The day started off rather rough for most of the IndyCar community, being woken early in the morning by the 6.0 earthquake that struck the California area on Sunday. For The Iceman though, the day ended much better than it began. Dixon won the Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sunday, his second with of the season. With his 35th career win today, he has now tied Bobby Unser for fifth place on the all-time wins list. Championship contenders Ryan Hunter-Reay and Simon Pagenaud joined Dixon on the podium, after having tough weekends. Takuma Sato and Juan Montoya rounded out the top five on Sunday.
Will Power had dominated the first half of the race, but once he got back in traffic after a pit stop, he found himself in trouble. Coming around the hairpin turn, Power went to the gas too early, and sent himself into a spin. Though he didn’t suffer any damage, he and his car simply weren’t the same after that. He managed to finish the race in 10th position. Before his spin, Power had an 85-point lead in the championship. After today’s race, he now heads to the final race in Fontana with a 51 point lead over his Penske teammate. Pagenaud is in third, 81 points behind Power.
Starting the race in sixth position, Helio Castroneves had his eye on closing the gap in pursuit of his first series title. Unfortunately for him, things went south very quickly. Castroneves was caught up in a first-lap accident, where he suffered significant front end damage, that required multiple pit stops early on in the race. It was a disastrous day for him, as he finished in 18th position. Thanks to Power’s trouble, the Brazilian still has a small chance at the championship.
Graham Rahal had a great day, and was leading the race late, but had to come in to pit with just three laps remaining. He finished in 20th after his pit stop, and pit road speeding penalty. Mike Conway made an incredible move on a restart to take the lead on lap 40. Conway timed the move perfectly, passing Tony Kanaan right at the start-finish line, then taking the spot on the outside of the turn. He checked out on the field, but was too close on fuel at the end, running out just before the finish line. His season is now finished, as Ed Carpenter will pilot the car on Saturday.
Once again, the championship will come down to the final race of the season. The season-finale at Fontana on Saturday night will mark the end of a spectacular season, and a long break until the start of the next one. The MAVTV 500 begins at 9 PM ET on NBC Sports Network. The 500-mile race will reward double-points. Power is the defending race winner.