Dixon Beats Newgarden To Win IndyCar Title
Sunday’s grand finale IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix race at St. Petersburg, Florida, saw New Zealander and Team Penske driver Scott Dixon deny Joseph Newgarden his IndyCar crown by a mere 2 points on the roster. Not even an outright win proved sufficient enough to deny third-place finisher Dixon not only another podium finish and ring, but also the overall points lead.
Sunday’s finish marked a six-title won by the 40-year-old IndyCar veteran for Chip Ganassi Racing. And even though six is good, seven, said Dixon, is the ultimate goal.
IndyCar The Pole Survivor
IndyCar this year became the first major motorsports series to make it all the way to a final event – and relatively intact. This was largely owing to Team Penske owner Roger Penske, who managed to bring his inaugural year of team ownership full circle on the weekend. Not quite as successful at holding on to glory would turn out to be Joseph Newgarden, who all on counts, went down swinging in magnificent fashion.
Dixon, who won his first title back in 2003, now ranks third on IndyCar’s all-time list of wins – pegged only be A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti. His latest championship title win coincides with team Chip Ganassi Racing’s welcoming of seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmy Johnson. This of course means that Chip Ganassi Racing will next year be home to two of the sports’ most outstanding and prolific drivers in their respective series.
A Conspiracy Of Events
But though a stellar victory for the New Zealander, Sunday’s race wasn’t exactly smooth or incident-free.
Dominated in runaway-fashion by Alexander Rossi for 37 incredible starting laps, the entire thing came to a screeching slow-down off a first caution crash by Will Power. Driver error was ultimately admitted to in a show of gloves thrown skywards in anger.
But the crash did more than anger Power, because it subsequently led to three more cautions issued spanning the next 10 laps. A restart on lap 47 ultimately led to Team Penske teammate Scott McLaughlin spinning his car in his IndyCar debut driven for his newest fray.
McLaughlin’s wreck too, emerged damaging for others, collecting Rinus VeeKay in the drag as it skidded. McLaughlin, though finishing only two spots ahead of Will Power in last, described the 47-lap experience as the best day of his life aside from his recent wedding.
Newgarden’s victory eventually came off a phenomenal two-car pass during the final throes of the race – this after the exiting champion could do little else than to look on as a series of race-day disasters cleared the way for Dixon to get his own back.