The day that Verizon IndyCar Series teams, drivers and fans have waited almost all year for is finally at hand today.
When the season-ending and championship-winning Grand Prix of Sonoma finally comes to an end after 85 laps and roughly two hours of time, one driver is going to be declared the 2018 season champion.
Scott Dixon is going for his fifth career IndyCar crown, his first since winning in 2015 in one of the biggest upsets in series history, rallying from nearly 50 points back to win the race, overtake points leader Juan Pablo Montoya and capture the championship by a slim margin.
But Dixon has three other main contenders — and 21 non-contenders — to worry about today.
There’s Alexander Rossi, the surprise 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner who has really had a breakout season and has become a true American champion-in-waiting.
And while they’re both a distant 87 points behind Dixon, this year’s Indy 500 winner, Will Power, and defending IndyCar series champ Josef Newgarden, are still mathematically in the championship race until they’re eliminated — or pull one of the greatest upsets ever seen in IndyCar history.
But enough about what’s on the table. Let’s give you fans the main course. Who are YOU picking to win this year’s IndyCar championship?
Have at it:
Ryan Norman returns to Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport in 2019
Ryan Norman will return to Andretti Autosport for their third season together in 2019 after scoring his first win and first pole with that organization in 2018.
“I’m really excited to finally make it official that I’ll be returning to Andretti Autosport for my third season competing in Indy Lights,” said Norman in a press release. “We’ve built a solid foundation over the past two years and I’m ready to fight for wins, podiums and ultimately the championship, with such a great group of people who have become like a family to me.”
Norman finished 2018 fourth in the championship, earning his first career win in race 15 of the 17-race schedule at Gateway Motorsports Park in August.
Norman’s first pole came in the finale at Portland International Raceway in September, but he crashed on the first lap and finished last (8th).
“We’re very happy that Ryan is rejoining us for his third season of Indy Lights,” said Andretti Autosport President, JF Thormann. “We were pleased with his performance this past season, and his potential as a driver began to really shine after his win at Gateway. He’s right on track with his progression plan put together by his engineering team, and we feel strongly that he has what it takes to be a contender for the 2019 championship.”
Norman will essentially replace teammates Patricio O’Ward and Colton Herta, who will race for Rookie of the Year honors in IndyCar next season. O’Ward finished first in the Indy Lights standings last year; Herta finished second.
Norman’s 2019 campaign will begin on the streets of St. Petersburgh, Florida March 9, 2019. That will be the first of a double-header with Race 2 running the following day.