Team Penske’s Verizon IndyCar Series championship leader Josef Newgarden heads into the 2017 season finale GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma with a three point lead in the championship over Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon.
The Tennessee native has won four races this season and Penske had a productive test in Sonoma last week which Newgarden hopes will help the team bring home another championship.
Speaking ahead of the season finale, Newgarden who will drive the No.2 Hum by Verizon Chevrolet commented by saying:
The whole hum by Verizon Chevrolet team is looking forward to Sonoma with the championship on the line. The Watkins Glen weekend wasn’t the best, but we’ve quickly moved on from that. A great thing for us was to get back on the track last week for a Sonoma test. Our session was great. We were able to gain some information and start to formulate our plan of attack. We have another (series open) test day later this week which will help us as well. Overall, we’ve been good on the road courses. I really like the Sonoma course and the No. 2 team is definitely capable. The points are tight. It’s going to be a fun weekend with all of the scenarios that are out there. We have a championship-caliber team, and we’re going to do everything we can to bring another title to Team Penske.
Helio Castroneves in the No.3 Hitachi Chevrolet is aiming to win his first series championship and has had a great 2017 season having taken a great victory in Iowa earlier this season.
The Brazilian has three Verizon P1 Awards this season and has been extremely consistent this season.
Spider-Man has three podium finishes this season and speaking ahead of the race this weekend he commented by saying:
“It all comes down to this. We had a strong car at Watkins Glen and were able to run toward the front of the pack. We’re ready to take what we learned at that race and all season to apply to the No. 3 Hitachi Chevrolet. I want a championship so bad and all of my guys definitely want one, too. We’ve worked hard to have strong finishes this season and know if we have a great race and win, we just might win the championship, which is really exciting. Sonoma is always a great race, and it will definitely be a challenge with (Scott) Dixon and my Team Penske teammates also battling for the title. We got some track time last week with a test day and some more this week. Every team’s goal at the beginning of the season is a championship and we’re in a position to realize ours.”
Reigning series champion Simon Pagenaud in the No.1 DXC Technology Chevrolet heads into the title decider in fourth place in the championship on 526 points and speaking ahead of the race the Frenchman commented by saying:
Sonoma is a beautiful place and the track is one of the best on the circuit. It’s also where I won the race last year and won my first championship, so it’s definitely a place that means a lot to me. We’ve worked hard this season in the No. 1 DXC Technology Chevy and have some things we’re excited to try at Sonoma. We have a great shot at the title, and we’re ready to challenge Scott Dixon and my Team Penske teammates for it. My team has worked hard to get to this championship fight, and they put together a strong car for Sonoma. I feel great about our chances. We’re ready to get on track and put everything we can into the race.”
Will Power in the No.12 Verizon Chevrolet has an outside chance of winning the championship and has had a great 2017 season having taken three wins.
Speaking ahead of the race this weekend he commented by saying:
Watkins Glen was a tough race but we came out with a strong finish. Now we’re heading to Sonoma. We’re a little further back in points, but if things go our way, the No. 12 Verizon Chevy team could win another championship, which has definitely been a goal of ours. Since the last race, my crew has worked on the car and is trying some new things that should really pay off in the end. We’ll be battling other strong teams including (Scott) Dixon and my Team Penske teammates, so it won’t be easy. We’ve worked hard all season long, and although we’ve had some bad luck, we’re ready to put that all behind us and give this race everything we have.”