VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES
GoPro GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA
The sun has set on another year of American open-wheel competition as the Verizon IndyCar Series championship has come to a close at Sonoma Raceway.
It was a season of highs and lows for the Andretti Autosport quartet of drivers, taking home only two race wins, but yet savoring the elusive milk of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
With the IndyCar stable locked in for the coming season, 2018 starts now.
No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda
- Started 11th // Finished 7th
- Championship: 12th (388 pts.)
- Of Note: Challenged for a top-five finish during his 200th career IndyCar start.
“I think we pretty much maximized our pace today. We probably could have gotten Rahal, but I couldn’t hold him on black [tires]. I was on cold blacks and I locked up, so I did the best I could to keep him behind me. It was pretty obvious the Penske cars were in a league of their own so we were just trying to maximize what we had going on. We don’t come here to finish seventh but it’s a decent result, it’s something to build on. I really think the  package will be way more to my strengths. I struggle in the high-speed corners, I struggled in [Turn] 6 today so I need to get a grip on that. I don’t just want to turn the page after not being great this year, I want to figure out why we weren’t great. I have no doubt next year we can be on it. I tidied up my street course game which was my old weakness so I think if we get my strength back on the short ovals, where I used to be good, who knows?”
No. 28 DHL Honda
- Started 7th // Finished 8th
- Championship: 9th (421 pts.)
- Of Note: Recorded eight top-10 finishes this season, today’s result moved the American driver up one position in the points standings.
“I don’t know what happened on the start, but [our lane] didn’t go and I got jumped by three or four cars there. It was kind of a mess. We were just in recovery mode from there, trying to get back up where we started. We made some setup changes before the race that didn’t work out. Often in this sport it’s trial and error, and we found what didn’t work today. Disappointing finish to the race but all in all, looking at where we were in the championship points leaving Indy, to finish ninth in the championship, we clawed our way back many, many spots. But, we’re here to win races, win championships and we’ve certainly had our fair share of misfortune this year but there’s also a lot we could have done better. We’ll have to put all that together and hopefully have a little bit better luck next year and be a stronger overall effort.”
No. 26 Dickinson Fleet Services Honda
- Started 5th // Finished 20th
- Championship: 8th (441 pts.)
Of Note: Made contact with teammate Alexander Rossi early in the race which resulted in a flat right rear tire and an unexpected pit stop. Sato retired from the race 23 laps early due to a mechanical issue.
“It was an unforgettable season. I had a great time in the team and we are so bonded for the No. 26 boys. I can’t thank every single person in the entire Andretti Autosport family enough. It was a great time and we achieved something, an unbelievable win. [Today’s result is] a shame, we wanted to finish strong but this is motor racing. I really appreciate everybody’s support. Thank you for everything. It’s been a tough, roller coaster season but we showed tremendous speed, especially for the last six races. It’s unbelievable, always one of the top Hondas. That’s something I’m really proud of with the No. 26 boys and it was a fabulous year so thank you for everything.”
No. 98 NAPA AUTO PARTS / Curb Honda
- Started 8th // Finished 21st
- Championship: 7th (494 pts.)
Of Note: Suffered a mechanical issue after the first stop, but the NAPA AUTO PARTS crew worked to get the car back on track and pick up a position and additional points.
“It was a pretty disappointing day, to have a mechanical issue after the first stop. I think we were in a pretty decent position to possibly get in the top five after our opening stint but it wasn’t meant to be today. A huge shout out to the NAPA AUTO PARTS team and the Andretti-Herta boys for the hard work back in the garage to get us back out there, we picked up another spot. To close the season off this way is disappointing but at the same time, there’s a huge amount of positives we can take from the year and I can’t wait to get started again in 2018.”