INDYCAR: Sonoma Race Report
The final checkered flag of 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series competition was waved over the 12-Turn circuit of Sonoma Raceway this evening. Ryan Hunter-Reay started today's event from the sixth position and made his way up to fourth in time to cross the finish line. Hunter-Reay finished the season ranked 12th in points. Newly crowned Sunoco Rookie of the Year, Alexander Rossi took the grid in eighth today and was running in fourth when he ran out of fuel in Turn 12 and coasted across the finish line in fifth place - the American rook took 11th in the driver championship standings. Marco Andretti claimed his third top-10 finish of the season as he finished today's 85-Lap race in eighth. The third-generation driver started from 14th. Carlos Muñoz started the season finale 16th and ran as high as eighth, was forced to pit for a front wing change causing him to lose position and see the twin checkers in 14th. Munoz topped the championship standings for the team, finishing 10th.
The team heads back to Indianapolis to prepare for an off-season of testing and preparation for 2017. The new season will begin on the streets of St. Petersburg the weekend of March 12.
No. 28 DHL Honda
“Fourth was a decent finish, but we still have work to do before 2017. We’ve had a lot of missed opportunities this year, and we need to work on minimizing those weekends when we’re in the back of the field. It’s nice to be in the top five, but if we’re not stepping on top of the podium, we’re not doing our job.
“We were able to announce today that DHL and I will be back with Andretti Autosport until 2020, and that means the absolute world to me. We’ve had such a great past together and they’ve had great confidence in me and the team… And this is my home. When it’s all said and done, I’ll have been here for 11 years and potentially even more.”
No. 98 Castrol EDGE / Curb Honda
“Today was good until the last corner. It’s heartbreaking to [run out of fuel] at the end. But it’s weird how this sport works; we won the biggest race of the year the same way. It’s just the way it goes sometime. Huge credit to the team for what we accomplished from St. Pete – where we struggled to stay on the lead lap and with a lot of other things – to where we are now and being at the front, legitimately. It was a pleasure to work with these guys and its easier to look back at things that could have been different, but that’s racing and I hope to show what I’m capable of in the future.”
No. 27 Snapple Honda
"It was a tough year for the Snapple team, I’m going to do whatever it takes to improve for next year – put in the time and whatever I need to. This ties for the worst year of my career, when it needed to be my best. We’re definitely up against it for next year. Thanks to Snapple, UFD and Mutual of Omaha for hanging in there with me this season. It’s a bit of a blessing after a nightmare year for hhgregg to come on (as co-primary sponsor) for two years (starting in 2017). I can now shift my focus on trying to fast and the season opener in St. Pete.”
No. 26 hhgregg Honda
“A little disappointed with the result. I know a car took the front off our wing. He just broke too late and broke off the wing. We had to come in to change it and lost two-seconds there. We finish the season 10th in the championship. I have to thank everyone, all the sponsors from this year; UFD, Magneti Marelli, hhgregg. I have to be proud after this year. Thank you to the whole team, it has been an amazing year and everything so were going to work hard and see what happens for 2017.”