This year’s Go-Pro Sonoma Indy drivers, staying in local Napa hotels, got quite the wake-up call on race day this past Sunday. At 3:20 a.m. they were jolted out of their beds by the 6.0 earthquake, some grabbing towels to avoid fleeing their rooms in their birthday suits, others gingerly stepping over broken glass. Most didn’t catch another wink of sleep before showing up at the raceway for morning practice at 10:00 am and then the main event at 1:00 p.m. A regular attendee, I was on my way to the track at 7 a.m. before realizing I’d better check if the race was even on. They had duly checked the track and the grandstands and gave me the thumbs up.
I took a great video of my favorite driver, Helio Castroneves, talking to his Penske team leaders before the morning practice. You can hear a bit of his conversation but it’s very obvious from his customary ebullient gesturing just what he was talking about. A whole lot of moving and shaking. During a later TV interview he explained just how scared he was. And Australian driver and current Indy points leader Will Power, fearless on the track at over 200 mph, said in his interview that it was the scariest moment of his life.
This is a video of Helio suiting up before the morning practice. The race itself had some exciting moments and a victory for Scott Dixon, but Helio bit the dust as several cars spun out seconds after the green flag on the second turn and never completely recovered.