GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Race Preview

2015-sonoma-race16

Fast Facts

Track:Sonoma Raceway, a 2.385-mile permanent road course in Sonoma, Calif.

Race distance: 85 laps / 202.7 miles

Push-to-pass parameters: 10 activations for 15 seconds each

Firestone tire allotment:
Seven sets primary and three sets alternate for use through the weekend

Twitter: @RaceSonoma @IndyCar, #IndyCar, #GoProGP

2014 race winner: Scott Dixon

2014 Verizon P1 Award winner: Will Power, 1 minute, 17.4126 seconds, 110.912 mph

One-lap qualifying record: Will Power, 1:17.2393 seconds, 111.161 mph, Aug. 23, 2014 (Set in Round 1 of Qualifying)

NBCSN television broadcasts: Practice, 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 29 (live); Qualifying, 6:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 29 (live); Race, 4 p.m. ET Sunday, Aug. 30 (live). Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer, alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Pit reporters are Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller.

Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Paul Page is chief announcer with analyst Davey Hamilton. Pit reporters are Dave Furst, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young, with Mark Jaynes and Jake Query serving as the turn announcers. Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying and races air live on network affiliates, Sirius 212, XM 209, IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR 15 app. Practice sessions are available on IndyCar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR 15 app.

Video streaming: Practice sessions not televised are available live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.

INDYCAR 15 app: The Verizon INDYCAR 15 app has exclusive features for Verizon Wireless customers, including interactive 3D Live View with real-time leaderboard and car telemetry to see where drivers are positioned, a leaderboard with enhanced 2D “marching ants” and car telemetry, in-car camera video streams from cameras that move 360 degrees and driver-pit crew chatter during the race.

At-track schedule (all times local):

Friday, Aug. 28
2:30 – 6 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice 1

Saturday, Aug. 29
10:45 – 11:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice 2, NBCSN (live)
3:05 – 4:20 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying (three rounds of knockout qualifying), NBCSN (live beginning at 3:30 p.m.)

Sunday Aug. 30
10 – 10:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series warmup
1 p.m. – NBCSN on air
2:07 p.m. – GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (85 laps/202.7 miles), NBCSN (live)

Championship facts:

• Juan Pablo Montoya leads the Indy car championship with one race remaining for the first time in his career. He trailed Dario Franchitti with one race remaining in the 1999 CART season when he claimed his first Indy car championship.

• Montoya leads Graham Rahal by 34 points. Montoya has led the championship since winning the opening round of the championship at St. Petersburg in March.

• There are six drivers still mathematically eligible for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship: Montoya, Rahal, Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Josef Newgarden. Three drivers – Montoya, Dixon and Power – have previously won Indy car titles.

• Four drivers – Sebastien Bourdais, Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan and Simon Pagenaud – were eliminated from championship contention at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 23.

• This is the 12th Indy car race at Sonoma. The winning driver at Sonoma has won the championship once in the prior 11 races (Franchitti, 2009).

Race notes:

* There have been nine different winners in 15 Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2015: Juan Pablo Montoya (Streets of St. Petersburg and Indianapolis 500), James Hinchcliffe (NOLA Motorsports Park), Scott Dixon (Streets of Long Beach and Texas Motor Speedway), Josef Newgarden (Barber Motorsports Park and Streets of Toronto), Will Power (Grand Prix of Indianapolis), Carlos Munoz (Raceway at Belle Isle-1), Sebastien Bourdais (Raceway at Belle Isle-2 and Milwaukee), Graham Rahal (Auto Club Speedway and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (Iowa Speedway and Pocono Raceway). In 2014, there were a record-tying 11 different race winners. Dixon’s win at Long Beach on April 19 gave him sole possession of fifth on the all-time Indy car victory list with 36. He is the active leader in wins with 37 after his victory at Texas on June 6.

* The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma will be the 10th road/street course race of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule with a different driver winning eight of the previous nine races: Montoya (Streets of St. Petersburg), Hinchcliffe (NOLA Motorsports Park), Dixon (Streets of Long Beach), Newgarden (Barber Motorsports Park and Toronto), Power (Grand Prix of Indianapolis), Munoz (Raceway at Belle Isle-1), Bourdais (Raceway at Belle Isle-2) and Rahal (Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course).

* The GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma will be the 12th Indy car race at Sonoma Raceway. Dixon is the defending race winner. Power has won four of the last five pole positions. This will be the fourth race on the 12-turn, 2.385-mile layout. The Verizon IndyCar Series competed on a 12-turn, 2.303-mile layout from 2005-2011.

* Power and Dixon are the only drivers to win at Sonoma more than once, Dixon won the race in 2007 and 2014, Power won the races in 2010, 2011and 2013. Past winners Dixon, Power, Ryan Briscoe (2012), Helio Castroneves (2008), Marco Andretti (2006) and Tony Kanaan (2005) are entered in this year’s race.

* Dan Gurney won the first Indy car race at Sonoma under USAC sanction in 1970. Mark Donohue was the pole sitter.

* There have been five different pole winners in the previous 10 Verizon IndyCar Series races at Sonoma. Briscoe (2005), Dixon (2006), Dario Franchitti (2007, 2009, 2013), Castroneves (2008) and Power (2010-12 and 2014). All but Franchitti are entered at Sonoma this weekend.

* Three drivers have won the race from the pole – Castroneves (2008), Franchitti (2009) and Power (2010-11).

* Three drivers have competed in every Verizon IndyCar Series race at Sonoma – Castroneves, Dixon and Kanaan. Dixon is the only driver to complete every lap of every race at Sonoma.

* Power has three wins and four poles in his five previous starts at Sonoma.

* Briscoe has four podium finishes in nine previous starts at Sonoma.

* Team Penske has won at Sonoma five times, including four of the last five races with Will Power (2010-11 and 2013) and Ryan Briscoe (2012). Chip Ganassi Racing has won three times at Sonoma (Dixon in 2007 and 2014 and Franchitti in 2009) and Andretti Autosport has won twice (Kanaan in 2005 and Andretti in 2006).

* With its next Verizon IndyCar Series victory, Chip Ganassi Racing will earn its 100th Indy car race win.

* Kanaan seeks to start his 249th consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Teammate Dixon looks to make his 190th consecutive start this weekend.

* The 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season marked the competition debut of aerodynamic bodywork kits designed, manufactured and supplied by Chevrolet and Honda that attach to the Dallara IR-12 chassis used by all entrants. Cars are differentiated by their shape as the manufacturers have designed a separate aero kit specification for road and street course/short ovals and another for superspeedways. References to the cars incorporate the name of the corresponding kit manufacturer.

* The No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb BHA with Curb-Agajanian crew of Gabby Chaves claimed the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award at the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 23 with a total pit-lane time of 2 minutes, 31.30 seconds. It is the first-ever Pit Stop Performance win for Bryan Herta Autosport. The No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb crew will receive its $10,000 award during pre-race festivities at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.

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