Scott Dixon leads afternoon practice at Sonoma

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Scott Dixon led today’s second practice session for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Sun., 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN), turning in the fastest lap of the day overall with a time of 1 minute, 18.3145 seconds around the hilly 2.4-mile road course.

After checking out the Sonoma circuit, Dixon, who trails IZOD IndyCar Series championship leader Helio Castroneves by 31 points going into this weekend, believes that it’ll be a tough go-round for himself and the rest of the field.

“A lot of that may be the tires – I think Firestone always has a great product, but maybe the tires just don’t match here that well,” said the two-time series champion.

“It’s definitely making it interesting. In the first [practice] session, you kind of get two or three laps to get it together, and I didn’t get it together whatsoever…I don’t know, it’s really about getting your laps together and making sure you get the most out of the first sort of three laps, and I think as the race goes on, it’s going to make a really interesting race on these roads.”

Castroneves was second-fastest both in the afternoon and overall, logging a time of 1 minute, 18.6694 seconds. Ryan Hunter-Reay’s lap that topped the Friday morning session (1 minute, 18.6814 seconds) was good enough to stand third overall, followed by Will Power in fourth (1 minute, 18.7454 seconds; afternoon) and Dario Franchitti in fifth (1 minute, 18.8124 seconds; morning).

Saturday will see a third practice session at 2 p.m. ET, followed by three rounds of ‘knockout’ qualifying starting at 5:30 p.m. ET. NBCSN will air the qualifying session later on at 9 p.m. ET.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)