IRR’s preview of the 2018 finale illustrates how the sake’s about to hit the fan with a Japanese race winner, a Kiwi in the points lead and a long overdue kiss off for one particular track.
Following fourteen interminable years of visiting northern California – primarily because the Foyts and Andrettis own wineries there and most certainly not for the racing – the IndyCar party at Sonoma’s over at long last. Now the hellacious hangover begins, as the geniuses responsible for IndyCar’s schedule failed to replace it with a decent track, like the big, beautiful oval at Fontana, home of exquisite racing in years past.
Photo from sfhracing.com
No, next season the series swaps one inferior road course finale at Sonoma for another one down the coast at Laguna Seca. The 2019 schedule remains the same number of races, but with Phoenix gone and yet another tedious road course, Circuit of the Americas located outside Austin, Texas replacing it. More head splitting still is that fact that merely five oval tracks remain in IndyCar’s lineup – out of seventeen races. That’s for the series whose century plus of traditions and history were made on ovals.
This sorry excuse for a schedule is what series CEO Mark Miles recently called “getting better and growing.” Yeah, right. In reality, IndyCar’s morphing into CART Lite or worse, f-ing North American F-1 right before our very eyes. This sort of “racing” soon leaves fans hungry again, and for imposing it on us all Miles and Co. should seriously consider hari-kari.
Photo from sports.usatoday.com
In its infinite wisdom, the series has raced Sonoma since 2005 with less than entertaining results, sometimes even bordering on the farcical. For instance, Marco’s first win came there in 2006, under highly dubious circumstances. Due to some inexplicably Oriental reasoning, Sonoma’s served as season finale since 2015. If you ask us, the place has always smelled fishy.
Championship leader Scott Dixon and Will Power have won three apiece, while Frenchman Simon Pagenaud‘s won the last two. In dominance typical only of IndyCar, Team Penske’s won over half the races held at Sonoma, while Chevrolets have won the last six in a row – four Penskes and two Ganassis. In light of this stat, both Honda and its emerging face, Portland winner Takuma Sato, must feel ecstatic saying Sayonara Sonoma! On this one, we happen to agree.