Saturday Update from Sonoma

Helio Castroneves negotiates Sonoma Raceway
Helio Castroneves negotiates Sonoma Raceway

The morning practice session was red flagged twice due to separate incidents involving Josef Newgarden and James Hinchcliffe. It is an hour from qualifying and both of their cars are ready to go in their respective groups.

The drivers are complaining about their Firestone tires. Helio Castroneves, driving the number 3 Hitachi entry for Team Penske, had this to day so it the tires yesterday, "And the tire degradation, you've got to get really right in one lap, I mean really right in one lap. If you're lucky, you can get a second one. That's why it's so important to have a consistent car because whatever happens in those conditions, if you can really be confident on the first one, you have a very good chance to do well in qualifying."

The crowd looks pretty good today. You could hardly walk through pit lane for the morning practice session. And fans were lined up for the autograph session in the paddock that just ended. I also understand the traffic was backed up this morning on the one lane road leading into the track.

Josef Newgarden is probably the hottest item in the paddock. While we hear that Penske is the number one choice of teams for him to land at, Ed Carpenter does not want to lose his young, determined driver.

Roger Penske was asked today if he was talking with Newgarden about next season. Penske's answer was " No comment."

Lucille Dust reporting from Sonoma Raceway

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