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.
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.
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.
Leading 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 (www.WilsonChildrensFund.com) 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.
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.
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.