The 2017 IndyCar Season has been absolutely crazy and every race has offered a new twist to the championship.
Finally, it has all come down to this; a five-way battle for the Astor Cup at the beautiful Sonoma Raceway in western California.
This season saw 10 different drivers go to ‘Victory Lane’ and five of them are competing for the championship on Sunday.
With double points on offer, anyone between Josef Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Will Power can leave California as the Indycar champion. Let’s have a brief look at the season of three drivers best suited to win the championship.
Josef Newgarden – Team Penske
(1st – 560 Points)
Newgarden started the year with an 8th place finish at St. Petersberg and after a strong 3rd place finish at Long Beach, Newgarden triumphed at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama to give Chevrolet and Team Penske their first win of the new season. A string of poor results followed, with Newgarden not finishing in the Top 10 in August, the month of the Indycar GP and the Indy 500.
The next four races resulted in two podium place finishes and after Iowa, Newgarden’s form peaked and the young American won at Toronto, Mid-Ohio and at Gateway to bring him back into the championship hunt. After a dramatic race at Watkins Glen two weeks ago in which Newgarden finished 18th, the driver of the #2 Penske Chevrolet heads to Sonoma with a 3-point lead over Indycar legend, Scott Dixon.
The pressure is high on the young American who is fighting to win his first world championship.
Scott Dixon – Chip Ganassi Racing
(2nd – 557 Points)
Although the four-time Indycar champion won only one race in the entire season, Scott Dixon’s consistency has led to him being a major contender in the championship race. Dixon scored six podiums throughout the season and won in style at Road America.
Impressively, the New Zealander finished in the Top 10 in every race of the season apart from the Indianapolis 500, where he retired as a result of a huge airborne accident. Throughout the season, Dixon has done what he does best, being constant, and a great result in Sonoma may just gift the 2008 Indy 500 winner another Astor Trophy to add to his collection of four.
Helio Castroneves – Team Penske
(3rd – 538 Points)
Fan favourite Helio Castroneves has had a fine season with a few moments of greatness. The three-time Indy 500 winner was very strong in the first half of the season, finishing in the Top 10 in all of the first five races of the season.
The Indy specialist enjoyed a fantastic Indianapolis 500, finishing a close second to Takuma Sato. His fantastic form ended in Texas where he finished 20th due to an accident. Castroneves won at Iowa, breaking a three year-long slump and the Dancing With The Stars winner has finished in the Top 10 in every race since then to keep his championship charge alive.
The race at Sonoma is bound to be a classic and from the looks of it, this one will be etched into the long history of Indycar. In my opinion, Scott Dixon will leave Sonoma as the 2017 Indycar Champion as he is a very consistent driver who delivers under pressure and also, his experience can play a pivotal role in the outcome of the race.