Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma

First let me say I’m so very grateful that we had a race this weekend. It was such a long, sad week with the passing of Justin Wilson and the best therapy for drivers and fans alike was getting back to racing. I pray it was a healing time for Stefan too. I know it’s going to be a long journey for Stefan, his parents, Julia and the girls but hopefully seeing how the IndyCar community loved Justin helps in the healing process.

So the pre-show begins and I have my tissues ready but I actually held up pretty well, that is until the piece Robin Miller did came on. Seriously, I never would have guess that he would be the one to make me cry the most. It was so well done, a wonderful tribute to Justin. The whole show and race was a great tribute but Robin’s piece took the spotlight. Also worth noting, Oriol Servia drove Justin’s car for the race. All the cars had the number 25 on the LED panels for the warm up laps. The drivers have a JW wood coin in their pocket with “0.2/ for Justin” on the back signifying that Justin always had an extra two-tenths of a second in his back pocket for when he needed it.

Green Flag- Will Power led the field to the green flag and while poor Graham Rahal seems to be bumped around a bit, the cars all made it through. Power led the beginning laps, no surprise there.

Lap15- Josef Newgarden and Will Power were in the pits and Simon Pagenaud entered the pits, rather than pull straight into his pit box he stopped on the pit lane and waited for Power to exit his box, however Pagenaud was also blocking Newgarden from leaving his pit box so Newgarden drove through Powers box to rejoin the field. It will be interesting to see how they penalize the drivers for this one. Power was fine, no penalty there I’m sure. Newgarden drove through another box and over a hose but he really didn’t have any place to go. I’m hoping no penalty there. Pagenaud stopped where he shouldn’t have. I believe he is the one deserving of the penalty.

Lap 22 Servia pits. He had been running in third. Servia hasn’t been in the car or working out since May. He was physically not prepared to race and I’m sure it was equally tough emotionally, yet here he was running in third. He finished 12th.

Lap 34- Yellow. Luca Filippi was slow on the track. Really no need for a yellow he was able to make his way around. When we returned to green Power and Montoya got into each other. I’ve heard that Montoya bumped Power and vice versa. Not sure which is correct but it ruined both their days so it really didn’t matter.

Lap 62- Newgarden again has trouble in the pits and the car catches on fire. The fire was quickly extinguished and Josef eventually was restarted but it also ruined his day. I would love to see Josef stay with CFH Racing but the continual trouble in the pits might be what makes him decide its time to move on if the big boys come knocking- and I’m sure they are all knocking.

Lap 64- Tony Kanaan was running second and all I thought was he won’t try to pass Scott Dixon since Dixon still had a chance at a championship and I really wanted TK to get a win this year.

Montoya was running mid pack but made his way up to sixth after contact between Bourdais and Rahal. Rahal was understandably upset about his day being ruined but unfortunately he had been struggling all day and his chances of winning were really slim. JPM needed to finish fifth to win the championship but was unable to get around Ryan Briscoe. Montoya and Dixon tied in points but Dixon won the tie breakers by winning more races that JPM during the season.

So while no one is surprised that Scott Dixon won the championship and honestly we aren’t too surprised that Team Penske lost the championship in the last race of the season- it’s happened before nine times since 2002 to be exact. What did surprise me was what a sore loser JPM was. He was wining about the double points even though he was the winner of the only other double point race, The Indianapolis 500. From the beginning of the season everyone was aware that two races would have double points. It was the same for everyone. If anyone should be complaining it should be Dixon. He did a great job qualifying at The Indy 500 but due to the weather qualifying was modified and the extra points weren’t awarded. Had that happened Dixon would have been in a much better position and easy win regardless of double points. Montoya was quoted as saying, “Dixon had a s**t season and had one good race.” Um? Which race was that? Long Beach? Texas? Sonoma? C’mon it’s the Iceman. He had several good races and three wins. He had an amazing season. JPM started out strong but really didn’t end strong, he just kept himself high enough to stay the points leader.

So while I was hoping Graham Rahal would walk away the series champ, I’m pleased it was Dixon. He truly is a fantastic racer.

So here we are the end of the season and a long off season. I hate this time of year. Fortunetly, we have lots of story lines to write about and silly season to discus. It sure helps during the off season.