IndyCar officially brings 2018 season to a close with awards ‘Victory Lap’
INDIANAPOLIS -- Even though the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season ended Sept. 16 at Sonoma Raceway, the season wasn’t officially over until the handing out of the hardware during Tuesday night’s Victory Lap awards celebration.
2018 Series champ Scott Dixon was feted and applauded for becoming only the second driver in Indy car history to earn five career championships -- and the first to do so in 51 years since the legendary A.J. Foyt won his fifth title (Foyt would go on to win two more championships before retiring).
The evening, held at Indy’s trendy Union50 restaurant and attended by about 200, included a number of IndyCar drivers such as Sonoma winner Ryan Hunter-Reay. Numerous recipients and awards presenters publicly wished injured driver Robert Wickens a speedy recovery from the horrific crash he was involved in at Pocono Raceway on August 19.
Wickens appeared to the audience in a pre-taped video presentation, congratulating Dixon and hoping to return to compete in the series soon.
The evening also essentially marked the unofficial end of Verizon as the series’ entitlement sponsor, a role it had held for the last five seasons. Verizon is discontinuing its role as entitlement sponsor at year’s end, but will remain in the sport as sponsor for Will Power’s No. 12 Team Penske car in 2019.
Several award winners publicly thanked Verizon for its support and help in growing the sport over the last five seasons.
While most of the award winners had been previously announced over the last few weeks, Tuesday was an opportunity to get every award winner under one roof to receive their trophies and the like.
Here’s the full list of award recipients:
Verizon P1 Championship Award: Josef Newgarden, Team Penske
3rd Place Championship Driver: Will Power, Team Penske
2nd Place Championship Driver: Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport
Verizon IndyCar Series Champion: Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing
Sunoco Rookie of the Year: Robert Wickens, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Manufacturer Championship Award: Honda (accepted by Art St. Cyr, President, Honda Performance Development), the first time Honda has won the award since returning the series in 2012
Verizon IndyCar Series Championship Owner: Chip Ganassi, Chip Ganassi Racing
Championship Chief Mechanic/Team Manager Award: Blair Julian, Mike Hull, Scott Harner and Barry Wanser, Chip Ganassi Racing
Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing
Indy Family Foundation Award: Racing for Cancer
Penske Racing Shocks Award: Chip Ganassi Racing and Scott Dixon
Firestone Drive to the Finish Award: Alexander Rossi, who completed all but two laps in the entire 2018 race season
TAG Heuer “Don’t Crack Under Pressure Award: Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing