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article imageINDYCAR: Dixon wrenches title from Montoya's grasp

By John Duarte     Aug 31, 2015 in Sports
Sonoma - Three-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon is now a four-time IndyCar champion after a brilliant win on Sunday at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, in California.
It couldn't have been any closer. Dixon captured the title in dramatic fashion — by winning the final race of the Verizon IndyCar Series season. Dixon came to California sitting in third place in the drivers standings, 47 points behind leader Juan Pablo Montoya. But with double points up for grabs at the season finale, Dixon knew he had a chance.
“We were such a long shot,” said Dixon. “There was still a chance, and that's what we were hoping for.”
Team owner Chip Ganassi said they had gone over all the scenarios, but winning the championship was going to be a major challenge.
“We knew we had a car to be at the front, but you know you need a lot of other things to happen,” Ganassi said. “They all seemed to happen. I'm shocked.”
No one was more shocked than Montoya, who had led the drivers standings all season. But it wasn't to be on this day for Montoya. On a restart on Lap 39, Montoya made contact with teammate [url=http://Power bio t=_blank]Will Power, Both cars needed to pit for repairs and Montoya exited pit lane well back in the field. An obviously distraught Montoya didn't even want to talk about the incident after the race.
“It doesn't matter what happened,” he said. “We had a few ways to win the championship and we just threw it away.”
Montoya seemed most upset that the championship was wrenched from his grasp due to IndyCar officials awarding double the normal race points at two races this season, one being the season finale at Sonoma Raceway.
“When you do this and you put double points on the last race, it doesn't matter what you've done all year,” said Montoya.
The other race with double points up for grabs in 2015 was the Indianapolis 500, which was won by Montoya.
The Verizon IndyCar Series title was the fourth for Dixon and the second in three years. While mathematically still in the hunt, Dixon knew that the task ahead of him was huge, despite there being double the normal race points available. The win at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma put Dixon into a tie with Montoya at the top of the standings with 556 points. The win on Sunday also gave Dixon the first tiebreaker. Dixon won three times — at Long Beach in April, in Texas in June and at Somona on Sunday — while Montoya won twice — the season opener in Florida in March and the Indy 500 in May.
Oddly enough, Montoya has only one IndyCar title to his credit. He won his championship in 1999 on a tiebreaker over Dario Franchitti.
As for the race, Dixon said he knew he had a strong car from the start. He said “we could roll the car through the corners” and he was getting good fuel mileage. The secret to the race was managing it all to maximize the finish.
“You never know until the last lap. You hope for it,” said Dixon. “We had to do our best job and that's what we did today and luckily it all worked out.”
Ryan Hunter-Reay finished second at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and Charlie Kimball was third. Montoya pushed hard during the final lap, but could not overtake Ryan Briscoe and would up sixth.
“We came from behind and did our best,” Montoya said. “Just wasn't enough.”
Organizers held a special tribute to Justin Wilson, who died on Aug. 24 from injuries suffered the previous day at Pocono Raceway. Oriol Servia raced in Wilson's car at the request of the Wilson family.
The 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series will open with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, in Florida, on March 13. To date, 10 races have been confirmed. The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 will be held on May 29. Other events are scheduled for Long Beach (California), Indianapolis (on a road course), Detroit (Michigan), Elkhart Lake (Wisconsin), Toronto (Ontario) and on the streets of Boston (Massachusetts). The Detroit and Toronto events will be doubleheaders, with back-to-back races held during the weekend. IndyCar officials have stated they are in discussions with several locations and more races may be added to the schedule.
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