Scott Dixon’s dramatic victory in today’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma earned the Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver his fourth career Verizon IndyCar Series championship on a tiebreaker over Juan Pablo Montoya.
Dixon, 35, delivered the 100th Indy car victory for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and the team’s 11th championship. He joins A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais and Dario Franchitti as drivers with at least four championships. It was Dixon’s 38th Indy car win, which is one behind Al Unser for fourth all time.
Montoya, who finished sixth in the race, and Dixon tied with 556 points.
Dixon, who started ninth in the 85-lap race on the 2.385-mile, 12-turn Sonoma Raceway road course, won the tiebreaker because he had more wins during the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season. The victory today was his third (Long Beach, Texas and Sonoma) of the 16-race season. Montoya earned a total of two victories (St. Petersburg and the Indianapolis 500) in the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet.
Montoya, who stood atop the standings since winning the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., entered the double-points Sonoma race with a 34-point cushion on second-place Graham Rahal and 47-point lead on Dixon.
Montoya won the 1999 Indy car title on a tiebreaker over Franchitti. The 2006 Verizon IndyCar Series championship also was decided on a tiebreaker, with Sam Hornish Jr. prevailing over Dan Wheldon.
“There was still a chance and that’s what I was hoping for,” Dixon said. “I don’t know what to say. This season we had some big races, and this was the biggest. We were such a longshot. I knew the car was strong, but you never know until the last lap. That’s what it came down to. You hope for it. We had to do our best job and that’s what we did today and, luckily enough, it worked out.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2012 series champion, finished 6.1115 seconds behind Dixon. Hunter-Reay, driving the No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda, won twice and had two other top 10s in the final four races.
Two other Chip Ganassi Racing Teams entries – Charlie Kimball (third) and Tony Kanaan (fourth) – finished in the top five and the fourth Ganassi car, driven by Sebastian Saavedra, led 12 laps early and finished 13th.
“My teammates were phenomenal. They helped all year and we won this together,” Dixon said. “There is no one person that achieved this on their own and I just thank everybody so much.”
Dixon’s season started with 15th- and 11th-place finishes before he won at Long Beach in mid-April. He closed with seven top-10 finishes in the final eight races of the season.
Power, the 2014 series champion who had won three of the past five races at Sonoma Raceway and reset his year-old track record in earning the Verizon P1 Award for the pole Aug. 29, led 26 laps and finished seventh. He wound up third in the standings (63 points behind Dixon). Rahal finished a career-best fourth in the championship (-66 points) and Helio Castroneves was fifth.
Results Sunday of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.385-mile Sonoma Raceway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, aero kit-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (9) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 85, Running
2. (3) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 85, Running
3. (7) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 85, Running
4. (11) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 85, Running
5. (17) Ryan Briscoe, Honda, 85, Running
6. (5) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 85, Running
7. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 85, Running
8. (18) Takuma Sato, Honda, 85, Running
9. (24) Rodolfo Gonzalez, Honda, 85, Running
10. (14) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 85, Running
11. (8) Marco Andretti, Honda, 85, Running
12. (19) Oriol Servia, Honda, 85, Running
13. (10) Sebastian Saavedra, Chevrolet, 85, Running
14. (21) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 85, Running
15. (15) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 85, Running
16. (4) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 85, Running
17. (20) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 85, Running
18. (6) Graham Rahal, Honda, 85, Running
19. (25) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 85, Running
20. (16) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 85, Running
21. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 84, Running
22. (12) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 84, Running
23. (23) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 82, Running
24. (13) Luca Filippi, Chevrolet, 80, Running
25. (22) James Jakes, Honda, 63, Contact