Rossi Stumbles As Scott Dixon Cruises To Fifth IndyCar Championship

Scott Dixon cemented himself among IndyCar’s greats on Sunday by securing a fifth championship title at Sonoma. A second place finish behind a dominant Ryan Hunter-Reay was all Dixon needed as his closest rival Alexander Rossi stumbled.

Rossi’s championship hopes were dashed as soon as the IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma started on Sunday. Not that the viewers at home saw it as NBC watched NASCAR’s finest sit standstill on the track. A front stretch incident with teammate Marco Andretti damaged Rossi’s front wing forcing him to pit. An uphill battle ensued and while Rossi charged through the field it wasn’t enough.

 

The 2016 Indy 500 winner was forced to settle for 7th after burning through his tires trying to claw back into the championship fight. Rossi wasn’t bashful about needing to work his way back to the front. Out braking others into the corner, pressuring guys into mistakes or pointing him by. Rossi was on a charge, especially here has he out juked Newgarden into the final corner.

 

Scott Dixon meanwhile continued a lovely Sunday drive through the Sonoma countryside. His only bit of real excitement was when Rossi passed him as he scurried to get his lap back. Outside of that Dixon ran the most uneventful race of his career. Crossing the finish line 2.7 seconds behind RHR but 57 points ahead of Rossi for the championship.

Dixon’s fifth championship pushes him ahead of Mario Andretti, Dario Franchitti, and Sebastian Bourdais. He’s only behind AJ Foyt who has 7, that’s not out of reach for Dixon. With a 1-year deal with an option for a second at Ganassi Dixon certainly has the time, the talent and the equipment. Dixon just seems to be getting better with age.

Notable Finishers

Indy Lights champ Pato O’Ward made the Fast Six in his first IndyCar start and continued with a 9th place finish. Where most rookies get fatigued in the second half of their first few IndyCar starts O’Ward impressed. A fantastic debut for himself and a top-10 for Harding.

Fellow rookie Colton Herta didn’t have the same stellar weekend. Also racing for Harding on Sunday Herta could only manage a 20th place finish. Don’t look into it too much though because the kid can drive. Sonoma is maybe the toughest track to make your IndyCar debut at.

Looking Toward 2019

IndyCar expects to have 28 cars at some races and obviously a full 33 or more at Indianapolis. Full-time cars will likely run in the 24 car range. The series is healthy and it continues to grow. NBC is taking over the broadcast rights and will have the series on network more than ABC did. The Indy 500 will feel like a big deal again on TV, it’s a great time for IndyCar.

Now just fix the big oval aero package and everything will be alright in the world.

One More Thing

Robert Wickens has spoken! He posted a video to his social channels on Sunday before the race.

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