Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma
Race Report: Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma
SONOMA, Calif. August 28, 2011 — Driving the ABC Supply No. 14 Dallara/Honda, Vitor Meira started 28th and finished 22nd in the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway Sunday afternoon.
After struggling the first two days, the changes to the car made after Saturday’s qualifying session improved it for the race. Starting in the rear, the ABC Supply team opted to run an alternate fuel strategy. They pitted Meira on lap eight in the hope of getting a caution before the others pitted which would have given Meira good track position.
Unfortunately a miscue on that first pit stop (which took 20 seconds) saw Meira lose quite a bit of track position. When he rejoined the field, he was passed by the top five cars as he was getting back up to speed. Meira kept pace with the lead pack, running behind fifth place Scott Dixon and actually pulling away from sixth place James Hinchcliffe during that fuel stint.
As the race wore on, Meira continued to run a good pace but due to the difficulty of passing cars at the 2.3 mile road course, he advanced only when others had difficulty.
“We came here three steps behind and closed up the gap but we ran out of time,” Meira said. “We made the best step from Saturday night to Sunday. We had decent pace but we just started so far back and it’s very hard to pass here, nearly impossible. We had to race on a fuel strategy which didn’t pay off. It was a very tough weekend. We have to regroup because we’re still alive on the championship for the top 10 and we’re not giving up.”
Team Penske dominated the race finishing the way they started with pole winner Will Power taking the checkered over teammates Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe. Fourth and fifth place starters Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon rounded out the top five respectively.
All of the teams’ transporters will head directly to Baltimore, Md. for the upcoming Baltimore Grand Prix which runs next Sunday, (Sept. 3rd) around the city’s picturesque Inner Harbor district. The race will be televised on Versus with pre-race coverage starting at 2 p.m. Eastern Time.
Infineon Qualifying Report
Vitor Meira will start 28th in the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway. Meira qualified at 103.479 mph on Saturday afternoon which was 27th fastest but he will start 28th because he was in the second group of cars in the first round of qualifying.
It will be quite a challenge for Meira and the ABC Supply Racing team to garner what would be their third straight top-10 finish and seventh top-10 finish this season. However, the team is trying a totally different set-up in the morning warm-up in an attempt to find the sweet spot on the No. 14 car.
The race will be televised on Versus with the live broadcast starting at 4 p.m. ET.
Meira Claims Victory in Wheeling in Wine Country Charity Cycling Event
SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 27, 2011) – Vitor Meira proved on Thursday that he can do more than just drive in the IZOD IndyCar® Series.
Meira, who drives for A.J. Foyt Racing (ABC Supply), is pretty strong on a bicycle, as well, taking the victory in the first Wheeling in Wine Country Charity Bicycle Ride at Infineon Raceway.
Meira took the win in the Two-Lap Challenge over the 12-turn, 2.52-mile course. The event was a benefit for Sonoma County Regional Parks and Speedway Children’s Charities, the charitable arm of Infineon Raceway.
INDYCAR drivers Charlie Kimball (Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing) and Graham Rahal (Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing) also participated. All three drivers will compete in this weekend’s Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma at Infineon Raceway.
“I was happy to win the race but the biggest goal was to raise money for Speedway Children’s Charities,” said Meira, who often competes in triathlons as part of his training. “Everyone who participated in the race is a winner in my book.”
The charity ride attracted more than 65 riders of all ages and skill levels
NOTES & QUOTES: Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma
Vitor Meira, Driver: ABC Supply No. 14 Dallara/Honda/Firestone
Vitor Meira on Infineon Raceway: “We’ve had some good results there in the past and am looking forward to getting some good results again. We stepped up our game on road courses this year so I’m excited. Infineon is a very challenging track because you are constantly working the car—turning, braking, lots of high speed corners and low speed corners. Unlike Brazil or Edmonton where you have long straights and heavy braking, at Infineon you’re always turning the car because there is very little straightaway which makes it very tough physically too. However, if there’s a place where physical preparation pays off it’s definitely Infineon because it’s a very busy track. We’ll be covered as far as that goes.”
Meira on the keys to success at Infineon: “There are going to be places where the car is good and other places on the track where it’s not so good so being able to compromise so the car is good overall I think is an important key to success at Infineon. Fuel strategy has been very important in this race and there have been a few years where the race got decided by fuel mileage. We will see when we get there—if our fuel mileage is good enough that we might be able to do one less stop if we conserve fuel, we’ll look at it because it would be worth risking at this track. It’s something we’ll have to play by ear.”
They’re Back! Alfe Heat Treating, Inc. returns as an associate sponsor of AJ Foyt Racing for the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma and the IZOD IndyCar World Championship in Las Vegas. Alfe, which made its IndyCar debut on the No. 14 and No. 41 cars in the Indianapolis 500, opted to join the No. 14 team for the two IndyCar races in the western United States. Headquartered in Fort Wayne, Ind., Alfe Heat Treating, Inc. is the largest commercial aluminum heat treating operation in the United States.
Transporter drivers Rodney Klausmeyer and Ronnie Schultz won the Jim Greer Award of Excellence on successive weekends. Klausmeyer, who won it for his performance during the Honda Indy 200 race weekend at Mid Ohio, is now a two-time winner, having won the first award following the St. Petersburg race. Schultz, who handles the tires during the race weekend, won it for the first time for his work during the MoveThatBlock.com Indy 225 race weekend in New Hampshire. Jim Greer, longtime friend of A.J. Foyt, created an award to recognize outstanding performance at race events among the Foyt team members. The recipient, determined by team manager Craig Baranouski and crew chief Tom Howatt, receives a monetary bonus and his name (and the race) engraved on a plaque which hangs in the AJ Foyt Racing Showroom.
ABC Supply roofing customer Northern Pacific Roofing, Inc. of San Rafael, Calif. won the ‘Your Name Here’ contest for this weekend’s race. The company name will be atop the sidepods of the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda. Owner Barry Murrin and a guest will receive selected merchandise, race tickets, hospitality and garage passes, plus a Meet and Greet with A.J. Foyt and Vitor Meira. The “Your Name Here” promotion selected winners by random drawing from a pool of entries sent in by ABC Supply customers earlier this year.
Tim Morse will be the ABC Supply Honorary Crew Member of the race this weekend. Morse, 32, began working for ABC Supply in the winter in a sales position. He lives in Fremont, CA with his wife Jeanette and children Kohen and Kaden. Morse, who participated in the Bob Bondurant Racing School’s Corvette Z06 Experience, has also raced stock cars at local dirt tracks. Says Morse, “This means so much to me because racing is my favorite sport. I would give anything to race or be any part of racing period. Thank you ABC!”
ABC Supply will entertain over 450 guests in their hospitality tent this weekend.
Best finishes at Infineon: Meira’s best finish is 3rd (2006); for Foyt Racing, it’s 10th (2005).
The Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma will be shown live starting at 4:00 p.m. ET Sunday, Aug. 28 on Versus.
For more information on the Foyt Racing program, please check these web sites: www.ajfoytracing.com and www.abcsupply.com.