Fast Facts: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma

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Courtesy of INDYCAR PR, here’s all you need to know ahead of this weekend’s GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, the Verizon IndyCar Series’ 16th and final round this season:

Date: Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015
Track: Sonoma Raceway, a 2.385-mile permanent road course in Sonoma, Calif.
Race distance: 85 laps / 202.7 miles
Entry List: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma
Push-to-pass parameters: 10 activations for 15 seconds each
Firestone tire allotment: Seven sets primary and three sets alternate for use through the weekend
Twitter: @RaceSonoma @IndyCar, #IndyCar, #GoProGP
Event website: http://RaceSonoma.com/ 
INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com 
2014 race winner: Scott Dixon
2014 Verizon P1 Award winner: Will Power, 1 minute, 17.4126 seconds, 110.912 mph
One-lap qualifying record: Will Power, 1:17.2393 seconds, 111.161 mph, Aug. 23, 2014 (Set in Round 1 of Qualifying)

NBCSN television broadcasts: Practice, 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 29 (live); Qualifying, 6:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Aug. 29 (live); Race, 4 p.m. ET Sunday, Aug. 30 (live). Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer, alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy. Pit reporters are Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Katie Hargitt and Robin Miller.

Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Paul Page is chief announcer with analyst Davey Hamilton. Pit reporters are Dave Furst, Nick Yeoman and Michael Young, with Mark Jaynes and Jake Query serving as the turn announcers. Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying and races air live on network affiliates, Sirius 212, XM 209, IndyCar.comindycarradio.com and the INDYCAR 15 app. Practice sessions are available on IndyCar.comindycarradio.com and the INDYCAR 15 app.

Video streaming: Practice sessions not televised are available live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com.

INDYCAR 15 app: The Verizon INDYCAR 15 app has exclusive features for Verizon Wireless customers, including interactive 3D Live View with real-time leaderboard and car telemetry to see where drivers are positioned, a leaderboard with enhanced 2D “marching ants” and car telemetry, in-car camera video streams from cameras that move 360 degrees and driver-pit crew chatter during the race.

At-track schedule (all times local): 

Friday, Aug. 28
2:30-6 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice 1

Saturday, Aug. 29
10:45-11:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice 2, NBCSN (live)
3:05-4:20 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying (three rounds of knockout qualifying), NBCSN (live beginning at 3:30 p.m.)

Sunday Aug. 30
10-10:30 a.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series warmup
1 p.m. – NBCSN on air
2:07 p.m. – GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (85 laps/202.7 miles), NBCSN (live)

Championship facts:

• Juan Pablo Montoya leads the Indy car championship with one race remaining for the first time in his career. He trailed Dario Franchitti with one race remaining in the 1999 CART season when he claimed his first Indy car championship.

• Montoya leads Graham Rahal by 34 points. Montoya has led the championship since winning the opening round of the championship at St. Petersburg in March.

• There are six drivers still mathematically eligible for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship: Montoya, Rahal, Scott Dixon, Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Josef Newgarden. Three drivers – Montoya, Dixon and Power – have previously won Indy car titles.

• Four drivers – Sebastien Bourdais, Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan and Simon Pagenaud – were eliminated from championship contention at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 23.

• This is the 12th Indy car race at Sonoma. The winning driver at Sonoma has won the championship once in the prior 11 races (Franchitti, 2009).

Race notes:

* There have been nine different winners in 15 Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2015: Juan Pablo Montoya (Streets of St. Petersburg and Indianapolis 500), James Hinchcliffe (NOLA Motorsports Park), Scott Dixon (Streets of Long Beach and Texas Motor Speedway), Josef Newgarden (Barber Motorsports Park and Streets of Toronto), Will Power (Grand Prix of Indianapolis), Carlos Munoz (Raceway at Belle Isle-1), Sebastien Bourdais (Raceway at Belle Isle-2 and Milwaukee), Graham Rahal (Auto Club Speedway and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (Iowa Speedway and Pocono Raceway). In 2014, there were a record-tying 11 different race winners. Dixon’s win at Long Beach on April 19gave him sole possession of fifth on the all-time Indy car victory list with 36. He is the active leader in wins with 37 after his victory at Texas on June 6.

* The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma will be the 10th road/street course race of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule with a different driver winning eight of the previous nine races: Montoya (Streets of St. Petersburg), Hinchcliffe (NOLA Motorsports Park), Dixon (Streets of Long Beach), Newgarden (Barber Motorsports Park and Toronto), Power (Grand Prix of Indianapolis), Munoz (Raceway at Belle Isle-1), Bourdais (Raceway at Belle Isle-2) and Rahal (Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course).

* The GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma will be the 12th Indy car race at Sonoma Raceway. Dixon is the defending race winner. Power has won four of the last five pole positions. This will be the fourth race on the 12-turn, 2.385-mile layout. The Verizon IndyCar Series competed on a 12-turn, 2.303-mile layout from 2005-2011.

* Power and Dixon are the only drivers to win at Sonoma more than once, Dixon won the race in 2007 and 2014, Power won the races in 2010, 2011and 2013. Past winners Dixon, Power, Ryan Briscoe (2012), Helio Castroneves (2008), Marco Andretti (2006) and Tony Kanaan (2005) are entered in this year’s race.

* Dan Gurney won the first Indy car race at Sonoma under USAC sanction in 1970. Mark Donohue was the pole sitter.

* There have been five different pole winners in the previous 10 Verizon IndyCar Series races at Sonoma. Briscoe (2005), Dixon (2006), Dario Franchitti (2007, 2009, 2013), Castroneves (2008) and Power (2010-12 and 2014). All but Franchitti are entered at Sonoma this weekend.

* Three drivers have won the race from the pole – Castroneves (2008), Franchitti (2009) and Power (2010-11).

* Three drivers have competed in every Verizon IndyCar Series race at Sonoma – Castroneves, Dixon and Kanaan. Dixon is the only driver to complete every lap of every race at Sonoma.

* Power has three wins and four poles in his five previous starts at Sonoma.

* Briscoe has four podium finishes in nine previous starts at Sonoma.

* Team Penske has won at Sonoma five times, including four of the last five races with Will Power (2010-11 and 2013) and Ryan Briscoe (2012). Chip Ganassi Racing has won three times at Sonoma (Dixon in 2007 and 2014 and Franchitti in 2009) and Andretti Autosport has won twice (Kanaan in 2005 and Andretti in 2006).

* With its next Verizon IndyCar Series victory, Chip Ganassi Racing will earn its 100th Indy car race win.

* Kanaan seeks to start his 249th consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Teammate Dixon looks to make his 190th consecutive start this weekend.

* The 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season marked the competition debut of aerodynamic bodywork kits designed, manufactured and supplied by Chevrolet and Honda that attach to the Dallara IR-12 chassis used by all entrants. Cars are differentiated by their shape as the manufacturers have designed a separate aero kit specification for road and street course/short ovals and another for superspeedways. References to the cars incorporate the name of the corresponding kit manufacturer.

* The No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb BHA with Curb-Agajanian crew of Gabby Chaves claimed the Firestone Pit Stop Performance Award at the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 23 with a total pit-lane time of 2 minutes, 31.30 seconds. It is the first-ever Pit Stop Performance win for Bryan Herta Autosport. The No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb crew will receive its $10,000 award during pre-race festivities at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway can have 10,000 fans for IndyCar races

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have crowds for its NTT IndyCar Series race weekend next month, the first time fans are allowed at the track this year.

The track announced Friday that up to 10,000 fans will be allowed in the grandstands daily from Oct. 1-4. The IndyCar Harvest GP race doubleheader will be held on the track’s road course Oct. 2-3.

IMS has played host to several events this year without fans, including the 104th Indianapolis 500 on Aug. 23 and a NASCAR-IndyCar weekend July 4-5 that included the Brickyard 400. Plans originally were made to have fans at the Indy 500 before reversing course a few weeks ahead of the race. In a letter last month, Roger Penske vowed that fans would return for the 2021 Indy 500.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS president Doug Boles said in a release. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

Fans will undergo temperature screenings upon entry and also be required to wear face coverings at all times on property. The track said each attendee will receive a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer.

The Friday, Oct. 2 race will be shown at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA, and NBC will broadcast the Saturday, Oct. 3 race at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Here’s the release from Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 – For the first time in 2020, Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome fans to the Racing Capital of the World for the INDYCAR Harvest GP presented by GMR weekend. Up to 10,000 spectators can be in the grandstands each day of racing action Oct. 1-4, per approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.

Tickets are available now via IMS.com and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

The massive facility, which holds more than 300,000 people, will provide two spectator zones with up to 5,000 fans in each. The zones will be located in Turns 1 and 4 of the oval, offering strong sightlines of the road course. Strict health and safety rules will be in place, including the following:

  • Face coverings must be worn throughout the property at all times;
  • All fans will receive temperature screenings before gate entry;
  • Grandstand seats will be marked for distancing;
  • Attendees must use pre-assigned gates and remain in their designated zones.

Global Medical Response, the world leader in compassionate, quality emergency medical and patient relocation services, will be the presenting sponsor of the penultimate weekend of INDYCAR racing this season.

“We can’t wait to see fans come through our gates for the first time in 2020,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “They’ll be greeted by a vastly improved facility, featuring significant upgrades to the spectator experience. We’re also extremely grateful to have a presenting sponsor with the expertise and resources of GMR as we look to implement our detailed and comprehensive health and safety plan.”

The plan, which includes each attendee receiving a mask and a bottle of hand sanitizer upon entering the track, was developed in consultation with state and local health officials.

This event weekend is highlighted by an NTT INDYCAR SERIES doubleheader, with races Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3. It will be the penultimate event of the series’ season as the field pursues the champion’s prestigious Astor Challenge Cup to be awarded Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The INDYCAR Harvest GP will pay tribute to a storied IMS event, the Harvest Classic in September 1916. The Harvest Classic was the only racing event held outside of May at IMS from 1911 through 1993. The event featured three races, all won by legendary driver Johnny Aitken.

Fans also will see a host of facility improvements during the event weekend, including more than 30 new LED video boards, refreshed concession stands and restrooms, and 5G wireless connectivity throughout the facility.

The first race will air at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 2 on the USA Network. NBC will broadcast the second race at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Oct. 3, with WTHR-13 airing the action live in Central Indiana.

Also racing that weekend will be the first pairing of two major sports car series — the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli and its North American counterpart, GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS. Former Indianapolis 500 pole winner Ryan Briscoe is among the drivers in the Indianapolis 8 Hour event held Sunday, Oct. 4.

The event also will showcase drivers in SRO America’s Pirelli GT4 America, GT Sports Club America and the TC America series.

The full on-track schedule is available at IMS.com.