Newgarden wins 2017 IndyCar Series

Josef Newgarden

Josef Newgarden has won the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series after finishing second in the season finale at Sonoma.

Newgarden led much of the race but his Team Penske team-mate Simon Pagenaud ultimately took victory after a four-stop strategy put the Frenchman in front on Lap 65 of 85.

Newgarden (#2 Team Penske Chevrolet) had tried hard to pass Pagenaud (#1 Team Penske Chevrolet) in the final stint despite not needing to, but the 2016 champion held on to the lead.

The 26-year-old’s title comes in his first year with Team Penske, giving ‘The Captain’ his 15th IndyCar crown.

Penske’s four drivers entered the race all in the championship hunt along with Chip Ganassi driver Scott Dixon.

While Newgarden’s second place was more than enough to secure the championship, Pagenaud’s win moved him from fourth to second in the standings.

Dixon (#9 Chip Ganassi Honda) slipped from second to third after finishing the race in fourth place.

He still prevented Penske from taking a clean sweep of the top four championship positions, with Helio Castroneves (#3 Team Penske Chevrolet) and Will Power (#12 Team Penske Chevrolet) rounding out the top five in the points.

The race was a largely processional affair, the first Sonoma IndyCar event run without a single caution since 1970. The only real change of lead came via Pagenaud’s unconventional pit strategy.

The championship five remained in the top five from start to finish, with Power taking the final podium spot and Castroneves fifth behind Dixon.

Away from the title battle, Graham Rahal (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda) made up three places to finish the race in sixth.

Marco Andretti (#27 Andretti Autosport Honda) was one position further back in his 200th IndyCar race.

Dixon’s best hope of assistance from his Ganassi team-mates ended on the opening lap when Tony Kanaan (#10 Chip Ganassi Honda), in what is set to be his final race with the team, suffered a puncture.

Takuma Sato (#26 Andretti Autosport Honda) was another victim of a blown tyre. After being the only non-championship contending driver to start in the top six, he dropped out of contention early on with a puncture on Lap 7, before retiring with engine trouble 18 laps from the end.

Sato’s team-mate and preceding Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi (#98 Andretti Autosport Honda), who began the race as a massive outsider in the championship fight, also suffered from engine issues. His race ended on Lap 25.

Zachary Claman De Melo (#13 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda) was the highest placed rookie in his very first IndyCar race. He finished in 17th, ahead of fellow rookies Jack Harvey (#7 Schmidt Peterson Honda) and Ed Jones (#19 Dale Coyne Honda).

VIDEO: Race day highlights

Results: Grand Prix of Sonoma

Pos Driver Grid C/A/E/T Laps Race time, gap Laps led Status Pit stops
1 Simon Pagenaud 3 D/C/C/F 85 1:55:52.6840 41 Running 4
2 Josef Newgarden 1 D/C/C/F 85 +1.0986 41 Running 3
3 Will Power 2 D/C/C/F 85 +1.6139 Running 3
4 Scott Dixon 6 D/H/H/F 85 +12.0870 Running 3
5 Helio Castroneves 4 D/C/C/F 85 +22.5022 Running 3
6 Graham Rahal 9 D/H/H/F 85 +23.5289 Running 3
7 Marco Andretti 11 D/H/H/F 85 +23.9788 Running 3
8 Ryan Hunter-Reay 7 D/H/H/F 85 +24.5140 Running 3
9 Sebastien Bourdais 10 D/H/H/F 85 +49.9911 Running 3
10 Conor Daly 13 D/C/C/F 85 +55.6650 3 Running 3
11 Charlie Kimball 15 D/H/H/F 85 +1:21.0203 Running 4
12 Max Chilton 14 D/H/H/F 85 +1:24.5038 Running 3
13 Spencer Pigot 17 D/C/C/F 84 +1 lap Running 4
14 JR Hildebrand 20 D/C/C/F 84 +1 lap Running 4
15 Carlos Muñoz 22 D/C/C/F 84 +1 lap Running 3
16 Tony Kanaan 12 D/H/H/F 84 +1 lap Running 5
17 Zachary Claman De Melo (R) 21 D/H/H/F 84 +1 lap Running 4
18 Jack Harvey (R) 19 D/H/H/F 84 +1 lap Running 4
19 Ed Jones (R) 18 D/H/H/F 69 +16 laps Off Course 4
20 Takuma Sato 5 D/H/H/F 62 +23 laps Off Course 3
21 Alexander Rossi 8 D/H/H/F 60 +25 laps Running 4
22 James Hinchcliffe 16 D/H/H/F 52 +33 laps Electrical 3

(C)hassis: D=Dallara | (A)erokit: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)yre: F=Firestone

Championship points

Pos Driver Pts
1 Josef Newgarden 642
2 Simon Pagenaud 629
3 Scott Dixon 621
4 Helio Castroneves 598
5 Will Power 562
6 Graham Rahal 522
7 Alexander Rossi 494
8 Takuma Sato 441
9 Ryan Hunter-Reay 421
10 Tony Kanaan 403
11 Max Chilton 396
12 Marco Andretti 388
13 James Hinchcliffe 376
14 Ed Jones 354
15 JR Hildebrand 347
16 Carlos Munoz 328
17 Charlie Kimball 327
18 Conor Daly 305
19 Mikhail Aleshin 237
20 Spencer Pigot 218
21 Sebastien Bourdais 214
22 Ed Carpenter 169
23 Gabby Chaves 98
24 Juan Pablo Montoya 93
25 Esteban Gutierrez 91
26 Sebastian Saavedra 80
27 Oriol Servia 61
28 Jack Harvey 57
29 Fernando Alonso 47
30 Pippa Mann 32
31 Zachary Claman De Melo 26
32 Jay Howard 24
33 Zach Veach 23
34 Sage Karam 23
35 James Davison 21
36 Tristan Vautier 15
37 Buddy Lazier 14

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