OBSERVATIONS: Grand Prix of Sonoma
The last chapter of the Verizon IndyCar Series season is written, and it wasn’t done without some dramatics.
Knowing what he had to do, Scott Dixon ran a solid clean race inside of the top-three all day long, avoiding trouble from the start to the checkered, en route to a runner-up finish. While he didn’t get the victory, he got the bigger prize – his fifth series championship. There’s a reason why he’s earned the praise of his fellow competitors, and fans alike, as well as being the star of a new movie. As Kevin Harvick would say in NASCAR, the old guys still rule.
Their reign at the top is heavily being challenged every weekend, and Alexander Rossi brought that more than once this year with multiple victories en route to a runner-up in the series standings. He had a mathematical chance to beat Dixon today, but his all-out driving style caused him to bite off more than he could chew. Contact with his teammate Marco Andretti on the start of the event caused a flat tire, relegating him back deep in the field, down a lap at one time. He drove hard as he always does, though, charging back up to a seventh-place finish. Although it wasn’t the day he envisioned, he’ll be a champion in the years to come.
His other teammate, Ryan Hunter-Reay, showcased why he is a past series title holder with a dominating flawless performance en route to the victory as he wasn’t passed for the lead at any time during the event, but only through pit stops. The overall year may not have been what he wanted with bad luck plaguing many other promising runs that cost him valuable points, but he showcased why you can’t count the American out yet.
Shout-out to Patricio O’Ward. He goes from winning the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Championship last weekend, to testing an IndyCar for the first time on Thursday, qualifying fifth, and placing ninth in Sunday’s race with Harding Racing. His audition certainly showcased the ability he has behind the wheel that allowed him to ascend up the Mazda Road to Indy ladder smoothly. NBC Sports stated there should be news coming out of Harding about their 2019 plans very shortly, and hopefully it includes the young Mexican as he’s earned it.
Lastly, you could tell it was the last race of the season as the drivers in the back half were all over each other for positions, even going off in the dirt on a couple occasions. It’s that time of year where you want to have the best presentation for a chance at securing a ride for 2019, but something also has to give.
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