NBC Sports Presents 2017 VERIZON INDYCAR CHAMPIONSHIP, 9/17
The 2017 Verizon INDYCAR SERIES championship will be decided this weekend on NBCSN at the INDYCAR GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET, as Josef Newgarden (Penske) looks to win his first-ever title and hold off a wide array of challengers in the tightest points battle atop the standings in a decade.The INDYCAR finale caps a tripleheader of racing on NBCSN, which begins at 7:30 a.m. ET with live coverage of the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, and continues at 3 p.m. ET with the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series race from Chicagoland, which kicks off the 2017 Playoffs. Newgarden moved atop the INDYCAR standings late this season with wins in three of four races (Toronto, Mid-Ohio, and St. Louis). However, Newgarden finished in 18th position in the penultimate race of the 2017 campaign at Watkins Glen on Sept. 3, after sustaining damage in a collision exiting pit road. Newgarden leads four-time series champion Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) by just three points in the standings heading into Sonoma, the closest margin with one race remaining since the 2007 season, when Dario Franchitti led Dixon by three points and won the finale at Chicagoland. Sunday's finale is a double-points race, with 100 points up for grabs for the winner. There are seven drives mathematically eligible for the 2017 Verizon INDYCAR SERIES championship: Newgarden, Dixon, Helio Castroneves (Penske), Simon Pagenaud (Penske), Will Power (Penske), Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport), and Graham Rahal (Rahal Letterman Lanigan). Newgarden has never finished in the top five at Sonoma, while Dixon, Castroneves, Pagenaud, and Power all boast multiple top-five finishes and victories in Sonoma.