Dixon needed to finish only fifth in the race in order to fend off the advances of his nearest rival, Helio Castroneves, who has won the Indy 500 three times but has yet to take the series title. French driver and former ALMS champion Simon Pagenaud finished third in the standings, followed by race winner Will Power, Marco Andretti, Justin Wilson, Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe (who switches to Andretti Autosport next season), Charlie Kimball and Dario Franchitti, who had to sit out the final race following his crash in Houston. Alex Tagiliani took his place but finished only 14th in this final race of the season.
The title is Scott Dixon's third in the IndyCar Series, joining his solitary Indy 500 win in 2008. Dixon drives for Chip Ganassi Racing, which counts this as its fifth IndyCar championship, racked up over the course of just six years and interrupted only by Andretti driver Ryan Hunter-Reay's title last year. The team has also won top honors in Champ Cars and Grand-Am as well. Ganassi switches to Chevy power next season after years with Honda.
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (Oct. 19, 2013) – A crazy IZOD IndyCar Series season ended with an even crazier finish as Scott Dixon captured the third series championship of his career.
Dixon needed to finish fifth or better to win the championship and that's exactly what he did in the MAVTV 500 on Saturday night at Auto Club Speedway, ultimately holding off Team Penske's Helio Castroneves by 27 points. Castroneves trailed by 25 points entering the race in a bid for his first season championship, but he fell off the pace near the end of the race and ended with a broken front wing and finished a lap down and in sixth place.
Will Power led the 500-mile race for 103 laps and captured the victory, surviving the 2-mile oval in a war of attrition as most of the field did not finish the race due to crashes or mechanical issues. Power finished the 2013 INDYCAR season on a high note, notching three victories in the final five races.
"It was a crazy day," said Dixon, who also added titles in 2003 and 2008 for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. "I still can't believe that we've actually won the championship."
The race featured 28 lead changes and 11 different leaders.
"This is the most satisfying win I've ever had in my career," said Power, who won three races in 2013 and now has a total of 20 for his career. "I'm so stoked and so excited about the win."
Said Castroneves: "What can you do? We did a helluva job tonight. Usually the end of races are calm. There was nothing calm about tonight."
Dixon wanted to be sure to thank teammate and 2005 ACS winner Dario Franchitti, who missed the race as he is recovering from an Oct. 6 crash in Houston in which he broke his back, right ankle and suffered a concussion.
"I owe a lot of this to you, Dario," Dixon said. "It's been a crazy year and I'm just hoping you get well soon."
Sage Karam captured the Firestone Indy Lights Series Championship, and Carlos Munoz repeated his Fontana race win in the Lefty's Kids Club 100. Karam's title is Sam Schmidt's fourth consecutive and seventh overall in Indy Lights.