Scott Dixon, IndyCar, Ganassi, Sonoma, 2018

Dixon seals fifth title after Rossi hits trouble on lap one


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Scott Dixon has won the IndyCar championship for the fifth time after closest rival Alexander Rossi’s title bid went wary on the first lap at Sonoma.

Rossi damaged his front wing and punctured his front right tyre when he made contact with team mate Marco Andretti as the race began. He limped back to the pits for repairs, cutting out a significant portion of the track on his way, as drivers had been advised in the pre-race briefing this was allowed providing they surrender any positions gained. Nonetheless he still dropped well out of contention.

Ryan Hunter-Reay took up the lead of the race and gave Rossi a hand by letting his team mate rejoin the lead lap at one stage. That proved vital as a caution period a few laps later allowed Rossi to get back into contention.

With a splash of fuel and a fresh set of alternative tyres, Rossi attacked the field with vigour, elbowing Josef Newgarden among others aside as he set off in pursuit of Dixon, eventually making his way into the top 10. He then made his final pit stop at the first available opportunity. But Ganassi was wise to the move and swiftly pitted Dixon in response, ensuring there was no chance of losing a position to Rossi.

Dixon eventually recovered his second place behind Hunter-Reay, where he finished, sealing the championship. Penske pair Will Power and Simon Pagenaud took third and fourth – team mate Josef Newgarden lost ground early on when his engine died during a pit stop. He came in eighth.

Rossi fell to seventh at the flag after running low on fuel in the final laps, which allowed Marco Andretti and Sebastien Bourdais to pass him.

Series newcomer Patricio O’Ward struggled in his first stint after starting fifth, but brought his Harding car home an impressive ninth. Ed Jones completed the top 10.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 9 comments on “Dixon seals fifth title after Rossi hits trouble on lap one”

    1. That’s a shame, I was really pulling for Rossi. Still, it’s been a great season for IndyCar, and Rossi should be right there in the championship picture again next year.

    2. And another 1-2 for a Honda-powered car (they had at least 2 cars on the podium in every race except Indy 500).
      Will be a tough fight for Alonso if he wants to do a full season next year (power by Chevy).

    3. That’s it, an exciting season with plenty of on track action for most of the season and what a finish, the championship open right up to the last pitstops in the last race.

      The wind is definitely blowing in the right direction for this series, now they just need to do something about this 6 month, self-imposed media black-out they’ve created for themselves. A winter series, with two, three “overseas” races should do the trick. I’m telling you, it’d be worth it.
      Sepang, Surfers and somewhere in Japan, Sportsland SUGO (just to keep with the alliteration :)

    4. Interesting race but such a dissapointing venue for a season finale. Sonoma is pretty uninspiring as a racetrack, there are very few grandstands and those that exist were half empty. Almost sad to see them race in front of probably just under 10 thousand people.

      1. The landscape might not be all that impressive but I’ve always found the track itself to be pretty challenging. Some interesting elevation changes and off-camber turns.

        1. Indeed. The track itself is certainly not to blame for any disappointment. Turns 2, 3a, and 6 are particularly interesting for the patience they require on throttle, and the end of the lap can be very quick if you can bounce the car the right way from curb to curb…and terrifying if you can’t.

    5. IndyCar series is getting better and better. The competition is so close that anyone can have their day under the right circumstances. Hunter Reay did a fantastic race controlled it from start to finish. Maybe Vettle will watch some film of Dixon on how to win a championship. He is one of the coolest smartest drivers any where in any series. Rossi screwed himself at the start by running into Marco, but what an epic comeback drive for him. This for me was a very exciting race. I enjoyed it from start to finish. Some say Sonoma is not that great of a track but it was a great race none the less. Can’t wait for the next season to start already. I might go to winter testing this year at Sebring Raceway just to see them do some runs for next year’s car’s.

      1. He’s been through some crazy crashes and some difficult seasons with engine failures and such, but he never seems perturbed enough that his driving is affected. For sure, Vettel, Verstappen, Perez, and similar drivers could learn a lot from how Dixon approaches the ups and downs.

    6. Newsflash. Dixon is really, really good! Congrats on your 5th title Superstar!!!

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