Scott Dixon awarded $1 million for fourth championship at IndyCar banquet

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IndyCar’s season ending banquet was held in San Francisco on Monday night at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, where champion Scott Dixon was awarded a $1 million bonus and the late Justin Wilson received the award for fan favorite driver.

Below is IndyCar’s press release on the event.

SAN FRANCISCO (Aug. 31, 2015) – Less than 24 hours after claiming the fourth Verizon IndyCar Series championship of his career, Scott Dixon was officially minted as the 2015 series champion.

Dixon, who won the 2015 crown with a come-from-behind win at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 30, was honored along with other drivers, teams and manufacturers during the Verizon IndyCar Series Championship Celebration at the Nob Hill Masonic Center in downtown San Francisco.

Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, presented Dixon and team owner Chip Ganassi with a $1 million championship bonus check and replicas of the Astor Challenge Cup, the Verizon IndyCar Series’ championship trophy.

“I’m fortunate to drive in INDYCAR and with this team for 14 years,” Dixon said. “With the depth of the competition, winning a championship in INDYCAR is challenging and gratifying. It’s all the small pieces that you have to get out of the car, and this year especially with the introduction of the aero kits. As a team, I think we really do a good job. I couldn’t be prouder of the whole team’s efforts.”

In addition to the championship bonus, Dixon accepted the Jostens Champions Award, a ring valued at $10,000. He also won the Sunoco Diamond Performance Award and its $75,000 prize for winning the most races.

Blair Julian, chief mechanic for Dixon’s No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, accepted the Verizon IndyCar Series Chief Mechanic of the Year Award. Scott Harner and Barry Wanser accepted the Team Manager of the Year Award.

Gabby Chaves of BHA with Curb-Agajanian accepted the $50,000 Verizon IndyCar Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, Graham Rahal claimed the $25,000 TAG Heuer “Don’t Crack Under Pressure Award” for advancing the most cumulative places during the season. Will Power won the Verizon P1 Award for scoring the most points among pole winners, Ryan Hunter-Reay claimed the “Drive to the Finish” Award and the late Justin Wilson was voted favorite driver by Verizon IndyCar Series fans.

Jim Campbell, Chevrolet’s vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports, accepted the manufacturer’s award on behalf of Chevrolet.

Juan Pablo Montoya of Team Penske was honored as the second-place finisher in the championship while his teammate Power was honored for finishing third.

Verizon IndyCar Series award winners:

Championship driver (Astor Challenge Cup): Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
Jostens Championship Driver Award (ring): Dixon
Championship team (Astor Challenge Cup): Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
Championship team sponsor: Target
Championship team manager: Scott Harner and Barry Wanser, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
Chief Mechanic of the Year Award: Blair Julian, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
Sunoco Diamond Performance Award ($75,000): Dixon
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award ($50,000): Gabby Chaves, BHA with Curb-Agajanian
TAG Heuer “Don’t Crack Under Pressure” Award ($25,000): Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
“Drive to the Finish” Award: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport
Verizon P1 Award: Will Power, Team Penske
Second place championship driver: Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske
Second place championship team: Team Penske
Third place championship driver: Power
Third place championship team: Team Penske
Manufacturers Championship: Chevrolet
Dan and Susie Wheldon “Make a Difference” Award ($1,000 charitable donation): Denise Titus, IindyCar Medical
Verizon IndyCar Series Fan Favorite Driver: Justin Wilson, Andretti Autosport

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”