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It’s been an unusually unsettling morning for the IndyCar series. A 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck overnight in the Sonoma, CA area. Reports of power outages, fires and damage are coming in this race morning. Effects on the track and today’s race remain to be seen. If there were to be a postponement or even cancellation of the race it would be a first for the IndyCar Series – cancellation due to earthquake. It’s one of the inherent risks in racing much less ending the season in Cali where numerous fault lines are found. It’s all oddly reminiscent of the 1989 quake during the World Series in San Francisco.Check back for updates.
There are already rumors of damage at the track and of a race cancellation today. The epicenter reportedly was six miles southwest of Napa, very near the track at Sonoma. No injures have been reported, although fires and infrastructure damage will make today’s race highly unlikely to occur. Reports of aftershocks and widespread though moderate damage are coming in as the sun rises over Cali.
There’s still no word from IndyCar. Why the delay and why remain silent during this disaster? Wildfires are a growing concern as the state’s already taxed emergency resources will be stretched thinner. Is there any way a race can be held today in the midst of such chaos?
Preliminary reports from Sonoma Raceway state there is no damage to the facility. These reports don’t include the surrounding area’s infrastructure damage, however. Finally at 9:00 am central time the IndyCar website is reporting the races will go on today as scheduled. After a delay, it’s a remarkable turn of events in California.
A cancellation of the race today would be huge for the championship, taking points away from Power almost certainly and making the double points 500 mile finale in Fontana even more crucial to the title race.
If the race does eventually occur – and that’s an increasingly large if – the question is can Power win from the pole? It’s happened three of the last five years at Sonoma and Power’s done it twice in a row in 2010-11.
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There haven’t been any major silly season news updates at Sonoma this weekend, unlike Milwaukee where SFH & Carpenter announced a merger for next year. Perhaps they’re saving it up for the Fontana finale, or maybe the earthquake will shake things out.
Can Sato keep his ride at AJ Foyt Racing? Larry said he needed “a strong finish” to the season but he starts 20th today. The results this year have been disappointing.
How long will Saavedra last at KVSH? It’s been another very difficult year for him and the team and Sebastian hasn’t been close to a win yet in multiple seasons.
Can Target get back on track? Dixon’s won at Sonoma and starts third while Briscoe and Kanaan begin fifth and eighth respectively. The team needs a strong race. Will Briscoe keep his streak of finishes alive this year and keep his ride for next year?
Will AA’s up and down year continue? Their best qualifying effort was from Hinchcliffe in fourth, followed by Munoz and Hunter-Reay in 9th and 10th. They’ve seemed lost as of late and Hinch spun repeatedly on Saturday.
Josef Newgarden starts second and has been strong this season. Reports are out this morning that he’s extended his contract with SFHR (soon to be CFHR) through next year.
Will JPM be able to storm to the front and become a factor today? A penalty in quals (“Over the line!”) has him starting 19th next to Sato. It’ll be a challenge for Montoya to pull off a coca crazed charge to Cartagena from that far back in the field, but he should be fun to watch.
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