Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines: 1. Franchitti leads practice session at Infineon Raceway 2. Conquest's racers trade numbers 3. Vernay prepares for Carneros 100 by going to school 1. Franchitti...
Today's IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights headlines:
1. Franchitti leads practice session at Infineon Raceway
2. Conquest's racers trade numbers 3. Vernay prepares for Carneros 100 by going to school
1. Franchitti leads practice session at Infineon Raceway: Defending Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma winner Dario Franchitti led the opening one-hour practice session as IZOD IndyCar Series teams began preparations for the 2010 Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway on Aug. 20.
Franchitti, driver of the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car turned a lap of 1 minute, 18.2970 seconds on the 2.303-mile road course. Will Power of Verizon Team Penske was second fastest at 1:18.3011 - .0041 of a second behind Franchitti. FAZZT Race Team's Alex Tagliani was third with a lap of 1:18.5661 turned as the checkered flag fell. Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon (1:18.6070) and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's Justin Wilson (1:18.6161) rounded out the top five. In all, the top 16 cars were separated by a little more than a second.
Another one-hour practice session is slated for Aug. 21 followed by PEAK Performance Pole Qualifying featuring the Firestone Fast Six. The Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Aug. 22.
2. Conquest's racers trade numbers: Conquest Racing has flipped the numbers of its two IZOD IndyCar Series entries for this weekend's Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma.
Bertrand Baguette's RACB/Conquest Racing car will carry the No. 34 while Francesco Dracone's Halkin Jet/LaPasta.biz/Conquest car will carry the No. 36. Baguette is looking forward to the change this weekend which only involved changing the number decals on the car he has driven for most of the season.
"I prefer the No. 34," the Belgian rookie said. "I did all my karting with the No. 34 and even a few of my first single-seater (race cars) had 34. I actually wanted to run 34 this year, but Mario (Romancini) already had it."
While team owner Eric Bachelart hasn't decided what will happen for the rest of the year, Baguette is hopeful that he can put together a strong performance with the number to keep it.
"It's my preferred number and have always done well with it," he said. "I think the change is good and I hope that it is still a lucky number for me."
3. Vernay prepares for Carneros 100 by going to school: Even though J.K. Vernay is leading the Firestone Indy Light point standings, he tuned up for this weekend's Carneros 100 by heading to school.
The Sam Schmidt Motorsports driver took a one-day Jim Russell Racing School course at Infineon Raceway to familiarize himself with the 2.303-mile road course.
"It was a great experience," Vernay said. "I had a great instructor and drove a great car. I think it will be very helpful when it comes to racing here this weekend."
Vernay drove a car more similar to the F3 car he drove in Europe rather than his No .7 Lucas/CJ/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, the seat time he gained was invaluable, especially with only one day for practice and qualifying before the 40-lap Carneros 100 on Aug. 22.
"I didn't do a lot of laps, but it will make learning the track a lot easier," Vernay said. "We had a very difficult and frustrating weekend at Mid-Ohio. But after the day at the school I am confident we can fight for the win and the podium at the least."
Two 45-minute practice sessions for Firestone Indy Lights is scheduled for 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 21. SUNOCO Pole Qualifying is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
The 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series season continues Aug. 22 with the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 5 p.m. (ET) by VERSUS. The race will air live on the IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 and Sirius channel 212. The race also will be carried on www.indycar.com. The 2010 Firestone Indy Lights season continues with the Carneros 100 on Aug. 22 at Infineon Raceway.