Newman/Haas Racing Pre-Race Notes
Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma – Infineon Raceway
FAST FACTS - Round 13 of 17 in the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series
DATE: Friday - Sunday, August 26-28
QUALIFYING BROADCAST: Live on Versus at 6:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday
RACE BROADCAST: Live on Versus at 4:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday
RADIO BROADCAST: The race will air live on IMS Radio Network, XM channel 145 & Sirius channel 211
INTERNET BROADCAST: Live streaming Timing & Scoring is offered on www.indycar.com
TRACK LAYOUT: 2.2303-mile, 12-turn permanent road course
RACE LENGTH: 75 laps / 172.5 miles
2010 WINNER: Will Power
2010 POLESITTER: Will Power
BEST '11 ROAD/STREET S/F FOR SERVIA: 4th at Long Beach / 5th at Barber & Sao Paulo
BEST '11 ROAD/STREET S/F FOR HINCHCLIFFE: 7th at Mid-Ohio / 4th at Long Beach
NEWS & NOTES
HOPING TO BE SEVENTH DIFFERENT WINNER IN FOURTH RACE AT INFINEON RACEWAY
It will be the seventh IZOD IndyCar Series event at Infineon Raceway and six different drivers have won the six events held here to date. NHR first competed here in 2008 and would like to keep that string alive with a win by either Oriol Servia, driver of the No. 2 Telemundo race car or James Hinchcliffe, driver of the No. 06 Sprott entry. The previous winners include: Tony Kanaan ('05), Marco Andretti ('06), Scott Dixon ('07), Helio Castroneves ('08), Dario Franchitti ('09) and Will Power ('10). NHR competed here in 2008 with Justin Wilson and Graham Rahal, in 2009 with Rahal and Servia and in 2010 with Rahal and Hideki Mutoh. The team's highest start is sixth by Rahal and their highest finish is sixth by Oriol Servia – both in 2009. Servia was hindered by a broken fuel pump in the only pre-qualifying practice at Sonoma in 2009 which led to a 17th place start but he stretched his fuel longer than many and finished sixth after an exciting late race duel with Justin Wilson, whom he held off despite the Brit being on the faster red "alternate" Firestone's while he was on the standard tire. Last year Graham Rahal qualified 16th, ran as high as fifth and finished ninth while Hideki Mutoh qualified 14th but finished 17th after a late race spin.
ORIOL ON THE "SIX FLAGS" OF ALL TRACKS
"We talk about some tracks having elevation changes. Well, Infineon would earn the 'Six Flags' denomination of all racetracks! Not only are there ups and downs but the many blind corners make it a layout full of strong emotions."
JAMES ON THE CHALLENGES OF INFINEON RACEWAY
"This is a very tough natural terrain road course. There are a lot of elevation changes and with that come blind corners. The best bit is Turn 3a, 3b. It has a big elevation change, quick change of direction and the second apex is totally blind! It's a lot of fun."
ORIOL ON HIS TWO, TOP-EIGHT "RECOVERY RACES" AT INFINEON RACEWAY
The 2011 event will be his third race here and second with Newman/Haas Racing. He should be able to earn a good result if he is able to have a trouble-free weekend. He led pre-qualifying practice here in 2008 with KV but qualified 15th and finished 8th. A broken fuel pump in the only pre-qualifying practice with NHR at Sonoma in 2009 led to a 17th place start but he stretched his fuel longer than many and finished sixth after an exciting late race duel with Justin Wilson, whom he held off despite the Brit being on the faster red "alternate" Firestone's while he was on the standard tire.
"In 2008 I had one of the fastest cars all weekend, leading the practice before qualifying. We missed the boat in qualifying though but had a great recovery race. In 2009 the lack of practice handicapped my qualifying effort but again we had a great race on Sunday."
JAMES ON HIS FOUR PREVIOUS RACES AT INFINEON RACEWAY & HIS FIRST WIN
The 2011 event at Infineon Raceway will be Hinchcliffe's first in an Indy car here and fifth overall at the track. He qualified fourth and finished sixth in the 2009 Firestone Indy Lights (FIL) race here. In 2010 he started and finish third in the FIL event. He competed in the Star Mazda series here in 2005 and earned his first series pole, podium and win in the double-header event. His highest road/street course start of the season is seventh at Mid-Ohio and highest road/street finish of the season is fourth at Long Beach.
"In Indy Lights, my races were sort of straightforward and nothing spectacular unfortunately! But in 2005 I raced here in Star Mazda and in the first race of the weekend I got my first podium. In race two I qualified on pole but had to start third due to a penalty. I took the lead in Turn 1 and never looked back and got my first win so the track has some fond memories for me."
ORIOL ON THE IMPORTANCE OF NHR'S FIRST TEST AT SONOMA
Servia tested at Infineon Raceway last Thursday in what was the team's first test at this race track. That experience could help NHR break through and earn their first win at this track. "On race weekends you basically only have time to tune the car. When you go testing you can make big setup changes in order to prove different setup concepts. Testing is the only way to truly elevate the speed of the car to a next level. It was a total trouble free test, like it usually is at Newman/Haas. We did try a lot of things and came to important conclusions towards the race weekend."
ORIOL & JAMES ON HOW COMPETITIVE THEY EXPECT TO BE AT INFINEON
"I think it will be again another super-tight field with most cars qualifying within the same second," said Servia. "Details in the setup and in getting the perfect lap will make the difference. I know we will have a good car and a good strategy. If we make all the right choices, we have a chance of crossing start-finish first."
"Well qualifying will be very important since this track is known for being hard to pass on," added Hinchcliffe. "I'm not sure yet where we will stack up. I think we need to wait and see what gains are made over this week. Also, I haven't driven the car here yet, so I need to see where I stack up against Oriol and the rest of the field."
ORIOL ON LESSONS LEARNED IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
"Regardless of if we are given the win officially or not I think that the New Hampshire race was great for the whole team. Everybody performed with impeccable form and it was enough to have both cars competing for the top spot all weekend and we put the Telemundo 2 in the lead when the last yellow came out. It was a great reinforcement for the whole team's confidence. We all have put an enormous effort in this year and now we know that when we do everything right we can beat the competition."
JAMES ON SEASON "BESTS" AT LOUDON
Hinchcliffe earned his highest series qualifying and finishing positions of fourth place at the previous race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Is that the culmination of the hard work from his first time behind the wheel of an Indy car until now or did the team prepare well for the New Hampshire event?
"I don't think you could put it down to just one thing, so I'll say both. For sure the prep (for New Hampshire) was good as the cars rolled off the trailer and were immediately quick. But on top of that, I have a much better feel of these races weekends now and Craig (Hampson; race engineer) and I have been working very well together and understand each other very well, so these things all add up to (hopefully!) good results."
NHR ON ROAD/STREET COURSES
Since being formed by Carl Haas and Paul Newman in the fall of 1982, the team has earned a total of 107 wins and 109 pole positions. 80 of their 107 wins and 90 of their 109 poles came on road and street courses. The team's previous win on a road/street course came at Detroit when Justin Wilson drove to victory in Round 16 of 17. Their previous pole on a road/street course came on 4-4-09 when Graham Rahal became the youngest pole winner in series history in St. Pete. Nine of the 17 races on the 2010 schedule are on road/street courses.