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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]
Bryan Herta Autosport 2015 Indy 500 entry sponsored by Green1. (Picture Credit: Bryan Herta Autosport)
Will Power celebrates with his team after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his team owner Roger Penske after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates with his wife Liz after winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series championship (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Team Chevy sweeps the podium as Tony Kanaan (center), driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates his victory Saturday, August 30, 2014, during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Teammate Scott Dixon (left), driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes second, and Ed Carpenter, driver of the #20 Fuzzy`s Ultra Premium Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet V6, finishes third. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Gregg EllmanLAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, takes the chequered flag while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet IndyCar V6, makes a quick pit stop while racing to victory Saturday, August 30, 2014 during the last Verizon IndyCar Series race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This is the third consecutive win for Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway. Chevrolet wins the Manufacturer`s Championship for the third straight season. (Photo by Brian Cleary/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by posing with the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by hoisting the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship by kissing the Astor Challenge Cup Saturday, August 30, 2014 after the last race of the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Chevrolet clinches its third straight Manufacturer`s Championship. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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