Unfiltered Race Notes: Sonoma 2014

Note for the Milwaukee notes: Due to my in person attendance at the kick ass Milwaukee Mile last weekend, I was unable to catch my DVR crapping out. I have yet to see the telecast of Milwaukee, if you know how I can see it please let me know.

And welcome to the earthquake affected GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma! Hopefully there is more intrigue to this race than we all expect.

–Prerace–

Re earthquake: “I thought I was going to die” – Will Power

Re earthquake: “The pictures on the wall weren’t crooked, I want that guy to do my pictures” – Castroneves

Track and facilities are good to go. Big thumbs up to all the area fans that made the trek to take in an afternoon of IndyCar. Still, I don’t expect there to be many people in the house

Re earthquake “I was worried the bus was going to go down the hill” – Pagenaud. Funny that he stays in his bus at the track

Hunter-Reay’s kid slept through the earthquake. Good boy

MKE retrospective from the always on point IMSP. That was a fun afternoon, guess I could write an on-the-ground sooner or later. I’ve gone for three years and have never done one

Sam Hornish looks confused

Booth talking up Pagenaud’s 90 some point deficit saying he can pull it off. Come on…

JPM: “got to minimize the damage” scored the most points over the last 8 races. Dude could be tough if he can catch his grove early next year

Newgarden signed for a year with whatever the ECR takeover of SFHR is called now for 2015. Good for him; he can use the year with Ed and whoever else to hone his skills before moving up the grid in 2016

Awesome visor cam/ gopro montage with RHR. I know the camera is still a bit high, but you can see Munoz in the mirrors well before he dives inside

Perfect prerace length. Let’s do this thing

–Race–

I love the grid-side send off

Cool. Miller on the spotters… hill… with Rick Mears. Awesome view of the action.

GREEN

Shenanigans into T2. Still green? Looks like we had 2 stalled cars

HCN the big loser with wing damage, and my fantasy lineup with Bourdais

YELLOW

Both cars away, this should be quick. Honestly, the guys did a good job given how little room there was to maneuver around

Ugh, I know there ‘isn’t enough runoff’ but we should really be running the full course. IndyCars wreck into the wall at Indy at 230…

5

GREEN

Sonoma looks AWFUL from the air. Haven’t had rain in 118 days

Newgarden looks good. We will see how long he can hang on

Conway running unusually well on a natural terrain road course. P8

7

WHOAAAHH!! It took 7 laps before Hornish said anything about the racing. Man, I just don’t know about this experiment.

Brake issues for Pagenaud. Seems like that’s the story of his season

9

HCN in again. The day from hell for the poor guy

11

Power trotting away from Newgarden as Josef falls into the clutched of the Target armada. Settle in boy and girls…

Hinch and Sato back in as well. Guys involved in the accident haven’t been able to catch a break

15

Hunter-Reay lining up TK for a pass. WILL IT ACTUALLY HAPPEN?!?

Sorry. That was uncalled for

18

Yes. RHR gets him on the pit exchange…

20

JPM down a lap. I’m shocked by how much trouble he has been having on the natural road courses

21

Wilson almost gets around Andretti. I’m not sure we have seen an on screen pass yet.

23

RHR can’t get around Rahal. Use that chrome horn. There is no reason for you to be stuck behind Rahal

25

Ok, JPM may have just gone around Hawksworth. But this RHR/ Rahal battle is plain sad

Bitching aside, watching IndyCars here is mesmerizing

30

YELLOW

Huertas stranded on the side of the track. Been a tough year for the Honda boys

The strategy could play out in a wonky way if there are no more yellows in this race

Har… Marco wins Sonoma rewind

Sweepers doing a thorough job in the corners… not like it will matter here, but everything helps

GREEN

36

Power with a huge lead already. I can see oil dry down for the Huertas incident, that would also explain the extended caution

YELLOW

Saavedra into JPM and Bourdais.

Pagenaud and Wilson both abort the pitlane at the very last moment. Pagenaud nearly smashes it into the tires

Nope. That was Helio taking a way too optimistic look on the inside of Bourdais who was inside Saavedra. Helio pushing too hard and that’s always how he screws himself

Dixon wins the race off pitlane. Very woah

Replay of Dixon crushing Power’s tire guy last year. That was nutty

40

GREEN

Kanaan in front with Conway in tow AND CONWAY AROUND THE OUTSIDE!! Dude, what a move

Power and Munoz doing donuts at the top of the esses. Whoops. What a rare mistake from Power…

Cindric: Be cool. COME ON, we know that’s not Powers MO

At least we will see a drunk-with-craziness-Power run through the field

42

Conway +3.5 destroyer of worlds

Cars sound good and look great here

43

Carpenter: fuel number. Duh. It’s Sonoma

Sneaky Briscoe in P3; Kanaan falling into his clutches

Rahal P4. Well, you can’t come last in all the races

45

Power with no progress made

47

Through the field. I thought we would have done it twice by now

That GoPro chalet overlooking the carousel would be a cool place to watch this race from

49

Kimball had his best starting position of the year on a twisty today with a P11. At least it’s another well-funded car on the grid.

50

Onboard with Power. Clearly struggling. Can’t wait to see what he can do with new tires

53

Kanaan -7.5 from Conway. Wow

Power straighlines the chicane. I can never image how that could possibly happen. Are we watching the oft-predicted championship self-destruction of Power?

55

RAHAL AROUND KANAAN!! It is clearly backwards day with Rahal making passes at Sonoma

Dixon P5. The iceman is coming

59

I know there are multiple strategies playing out, but with the fast guys already hassling the leaders there must have been a few more passes than we have been shown

60

Repave of pitlane entry looks really good. That bump was huge before

61

Conway would have to go 24 laps to win

Ok ok… Rahal looks really good today

Sato gets balked in the pits by Dixon leaving directly behind him and Andretti coming in directly in front of him. Great job to miss everyone

63

Marco around the outside of Hinch in the carousel. Damn son

Wow. Rahal hassling Conway. It really is bizzaro world today

Rahal around Conway for P1. You’re welcome National Guard. Questions about whether Rahal can make it on fuel

65

Rahal, Conway, Kanaan all very close together. Kevin Lee says he doesn’t think Rahal will make it without help. Sounds like ECR thinks the same thing

66

My brain is starting to scramble from the strategies. The guys are still close up front. Pulling for Conway

68

Kanaan is right on Conway. I think He’s holding TK up, but still reeling Rahal back in. If Kanaan is just sitting back to save fuel and tires, he could be the man to beat

Power to P15. With we would see his run through the field

70

And of course we go onboard with Power

73

Kanaan in for fuel. Rahal stopped on the same lap… Am I really rooting for Rahal?

74

Yes… Yes I am. Conway winning is good for me, ECR and Conway. Rahal winning is good for everyone. Although Dixon and RHR are right there. Honestly, this is the most exciting Sonoma race I have ever seen I think

76

GET COURTNEY FORCE OFF MY TV

Ugh… kill me now

Booth doesn’t think Rahal can do it

79

Ok. We have been following the leaders for like 10 laps. Can we see if there are any other battles on screen please?

80

Hornish makes a good point. The 4 leaders are spread by like 4 seconds. This is damn close for a Sonoma race

81

Rahal still pulling away. Why? I hope they get video of Bobby smacking Graham when he runs out of fuel

Rahal in and Conway to the point, but not before Dixon takes the lead into T2

82

For the record, Dixon is the man. RHR around Conway

Also, How does RHR self-admittedly suck at Sonoma and be looking to finish P2?

83

Drive through for Rahal. Speeding on pitlane. Where’s that Bobby cam at?

84

Wow, Dixon is 4.5 seconds ahead of Conway

85

Andretti around Wilson with Power holding his breath right behind.

CHECKERS

Dixon. Damn son, that’s how you do it

Power tries to go around Wilson in the final hairpin and nearly takes himself out by bouncing off of Bourdais as they come 3 wide to the line as they all dodge the out of gas car of Conway

What the hell is going on today?

Well, that shook up the points

I hope no one is penalized with that yellow flag there at the end

Blah blah blah… interviews. That was really fun! There’s always a small part of me that dreads heading to Sonoma, but today was a blast. I know this fuel race could have gone the other way without the shenanigans, but that’s why you run the race. Plus we had a pretty good race for the actual lead. No one could have predicted Dixon to victory lane before the last ten laps. Onto Fontana and a painfully early end to the season.

Eric Hall

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