Sunday, August 23, 2009

IndyCar Grand Prix at Sonoma Race Reactions

IndyCar Grand Prix at Sonoma Race Reactions

The IndyCar Series completed their 14th race of the 2009 season by competing in Sonoma, California at Infineon Raceway. Dario Franchitti took home the checkered flag followed by Ryan Briscoe in second place and Mike Conway to round out the podium. IndyCarGarage gives you five race reactions from Sunday’s race.

1. Danica Patrick’s pre-race comments and news surrounding her from this week.

The most anticipated driver move of the off-season will surround Danica Patrick, and most anticipated a possible move to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. News out of Indianapolis this week surrounding Michael Andretti and Andretti Green Racing may have tipped the hand of Danica and her future plans. In a pre-race conversation, Danica was quoted as saying her plans aren’t finalized right now, but things are pointed in the direction of her joining the new version of Andretti-Green Racing, which will be solely owned by Michael Andretti and branded under a new name. This is hardly the move that many people expected as Danica seemed destine for a date with NASCAR, or at least a move to the mighty Ganassi Target Cars as rumors swirled throughout the last few months that Ganassi would field a third car for her. Danica Patrick is a huge fan draw for the IndyCar series and the most marketable driver in the series. Her decision to stay in IndyCar and with a team that doesn’t field a NASCAR program is HUGE!

2. Will Power and Nelson Phillipe miss the race with injuries

Will Power and Nelson Phillipe collided in Saturday’s practice and both drivers suffered severe injuries. Power suffered similar injuries to what Vitor Miera suffered at Indianapolis earlier in the season. It’s highly likely that Power is done for the rest of the 2009 season as his recovery is estimated at three months. Phillipe injuries weren’t as severe as Power’s, so it’s possible that Phillipe might be able to make it back to the cockpit in 2009. Both drivers are good young talents, Power probably more than Phillipe, and it’s unfortunate that they weren’t able to compete this weekend.

3. Dario Franchitti’s fourth win of the season is his most dominating of 2009

Dario Franchitti had his best day of the 2009 season by qualifying first, leading every lap of the race, and capturing his fourth win of the 2009 season. Franchitti now sits four points behind Ryan Briscoe in the Point’s championship. Dario clearly has proven to be the road course ace of the IndyCar series, as three of his four wins have come on road or street courses. Dario is showing to everyone that he hasn’t lost one step from his year absence in NASCAR.

4. The point’s championship = three drivers, three races, all within 20 points.

Ryan Briscoe now sits in first place in the point’s championship race, but by a very small four points. Dario Franchitti sits in second place with his performance on Sunday, and Scott Dixon slips from first to third, but still is in contention by trailing by 20 points. The point’s race has been very exciting throughout the season as first place has changed hands in 13 of the 14 races. The last three races of the season should be exciting to watch as no driver seems to have a clear advantage over the other.

5. Three races remain in the 2009 season and they are require many left turns.

The 2009 season will wind down with three 1.5 mile ovals, and it starts next Saturday night at Chicagoland Speedway. The IndyCar Series enjoyed a huge jump in competitive racing at Kentucky and that was largely due to the aero-dynamic package improvements, along with the push to pass button insert. Chicago has produced some of the most exciting racing in series history, Motegi is the site of Danica Patrick’s lone IndyCar win from a year ago, and Homestead will close out the season on October 10th. Look for the racing to be competitive and exciting down to the last lap.

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