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Barrichello enjoying Sonoma test

Barrichello was also asked about what he felt about there being so few oval races on the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series calendar, and won a few laughs from a knowing crowd when he quipped that "My wife loves it."

In the morning session, Power blew a Chevrolet engine into turn 1 and needed a unit change which limited him to just an hour's running in the afternoon. Ryan Hunter-Reay had a number of spins during the day, including one that saw him go off the track and into the tyre barrier that damaged his rear wing despite the light contact, and meant a red flag came out for the car to be recovered.

All the drivers were startled by the number of spectators who showed up on Saturday, a record attendance at Infineon for a test in any series and despite freezing conditions first thing. Drivers are generally more used to lonely days of testing with only their pit crews and the local wildlife for company.

"It makes me happy to see that many people turn out in the middle of February," said Hunter-Reay, who said he was "very impressed" with the turn out. "It bodes well for the series when we have this kind of reaction before the season's even started."

"I'm surprised and pleased at how many fans turned out," agreed Power. "People are interested in the car."

The Sonoma testing continues on Sunday, which will also be open free to the public. Barrichello will also be back on Sunday despite initially planning to run only on the Saturday: not for the first time, it seems he's unable to tear himself away from the IndyCar paddock.

With thanks to for reporting of the fan and media event at Sonoma.

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Don - Unregistered

February 26, 2012 4:24 PM

I would have loved to have been there! The cars look better all the time(other than Rubens livery), and the turbo V6 sounds sweet. It sounds like the Q&A session with the drivers afterwards was good fun. Great to see Rubens getting so much seat time. It looks like he's got a done deal for the season. Can't wait for St.Pete.

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