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