With finishes of second (Daytona) and third place (Sebring) so far this season, Dickerson and co-driver Josh Sarchet will share the No. 54 MLT Motorsports Ligier JS P320 this weekend in the Prototype Challenge race during the Acura SportsCar Challenge Presented by the TLX Type S weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Dickerson is the two-time defending Mid-Ohio winner.
So far, the move to sports cars looks brilliant for Dickerson, who leads the 2021 championship standings along with Sarchet and is hopeful the hard work will result in a step up to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year.
His fast pass up the ranks is of no surprise to those who worked with Dickerson early in his career. Dickerson isn’t only fast; he possesses the character qualities that have impressed people off track as well. The combination of being superbly fast behind the wheel and highly regarded out of the driver’s seat has propelled his career trajectory for years now.
In 2014, for example, a 16-year-old Dickerson was awarded the first Bryan Herta Career Enhancement Scholarship for his work in the Skip Barber Karts to Cars Shootout. The following year, Dickerson earned the prestigious Team USA Scholarship, putting him in prestigious company with previous recipients such as IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden, NASCAR and IndyCar race winner A.J. Allmendinger and Herta.
That same year, he earned the 2015 Skip Barber USF2000 Shootout scholarship and answered in 2016 as the series rookie of the year runner-up.
“I have been impressed by Dakota since our first meeting,’’ said Team USA Scholarship founder Jeremy Shaw, who is also a longtime IMSA Radio broadcaster. “Dakota has a singular focus on establishing a career for himself and has never let anything hinder his progress. He works hard and drives fast. What more can one ask?”
The success he had along the way certainly has given Dickerson confidence in his choices. He proved himself competing in the top-line junior ranks. Now, all that winning and attention has set him up for a shot in IMSA’s premier series. None of his achievement is a surprise to the teams or series he has competed in.
“I think the world of Dakota,’’ said Gregg Borland, owner of ArmsUp Motorsports, which fielded a car for Dickerson in 2018. “I can’t say enough about his commitment and maturity as a driver. He’s always completely prepared for whatever event we are running. He is a great teammate. He always bends over backwards to help his teammates if they need any help during the course of a weekend.
“On top of that, he’s a great person and I love his dry sense of humor. It’s hard not to smile when you’re working with Dakota. He’s really fast and treats the cars well, too. Pretty much the perfect driver for me.”
The positive feedback and support as Dickerson has changed his career focus has been highly motivating. His team is hopeful to enter the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans in the LMP3 class new this year to the WeatherTech Championship. It would be a real-time, preparatory step up in preparation for an anticipated full-season run in 2022.
“The team’s shop is basically located right behind (Michelin Raceway) Road Atlanta,’’ Dickerson said. “So, for us, logistically speaking, that’s kind of a good timeline for us. It’s a great opportunity for us to test the waters and get some experience before Daytona. Our last (Prototype Challenge) race of the year is there as well, so kind of double up, do a little double duty.
“I think it is a good opportunity to feel what the WeatherTech ranks are like before we really dive in the deep end for the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2022.”
Judging by his results to date, the water’s just fine for Dickerson.
“Honestly, I couldn’t be happier,’’ he said. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed racing and competing in IMSA, and I hope we can continue that on into the WeatherTech SportsCar series now.”
The Prototype Challenge takes to Mid-Ohio for practices at 2:35 p.m. ET Friday and 10:25 a.m. Saturday, ahead of qualifying at 2:10 p.m. Saturday. The one-hour, 45-minute race airs live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and IMSA Radio beginning at 9:35 a.m. Sunday.