The New Zealander racer Scott Dixon clinched the IndyCar Championship for the fifth time in his career. Hunter-Reay won the Grand Prix of Sonoma, Dixon finished in second place and Alexander Rossi was seventh.
The 2018 IndyCar season has finished today with the Sonoma GP with the focus on two racers, Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi, who were called to win the title. The two Penske men, Will Power and Josef Newgarden, had to be watched too.
A dramatic race was supposed to take place between these four drivers, especially between the first two, and the race could not begin in a worse way for Rossi’s interests. He changed the entire championship conversation at the very first corner when he drove into the back of teammate Marco Andretti, breaking his front wing and slashing his right-front tire. He was forced to pit to replace it. His race then needed a great comeback.
Therefore, everything was looking good for the Kiwi of Ganassi, Scott Dixon, who only had to stay in the second position from which he began the race and had no obligation to overtake Ryan Hunter-Reay, who led the first stages of the race. This circumstance was even more accentuated after the first pit stops as both Newgarden and Power lost positions and were fifth and ninth. Everything was good so far for Ganassi.
The comeback was proving to be an impossible mission for Rossi. Stuck in traffic and looking for alternative strategies while Dixon was driving quietly was not a simple task. Around lap 30 of the 85 to which the event was scheduled, he was overtaken by the leader of race and thus lost time with Hunter-Reay and Dixon, further complicating his recovery.
In lap 44, Graham Rahal retired with a battery problem and this brought the first caution of the race. This situation would allow him to gain some time after making his third pit stop. The restart was great for the Andretti driver, as he overtook his opponents, going back from the twentieth position, to get into the top 10.
Will Power caught Scott Dixon and tried to find the gap to overtake him while, from behind, Rossi was fifth after the last pit stops, but his pace was similar to his rival for the championship and, even catching him would require a little luck. An overtake wouldn’t be enough for him to be a champion, so he needed some issues for the Ganassi driver.
In the last few laps, Alexander Rossi suffered a lot of degradation in his tires, which did not allow him to continue attacking. He even lost the position with Marco Andretti. After 85 laps, it was Ryan Hunter-Reay who won the race ahead of Scott Dixon, who was crowned as champion of the IndyCar for the fifth time in his career.
On the other hand, the rookie from Harding Racing, Patricio O’Ward, completed a great debut finishing on ninth place in the IndyCar season finale. It was an outstanding performance by the Mexican, who had a good qualifying performance as well, joining the Fast Six knockout on Saturday qualifying, where he finally finished on fifth place. O’Ward, who won the 2018 Indy Lights Championship, was one of the eight rookies in the field that made their Verizon IndyCar Series debut.