Franchitti, Power Ready for Battle at Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma
Things just got a lot tighter in the IZOD IndyCar Series as it makes its way to Infineon Raceway for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, Aug.26-28.
Points leader Dario Franchitti saw his lead over the field cut dramatically after his 20th-place showing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday.
Franchitti, who is seeking his second consecutive INDYCAR championship, leads second-place Will Power by just 47 points and third-place Scott Dixon by 73 points. Ryan Hunter-Reay posted the win on Sunday in New England, his first of the season and his first on an oval in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
Sparks are certain to fly when the series visits Sonoma for the seventh consecutive year. Power returns as the defending champion and is ready to cut into Franchitti’s lead even more.
“It always feels great to come back to a place where you’ve had a good result,” said Power. “We’ve had some really tight competition this year, and it’s going to be a great race in Sonoma. You’ve got to be smart to get the best out of that tough road course, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Power, who started 13th in New Hampshire, finished fifth. Power's result sliced 15 points from Franchitti's series championship points lead. Franchitti appeared to be on the way to a big day until lap 118. That's when the race leader was involved in a tire-to-tire collision with Takuma Sato on a restart that spun the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car into the inside wall near the start/finish line.
"He (Sato) kept coming up and I don't know what he was going to do. He had a very clear view of where I was and he kept coming up,” Franchitti said. “We had a good racecar overall and we were strong all weekend. It is really unfortunate for Team Target. He started coming up into me before the restart. I really don't know what he was thinking."
Franchitti, who earned the three bonus points for the pole and leading the most race laps, had been running at the finish in 43 consecutive races.
There have been six different winners in Sonoma since the IZOD IndyCar Series debuted there in 2006, including Power last year and Franchitti in 2009. Other winners have included Tony Kanaan (2005), Marco Andretti (2006), Dixon (2007) and Helio Castroneves (2008). Drivers will compete on a 12-turn, 2.303-mile road course with practice on Friday and Saturday (Aug. 26-27), Fluid Film Pole Day on Saturday (Aug. 27) and the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma set for Sunday, Aug. 28.
For ticket information, including packages featuring Danica Patrick, as well as open-wheel legends Mario Andretti, Johnny Rutherford and Al Unser Jr., visit www.infineonraceway.com or call 800-870-RACE.