2015 GO PRO SONOMA GRAND PRIX
This year’s Indy season proved to be one of the most competitive and also controversial season ever. Assembled together were some of the most talented drivers, along with some of the best engineers. The season being cut short by the cancellation of the Brasilia Indy 300.Added to the mix was the introduction of the Aero Kit. Somberness filled the air at the Sonoma Grand Prix due to the death of driver Justin Wilson the previous week. With Indy Cars finishing the series with a double-points race for the first time on a road course at Sonoma Raceway instead of a super speedway.
All these events set the stage for the final race at Sonoma Raceway, the host of the 11th annual Sonoma Grand Prix. The 2.4-mile road course had above-average temps on Saturday’s qualifying round. Sunday cooled down a bit, though, making for perfect race weather. On Saturday, Will Power took the pole position when Josef Newgarden missed winning it by a fraction of a second. Juan Pablo Montoya came into the race as the points leader. With the race being a double-points race, the series championship was up for grabs for six drivers. Power had won more times on this track than any other driver.
Graham Rahal was second in points, having had his best year ever, with wins in Fontana and Mid-Ohio.
So who was in the running for the season championship? There is last year’s defending series champion Will Power, series points leader Juan Pablo Montoya, Graham Rahal, Josef Newgarden and Helio Castroneves. It seemed like a lot of people forgot three-time series champion Scott Dixon, nicknamed the Ice Man. All the buzz during the week prior to this final race was on Rahal, Montoya. Not much was mentioned about Scott Dixon.
Dixon, so composed strolled to the Ganassi-owned No. 9 Target car as if he was headed out for a practice lap. Ganassi race strategist Mike Hull had told his pit crew, “Give me 18 seconds. That’s all I need. That’s three six-second pit stops. And we will get the job done.” When Power and Montoya collided in lap 39, it opened the door for Dixon. In the end the Ice Man crossed the finish line like he was on a smooth piece of ice to win the Sonoma Grand Prix and his fourth series championship. Power and Dixon are the only two drivers to have won at Sonoma more than once. Power won at Sonoma in 2010, 2011, and 2013. Dixon won at Sonoma in 2007, 2014, and 2015.
Ken Manfred CFRN Staff Writer