For the eighth consecutive year, the IZOD IndyCar Series champion was determined in the final race — 500 high-speed, high-drama miles played out over 3 hours under the lights at Auto Club Speedway.
Scott Dixon, who entered the 19th race of the season with a 25-point advantage over title rival Helio Castroneves, secured his third series championship in the past decade in his 220th Indy car start. Dixon finished fifth in the MAVTV 500, while Castroneves placed sixth in the high attrition race. The final margin was 27 points.
“It was a crazy day,” said Dixon, who posted his field-high 10th top five of the season. “Just huge credit to Team Target. They played everything straight tonight. We had to work on a bit of strategy, we had to work on the car a lot, and then we had an issue with some overheating problems toward the end.
“I still can’t believe we’ve won the championship. So many people to thank and it’s just unbelievable.”
It is the 10th Indy car championship for Target Chip Ganassi Racing and the ninth with Honda (Dixon won in ’03 with Toyota).
Will Power, who lost the championship on this racetrack last year, won his third race of the season by 1.4883 seconds over 2012 race winner Ed Carpenter, who earned his first podium finish of the season.
“That is the most satisfying win of my life,” said Power, who had been the series championship runner-up in 2010, 2011 and 2012. “I wanted to do it so badly all year. I knew in the early ovals, I just was kind of conservative because I just wanted to finish every lap. And this time I’m going for it.”
Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan finished third and James Hinchcliffe, who earlier in the day announced his re-signing with Andretti Autosport for 2014, finished fourth.
Chevrolet earned its second consecutive manufacturer title.