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IndyCar Series 2012

Round 13: Sonoma

  • Overview
  • Race Results
  • Qualifying
  • Photo
August 26, 2012

Franchitti Finishes Third in Sonoma

Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti led the way for Honda in Sunday’s GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, putting pressure on IZOD IndyCar Series leader Will Power and eventual race winner Ryan Briscoe throughout the final laps of Sunday’s race as he finished third in his Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda Dallara.

Dario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi)zoom
Dario Franchitti
(Target Chip Ganassi)
Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan)zoom
Takuma Sato
(Rahal Letterman Lanigan)

Starting sixth, Franchitti avoided an opening lap incident that saw his teammate, Scott Dixon, spin out after contact from Helio Castroneves. Starting the race on the harder “black compound” Firestone tires, Franchitti was able to switch to the better gripping “reds” at his first scheduled pit stop, and he ran near the front of the field for the remainder of the 85-lap contest. A pair of late-race caution periods allowed him to challenge Power for second place, but the four-time series champion was never able to attempt a pass.

Behind Franchitti, Graham Rahal had one of his strongest runs this season to finish fifth for Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing, while seventh for Simon Pagenaud clinched IndyCar Rookie of the Year honors for the Schmidt Hamilton Racing driver. Charlie Kimball also had a strong run, moving from 21ston the starting grid to 11th place by Lap 66, the biggest gain of any driver. But a late race transmission problem dropped him three laps off the pace, resulting in an unrepresentative 21st-place finish.

Honda’s popular Fastest Seat in Sports sweepstakes returned at Sonoma, with racing legend Mario Andretti at the wheel of the two-seat Indy car. He gave Jessica Gunn of Houston, Texas the ride of a lifetime around Mid-Ohio at the head of the 27-car starting field just prior to the start of today’s race. For more information on how you can receive the ride of a lifetime, go to

After his first-lap drama, Dixon recovered to run seventh by Lap 30, but additional contact later in the race resulted in an unscheduled pit stop and a 13th-place finish. However, Dixon remains in contention for the drivers’ championship, fourth with 368 points and two races remaining.

The IZOD IndyCar Series now treks cross-country to Baltimore, Maryland for the final temporary street circuit race of the 2012 season, the Labor Day weekend Grand Prix of Baltimore on Sept. 2.

Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan)zoom
Takuma Sato
(Rahal Letterman Lanigan)
Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan)zoom
Takuma Sato
(Rahal Letterman Lanigan)

Driver Interview

Dario Franchitti (#10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 6th, finished 3rd, his 3rd podium finish of the season:
“In those final laps, I was definitely trying to mix it up with the Penske boys [Will Power and Ryan Briscoe], but I couldn’t get close enough. The Penske team was strong here when we tested, and they’ve been tough here all weekend. We're lacking just a little bit here and there, and need to work on the cars some more to make up the difference. It was a tough day for [teammate] Scott [Dixon] after he got taken out by Helio [Castroneves], so we’ll have to regroup and come back stronger next week in Baltimore.”
Graham Rahal (#38 Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) started 13th, finished 5th, his 4th top-five finish of 2012:
“I’m really proud of my guys, they did an awesome job today. They worked incredibly hard and a result like this feels awfully good right now. Coming from 13th [starting position], to get a top-five, and to pass two guys on the outside at the last restart, felt really good. Overall, it was just a great [championship] points day for us.”
Roger Griffiths (Technical Director, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race:
"We knew this was going to be a tough race, Penske’s record here is very strong. Dario [Franchitti] did a great job of keeping the pressure on the leaders, and his podium finish was well earned, but unfortunately, it just wasn’t our weekend. We did see some excellent drives today from Graham [Rahal], Simon [Pagenaud] and Charlie [Kimball]. Congratulations to Simon for clinching Rookie of the Year, he’s definitely a future race and championship contender for us. And hopefully, Josef Newgarden is okay after his crash and will be fit to race in Baltimore. Now, our goal is to go out and win the final two races. I know our race team and everyone at HPD will be working hard over the next few weeks to finish the season on a high note.”
Dario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi)zoom
Dario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi)
IndyCar Series
Round 13: Sonoma
Rank Driver (Team)
1 Ryan Briscoe (Team Penske)
2 Will Power (Team Penske)
3 Dario Franchitti (Target Chip Ganassi)
4 Rubens Barrichello (KV Racing Technology)
5 Graham Rahal (Chip Ganassi Racing)
6 Helio Castroneves (Team Penske)
7 Simon Pagenaud-R (Schmidt Hamilton Racing)
8 JR Hildebrand (Panther Racing)
9 Alex Tagliani (Bryan Herta Autospor)
10 Tony Kanaan (KV Racing Technology)
11 Justin Wilson (Dale Coyne Racing)
12 James Jakes (Dale Coyne Racing)
13 Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi)
14 Mike Conway (A.J. Foyt Racing)
21 Charlie Kimball (Chip Ganassi Racing)
22 Josef Newgarden-R (Sarah Fisher Hartman)
27 Takuma Sato (Rahal Letterman Lanigan)

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