No. 915
September 20, 2017

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The Line


SEPTEMBER 20, 2017

(Photo by Shawn Gritzmacher/INDYCAR)
It was a banner day for Team Penske at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. Simon Pagenaud won the final race of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season, and teammate Josef Newgarden finished second to capture his first IndyCar championship. Pagenaud (
No. 1 Team Penske DXC Technology Chevrolet), the 2016 champion, beat Newgarden (No. 2 Team Penske hum by Verizon Chevrolet) to the finish line by 1.0986 seconds to win the 85-lap race at Sonoma Raceway. It was the Frenchman's 11th career victory and second straight on the 2.385-mile, 12-turn permanent road course. Newgarden, the 26-year-old Tennessean, clinched his first title and the $1 million champion's prize by finishing second in the race, becoming the first American driver to win the championship since Ryan Hunter-Reay did it five years ago. Pagenaud finished second by 13 points in the final standings. "I don't even know what to say," said Newgarden, who made his 100th career start st Sonoma. "It was all year and it took a lot to make it happen. Thank you to my teammates. They were giving me a lot of help to make sure we got this done. It's a huge team effort at Team Penske. To finally get it done is a dream come true." Watch an IndyCar video from Sonoma here.
(Photo by Joe Skibinski/INDYCAR)
The championship is the 15th for Team Penske, the most successful team in Indy car history. Newgarden joins the likes of Tom Sneva, Rick Mears, Al Unser, Danny Sullivan, Al Unser Jr., Gil de Ferran, Sam Hornish Jr., Will Power and Pagenaud as Team Penske drivers to win an Indy car title. "I've had so many great drivers, and as I said, I don't have a favorite," team owner Roger Penske said. "I can't compare (Newgarden) to anyone exactly. He's an American, which is special in this sport because many of the other drivers have come from overseas and different parts of the world. To see Josef kind of take this route and be at the top right now is pretty exciting."
(Photo by Shawn Gritzmacher/INDYCAR)
"We did what we had to do," Pagenaud said. "We tried. We won the race; it wasn't enough. It's a whole championship. You've got to be strong in every race and I guess Josef was a little stronger this year, so we'll come back. Thirteen points. Next year we'll come back and give him a hell of a competition again." The race ran caution-free for the first time in Sonoma Raceway history, which now spans 14 Indy car events. Newgarden and Pagenaud each led 41 laps. Pagenaud opted for a four-stop strategy to Newgarden's three pit stops, but the Frenchman made up the extra time in pit lane by turning faster laps on an open track. The decisive race moment came when Pagenaud made his final stop from the lead for fuel and tires on Lap 64. He returned to the track just ahead of the charging Newgarden and held on to first place as the teammates battled around the track. From there, Pagenaud kept Newgarden in his mirrors to the finish. Pagenaud completed all 2,331 laps this season, becoming just the second driver to finish every lap in a season. Tony Kanaan was the first, when he completed all 3,305 laps when he won the 2004 championship.
(Photo by Chris Owens/INDYCAR)
Will Power (No. 12 Team Penske Verizon Chevrolet), the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion, gave Roger Penske a race podium sweep by finishing third. Scott Dixon (No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing
NTT Data Honda) finished fourth to clinch third in the IndyCar standings, 23 points behind Newgarden. It is the 11th time in his 17-year career that Dixon, a four-time champion, has finished in the top three in points.
(Photo by Richard Dowdy/INDYCAR)
Josef Newgarden sails through the Turn 9-9A Esses section during the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. Congratulations to Josef, Roger Penske, Tim Cindric and the entire Team Penske organization.
(Jeremy Lee/Reuters/The Guardian)
Lewis Hamilton had said he required “a miracle” to win in Singapore, and within seconds of the lights going out, he had it. In what may well be the defining moment of the F1 season, Hamilton
(No. 44 AMG Petronas F1 Team) took advantage of a major pile-up at the start of the Singapore Grand Prix and then drove brilliantly to win, solidifying his chances for a fourth World Championship. In a wet race start for the first time under the lights of the Marina Bay street circuit,  Kimi Raikkonen (No. 7 Scuderia Ferrari) had a rocket start from fourth. As Kimi came up the inside, and with Sebastian Vettel (No. 5 Scuderia Ferrari) blatantly moving over to the left to go defensive into turn one, the two Ferraris sandwiched Max Verstappen (No. 33 Red Bull Racing). Raikkonen hit the Dutch driver, who had nowhere to go, and the Finn was slammed into his teammate (below). Both Verstappen and Raikkonen were eliminated on the spot and Vettel, who suffered damage to his left sidepod, subsequently spun heading to turn three and lost his front wing when hitting the wall, ending his race. Hamilton, who is now squarely in the driving seat for the title, acknowledged his good fortune. Asked if it was an answer to a prayer, he said: “I think it definitely was.” Hamilton was also absolutely aware of how important a result it had been. “I came here with the idea of damage limitation,” he added. “Thinking I would come out again behind in the championship. Now I am much further ahead, so I count my blessings.” With six races remain in the 2017 Formula One season, Hamilton extended his lead over Vettel to 28 points. 
(Lars Baron/Getty Images/The Guardian)
(Getty Images/NASCAR)
Martin Truex Jr. (No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota) won Sunday's Tales of the Turtles 400, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway in dominant fashion, finishing 7.179 seconds ahead of runner-up Chase Elliott (No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports NAPA Chevrolet). Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Jimmy John's Ford) finished third. “Every time you go to Victory Lane, it’s special," Truex said. "There’s just so many people to thank. I’m kind of speechless, but (team owner) Barney (Visser), and everyone at TRD (Toyota Racing Development) in Costa Mesa building great engines and TRD Salisbury – (sponsors) Bass Pro, Tracker Boats – just everyone, thank you so much. It’s a dream come true, and we’re having the time of our lives.”
(Pirelli World Challenge)
Michael Cooper (
No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R) of Syosset, N.Y., completed an impressive sweep of the GT Sprint 50-minute races at Sonoma Raceway last weekend with another wire-to-wire victory Sunday in the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Sonoma. In addition, Patrick Long (No. 58 Wright Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R) of Manhattan Beach, Calif., the newly-crowned GT Overall champion, clinched the GT Sprint point title with a second-place finish. Pierre Kaffer (No. 4 Magnus Racing Audi RS8 LMS) recorded his best GT finish of the year in finishing third. Cooper, 28, led every lap of Saturday’s 30-lap GT feature and Sunday’s 29-lap GT main event in his No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R for a dominating performance that vaulted the young racer into second in the GT Overall point standings behind Long. Cooper, the GT SprintX champion with Jordan Taylor this year, fought off challenges from Patrick and Germany’s Pierre Kaffer to take the checkered flag by 0.882 seconds. Sunday’s win was Cooper’s third GT triumph this year. “In Pirelli World Challenge, these 50-minute sprint races are always just qualifying pace all the way through and that's exactly how today's race was,” said Cooper “You put your head down, try not to look behind you too much and just go for it. I was able to come away with the sweep for the weekend, I'm very proud to give these guys something to celebrate tonight in addition to the SprintX championship.” 
(Pirelli World Challenge)
Patrick Long, a four-time race winner, concluded a sensational GT season in the No. 58 Wright Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R with a double championship campaign – GT Overall and GT Sprint  and pressured Cooper throughout the 50-minute race Sunday. Long won the 2011 PWC GT title and the GT Overall and GT Sprint crowns in 2017. “Michael (Cooper) had a great start and made me work for it to keep up with him," Long said. "We worked hard on the car last night and were able to make a lot of improvements. It's very difficult to run behind a car in dirty air. He was definitely running strong in a lot of places and in a few places, with our car being a little bit lighter and a shorter wheelbase, we were able to make up some of that ground. Pierre (Kaffer) ran really hard at the end. Hopefully it was as gripping and exciting a race to watch, a different type of race to watch. I'm very proud to close out the Sprint Championship and the team championship today.”
Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley (No. 2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid) won the World Endurance Championship 6 Hour race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, over the weekend.
The No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE driven by James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi takes the checkered flag - and the GTE Pro class win - at the WEC 6 Hour race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. 
(McLaren Automotive images)
The McLaren Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo was designed in response to a call from game creator, Kazunori Yamauchi, for vehicle manufacturers to design "visionary GT cars" to compete in Gran Turismo Sport. Though not a prototype for any future McLaren model, "the Ultimate Vision Gran Turismo showcases the kind of car that McLaren could produce beyond 2030," according to the manufacturer. Players will be able to choose from three liveries: Performance, Ulterior and Noir (above).