Power Tops Test in Return to Infineon Raceway
August 14, 2010
Photo courtesy of Steve Swope
SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 13, 2010) - Team Penske's Will Power led the field on Friday, as 14 IZOD IndyCar Series drivers completed a full day of testing at Infineon Raceway in advance of the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, Aug. 20-22.
Power, the series points leader that drives the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car, posted a time of 1:17.46 seconds over the 12-turn, 2.303-mile road course at the test session, which was attended by more than 200 race fans. He was followed by defending Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma champion Dario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi Racing, 1:17.83) and Justin Wilson (Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, 1:17.84).
For Power, it was a return to the scene of a terrible accident, in which he suffered two broken vertebrae and a concussion. The accident happened when his car rammed into the stalled car of Nelson Philippe between Turns 3A and 4 during practice at last year's Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.
Since the accident, the raceway, in cooperation with the Indy Racing League, has enhanced the warning systems in Turn 3A. Two strobelights were added for a total of four - with black backboards for additional visibility - and sets of LED lights facing the track have been installed. Along with the existing corner flag stand, in-car caution lights, spotter radio communication and Race Control audio, drivers will have multiple overlapping warnings to potential danger ahead.
"It's nice to be back, actually," said Power, who has four wins and a series record-tying seven poles this season. "I was a little nervous heading up over that hill (at Turn 3A) a couple of times, for sure. But the track has done a fantastic job of making sure that everyone is aware if someone does spin. If there is a car sitting up and over the top, there's a lot of lights and plenty of warning before you get there now. I enjoy this track, it's very technical and one of the better road courses we come to so I'd like to come back here and I'd love to win."
Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon (1:18.04) and Raphael Matos (deFerran Luczo Dragon Racing, 1:18.1) rounded out the top five times of the day. Sausalito's JR Hildebrand was sixth quickest (1:18.21, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing). All times were reported by Honda.
The drivers return to the Sonoma Valley road course for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, Aug. 20-22. The event has featured five different winners (Tony Kanaan, Marco Andretti, Dixon, Helio Castroneves and Franchitti) since 2005.