Anticipation, importance obvious for today’s IndyCar test at Sonoma

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In-season testing is so infrequent in the Verizon IndyCar Series as it is anyway, which makes every day you can get on track an important one.

But today’s one-day test at Sonoma Raceway carries an even greater magnitude, as teams testing today will all have two goals: prepare their cars as best as possible for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, and see which of the Indy Lights drivers is a standout in terms of feedback, insights, pace and performance on the day.

The list of those testing is linked below:

• Andretti Autosport – Marco Andretti (Matthew Brabham)
• Chip Ganassi Racing Teams – Scott Dixon (Sean Rayhall)
• KVSH Racing – Sebastien Bourdais (Ryan Phinny)
• Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – Graham Rahal (Ed Jones)
• Schmidt Peterson Motorsports – Ryan Briscoe (Jack Harvey)
• Team Penske – Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power (Spencer Pigot, Nelson Piquet Jr.)

In Andretti’s case, he’s coming off more than 500 miles of testing on Wednesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, doing Firestone tire testing as part of a six-car test at the hallowed grounds.

The drivers are excited – and amped up – for today’s test. Here’s a pre-test roundup of social reaction posts:

As you see, Pigot already has a one-day head start, albeit in a slightly different open-wheeler.

The only one of the regular season IndyCar drivers to post on Twitter thus far is, as you might expect, Graham Rahal. The Mid-Ohio winner, who now spends much more time in California than he used to with fiancee Courtney Force, is primed to ensure his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team delivers a good test day.

The other drivers either haven’t posted or have simply re-tweeted their team tweets.

We’ll have more to follow from Sonoma later today.

Andretti ‘getting closer’ to re-signing Alexander Rossi in IndyCar

INDYCAR Photo by Joe Skibinski
INDYCAR Photo by Joe Skibinski
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TORONTO – Team owner Michael Andretti told NBCSports.com that contract negotiations with both Alexander Rossi and Honda Performance Development are progressing positively with hopes of reaching a conclusion “within the next week or two.”

Andretti spoke to NBCSports.com and to NBCN’s Robin Miller Sunday at the Honda Indy Toronto.

“I think things are getting there,” Andretti said. “We’re not there yet, but we’re close. I can’t comment, but I think things are going in the right direction.

“Honda has been great. They’ve been really good to work with. I’m hoping we can put something together there, too. We’ve been part of Honda for so long. I think we are getting real close there.

“I’m hoping to have this resolved in the next week or two.”

Rossi, who is in the final year of his contract, finished third in the race, one position ahead of championship rival Josef Newgarden of Team Penske.

That leaves Rossi just four points behind Newgarden heading into Saturday night’s race at Iowa Speedway.

Rossi’s agent is his father, Pieter.

NBCSports.com spoke to Pieter Rossi before the race, and he also expressed optimism that a deal will be reached soon for his son as the star driver, 27, enters the prime years of his career.

Andretti had separate meetings with Honda Performance Development officials and with Pieter Rossi in the hours leading up to Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto.