Sonoma Raceway ‘not at immediate risk’ from North Bay fires

Photo: Sonoma Raceway
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Unconfirmed reports circulated this morning on social media that Sonoma Raceway might be directly affected by significant fires overnight in Napa and Sonoma counties appear to be wide of the mark.

Sonoma Raceway released an update Monday morning confirming it is “not at immediate risk.”

A statement from from Sonoma Raceway President and General Manager Steve Page as of 9:30 a.m. PT on Monday morning is below, with the track confirming additional updates will be shared as needed.

“All of us at Sonoma Raceway extend our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to those who have been touched by the devastating North Bay fires.  Our facilities team and a number of local fire companies have been battling grassland fires on Cougar Mountain and elsewhere around our property, and at this point it does not appear any of the raceway’s structures or other facilities are at immediate risk.  We appreciate all of the good wishes that have flooded in from friends around the state and country.”

Napa, Santa Rosa and Petaluma appear to be some of the areas significantly affected. Highway 121 just outside the track located on Arnold Dr. also was mentioned. More information is here via SFGate.com.

Sonoma Raceway hosts a round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Verizon IndyCar Series each year and in 2018 will also host the SCCA National Championship Runoffs in October.

Further south of Sonoma this weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., SRO hosts the California 8 Hours, a round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, on a weekend that also features Mazda Motorsports’ Global MX-5 Challenge. Pirelli World Challenge’s Touring Car classes season finale, and the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA.

Sonoma sent through a few photos, below.

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.