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ANDRETTI GREEN TEAM EYES MORE GOLD.

Byline: TIM HADDOCK MOTOR SPORTS

Since the Indy Racing League introduced road course racing last year, Valencia's Bryan Herta has produced some good finishes.

In the five road course races, Herta has three top-10 finishes.

At the race last year at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Herta led twice for 17 laps but finished 13th after colliding with Kosuke Matsuura in the final laps.

Herta's Andretti Green Racing teammate Tony Kanaan won last year's race at Infineon Raceway, site of Sunday's Grand Prix of Sonoma. It was one of two wins for Kanaan in 2005.

``It's hard to describe how excited I am to be going back to Infineon Raceway,'' Kanaan said. ``It's special to be able to race on a natural-terrain road course, let alone one that we won at a year ago.''

Kanaan's win at Sonoma was the second for Andretti Green on road courses. Dan Wheldon won the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in 2005, when Andretti Green Racing drivers finished 1-2-3-4.

Two Andretti Green Racing drivers finished in the top 10 last year at Sonoma. Dario Franchitti was eighth. Wheldon, who now races for Chip Ganassi's Team Target, was 18th in the Sonoma race last year, but led one lap.

``This is a track all of us ran well at last year,'' said Herta, a Hart High of Newhall graduate and driver of the No. 7 entry for Andretti Green Racing.

``I enjoy going to Infineon because it's a difficult track and also very tight,'' Herta said. ``There just aren't a lot of passing opportunities for our cars. Trying to qualify well so you can run up front is the biggest challenge.''

Irwindale Speedway: Making only his third start of the season, Acton's Bill Sedgwick won the NASCAR Super Trucks race at Irwindale Speedway last Saturday night.

Sedgwick, who has raced on the NASCAR Southwest Series, West Series and Craftsman Truck Series, has yet to finish outside the top five in Super Trucks races this year.

This was Sedgwick's first start in the Super Trucks since May 20, when he finished second to series points leader Ron Peterson.

Canyon High graduate Todd Southwell had a pair of top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Super Late Models twin 50 races last Saturday night.

Southwell was seventh in one of the twin 50s, one of two 50-lap races run on the same night. He was fourth in the other.

Chris Johnson of Claremont won both twin 50 races.

Travis Thirkettle of Newhall comes into tonight's races in the NASCAR Late Model division with a 39-point lead over Tim Huddleston of Agoura Hills.

Thirkettle has won seven races this year, but Huddleston, the Late Model champion in 2005, has won the past two.

Figure 8s, USAC Sprints and USAC Ford Focus Midgets are scheduled to race tonight at Irwindale Speedway.

Gates open at 4 p.m. Races start at 7.

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Ron Hornaday Jr. finished three laps off the lead and was 27th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee on Wednesday night.

Mark Martin won his fourth Truck Series race of the season. Martin, a driver for Roush Racing on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, has made only eight starts in the Truck Series this year.

Hornaday was also scheduled to race in Friday night's NASCAR Busch Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 26, 2006
Words:569
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