DIXON LEADS OPENING DAY OF PRACTICE FOR GOPRO GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA

SONOMA, Calif. (Friday, Aug. 23, 2013) – Even though there were no points on the line during the opening day of practice for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, the championship contenders didn’t see it that way.

There are 20 drivers mathematically eligible for the title entering the 85-lap race Aug. 25, and the top two in points — Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon — were fast out of the gate on the 2.385-mile, 12-turn road course.

Dixon, who has won three of the past four races in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car and is 31 points behind the front-running Castroneves, topped the time chart with a best lap of 1 minute, 18.3145 seconds in the 45-minute afternoon session.

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Castroneves was .3549 of a second behind in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske car. Reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, who is third in the standings, was third overall with a lap of 1:18.6814 in the 45-minute morning session.

“Year after year the championship comes down to the last race and we’ll just carry on and try to get the most points out of each race,” said Dixon, a two-time series champion who won at Sonoma in 2007.

Added Castroneves: “It’s wide open; anything can happen.”

Three rounds of qualifying, which awards a point for earning the Verizon P1 Award, are Aug. 24. Will Power, driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, set the track record of 1 minute, 17.2709 seconds in qualifying in 2012.

IZOD INDYCAR SERIES PRACTICE:

            At 11 a.m., the ambient temperature was 64 degrees with a relative humidity of 66 percent and winds from the northeast at 3 mph. Skies were mostly sunny. The track temperature was 92 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.

11 a.m. – GREEN. #83 Kimball is first on track.

11:25 a.m. – RED FLAG. Debris on course in Turn 9.

11:28 a.m. – GREEN.

11:45 a.m. – CHECKERED.

QUICKEST TIMES OF IZOD INDYCAR SERIES PRACTICE:

Pos. Car Name Time
1. 1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1:18.6814
2. 3 Helio Castroneves

1:18.6976

3. 10 Dario Franchitti

1:18.8124

4. 25 Marco Andretti

1:18.9740

5. 4 Ryan Briscoe

1:19.0182

 

IZOD INDYCAR SERIES PRACTICE #2:

            At 2 p.m., the ambient temperature was 71 degrees with a relative humidity of 58 percent and winds from the south at 10 mph. Skies were clear. The track temperature was 108 degrees, according to Firestone engineers.

2 p.m. – GREEN. #67 Newgarden first on track.

2:13 p.m. – RED FLAG. #11 Kanaan spins off course in Turn 6. Car is restarted by Holmatro Safety Team and returns to pit lane under its own power.

2:16 p.m. – GREEN.

2:28 p.m. – RED FLAG. #4 Briscoe spins at the exit of Turn 6. Car continues under its own power and returns to the pit lane.

2:29 p.m. – GREEN.

            2:45 p.m. – CHECKERED.

 

QUICKEST TIMES OF IZOD INDYCAR SERIES PRACTICE:

Pos. Car

Name

Time
1. 9 Scott Dixon 1:18.3145
2. 3

Helio Castroneves

1:18.6694
3. 12 Will Power

1:18.7454

4. 1 Ryan Hunter-Reay

1:18.7766

5. 19 Justin Wilson 1:18.8704

 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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