SONOMA -- Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, the former NBA All-Star point guard and Cal star, was the grand marshal for Sunday's IndyCar Series GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma. It was a calmer experience than his first trip to Sonoma raceway. In June he took a couple of hot laps during NASCAR weekend.
"I had a chance to ride on this raceway as a passenger doing a couple of hot laps," Johnson said. "And I will tell you, my food did come up. I wasn't prepared for those turns."
Even at the track, Johnson couldn't escape the subject of the Sacramento Kings and their future. With another round of rumors circulating regarding the Kings' new destination, this time Virginia Beach, Johnson indicated that the city would do what it could to keep the team in town, with or without the current owners, the Maloof family.
"We have fought very hard to keep our team in Sacramento, and we've been successful for the past two years," he said. "We're not giving up, but ultimately, it's up to the Maloofs."
- Swimmer Tyler Clary, gold medal winner in the 200-meter backstroke in the 2012 London Olympics has decided on his next career.
Race car driver.
Clary took a ride in one of the IndyCar two-seaters Sunday morning, and the experience only confirmed his decision.
"Absolutely," he said. "That was the first thing I said after I got out of the car. I can definitely make this my lifestyle."
Clary also has a clear idea of what he wouldlike to drive.
"If I had the opportunity to have every car lined up in front of me and a team owner said, 'Pick one,' it most likely would be an IndyCar," he said. "I love the looks of the cars and the sheer, raw ability of those machines out on the track. It's unparalleled."
Clary was joined at the track by fellow gold medalists Dana Vollmer (world record swimmer) and Erin Cafaro (rower).
Cafaro also took a ride in a two-seat IndyCar. Her driver was someone you might recognize.
"I just got out of the car with Mario Andretti, so I'm still a little spinny," Cafaro said.
- The next event at Sonoma raceway is the United States debut of the FIA World Touring Car Championships on Sept. 21-23. It will be the ninth stop of the WTCC season and kicks off the final third of the schedule, which features races in North America and Asia. The last race was July 22 in Brazil.
Chevrolet drivers Yvan Muller of France and Rob Huff of Great Britain are 1-2 in the drivers' standings, with Muller leading by 17 points. They have given Chevrolet a healthy lead in the manufacturers' standings over BMW Customer Racing Teams and SEAT Customer Technology.
WTCC will use the full 2.501-mile road course for two 30-minute races.
Contact Darryl Matsuda at 408-920-5215 and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DarrylMatsuda.