IndyCar Series: Pagenaud wins both Sonoma finale and 2016 championship
Simon Pagenaud is the 2016 IndyCar Series champion! The driver of the Team Penske’s #22 Chevrolet dominantly wins the season’s finale at Sonoma Raceway to take his first IndyCar title. The Frenchman started from pole, led 76 of 85 laps and scored his fifth win of the season, which proves that he is really the best driver of the 2016 season. For Team Penske, this is 14th IndyCar championship in its 50th year of operation.
“It’s unbelievable. I think I will realize it more tomorrow. What a race! There is so much emotion right now, to be honest. I can’t find the words. My whole career has been about this, about today and getting to this point and to this level,” Pagenaud said.
He crossed the finish line 3.2523 seconds ahead of Graham Rahal in the #15 RLL Honda at 2.385-mile Californian road course. Juan Pablo Montoya (#2 Team Penske Chevrolet) completed the podium, ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay. Alexander Rossi becomes the Rookie of the Year by finishing fifth at Sonoma.
Pagenaud’s only title rival Will Power was forced to stop on Lap 36 because of clutch malfunction. He started from the fourth place on the grid and moved into second after the first round of pit stops. At the end of the race, he was classified 20th, to secure second place in the championship for the fourth time in his career, 127 points behind Pagenaud. Helio Castroneves, who finished the race in seventh place, is third in the championship points. It gave Team Penske its second 1-2-3 sweep in the standings, after also accomplishing that in 1994.