Three-time champion Scott Dixon has finished third in the 2014 IndyCar championship after taking second place in the final race today (Sunday).
The 34-year-old Aucklander – who won the 2003, 2008 and 2013 IndyCar titles – trailed race winner and Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Tony Kanaan by 3.6750 seconds after the 250-lap race at Fontana, California.
Kanaan, the 2004 title winner, was the 11th individual race winner in 2014.
But the title and the $US1 million ($NZ120 million) bonus, went to Australia’s Will Power, who finished ninth in the MAVTV 500 at Fontana, to tally 671 points.
He had a 51-point lead over Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves (Brazil) going into the 18th and final race of the season.
Castroneves finished second overall on 609 points with Dixon, who had won the previous race at Sonoma, third on 604, which earned him a $US90,000 ($NZ107,000) bonus.
”It’s 15 years of hard work. I was crying as I crossed the [finish] line,” Power, a 33-year-old Queenslander told the IndyCars website. ”It’s surreal. It’s just a fantastic way to finish the season. I can’t believe I’m the champion.”
Castroneves became the bridesmaid for the fourth time in his career. ”It’s another second, but well done to Will,” he said. ”It stings a little bit, but it motivates me to come back stronger next year and win a championship.”
The Brazilian had started in pole position and held the lead for 41 laps before a pit lane entry violation caused him to drop down the field to finish 14th in the race.
Power’s victory was Team Penske’s 13th IndyCar title and first since 2006.
Dixon knew before the Fontana flagfall that he could not get enough points to retain his Indycar title. But he expressed his pride after winning the Sonoma race to record his 35th career chequered flag.
”I’m not big on records, but I’m honored and humbled to own a share of fifth place on the win list with Bobby Unser,” Dixon wrote on his website. ”He is a class act and I’m very fortunate for others to have mentioned me in the same breath as Bobby.”