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IndyCar at Sonoma: Results, notes, videos from season finale

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SONOMA, Calif. – Ordinarily we would put the usual good, bad, notable and quotable elements of a Verizon IndyCar Series race into the main report.

However with today’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma being the season finale, we figured it would be a bit easier to do this separately beyond the norm, with Josef Newgarden’s championship post, Simon Pagenaud’s race win post, the other title contenders post and a wrap up of videos post all separately.

Without further adieu, here’s notes on the rest of the day:

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Pagenaud’s win ensured he’s won two or more races in four of the last five seasons. The only exception was 2015, his first year at Team Penske. … The Penske and Ganassi teams locked out the top-five positions. … Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti led the rest of the runners in sixth and seventh, Andretti having an all-around solid weekend. … Both Sebastien Bourdais and Conor Daly ended the year with solid top-10s, Daly’s another impressive run and he led three laps for his and A.J. Foyt Enterprises’ first laps led this year. … Debutante Zachary Claman DeMelo kept it clean and quick to end 17th on debut, ahead of fellow Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires veterans Jack Harvey and Ed Jones.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Jones’ tough late season run of results continued in 19th with a DNF, ahead of Takuma Sato, Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe, who all had issues.

NOTABLE: From INDYCAR: This is Simon Pagenaud’s second win of 2017 and the 11th win of his Indy car career. … This is the 197th Indy car victory for cars owned by Roger Penske. … Josef Newgarden finished second and won his first Verizon IndyCar Series title over Simon Pagenaud 642 to 629. … Today’s championship is 15th Indy car championship for Team Penske and the third in the last four seasons. Will Power won the 2014 championship and Simon Pagenaud won the 2016 championship. … Will Power finished third. It is his seventh podium finish of the season.

QUOTABLE: Newgarden, on the title: “I’m so proud of these guys. I don’t even know what to say. It was all year and it took a lot to make it happen. Thank you to my teammates. They were giving me a lot of help to make sure we got this done. It’s huge team effort at Team Penske.”

VIDEOS

Klay Thompson gives command to start engines

Conor Daly catches air when battling JR Hildebrand and Charlie Kimball

Simon Pagenaud holds off Josef Newgarden’s advances following final pit stops

Pagenaud brings home the win while Newgarden brings home the championship

RESULTS

Click HERE to view and download the official box score from the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.

SONOMA, California – Results Sunday of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.385-mile Sonoma Raceway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, aero kit-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (3) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 85, Running
2. (1) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 85, Running
3. (2) Will Power, Chevrolet, 85, Running
4. (6) Scott Dixon, Honda, 85, Running
5. (4) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 85, Running
6. (9) Graham Rahal, Honda, 85, Running
7. (11) Marco Andretti, Honda, 85, Running
8. (7) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 85, Running
9. (10) Sebastien Bourdais, Honda, 85, Running
10. (13) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 85, Running
11. (15) Charlie Kimball, Honda, 85, Running
12. (14) Max Chilton, Honda, 85, Running
13. (17) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 84, Running
14. (20) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 84, Running
15. (22) Carlos Munoz, Chevrolet, 84, Running
16. (12) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 84, Running
17. (21) Zachary Claman DeMelo, Honda, 84, Running
18. (19) Jack Harvey, Honda, 84, Running
19. (18) Ed Jones, Honda, 69, Off Course
20. (5) Takuma Sato, Honda, 62, Off Course
21. (8) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 60, Running
22. (16) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 52, Electrical

Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 104.968 mph
Time of Race: 1:55:52.6840
Margin of victory: 1.0986 seconds
Cautions: 0
Lead changes: 6 among 3 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Newgarden 1-17
Daly 18-20
Pagenaud 21-29
Newgarden 30-39
Pagenaud 40-47
Newgarden 48-61
Pagenaud 62-85

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings:
 Newgarden 642, Pagenaud 629, Dixon 621, Castroneves 598, Power 562, Rahal 522, Rossi 494, Sato 441, Hunter-Reay 421, Kanaan 403.

Mario Andretti says Colton Herta could be next American star in F1

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Mario Andretti’s last Formula One victory is also the last by an American driver in more than 42 years on the international open-wheel road racing series.

If you had told Andretti that while he was celebrating on the Grand Prix of the Netherlands podium on Aug. 27, 1978 at the Vandzoort circuit, he wouldn’t have believed it.

“Absolutely not,” Andretti told Kyle Petty during the most recent “Coffee With Kyle” episode (video above). “It’s a shame. Somehow we have so much talent here, and either there’s no invitation or something there. But I think it’s time to give some of this young talent that, in my opinion, is absolutely capable.”

The Dutch GP was the last of Andretti’s 12 victories in F1 and came during his championship season. No one since has come close to matching his success in F1.

Mario Andretti drives his Lotus-Ford to victory in the 1978 Grand Prix of the Netherlands (Bernard Cahier/Getty Images).

Andretti’s son, Michael, took a full-time ride with McLaren in 1993 but left with three races remaining in a season marred by crashes and mechanical problems.

Scott Speed was the last American to run a full F1 season in 2006, and Alexander Rossi made the most recent F1 start by a U.S. driver in 2015. Rossi has said he has no desire to return to racing in Europe after winning the 2016 Indianapolis 500 and becoming an IndyCar championship contender.

But Mario Andretti believes Andretti Autosport has another rising star with F1-caliber ability.

“Colton Herta is one that comes to mind,” Mario Andretti said. “As a young lad, his dad sent him to Europe, he was doing Formula 3, and he knows most of the circuits there. He’s trained. He’s showed in his rookie season and won some premium races at COTA (and Laguna Seca), beat two of the very best Indy has to offer (in) Will Power and Scott Dixon.

“This is one kid I’d love to see him get a break over there to fly the U.S. colors again.”

Herta, 20, seems interested in exploring an F1 leap over the next few years. After winning Sept. 13 at Mid-Ohio from the pole position (his third career victory in the NTT IndyCar Series), the No. 88 Dallara-Honda driver is ranked fourth in the standings in his sophomore year and regarded as one of the series’ top prospects.

Herta recently told RACER.com “I’d love to give Formula 1 a crack” but said he also would be happy driving in IndyCar and IMSA.

A naturalized U.S. citizen who told Petty about spending several years with his family in an Italian refugee camp before coming to America, Mario Andretti said F1 brought an enormous sense of patriotic pride.

“Formula One is like the Olympics in a sense,” he said. “You’re in a different country, a different continent. When you earn that highest step of the podium, they play your national anthem. That’s when you take nothing for granted. You feel like I’m representing my country, and the proudest moments are those.

“I’d just like to see some other American drivers experience that. It’s time.”

Mario Andretti with four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton before the Nov. 22, 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).

During the “Coffee With Kyle” conversation, Andretti also discussed:

–His versatility as a winner in IndyCar, sports cars, NASCAR and Formula One;

–His 1967 Daytona 500 victory and how he enjoyed racing with crew chief Jake Elder at the famed Holman-Moody team;

Mario Andretti Colton Herta
Mario Andretti and Kyle Petty saluted “The King” by wearing their Richard Petty-style hats during the latest “Coffee With Kyle” (NBCSN).

–Why he delayed his entry to F1 for a few years because of his earnings power in IndyCar. “I always say I’d race for free, but at the same time, you’re thinking of family and the future,” he said. “It was in the back of your mind that you can’t give up the earning power of IndyCar. That kept me from going full time in Formula One, but I always said that sometime in my career, I’d have to devote a period to Formula One.”

–On what it was like racing in an era when driver deaths were more prevalent. “If you’re going to do this, you’re not going to dwell on those negatives,” Andretti said. “There’s no way. You knew it was present. Especially in the ‘60s at the beginning of the season at the drivers meetings, you couldn’t help but look around and say, ‘I wonder who is not going to be here at the end of the season.’ We’d lose four to five guys. In ’64, we lost six guys.

“It’s something if you dwell on that, you’re going to take on a different profession. It’s a desire and love to want to drive that overcame all that and then the confidence it’s not going to happen to me. And then you pray.”

Watch the full “Coffee With Kyle” episode in the video above or by clicking here.

Mario Andretti looks on before the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2019 (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).