Scott Dixon tops Sonoma morning warm-up

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Scott Dixon, who starts on the outside front row alongside teammate Dario Franchitti for today’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN), was fastest in this morning’s 30-minute warmup with a lap of 1 minute, 18.9674 seconds around the Sonoma Raceway.

Dixon and Franchitti have been the strongest drivers so far this weekend at Sonoma, and would appear to be the ones that the rest of the field will have to go through in order to claim victory today in northern California.

As for the pole sitter Franchitti, who has been surging lately with three podium finishes in his last four races, he was fifth-fastest (1:20.0677) this morning behind Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay (1:19.4041), Marco Andretti (1:19.9130) and Tony Kanaan (1:19.9361).

Other notables include Mid-Ohio winner Charlie Kimball in seventh (1:20.0869), 2012 Sonoma winner Ryan Briscoe in 11th (1:20.4385), and current IZOD IndyCar Series championship leader Helio Castroneves in 16th (1:20.4385).

Castroneves leads Dixon by 31 points going into today’s race.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”