WILL POWER/No.12 Team Penske Racing Chevrolet finally won the IZOD IndyCar race at Sonoma Raceway, his third win at the track, and his first since Brazil last year. For him that alone made the victory memorable. Then factor in everything else that occurred during race, especially concerning Power, and that made The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma was one of the bizarre races seen in awhile. It had something for everyone – gutsy and aggressive driving, carnage, Drive Thru Penalties for Avoidable Contact, and cautions. There were a few accidents but no one was hurt as far as we know.

Second through fifth were JUSTIN WILSON/No.19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda, DARIO FRANCHITTI/No.10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda; MARCO ANDRETTI/No.25 andretti Autosport Chevrolet; and SIMON PAGENAUD/No.77 Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports Honda.

Power’s Margin of Victory was 1.1930.

Points Runner-up, SCOTT DIXON/No.9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda had a strong run, and was in the lead ahead of Power, when they both pitted on Lap 64. Up to that point, it seemed that it was Dixon’s race to lose. And he did. There was a disastrous pit stop involving both cars, and Dixon was assessed a Drive-thru Penalty for Pit Lane Safety. Dixon finished fifteenth.

After the race, Dixon said it was just horrible, the inconsistency by Race Control.

Power said, about the incident, “I feel bad. I can’t count the amount of times that has happened to us in the past two years, so I’ll take it.”

When asked about Dixon’s assertion that the incident was deliberate, Power said “I would be very surprised if it was on purpose. I haven’t seen the video, so I won’t comment on it.”

Regarding his win, Power said “I learned a few things this year. Being in the back teaches you things.”

IndyCar Race Director, BEAUX BARFIELD was interviewed in Pit Lane regarding the Dixon/Power Pit Lane Incident. “We had to protect everyone in the pit lane, and I can’t protect them when someone uses less than good judgement. There’s a couple of angles to the incident. Different angle between the Target and Verizon signs on the wall. Dixon clearly cuts into the Verizon pit space. It made the call an easy one. It’s certainly not worth it to jeopardize safety.”

Regarding Dixon’s saying that it was deliberate on the part of the Verizon tire carrier, Barfield said “Ultimately, that guy is in his own space, doing his routine work. We looked at that too. Look at his right leg – he was as close to his car he could be. Dixon’s move was extremely risky.”

Leader Dixon and second-place Power both pitted on Lap 64, and Dixon’s pit is immediately behind Power’s. Dixon exited his pit box first, and clipped Power’s right rear tire carrier who was carrying the tire just removed from Power’s car. The wheel was on his left hip, Dixon appeared to clear his space properly and his left rear wheel hit the wheel being carried by Power’s crew. It knocked the tire carrier down, falling into the left rear tire guy who also fell. And another crew was hit by an air gun. The clipping didn’t injure the guys – it was the fall to the ground. But they all said they “were OK and things happen on pit road. It hasn’t happened in a while. No worries.”

Dixon was assessed a Drive Thru Penalty for Pit Safety Infraction, and when it was announced in the Media Center, there was a loud spontaneous and collective groan. Dixon shook his head while he pitted. The announcers were voluble in disagreeing with the penalty.

Power took the lead and went on for the win. Dixon cycled back to twenty-first place.

MIKE HULL, Ganassi Team Manager, was interviewed right after the penalty, and he was politely but strongly upset. He disagreed with the penalty, felt it was not protestable and providing no recourse for the Ganassi.

The broadcast announcers certainly disagreed with the Dixon penalty, showing the incident over and over with a power point presentation on why it was not Dixon’s fault.

The race was also notable for a number of things – carnage, Drive Thru Penalties for Avoidable Contact, cautions, etc. Stay tuned. More to come.

The temperature at the start of the race was 76 degrees F, with a 10mph Southerly wind. the skies were mostly blue with a few clouds off to the side. The track temperature was 113 degrees F.

Chapter One of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma 2013.