Scott Dixon and the Target Chip Ganassi Team took a chaotic win at Sonoma to give them a slight morale boost going into the Verizon IndyCar Series finale at Fontana next weekend.
As with many IndyCar races this season, Dixon only took the lead with three laps to go after a number of leaders took turns on the merry go round that is the front of the pack.
The biggest leader of laps at the California road course was Mike Conway, the Ed Carpenter Racing driver was making his last appearance of the season but won’t enjoy how it ended as he ran out of fuel coming out the last corner and saw a potentially podium place trickle away to 14th place and a grinding halt just after the finish line.
His bad luck meant that Ryan Hunter-Reay and Simon Pagenaud could claim the remaining podium places and give the latter an outside chance of winning the championship with 100 points available at Fontana with the Frenchman only 81 points behind leader Will Power.
Speaking of the Team Penske driver, he extended his points lead to 51 points after recovering from the back of the field to tenth place by the end of the race.
Dixon said: “It was tough. There were so many strategies going on and they were just slightly off so I didn’t know who could make it, who couldn’t. Conway, I think, pushed hard to start with but then, obviously, at the end it looked like he needed to save some fuel.
“This is big for our team. We’ve had a pretty rats year so far but strategy was perfect. It was a little mixed up, but so happy. We have a huge amount of Target people here this weekend. About 400-500 people. Big shout out to them.”
For the second place man in the championship, Helio Castroneves, he will be hoping he never sees a race like this again. The race day started with being evacuated from the team hotel after an earthquake struck the area and then the race didn’t go much better.
On lap one he was involved in a multi car pile up that saw him fall right down the order and could only recover to 18th with all to play for going into the last race on Sunday.
One man though who had a very good rave was Takuma Sato. The A.J Foyt driver has not had the best of seasons so to finish fourth will have buoyed his confidence for a better 2015.
As mentioned, the last race of the season is the final part of the triple crown at Auto Speedway with only three drivers in contention for the title – Power, Pagenaud and Castroneves so expect those three to be fighting hammer and tongs on the oval.