Sonoma Raceway in California’s wine country played host to the Verizon Indy Car series season finale over the weekend. The stars of Indy car gave the crowd plenty to cheer about on the 2.385-mile road course. With championships on the line between two racers and with the final event being a double points race, the stakes were high.
The two championship contenders were Simon Pagenaud, leading the points by 47 over teammate and 2014 Series Champion Will Power. Pagenaud would start the race from the pole in his Hewlett Packard Enterprise Penske Chevrolet, while Power and his Verizon Chevrolet started fourth. As the green flag dropped Pagenaud jumped out to an early lead. Power was slowly reeling him in until lap 38 when a gear box malfunction stalled his car coming around turn 7. Power desperately tried to clear the problem while coasting along but he could not get it to clear and watched his championship hopes glide away. Power’s crew was able to get the car fixed but he was now seven laps down. Pagenaud now knowing what happened to his teammate just focused on winning the race. He had a commanding lead for much of the afternoon but with five laps to go Graham Rahal and his Steak N Shake Honda racing team put together some strategic pit stops and good laps to put them within striking distance of Pagenaud. Rahal gave everything he had to catch Pagenaud coming within a bumpers reach of him but was unable to make the pass. Pagenaud captured the victory followed by Rahal, Juan Montoya, Ryan Hunter Reay, and rookie Alexander Rossi, who won the Indianapolis 500.
Pagenaud secured his first Indy Car series championship over his Penske teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves. This is Roger Penske’s 50th year as a team owner in Indy Car.
The race was also host for a few special guests as Ayesha Curry was the Grand Marshal for the event and her husband, two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors was also on hand to enjoy the race. Ayesha dropped the green flag to send the 22 drivers on their way. As part of Indy cars tradition, Ayesha and Steph got the fastest ride in Indy Car in the two seater with none other than the legend of open wheel racing himself, Mario Andretti, at the wheel.