Ryan Hunter-Reay, No. 1 DHL Chevrolet
With five races remaining on the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series calendar, reigning series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay enters the GoPro Grand Prix weekend ranked third in the standings, trailing the leader by only 65 points. The American, a two-time race winner this season, recorded his best finish at Sonoma Raceway of eighth in the 2010 running.
“The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma is always a highlight on the IndyCar schedule. We’re working so hard to close the gap to the championship points lead so we’re looking to make big gains this weekend. We had a promising top three going last year, until the final stages of the race when we were hit from behind, so we just need to pick up where we left off and improve the car. I look forward to seeing the huge turnout from all of our partners and sponsors as well, I’ll be giving it 110% to give them the results they deserve.”
Did You Know: In 2012, Hunter-Reay entered the Sonoma race weekend ranked second in the points standings, trailing by five points. Following an unfortunate race end that saw him knocked from third to 18th, the 32-year-old left wine country 36 points out of the lead. He came back with a win at Baltimore the following weekend and clinched the title during the season finale event in Fontana.
Marco Andretti, No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet
Marco Andretti first raced an Indy car at Sonoma Raceway in 2006 when he captured his first career victory. The 26-year-old Pennsylvania native returns to the 12-turn circuit this weekend ranked fourth in the IZOD IndyCar Series championship. Andretti has recorded 12 top-10 finishes in 14 starts so far in the 2013 racing season.
“We haven’t been real strong for the past couple of years at Sonoma, but I think we can turn it around this year and be a contender. We will have a couple of tests under our belts going into the race weekend which will help us get to where we need to be. It would be great to get a second win at Sonoma for the RC Cola team.”
Did You Know: The third-generation racer will make an appearance at Food 4 Less (5184 Sonoma Blvd, Vallejo, 94589) on Thursday, Aug. 22 from 3 – 5 p.m. — fans are welcome to come out and support Marco.
James Hinchcliffe, No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet
The 2013 GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma will mark James Hinchcliffe’s third career start at the wine country track. Hinchcliffe has made both of his previous starts at Sonoma Raceway from inside the top-10 (sixth and 10th) and has recorded a best finish of seventh (2011).
“Well it’s easy to understand why (Sonoma) is a favorite for fans, family, sponsors, etc! The track is beautiful and is great for viewing, and it’s just tough not to like it. From the on-track perspective, it’s very challenging. It drives like part road course, part street course and it is probably the toughest track of the year to set up for. We haven’t been the strongest here the last few years, so we are really hoping that the testing we’ve done helps move us in the right direction. We really want a strong run here for the GoDaddy Chevy, but I get the feeling this race is going to be one of survival!”
Did You Know: Nearly 3,000 sheep call the Sonoma Raceway home throughout the year. The sheep, provided by Rocky Mountain Wooly Weeders, provide natural land care, helping to maintain the facility’s grasses and fire lanes.
E.J. Viso, No. 5 Team Venezuela PDVSA CITGO Chevrolet
Making his sixth start on the 2.52-mile permanent road course, Viso arrives with a best finish of sixth and nine laps led at the Northern California circuit from 2008 – the Venezuelan’s rookie year in IndyCar. The 28-year-old is currently 12th in points with 15 laps led and six top-10 finishes this year.
“I’m looking forward to heading to Sonoma – it’s one of the most beautiful venues in the championship. Going there after a couple of test days, including one that was last Tuesday, I believe we have achieved a number of items on our to do list that has provided us with good information that is going to be critical and necessary for the coming race weekend. The category is extremely competitive, and every single detail we can improve and we can find is going to be a huge benefit.”