the box seat to add another IndyCar championship crown to the trophy cabinet with the Kiwi holding a healthy points advantage at the head of the standings.
The Kiwi will also start tomorrow’s Indy 500 from the front row, which is the only race of the year with double points and has demonstrated impressive race-winning potential.
The 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 kicks off from 5 am NZT August 24.
Main Image: RACER