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Trackside Update: Sunday from Sonoma

8.25.13 – Greetings from wine country! While winos were tasting the local fare, the fantastic four hit the 12-turn circuit at the GoPro Grand Prix for Round 15 of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season. It was a day full of twists and turns, and all four Andretti drivers showed their determination and tenacity as they battled their way thru the pack for the 200-mile race. Check out all the photos below taken by our brand new GoPro Hero3!

_ma sonoma
Marco Andretti captured his sixth top-five finish of the season today when he wheeled the RC Cola Chevy to a fourth-place finish. The 26-year-old Pennsylvania native start the 85-lap race from the 11th position and remains fourth in the championship points standing, trailing the leader by 70 points (unofficial). "We had to (get into the top five) with a broken front wing, so I was really losing it in the third sector," said Marco. "But other than that, not a bad weekend – you got to keep fighting. I know temperatures are hot right now all around – it's that type of race when you have a lot of restarts, there's going to be a lot of carnage because yellows breed yellows and that's the way it works."
 

_rhr sonoma

Reigning series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay recorded his career-best finish at Sonoma Raceway today with a sixth-place result (previous best was eighth in 2010). Hunter-Reay and his DHL Chevy started from the fourth position and immediately began gaining ground, becoming the race leader within the first 20 laps of the 200-mile race. The No. 1 team now trails the championship leader by 62 points with four racing remaining. "Seems like the way things have been falling lately," RHR said, "we've just been making our lives more difficult than it needs to be. But, at this point in the season, we need to be making the kind of gambles we've been making, and we've just not had luck on our side. I think the DHL car was the one to finish first or second today, and we buried it deep in the field. It's part of it; we have to take those gambles right now. We're not interested in finishing second or third in the championship, and when that's the case, you have to go for it all… that's what we did. Disappointed – we had a great race car but couldn't do much with it back there. We worked our way from last up to sixth but just ran out of laps."

_jh sonoma
Leading four laps, making a total of 264 laps led this season, Hinchcliffe battled back from P20 early on in the race to come away with his eighth top-10 finish this year in eighth place. The Indianapolis resident is currently ninth in the championship points fight. "Crazy race – we had a disastrous first stint," said The Mayor. "The original start was alright, but on the restart we got shuffled back, and I accidentally hit the pit lane speed limiter coming off of (Turn) 7 and was losing all sorts of spots. On top of that, the car was tough to drive. So, we went off strategy there and the yellows fell just right; it looked like it was going to come into our hands a bit, and on that last stint, we were on reds when a bunch of guys were on blacks. Unfortunately, those cautions at the end when everybody had to come in and top off gave some guys fresher tires… we had the oldest tires of the groups, and each of those restarts we just feel back a couple spots. It's too bad because we recovered great. The GoDaddy guys called an awesome race as always, and to rebound into the top five from where we were in the first stint is testament to what these guys do every week. Pretty interesting driving out there, but that's what you get in a competitive series. We'll take the finish and move on to the next one."

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Persevering through two drive-thru penalties during today's 85-lap GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma, Viso made it back from P22 twice to finish in P14. The Caracas, Venezuela native will head into the Grand Prix of Baltimore remaining 12th in the championship points standings. "Well, it was such an up and down race – we pretty much had everything possible happen to us," E.J. said. "We were very, very fast and we were able to make it towards the front every time we came from the back; it happened that way three times. We had a couple of penalties that I don't really think were too fair. The first one, I was trying to pass (Justin) Wilson, and I already had half a car in front of him and he pretty much ran into me. If he had just left me a little bit of space, nothing would have happened. They gave me that drive-thru penalty which pretty much is where the nightmare started. Once you're in the back part of the pack, it's when all the bad things begin to happen. I'm grateful to the team; I was very happy with the car. I think we were able to do big improvements – we were not that happy with the car during the first part of the weekend, but I think the speed that we had in the race was better."

 
The IZOD IndyCar Series will next travel to the street of Baltimore for the 16th round of competition. Catch all the Labor Day weekend fun from the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT by following @FollowAndretti and keep up with #GPoB on Twitter. Also, be sure to get your tickets for The Yellow Party at Pazo's in downtown Baltimore where you'll be able to bid on amazing items at the silent auction all while raising money for Racing for Cancer – a charity that RHR co-founded. All four Andretti Autosport drivers will be in attendance, so we hope to see YOU there as well! Until next time…

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