The 2017 IndyCar title belongs to Josef Newgarden, who raced for the first time this season with Team Penske and finished second in the season finale at Sonoma.
Simon Pagenaud, Newgarden’s teammate and champion from 2016, finished second at Sonoma and made quite a race out of it with a savvy out-of-sequence four-stop pit strategy that enable him to take the lead on the 65th lap of the 85-lap race.
Newgarden’s maiden championship was the 15th for Team Penske and as anyone who follows motor racing knows, Penske is a force in many different classifications. In IndyCar, Penske went into the final race of the season with four drivers who were in the running for the season championship.
Brisbane born Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing was also in the running and he wound up finishing third for the season with a fourth place finish after entering the finale as the number two in the points system.
Newgarden is the first American to win the series since 2012, when Ryan Hunter-Reay took the title.
Aussie driver Will Power concluded the season in the number five spot.
Unlike the most well known race for the type, the Indianapolis 500, the IndyCar series requires drivers and cars to be able to turn right as well as left.
The race is Sonoma was what could be considered a processional event, being the first IndyCar event run without a caution flag since 1970, a span of 47 years.
Just like their Supercars counterparts, tyres seemed to be losing air pressure with disturbing frequency. Dixon’s Ganassi teammate Tony Kannaan, racing for the team for the final time, suffered a puncture, as did Takuma Sato. Sato dropped out of contention on lap seven. He managed to make a tyre switch, but his engine blew on lap 67.