Archive for September 2, 2015

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi, and the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team are the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Champions - Image by Chris Jones

Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi, and the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team are the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Champions – Image by Chris Jones

SAN FRANCISCO (Aug. 31, 2015) – Less than 24 hours after claiming the fourth Verizon IndyCar Series championship of his career, Scott Dixon was officially minted as the 2015 series champion.

Dixon, who won the 2015 crown with a come-from-behind win at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 30, was honored along with other drivers, teams and manufacturers during the Verizon IndyCar Series Championship Celebration at the Nob Hill Masonic Center in downtown San Francisco.

Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, presented Dixon and team owner Chip Ganassi with a $1 million championship bonus check and replicas of the Astor Challenge Cup, the Verizon IndyCar Series’ championship trophy.

“I’m fortunate to drive in INDYCAR and with this team for 14 years,” Dixon said. “With the depth of the competition, winning a championship in INDYCAR is challenging and gratifying. It’s all the small pieces that you have to get out of the car, and this year especially with the introduction of the aero kits. As a team, I think we really do a good job. I couldn’t be prouder of the whole team’s efforts.”

In addition to the championship bonus, Dixon accepted the Jostens Champions Award, a ring valued at $10,000. He also won the Sunoco Diamond Performance Award and its $75,000 prize for winning the most races.

Blair Julian, chief mechanic for Dixon’s No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, accepted the Verizon IndyCar Series Chief Mechanic of the Year Award. Scott Harner and Barry Wanser accepted the Team Manager of the Year Award.

Gabby Chaves of Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian accepted the $50,000 Verizon IndyCar Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, Graham Rahal claimed the $25,000 TAG Heuer “Don’t Crack Under Pressure Award” for advancing the most cumulative places during the season. Will Power won the Verizon P1 Award for scoring the most points among pole winners, Ryan Hunter-Reay claimed the “Drive to the Finish” Award and the late Justin Wilson was voted favorite driver by Verizon IndyCar Series fans.

Jim Campbell, Chevrolet’s vice president of performance vehicles and motorsports, accepted the manufacturer’s award on behalf of Chevrolet Racing.

Juan Pablo Montoya of Team Penske was honored as the second-place finisher in the championship while his teammate Power was honored for finishing third.

Verizon IndyCar Series Award Winners:

Championship Driver (Astor Challenge Cup): Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
Jostens Championship Driver Award (ring): Dixon
Championship Team (Astor Challenge Cup): Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
Championship Team Sponsor: Target
Championship Team Manager: Scott Harner and Barry Wanser, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
Chief Mechanic of the Year Award: Blair Julian, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams
Sunoco Diamond Performance Award ($75,000): Dixon
Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award ($50,000): Gabby Chaves, BHA with Curb-Agajanian
TAG HeuerDont Crack Under PressureAward ($25,000): Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
Drive to the FinishAward: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport
Verizon P1 Award: Will Power, Team Penske
Second Place Championship Driver: Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske
Second Place Championship Team: Team Penske
Third Place Championship Driver: Power
Third Place Championship Team: Team Penske
Manufacturers Championship: Chevrolet
Dan & Susie WheldonMake a DifferenceAward ($1K charitable donation): Denise Titus, IndyCar Medical
Verizon IndyCar Series Fan Favorite Driver: Justin Wilson, Andretti Autosport

Scott Dixon and his wife, Emma, with the Astor Cup as the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship -- Image by Chris Owens for Indy Car

Scott Dixon and his wife, Emma, with the Astor Cup as the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship — Image by Chris Owens for Indy Car

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Sonoma, California (August 30, 2015) – Scott Dixon’s dramatic victory in today’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma earned the Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver his fourth career Verizon IndyCar Series championship on a tiebreaker over Juan Pablo Montoya.

Dixon, 35, delivered the 100th Indy car victory for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and the team’s 11th championship. He joins A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais and Dario Franchitti as drivers with at least four championships. It was Dixon’s 38th Indy car win, which is one behind Al Unser for fourth all time.

Montoya, who finished sixth in the race, and Dixon tied with 556 points.

Dixon, who started ninth in the 85-lap race on the 2.385-mile, 12-turn Sonoma Raceway road course, won the tiebreaker because he had more wins during the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season. The victory today was his third (Long Beach, Texas and Sonoma) of the 16-race season. Montoya earned a total of two victories (St. Petersburg and the Indianapolis 500) in the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet.

Montoya, who stood atop the standings since winning the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., entered the double-points Sonoma race with a 34-point cushion on second-place Graham Rahal and 47-point lead on Dixon.

Montoya won the 1999 Indy car title on a tiebreaker over Franchitti. The 2006 Verizon IndyCar Series championship also was decided on a tiebreaker, with Sam Hornish Jr. prevailing over Dan Wheldon.

Scott Dixon“There was still a chance and that’s what I was hoping for,” Dixon said. “I don’t know what to say. This season we had some big races, and this was the biggest. We were such a longshot. I knew the car was strong, but you never know until the last lap. That’s what it came down to. You hope for it. We had to do our best job and that’s what we did today and, luckily enough, it worked out. Obviously we won it on a countback (tiebreaker). It was tied for points and to get it, obviously, winning three races, you know. I can’t thank Chevy enough. I can’t thank Target. Huge weekend here in Sonoma for all the Target guests, 400-500 people. It’s a partnership. My teammates were phenomenal. They helped all year and we won this together. There is no one person that achieved this on their own and I just thank everybody so much.”

Team Owner Chip Ganassi stated: “Scott (Dixon) is obviously, I think, he’s arguably the driver of our generation — the Indy car driver of our generation, for sure. I think his stats speak for themselves. His numbers against the other all-time winners and what have you, he’s up on the list there. There’s not anybody I’d rather have driving our cars, I can tell you. I mean, he’s just a quality driver, but a quality person, a father, a husband, just the kind of guy you want in your organization. It’s that simple. All around, on the track, off the track, he’s the complete package.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2012 series champion, finished 6.1115 seconds behind Dixon. Hunter-Reay, driving the No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda, won twice and had two other top 10s in the final four races.

Two other Chip Ganassi Racing Teams entries – Charlie Kimball (third) and Tony Kanaan (fourth) – finished in the top five and the fourth Ganassi car, driven by Sebastian Saavedra, led 12 laps early and finished 13th.

“My teammates were phenomenal. They helped all year and we won this together,” Dixon said. “There is no one person that achieved this on their own and I just thank everybody so much.”

Dixon’s season started with 15th- and 11th-place finishes before he won at Long Beach in mid-April. He closed with seven top-10 finishes in the final eight races of the season.

Power, the 2014 series champion who had won three of the past five races at Sonoma Raceway and reset his year-old track record in earning the Verizon P1 Award for the pole Aug. 29, led 26 laps and finished seventh. He wound up third in the standings (63 points behind Dixon). Rahal finished a career-best fourth in the championship (-66 points) and Helio Castroneves was fifth.

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