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Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma Friday Report

A very quick lap by Tagliani on his final run propels him to third.

Sonoma, California (August 20, 2010) – Canadian driver Alex Tagliani almost drove a perfect lap on his final run in the opening practice session of Round 13 of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series held Friday at the 3.707 km Infineon Raceway road course located near Sonoma in northern California.


On his final circuit, Tagliani bettered his previous best lap time by more than a second and three tenths to jump from 20th on the chart to third overall, only 26 hundredths of a second from Dario Franchitti, the quickest of the 25 drivers registered for this race. Tagliani’s best lap time was clocked at 1 minute 18.5661 seconds for an average speed of 169.827 km/h, while Franchitti stopped the clock at 1:18,2969 (170.411 km/h) Will Power was second quickest with a time of 1:18.3011, only four thousandths of a second from Franchitti.

Scott Dixon finished fourth ahead of Justin Wilson and Marco Andretti. On Saturday, following the afternoon practice session, the knockout qualifying round will begin at 5:30 p.m. The elimination rounds will eventually set up the Firestone fastest six drivers of the day who will battle for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma pole.

“I’m very happy with the session; the team did a fantastic job getting the car ready for this track,” Tagliani said. “We found some things in Mid-Ohio that have helped us move in the right direction. I think we’ve turned a corner in the last race and even though we didn’t get to test here last week, what we have found has stayed with us. This is my first time on this track so I think we’re going to need to learn the track better and improve our performance at every outing. Overall, I think we finally found what we were looking for, and we now have a car that can run up front.”

“Coming off a great race at Mid-Ohio this is a good way to start the weekend,” said Rob Edwards, FAZZT Race Team COO. “Alex did a great job, especially since he hasn’t been here before and he hasn’t had a chance to learn the race track. He always learns new tracks quickly so we were able to start working with the car set ups and making gains early in the session. It’s a good start for the weekend but Sunday is what counts. So, we’ll just keep our heads down and keep working”

Round 13 of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar schedule is a 75 laps, 277.973 kilometers race that will be broadcast live this Sunday August 22 on TSN2 and VERSUS starting at 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time. Live Timing and Scoring as well as video coverage of all practice sessions, qualifying, and the race are available at www.indycar.com.

Previous Winners in Sonoma

No one has ever repeated as a winner of an IndyCar race at Sonoma since the series first began to compete at the road course located north of the Golden Gate Bridge in 2005. Five winners in five races. Ryan Briscoe won the first-ever pole, but it was Brazilian Tony Kanaan who won the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. In 2006, Marco Andretti was victorious ahead of Dario Franchitti, and the following year Scott Dixon was the winner after qualifying fifth. Helio Castroneves finished second that year, but won from the pole in 2008. Franchitti followed suit last season, also with a win from pole position. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver, who had won the pole in 2007, is the only repeat pole winner at Infineon Raceway, but no one as yet repeated as a race winner.

Point Standings

Team Penske driver Will Power is still leading the standings with 461, followed by Dario Franchitti, 41 points back with 420. Third place belongs to Scott Dixon with 379 points. Ryan Briscoe with 352 and Helio Castroneves with 340 are respectively in fourth and fifth place. Tagliani has moved up two positions to 13th overall with 228 points following his fourth-place finish in the last race at Mid-Ohio.

August 21-22, 2010 Schedule

– Saturday Practice: 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. ET

– Saturday Qualifying & Firestone Fast Six: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. ET

– Sunday Warm-Up: 1:15 – 1:45 p.m. ET

– Sunday Race: 75 laps for 277.973-km with the green flag at 5:45 p.m. ET

Image is courtesy of IndyCar Series / Ron McQueeney

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