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Series champion will finally get a trophy

Ahead of this weekend's IZOD IndyCar World Championship finale at Las Vegas, the series has finally unveiled a fitting trophy for whoever emerges from the weekend with the 2011 title.
It's an often-overlooked "secret" of IndyCar that the winner of the IZOD IndyCar Series has never walked away from the season with a trophy bearing his name on it.

There's been the formidable Borg-Warner Trophy for the winner of the Indianapolis 500, of course - admittedly not something that any driver could 'walk away with' unless equipped with a convenient fork lift truck - but the eventual series winner has had no traditional silverware to claim for his year's endeavours, just the title, a place in the record books, and a cheque.

The oversight was made even more stark last year with the introduction of the Mario Andretti Trophy and this year with the AJ Foyt Trophy, awarded to the driver who comes out top on the road course and oval races respectively (won this year by Will Power and Scott Dixon.)

But this year, IndyCar have finally remedied the situation by announcing that the winner of the championship after Vegas - wither Will Power or Dario Franchitti - will receive IZOD IndyCar Series World Championship Trophy, also known as the Astor Challenge Cup.

It's a trophy with a history that goes back almost as far as the Indy 500 itself, originally having been commissioned by industrialist John Jacob Astor's son Vincent to be presented to the winner of the Astor Challenge in 1915, which was originally a 350-mile endurance race on a 2-mile track in New York state. The prize money even matched that of the Indy 500 in the day ($50,000).

The second and final winner of the Astor Challenge Cup in 1916 was Johnny Aitken, who fittingly hailed from Indianapolis and who led the first lap in the first-ever Indy 500 in 1911. Aitken has to this day the distinction of starting and winning the most races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (41 and 15 respectively). In the number of starts, AJ Foyt is second with 36.

The Astor Challenge Cup wasn't held again after 1916 because of the US entering the First World War and was not revived after hostilities ended, making it a prestigious but sadly neglected piece of silverware until IndyCar's decision to adopt it and revive it as a symbol of the history of North American open-wheel motor racing.

In reviving the Astor Challenge Cup for modern-day IndyCar champions, series chief executive Randy Bernard said: "We sought to blend heritage and tradition with our future.

"It was very important for us to find a trophy that was a piece of art that drivers would truly be honoured to win," he continued. "It is a trophy that not only reminds us of our past but links our future."

To that end, the trophy will have the names of all IndyCar champions since 1909 (when it was created as the American Automobile Association championship) inscribed upon it as well as that of the 2011 winner - comprising every every sanctioning body that has governed IndyCar racing over the decades.

The IZOD IndyCar Series World Championship Trophy will be kept at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, while the champion and his team owner both receive a replica at the IndyCar Championship Celebration to be held on October 17 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.



Related Pictures

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The IZOD IndyCar Series World Championship Trophy, formerly known as the Astor Challenge Cup. [Picture Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Either Dario Franchitti or Will Power will win the IZOD IndyCar Series World Championship Trophy (formerly known as the Astor Challenge Cup) in 2011. [Picture Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media]
Mike Conway and Team Owner Ed Carpenter celebrate victory in Race 2 of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Chevrolet sweeps the podium with winner Mike Conway (center), driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka / Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrating his victory Sunday, July 20, 2014 during the second of two IndyCar Series races through the streets of Exhibition Place, in Toronto, Canada. Tony Kanaan (left), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet celebrates his second-place finish. Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet celebrates his third-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power celebrate on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway receives the winner`s trophy after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Mike Conway, Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan and Will Power pose for a selfie on the podium after the second round of the Honda Indy Toronto doubleheader on Sunday July 20 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a fourteenth-place finish Saturday, July 13, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Power lost the championship points lead to teammate Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who finished eighth. (Photo by Dan Streck/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Hunter-Reay with the winner`s trophy (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay waits on pitlane prior to practice at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson and Charlie Kimball go side-by-side for the start of the Pocono INDYCAR 500 (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Ryan Hunter-Reay with an early pit stop during the Pocono INDYCAR 500 (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson exits Turn 2 during practice for the Pocono INDYCAR 500 at Pocono Raceway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Justin Wilson waits on pit lane prior to qualifications for the Pocono INDYCAR 500 (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves celebrates second place (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves on pit road (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves leads Ryan Briscoe (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)

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