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Old 14 Sep 2016, 22:21 (Ref:3672417)   #1
bjohnsonsmith
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Round 16: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. Sonoma, CA. 16 - 18 September, 2016.

Round 16: GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. Sonoma, CA. 16 - 18 September, 2016.

So here we are again and as the late James Hunt was fond of saying, "It's all over bar the shouting.", well almost, as we go into the final round of the 2016 season, which has produced some excellent racing and a good season overall.

Originally known as Sears Point Raceway, the track was built in 1968 by attorney Robert Marshall Jr. and land developer Jim Coleman. The first official race, an SCCA event, was held on Dec. 1, that year. It was sold in 1969 to Filmways Corp., a Los Angeles based entertainment company. In April 1970, Sears Point hosted the 2nd round of the USAC Championship Car season, the Golden Gate 150, which was won by Dan Gurney in his AAR Eagle-Ford. This would be the first and last AOWR/IndyCar race for 35 years.

With losses of $300,000 the venue closed in May 1970 and Filmways Corp., used it as a tax shelter. The track re-opened in 1973 and in 1974, it was leased to Bob Bondurant, owner of the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving and eventually bought by Black Mountain Inc., which included Bondurant.

In 1981, When Black Mountain Inc., defaulted on payments, the track was bought back by Filmways Corp., and then subsequently sold at auction to a business group that included the 1964 NHRA top-fuel drag racing champion, Jack Williams. The track came under the control of Brenda Raceway Corp., when business partners Dr. Frank N. Scott Jr. and Harvey "Skip" Berg came on board. It was sold in 1996 to current owners Speedway Motorsports, Inc.

In 2002, Infineon bought the naming rights in a 10 year deal, renaming the track Infineon Raceway. When the deal expired, the new name of Sonoma Raceway was chosen, rather than reverting to its former name Sears Point.

AOWR/IndyCar returned on August 28, 2005, after a 35 year absence, with Tony Kanaan wining the IRL's inaugural race at the venue, the Argent Mortgage Indy Grand Prix, for Andretti Green Racing in a Dallara IR05-Honda HI5R. Since then the race has been an IndyCar perennial and last year hosted the series finale for the first time.

Some trivia:
The driver with the most wins: 3, Scott Dixon, 2007, 2014, 2015. 3, Will Power: 2010, 2011, 2013.
The team with most wins: 5 Team Penske: 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.

The full length road course, is 2.523 miles (4.060 km), with 12-turns and 160 foot change in elevation. It also has a quarter mile (402 m) dragstrip. which was originally part of the start/finish line straight. In 2001, the race track was separated from the drag strip. The venue also hosts rounds for other series, including AMA Superbikes, NASCAR Sprint Cup, NHRA Championship Drag Racing, SCCA and WTCC, as well as IndyCar and can accomodate different layouts for each series.

Since 2005, the IndyCar track layout has changed. From 2005 to 2007, IndyCar raced on a modified version of the 2.320 miles (3.733 km) layout used by the AMA. This layout was further revised, with the approach to Turn 7 straightened and was used from 2008 to 2011.

The most notable change though, was in 2012. The section from Turn 10 to Turn 11 was extended by 200 feet, with the hairpin now at Turn 11B, increasing the track length to 2.385 miles (3.838 km) and giving drivers more space to out-brake each other and set up a passing opportunity, before going into Turn 12. The exit off Turn 9, the Bus Stop, was widened by 10 feet on the driver’s left, giving additional width to what was already a passing zone and Turn 7 became a u-turn similar to Turn 11B.

Track Layout:
Original full circuit


2005 - 2007 IndyCar circuit


2008 - 2011 IndyCar circuit


Current IndyCar circuit


Length: 2.385 Miles (3.838 km)
Turns: 12

Lap record:
August 29, 2015. Will Power, 01:16.2597, 112.589 mph (181.194 kmh). Team Penske, Dallara DW12-Chevrolet Indy V6, Verizon IndyCar Series

Last year's winner:
Scott Dixon
Chip Ganassi Racing
Dallara DW12-Chevrolet Indy V6

Laps: 85
Distance: 195.755 Miles (315.010 km)
Race Time: 2:09:14
Average Speed: 94.117 mph (1151.46 kmh)

TV Coverage:
NBCSN, 6:30pm EST.
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Old 14 Sep 2016, 22:45 (Ref:3672421)   #2
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NaBUru38 should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridNaBUru38 should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
The turn 7 hairpin is too dangerous. It should be reverted to the 2008-11 layout.
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Old 16 Sep 2016, 03:03 (Ref:3672715)   #3
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The 2005-07 layout did not use the 7A "Budweiser Bottleneck" wider exit to the hairpin turn that NASCAR uses.

I'd say that the (more or less) original configuration of Turn 7, used in 2005-07, was the best layout for it. It's that stupidly acute apex at the entry that leads to all those spear-jobs, punts, and spins. Opening it up with the old corner entry, and leaving the straighter corner exit, also just seems like the best solution for promoting good overtaking.

What I have for the track lengths that USAC and IRL/IndyCar have used is as follows:
1970- 2.520 miles
2005-07- 2.300 miles
2008-11- 2.303 miles
Current- 2.385 miles

No matter how you slice it, so long as they use the Turn 9 chicane and the truncated Turn 11, the racing is going to suffer significantly.

Just as a reference, I'd expect the current cars to lap, in Qualifying, in the 1:09s on the 2.520-mile layout.
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Old 16 Sep 2016, 18:27 (Ref:3672831)   #4
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Practice 1 is streaming live right now.
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Old 17 Sep 2016, 19:10 (Ref:3673153)   #5
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Andretti leads P3 with a 1:16.305. The existing fastest lap for these cars on this layout is a 1:16.260, so we're getting mighty close with Qualifying to come.
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Old 18 Sep 2016, 10:49 (Ref:3673633)   #6
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Qualifying

1 Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske. Dallara/Chevrolet. 1m16.2565s
2 Helio Castroneves, Team Penske. Dallara/Chevrolet. 1m16.4134s
3 Juan Pablo Montoya, Team Penske. Dallara/Chevrolet. 1m16.5400s
4 Will Power, Team Penske. Dallara/Chevrolet. 1m16.6659s
5 Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan. Dallara/Honda. 1m16.7149s
6 Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport. Dallara/Honda. 1m16.9132s
7 Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing. Dallara/Chevrolet. 1m16.5700s
8 Alexander Rossi, Andretti Herta. Dallara/Honda. 1m16.5840s
9 Sebastien Bourdais, KVSH Racing. Dallara/Chevrolet. 1m16.6115s
10 Josef Newgarden, Ed Carpenter Racing. Dallara/Chevrolet. 1m16.8142s
11 Mikhail Aleshin, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Dallara/Honda. 1m16.8909s
12 Charlie Kimball, Chip Ganassi Racing. Dallara/Chevrolet. 1m16.9627s
13 Tony Kanaan, Chip Ganassi Racing. Dallara/Chevrolet. 1m16.9481s
14 Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport. Dallara/Honda. 1m16.9288s
15 Takuma Sato, AJ Foyt Enterprises. Dallara/Honda. 1m16.9661s
16 Carlos Munoz, Andretti Autosport. Dallara/Honda. 1m17.0314s
17 Jack Hawksworth, AJ Foyt Enterprises. Dallara/Honda. 1m17.0823s
18 Max Chilton, Chip Ganassi Racing. Dallara/Chevrolet. 1m17.1310s
19 Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing. Dallara/Chevrolet. 1m17.3052s
20 James Hinchcliffe, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. Dallara/Honda. 1m17.1926s
21 Conor Daly, Dale Coyne Racing. Dallara/Honda. 1m17.6771s
22 R.C. Enerson, Dale Coyne Racing. Dallara/Honda. 1m17.3264s
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Old 18 Sep 2016, 15:48 (Ref:3673721)   #7
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NaBUru38 should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridNaBUru38 should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Scott Dixon 7th, I'm disappointed...
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Old 18 Sep 2016, 22:45 (Ref:3673836)   #8
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gert should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridgert should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridgert should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Nice. I have found a stream. Russian commentary (or similar), but it will have to do.
The quality of the pictures is excellent though.

Last edited by bjohnsonsmith; 18 Sep 2016 at 22:59. Reason: Sorry hit the edit tab by mistake.
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Old 18 Sep 2016, 22:51 (Ref:3673840)   #9
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A very clean start but Kanaan tags Aleshin at Turn 7. Both got going again so fortunately no FCY.
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Old 18 Sep 2016, 22:53 (Ref:3673844)   #10
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gert should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridgert should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridgert should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Did I see that correctly? A marshall CAN run on track without a full course yellow after all?
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Old 18 Sep 2016, 22:59 (Ref:3673846)   #11
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Nice. I have found a stream. Russian commentary (or similar), but it will have to do.
The quality of the pictures is excellent though.
Try this, www.time4tv.me/2011/09/espn.php.
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Old 18 Sep 2016, 23:16 (Ref:3673848)   #12
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gert should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridgert should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridgert should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
thanks
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Old 18 Sep 2016, 23:40 (Ref:3673854)   #13
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Looks like Power is out of power.
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Old 18 Sep 2016, 23:41 (Ref:3673855)   #14
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Looks like Power is out of power.
Yup. That's a wrap on the championship likely.
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Old 18 Sep 2016, 23:42 (Ref:3673856)   #15
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gert should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridgert should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridgert should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Congrats to Pagenaud, it's done now.
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