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It Takes Will Power To Win In Sonoma
9-1 Racing
Will Power speeds to a big win in Sonoma. - photo by Photo Courtesy Of Jeff Burghardt
The air was ‘abuzz’ at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma over the weekend of Aug. 20-22 and it wasn’t from bees. The Indy Racing League cars were burning up the famous Sonoma “Wine Country” road course during the 2010 IZOD Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. The IZOD Racing Series features 18 events run in Brazil, Japan, Canada and the United States. This was the ninth and final road course of the season. With star drivers such as former Indianapolis 500 winners Helio Casteneves (2001, 2002, 2009), Dan Wheldon (2005), Dario Franchitti (2007, 2010), Scott Dixon (2008), and fan favorites Marco Andretti (of the famous Andretti racing family), Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter Reay, William “Will” Power (the hottest driver in the series with four wins coming into this event) and the ever popular Danica Patrick (driver of the famous #7 “Go Daddy.Com” Andretti team race car). The Northern California area was represented by 2010 IZOD IRL series rookie J.R. Hildebrand of Sausalito in the Trans Systems Dreyer and Reinbold racing entry. Hildebrand qualified 19th and perennial fan favorite, Danica Patrick qualified 23rd in the 25 car field.The race had several underlining stories, but the biggest involved the ‘pole sitter’, Power. Power came into the event as the 2010 series points leader and the driver with the most season wins with four. All of his wins had come on road courses and one of the big questions was “could he make it five road course wins?” In 2009, at this same event, Power suffered a horrendous accident during practice. As he crested the hill coming out of turn 3A, he collided at high speed with another car that was blocking the track following a spin out. The impact was so severe that it broke his back, placing his racing career in jeopardy.At the drop of the ‘green flag’ Power, however, immediately separated himself from the rest of the field, as he fought off the bad memories from 2009. No driver has ever qualified on the pole and led every lap at this event. Power would come close, as he ended up leading 73 of the 75 total laps while capturing the checkered flag.At this track on this day, Will Power used every bit of his namesake, digging down deep to gather up the “will power” needed to win the 2010 Grand Prix of Sonoma. In addition, Power also won the inaugural “Mario Andretti Road Championship” trophy for being the most consistent road course performer, winning 5 of the 9 road course events. With four events left in the season, all at oval tracks, Power knows he still has his work cut out to win the season championship, but he is well on his way.The local northern California driver, Hildebrand finished 24th, after going out on lap 38 in a collision with # 26 car driven by Marco Andretti.The total time for the race was 1 hour, 52 minutes and 34.1915 seconds.