SONOMA, Calif. – Josef Newgarden is the newest member of the Verizon IndyCar Series’ champion’s club, following a controlled drive to second place in today’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma season finale to win the 2017 series title.
Newgarden entered the race weekend with a three-point lead over Scott Dixon, and built that to four points after winning a crucial pole position on Saturday.
Now, Newgarden supplants Dixon as the most recent IndyCar champion under age 30. He’s 26 years old and Dixon was 28 in 2008, when he won his second of four career titles.
The 85-lap race at the 2.385-mile Sonoma Raceway ran without a yellow flag and Newgarden, who started on pole in the No. 2 hum by Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, was the dominant driver for most of it.
However, while Newgarden led 41 laps, he was outdone in the race by teammate and 2016 IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud, who ran a four-stop strategy to perfection in his No. 1 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet to push harder throughout the race. The team ran three sets of Firestone red alternate tires.
Pagenaud made his final stop later in the race and then emerged ahead of Newgarden once he did. Newgarden attempted a pass at the Turn 7 hairpin, to the inside of the tight right-hander, but was not able to get past.
Pagenaud then had to encounter slower traffic in the final seven laps, which bunched the field up, and brought Newgarden within a few tenths of a second.
While the race was Pagenaud’s, his second of the year in the No. 1 car, he now loses his No. 1 banner on the car to Newgarden, who brought it home in second place.
Adam Cianciarulo (450) and Dylan Ferrandis (250) swept both motos of their divisions Saturday in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship event at Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, Minnesota, significantly impacting the points standings.
“Man, what a dream come true,” Cianciarulo said. “I really wanted to go 1-1 last round at RedBud and had that silly mistake. Today, we got the job done and made it happen. Two consecutive victories in the 450 Class just feels really good. I just want to keep the ball rolling.”
With three rounds remaining, Cianciarulo is ranked second in the standings at a 15-point deficit to Zach Osborne, who won three of the first five rounds.
In the 250 standings, Dylan Ferrandis jumped ahead of Jeremy Martin (who won three consecutive events earlier in the season) by three points (257-254).
Ferrandis beat third-ranked RJ Hampshire in the first moto and nipping Martin by 0.4 seconds in the second.
“That was a difficult race in the second moto and the pressure was on,” Ferrandis said. “It was really good for me to have that battle and come out on top in the second moto. The championship is really close and I think that we were able to put on a good show for everyone today. Jeremy [Martin] and I have a good relationship I think and we congratulated each other and talked about the battle after the race.”
NEXT: The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will hold its seventh round Sept. 26 with the Geico Motorcycle WW Ranch National at Jacksonville, Florida.
Thor Spring Creek National (Spring Creek MX Park, Millville, Minnesota)
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki (1-1)
Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM (2-2)
Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha (5-4)
Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (8-3)
Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (6-5)
Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (3-10)
Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda (7-6)
Joey Savatgy, , Suzuki (9-7)
Max Anstie, United Kingdom, Suzuki (10-8)
Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna (4-16)
450 Class Championship Standings
Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna – 235
Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 220
Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 215
Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 196
Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha – 194
Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM – 190
Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 173
Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Honda – 141
Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Yamaha – 134
Joey Savatgy, Tallahassee, Fla., Suzuki – 122
250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (1-1)
Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda (5-2)
Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Suzuki (4-4)
Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (3-6)
Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (9-3)