Simon Pagenaud Wins IndyCar Championship

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Team Penske driver and Indycar championship leader Simon Pagenaud of France celebrates after qualifying in Pole position for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at the Sonoma raceway in northern California on September 17, 2016. / AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

With his fifth win of the season, Simon Pagenaud is the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series Champion. The French driver edged out his Team Penske teammate Will Power to claim the series title. Team Penske takes the top three places in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship. With his first victory in Sonoma, Simon Pagenaud wins IndyCar Championship

Simon Pagenaud Wins IndyCar Championship

The Champion

The 32-year old Simon Pagenaud claimed his first IndyCar Series title in 2016. Pagenaud began his IndyCar career in 2011, after a successful career in the now-defunct ChampCar World Series. Pagenaud made his first charge for the IndyCar Series championship in 2013, placing third with Schmidt Peterson Hamilton HP Motorsports. In 2015, Pagenaud made his move to IndyCar Series powerhouse Team Penske. Penske had just come off of a championship winning 2014 campaign with Australian Will Power.

Will Power finished the GoPro Grand Prix in 20th with mechanical issues. Despite the disappointment of being unable to battle for his second title, Power tipped his hat to his teammate Pagenaud. Power told NBCSN “He’s a very deserving champion”. The 2016 champion Simon Pagenaud was simultaneously emotional and calm in victory lane post-race. The French champion told NBCSN “My whole career has been about this. About today, and getting to this point, getting to this level… For an athlete, when you can perform at a 100% level like this, it’s amazing”.

The End of an Era

The end of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season does not only mark the crowning of a new champion. With a new face in the history of IndyCar, another is lost. The GoPro Grand Prix marks the last race in which Target is featured as a primary sponsor. The team has been a longtime partner of Chip Ganassi Racing and driver Scott Dixon. As an iconic sponsor bids farewell to IndyCar, we celebrate the sport’s new future and the success of the 32-year old Pagenaud in a motorsport landscape that increasingly favours youth.

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