Breaking down the recent IndyCar finales

first_imgUSP INDYCAR: GOPRO GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA S CAR USA CAScott Dixon and team owner Chip Ganassi celebrate the 2015 IndyCar championship. (Kelley L Cox, USA TODAY Sports)SONOMA, Calif. — Scott Dixon’s fourth championship tied him for second all-time in open-wheel history with Mario Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais and Dario Franchitti. The foursome trails all-time leader A.J. Foyt, who had seven championships between 1960 and 1979.This one, however, ended in a tie that was broken by the number of wins during the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series. Since Dixon won tHree races — Long Beach, Texas and Sonoma — and Montoya won two — St. Petersburg and Indianapolis.It was the first time a tiebreaker was used since 2006, when Sam Hornish Jr. and Dan Wheldon tied in the finale at Chicagoland Speedway, but Hornish won the championship based on having more race wins during the season.It also was the second time Montoya was involved in a championship that ended in a deadlock that had to be settled by a tiebreaker. In 1999, Montoya and Dario Franchitti tied for the CART FedEX Championship Series, but Montoya was awarded the title based on His seven victories compared with Franchitti’s three.MORE: Dixon burnishes his legacy with fourth IndyCar championshipDixon scored 103 points with Sunday’s victory and three bonus points, letting him make up a 47-point deficit. Montoya, who came into the race with a 34-point lead over Graham Rahal and the 47-point lead over Dixon, scored 56 points.It was Chip Ganassi Racing’s 100th open-wheel victory in its 26th season. The team started competing in CART in 1990, won for the first time with Michael Andretti at Surfers Paradise, Australia, in 1994, won its 50th with Wheldon at the 2006 Chicagoland finale, and won its 75th with Dixon at Kansas Speedway in 2010.Ganassi also has won four Indianapolis 500, including its first in 2000 with Montoya.Here’s a closer look at the last 10 IndyCar season finales:2006: Sam Hornish Jr. and Dan Wheldon tied for the championship when Wheldon won the season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, but Hornish, who finished third in the race, won the title based on the tiebreaker of most race wins during the season.2007: Dario Franchitti claimed the championship at Chicagoland when Scott Dixon ran out of fuel while leading the race with less than one-third of a lap to go.MORE: Graham Rahal struggles at Sonoma2008: Helio Castroneves drove from 28th place to victory in the finale at Chicagoland — the farthest back a winner had come from in IndyCar history — but Dixon’s second-place finish was enough to win his second title by 17 points.2009: Franchitti trailed Dixon coming into the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, then clinched the championship by winning the race for his second title.2010: Franchitti won the championship for the third time in four seasons when he erased Will Power’s 12-point lead in the Homestead finale. Power hit the wall early in the race while Franchitti finished eighth to win the title by five points.2011: The death of 2005 champion and two-time Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon cut short the season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The final standings reverted to the previous race; Franchitti won the championship by 18 points over Power.2012: The finale moved to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., where Power led Ryan Hunter-Reay by 17 points coming into the race. However, Power crashed and Hunter-Reay finished fourth to win the title by three points.2013: Dixon came into the Fontana finale with a 25-point lead over Castroneves. Just nine drivers finished the race, and Dixon’s fifth-place finish was good for the third championship of his career as Castroneves finished sixth.2014: Power clinched the first championship for Team Penske since 2006 when he held off another Penske driver, Castroneves, for his first title.2015: Dixon chased down Juan Pablo Montoya by winning the season finale at Sonoma Raceway while Montoya finished sixth. That led to a tow in the points that was broken by the tiebreaker, number of victories during the season.last_img

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