Josef Newgarden clinched his maiden Verizon IndyCar Series championship with a run to second place in Sunday's GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.

In a rather straightforward affair to round out the season, Newgarden did not let the pressure get to him in qualifying, taking pole position to extend his points lead over Scott Dixon with an additional bonus score.

Newgarden led the opening stint from Penske teammates and title rivals Will Power, Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud, with the latter rising into the lead in the closing stages thanks to an aggressive four-stop strategy.

While Pagenaud was able to claim his second win of the season, it was not enough to take back-to-back titles as Newgarden crossed the line second, becoming the first American to win the drivers' title since Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2012 with a 13-point buffer.

Power finished third for Penske ahead of Dixon and Castroneves, while Graham Rahal ended up sixth for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing.

Marco Andretti ended the season on a high by finishing seventh ahead of teammate Hunter-Reay, while Sebastien Bourdais scored his best result since his comeback from injury in ninth. Conor Daly rounded out the points for AJ Foyt Enterprises.


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