Photos: Jerry Bonkowski

IndyCar: Four championship drivers play San Francisco tourists for a day prior to Sunday’s big race

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SAN FRANCISCO — Sunday is the big day for the four remaining contenders for the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series championship at Sonoma Raceway.

But Wednesday was fun day for Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi, Will Power and Josef Newgarden, who along with about a dozen media members in tow took in the sights of San Francisco.

The quartet and media took a trolley car over the Golden Gate Bridge to Vista Point, which overlooks the City by the Bay’s downtown, as well as Alcatraz Island.

There, they took photos with the championship trophy that one of them will proudly take home Sunday night, indicative of being the 2018 IndyCar champion.

Interestingly enough, the trolley driver said she was a sportsman race car driver in her spare time.

From there, it was on to Fisherman’s Wharf, where the drivers took part in media interviews as well as had a local artist draw caricatures of themselves.

Will Power has been in the Bay area for more than a week, staying there with his family since last week’s closed test at Sonoma Raceway. He had an added bonus of sorts at Fisherman’s Wharf, seeing sea lions for the first time in his life.

Then it was on to a place where the four drivers really had to test their skills – at cracking hard-shell crabs. It wasn’t as easy as it looked for at least a couple of the drivers. Guess it’s easier to drive an open-wheel car at 220 mph.

The drivers then wrapped up the tour with some famous Ghirardelli chocolates and a nice lunch overlooking the harbor.

All four drivers were in good spirits, acted loose, laughed and smiled a lot, cracked jokes and even did a little bit of good-natured ribbing with each other.

Of course, Sunday will be totally different and all business.

Here are a few more photos of Wednesday’s activities:

Alexander Rossi showed some good proficiency cracking crabs.

 

 

Rossi, Newgarden and Power savor the crabs they cracked.
Sea lions sunning and enjoying the day alongside Fisherman’s Wharf. It was the first time Will Power had ever seen a sea lion.
Drivers getting some famous Ghirardelli chocolates.
Here’s the hardware the new champion will tote home after Sunday’s race.

 

 

 

Sprint Car driver Greg Hodnett killed in Pennsylvania race crash

Photo: World of Outlaws
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YORK HAVEN, Pa. (AP) — Sprint Car driver Greg Hodnett died after a crash Thursday night at BAPS Motor Speedway.

The 49-year-old Hodnett, from Spring Grove, Pa., was the World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year in 1993 and went on to win 20 World of Outlaws races. He won the opening night this year at the Knoxville Nationals.

“Greg represented the true gentleman competitor in the pit area,” World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter said.

A statement was posted on Hodnett’s racing website, saying: “Please keep (wife) Sherry, the entire Hodnett family, and the Heffner racing team in your thoughts and prayers.

“Greg was a professional in every sense of the word, and will be desperately missed!”

Several NASCAR drivers took to Twitter to express their condolences: