Scott Dixon added a fifth Astor Cup IndyCar championship trophy officially Tuesday night. Photo: IndyCar

IndyCar officially brings 2018 season to a close with awards ‘Victory Lap’

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INDIANAPOLIS — Even though the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season ended Sept. 16 at Sonoma Raceway, the season wasn’t officially over until the handing out of the hardware during Tuesday night’s Victory Lap awards celebration.

2018 Series champ Scott Dixon was feted and applauded for becoming only the second driver in Indy car history to earn five career championships — and the first to do so in 51 years since the legendary A.J. Foyt won his fifth title (Foyt would go on to win two more championships before retiring).

The evening, held at Indy’s trendy Union50 restaurant and attended by about 200, included a number of IndyCar drivers such as Sonoma winner Ryan Hunter-Reay. Numerous recipients and awards presenters publicly wished injured driver Robert Wickens a speedy recovery from the horrific crash he was involved in at Pocono Raceway on August 19.

Wickens appeared to the audience in a pre-taped video presentation, congratulating Dixon and hoping to return to compete in the series soon.

The evening also essentially marked the unofficial end of Verizon as the series’ entitlement sponsor, a role it had held for the last five seasons. Verizon is discontinuing its role as entitlement sponsor at year’s end, but will remain in the sport as sponsor for Will Power’s No. 12 Team Penske car in 2019.

Several award winners publicly thanked Verizon for its support and help in growing the sport over the last five seasons.

While most of the award winners had been previously announced over the last few weeks, Tuesday was an opportunity to get every award winner under one roof to receive their trophies and the like.

Here’s the full list of award recipients:

Verizon P1 Championship Award: Josef Newgarden, Team Penske

3rd Place Championship Driver: Will Power, Team Penske

2nd Place Championship Driver: Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport

Verizon IndyCar Series Champion: Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing

Sunoco Rookie of the Year: Robert Wickens, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Manufacturer Championship Award: Honda (accepted by Art St. Cyr, President, Honda Performance Development), the first time Honda has won the award since returning the series in 2012

Verizon IndyCar Series Championship Owner: Chip Ganassi, Chip Ganassi Racing

Championship Chief Mechanic/Team Manager Award: Blair Julian, Mike Hull, Scott Harner and Barry Wanser, Chip Ganassi Racing

Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing

Indy Family Foundation Award: Racing for Cancer

Penske Racing Shocks Award: Chip Ganassi Racing and Scott Dixon

Firestone Drive to the Finish Award: Alexander Rossi, who completed all but two laps in the entire 2018 race season

TAG Heuer “Don’t Crack Under Pressure Award: Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

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Dakar Stage 8 Highlights: Ricky Brabec blows engine, retires

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The motorcycle class of the Dakar Rally has been a seesaw affair through seven stages, but Ricky Brabec seemed poised to win the class for the USA. Until he blew an engine in Stage 8 that is – and gave up a more-than seven second lead. He was the second rider to retire after starting the stage as the leader. Joan Barreda retired in Stage 3.

Brabec was looking to become the first American rider to win in 27 years, but his fate was eerily similar to last year. Three days from the end of the stage, he retired about 50 kilometers into the stage, which is precisely when and where he retired in 2018.

With Brabec’s trouble, Toby Price leapfrogged from third to second in class despite riding with a metal pin in his wrist. In the world’s most grueling endurance event, it has never been more obvious that it isn’t over till it’s over.

Meanwhile, Nasser Al-Attiyah continues to run a consistent rally. With a 46 minute advantage over Nani Roma and Sebastien Loeb, all he needs to do is stay error free for the final two stages to win his third Dakar.

Here are some of the other highlights:

In the cars class, Sebastien Loeb scored his fifth stage win of the Rally by seven minutes over Nasser Al-Attiyah, but problems in Stage 3 have kept him from being competitive for the overall lead. … Jakub Przygonski earned his third podium of the Rally. All of these have been third-place finishes.

Class Leaders: Al-Attiyah holds an advantage of 46:29 over Roma and 46:45 over Loeb.

In motorcycles, Ricky Brabec’s blown engine opened up the class once more. … Matthias Walkner narrowly edged Pablo Quintanilla by 45 seconds. … But it was Toby Price’s third-place finish that helped elevate him to the class lead. … Sam Sunderland was supposed to blaze the path for the riders, but a malfunctioning navigation system kept him from rolling off first. Blazing the trail is a disadvantage and officials adjudged him to have tampered with his system to avoid that fate. Sunderland was penalized an hour to finish 35th on the stage. He dropped to ninth in class.

Class Leaders: Price inherited the lead over Quintanilla by 1:03 and 6:35 over Walkner

In side by sides, Francisco Lopez Contardo scored the victory over Cristian Baumgart by 4:47. … Gerard Farres Guell rounded out the top three.

Class Leaders: Contardo holds an advantage 0f 54:10 over Rodrigo Piazolli and one hour, 08:09 over Guell

In quads, there was no surprise in Nicolas Cavigliasso winning his seventh stage of the season. … He padded his overall advantage over Gustavo Gallego by more than nine minutes. … Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli finished third.

Class Leaders: Cavigliasso holds and advantage of one hour, 24:52 over Ferioli and one hour, 44:04 over Gallego

In trucks, Dmitry Sotnikov won the stage to take over the class lead. He beat Ton Van Genugten by 22:01. … Siarhei Viazovich rounded out the top three. … Eduard Nikolaev lost the class lead by finishing eighth – nearly one hour behind Sotnikov.

Class Leaders: Sotnikov holds an advantage of 26:49 over and one hour, 7:43 over Gerard de Rooy

Stage Wins

Motorcycles
Sam Sunderland [2] (Stage 5 and 7), Matthias Walkner [2] (Stage 2 and 8), Joan Barreda [1] (Stage 1), Xavier de Soultrait [1] (Stage 3), Ricky Brabec [1] (Stage 4) and Pablo Quintanilla [1] (Stage 6)

Quads
Nicolas Cavigliasso [7] (Stage 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8) and Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli [1] (Stage 3)

Cars
Sebastien Loeb [4] (Stage 2, 5, 6 and 8), Nasser Al-Attiyah [2] (Stage 1 and 4) and Stephane Peterhansel [2] (Stage 3 and 7)

Side-by-sides
Francisco Lopez Contardo [4] (Stage 2, 6, 7 and 8), Reinaldo Varela [1] (Stage 1), Gerard Farres Guell [1] (Stage 3), Sergei Kariakin [1] (Stage 4) and Rodrigo Piazzoli [1] (Stage 5)

Trucks
Eduard Nikolaev [3] (Stage 1, 2 and 5), Andrey Karginov [2] (Stage 3 and 4), Dmitry Sotnikov [2] (Stage 6 and 8) and Gerard de Rooy [1] (Stage 7)

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