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Featured Dixon stuns Montoya at Sonoma to win fourth IndyCar title

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by R.J. O'Connell, Aug 31, 2015.

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    In absolutely stunning fashion, Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon won the GoPro IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma, and with it, became a four-time IndyCar Series champion by defeating Juan Pablo Montoya in the final race of the season on a tiebreaker.

    Dixon, who entered the season finale at Sonoma Raceway third in the championship standings (47 points behind Montoya), was one of six drivers mathematically eligible to win the championship with double points on offer in the final race. Graham Rahal, entering the race second in points, was Honda's lone championship challenger in the midst of a resurgent 2015 season. Defending IndyCar champion Will Power won pole position on Saturday to aid his title bid, along with his Penske teammate Helio Castroneves, and CFH Racing's rising star Josef Newgarden who were both impossible long-shots.


    The race began with many tributes to the late Justin Wilson, who died Monday evening from injuries sustained in an incident during last week's race at Pocono Raceway. During the pre-race ceremonies, one of several video tributes was shown to recap his stellar career, the British national anthem was played in his honor, and a moments' silence was observed in honor of one of racing's most gracious and beloved drivers. There was even a number 25 drawn into the sky by an airplane. Every car, every driver, and nearly every team member up and down the paddock adorned a decal on their car, or on their helmet, or wore a T-shirt to honor Wilson, and Dixon dedicated his victory at Sonoma to his long-time friend and racing rival.

    The race took a dramatic turn for Montoya on Lap 39, when he collided with his teammate Power at the entrance of Turn 5. Both would need to pit for repairs under the safety car, leaving Montoya relegated down to 22nd place when the race restarted on lap 42. Meanwhile, Dixon drove to the lead on lap 51 using a combination of expert strategy and well-measured pace, putting him in position to win the IndyCar championship if Montoya finished lower than fifth place.

    With fifteen laps to go, Montoya had to drive from twelfth to catch and pass fifth-placed Ryan Briscoe. He received help in the form of two collisions in front of him, plus a late drive-through penalty for Sebastien Bourdais. Montoya drove valiantly to chase down Briscoe in the final laps, but he could only close to within 1.2 seconds of Briscoe, and with Dixon winning and leading a race-high 34 laps, Dixon and Montoya finished the season tied at 556 points.

    However, Dixon's third victory of the season - the thirty-eighth of his illustrious American open wheel career - was the decider, giving Dixon his fourth IndyCar championship. The 35-year-old driver now joins his former teammate Dario Franchitti, Mario Andretti, and Sebastien Bourdais, as four-time champions in the top open-wheel racing series in America.

    dixon 2015 trophy.jpg

    "There was still a chance and that's what I was hoping for," Dixon said after the race. "I don't know what to say. This season we had some big races, and this was the biggest. We were such a longshot."

    A frustrated Montoya blamed the double-points designation of the race for costing him the championship after he had led from the start of the 2015 IndyCar Season. Ironically, Montoya won the only other double-points race of the season, the Indianapolis 500, and he lost the title in Sonoma in the same fashion that he won the 1999 CART championship - beating Dario Franchitti by winning more races than Franchitti when the two drivers tied in points.

    He wasn't the only frustrated driver leaving Sonoma. Graham Rahal's comeback season ended with constant handling problems throughout the race and a disastrous 18th place finish after he collided with Bourdais with six laps remaining. Though he ultimately fell to fourth in the standings, Rahal can still take pride in a remarkable 2015 season. Josef Newgarden lost a lap in a disastrous pit stop, taking him out of contention to win the final race of the season. Further down the field, James Jakes thankfully emerged unhurt from a crash on lap 65 when his car spun into a tyre barrier at turn 9.

    The last race of the season saw the podium completed by Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay, who closed out his 2015 campaign strong with two wins and a second place finish in the finale. Charlie Kimball got his first podium finish since the Indy 500 by finishing 3rd, ahead of Ganassi teammate Tony Kanaan, with Briscoe holding onto the crucial fifth place ahead of championship runner-up Montoya.

    Power recovered from his tangle with Montoya to finish seventh. Takuma Sato finished eighth, while Dale Coyne Racing's Rodolfo Gonzalez scored his first top-ten finish in ninth, and Mikhail Aleshin returned to the series with a solid tenth-place finish. Veteran driver Oriol Servia drove Justin Wilson's #25 Andretti Autosport Honda to twelfth place in an emotional comeback race for the Spaniard, a long-time friend of Wilson's.

    Dixon's championship-winning drive further cements the New Zealander's place among the legends of motorsport, and draws a close to a 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season punctuated by some amazing racing, landmark victories for many of its finest drivers, and overall positive growth for the series as a whole - but marred by tragedy in its penultimate round.
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
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  2. the_sigman

    Sim racer, F1 news editor... Racing is in my blood Premium

    So happy for that as a Dixon fan. I think he stunned everyone (including himself) yesterday!
  3. As a casual IndyCar fan, I agree with a lot of the changes they've made to the motorsport, and Sonoma is a great track to end the season on and this one did not disappoint.

    That said, good sports naturally create good competition. But with so much tinkering with bonus points and caution rules, sometimes the entertainment of IndyCar seems contrived and silly, distracting from what automotive fans want to see: wheel to wheel action.

    Point and case, less of this guy please:

    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Haha Haha x 1
  4. the_sigman

    Sim racer, F1 news editor... Racing is in my blood Premium

    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. Dixon is a legend, Montoya is a sore loser. How can someone have a **** season when they beat you in the championship and by a tie breaker. Montoya did only out race Dixon 9-7, but you can't count NOLA really and Dixon hasn't had the best of luck at tracks like St Petersburg with the Jack issues and Indy GP when Castroneves took him out.

    Dixon has done a mega job this season and is a worthy 4 time champion. The question is how many more can he win

    Today was a great tribute to Justin Wilson and it was an awesome race. It proves that IndyCar is one of the best forms of racing and after quite a dark season with some teams struggling financially and Wilsons death and some controversy's, today shows that the is light at the end of the tunnel (BUT FIRST, GET RID OF THIS 7 MONTH SEASON BREAK. THE BREAK IS LONGER THAN THE SEASON ITSELF)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Also correct me if I'm wrong, but if there was no double point races (Indy or Sonoma), Dixon would have still won the championship (I make it out by 7 points)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. You're correct.. Dixon won fair and square. What a gracious and humble kiwi, super quick too!

    Montoya on the other hand is a giant douche, a sore loser of the most epic proportions. Same as he was in F1 ... The guy needs to retire.
  8. Well done Scott Dixon!
    Winning the world championship on Bruce McLarens birthday no less...
    A well driven season, so proud to be a New Zealand Motorsports fan!
    • Like Like x 2
  9. Ole Marius Myrvold

    Ole Marius Myrvold
    JWB 96-13 Staff

    Sure? I seem to remember people at the Autosport forum ending with a different result.


    JPM joined the race with 500 points. Without double points he would have been at 450 and ended up with 478 (6th place = 28 points).

    Dixon joined the race with 453 points. Without double points he would have been at 421 (4th place in Indy = 32 points), plus the 53 from today: 474.

    Instead: JPM: 500+56=556; Dixon: 453+103=556
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2015
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  10. Oops my bad, I keep seeing different calculations from different people
  11. Ole Marius Myrvold

    Ole Marius Myrvold
    JWB 96-13 Staff

  12. True, however, this year there wasn't the traditional qualifying points for pole position at the Indy 500. If we add that into the equation (Dixon getting nine points and Montoya getting none) Then Dixm would have been champion without double points

    However, double points should not have been an excuse for losing the championship. If you don't do well on them rounds, which you know you have to do well at. We can't really dwell on what if's
  13. Ole Marius Myrvold

    Ole Marius Myrvold
    JWB 96-13 Staff

    Depends on how you look at it. Personally I don't like the use of double points just for the sake of keeping thing exciting. I have no problem with double points at major events, or longer races (Indy 500, Le Mans etc.)
    The qual-points was removed due to last minute safety changes that also changed the cars right before qual, so I feel that's fair to remove them.
  14. the_sigman

    Sim racer, F1 news editor... Racing is in my blood Premium

    I only like double points in Le Mans, because the duration is four times more than the normal races. But with the qualifying points, a perfect Indy gives you 145 points, while another perfect race gives you 53. That is too much in my opinion.
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  15. This cracks me up a fair bit... JPM says "Dixon had a **** season all year and one good race" ...

    JPM lost on a countback which means Scott WON more races than him - 4 vs 3

    He also moans (are we not sick of his constant whining when he loses!?) that double points ruined the championship... Though we did not hear a peep after he claimed significant double points in Indy...

    If you take away all double points from this season then Scott was merely 4 points behind at the end of the season...

    How does that equate to a "**** season" ... It's beyond me...

    Does anyone else think that pound for pound, Scott had the better season all up?

    He's surely become one of the all time greats of the sport, just needs another couple of Indy 500 wins to secure him as the best ever.

    Unfortunately our national "rugby" team the All Blacks announced their world cup squad on the same day and as a result Scott's heroic and mighty effort got relegated to "sports news" Ugghh...

    The man should be NZ sportsman of the year, again.

    He's an absolute hero in my books.

    Go for the fiver Scott!
  16. Those points are hardly traditional. They weren't awarded before 2012 I think.