DARIO FRANCHITTI/No.10 Target Chip Ganassi Honda was the fastest in the third and final IZOD IndyCar practice for Sunday’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, with a lap of 1:18.0988/, the fastest time so far this weekend. The time was set on his first of nine laps.
Second through fifth were RYAN HUNTER-REAY/No.1 Andretti Autosport Chevrolet; SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS/No.7 Dragon Racing Chevrolet; SCOTT DIXON/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda; and JUSTIN WILSON/No.19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda. Of those drivers, Bourdais and Dixon weren’t at the top of the charts.
Overall for the weekend, the top five were Franchitti, Dixon (set Fri afternoon), RHR, Bourdais and Wilson.
The only drama was in the last couple of minutes. EJ VISO/No.5 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet slowed considerably and was rear-ended by a surprised WILL POWER/No.12 Team Penske Racing. Both pitted for damage assessment. Viso sustained rear end damage, while Power damaged his side plates. Both drivers are alright.
Viso had been one of the early leaders in the session.
With less than five minutes remaining in the session, Rookie LUCAS LUHR/No.97 RW Motorsports/SFHR Honda jumped up three spots to P22 from the bottom of the times. At the very end he was jumped by JOSEF NEWGARDEN/No.67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda, and finished P23.
The ambient temperature was in the low seventies and the track temperature was 96 degrees F. The breeze was brisk but not windy – three mph.
Other/early leaders in the session included WILL POWER/No.12 Team Penske Chevrolet; JAMES JAKES/No.16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda; EJ VISO/No.5 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet; and SIMON PAGENAUD/No.77 Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports Honda.
ANNA CHATTEN has 14-year’s tenure as an indy racing mechanic. She works with Panther Racing’s No.4 Chevrolet, as the gear box specialist. She builds gearboxes and transmissions. Shifting is more difficult at Sonoma Raceway than many other IndyCar tracks. There’s a lot more going on at the circuit.
The gear box parts are changed out according to the logged mileage. Chatten’s job is to check, inspect and change the gear boxes after each session. She can change a gear box in twenty minutes. Race Day morning she goes through the team’s inventory and buys new parts.
During the race, Chatten is on the Pit Stop crew, handling the air jack. She jokes that the race is her ‘chillin’ time of the weekend.
Firestone Fast Six Qualifying starts at 2:30pm PT/5pm ET. It will be aired tape delayed at 9pm ET on NBC Sports.