FONTANA, Calif. — Scott Dixon won his third IndyCar season points title, finishing ahead of closest pursuer Helio Castroneves late Saturday night at the season-ending MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway.
Will Power won the race ahead of Ed Carpenter, and Dixon, who held a 25-point lead going into the night, finished fifth while Castroneves was sixth. Castroneves had to win or finish second and hope Dixon was worse than fifth.
The championship comes right on schedule for Dixon, who also won points titles in 2003 and 2008, five years apart.
Sauter avoids carnage to win trucks race
TALLADEGA, Ala. — Johnny Sauter earned his third NASCAR trucks victory this season, surviving a huge crash on the final turn at Talladega Superspeedway that took out Kyle Busch and everyone else racing at the front of the pack in Saturday's Fred's 250.
Three sets of trucks paired up in the closing laps — Sauter with series leader Matt Crafton, Busch with Dakoda Armstrong, and Ross Chastain with Parker Kligerman.
Sauter was the only one to be spared from a 12-truck crash that occurred when pole-sitter Jeb Burton got tangled with Busch, sending the Sprint Cup star into both the inside and outside walls. Miguel Paludo's No. 32 machine flipped and slid across the line upside down before turning back over in the first turn, finally coming to a stop with flames flickering from the hood.
Sauter took the checkered flag in his No. 98 Toyota, while David Starr weaved through the carnage to claim second place.
Most of the drivers were treated at the infield medical center and released, but Justin Lofton was transported to a hospital for further evaluation. NASCAR did not reveal the extent of his injuries.
"It's like any restrictor-plate race: pretty crazy," Sauter said. "I looked in my rearview mirror and saw smoke and trucks were spinning everywhere. I saw Matt was gone and I was like, 'Uh oh, this isn't good.' "
Crafton wound up ninth but extended his points lead to 57 over Ty Dillon with four races left.
Hinchcliffe staying put: James Hinchcliffe will return to Andretti Autosport's IndyCar team in 2014. The team, meanwhile, will switch from Chevrolet to Honda.