2017 marked the twenty-second season for the IndyCar championship.
Since March 2014, the telecommunications company, Verizon has been the primary sponsor.
Two of the biggest team announcements in the off season was that after 27-years Target would be discontinuing their sponsorship of Chip Ganassi Racing and that A.J. Foyt Enterprises would switch from Honda to Chevrolet power plants.
As for significant driver changes: Josef Newgarden joined Team Penske, Takuma Sato left A.J. Foyt Enterprises for Andretti Autosport and Dale Coyne Racing welcomed back Sebastien Bourdais. Also of note - Fernando Alonso would skip the Monaco Grand Prix to compete in the Indianapolis 500 with Andretti Autosport.
The series continued to use the fourth generation Dallara IR-12 which was introduced in 2012 to replace the Dallara IR5. 2017 is the last year for the Chevrolet and Honda aero kits which was introduced in 2015. A new spec aero kit will be adopted for 2018. Chevrolet (Chevy IndyCar V6) and Honda (Honda HI17R Indy-V6) were still providing 2.2-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engines for the series. These motors would rev to a maximum of 12,000 rpm producing 550-700-horspower depending on the amount of turbo boost. These manufacturers were also providing aero kits.
As in recent years, the season opened in March at Saint Petersburg and ended mid-September at Sonoma, California. There was a total sixteen race weekends and only one doubleheader event (Detroit). As usual, there was a mix of ovals, road courses and temporary street circuits. The only change to the schedule was the addition of Gateway Motorsports Park in August.
The final round of the Verizon IndyCar season took place at the 2.385-mile, twelve-turn Sonoma Raceway road course. The GoPro Grand Prix would be a battle for the championship among four drivers – Penske teammates – Simon Pagenaud, Josef Newgarden, Helio Castroneves and Ganassi racing’s, Scott Dixon. To add to the drama double points were being awarded.
|The pole-sitter and series point’s leader, Josef Newgarden heads the field of twenty-two starters through Sonoma Raceway’s corner two on the first lap. Behind Newgarden, is his Penske teammate and second fastest qualifier, Will Power. Slotting in behind Power are the other two Team Penske title contenders – Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud.|
|Reigning champion, Simon Pagenaud entered the final round at Sonoma Raceway fourth in the point’s standings and was one of four drivers with a shot at the title. Pagenaud made it to the Firestone Fast Six and qualified third. During the race, most teams chose a three-stop strategy but Pagenaud’s team decided to make four pit stops which allowed him to run a faster pace. He moved into the lead for the final time on lap-62.|
|In the on-track sessions leading up to the race, the point’s leader, Josef Newgarden gave notice that he would be the driver to beat. Newgarden topped the timesheets in two of the three practices and captured the pole position during the Firestone Fast Six. His team chose the more conservative three-stop strategy which may have cost Newgarden the race. He finished 1.0986-seconds behind the winner, Pagenaud but secured the title.|
|Another title contender was the four-time series champion, Scott Dixon. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver trailed the point’s leader, Josef Newgarden by just three markers. Unfortunately for Dixon, the Penske team had completed extensive testing at Sonoma before the finale and it was reflected in their qualifying results. He made it to the Firestone Fast Six but was the slowest driver and finished fourth.|
|Helio Castroneves entered the season finale third in the standings – twenty-two-markers behind the point’s leader, Josef Newgarden. At the end of qualifying, Castroneves was fourth quickest. In the race, he could not maintain the pace of the eventual winner, Simon Pagenaud and finished 22.5022-seconds behind the leader. With one win (Iowa) to his credit, Castroneves was fourth in the final standings.|
|Will Power was having a difficult season. Despite three wins (Indianapolis GP, Texas and Pocono) poor finishes at St. Petersburg, the Indy 500, Toronto and Gateway eliminated any chance of Power contending for the 2017 title. At Sonoma Raceway, he was the second-fastest qualifier. Power finished third in the race which contributed to a sweep of the podium for Team Penske.|
|Indy 500 winner and Andretti Autosport driver, Takuma Sato made it to the Firestone Fast Six where he was fifth quickest. This would be Sato’s last race with the Andretti team as in 2018 he would be moving back to Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – Sato drove for the team in 2012. Unfortunately for him, contact during the contest resulted in a flat right rear tire and took him out of contention – he was classified twentieth.|
|Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Graham Rahal would be gridded ninth for the start of the GoPro Grand Prix at Sonoma Raceway. Rahal’s best results of the season was a sweep of the Dual in Detroit where he captured a pair of victories. During the Sonoma event, he had a spirited battle with eleventh fastest qualifying, Marco Andretti. Rahal prevailed and was in sixth place at the checkered flag.|
|2016 Indy 500 winner, Alexander Rossi scored his first win of the season in the penultimate round at Watkins Glen. After qualifying, the Andretti Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian driver would be gridded eighth for the start of the race. During the contest, Rossi was forced to pit with a mechanical problem. He returned to the event, finishing twenty-five laps behind the winner, Simon Pagenaud in twenty-first place.|
|1||3||Simon Pagenaud||Dallara IR-12 / Chevrolet||Team Penske||85||-|
|2||1||Josef Newgarden||Dallara IR-12 / Chevrolet||Team Penske||85||-|
|3||2||Will Power||Dallara IR-12 / Chevrolet||Team Penske||85||-|
|4||6||Scott Dixon||Dallara IR-12 / Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing||85||-|
|5||4||Helio Castroneves||Dallara IR-12 / Chevrolet||Team Penske||85||-|
|6||9||Graham Rahal||Dallara IR-12 / Honda||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||85||-|
|7||11||Marco Andretti||Dallara IR-12 / Honda||Andretti Autosport||85||-|
|8||7||Ryan Hunter-Reay||Dallara IR-12 / Honda||Andretti Autosport||85||-|
|9||10||Sebastien Bourdais||Dallara IR-12 / Honda||Dale Coyne Racing||85||-|
|10||13||Conor Daly||Dallara IR-12 / Chevrolet||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||85||-|
|11||15||Charlie Kimball||Dallara IR-12 / Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing||85||-|
|12||14||Max Chilton||Dallara IR-12 / Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing||85||-|
|13||17||Spencer Pigot||Dallara IR-12 / Chevrolet||Ed Carpenter Racing||84||-|
|14||20||J.R. Hildebrand||Dallara IR-12 / Chevrolet||Ed Carpenter Racing||84||-|
|15||22||Carlos Munoz||Dallara IR-12 / Chevrolet||A.J. Foyt Enterprises||84||-|
|16||12||Tony Kanaan||Dallara IR-12 / Honda||Chip Ganassi Racing||84||-|
|17||21||Zachary Claman DeMelo||Dallara IR-12 / Honda||Rahal Letterman Lanigan||84||-|
|18||19||Mikhail Aleshin||Dallara IR-12 / Honda||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||84||-|
|19||18||Ed Jones||Dallara IR-12 / Honda||Dale Coyne Racing||69||Off Course|
|20||5||Takuma Sato||Dallara IR-12 / Honda||Andretti Autosport||62||Off Course|
|21||8||Alexander Rossi||Dallara IR-12 / Honda||Andretti/Curb Agajanian||60||Running|
|22||16||James Hinchcliffe||Dallara IR-12 / Honda||Schmidt Peterson Motorsports||52||Electrical|
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