of Sonoma County Facts and Schedule
Date / Time Sunday, Aug. 24 5:30 p.m. (EDT)
Track Infineon Raceway
Distance 80 laps / 180 miles
TV ESPN2 (Live)Radio IMS Radio Network / XM Satellite Radio (Live)
2007 Winner Scott Dixon
2007 PolesitterDario Franchitti
Infineon Raceway 12-turn, 2.245-mile natural terrain road course
First IndyCar Series race in 2005
Carneros 100 & Valley of the Moon 100
Date / Time Carneros 100
2:45 p.m. (EDT) Saturday, Aug 23
Valley of the Moon 100
2:30 p.m. (EDT)
Sunday, Aug. 24
(12-turn, 2.245-mile road course)
30 laps/69 miles
5 p.m. (EDT)
IMS Radio Network
Alex Lloyd (Carneros 100)
(Valley of the Moon 100)
Richard Antinucci PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County
Three races remain in championship battle
With three races remaining in 2008, Scott Dixon holds a 78-point lead over Helio Castroneves. Dan Wheldon is 138 points back, and Tony Kanaan trails by 147. Dixon has a record-tying six wins this season, while Castroneves has seven second-place finishes. Can Dixon extend his lead or will his competitors close the gap?
Helio Castroneves is second in points with 12 top-five finishes, including seven seconds. Despite a 78-point deficit, Castroneves is still very much alive in the battle for the championship. Castroneves can gain hope from other drivers who have experienced a string of runner-up finishes. Most recently, Firestone Indy Lights driver Wade Cunningham used seven seconds in the 14-race 2005 season to win the championship. Cunningham’s only win of the season came in the finale. Mario Andretti finished second 11 times in 27 races in 1968. Alas, he finished second to Bobby Unser in the championship. Can Helio return to Victory Lane for the eighth consecutive season and make a move for his first series title?
IndyCar Series drivers will race around a slightly modified course at Infineon Raceway. Drivers will now exit Turn 6 (Carousel) and go directly up the track’s drag strip, as opposed to veering left before the right-hander at Turn 7. The modification, which will shorten the 12-turn circuit from 2.26 miles to 2.245 miles and should lead to more passing. How will drivers make the most of the new layout?
Still in transition
Drivers new to the IndyCar Series will look to make their mark at Infineon with their road course racing backgrounds. Including Graham Rahal’s victory at St. Petersburg in April, transition drivers have recorded 15 top-10 finishes in the series first four road/street course races. Oriol Servia has been the most consistent driver, turning in three top-10 performances, while Justin Wilson has participated in every Firestone Fast Six qualifying session. How will these drivers fare at Infineon?
Several IndyCar Series drivers and team owners have connections to the Bay Area and Northern California. Driver Townsend Bell was born in San Francisco and calls the San Luis Obispo area home. Driver Mario Dominguez lived in San Francisco for several years and graduated from Burlingame High School in 1992. Jimmy Vasser, co-owner of KV Racing Technology, is a California native who lives in the Napa area. Steve Luczo, co-owner of Luczo Dragon Racing, is a Stanford graduate and is CEO of Seagate Technology based in Scotts Valley. Can these drivers and teams shine in front of the home crowd?
The Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County will be the fourth IndyCar Series event conducted at Infineon Raceway. All three past winners are entered in the event: Tony Kanaan (2005), Marco Andretti (2006) and Scott Dixon (2007). Two past pole winners are entered: Ryan Briscoe (2005) and Dixon (2006).
Fourteen drivers entered in the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County have raced in previous IndyCar Series events at the track. Five of those drivers have led laps (Scott Dixon 55, Tony Kanaan 34, Marco Andretti 32, Ryan Briscoe 16 and Dan Wheldon 11).
The Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County will be the fifth race on a road/street course in 2008. The first three races featured first time winners (Graham Rahal at St. Petersburg, Ryan Hunter-Reay at Watkins Glen and Ryan Briscoe at Mid-Ohio). Scott Dixon won at Edmonton. Team Penske has dominated the Firestone Fast Six qualifying with Briscoe winning poles at Watkins Glen and Edmonton and Helio Castroneves winning the pole at Mid-Ohio. Tony Kanaan won the pole at St. Petersburg.
· Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon are the only drivers to finish in the top five in 12 of the 14 races this season.
· Helio Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan are the only drivers with 12 top-10 finishes.
· Helio Castroneves is the only driver running at the finish of every race in 2008.
· Seven drivers have won races in 2008. The IndyCar Series record is nine drivers in 1996/97, 2002, 2003 and 2005.
· Scott Dixon has six victories this season, tying Dan Wheldon’s record set in 2005.
· Scott Dixon has established a new IndyCar Series record by winning from the pole four times this season. The past record was two, which had been done six times.
· Ryan Briscoe needs one more victory in 2008 to become the 13th driver to win three or more races in a season. That has happened 18 times in IndyCar Series history.
· A.J. Foyt Racing has its most top-10 finishes (6) since Eliseo Salazar had seven for the team in 2001.
· Teammates have started 1-2 in five races this season, the fifth time that has occurred in IndyCar Series history. The record is six in 2005.
· Helio Castroneves has finished second in three consecutive races, tying Scott Dixon’s and Sam Hornish Jr.’s record of three consecutive second-place finishes.
Milestones & Records:
Helio Castroneves will attempt to make his 112th career IndyCar Series start. It would also be his 110th consecutive start, which will tie Sam Hornish Jr. for the second-longest streak all time. Helio Castroneves can establish an IndyCar Series record for most consecutive seasons with at least one win should he win the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County. Castroneves is tied with Scott Sharp with victories in seven consecutive seasons. Helio Castroneves extended his IndyCar Series record for consecutive seasons with a pole to seven when he won the PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award at Nashville. His pole at Mid-Ohio was the 25th of his career. Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves have 63 career top-five finishes, tied for first all time in IndyCar Series history. Helio Castroneves has passed Scott Sharp as the all-time leader in top-10 finishes. Castroneves has 85. Sharp has 82. Scott Dixon has led 867 laps this season. The record for most laps led in a season is 889 by Tony Kanaan in 2004. Scott Dixon has become the fifth driver to lead more than 2,000 laps in his career (2,149). The others to lead at least 2,000 laps are Sam Hornish Jr. (3,428), Helio Castroneves (2,873), Dan Wheldon (2,735) and Tony Kanaan (2,487). Helio Castroneves has led laps in 68 IndyCar Series races, passing Sam Hornish Jr. (67) for the all-time record. Vitor Meira has gone 90 starts without a victory in the IndyCar Series, the longest drought of any IndyCar Series driver. Helio Castroneves has gone 29 starts without a victory, the longest drought of his IndyCar Series career. Marco Andretti recorded the 20th top-10 finish of his career at Kentucky. Scott Dixon won his 12th career pole at Kentucky and needs one more to tie Greg Ray for second all time with 13. Scott Dixon has tied Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. with six career wins from the pole. Scott Dixon has moved into second place with 16 career victories. Sam Hornish Jr. holds the record with 19. Helio Castroneves holds the record for most career second-place finishes (19).
Carneros 100 and Valley of the Moon 100
Race for Firestone Firehawk Cup resumes Infineon Raceway
The race for the Firestone Firehawk Cup and the Firestone Indy Lights title resumes with the season's final doubleheader weekend at Infineon Raceway. San Diego resident Richard Antinucci, leads Brazil's Raphael Matos by a four points while Dillon Battistini and Arie Luyendyk Jr. are tied for third, just 51 points behind. Ana Beatriz, the first female to win a Firestone Indy Lights race is third, 61 points behind while Sausalito's J.R. Hildebrand is 71 points behind.
A Road Course Win For Bia?
For the first time in series history, a female driver could walk away with the Firestone Firehawk Cup. Brazil's Ana Beatriz, who is fifth in points, became the first female driver to win in the Firestone Indy Lights on July 12 at Nashville Superspeedway. Beatriz, benefits from the championship experience of Sam Schmidt Motorsports, which has won two of the last three races at Kentucky.
Where it all began
Three drivers entered in the doubleheader at Infineon Raceway have had their careers shaped by racing at the 2.245-mile road course. J.R. Hildebrand, whose home in Sausalito is 30 minutes from the track, began his career on the facility's go-kart track before moving to the Russell Racing School and Formula Russell series. He made his Firestone Indy Lights debut at the track in 1997. Brent Sherman's racing career also began at Infineon Raceway after he won the Russell Racing School's graduate run-offs after attending a three-day school at the track. The Panther Racing driver will make his first start at Infineon. Newcomer Tom Dyer will debut at Infineon, but he is no stranger to the road course. The Corte Madera, Calif., driver has won multiple races at the track and is a full-time instructor at the Russell Racing School.
Rafa's No. 1
Doubleheader weekends have been kind to Raphael Matos in 2008. The Brazilian has won the front-end of each doubleheader weekend this season, scoring wins at St. Pete 1, Watkins Glen 1 and Mid-Ohio 1. Can the AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing driver claim the Careneros 100 at Infineon?
Familiar names race in Kentucky
The Carneros 100 and Valley of the Moon 100 entry list features several drivers hoping to emulate their family’s success in open-wheel racing
· Richard Antinucci, the nephew of 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr., drives the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car. The defending Valley of the Moon 100 race winner at Infineon will attempt to maintain his series points lead at Infineon Raceway.
· Sean Guthrie, driver of the No. 4 Carcrafters Guthrie Racing car, is the son of three-time Indianapolis 500 starter Jim Guthrie. Guthrie will make his third and fourth start at Infineon this weekend in search of his first win.
· Arie Luyendyk Jr., driver of the No. 26 Andretti Green Racing/AFS Racing car, also seeks his first win at Infineon Raceway. The second-generation driver, who makes his first start at Infineon Raceway, is the son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk.
Season To Date
· A record-tying seven drivers have won races this year – Dillon Battistini, Raphael Matos, Richard Antinucci, J.R. Hildebrand, Bobby Wilson, Ana Beatriz and James Davison.Battistini has the most wins with four (Homestead, Indianapolis, Iowa and Kentucky). Matos (three) and Antinucci (two) are the only other drivers with multiple wins.
· A record-tying six drivers have won the SWE Pole Award this season – Raphael Matos, Dillon Battistini, Pablo Donoso, Arie Luyendyk Jr.., Franck Perera and James Davison. Matos is the only driver to win more than one pole (Homestead, St. Pete, Mid-Ohio and Kentucky).
· Richard Antinucci has finished on the podium in seven of the 13 races this season. He won St. Petersburg 2 and Watkins Glen 2 and finished second at Homestead, St. Petersburg 1, Indianapolis and Watkins Glen 1. Antinucci was third at Mid-Ohio #1.
· Arie Luyendyk Jr. will attempt to make his 60th and 61st Firestone Indy Lights start at Infineon Raceway, which would extend his series record.
· Bobby Wilson will attempt to make his 42nd and 43rd consecutive start, which would break Jaime Camara's series record of 42 consecutive starts from 2005-2007.
· Dillon Battistini moved into a tie with A.J. Foyt IV and Richard Antinucci for seventh on the all-time wins list with his fourth career win at Kentucky Speedway.
Schedule (local time):
12:45-4:30 p.m. – Firestone Indy Lights Open Test
10-10:45 a.m. – Firestone Indy Lights practice
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – IndyCar Series practice
1:45-2:30 p.m. – SWE Pole Qualifying
2:45-3:45 p.m. – IndyCar Series practice
9-9:15 a.m. – Firestone Indy Lights warm-up
9:30-10:30 a.m. – IndyCar Series practice (two groups)
11:15 a.m. – Carneros 100 pre-race
11:45 a.m. – Carneros 100 (30 laps/67.35 miles)
1:15 p.m. – PEAK Motor Oil Pole Award Qualifying presented by Pep Boys
9:45-10:15 a.m. – IndyCar Series warm-up
11 a.m. – Valley of the Moon 100 pre-race
11:30 a.m. – Valley of the Moon 100 (30 laps/67.35 miles)
1:05 p.m. – PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County pre-race
2:30 p.m. - PEAK Antifreeze & Motor Oil Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma County (80 laps/180 miles)