Sonoma Update: Dixon leads after stop-start first half

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Multiple incidents have kept IZOD IndyCar Series drivers from getting into a proper rhythm so far at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway.

Five full-course caution periods – a new record for the IndyCars at Sonoma – have already emerged, with many of them stemming from contact within the tight Turn 7 hairpin. In the race’s first 40 laps, E.J. Viso and Tony Kanaan were hit with drive-through penalties for avoidable contact in that particular corner.

Turn 2 has also been a trouble spot. Just after the green flag, Mid-Ohio winner Charlie Kimball locked up his tires going into that right-hander, made contact with the rear wheel guard of Helio Castroneves and then spun out. Kimball fell a lap off the pace after the incident, but has since made it back up and had risen to 15th by the halfway point.

Front-row starter Scott Dixon has stayed ahead of all the pushing and shoving, and on a restart at Lap 35, the New Zealander was able to get past Justin Wilson for the lead in Turn 2.

At halfway (Lap 43 of 85), Dixon led Team Penske rival Will Power by six-tenth of a second, followed by pole sitter Dario Franchitti in third, championship leader Helio Castroneves in fourth, and Marco Andretti in fifth.

Newgarden fastest as Castroneves returns in weather-shortened Barber test

Photo: IndyCar
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The Verizon IndyCar Series took to Barber Motorsports Park on Tuesday for an open test, with 24 entries tackling the 2.38-mile road course.

Weather intervened in the afternoon, preventing nearly the entire field from going out, but the weather held off during the morning enough for one session to be run in its entirety.

Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden led the way, with a quick lap of 1:07.979, ahead of Team Penske teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves. For Castroneves, this marked his first IndyCar outing of 2018.

Helio Castroneves was back in an IndyCar on Tuesday at Barber Motorsports Park. Photo: IndyCar

Sporting the Pennzoil “yellow submarine” paint scheme, Castroneves turned 41 laps around Barber in the morning session, with a quick lap of 1:08.315. He was also the only driver to venture out on track in the afternoon, completing eight laps.

The Dale Coyne Racing duo of Sebastien Bourdais and Zachary Claman De Melo completed the top five.

Results are below.