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.
Coming off his best Supercross season to date, Enzo Lopes has re-signed with Muc-Off / ClubMX Yamaha and will race for the team in 2024. The deal is for Supercross only.
Lopes debuted in the Supercross series in 2019 on a Suzuki and scored his first top-10 finishes in his last two starts of that season. Showing consistent improvement, he earned six top-10s in eight Main events the following year and finished fifth in the 250 East standings. In 2022, he scored his first top-five at Daytona and finished in the top five in points again.
“I am happy to be returning to ClubMX for another season,” Lopes said in a press release. “It is like family to me there and that is very important. Although I had many options, staying where I am makes the most sense for many reasons. The bikes are great, the people are great, the tracks are amazing, and I am surrounded by people that care about me. We all want to win and together we will get there.”
While he improved his season-best performance by only one position this year, it was nevertheless a breakout season. Lopes barely missed the podium three times in 2023 with fourth-place finishes at San Diego, Seattle, and Denver.
His strong performance him rumored to be speaking with factory teams.
“We could see the growth from Enzo every time he gets on the bike,” said team owner Brandon Haas. “We all knew it was just a matter of time before he would be noticed by everyone, and we are proud of him on many levels. He had some heat race wins and qualified fastest at three events this season. It would be hard not to be noticed going that fast. He had a big decision to make and we are glad he chose to stay with us at ClubMX.”
Lopes had three podium finishes in heat races this year, including a win preceding his fourth-place finish in Denver.