Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Sports

Pagenaud clinches title in winning style

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SONOMA, Calif. — In a yearlong celebration of Roger Penske's 50th year in racing, Simon Pagenaud brought yet another trophy to one of the most storied organization in motorsports.

The Frenchman won his first IndyCar title in his second season with Penske, and did it in dominating fashion by winning Sunday's season-ending Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway.

Pagenaud only needed a smooth race to cap this breakthrough season. Instead, he picked up his fifth win of 2016 and led Penske to a 1-2-3 finish in points. That hadn't happened in IndyCar since another Penske trio did it in 1994.

"That was a strong run and I take my hat off to the entire team," Penske said.

Pagenaud had 659 points, 127 ahead of Will Power. Helio Castroneves (504) was third.

"My whole career has been about this day, reaching this level," Pagenaud said. "For an athlete, it's what you work for."

Pagenaud's performance was a moot point: Power had mechanical issues 38 laps into the race. Probably needing to win to unseat Pagenaud, Power instead finished 20th.

"If I hadn't won a championship (in 2014) I guess it would be a pretty bad day," Power said.

Formula One: Nico Rosberg hung on for the narrowest victory in the series in six years at the Singapore Grand Prix and took the series lead from Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull was second by just 0.488 seconds with Hamilton third. Rosberg is eight points ahead of Hamilton.

NHRA: John Force, 67, won the Carolina Nationals in Concord, N.C., for his 146th victory, extending his career record. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Chip Ellis (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won.

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