Power on podium at IndyCar season finale

18 September, 2017, 17:19 | Author: Oscar Goodwin
  • Josef Newgarden: “We need to come back tomorrow and complete the job”

Australian Will Power's final push for a second IndyCar championship has fallen short, placing third at the Grand Prix of Sonoma to finish the season in fifth.

Pagenaud held onto his race lead until the very end, where he won at Sonoma and came in second in the 2017 championship. If he didn't finish off a first championship in his first season with the power team, well that would be disappointing, at age 26, but he planned on having many future campaigns ahead.

The gap between the two Team Penske drivers was maintained at between one and two seconds from there, but neither third-place finisher Power nor fourth-place finisher Scott Dixon got close enough to challenge for position. He turned in a almost flawless performance Sunday at Sonoma Raceway to prevent his three Penske teammates - as well as four-time champion Scott Dixon - from taking the title. Pagenaud comes into Sonoma the underdog, though, fourth in the points. Despite that success, Penske grabbed Newgarden when he became a free agent and booted Indianapolis 500 victor Juan Pablo Montoya from his ride to make room for the young driver.

Pagenaud said having a homegrown champion was good for the series. The track was really gripped up from the earlier race.

"I don't know, it just seemed like the three of them just covered us", Dixon said.

"We saw how good he was when we were racing against him", Penske said. "I was really surprised on the second stint how strong we were compared to everybody".

In the race, Pagenaud used a four pit stop strategy when he was the first to pit on Lap 10 and that allowed him to race hard and build huge leads to the drivers that went with the more traditional three-stop strategy.

Newgarden finished the 17-race season 13 points ahead of Pagenaud. Pagenaud thought about it and agreed, although he recalled that it didn't work for Castroneves previous year.

Newgarden is only the second American in 11 years to win the IndyCar title, joining 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay.

"I was 100 percent ticked off", he said. "But Tim kept telling me what the situation was". I tried to win the race. "Right now let's celebrate the championship".

After his final stop, on Lap 64, Pagenaud exited directly in front of Newgarden. "And as long as we put our arms around the Indianapolis 500 and have the ability to go and come back each year, we've got a great series, and I think the media is starting to pick that up". "I am so proud of these guys". Chevrolet drivers have won every championship but one since the engine-supplier returned to IndyCar in 2012, and the brand has beaten Honda every year for the manufacturer championship.

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