Get ready for IRL

Third-generation open-wheel racer Marco Andretti and Scott Pruett of Auburn will defend Infineon Raceway championships in their respective disciplines this weekend on the permanent road course in the picturesque Sonoma Valley.

The youngest of the Andretti clan to make his mark on open-wheel racing, Marco captured the Sonoma race as a rookie last year. He will be among the favorites to win the IndyCar Series Motorola Indy 300 on Sunday — both in terms of his road racing ability as well as with the crowd.

Pruett’s victory in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series inaugural race last year at Infineon Raceway was a crowd-pleaser and he is again one of the favorites in this year’s Armed Forces Grand-Am 250.

Pruett shared the Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype driver’s championship in 2004 and he enters the penultimate round this weekend tied for the championship lead with 2005 co-champ Max “The Axe” Angelelli, who has brought Novato residentand super-sub Memo Gidley on board for the title push.

Cameron’s Star power: Dane Cameron of Sonoma earned his second straight runner-up finish at Trois Rivieres to maintain a commanding lead in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear. Cameron was also second the previous weekend in the No. 19 JDC Motorsports/Finlay Motorsports Mazda.

“We struggled a bit during practice, but were right on the pace in qualifying and I thought we had the car to win the race but with the damage to my front wing during the first turn accident, we’ll never know just how good a car it was,” said Cameron, who has three wins and four poles this season.

POWER STEERING FOR IRL?

Scott Dixon has been unbeatable in the three races the IndyCar Series has staged at Watkins Glen International. Still, Dixon wouldn’t mind if the IRL added power steering to its cars to help him and the other drivers get through the 11 curves of the road course. “Once you go so fast … [it] makes the steering wheel a lot heavier to turn,” Dixon said.

THIS WEEK’S PIT STOPS

NEXTEL CUP

WHAT: Sharpie 500

WHERE: Bristol, Tenn.

WHEN: Sat., 5 p.m.

BUSCH

WHAT: Food City 250

WHERE: Bristol, Tenn.

WHEN: Fri., 5 p.m.

NHRA

WHAT: Mac Tools U.S. Nationals

WHERE: Clermont, Ind.

WHEN: Sept. 3

IRL

WHAT: Motorola Indy 300

WHERE: Sonoma

WHEN: Sun., 12:30 p.m.

CHAMP CAR

WHAT: GP of Belgium

WHERE: Zolder, Belgium

WHEN: Sun., 5 a.m.

FORMULA ONE

WHAT: Turkish GP

WHERE: Istanbul, Turkey

WHEN: Sun., 4:30 a.m.


<h1>Will Marco Andretti be able to repeat at Sonoma?

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