Six drivers go through paces in Sonoma Raceway test on Thursday

Will Power was one of three Team Penske drivers that took part in Thursday's test at Sonoma Raceway. Photos courtesy Sonoma Raceway.
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Sonoma Raceway media release

SONOMA, Calif. (Sept. 6, 2018) – Six drivers from three Verizon IndyCar Series teams took part in a one-day test session at Sonoma Raceway on Thursday, Sept. 6.  The series returns to Sonoma for the season finale at the IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma, Sept. 14-16.

Will Power and Josef Newgarden, who both remain in the championship hunt, took part in the seven-hour test session alongside Team Penske teammate Simon Pagenaud, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato, who won last weekend in Portland, as well as Harding Racing’s Patricio O’Ward, the 2018 Indy Lights Series champion who made his first laps in a Verizon IndyCar Series car.

This marked an important test session for Team Penske. The team boasts seven wins in 13 races in wine country as they head into the final race of the season.

Josef Newgarden takes laps during Thursday’s test at Sonoma Raceway.

“We’ve always tried to prioritize the finale for a test that’s big for us,” said reigning series champion Josef Newgarden, who sits fourth in points. “The race is double points, which is two races essentially, so it’s important to be strong at the finale. Penske cars have always been good here traditionally, so we’re hoping we keep that tradition alive, but you can never be too comfortable. I don’t think you can underestimate anyone now. You’ve got to be on the lookout for people improving.”

Heading into the finale in Sonoma, four drivers remain mathematically eligible to win the championship. Scott Dixon (Chip Ganassi Racing) holds a slim 29-point lead over Nevada City native Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport). Power and Newgarden sit in third and fourth, respectively. Dixon, Rossi, Power and Newgarden have each posted three wins so far this season, and with double points on the line in Sonoma the championship will likely come down to the final lap.

“Having a full test day before race weekend is always handy, hopefully the conditions are similar and we can get some good information to go over for next week,” said Power, who has three Sonoma wins. “It’s important to get in a good window and understand what makes the car fast around this place. It’s a track I’ve always enjoyed, so I’d love to finish it out with a win.”

Four IndyCar teams are slated to take part in a final test session next Thursday, Sept. 13, prior to race weekend, including Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing, Carlin and Harding Racing. The IndyCar Grand Prix of Sonoma weekend kicks off with two practice sessions on Friday, practice and qualifying on Saturday and the championship race beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.

IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta: How to watch, start times, schedule, entry list

AUTO: NOV 13 IMSA - Motul Petit Le Mans
David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Start times, TV schedule: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will conclude the 2022 season this weekend with the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta, which also will mark the end of the line for the DPi class.

The premier Daytona Prototype international category, which started in 2017, will be replaced by the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with its LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to Le Mans.

For the third time in four years, an Acura will be crowned the champion in DPi as the No. 10 of Wayne Taylor Racing holds a 19-point edge over the No. 60 of Meyer Shank Racing.

Last year, WTR’s No. 10 entered the season finale with a 19-point lead but lost the title to the No. 31 Cadillac of Action Express.

Full-time WTR drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor (who will be joined by Brendon Hartley in the No. 10 this weekend) have a series-leading four victories this season. The MSR duo of Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves this weekend) won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and have five runner-up finishes this year.

Championship scenarios in the other four categories:

GTD Pro: Points leaders Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet will clinch the title by starting in their No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

–GTD: There are 140 points separating the top four teams with Roman De Angelis and the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 leading by 45 points.

–LMP2: John Farano is first in the driver standings by 33 points over Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel. In the team standings, the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports leads by 19 points over the No. 8 Tower Motorsport (Farano’s team).

–LMP3: No. 54 CORE autosport drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun lead by 83 points over the No. 74 Riley Motorsports of Gar Robinson.

With the 10-hour race requiring an extra driver, several stars from other racing series have been added. In addition to Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay will serve as third drivers in Chip Ganassi Racing’s pair of Cadillacs.

Jimmie Johnson also will be making his last DPi start in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac with Mike Rockenfeller and Kamui Kobayashi. Petit Le Mans could mark the last start in an IMSA prototype for Johnson, who has said limited inventory likely will keep him out of the GTP category in the Rolex 24 next year.

Here are the start times, starting lineup, schedule and TV info for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (all times are ET):


Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta start times, schedule, TV info

When: Saturday, 12:10 p.m. ET

Race distance: Ten hours on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course

TV: Noon-3 p.m., NBC; 3-10:30 p.m., USA Network. Peacock, the NBC Sports App,and NBCSports.com will have streaming coverage of the event from flag to flag beginning at noon. Leigh Diffey and Dave Burns are the play by play announcers with analysts Calvin Fish, Townsend Bell, James Hinchcliffe and Brian Till. The pit reporters are Kevin Lee, Hannah Newhouse, Dillon Welch and Matt Yocum.

IMSA.com live TV qualifying stream: Friday, 3:35 p.m. ET.

IMSA Radio: All sessions are live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage will begin Saturday at noon (XM 207, Internet/App 992).

Forecast: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 63 degrees with an 85% chance of rain at the green flag.

Entry list: Click here to see the 48-car field for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta


Daily schedule IMSA Petit Le Mans

Here’s a rundown of the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia:

Wednesday, Sept. 28

9:30 a.m.: Mazda MX-5 practice

10:25 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup

12:30 p.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

1:15 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 practcice

2 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup practice

3:30 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

Thursday, Sept. 29

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

9 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup qualifying

9:50 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

11:40 a.m.: Prototype Challenge qualifying

12:10 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

1:50 p.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 1

2:55 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

5 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 1

6 p.m.: Michelin Challenge qualifying

7:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

Friday, Sept. 30

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge race

9:50 a.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 2

10:55 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 2

1:10 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race

3:40 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

Saturday, Oct. 1

9:15 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

12:10 p.m.: Petit Le Mans