Sonoma Win Gives Dixon Dramatic Fourth Championship on Tiebreaker

Sonoma Win Gives Dixon Dramatic Fourth Championship on Tiebreaker

SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 30, 2015) – 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.

Chevrolet Wins 2015 Manufacturers Championship

For the fourth consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series season, Chevrolet won the Manufacturers Championship. Chevrolet, which clinched the title before the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma began, won 10 races and collected every available Verizon P1 Award for winning the pole position this season.

Chevrolet re-entered Indy car competition as an engine supplier in 2012 and has won the Manufacturers Championship every year since. This year, Chevrolet and fellow supplier Honda took on the additional role of developing and supplying aerodynamic bodywork components that attach to the Dallara IR-12 chassis used by all Verizon IndyCar Series teams.

“Our fourth consecutive Manufacturers Championship is the result of consistent preparation, teamwork and execution by our Chevrolet teams, drivers and technical partners,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports for Chevrolet. “Together, we focused on delivering strong engine and aero performance all season long.”

Manufacturers earn points toward the championship at each race based on the positions of each’s top three finishers. They can earn bonus points for winning the Verizon P1 Award, leading the most laps and for each 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine that reaches its 2,500-mile threshold. Points are reduced for engines that fail to reach the 2,500-mile minimum before being changed out.

“We’d like to congratulate Chevrolet on clinching the 2015 Manufacturers Championship and to thank Honda for its resilient competition throughout the season,” said Will Phillips, INDYCAR Vice President of Technology. “The Chevrolet IndyCar V6 has had a strong and consistent performance this season, which has been reflected by success on the racetrack in both race finishes and engine durability.

“We made adjustments to how points were scored in the Manufacturers Championship this year,” Phillips added, “which accurately reflected Chevy’s strong performance throughout the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season, highlighted by a win in the Indianapolis 500.”

Wilson Family ‘Overwhelmed’ by Racing Community’s Support

Stefan Wilson said he and his sister-in-law, Julia, have been “overwhelmed” by the outpouring of support and tributes in the wake of the passing of his brother, Justin, on Aug. 24 from a head injury sustained in a race a day earlier.

“I’m very grateful for all the support that has been show to Justin’s family, which was his No. 1 priority,” Stefan Wilson said a few hours before the start of the race. “None of it was expected and it’s been amazing.”

Wilson singled out Verizon IndyCar Series drivers, who are donating their helmets worn in the race to an eBay auction, with net proceeds to be directed to the Wilson Children’s Fund. Details are forthcoming.

Verizon IndyCar Series teams affixed a decal, created to honor Wilson’s memory, on all the race cars throughout the championship race weekend. The American flag flew at half-staff and the British national anthem was played in addition to the U.S. national anthem during the pre-race ceremonies.

A moment of silence was observed and “25” — Wilson’s car number this season with Andretti Autosport — was written by two sky writing airplanes above the venue. The Union Jack flew over the pit stand of the No. 25 entry driven by Wilson’s longtime friend Oriol Servia. The LED track positioning system on all the cars displayed “25” on the pace laps.

“It’s hard to watch (the on-track action) and know that we won’t get more amazing memories,” Stefan Wilson added.

Those wishing to contribute to the fund established electronically can do so at www.wilsonchildrensfund.com or by mail to: Wilson Children’s Fund, c/o Forum Credit Union, P.O. Box 50738, Indianapolis, Ind. 46250-0738.

Bryan Herta Crew Donates Performance Award to Wilson Children’s Fund

The No. 98 entry of BHA with Curb-Agajanian driven by Gabby Chaves won the Firestone Pit Performance Award at Pocono Raceway for spending the least amount of time on pit lane during the ABC Supply 500 on Aug. 23. Upon receiving the award Saturday, the team’s crew members donated the $10,000 prize to the Wilson Children’s Fund in honor of Justin Wilson.

“It was (the crew’s) decision to make that contribution,” said team owner Bryan Herta, whose crew won the award for the first time. “It just felt right. I’m just so proud of our guys. It showed a lot of character. This wasn’t the team’s money or my money. It was their money. They donated it and it shows how we feel as an INDYCAR family about taking care of our own.”

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