It’s IndyCar time at Sonoma Raceway.
The Verizon IndyCar Series will hold the 10th annual GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma weekend, its 17th race on the 18-race schedule, on the Valley’s world famous 12-turn, 2.38-mile road course from Friday, Aug. 22, through Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23 and 24.
Three-time Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma winner Australian Will Power of five-time-winning Team Penske is defending his 2013 title as the current point-standings leader and he will be strongly challenged by last year’s Indy series champion Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing.
Power and Dixon are two of seven Indy drivers to have won Grand Prix of Sonoma titles, including Tony Kanaan (’05), Marco Andretti (’06), Helio Castroneves (’08), Dario Franchitti (’09), and Ryan Briscoe (’12).
The Indy weekend also includes the Mazda Road to Indy program, highlighted by the Pirelli World Challenge, which features 50-minute sprint races and no scheduled pit stops or driver changes, with practice on Friday, qualifying and race one on Saturday, and a second race on Sunday
Returning to Sonoma is the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires series, with its doubleheader format featuring a 40-minute sprint race on Saturday, highlighted by a 60-minute feature race Sunday, just prior to the IndyCar main event.
Also featured is doubleheader racing on Friday and Saturday in the Pro Mazda Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda series.
The Verizon IndyCar Series drivers will be available for one-on-one time with race fans throughout the weekend, and the IndyCar Fan Village, located in the main paddock, will host a variety of activities, including a full-field Verizon IndyCar Series autograph session at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday.
Also, drivers from the Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000 series will host separate autograph sessions.
General tickets for the Verizon IndyCar Series GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma weekend start at $39, and, for the second straight year, kids ages 12-years-old and-under accompanying their parents will be admitted free and there will be a special kids-only question-and-answer session on Saturday with the IndyCar stars.
The main paddock will also feature a number of kid-friendly activities, including the Sonoma Raceway Kids Club booth featuring Burnin’ Bovine; the Kids Club mascot; a EuroBungy jump; a Ferris wheel; and free GoPro Grand Prix souvenir poster pickup at the Ticket Pit Stop.
The pre-race entertainment will include a 25-minute Patriot Jet Team Air Show; a GoPro Bomb Squad green flag delivery; and a vintage plane flyover.
For IndyCar Series tickets and packages, including the popular Total Access pass – a race-day reserved-seat ticket in any section and a Garage/Pit/Pre-race pass for $99 – more details on the Wednesday Night Drags, or for general Sonoma Raceway information, call 800-870-RACE (7223), or visit racesonoma.com, racesonoma.com/indycar or ticketmaster.com. Camping is also available around the facility.
Friday, Aug. 22: USF2000 practice, 8:15 to 8:45 a.m.; Pro Mazda practice, 9 to 9:30 a.m.; Indy Lights practice, 9:45 to 10:30 a.m.; World Challenge practice (GT/GTS), 10:45 to 11:30 a.m.; USF2000 qualifying, 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; Pro Mazda qualifying, 12:30 to 1 p.m.; Indy Lights qualifying, 1:15 to 2 p.m.; World Challenge practice 2 (GT/GTS), 2:15 to 3 p.m.; USF2000 race No. 1, 3:20 to 4 p.m.; Pro Mazda race No. 1, 4:20 to 5 p.m.