Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1. Sonoma effort easy at 1-2-3 for Team Penske
2. IZOD IndyCar Series to live stream Race Control via Verizon Wireless
3. Inside the numbers - Infineon
4. Webb rejoins Jensen MotorSport for Baltimore, Las Vegas
1. Sonoma effort easy at 1-2-3 for Team Penske: After the second/final round of green-flag pit stops in the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, it was apparent that Will Power would have to make a major mistake to relinquish the lead in the 75-lap race at Infineon Raceway.
Fortunately for Team Penske, Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe were running second and third if that opportunity arose. Power maintained control as he had throughout, which made clearer the roles of his teammates - remain in front of IZOD IndyCar Series championship points leader Dario Franchitti of Target Chip Ganassi Racing.
"We sort of got to a point in the race where my focus was just to hold off Dario and bring home this 1-2-3, especially on that last restart," Briscoe said. "There was no point in trying to risk anything to make a position. My focus was entirely on keeping the Ganassi cars behind me."
Power sliced 21 points off Franchitti's advantage and trails by 26 heading to the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix this weekend. There are four races remaining - two each on 1.5-mile ovals and road/street courses.
"Like I said before the race, if we could finish how we started it would be a perfect weekend," said Power, who cashed in his sixth PEAK Performance Pole Award for his series-leading fifth victory of the season. "Now we have a legitimate shot at the championship. Two more road courses, two more ovals, we can get this.
"Great momentum for the team, and I'm just really happy for the team effort overall. To have a 1-2-3 is something we've been working hard on for the last two years and we finally got it."
It was the first time Team Penske had a 1-2-3 finish since Nazareth in 1994 (Paul Tracy, Al Unser Jr. and Emerson Fittipaldi), and the eighth overall. The last time a team swept the podium in IZOD IndyCar Series competition was 2005 at St. Petersburg by then-Andretti Green Racing.
Over the seven events at Infineon Raceway, Team Penske has accumulated 12 top-five finishes (including back-to-back two victories by Power and one by Castroneves in '08).
"This weekend was about the team doing a great job," said Castroneves, whose two season-high runner-up finishes have been logged behind Power. "It's very rare to have been starting 1-2-3 and finishing 1-2-3. All of us have been working really well together. The results showed up.
"For me, the race, it was great. I definitely knew Will was a little bit faster, especially from the (field-topping) warm-up. I noticed what he was capable of. Will saved enough 'push to pass' in the end so I couldn't do much."
Power tested for the group a week earlier on the 2.303-mile, 12-turn course, joining 19 other drivers. Items on the team's list applied to all three cars, which were used to derive the baseline set-ups.
"We all sort of made variations of changes on the mechanical balance of our cars," said Briscoe, who also tied his season-high finish. "But at this track, we're really able to help each other a lot.
"The other big part is how we push each other, just looking at speed tracings, cornering. Having three cars, as competitive as we all are, we're pushing each other so hard, learning from each other, trying to get ourselves a step ahead of the rest."
For the immediate future, that's especially true of Franchitti.
2. IZOD IndyCar Series to live stream Race Control via Verizon Wireless: Beginning with the Sept. 4 Baltimore Grand Prix, the IZOD IndyCar Series will provide a live streaming video glimpse into Race Control during the remaining races this season.
One camera will provide fans with a view of the inner workings of Race Control via the INDYCAR Mobile application available from Verizon Wireless.
"The IZOD IndyCar Series fully supports (Race Director) Brian Barnhart and the entire team in Race Control," INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard said. "They have, by far, one of the most difficult jobs in all of sports. We believe that they have followed the rulebook well, and it's important to bring this element of transparency to their job. We feel that by providing a behind-the-scenes view into Race Control, fans, teams and sponsors can truly understand how this dedicated, professional team works together to ensure safety, competitiveness and entertainment value."
Twenty-four camera angles around the circuit plus in-car camera video, real-time timing & scoring data and radio communication are monitored by a four-person team of officials in Race Control. The Race Control team is also in communication with officials on pit lane to ensure that the on-track activity is safe, legal and on schedule.
"This is a great experiment to provide a more transparent view to Race Control that hasn't been available in the past," said Barnhart, president of competition and operations, INDYCAR. "We want fans to see the challenges and difficulties of officiating a closely competitive 28-car field to showcase the confident and capable team we have working behind the scenes every weekend."
The Race Control camera will provide a view into the officials working behind the scenes including:
· Senior Official/Race Director - Head official for all practice sessions, qualifications and races. Calls starts and restarts and issues penalties.
· Race Stewards - Aid the Senior Official in the overall supervision of the event, reviews incidents and interpretation of the IndyCar Series rule book.
· Driver Coach - Offers officiating assistance to the Senior Official. Watches the event in real time and offers opinions of replays and reviews, when applicable.
· Fire Control - Dispatches all track safety units, including Holmatro Safety Team vehicles, wreckers, firemen, ambulances, pit lane firemen and medics.
· "Voice of Race Control" - The primary communicator to all teams, the starter, pit lane officials and the pace car during practices, qualifications and the race. Also controls the dash light system. Every team must monitor the race control frequency, which is a listen-only channel.
· Chief Observer - Serves and the primary contact for the network of observers around the track at all oval events. The observer network serves as an extra set of eyes for the Holmatro Safety Team and has limited officiating duties.
Verizon is the exclusive official wireless sponsor to the IZOD IndyCar Series. The IndyCar Mobile application on Verizon Wireless phones is available by texting INDY to 3406.
3. Inside the numbers - Infineon: Some numbers to note from the Indy Grand Prix at Sonoma at Infineon Raceway, the 13th event of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
3 - Points separating Sunoco Rookie of the Year leader JR Hildebrand (246) and James Hinchcliffe (243).
5 - Victories this season by Will Power, tying his win total of 2010.
6 - Finishing position of Sebastien Bourdais, who has finished sixth in three of his past four races.
7 - Points advantage for Dario Franchitti over Will Power in the Mario Andretti Road Trophy chase with two events left.
9 - Positions gained by Ryan Hunter-Reay, who finished 10th, and Sebastian Saavedra, who checked in 14th. Most of any driver in the field.
26 - Points separating championship leader Dario Franchitti and Power heading to the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix.
47 - Consecutive races running at the finish for Danica Patrick, extending her series record.
71 - Laps led (of 75) by Power in the race slowed by one full-course caution for three laps.
100 - Helio Castroneves' runner-up finish was the 100th top five of his Indy car career.
104 - Top-five finishes for Franchitti, which is 10th on the all-time list.
145 - Consecutive starts for Tony Kanaan.
4. Webb rejoins Jensen MotorSport for Baltimore, Las Vegas: Following an impressive debut in Firestone Indy Lights, British race driver Oliver Webb will rejoin Jensen MotorSport for the Baltimore Grand Prix and Las Vegas season finale.
"Oliver is very professional and clearly has the speed and natural talent to win races and championships" said Jensen MotorSport President Eric Jensen. "Our engineers Remi Lanteigne and Adam Marchitto worked extremely well with Oliver during our one-off for the Edmonton Indy, and our team is thrilled to expand this relationship with view to a championship run for 2012."
Webb posted a third-place finish in his debut race with the Jensen team and finished fifth in the second race at Edmonton.
The 20-year-old native of Manchester, England will drive the No. 12 Team Jensen race car as teammate to David Ostella for the Canadian-based team.
Following the Baltimore race, Webb will begin an oval testing program to prepare for the 2011 season finale on the high-speed Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The next IZOD IndyCar Series event is the Baltimore Grand Prix on Sept. 4 at Streets of Baltimore. The race will be televised live at 2 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS and broadcast by the IMS Radio Network. The next Firestone Indy Lights race is Baltimore 100 on Sept. 4 at the Streets of Baltimore. The race will be televised by VERSUS at Noon (ET).