Notes taken during the Versus broadcast of the Grand Prix of Sonoma, Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, CA on Aug. 28, 2011.
Welcome to the "golden season" at Infineon Raceway. I think this refers to the dry season that turns everything "golden." pressdog® Beer of the Race is Abita Jackamo IPA, Abita Brewing Co., Abita Springs, LA.
Trackside Online starting lineup. Trackside Online is a subscription service that does NOT work for the The Man, they work for random fans who subscribe, like me. $22 for a calendar year. No brainer. Subscribe today.
1. (12) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 01:18.6017 (105.479)
2. (3) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.0916 (104.825)
3. (6) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.1112 (104.799)
4. (10) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.1464 (104.753)
5. (9) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.3892 (104.432)
6. (06) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.4546 (104.346)
7. (27) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 01:18.9388 (105.028)
8. (19) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Honda, 01:18.9717 (104.984)
9. (59) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.0724 (104.851)
10. (24) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.1100 (104.801)
11. (22) Giorgio Pantano, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.2408 (104.628)
12. (77) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.8032 (103.891)
13. (38) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.3311 (104.509)
14. (26) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.3717 (104.455)
15. (17) Martin Plowman, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.3792 (104.445)
16. (5) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.3836 (104.440)
17. (18) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.4744 (104.320)
18. (2) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.3955 (104.424)
19. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.6402 (104.103)
20. (4) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.4654 (104.332)
21. (82) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.7270 (103.990)
22. (78) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.5635 (104.204)
23. (34) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.7517 (103.958)
24. (88) Ho-Pin Tung, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.5894 (104.170)
25. (7) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.7854 (103.914)
26. (83) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 01:19.8349 (103.849)
27. (67) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 01:20.6269 (102.829)
28. (14) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 01:20.1209 (103.479)
Check out P10. Ana Beatriz. WHAM. Simona De Silvestro is not in this race because she had some kind of visa issues coming back into the U.S., had to fly back to Switzerland to get them straightened out, and missed the race. NO idea what the issue was. Lots of fragments of reporting on it. Simon Pagenaud, the Jose Oquendo of motorsports, is in for her. Giorgio Pantano continues to sub for injured Justin Wilson.
Bob, Jon Beekhius, Wally Dallenbach in the booth. Lindy Thackston, Marty Snider and Kevin Lee are the pit infantry. Let's light this candle. We're .... green green green.
First three or four rows were two wide on the start, the rest were not. I'd go semi-fugly on this start. Doesn't matter, because Will Power is a dot. Wings were going back even before the green came out and now he's supersonic ... GONE. Everyone else is polite through the first few turns. Circus clowns show noticeable disappointment.
Lap 2 -- Jon Beekhuis, booth guy calls out Tung for maybe throwing a block party.
Bad news. Nothing happened on the first three laps, so nothing is gong to happen for the next 30. Insert festival of lockstep here. Power is quickly up by 1.3 with his two teammates Helio and Briscoe not about to get nutty behind him, so we all got time to DRINK, ye BASTARDS. Get your pressdog® DYB drinkware HERE.
Jon gives Hinch a shout for hanging in there with the Death Star drivers (Penske and Ganassi) says he's "first in class." Chortle. Like the leading GT class car among the prototypes. Sadly accurate.
Lap 3 -- Rahal goes off and kicks up a rooster tail of dirt just as Wally was talking about how Rahal was complaining about qualifications. Irony savored.
Lap 5 -- TK pits. This qualifies as a huge development in this race. Jon makes the good point that when you are in the back and your car is somewhat piggy (slow), you pit early and hope for a break. Got nothing to lose, really.
Power may have actually finished this race already, he's so far ahead.
Announcers talk over pit-to-car radio talk. Viewing de-hanced. This is the only entertainment we have here, guys. Shut the CAKE HOLES, OK? Work with us.
Lap 9 -- Hildebrand pits. Off reds. Onto blacks. Vitor stalls it during stop. No, he stops after a couple feet because the left front was not on right (har). They fix it, he's out. Bullet dodged. Vitor qualified last, this probably has not "ruined his race." Yo yo yo to my boy Ed Carpenter for qualifying second to last, not last. Pretty good for an "oval specialist" with about five road course drives to his name, ever.
Festival of pitting here. Vitor lapped.
Lap 10 -- Power, Helio, Briscoe, Dario, Dixon, Hinch, Conway, Bourdais, Viso, Pantano.
Lap 11 -- Festival of Vitor being inhaled by the leaders here. Sato pits. Viso's fake camera is laying on the ground, well off the racing line. Every car has a little camera-like object on top of the intake-roll hoop. Some are actually cameras, but the rest are dummies that are the same shape and weight as a camera, so nobody has an unfair advantage. Versus spends about 10 minutes trying to figure out who lost their fake camera. MYSTERY SOLVED. It was Viso. Now, back to the lockstep.
Lap 15 -- Danica pits. Changes reds for blacks. Back out. She's driving her Go Daddy Chevrolet Impala. No, wait, that's wrong. That's the NEXT time she's at Sears Point.
Lap 19 -- EJ passes Bourdais in turn 7. I wake myself up by spewing beer. Televised pass.
Replay of Rahal inside Tag for position in P12. Not been a great year for Tags since the Indy Pole. Unless you count P2 on the road course Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve at Montreal ... in a Nationwide car.
Lap 22 -- Viso takes a position from Conway, who Bob calls Bourdais. Viso has TWO televised passes now.
Lap 24 -- Oriol and Tag. Oriol under and CLEAR. Plowman is working on Tag who seems to have popped the chute or has a car that is seriously pigging out.
Lap 23 -- Power +2.7 seconds on, Helio, Briscoe, Dario, Dixon, Hinch, Viso, Bordais, Bia (!), Rahal.
Pitting starting. Dixon and Helio pit. Viso, Bourdais, Bia.
Lap 26 -- Dario and Power pit. Briscoe stays out a lap. Power back out in P2, Dario in P4. Did NOT get a spot on Helio in the pit. Briscoe will try to fly and maybe pit and get P2, but for sure come back out in P3, to restore order.
Lap 27 -- Briscoe pits. Back out in P3. Penske drivers may actually be talking amongst themselves on the radio and popping beers. (Note: they cannot talk to each other on the radio. That's a NASCAR thing.) Ed moves over for the leaders and gets lapped. Because he has class. Doubt Ed will weep when the road courses are done. Still, seems improved from last race.
Lap 27 -- Pantano has inhaled Hinch for P6. Happened on lap 26. Pantano is now Best in Class.
Lap 34 -- Danica is last. Has pitted twice. But she does post her fastest lap of the race.
Robin reports that there are probably 25,000 to 30,000 at the race, the best crowd by far for IndyCar at Infineon. He says IndyCar will be back at Infineon if the track can come up with the sanctioning fee in 2012. I am sincerely glad 30,000 are there to watch the race, and I hope they enjoyed it. BUT, people I know who watch the race on TV, even those who love twisties, find it stuptifyingly boring. My Twitter timeline is a rash with major snark over the festival of non-passing that is Infineon.
Bob says it's a beautiful place (almost a gorgeous facility) and Wally says it's so much fun to drive. Put me in a two seater and I'd probably love the place, but until then ...
Lap 40 -- TK is toast. Something is BLOWN UP, sir. Just coasting into the pits. No yellows or anything.
Lap 41 -- Power clinches three bonus points from this race. One for the pole and two more for leading the most laps. He's led all but two when he pitted and Briscoe led.
Lap 42 -- Power, Helio, Briscoe, Dario, Dixon, Pantano (best in class), Hinch, Viso, Borudais, Rahal.
Pit stops coming. Clowns are looking hopeful, start to stretch out, but I can tell they are ONLY GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS.
Kevin with Tony who tells us the throttle cable went SPROING (broke) so he was done. "Honestly, it put me out of my misery" because his car was a pig. Now if only someone would do the same for the viewers. I eyeball the channel changer here.
Tony joins the booth team. Get someone in the booth to talk about SOMETHING, please. Bob remarks on Tony's going inverted at Mid Ohio, complete with bashing over the port-a-potty. Kanaan and potty were unharmed.
Tag takes Jakes for P18!!!!
Bob says it will be interesting to see Will maneuvering around traffic to see if Helio can close in. BEER SPEW. Ahhhh, A) I don't see Will having trouble, and B) if Power stopped on the track Helio would probably stop beside him, and slightly back, to avoid passing him.
Lap 50 -- Leaders pitting. This is the ball game right here. Dixon and Helio pitted on 49. Dario and Will pit on 50. Briscoe leads two laps and then pits. When everyone is back out, lock step restored.
Power will win barring air strike. Versus did a nice job building it up and showing the cars coming out relative the cars still on the track. Viewing enhanced. Just all washed out the same way.
Lap 55 -- Replay. Marco front wing into JR's rear tire. Puncture. Marco loses wing parts. Both will have to pit. Marco a lap down in 18th gets monster air. I theorize it's paying some bills by showing his car.
Tony and the booth guys chat amiably. Not necessarily about THIS particular race. Tony does give us a reds vs. blacks (tires) comparison from the driver's viewpoint. Says he has NOT signed with KV yet. Still talking. Expects to sign.
Lap 61 -- Plowey gets air. Goes around Sato for P13. Then goes off. Comes back on. Jon and Tony discuss (argue) whether or not Plowey will have to give back positions. Jon says yes. Tony says no. Tony appears to be correct.
Lap 65 -- Power, Helio, Briscoe, Dario, Dixon, Pantano, Hinch, (sound familiar so far?) Bourdais, Rahal, Viso.
Lap 66 -- Yellow yellow yellow. Tung is off into a wall behind a tire barrier. Personally, I think this is off the line, but, it's a close call and this case close calls go to the yellow, because this race really, really, really needs a restart to give us some glimmer of hope.
Tony says Helio is going to go for it on the restart. Beer spew again. Helio is going to take points away from Power, who is chasing Dario? Not. Penske radios to remind everyone that their are Penske cars in P1, P2, and P3, which I think is his subtle way of saying "let's keep the same order."
Lap 69 -- GREEN. Power accelerates at the cones, properly, Helio and Briscoe got his back, lockstep through lap 1. Miller time.
Tony says re-starts are the only chance to pass here. (So we're all done.)
Jon asks if Dario is in trouble, goes wide, etc. will Dixon go for it. ANOTHER beer spew. You guys are slaying me. Um, no. Unless Dario actually goes off the road, Dixon ain't passing him. Pagenaud penalized for passing under the yellow. Pagenaud apparently thought he had passed the leader before the yellow and therefore went around to the tail, or something.
Sato is all up in Dixon's business.
Power wins. There goes Alderaan. Death Star P1, 2, 3, 4 AND 5. Best of Class Pantano PENALIZED! Threw a block party at the end, according to the Iron Hand of Justice (steward Brian Barnhart). May have blocked Bourdais, who made with a gesture, possibly Power-like. That makes Bourdais best in class.
Replays. Sevaadra and Conway touch wheels, sending them both bouncing.
Trackside Online finishing order ...
IZOD IndyCar Series
Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma
SONOMA, Calif. - Results Sunday of the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma IZOD IndyCar Series event on the 2.303 mile Infineon Raceway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (1) Will Power, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running
2. (2) Helio Castroneves, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running
3. (3) Ryan Briscoe, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running
4. (4) Dario Franchitti, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running
5. (5) Scott Dixon, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running
6. (8) Sebastien Bourdais, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running
7. (6) James Hinchcliffe, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running
8. (13) Graham Rahal, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running
9. (9) EJ Viso, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running
10. (19) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running
11. (18) Oriol Servia, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running
12. (15) Martin Plowman, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running
13. (10) Ana Beatriz, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running
14. (23) Sebastian Saavedra, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running
15. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running
16. (7) Mike Conway, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running
17. (11) Giorgio Pantano, Dallara-Honda, 75, Running
18. (16) Takuma Sato, Dallara-Honda, 74, Running
19. (17) James Jakes, Dallara-Honda, 74, Running
20. (12) Alex Tagliani, Dallara-Honda, 74, Running
21. (25) Danica Patrick, Dallara-Honda, 74, Running
22. (28) Vitor Meira, Dallara-Honda, 74, Running
23. (20) JR Hildebrand, Dallara-Honda, 74, Running
24. (14) Marco Andretti, Dallara-Honda, 74, Running
25. (27) Ed Carpenter, Dallara-Honda, 74, Running
26. (26) Charlie Kimball, Dallara-Honda, 66, Running
27. (24) Ho-Pin Tung, Dallara-Honda, 63, Contact
28. (21) Tony Kanaan, Dallara-Honda, 38, Mechanical
Winners average speed: 96.408
Time of Race: 01:47:29.7619
Margin of victory: 3.2420 seconds
Cautions: 1 for 3 laps
Lead changes: 4 among 2 drivers
Lap Leaders: Power 1 - 25, Briscoe 26 - 27, Power 28 - 49, Briscoe 50 - 51, Power 52 - 75
Point Standings: Franchitti 475, Power 449, Dixon 400, Servia 327, Briscoe 312, Kanaan 305, Hunter-Reay 285, Andretti 282, Castroneves 277, Rahal 264.
Race recap and lap chart couresty of IndyCar PR.
Cameron Haven, IZOD Trophy Girl gets air with Power. Yes. Welcome back, Cameron. She got to go to the race and did the fan zone stuff, etc. She's willing to go to all races, but IZOD does not send her to all of them. And, of course, the Firehawk. Cinnamon and habeneros for everyone.
That's it from Sonoma. I strongly believe IndyCar continues to go to this festival of non-passing because sponsors LOVE hanging in wine country. Second most popular race for sponsors behind Indy (is what I have heard). I hope that is true; then at least someone is enjoying it.
Next race is Baltimore, Sept. 4, 2 p.m. Eastern on VERSUS.