The Championship at Sonoma

Alas, it is the end of the IndyCar season. As us fans, drivers and race brace ourselves for the next few months without Indy, let’s at least celebrate this past weekend. Because …

… Simon Pagenaud won the Championship!!!!

Many of us: 1) knew this would be the outcome and 2) were particularly stoked for the outcome. And the Frenchman certainly earned it this season.

After Pagenaud had taken the pole on Saturday, he won Sonoma Sunday. And it was a special win, not only for Pagenaud and his first championship, but for Team Penske, as it was Penske’s 50th Anniversary this year.

Honestly a great way to end the season for Penske and Pagenaud.

For the race, Graham Rahal brought it together for second, and Juan Pablo Montoya made for a third place finish–a nice sight to see on the podium again.

Other surprises:

Rookie of the Year and Indy 500 winner Alex Rossi keeping fourth held tightly until he ran out of gas on the last lap and Ryan Hunter-Reay passed him. Still, although Rossi’s been doing okay on most circuits, it was nice to see him hold a consistent top-5 place through to the end.

Marco Andretti was fighting hard today. He managed a top-10 finish (second for the season). He’s been fighting a rough season against what appears to be himself and the car. After a season of tough breaks, it seems he had a little fight in him and his car was cooperating with him. He finished 7th, and he damn well deserved it.

As for what to expect going into next season, not much light has been spread on where drivers will be next season, and I’m sure that information will come to light now that the hustle and bustle of testing and races has come to a break.

Some things to look forward to next year:
1) Seeing where Josef Newgarden ends up team-wise and what he brings to the table. Despite his injury earlier in the season, he’s brought some impressive game to these races and has come close to having quite a few wins or podium finishes. There’s not much separating him from achieving the same results next year.

2) Alexander Rossi. Crowned Rookie of the Year and the Indy 500 winner, although he didn’t have any other podium finish this season, he’s done well for having his first year on the Indy circuits. Although there is potential he could return to a seat at Formula 1, it looks promising that if there is a seat for him at Indy, he will stay. He’s worth keeping an eye on, no matter what series he stays with. Honestly, we all hope it’s Indy.

3) Marco Andretti–another driver with a somewhat uncertain future. As mentioned earlier, he’s had a rough season. There’s been rumors of his moving over to Herta, which might give him the nice change of scenery and help he needs to get back to the confident driver we all know, love and admire.

4) Mikhail Aleshin has been thwarted a few times of a great finish. I wasn’t familiar with him until getting closer to Indy this year, but I’m sure impressed. Although this year didn’t exactly see many wins, he was so close, it’ll be exciting to see what he brings next year.

5) Conor Daly. And don’t laugh at this one. The poor guy has suffered what appears to be the worst book of the Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events series and just continues to lose a car or have something “funny” happen where he has to retire early from a race. It’s unfortunate, because the guy has talent, and definitely proved that with his second place finish at the first race in Detroit. Hopefully next year proves to be a better year.

As for the rest of the guys–well, we all know what most of them are capable of. What we should really start worrying about is when Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves might retire (hopefully not anytime soon).

 

 

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