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Indycars at Sonoma: you're on holiday but they race on


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#1 Risil

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 21:02

sonoma_raceway_.jpg?w=614&h=409

Classy Madness-free Indycar Championship Trail XIX

Round the penultimateth: Sonoma Raceway, California

Lap length: 2.39 miles

Turns: 12, they go this way and that

Previous winner: Will Power (oh shit), Penske/Chevy

 

 

Back to California. This weekend the Indycar circus makes its second visit to the great state of Jerry Brown, Philip Marlowe and Pets.com. Surprisingly little has changed since Long Beach – not too surprisingly when you consider that despite that being Round 2 and this being Round 17, it's only four months since Dallaras were frolicking among the fountains and pornography shops of West Anaheim. Will Power is still the man with all the speed, Castroneves and Pagenaud are still consistent finishers, and the midfield still sends representatives to race at the front almost at random. Ryan Hunter-Reay turned in a similar year to 2013, although in a tribute to the Boston Consulting Group (or possibly 1997) he did take care to finish his season at Indianapolis.

 

But now the season's nearly at an end, which means you're all obligated to pay attention since in three months' time this race will be all you can remember about Indycars. Here in the UK the summer ended last Tuesday and all we're left with is this soggy mockery of an August Bank Holiday with only a West Coast Indycar race to take the sting out of the declining evenings.

 

25.jpg

Sears Point Raceway: also available in brown

 

Pay attention to this schedule

Friday: support classes. Little open wheelers, Pirelli World Challenge and 10 Firestone Indy Lights cars (and 40 Firestone Indy Lights tyres).

 

Saturday, 23 August

10.00-10.45: Indycar practice 1

12.15: Indy Lights race 1

13.15-14.00: Indycar practice 2

14.35: Pirelli World Challenge race 1

16.35-17.45: Indycar qualifying (I think this actually counts as Sunday in Europe)

 

Sunday, 24 August

10.00-10.30: Indycar warmup

11.00: Indy Lights race 2

13.40: 85 laps of Indycar racing

16.40: Pirelli World Challenge race 2 (it's just like TUSC minus the infighting and for that matter any drivers that you've heard of)

 

News and excitement
* Top of the bill on Indycar.com right now is the admittedly earth-shattering news that AC Slater, nineties heartthrob and star of NBC Saturday mornings, is sitting in Marco Andretti's racing car. Can't confirm whether this is some childish prank at the expense of Josef Newgarden Zack Morris but I expect this isn't the last we hear of this story.

08-21-Marco-And-Mario-Lopez-Std.jpg?h=36
You thought I was lying? I thought I was lying.

 

* Yesterday evening I took my hazel twig for a walk around a field, hoping to find a source of enthusiasm for the race this weekend. I didn't find a spring or leyline worthy of the name. You see, Will Power's about to wrap it all up. Sonoma is a “classic” American road course, which means that the quickest driver usually wins and we get to spend most of our time looking at racing lines and pretty scenery. Jks he's not really going to wrap it up. He's just competing for the honour of having his engine blow up at Fontana and Helio winning the title on the double points rule. Seriously the finale of a racing series is the WORST place you can put a double points race. I get the feeling that for all the hype, it's all going to go off without a hitch in F1 and it's Indycar that's going to be left an asterisk champion.

 

* Update from the 2013 machine: this time last year Lucas Luhr became the American Andre Lotterer and didn't achieve very much. Will Power won his first Indycar race in almost a decade but only after the dominating and title-hungry Scott Dixon had mown down his (Power's) pitcrew. Alternatively Will Power's pitcrew committed sati at the Ganassi vehicle as it left its pitbox in a futile attempt to keep Helio Castroneves's championship alive. Pagenaud finished fifth and Saavedra crashed.

 

indycar-2012-sonoma-track.jpg

The place where the magic happens.

 

* Having made a net 109 places up from starting positions this year, Charlie Kimball is the runaway … I can't say leader … in the chase for the Tag Heuer Don't Crack Under Pressure award. Indycar's worst qualifier wins 25 grand but not a Tag Heuer watch, presumably because Tag Heuer doesn't wish to be associated with Indycar's worst qualifier.

 

* James Hinchcliffe is probably racing for his job right now, or more to the point, his next job. His last season-and-a-half has fluctuated between colon-closed-bracket and semicolon-underscore-semicolon, so the sake of our sanities let's hope for a good result from everyone's favourite off-track/on-track charisma deficit.

* Other driver market probablies? Mike Conway is probably racing in WEC next year, so FishCarp Racing is probably looking for a replacement road course driver. Right now FishCarp is being koi about next year's engine supply, so with Josef Newgarden probably sticking with Honda, they're probably scouting for two drivers. As Simon Pagenaud is probably taking his collection of desk ornaments to Andretti Autosport next year, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports will probably have a very competitive seat open for Josef Newgarden, James Hinchcliffe, Jolyon Palmer, Jean-Eric Vergne, Nigel Mansell or indeed AC Slater.


Edited by Risil, 22 August 2014 - 22:39.


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#2 HaydenFan

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 21:43

Looks like Andretti is going to expand to five with keeping the ever popular, but ever disappointing Mayor of Hinchtown (I bet even Hinch is sick of that moniker now.) while bringing in Pagenaud. Seems Andretti is willing to spend on driver (Pagenaud) who will win and challenge for the title while keeping the kids who will fund the winning drivers (Marco/Hinch). 

 

Don't really expect anything good if Newgarden leaves the new Special Ed/Sarah Fisher superteam. He has on his own kept the team running. Hasn't brought in money, but has brought just enough results to get a few new backers to the team. 

 

But lets talk about Sears Point. Still not a good race track to me. But a fun course. Should be like Mid-Ohio. Fairly uneventful race where during the middle of the race, we have no idea what is going on, then Scott Dixon comes from nowhere to take a pretty easy victory. Power runner-up and Helio just hovering around 10th all day, pretty much locking up an Australian title winner. Not a Pagenaud or Hunter-Reay circuit, so I don't expect to see them contending. 

 

Maybe a middling Andretti car leading late will "spin" and Marco will get an uncommon victory? 



#3 PayasYouRace

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 21:44

Risil does it again!  :up:

 

I should be able to watch this one.

 

I was going to say I do like Sears Point when it's green but I understand California's having a bit of a drought right now so I'll let them off.



#4 Prost1997T

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 22:06

Look who's in a Pro Mazda car this weekend:



#5 Risil

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 22:07

So the post-Verstappen exodus to America begins. 18 years old? You've had it!



#6 Prost1997T

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 22:12

So the post-Verstappen exodus to America begins. 18 years old? You've had it!

 

Well he did say he was checking out the US scene and didn't rule out a permanent switch...



#7 paulb

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 22:33

Nice OP, but I'm still trying to figure out where the West Anaheim racetrack is located. I live in Anaheim so I will be mighty pissed the next time I miss a race there.

 

I also did not notice before that AC Slater is a Black Power dude, talk about an Olympic flashback!



#8 rhukkas

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 22:37

jack Harvey, Hawksworth, Wheldon... this has been going on a while. In Europe it's very much pay to play, unless you're a complete freak like Verstappen, so America is a good option if you're looking at actually getting paid to drive instead of being the one writing the cheques.



#9 Risil

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 22:37

Nice OP, but I'm still trying to figure out where the West Anaheim racetrack is located. I live in Anaheim so I will be mighty pissed the next time I miss a race there.

 

You've never heard of West Anaheim? Tell that to Jack Hawksworth, he lives in North Birmingham.



#10 Disgrace

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 00:20

This circuit was the bomb in Gran Turismo 4.



#11 Wes350

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 00:44

It's an interesting place.

 

When you see the track, and then compare it to the land they have available, one cannot help but wonder what could have been if they had had the money to build a track to match the location...



#12 stewie

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 08:43

Meanwhile in Belgium, I came all this way to the f1 and all I bought was this lousy Champ Car cap....

https://www.dropbox....165507.jpg?dl=0

#13 Peat

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 09:23

This circuit was the bomb in Gran Turismo 4.

 

I'm finding it a pain in the iRacing DW12. I'm 4 seconds off the pace!



#14 Andrew Hope

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 14:00

This circuit was the bomb in Gran Turismo 4.

I liked to take the extra parts of the track (like the bike chicane) whenever I had a big lead in a race.

 

Which was all the time, because Tetris had better AI than any Gran Turismo game ever did.



#15 HaydenFan

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 14:05

I liked to take the extra parts of the track (like the bike chicane) whenever I had a big lead in a race.

 

Which was all the time, because Tetris had better AI than any Gran Turismo game ever did.

 

Why you do what Will Power should have done in 2010 & 2011, and just let the field build up a 20-30 second gap, then start your race. 

 

Gran Turismo seems like most shooters as of late. A bad story, single player mode, but a solid online setup. 



#16 Jim Thurman

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 17:24

It's an interesting place.

 

When you see the track, and then compare it to the land they have available, one cannot help but wonder what could have been if they had had the money to build a track to match the location...

 

:confused:  What you might not realize is a few spots in that photo used to have hills stuck in between the looping, meandering circuit. So, the original circuit was layed out around them in what was then natural terrain. Bruton Smith bought it and, somehow, was able to bulldoze the hills for "better viewing" for NASCAR racing.  I write "somehow" because every previous ownership attempt at expansion or construction seemed to be shot-down by county officials.  They wouldn't even let them build a dirt oval at Sears Point.



#17 Risil

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 17:33

Better put it down to natural charisma, I suppose.

 

sven1931_03.jpg



#18 Prost1997T

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 17:44

Interesting stat I noticed going into this race: Montoya has the most points on ovals, but is only 15th for road\street courses.



#19 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 17:58

I'm finding it a pain in the iRacing DW12. I'm 4 seconds off the pace!

 

I'd love to be within 4 seconds of a good time.

 

On an oval in a stockcar...



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#20 midgrid

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 18:09

Interesting stat I noticed going into this race: Montoya has the most points on ovals, but is only 15th for road\street courses.


Are the two additional trophies for best road/street and oval performer still being awarded?

#21 Risil

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 18:14

Are the two additional trophies for best road/street and oval performer still being awarded?

 

They've stopped counting it on the website, so I assume not.

 

You can still win this delicious Verizon P1 award though!


Edited by Risil, 23 August 2014 - 18:14.


#22 Risil

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 18:34

First practice has now happened and been relegated to the annals of history.

 

Big teams at the front, with Hunter-Reay fastest, followed by the Ganassi duo Dixon and Kanaan second and third, followed by the Penske duo Power and Castroneves fourth and fifth. Hinchcliffe 7th, eight-tenths off his teammate's time, and Pagenaud is mired in 16th.

 

With all the testing they do there, Sonoma's basically Indycar's Circuit de Catalunya. So perhaps the Andretti-Ganassi-Penske domination isn't surprising. Especially if you attribute the mixed-up pecking order this year to teams taking wild swings at car setup with the mysterious Firestone rubber.



#23 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 18:43

I think they tested there last week too.

 

I don't think you should be allowed to test anywhere you race. Unless it's after the event. Even then I'd prefer not. It's probably better for the racing to have some disparity and why not spend those track rental fees amongst more locations.

 

Plus, you know, DW12 in the Corkscrew potential.



#24 Prost1997T

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 20:28

They've stopped counting it on the website, so I assume not.

 

You can still win this delicious Verizon P1 award though!

 

Actually they're tracked at http://www.indycar.com/Stats under the "drivers" tab.

 

I think they tested there last week too.

 

I don't think you should be allowed to test anywhere you race. Unless it's after the event. Even then I'd prefer not. It's probably better for the racing to have some disparity and why not spend those track rental fees amongst more locations.

 

Plus, you know, DW12 in the Corkscrew potential.

 

 

Except they've had pre-race tests at Mid-Ohio and Fontana before.



#25 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 20:37

Yeah, Mid-Ohio's a real barn burner :lol:

 

Nothing would help that track for overtaking though. Just figure out a way to get back to Cleveland.



#26 Prost1997T

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 21:12

Yeah, Mid-Ohio's a real barn burner :lol:

 

Nothing would help that track for overtaking though. Just figure out a way to get back to Cleveland.

 

Cleveland might be replacing Houston next year.



#27 Risil

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 21:14

Cleveland might be replacing Houston next year.

 

I'm going to be very, very disappointed in you if this doesn't happen. :)



#28 Prost1997T

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 21:29

I'm going to be very, very disappointed in you if this doesn't happen. :)

 

Source was Robin Miller, so I wouldn't count on it.



#29 Risil

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 21:33

Robin Miller, the master of the constructive rumour. In fairness to his method, I wonder how many Indycar deals have happened because he'd already reported they had.



#30 Wes350

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 22:05

...  I write "somehow" because every previous ownership attempt at expansion or construction seemed to be shot-down by county officials.  They wouldn't even let them build a dirt oval at Sears Point.

 

Being a Cali native there is no mystery to the "somehow".  Previous ownership had obviously neglected to donate to the proper election campaigns...



#31 Afterburner

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 23:41

Watching qualifying right now. Am I the only one who is completely and hopelessly lost by NBCSN's qualifying graphics? :lol:



#32 jonpollak

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 04:38

Holiday?

#Whatchyoutalkin'bout.

Flat chat we are here in Toronto.

Hope's a no show as well....

hope_solo.jpg

 

Anyway,

I'll just put this here.

 

Will Power.

 

Jp


Edited by jonpollak, 24 August 2014 - 04:40.


#33 Dolph

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 11:48

F1 race at Spa and an Indycar race Sonoma on the same day. Life is good :smoking:



#34 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 12:43

*prays for teammate contact*



#35 FLB

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 13:40

There's just been a massive earthquake in the area:

 

http://www.cnn.com/2...uake/index.html



#36 Risil

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 13:47

There's just been a massive earthquake in the area:

 

http://www.cnn.com/2...uake/index.html

 

"The refrigerator flew open and all the food fell out," said Karen Lynch, who lives in downtown Napa.


Edited by Risil, 24 August 2014 - 13:47.


#37 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 13:50

That's like a 4-year old explaining how the last piece of cake disappeared.


Edited by Ross Stonefeld, 24 August 2014 - 13:50.


#38 Prost1997T

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 13:54

Well there were no deaths or injuries so what else do you want them to talk about? :drunk:



#39 bourbon

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 14:07

How big was the earthquake? 



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#40 Risil

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 14:08

6.1 on the Richter scale. Happened in the early hours of Sunday morning. No serious injuries reported so far, but property damage.



#41 midgrid

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 14:10

It's a sign of the impending apocalypse that will occur when Power finally wins the championship.

#42 Risil

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 14:31

More news: People in hospital with "moderate injuries", unreinforced stone buildings in Napa suffering significant damage, bumps and cracks in a few roads in the Sonoma area.

 

Could be a problem. Remember Motegi 2011?

 

EDIT: Report from Sonoma Raceway (15 miles from epicentre) says no damage, no injuries. Drivers got a bit of a shock this morning, but race will go on as scheduled.


Edited by Risil, 24 August 2014 - 15:13.


#43 Disgrace

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 15:14

It better, I need to unwind.  :p



#44 Sheepmachine

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 15:17

I hope it does go ahead :)

#45 Dolph

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 16:48

Indycar.com:

 

Race activities continue on schedule following quake



#46 PayasYouRace

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 18:28

Only just been able to come on because I was avoiding Belgium spoilers. I think I'll just hang around the Indycar thread for now and let the rest of the forum melt down.



#47 OvDrone

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 18:52

Only just been able to come on because I was avoiding Belgium spoilers. I think I'll just hang around the Indycar thread for now and let the rest of the forum melt down.

 

It's safe in here, mate.

 

Got two of my buddies to watch Sonoma with me. One is a F1 McLaren fan and the other one belongs to the Turnleft Juniornation. Hopefully tonight will be the night they will sell their souls to Indycar.


Edited by OvDrone, 24 August 2014 - 18:57.


#48 PayasYouRace

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 19:00

Yeah we know how to handle teammate contact in Indycar. Hell, they can take each other out of the race and we just laugh about it for a week at least.

 

Meanwhile, is Rahal sponsored by National Guard or by Minecraft? Or is National Guard sponsored by Minecraft?

 

Bv00yhyCYAAymJq.jpg



#49 OvDrone

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 19:45

I don't know about you but I love playing Minecraft with some mates / matettes. Funny shit always occurs.



#50 Marc Sproule

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 19:46

fell asleep at the computer last night. woke up about 20 minutes after the quake...2+ hours away. got an email from my daughter just as i was headed to bed.

 

she lives in petaluma, 20-25 miles from the quake. hubby and 2 y/o daughter had slept through it.

 

josie was not quite 9 when loma prieta quake happened, about 6 miles from us.

 

they have a pool and lost 1-1.5 feet of water. no internal damage in house.

 

she's a marin county sheriff deputy, works patrol but not on duty. she started getting hold of friends who live much closer to shaking. was told insides of houses look like gaza.

 

we started comparing notes on news coverage, both local and national.

 

equally stupid on all accounts, one national..fox..asked a meteorolgist how long aftershocks would last. he was even less informed than she was.

 

josie said that one local reporter breathlessly explained that the higher you are in a building the more pronounced the shaking is.

 

really? how informative!!

 

another one from santa rosa, a newspaper reporter, was "just learning how shut off the gas".

 

WTF!!!!!

 

saw another fox female news performer do the same intro twice. in a store in napa. walking precariously through the rubble on the floor. same path both times.

 

breathlessly exclaimed that it shook so hard that ice cream bars flew out of the freezer section.

 

wine on floor from bottles that were "completely broken"...as opposed to only partially?...made the store smell.

 

the second episode she stumbled through the same rubble, same path as first "report". and posed insipid questions to the store owner who was trying to clean up the "completely broken" bottles. he had the presence of mind not to laugh.

 

cnn and msnbc were just as bad.

 

no wonder people shoot their tvs.