Race morning features a bigger crowd when I arrived by 9:30, with two-seater and pace car rides already flying around the track. The crowd's larger and much livelier than Friday or Saturday. Over at the IndyCar Nation stage, the father-and-son combo of Arie Luyendyk and son Arie Jr. are in another weekend Q&A with Arie Jr. taking Bachelorette questions.
A pre-race meal would cover me for the race. When sitting down, a lady and gentlemen sit down next to me with their food and we strike up a chat. I noticed very quickly that they're out-of-towners. It turns out they were from outside the continent!
Coming from Christchurch, New Zealand, they booked a week in California for this race – naturally, they're big Scott Dixon fans. He relayed the story of a Formula 1 race where he couldn't gain access to any drivers or associated areas. Here, he bought the garage and pit pass and was amazed of how close he was able to get to the No. 9 Target car of Dixon and the hauler. What he didn't expect was the chance to get 10 minutes to chat with Scott about New Zealand and racing. He even met Dario Franchitti, when Dario needed to talk to Scott! I love hearing the stories because it makes me appreciate the series and the fan commitment all the more.
A final trip through IndyCar Village and with IndyCar Nation access, we get to see the driver introductions up close – thus providing many opportunities for candid shots. We can walk across the grid before heading to our seats, and before doing so I had a chance to wish good luck to Justin Wilson, Mike Conway and others. Then I headed up to my seats with my friends in the main grandstand my friends and got ready for the green flag.
I sent a few photos from my vantage point over Twitter and comment to friends who were unable to make the race. We speculate if Will Power will take this and lead every lap as it has been the last few years here in Sonoma. We see the incident between Bourdais and Newgarden. Although we don't feel Power has an issue we wonder if the fact that the pack will get brought back together will have any differences in the outcome. We see the little misstep in Power's pit stop, which allows Ryan Briscoe to take the lead and then the eventual win.
As the crowd thins, I make one more pass through pit row, and spot drivers debriefing with engineers, and other teammates. As we start saying her goodbyes to friends, as they head off in their own directions and flights I think about how sore my feet are, how sunburned my face is and wondering how I'm to make it to next year in August when I'm back on this track. I will love the fact that I have hundreds of photos, dozens of videos, and a stack of hero cards in a lifetime of memories to go through.
To me, Sonoma has once again put on a great show and wonderful race, providing IndyCar fans a chance to go home with great memories and a better appreciation for being at the races.