Ryan Hunter-Reay led more laps in the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale than he did during the entire 2018 season to drive directly to victory lane in the series’ final visit to Sonoma Raceway for the foreseeable future.
- Results: 2018 INDYCAR Grand Prix of Sonoma
Placed fifth in the points standings, Hunter-Reay was the first driver out of championship contention entering the Sonoma finale. Regardless, the American earned the maximum amount of points possible by leading the most laps and reaching the checkered flag first.
While Hunter-Reay took home 104 points, Scott Dixon collected 80 for finishing 2.7573 seconds behind in second — enough to finalize his fifth championship.
Hunter-Reay’s dominant victory in Northern California marks his second of 2018 following his standout performance at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park in June.
Starting up front proved to be key as Hunter-Reay was joined in leading laps by seventh-place starter Will Power and Josef Newgarden who took the green flag from third. Power sped to the final step of the podium while his Team Penske teammate Newgarden came home eighth.
Simon Pagenaud, Marco Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais and Alexander Rossi filled the positions between them while Patricio O’Ward, making his IndyCar debut, joined Ed Jones in rounding out the top 10.
The 85-lap race’s lone full-course caution period fell at an opportune time for Rossi who clipped his teammate Andretti entering Turn 1 as the race began and sustained serious damage. After falling to last from sixth on Lap 1, Rossi reached fifth before falling to seventh in the closing laps.
Tony Kanaan’s 300th consecutive Indy car start led to a 12th-place while the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing duo of Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal both had their days end early with engine trouble.
While three drivers exchanged the lead five times, the finale race included 188 passes, 148 of which were for position.
The IndyCar field will resurface in Florida following a five-month break to open its 2019 season on the streets of St. Petersburg.