Chaves Rallies to 14th at Sonoma; Clinches Sunoco Rookie of the Year Title
After an emotionally challenging week for the Indycar community, it was time to conclude the 2015 season at the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma. The double points weekend put both the overall driver’s and Sunoco Rookie of the Year championships in play, the latter being the focus of the BHA team and driver Gabby Chaves.
Alarm.com joined the #98 as the primary sponsor for the event; a track that is difficult to pass and requires a nearly perfect balance to be competitive on. In the final practice leading up to qualifying, less than one second separated the top twenty cars ~proving once again how competitive the Verizon IndyCar Series is. Chaves and the BHA team qualified a disappointing 21st; however, found the necessary speed to be competitive in the morning warmup and posted the 7th best time.
As the command to start engines was given, the #98 car failed to immediately fire. The BHA team quickly changed batteries and rejoined the field; however, had to start at the back of the pack…
Team owner Bryan Herta executed an early strategy revision to change Chaves off the alternate “red” tires and give him clean air to make up time in. Seven other teams joined this strategy, and as the day unfolded the Alarm.com Honda began to make up positions. Driving clean and steady throughout the 85 lap event, Chaves looked to be on course for a possible top ten finish. Late yellows did not allow the #98 to fully capitalize on their strategy; however, Chaves secured 14th finishing position and the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title.
Gabby Chaves on the Season Finale in Sonoma:
“It was a very eventful race for us. We barely made it to the start, actually we didn’t even make the starting grid, so we started about half a lap back. We had a battery problem so that was unfortunate. We think we had the right strategy and had the right pace, but once we started being it was just like we didn’t really know where to go and it was hard to get rhythm behind other cars that we were much faster than.”
“Twice we got caught out by a yellow flag, right as we were pitting and had to bail out from pitting. We obviously lost position trying to do that and screwed up our strategy. It was just a rough day all around, but I think our pace is good and we have to work on a few things.”
“I am happy with the way our Bryan Herta Autosport team worked out this year and we couldn’t do it without our sponsors, Bowers & Wilkins, Castrol Edge, Deltro Electric, Alarm.com, and of course having Honda in our car. It was a fun season and I look forward to what 2016 has to bring!”
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