IndyCar: Five teams, 11 drivers to test at Sonoma on Thursday

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This upcoming week may be an “off week” for the Verizon IndyCar Series in terms of an actual race weekend, but not in terms of on-track activity.

Half the 22-car field will be in action at Sonoma Raceway on Thursday for an open test, which will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free to the public.

Fans who purchase a ticket to the upcoming GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (August 24), or have already purchased tickets, will be given a FREE pit tour for an up-close look at the racecars and drivers. The Raceway Café will also be open for lunch, and a press conference will fall during the lunch hour.

Those drivers and teams confirmed to test include:

  • Andretti Autosport: Ryan Hunter-Reay & Carlos Munoz
  • Chip Ganassi Racing: Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan & Charlie Kimball
  • Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing: Graham Rahal
  • Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing: Josef Newgarden
  • Team Penske: Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya & Will Power

Newgarden is embarking on a crazy, whirlwind week where he returned from Mid-Ohio to Indianapolis for the Indiana State Fair, will head west to Sonoma on Thursday, then heads back southeast to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. for the weekend to compete in a Honda-powered Formula F car. More here from the SCCA.

Interesting from a championship perspective is that Castroneves, Power and Hunter-Reay will have an extra day’s worth of data compared to Simon Pagenaud, who is not testing here. But Pagenaud and the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team did test at Sonoma over the winter, so they’ll have that data to work off of.

Penske has traditionally run well at Sonoma, and since the introduction of the Dallara DW12 has won both races – with Ryan Briscoe in 2012 and Power a year ago.

We’ll see whether anyone is able to make key gains this week.

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)