The Grand Prix in Sonoma was the beginning of the end for this year's IndyCar season, and it didn't disappoint. Now with two races remaining, the sport's top contenders will battle it out.
Will Power entered the race as the IndyCar championship leader after finishing second at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. His ability to regain the top spot in the standings at this point in the season does not bode well for the other drivers.
The championship chase really comes down to four drivers at this point. Power, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon will all battle it out down the backstretch of what has been an intriguing 2012 season on the track.
Let's recap the race at Sonoma with some Twitter reaction, analysis and the top 10 finishers.
*For complete leaderboard check out ESPN.com
KXTV-TV reporter Bryan May had this to say following Briscoe's victory on Sunday:
Ryan Briscoe beats his Penske teammate Will Power to take checkered flag at the GoPro Indy Race in Sonoma— Bryan May (@BMayNews10) August 26, 2012
It has to be a good feeling to best your teammate down the stretch, especially if you are Briscoe. Powers is enjoying an excellent season, while he's stuck in eighth place after disappointing runs in recent races.
Sato Retired from the GoPro Indy GP of Sonoma After Engine Failure. Quotes and more HERE: rahal.com/indynews/sonom…— RLL Racing (@RLLracing) August 26, 2012
Sato only ran two laps.
You were probably wondering about this as well. Hunter-Reay and Alex Tagliani got into an argument after the race. IZOD IndyCar Series addressed the issue following the race:
The incident they are speaking of stems from a hairpin maneuver Tagliani attempted. He wound up clipping Hunter-Reay. Hunter-Reay's car spun out and stalled, knocking him out of contention and forcing him to finish in 18th place.
Meanwhile, Tagliani took ninth.
It's disappointing to see Hunter-Reay get clipped like he did, but it provided some excitement in an otherwise bland race. Not only did the on-track incident bring a few gasps from onlookers, but the altercation following the race added to it.
Hunter-Reay was not happy with Tagliani's reckless maneuver, and he let him know as much.
In the long term, though, it hurts. Hunter-Reay and Powers would have been vying for the top spot in the championship series with just two races remaining. Instead Powers was able to increase his lead over the rest of the field.
Powers didn't manage to finish first for the third time in three years at Sonoma, but his second-place finish is far from disappointing. He just had to add points for Sunday to be successful, and he did that.
This is a big win for Briscoe, at least mentally. He hadn't had a top-five finish in his last four races, and this will go a long way for his confidence.
Castroneves and Dixon didn't have the finishes they would have preferred. They didn't keep pace with Powers, and the championship series is his to lose with two races remaining on the 2012 slate.
Make sure you stay tuned. Powers seems to have this one locked up, but you never know.