Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Three-time IndyCar Champion, Scott Dixon, drove his familiar red No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet around the 12-turn, 2.385-mile Sonoma Raceway elevated road course to victory in Sunday’s GoPro Sonoma GP. He had been one of the six Contenders for the 2015 Driver’s Championship, and was third in the queue for the Astor Cup, emblematic of the honor. Dixon led twice for 34 laps – the most of any driver in the 85-lap race, earning him a valuable bonus point. This was his third win this year and 38th of his indy car career, ranking him fifth on the all-time list.

Chip Ganassi & Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon

Chip Ganassi Crowd Surfing

Chip Ganassi & Scott Dixon, Scott Dixon & Astor Cup, and Chip Ganassi Team Crowd Surfing. Photos by Pablo Matamoros.

Coming into the race, both Dixon and Montoya had two victories. After his win, Dixon was tied in points, but the third victory was the tie breaker in Dixon’s behalf.

It was jubilation in Victory Circle, and to cap it, Chip Ganassi did his first-ever Crowd Surf into the eager arms of team and sponsors.

And informal reports were that the race crowd was great.

Chip Ganassi rides the Target Wave

Chip Ganassi rides the Target Wave. Photo by Mike Burghardt

Dixon’s fourth championship puts him in with good company: Mario Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais, AJ Foyt, and Dario Franchitti.

Of the six Contenders, the second highest finisher was season-long points leader, Juan Pablo Montoya/No.2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet who finished sixth. Will Power/No.1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet finished seventh. The two of them were running well until there was wing to wing contact in Turn Four, and Power spun. That incident was reviewed by the Stewards, but No Action was Taken. They each pitted for new wings. The third Penske teammate in contention was Helio Castroneves/No.3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, who finished fifteenth.

Castroneves turned the fastest race lap of 1:19.4914/108.012 mph on Lap 5; and Power turned the fastest race leader lap of 1:19.5517/107.930 mph on the first lap.

Graham Rahal

Graham Rahal. Photo by Jeff Burghardt

Bobby Rahal

Bobby Rahal

Graham Rahal/No.15 Steak n’Shake Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda was second in the standings coming into the weekend, but had a bad day with tire management and being a target for other cars – including a former teammate, Sebastien Bourdais/No.11 Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing Chevrolet, who rear-ended Rahal. Bourdais earned a drive-thru penalty for avoidable contact. Rahal finished eighteenth, and Bourdais came in twentieth.

Josef Newgarden

Josef Newgarden. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Josef Newgarden/No.67 GoPro Hartman Oil Carpenter Fisher Hartman Racing Chevrolet had a most disappointing finish after a very strong race. He pitted while running second, but had a car fire during the stop, the car wouldn’t restart, and although he was able to get back on course, he finished twenty-first, one lap down.

Gabby Chaves

Gabby Chaves. Photo by Jeff Burghardt

Gaby Chaves was the Sunoco Rookie of the Year, driving his No.98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb BHA with Curb-Agajanian Honda to a fourteenth place finish.

Oriol Servia

Oriol Servia. Photo by Jeff Burghardt

Oriol Servia filled in at the very last minute for the Andretti Autosport Honda entry to be driven by the late Justin Wilson. He admittedly hadn’t been in a race car in a long time, wasn’t in race trim, but so wanted to do it for Justin. He started nineteenth and finished twelfth.

Twenty drivers finished on the lead lap, and of the 25 drivers, only one retired. James Jakes/No.7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda crashed in Turn Nine on Lap 64. He was unhurt, but the car was not. His front brakes failed, and he hit the wall hard, and nearly toppled a tire barrier.

Other race leaders were pole sitter Power, who led twice for 26 laps; Sebastian Saavedra/No.8 AFS Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, who led twice for 12 laps; Kanaan, once for six laps; Marco Andretti/No.27 Snapple Andretti Autosport Honda once for four laps; RHR-twice for two laps; and Kimball-once for a lap.

There were four caution flags totaling 14 laps: three for contacts and once for a slowing car-Luca Filippi/No.20 Fuzzy’s Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet.

There were several incidents on track and a couple of questionable restarts, all which underwent Steward’s Review. Most had no action taken, but both Bourdais and Jack Hawksworth/No.41 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda earned drive-thru penalties for Avoidable Contact. Bourdais for punting Rahal, and Hawksworth for hitting Carlos Munoz/No.2 Honda in Turn 7 on Lap 70. The Pit Lane incident with Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and Josef Newgarden will undergo Post Race Review: Pagenaud for impeding pit exit and Newgarden for driving through another team’s pit stall.

An incident between Tristan Vautier/No.19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda and Castroneves was reviewed for potential blocking. No Action Taken.

Rookie Roberto Gonzales/No.18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda was warned for blocking.

No IndyCar driver finished every race lap this season. Marco Andretti had that honor until last weekend’s race at Pocono when he crashed..

Chevrolet BowTie

Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports for Chevrolet and Chris Berube, Chevrolet racing program manager, spoke about the monumental year for Chevrolet. Chevrolet had impressive stats behind its 2015 Manufacturer’s Championship. It won ten races; swept the podium six times; won every Verizon P1 award – 14 by qualifying, plus two on points due to rain; had the top two qualifiers in 15 of 16 races; and for the first time since Chevrolet re-entered the IndyCar series in 2012, had a 2015 sweep – Manufacturer’s Championship, Driver’s Championship, and Indianapolis 500 victory.

Berube said “We outran the bear and never had to park a car. Little bit of catchup time with parts at the beginning. There will be changes in the aero kit for next year – three volume box changes are allowed. We won’t say what changes it will be.” Campbell said “Our Chevrolet teams helped us with the development all the way through.” Berube added that “Chevrolet is prepared to meet its contractual obligations to supply a minimum number of teams. Whether we go beyond that or not, at this point we haven’t made that decision.When it comes to races like the Indy 500 we obviously pick up a lot of one race entries. I think we had a little bit more than half the field last year, but between us and Honda we typically split the field, which is kind of how we like to see it.”

Podium finishers Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon, and Charlie Kimball

Podium finishers Ryan Hunter-Reay, Scott Dixon, and Charlie Kimball. Photo by Mike Burghardt

SONOMA, Calif. – Results Sunday of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.385-mile Sonoma Raceway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, aero kit-engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (9) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 85, Running

2. (3) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 85, Running

3. (7) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 85, Running

4. (11) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 85, Running

5. (17) Ryan Briscoe, Honda, 85, Running

6. (5) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 85, Running

7. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 85, Running

8. (18) Takuma Sato, Honda, 85, Running

9. (24) Rodolfo Gonzalez, Honda, 85, Running

10. (14) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 85, Running

11. (8) Marco Andretti, Honda, 85, Running

12. (19) Oriol Servia, Honda, 85, Running

13. (10) Sebastian Saavedra, Chevrolet, 85, Running

14. (21) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 85, Running

15. (15) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 85, Running

16. (4) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 85, Running

17. (20) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 85, Running

18. (6) Graham Rahal, Honda, 85, Running

19. (25) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 85, Running

20. (16) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 85, Running

21. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 84, Running

22. (12) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 84, Running

23. (23) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 82, Running

24. (13) Luca Filippi, Chevrolet, 80, Running

25. (22) James Jakes, Honda, 63, Contact

Verizon IndyCar Series point standings:
Dixon 556
Montoya 556
Power 493
Rahal 490
Castroneves 453
Hunter-Reay 436
Newgarden 431
Kanaan 431
Andretti 429
Bourdais 406.


Scott Dixon

Scott Dixon. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Scott Dixon/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet won the GoPro Sonoma GP IndyCar race at Sonoma Raceway Sunday. He led the most laps and on Lap 50 he took over the points lead with his bonus points. It was the first time all season Juan Pablo Montoya/No.2 Verizon Team Penske didn’t lead the standings. There was a mathematical chance the two could tie for points at the end of this race, but Dixon would win on the tie breaker of having more race victories. Each driver had two wins coming into this race, but Dixon winning Sonoma tipped the scales in his favor. Montoya won a previous championship on a tie with Dario Frachitti at Fontana.

Dixon said “This is just fantastic for Target and Chevy as well! I don’t know what to say. I was counting cars, watching where JPM was. Man, I can’t believe it.”

It is the fourth indycar championship for Dixon, with previous wins in 2003, 2008 and 2013. The Sonoma win was his 38th career win – putting him fifth on the all-time list. Dixon has driven for Chip Ganassi for the past 14 years. It’s Ganassi’s 100th indycar win and his eleventh championship.

Finishing second was Ryan Hunter-Reay/No.28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda, 6.1115 seconds behind.

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Charlie Kimball

Tony Kanaan

Left to Right: Ryan Hunter-Reay, Charlie Kimball, and Tony Kanaan. Photos by Pablo Matamoros.

Third through fifth were Charlie Kimball/No.83 Novolog Flex Pen Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Chevrolet; Dixon’s teammate, Tony Kanaan/No.10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet; and Ryan Briscoe/No.5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda.

Juan Pablo Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Montoya finished sixth. He said “It’s just a shame. Just threw it away. We had a competitive car and just didn’t do it. When you have double points for the final race, it doesn’t matter what you do all year. Dixon had a s**t season and one good race. It’s not fair, but if you don’t like the rules, don’t race. I did everything I could and I had 45 laps to figure it out.” Montoya won the 2015 Indianapolis 500, which was also a double points race.

There were ten lead changes, seven race leaders, 170 passes, and the average race speed was 93.117 mph.

Chevrolet’s Manufacturer’s Points were 1631, with Honda having 1147, giving Chevrolet its fourth consecutive IndyCar Manufacturer’s Championship. Chevrolet also won the 2015 Indianapolis 500 and the 2015 Driver’s Championship – a clean sweep.

More to follow.


The weather is Picture Perfect for the final day of the GoPro Sonoma Grand Prix weekend at Sonoma Raceway. The feature race will be the Verizon IndyCar Series at 1pm PT, telecast live on NBC Sports Network. The ambient temperature was 72 degrees with track temperatures in the low nineties F. Wind was 7 mph and humidity 46 percent. The skies are hazy blue.

There are six IndyCar drivers still mathematically able to win the 2015 IndyCar Driver’s Championship. There is a plethora of various scenarios so it should be an exciting race, as has been the tradition of the last few IndyCar season finale races.

Six IndyCar Championship Contenders

Six IndyCar Championship Contenders. Left to Right: Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Graham Rahal, Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, and Juan Pablo Montoya. Photo by Mike Burghardt

The IndyCar Manufacturer’s Championship has already been decided, with Chevrolet winning, followed by Honda. That final count won’t be until after Sunday’s race.

IndyCar holds a half-hour warm-up session. It’s not to see who’s fastest, but get the car race worthy, practice pit stops, change and scuff tires. All but five of the 25 drivers will start the race on the Alternate-Red Firestone tires. Those five drivers – One Chevrolet and four Hondas – are starting on the Primary-black tires: Marco Andretti/No.27 Snapple Andretti Autosport Honda, Sebastian Saavedra/No.8 AFS Ganassi Racing Chevrolet; Mikhail Aleshin/No.77 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda; Oriol Servia/No.25 Andretti Autosport Honda; and James Jakes/No.41 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda.

Wil Power Pit Stop 1

Will Power Pit Stop 2

Will Power Pit Stop 3

Pole Sitter, current IndyCar Champion and 2014 Sonoma race winner, Will Power/No.1 Team Penske Chevrolet was fastest in the warm-up, turning his fastest time on Lap 17 of the 18 he ran. Second through fifth were: Takuma Sato/No.14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Honda; Simon Pagenaud/No.22 Aveya Team Penske Chevrolet; Graham Rahal/No.15 Steak n’ Shake Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda; and Sebastien Bourdais/No.11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing Chevrolet.

Two-seater IndyCarsLeading up to the race are two Pirelli World Challenge Races for the various GT classes, and the IndyCar Experience – VIP rides in the IndyCar two-seater cars. The drivers this weekend for those cars are: Mario Andretti, Sarah Fisher, Martin Plowman, and Zach Veach.

There are a variety of tributes to the late IndyCar driver, Justin Wilson, who died after a tragic accident a week at during the Pocono IndyCar race. Among those fans can expect are: a video tribute on the big screens; special signage with information on the Trust Fund set up for the Wilson family ( and the Wilson tribute logo which includes Wilson’s helmet and the popular hashtag #BADASSWILSON; sky writing pilots drawing #25 in the sky above the track; the playing of the British national anthem – God Save The Queen; a moment of silence; and the LED car positioning lights displaying 25 during the pace laps.

#BADASS Justin Wilson T Shirt

Aaron Justus Justin Wilson T Shirt

Justin Wilson T Shirt

More Wilson T shirts arrived and were quickly purchased and seen around the track.

The IndyCar class photo was taken Sunday morning, and it included Stefan Wilson, younger brother of Justin Wilson. They all posed with their helmets, which the drivers are all donating to the Wilson Children’s Fund.

James Hinchcliffe

IndyCar driver, James Hinchcliffe is on scene, and now sporting his usual nicely-cut goatee. He had been looking like one of the Smith Brothers on the cough drop package. He’d vowed not to cut it until he drove a race car. Thursday he drove the IndyCar two-seater across the Golden Gate Bridge, carrying the Astor Cup in the passenger seat. This was part of a celebratory caravan of several IndyCars – Marco Andretti in No.25 Honda originally slated for Justin Wilson, with also Will Power and Graham Rahal in their cars driving in formation. They were followed by the two Holmatro Safety Trucks who responded to Wilson’s Pocono accident.

IndyCar Sunday Paddock


Roger Penske and Steve Page

Roger Penske and Steve Page. Photo by Mike Burghardt

Long-time IndyCar team owner, Roger Penske, was inducted Saturday into the Sonoma Raceway Wall of Fame, for his lifelong contributions to motorsports in many ways. Steve Page, President of Sonoma Raceway, said “I can’t think of anybody more deserving, either for their record here at Sonoma, or for the body of work that you look at in the motor racing industry. From someone who competed and raced her – and Roger reminded me he won the Trans Am Championship here in 1969 – who built cars, who built engines, who built racetracks. Who has brought corporate America to a sport that is very dependent on sponsorship, and has really elevated this industry in ways that I don’t think any other individual can lay claim to.”

Penske asked that Justin Wilson’s name be inscribed on the plaque too, before the plaque was posted with the others. “I wouldn’t let this day go by without having his name on the plaque with me, because he’s one of the great guys. We lost a great friend and a competitor, and we need to honor him also.”

Saturday at Sonoma Raceway, the Pirelli World Challenge Series had two races, and the NASA Formula Car Challenge Series held its second race. All of the races were exciting.

Kevin Estre

Robert Thorne

Sloan Urry

Left to Right: Kevin Estre, Robert Thorne and Sloan Urry.

The Pirelli World Challenge GTS Race #1 was won by Polesitter, Andy Lee/No.1 BestlT Racing Chevrolet Camaro and he turned the fastest race lap of 1:42.398/83.849 mph. His Margin of Victory was 0.968 seconds ahead of Michael Cooper/No.10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Z28, Jack Baldwin/No.73 GT Sport Racing Porsche Cayman S was third. The best battle was between several cars behind them: with Kris Wilson/07 Royal Purple/Orion/LaSalle/Pass Time USA TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT4, Nathan Stacey/No.14 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302, Dean Martin/No.50 Picture Cars East Ford Mustang Boss and Ben Clucas/No.36 DonorsChoose.Org Kia Optima finally finishing in that order after their slicing and dicing – sixth through ninth.

Kevin Estre/No.9 K_PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 started second and won the Pirelli World Challenge Race #1 for GT/GTA/GT Cup. His Margin of Victory was 02.740 seconds ahead of Pole sitter Renger van_der_Zande/No.31 EFFORT Racing/World PMO Porsche 911 GT3R, who finished second. Third through fifth were Mike Skeen/No.2 DeVilbiss/Hawk Performance Audi R8 LMS Ultra, Olivier Beretta/No.61 Ferrari Ontario/Toronto/Alberta Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, and Johnny O’Connell/No.3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-VR GT3. The fastest GT race lap was set by the winner’s teammate, Robert Thorne/No.6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 659S GT3, at 01.34.554/90.805 mph. He finished twenty-fourth, one lap down.

In the GTC category, Alex Udell/No.17 Amsource Capital Panther Pipeline Porsche 911 GT3 Cup won, finishing twenty-seventh overall in a field of 33 cars. His Margin of Victory was 04.350 seconds. Finishing second was Sloan Urry/No.02 Security National Engle & Volkers Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Colin Thompson No.11 Porsche Bucks County Penn Valley Porsche 911 GT3 Cup finished third, and turned the fastest race lap of 01.38,744/86.952 mph.

Formula Car Podium Winners

Formula Car Podium Winners. Photo by Mike Burghardt

In the Formula Car race, it again was Cabot Bigham/No.2 Pro Formula Mazda who won from his second starting position, while pole sitter Hunter Pickett/No.6 Pickett Racing Pro Formula Mazda finished second. Third on Saturday was Jaden Conwright/No.40 VMB Driver Development LLC Pro Formula Mazda.

Formula Car Pace Lap

Formula Car Pace Lap. Photo by Mike Burghardt

Pickett had the pole for both races this weekend, and finished second to Bigham each day. Bigham started second in both races.

Cabot Bigham No.2 and  Hunter Pickett No.6

Cabot Bigham No.2 and Hunter Pickett No.6. Photo by Mike Burghardt

Michael Avansino/No.24 VMB Driver Development won the FS2.0 class, in eighth place, and Bill Weaver/No.67 James G Parker Insurance Association won the FM class, twelfth overall.

It was a mob scene Saturday noon for the IndyCar Fan Village Autograph Session. The area was packed for the hour-long fan-friendly feature.

IndyCar Autograph Session


Will Power & Verizon P1 Award

Will Power & Verizon P1 Award. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

IndyCar reigning champion, Will Power/No.1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet has the pole position for Sunday’s GoPro Sonoma GP at Sonoma Raceway with a blazing lap of 1:16.2597/112.589 mph. He beat his own 2014 qualifying track record of 1:16.2393/111.161 mph. It was the fourth qualifying track record Power set this season, sixth pole of this season, and 42nd of his career – fifth on the all-time list. He’s been on pole five times at Sonoma, and this time it’s two consecutive pole positions.

Team Penske has thirteen of the past sixteen pole positions.

Penske Verizon P1 Awards

Power is one of “The Contenders” for the 2015 Championship – six in all who have a mathematical chance at the Astor Cup. Power has an edge – three previous Sonoma victories.

“I love the area, love the track, which is very technical and you have to be very committed when it comes to qualifying. My favorite session of the whole weekend is the qualifying. You get to get the absolute maximum out of the car and ring its neck. I enjoyed it a whole lot. Obviously the race will be a fairly different story as there are a lot of points on the table tomorrow. We really need to be careful on how we execute this because we need to win. I enjoyed that lap a lot. A lot of points on the table for tomorrow, so definitely have to think about it. Firestone brought a really good tire this year which will play into strategy.”

The top three drivers in the Fast Six Session beat Power’s existing record.

Simon Pagenaud

Simon Pagenaud . Photo by Jeff Burghardt

Second was Josef Newgarden/No.67 Hartman Oil/GoPro CFH Racing Chevrolet. Third was Ryan Hunter-Reay/No.38 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda, followed by Simon Pagenaud/No.22 Aveya Team Penske Chevrolet, Points Leader Juan Pablo Montoya/No.2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet and Graham Rahal/No.15 Steak n’ Shake Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda.

Power was aware that Newgarden was fast. ““I was just aware of the times that I had to beat and I didn’t know what the track record was. I just knew what Josef’s time was and needed to beat that. Our strategy was just to do two runs and just use reds, the sets that we used in the previous rounds. We didn’t think anyone would put blacks on but he did and he went quicker. So we had no choice at the very end but to put them on. He kind of showed us the way. If he had put them on at the end, I have a feeling he would have got the pole.”

Even though this is a double points weekend, there is only one bonus point awarded for the Verizon P1 Award.

Montoya waited until the last moment to go out for his last chance at the pole to get one hot lap on his reds (alternate tire), but only managed a fifth overall time. He feels good about starting up near the front, “But we still have to race and anything can happen and we have seen that already in road course racing. I feel that we have done everything in our power to get it done and if things go our way then we will be good.”

Josef Newgarden

Championship Contender Josef Newgarden has additional/primary sponsorship this weekend from GoPro, which is the title sponsor for the IndyCar feature race Sunday. The young driver will have the flagship GoPro HERO4 black on his car. Newgarden wore it during the IndyCar Driver Autograph Session. Newgarden was coy about his Sunday strategy. “Most people are saving blacks for Sunday.”

Graham Rahal

Graham Rahal. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Rahal, who is second in the points, is going for the win Sunday. He’s disappointed in his sixth overall lap, and was envious of how others managed the black tires for the session. “Tires will be key in the race. Everyone is under the gun and that will play into the decision making. Definitely lot of pressure. It’s going to be entertaining. I’ll tell you that.”

Josef Newgarden and Graham Rahal

Josef Newgarden and Graham Rahal. Photo by Mike Burghardt

The temperatures soared to 81 degrees F ambient, but slowly dropped as the sessions wore down. Humidity had dropped to 40 percent and the wind grew to 13 percent. There was still some wispy clouds but there was strong visibility now that the Northern California forest fire smoke had moved on.

In Round One Group One, the top seven drivers broke the qualifying record set of 1:117.2393/111.161 mph last year by Will Power. Pagenaud was fastest at 1:16.8419, pulling it off at the last minute. He was followed by Rahal, Kanaan, Andretti, Kimball and Montoya.

Round One Group Two saw even faster times, with Power turning a 1:16.5702. The ambient temperature had dropped two degrees.

Hawksworth pitted early in Group Two, dropping oil everywhere, making it difficult for the other cars, especially Newgarden who was trying to get into the Top Six. But Newgarden prevailed and bested Pagenaud’s time, turning a 1:16.5982. And then so did Power who went to the top, and Dixon who tucked in ahead of Newgarden – all faster than Pagenaud’s Round One lap. Behind Newgarden were Dixon, Hunter-Reay, Saavedra and Munoz. Contender Castroneves didn’t make the cut and will start fifteenth.

The Group Two incident between Takuma Sato/No.14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Honda and Stefano Coletti/No.4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet went under Steward’s Review, and no action taken. They ended up with Sato in eighteenth place and Coletti in twentieth.

In Round Two, Power again topped off, going even faster than before – 1:16.5571, followed by RHR at 1:16.5620. Third through sixth were Pagenaud, Newgarden, Rahal and JPM. Contender Dixon was ninth overall in the 12-car field. He got caught out by someone else’s dirt sprayed on the Turn Six track. “Kanaan (teammate Tony Kanaan/No.10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet) and I both went through it and that just killed both our lap times. It’s very tight out there and you simply can’t afford to lose time like that.”

Orial Servia

Orial Servia. Photo by Jeff Burghardt

Oriol Servia is driving Justin Wilson’s No.25 Andretti Autosport Honda. He said Friday he “was just a passenger, but Saturday he was a race driver.” He admitted he wasn’t in shape when he got the call. But the overwhelming social media support Servia got for running Wilson’s car meant the world to him. Servia said he knew Justin was laughing at him.

This year, the primary tires are grippier, so there’s not as much different between the blacks and optional red tires. Popular opinion says that this should make for an even more interesting race.

Will Power.

Will Power. Photo by Jeff Burghardt


SONOMA, Calif. – Qualifying Saturday for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.385-mile(s) Sonoma Raceway, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, aero kit-engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:16.2597 (112.589)

2. (67) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:16.3964 (112.387)

3. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:16.5254 (112.198)

4. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:16.6683 (111.989)

5. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 01:16.8437 (111.733)

6. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:17.1769 (111.251)

7. (83) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 01:16.6669 (111.991)

8. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 01:16.8710 (111.694)

9. (9) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 01:16.9677 (111.553)

10. (8) Sebastian Saavedra, Chevrolet, 01:17.1596 (111.276)

11. (10) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 01:17.2899 (111.088)

12. (26) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 01:17.3302 (111.030)

13. (20) Luca Filippi, Chevrolet, 01:17.1077 (111.351)

14. (77) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 01:17.3885 (110.947)

15. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 01:17.2550 (111.138)

16. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 01:17.4310 (110.886)

17. (5) Ryan Briscoe, Honda, 01:17.4886 (110.803)

18. (14) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:17.5599 (110.702)

19. (25) Oriol Servia, Honda, 01:17.5724 (110.684)

20. (4) Stefano Coletti, Chevrolet, 01:17.8293 (110.318)

21. (98) Gabby Chaves, Honda, 01:17.7994 (110.361)

22. (7) James Jakes, Honda, 01:17.8968 (110.223)

23. (19) Tristan Vautier, Honda, 01:17.9876 (110.094)

24. (18) Rodolfo Gonzalez, Honda, 01:18.3867 (109.534)

25. (41) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 01:19.0408 (108.627)


Ryan Hunter-Reay No.28 Honda

Ryan Hunter-Reay No.28 Honda. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

The sun came out through partly cloudy skies at Sonoma Raceway, in time for the second/final practice session of IndyCar practice. The temps rose to 70 F degrees ambient, and 92 degrees for the race track; but the breeze was all but non-existent. Humidity dropped to 76 percent. Ten IndyCars, including all six of the 2015 Championship contenders, drove under the existing track record of 1:17.2393/111.161 mph set by last year’s pole sitter/race winner, Will Power/No.1 Verizon Team Penske. And all 25 drivers were faster in Saturday morning session.

Ryan Hunter-Reay

Saturday morning Ryan Hunter-Reay topped off the 45-minute practice session at 1:16.8702/111.695 mph.

Earlier in the morning RHR did the honors for drawing for the AutoNation Thanks-A-$10 Million Sweepstakes Grand Prix Drawing.

Second through tenth were: Graham Rahal/No.15 Steak ‘n Shake Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda, Josef Newgarden/No.67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet, Juan Pablo Montoya/No.2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, Scott Dixon/No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Chevrolet, Helio Castroneves/No.3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, Carlos Munoz/No 26 Cinsay Andretti Autosport Honda, Tony Kanaan/No.10 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Will Power/No.1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, and Simon Pagenaud/No.22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet.

Gabby Chaves No.98 Honda

Stefano Colletti

The top Rookie was Gabby Chaves.No.98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb BHA with Curb-Agajanian Honda. He currently is leading the Rookie Championship with 249 points, ahead of Stefano Colletti/No.4 KV Racing Technology with 177 points.

This weekend is a double-points race, so there are a myriad of points possibilities available for the Championship. Six drivers mathematically have a chance at the Astor Cup.

As it was Friday, Saturday’s practice was all but caution free. There was a Red Flag of 3:22 minutes for the tow of Sebastien Saavedra/No.8 AFS Chip Ganassi Racing, who had driven off course. That’s not to say drivers didn’t test their limits here and there, creating dust storms with their off-ons around the 12-turn, 2.385-mile elevated road course. But, no harm, no foul.


IndyCar Paddock Queue

What a difference a day makes. Saturday’s weather at Sonoma Raceway is much cooler than was Friday’s scorcher – a cloudy 64F degrees with 96 percent humidity but no chance of rain. The breeze is gentle. These new conditions will prove interesting for the mid-morning IndyCar practice. Saturday afternoon is scheduled to be quite hot for IndyCar qualifying for Sunday’s GoPro Sonoma GP.

Graham Rahal

Graham Rahal No.15 Honda

Courtney Force

Graham Rahal was the first driver in the long paddock queue waiting to go on track for practice, in his No.15 Steak ‘N Shake Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda. His fiancee, NHRA Funny Car driver, Courtney Force, was on hand to cheer on Rahal, who is going for the 2015 IndyCar Championship. He currently is 34 points behind Juan Pablo Montoya/No.2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet

The support groups took to the track early morning for their respective qualifying sessions.

In the NASA Formula Car Challenge Race #2 Qualifying, Hunter Picket took the pole position at 1:33.922. Fridays Race #1 winner, Cabot Bigham will start second in Race #2 scheduled after IndyCar practice.

A field of 25 cars in the Pirelli World Challenge GTS category qualified Saturday morning for their Saturday afternoon races. Andy Lee/No.20 BestlT Racing Chevrolet Camaro. His top lap was 1:40.961/85.042 mph. This is a new track record for this class.

There are Justin Wilson tribute and inspirational articles seen/sold throughout the paddock. The IndyCar Merchandise Tent has been doing a brisk business with the Justin Wilson T Shirts and decals. The 3,000 shirts sold out, as did all the decals – all within a couple of hours. Those articles are available online, with all proceeds going to the Wilson Children’s Fund.

Justin Wilson decal


Will Power No.1 Verizon Team Penske ChevroletWill Power No.1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet

Will Power No.1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. Photo by Pablo Matamoros

Will Power drove his No.1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to top spot Friday afternoon for the long IndyCar practice session, leading up to the GoPro GP of Sonoma IndyCar race on Sunday. His fastest lap was 1.17.4858/110.807 mph. The lap wasn’t quite as fast as his pole position lap last year of 1:17.4126/110.919 mph.

The top six drivers were all in the seventeens. While Power was on top for much of the session, there were other leaders before he regained the top spot.

Graham Rahal, second in the current IndyCar standings, ended up second fastest at 1:17.6184/110.618 mph. His fastest lap was very close to the end of the three and a half-hour session.

Third through sixth were Ryan Hunter-Reay/No.28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda, Scott Dixon/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, Marco Andretti/No.27 Snapple Andretti Autosport Honda, and Simon Pagenaud/No.22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet.

Points leader Juan Pablo Montoya/No.2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet was ninth overall.

Oriol Servia, who is driving the Andretti Autosport Honda originally slated for the late Justin Wilson, didn’t have the best of times. His car stopped on the first lap causing a short Red Flag situation. He ended up last of the twenty-five drivers, with only 33 laps – second fewest.

The session was otherwise caution free, with relatively little drama.

Thanks to a cloud cover coming in and the breeze picking up, the sweltering temperatures dropped at least twenty degrees during the session. Add to that the increasing breeze which was consistently inconsistent in its direction.

Mikhail Aleshin/No.77 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda

Mikhail Aleshin/No.77 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda. Photo by Jeff Burghart

Another driver change this weekend is the addition of a third car to the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports stable, with Mikhail Aleshin of Russia in No.77 Honda. He had raced last year but ended the season with a crash which sidelined him for a long time. He was seventeenth fastest.

Damian Power

Damian Power. Photo by Mike Burghardt.

After the session Power and Rahal met with the Media for a Post-Practice Media Opportunity. The party was short and sweet, and crashed by Power’s stand-up comedian brother, Damien, visiting from Australia. It was hard to tell, after the banter began, which one was the real comedian.

Power said “It was an interesting session. We tried the new tire, which didn’t degrade a lot. There’s not going to be much difference between red and black tires. Blacks are quite grippy. With the cloud cover cool down, the lap times Saturday may not be much quicker. Testing with the Indy Light drivers at our Sonoma Raceway Test Day helped. It gave us mileage on a new tire and definitely helped with new aero kits.”

Rahal said “Friday was a good start for us. After the first few laps, we made changes which gave us a good lap. The tires are definitely going to make it a good race. The Sonoma test helped. This place is so dependent on wind direction and tires. Today, the wind direction changed a lot during our session.”

Saturday’s IndyCar schedule includes a 45-minute practice mid-morning, followed by a 75-minute qualifying session mid-afternoon.

Sunday’s race will be telecast live on NBC Sports Network, with a 1-5pm PT broadcast window.

Rank Car Driver Name C/A/E/T Time Speed Diff Gap Best Lap Total Laps

1 1 Power, Will D/C/C/F 01:17.4858 110.807 –.—- –.—- 29 47

2 15 Rahal, Graham D/H/H/F 01:17.6184 110.618 0.1326 0.1326 31 33

3 28 Hunter-Reay, Ryan D/H/H/F 01:17.6423 110.584 0.1565 0.0239 28 33

4 9 Dixon, Scott D/C/C/F 01:17.7937 110.369 0.3079 0.1514 37 40

5 27 Andretti, Marco D/H/H/F 01:17.8827 110.243 0.3969 0.0890 29 33

6 22 Pagenaud, Simon D/C/C/F 01:17.9908 110.090 0.5050 0.1081 44 45

7 3 Castroneves, Helio D/C/C/F 01:18.0033 110.072 0.5175 0.0125 37 59

8 83 Kimball, Charlie D/C/C/F 01:18.0635 109.987 0.5777 0.0602 40 42

9 2 Montoya, Juan Pablo D/C/C/F 01:18.0901 109.950 0.6043 0.0266 33 41

10 11 Bourdais, Sebastien D/C/C/F 01:18.1390 109.881 0.6532 0.0489 39 50

11 26 Munoz, Carlos D/H/H/F 01:18.1529 109.862 0.6671 0.0139 33 34

12 10 Kanaan, Tony D/C/C/F 01:18.1558 109.857 0.6700 0.0029 2 30

13 67 Newgarden, Josef D/C/C/F 01:18.1594 109.852 0.6736 0.0036 30 36

14 5 Briscoe, Ryan D/H/H/F 01:18.1649 109.845 0.6791 0.0055 35 42

15 98 Chaves, Gabby (R) D/H/H/F 01:18.2388 109.741 0.7530 0.0739 44 45

16 8 Saavedra, Sebastian D/C/C/F 01:18.3924 109.526 0.9066 0.1536 36 40

17 77 Aleshin, Mikhail D/H/H/F 01:18.4491 109.447 0.9633 0.0567 32 32

18 41 Hawksworth, Jack D/H/H/F 01:18.4625 109.428 0.9767 0.0134 40 45

19 14 Sato, Takuma D/H/H/F 01:18.6520 109.164 1.1662 0.1895 37 42

20 19 Vautier, Tristan D/H/H/F 01:18.9471 108.756 1.4613 0.2951 18 20

21 7 Jakes, James D/H/H/F 01:19.0050 108.677 1.5192 0.0579 19 37

22 18 Gonzalez, Rodolfo (R) D/H/H/F 01:19.1607 108.463 1.6749 0.1557 53 55

23 20 Filippi, Luca D/C/C/F 01:19.2210 108.380 1.7352 0.0603 38 47

24 4 Coletti, Stefano (R) D/C/C/F 01:19.2787 108.301 1.7929 0.0577 20 23

25 25 Servia, Oriol D/H/H/F 01:19.6981 107.732 2.2123 0.4194 23 33

(R) Rookie
Total Laps: 984
(C)hassis: D=Dallara | (A)erokit: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (E)ngine: C=Chevy, H=Honda | (T)ire: F=Firestone
Information provided by Indy Racing Information System – Copyright INDYCAR 2015



The weather was hot for the first day of the GoPro Sonoma Grand Prix weekend at Sonoma Raceway for the season’s finale IndyCar race. A gentle breeze didn’t do much to cut the 91 F degree temperatures. And, as often is the case, it changed direction from morning to afternoon.

The atmosphere was muted this weekend after the tragic accident of British driver, Justin Wilson, who was racing No.25 Andretti Autosport Honda last weekend at Pocono. Wilson died Monday night from injuries sustained when his helmet was hit by a flying piece of debris from the crashing car of Rookie Sage Karem/No.8 Chevrolet. Karen sustained minor injuries – sore, bruised foot.

Tributes at the track and on social media were many and varied for the gentle giant, a much-beloved member of the IndyCar community. The drivers were full of fond memories and praise for the character and talent of Wilson, who had been selected by the drivers to represent them in the Driver’s Association. They all agreed the best (and toughest) thing to do was get back into the car and race this weekend. Best medicine.

No.25 Andretti Autosport Honda

Twenty-five IndyCar drivers are entered for Sunday’s feature race, including Oriol Servia of Spain who is driving the No.25 Andretti Autosport Honda, formerly driven by Wilson. The two drivers were close friends, and Servia said “This is the most difficult quote I have ever had to make, The situation is so difficult, on so many levels for obvious reasons, that it’s hard for the words to come out the right way. I am honored and emotional with the opportunity of driving his car this weekend. I want to thank my friends at Andretti Autosport for the opportunity, and I want to express how deeply touched I am by the desire of Julia, Stefan and all the Wilson family to have me driving the No. 25.”

Oriol Servia No.25 Andretti Autosport Honda

Oriol Servia in No.25 Andretti Autosport Honda. Photo by Pablo Matamoros.

Stefan Wilson, Justin’s younger brother said “As a family, we can not imagine a better person to race in Justin’s honor than Oriol. His path and Justin’s crossed in many different ways through the years.  As a competitor, and also as a person, he carries Justin’s spirit well, and we know that Justin would approve.”

A couple of other IndyCar driver changes include veteran Sebastien Saavedra who will drive the No.8 AFS Ganassi Racing Chevrolet – who has alternated this season with young Karem. Karen drove the majority of the races, with Saavedra running four, road and street courses. Both ran the Indianapolis 500. The other driver change is Rookie Roberto Gonzalez in No.18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda. This car had been driven by a variety of drivers throughout the season, and the Dale Coyne team is the one for whom Wilson raced the past two years.

Also on the program for this three-day weekend is the Pirelli World Challenge Series, which has 64 entries in the four classes. There are 17 GT cars, 12 GTA’s, eight GT Cup cars, and 27 GTS cars. This is the penultimate round for the SCCA Pro Racing Series.

Rounding out the bill is the Formula Car Challenge Series, which is the Official Feeder Series in the Mazda Road to Indy program. Two of the successful graduates of this series are racing IndyCars this weekend. The 2014 Indy Lights Champion, Gabby Chaves, who is running for IndyCar Rookie of the Year racing No.98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda for BHA Racing; and Tristan Vautier, who is running the No.19 Dale Coyne Honda this weekend and also raced in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

The Friday schedule called for practice sessions for all series, plus qualifying and a race for the Formula Car Challenge. IndyCar’s one practice session is three and a half hours starting at 2:30pm, the last on-track group for the day.

Cabot Bigham, racing in the PRO FM class of the Formula Car Challenge Series, won the Friday race after qualifying third. He had also been the fastest in the morning practice. Finishing second in the race was pole sitter, Hunter Pickett, who also races in the PFM category. His qualifying lap was 1:33.922. PFM driver Stan Kohls finished third. Prior to the race, Pickett was leading the PFM standings. He is the grandson of veteran championship driver, Greg Pickett.

Pirelli World Challenge cars

The PWC drivers had two separate sessions for the large field. Fastest in the GTS Category in Practice One was Renger van_der_Zande/No.31 EFFORT Racing/World PMO Porsche 911 GT3R at 1:33.919/91.419 mph. His teammate, Rookie Michael Lewis/No.41 was fastest in the second practice for the group, with van_der_Zande coming in second.

In the PWC GT/GTA/GT Cup categories, veteran champion driver, Jack Baldwin/No.73 GTS GTSport Racing Porsche Cayman S set a new track record at 1:42.264/83.959 mph. Every driver was faster than the record in the field of 34 cars. In the second practice, Mark Wilkins/No.38 GTS PutOnTheBrakes.Org KIA Optima was fastest at 1:41.874/84.280 mph. He also was fastest than the existing track record, as were all24 drivers in that session.

Pit Lane Catch Fence

One change in the track added for this race is the new Pit Lane Catch Fence along the tarmac facing the garages. It had been installed for the NASCAR race in June, but it interfered with the Timing & Scoring system and was taken down, and then reinstalled for this weekend.

American Flag at Half Mast


Travelin' Ford Detroit to SF

Sunday was again hot at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the fourth and final day of the 2015 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. The mysterious patchy clouds hung around – possibly a quirky wind change blowing down lingering forest fire smoke from Northern California.

The schedule was shorter, with only seven Race Groups – all in the B category. The crowds were more manageable, which usually happens on Sunday, while the early birds head to Pebble Beach for the spit and polish of the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance. They return back to the race world in the afternoon, and attend the Reunion Awards Ceremonies – which reward excellence, presentation and authenticity – not necessarily race winners or speed.

Group 1B-1927-1951 Racing Cars had the smallest field and an even smaller starting grid for the morning race. Paddins Dowling’s No.3 1939 Maserati 4CL won the race by 02.400 seconds over Jon Shirley’s No.12 1934 Alda Romeo Tipo B (P3). Perennial winner, Peter Giddings, finished third in his well-known No.31 1932 Alfa Romeo Monza. The average race lap was 67.471 mph. Thirteen of the 21-car field took the checkered flag for the nine-lap race.

The trio won again in that order for the afternoon’s Rolex Race. Dowling’s Margin this time was 06.693 seconds, and he turned the fastest race lap of 2.00.507/66.858 mph on Lap 7. The average race lap was 66.157. The same 13 cars ran the nine-lap race.

Group 2B-1947-1955 Sports Racing and GT Cars morning race was won by Cameron Healy of Portland OR in his No.55 1953 Porsche Cooper Pooper. His MOV was 03.256 seconds ahead of Dave Zurlinden’s No.15 Tatum GMC Special. Robert Manson’s No.7 1949 Baldwin Mercury Special. The average race lap was 63.567 mph. All but three of the 30-car field ran the eight-lap race.

Healey won the afternoon Group 2B Rolex Race, this time by only 01.646 seconds ahead of Marcus Bicknell of the UK in his No.15 1952 Streets Manning Special. Third was John Buddenbaum in the No.3 1949 Jaguar Parkinson Special owned by Terry Buffum. Healey turned the fastest race lap of 1;51.374/72.34 mph on Lap 7. The field numbered 24 cars for the seven-lap race.

Local driver Donald Orosco won Group 3B-1955-1961 Sports Racing Cars under 2000cc, racing his No.59 1958 Lotus 15. He beat runner up, Gregory Campbell of Canada in his No.356 1955 Devin Porsche 356 PreA by 05.805 seconds. The average race lap was 75.473 mph, for the ten-lap race. Thirty-four of the 36-car field ran the race.

The afternoon Group 3B Rolex Race was again won by Don Orosco in his Lotus 15. It was a local family sweep Runner-up was Brian Orosco in his No.36 1959 Lola Mk1 and third was Chris Orosco in his No.90 1959 Lola Mk1. The Margin of victory for Don Orosco was 00.711 seconds, the second closest of the afternoon. Brian Orosco turned the fastest race lap of 1:45.737/76.197 mph on Lap 4. The average race lap was 65.951 mph. Thirty-one of thirty-five cars ran the race.

Fred Della Noce No.18 1966 Ginetta G12

The Group 4B Race for 1961-1966 GT Cars had the largest field of the day – 49 cars. Fred Della Noce of Brazil won in his No.18 1966 Ginetta G12, 04.326 seconds ahead of his Brazilian compadre, Dalmo De Vasconcelos’s Nol.l85 1965 Lotus Elan 26R. Third place went to Michael Malone in his No.37 1965 Lotus 26R. The average race lap was 70.917 mph.

Timothy De Silva No.30 1962 Austin Mini Cooper

Thirty-eight cars ran the morning race. Young Timothy De Silva only was able to run four laps in the only Mini Cooper this weekend-No.30 1962 Austin Mini Cooper. He is the son of vintage racer Harinda Da Silva, who raced his 1974 Shadow DN3 F1 car in Group 8A.

It was Deja Vu for the afternoon Group 4B Rolex Race – same top three finishers in the same order. Della Noce’s MOV was 05.070 seconds. He turned the fastest race lap of 1:44.685/76.962 mph on the last lap of the eight-lap race. The average race lap was 63.297 mph.

Mike McGovern won the colorful Group 5B morning race for 1963-1968 GT Cars over 2500cc, driving his No.19 1964 Shelby Cobra, a scant 00.709 seconds ahead of runnerup Jeffrey Abronsom’s No.15 1964 Chevrolet Corvtte Roadster. Finishing third was Jim Click’s No.89 1965 Shelby Cobra. The Average Lap was 72.92 mph. The grid comprised 31 cars in a 39-car field for the ten-lap race.

Ironman McGovern did it again in the afternoon Rolex race, finishing 01.278 ahead of Abramson, who was followed by Click – who turned the fastest race lap of 1:42.702/78.448 mph on Lap 7. The average race lap was 77.456 mph.

Not finishing as high in either the morning or after races was Greg Umphenour in his No.81 1964 Mercury Comet, but it certainly was a stylin’ car. It has run the South African Rallye.

The Group 6B Historic Trans-Am Cars-1966-1972 is always a favorite group.The morning race was won by Jim Halsey of Los Angeles in his No.61 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302, finishing 01.359 seconds ahead of veteran vintage racer, Ken Epsman in his No.2 red-white-blue 1971 AMC Javelin. The average race lap was 53.097 mph.

Mike McGovern No.16T 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302

Third was Mike McGovern in his No.16T 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302. Can you imagine how McGovern felt after running those two races back to back in that heat – nearly 90 degrees. He won the morning 5B race.Hope he had a cool suit.

And to show how tough he is, he ran both of his Rolex races (5B/6B) back to back in the hot afternoon and won both!

For the Trans-Am race, McGovern won, Epsman was second and Halsey was third. The MOV was 00.130 seconds – the closest of the afternoon. McGovern had to work for that victory. Halsey ran the fastest race lap of 1:45.998/76.009 mph on Lap 2.

Richard Dean of the UK won the morning Group 7B Race for 1968-1978 Formula 5000 Cars in Zak Brown’s No.6 1974 Lola T332. His Margin of Victory was 11.750 seconds ahead of Paul Zazryn of Australia, racing his No.24 1974 Lola T332. Third was Steven Ross of New Zealand in is No.5A 1973 McRae GM-1. Those blokes from Down Under know their F5000’s.

The Average race lap, in the 12-lap race, was 90.506 mph, the fastest for the morning races.

New Zealand F5000 Shipping Container

The visitors from Down Under took the top three finishing positions for the afternoon Rolex Race. Dean won the race with a 01.726 seconds MOV. Second was Alan Dunkley of New Zealand in his No.42 1968 Lola T140. Paul Zazryn of Australia was relegated to third position by the Chief Steward for Passing under a standing Yellow flag.

Zazryn turned the fastest race lap of 1:27.352/92.234 mph, the fastest of the afternoon Rolex Races. The average race lap was 52.477 mph on the last lap.

During the lunch break the Paddock Stage Presentation was “Legends of the F5000″ with a panel of famous Formula 5000 drivers moderated by Casey Annis, Publisher/Editor of Vintage Racecar/Vintage Roadcar. The drivers included Howden Ganley, John Morton and Brian Redman, along with Shadow Team Owner, Don Nichols. They spoke of the heyday of F5000 racing. The enthused crowd stuck around for an hour in the blazing sun. To my knowledge, at least three of the participants have written books on their racing: Ganley, Morton and Redman.

Don Nichols

Brian Redman

Howden Ganley

Left to Right: Don Nichols, Brian Redman and Howden Ganley. Apologies to John Morton for no portrait. Maybe this will do.

John Morton No.1 1971 Porsche 908/3

John Morton No.1 1971 Porsche 908/3

Don Nichols, Brian Redman, Howden Ganley and John Morton

Don Nichols, Brian Redman, Howden Ganley and John Morton