No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet – Juan Pablo Montoya
Laps Completed: 85/85
Laps Led: 0
Final Points Position (behind leader): Second (556 pts., tied for the most points as title was decided on a tiebreaker)
Recap: Juan Pablo Montoya’s bid to win the Verizon IndyCar Series championship came up barely short Sunday. Following a lap 38 incident with teammate Will Power, Montoya battled back to finish sixth in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday afternoon. Montoya, the series leader all season, entered the race with a 34-point lead over Graham Rahal and a 47-point lead over Scott Dixon, but Dixon won the championship by winning the race. Montoya and Dixon tied with 556 points earned on the year, but Dixon was awarded the championship based on the tiebreak — number of race wins during the 2015 season. The race started well for Montoya, who qualified the No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet in the fifth position before moving up to fourth place on the first lap. When he pitted with the leaders on lap 15, Montoya emerged in 10th place as several other drivers ran longer in their fuel window. However, by the time the yellow flag of the race waved on lap 33, Montoya was back up to fifth place and in command of the championship. Unfortunately, shortly after a restart on lap 38, Montoya collided with Power in one of the tight Sonoma corners. Power spun off track, while Montoya’s car suffered a broken front wing in the incident. The ensuing pit stop left Montoya in 24th place when the race resumed. He eventually worked his way to seventh, but needed to finish fifth to wrest the championship from Dixon. Montoya got past Sebastien Bourdais and Rahal over the final 15 laps of the race, but he wasn’t able to pass Ryan Briscoe for the necessary fifth-place finish. For the season, Montoya scored two wins – including the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 – and nine top-five finishes.
Quote: “The No. 2 Verizon Chevy team had a great season. We just had a disappointing finale. There was a lot to be proud of this year, from winning the season opener to giving Roger Penske another Indianapolis 500 title. Unfortunately, today we gave one away but we will come back stronger next year. I have to thank everyone at Verizon, Chevrolet, Hawk Performance and PPG for their great support. I’m looking forward to even more success with them.”