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Indycar – From Watkins Glen to Sonoma for the Title

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With the finale of the Indycar season coming up at Sonoma, we took a great bunch of photos and now look forward to what lies ahead…As is with Indycar, the final round of the season is double points meaning that any gap is small and there are plenty of people in with a chance for the title.

It will be fun!

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Will Power was back in a Verizon IndyCar Series car on Thursday, two days after he was cleared to resume racing activities after experiencing concussion-like symptoms following a crash at Watkins Glen on Sept. 4. The Team Penske driver’s sole focus during the one-day team test at Sonoma Raceway wasn’t just making sure he was right in the car; it was trying to find the right combination that could lead him to his fourth win on the 12-turn 2.385-mile permanent road course located north of San Francisco.A win in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma could also bring the Australian his second series title in the last three seasons. “We’re just testing a bunch of things to help us win the race next weekend,” Power said. “We really need to win the race to win the championship. That would give us the best chance if Simon (Pagenaud) has a bad day. “It’s really difficult to find a perfect balance at Sonoma because there is such a variance in corners, so you really have to work out the best compromise, basically.
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Scott Dixon led 155 laps at Phoenix International Raceway in April, 56 laps at Toronto’s Exhibition Place in July, and 50 laps earlier this month at Watkins Glen International. Everywhere else? Only seven laps led. “We’ve had a lot of good weekends this year, but we’ve also had more than our share of things go against us,” Dixon told IndyStar. “It’s never one thing; it’s been a lot of small things.”
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Chip Ganassi When Dixon was trailing by 83 points in late July, Ganassi told Dixon to “go for it, baby.” Ganassi went on to say “the reigns were off” the four-time series champion, meaning he could focus on speed and race wins rather than accumulating points. “Don’t know if the reigns were ever on,” Ganassi said.
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Scott Dixon heard his boss say that and was amused. “We’ve had some misfortunes,” he said. “We had great potential to turn (the season) around at Road American and also in Toronto, where both of those could have been victories. “The great thing about this season is that we’ve had extremely fast cars, but it hasn’t quite rolled our way.”
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Tony Kanaan Although he is still chasing a win in 2016, the 41-year-old is enjoying his strongest season since moving to Ganassi in 2014. “The Indy GP [where he was involved in a crash with Sebastien Bourdais] was the only race where we’ve had a problem,” he says. “Otherwise, we’ve been very consistent. I’m really happy with where I’m at with the team, and with my engineer, and so far it has been a great season. Obviously it’s easier to say that when things are going well, but this has been my best season since I joined Ganassi, for sure.”
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Helio Castroneves: “It was really good. The Hitachi Chevy was actually running smooth. But, unfortunately when I saw the numbers, and the way the set-up was for our car, I didn’t think we’d be able to save fuel. And I told the guys on the radio to think of another strategy because we weren’t going to be able to save enough. I’m glad they were able to pick up really quick. We bailed out right away and were able to push as hard as we could and open up enough of a gap so in the end, I guess the No. 5 and the No. 18 (cars) ended up running out of fuel, so it was a great strategy with Roger (Penske) and the Hitachi car. Now let’s keep going. I know the championship might be over, but it’s not over for Team Penske. So, now we need to focus and go win Sonoma.”
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Josef Newgarden “We were kind of in a different race compared to (Scott) Dixon. The right guy won it this weekend. There was really no stopping this guy. Congratulations to him and all of Chip Ganassi Racing. For us, I think we can’t be too displeased with second place. It’s been a tough weekend. It’s not been our smoothest. I think we came back really strong. There’s always a little discrepancy with the timing stand and the driver. They give you a number to hit for fuel, and if you beat it a couple of laps in a row, you think ‘Okay they’re going to raise the number and give me more fuel.’ And they weren’t giving me more fuel! So, I was screaming at them. I was like, ‘Guys, I’m hitting this number, you give me more fuel now!’ They finally gave it to me in the end. We had a phenomenal race with great pit stops and we got on the podium. So, it’s a pretty good day. Hopefully we can go to Sonoma now and get even better results to finish off the year right.”
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– Newgarden’s second place finish is sixth Top 5 of the year. Heading into the final race of 2016, he is now locked in a battle for third place in the championship. Newgarden currently sits 5th, with the 3rd and 4th place drivers tied with an advantage over Newgarden of five points.
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Ryan Hunter Reay “Not the position we wanted to see the DHL Honda in to end our weekend at Watkins Glen. We really enjoyed being back at The Glen and are looking forward to being back in 2017. Our strategy was just off all day. We ended up saving fuel when in the end it would have been faster to have just taken a pit stop. On to Sonoma where we can hopefully end the season on a better note.”
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Mikhail Aleshin Turn made in Russian style. Getting ready for Sonoma and really happy to be back

 

The Racerviews Info

Photos by Andrew Henderson, September 2016

Quotes from PR sources

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