IndyCars - Birmingham: Grab your mint juleps and set a spell

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It’s time once again to experience great Southern hospitality as we visit George Barber’s wonderful Barber Motorsports Park in the rolling hills near Birmingham, Alabama, to do the …

Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama

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Barber Motorsports Park was designed as a race venue for motorcycles, and the facility is the home of the best racing motorcycle museum in the world. When IndyCars first explored racing there it was feared the track would be too narrow for such cars, but that hasn’t turned out to be the case, and every year Barber produces some of the best racing of the season.

The 2.38-mile permanent road course has 17 turns and features 80 feet of elevation change that make it feel to the drivers like a roller coaster. In fact, the first few corners are known as the Carousel but also as the “Alabama Roller Coaster.” The race fan has a wonderful experience, with hillside race viewing all over the place, in sight of giant sculptures that dot the track. And with any lull in the action the museum is just across the way, loaded with motorcycles but also with a number of race cars.

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Barber track map

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Barber elevation map

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Those fans won’t find much lull, however, as there are no less than 9 races scheduled over the weekend, rain or shine, and we may have rain in the forecast. Last year, we had rain so torrential that the IndyCar race had to be suspended for a day and finished on Monday. The rain forecast this weekend is expected to be a lot less, but possible, nonetheless. Racing this weekend will be:

  • Mazda Global MX-5 Cup - 2 races, on Saturday
  • SCCA Formula 3 Americas - 2 races on Saturday and Sunday
  • IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA - 2 races on Saturday and Sunday
  • Lamborghini Super Trofeo - 2 races on Saturday and Sunday

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…and, of course, the IndyCars race on Sunday.

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Let’s take a look at sll that support racing:

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Mazda Global MX-5 Cup - Though sanctioned by IndyCars, MX-5 Cup is really a great training ground for SportsCar drivers. All driving identically-prepared Mazda Miata race cars, the series has huge fields and lots of action, with the goal ultimately to capture the series Cup and with it a huge scholarship to be applied to a racing career in SportsCars. MX-5 Cup has no IndyCar drivers in it, so we will wish them safe and happy racing and concenttrate on the rest…

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Mazda MX-5 Cup cars in action

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continued…

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Support racing…

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SCCA Formula 3 Americas - This is the first 2019 race weekend for this SCCA series that is the step up from their successful F4 United States Championship. The cars are Ligier JS F3 chassis powered by Honda 2.0 liter Civic R engines, turbo-charged to produce just over 300 HP. This series is analogous to the Road to Indy ladder system’s middle series, Indy Pro 2000. 2019 is the 2nd year of the series and the field is larger this year than last year’s debut. Last year’s Champion was Kyle Kirkwood who has gone on to Indy Pro 2000 this year.

We are following this series because a number of Road to Indy kids are in it, including Jacob Abel, Parker Locke, Mathias Soler-Obel, James Roe and most importantly Dakota Dickerson. Dickerson is a veteran of USF2000 and was the 2018 F4 United States Champion. Of these guys, only Jacob Abel has 2018 experience in this series.

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2018 F3 Americas Champion Kyle Kirkwood in his Abel Motorsports Ligier

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IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA - This one-make series is a great training ground for a career in GT car racing and regularly produces talented drivers that end up in IMSA’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series. A racing version of the Porsche 911, the model 991 Cup car is a GT3-spec racer that all teams use, though in different iterations. The top Platinum class uses the latest versions. This weekend is the first race weekend for the series.

We follow this series whenever an IndyCar guy competes and this weekend Road to Indy ace driver Parker Thompson is making his SportsCar debut in the # 3 Platinum class Porsche sponsored by Hertz and driving for JDX Racing. This is the same car that IndyCar guy Trenton Estep took to the series title in 2018. Thompson is the current points leader in Indy Pro 2000.

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2018 Champion Trenton Estep in the # 3 Porsche for JDX Racing

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Lamborghini Super Trofeo - this is another one-make IMSA-sanctioned series, using the Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo. There are Lambo Super Trofeo series all over the world and this one is the North American iteration. There are four classes of cars - Pro, Pro/Am, Am and LB Cup, all racing on the same track at the same time. This is the 2019 series start for Lambo Super Trofeo.

We follow Lambo Super Trofeo whenever an IndyCar driver is in it, and this weekend IndyCar driver Conor Daly makes his LST debut, driving the Pro-class # 46 for Precision Performance Motorsports with co-driver Brandon Gdovic. Daly is schedlued for the full season. As an extra treat, we also will be following Road to Indy ace driver Jake Eidson, who will drive the Po/Am # 09 for US RaceTronics with co-driver Damon Ockey. Both Jake and Connor have previous SportsCar experience - great experience - so we are hoping for the best.

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Lamborghini Super Trofeo gaggle
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Friday will be a day of practice for all the series racing this weekend, including the IndyCars. Let’s GO!

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Friday morning at Barber - the F3 Americas gang come out for P-1…

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The first guys on track today are the F3 Americas drivers, out for their first of 2 practice sessions on the weekend. Practice is that time when the driver and his engineer tune the car to the particular venue configuration, the current track condition and the expected weather for the weekend. It is essential to setting up the car for optimal performance. The track was damp, with rain just passed. Rooster tails were the order of the day.

Topping the session was IndyCar driver and rookie Dakota Dickerson in the # 72 for Global Racing Group. Dakota put in a time of 01:29.073 seconds, besting Benjamin Pedersen by 0.559 seconds. The Dane, who drove in the inaugural 2018 season, is Dakota’s teammate at GRG. 3rd fastest was yet another GRG driver, Ireland’s James Roe Jr. James is a two-time Road to Indy Shootout participant, who, like Dakota, has USF2000 experience, so he is another IndyCar guy.

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Dakota Dickerson - the 2018 F4 United States Champion

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Benjamin Pedersen (left) and James Roe Jr.

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The F3 Americas gang will practice again, later today. Next up, the Porsche Cup guys hold their first practice…

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Friday morning at Barber - IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA hold practice…

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The Porsche Cup boys were the next to practice and the weather was spitting a bit, but the guys managed to get it done without incident.

Topping the session was 16-year-old Texan Riley Dickinson, driving the Moorespeed # 53 Porsche to a time of 01:27.701 seconds.

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Riley at speed in the Alabama Rollercoaster.

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Dickinson was recruited by Moorespeed this Fall right out of go-karts, where the New Braunfels native was the SKUSA S2 Pro Tour Karting National Champion. He is replacing fellow Texan Will Hardeman, who moved into IMSA’s WeatherTech GTD-class team for Mooorspeed in 2019.
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Riley Dickinson
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The Porsche Cup boys guys will hold another practice, later today. On track now are the Lamborghini Super Trofeo cars for their first practice of the day. Following that, the IndyCars hold their own first practice of the day…

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Friday morning at Barber - the Lamborghinis hold a practice…

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All four classes of Lamborghini Super Trofeo took to the track to get in their first practice session and leading the whole shebang was the Pro/Am class # 09 Huracan Evo of US RaceTronics, driven by veteran Damon Ockey. Damon posted a time of 01:23.840 seconds. Damon’s co-driver is Road to Indy ace driver and 2017 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA Champion Jake Eidson - one of two IndyCar guys in the Lambo racing this weekend.

2nd fastest was Sandy Mitchell in the Pro class # 1 that he drives for Prestige
Performance Motorsports with co-driver Andrea Amici. 3rd fastest was veteran Richard Antinucci in the Pro class # 29 for Change Racing. Richard’s co-driver is Corey Lewis.

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The US RaceTronics # 09 Lambo leads the pack in P-1
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Damon Ockey (left) and Jake Eidson

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The Lambos will come out for their final practice late today. Next, the IndyCars hold their first practice…

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Friday morning at Barber - the IndyCars hold their own first practice of the day…

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By the time the IndyCars got on track, the track was fairly dry, having been cleaned off and dried out by all the previous series doing their own practices. Most of the cars didn’t put in time in the early part of the session, but due to a series of quick red flags, everyone jumped out near the end of the session to try to get in time before the clock expired. As such, most cars didn’t get warmed up, so this session is a bit of a mystery, as to what it means.
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Here was the order of speed for the IndyCars P-1 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Felix Rosenqvist [R], Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 01:09.2296s for a speed of 119.602mph

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2 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w / Vasser Sullivan - time of 1:09.2750s for a speed of 119.524mph

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3 - James Hinchcliffe, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports - time of 01:09.3276s for a speed of 119.433mph

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4 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 01:09.4373s for a speed of 119.244mph

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5 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:09.4452s for a speed of 119.231mph

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6 - Colton Herta [R], Harding Steinbrenner Racing
7 - Pato O’Ward [R], Carlin
8 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
9 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport
10 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske

11 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport
12 - Will Power, Team Penske
13 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises
14 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske
15 - Marcus Ericsson [R], Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
16 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing
17 - Max Chilton, Carlin
18 - Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing with Arrow SPM
19 - Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter Racing
20 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan

21 - Santino Ferrucci [R], Dale Coyne Racing
22 - Zach Veach, Andretti Autosport
23 - Ben Hanley [R], DragonSpeed Racing
24 - Matheus Leist, A.J. Foyt Enterprises

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Notable:

  • Felix Rosenqvist, Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward and Marcus Ericsson all put in 14 laps, and Ben Hanley put in 12 while almost everyone else got less than 10 and sometimes much less than that. Will Power got in 11 laps, but it didn’t seem to help him that much.

  • This is Ben Hanley’s 2nd start of the season for DragonSpeed. He will do just 3 more races, this year, including the Indy 500.

  • Spinning first was Matheus Leist, bringing out a red flag and scaring everyone else to get out there, before the clock expired, but very quickly James Hinchcliffe, Tony Kanaan, Spencer Pigot and Takuma Sato also had spins at about the same time, bringing out more red flags and ending the session.

Felix Rosenqvist (left) and Ben Hanley

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The big cars will hold a 2nd practice later today. Next up, the F3 Americas gang hold their 2nd and final practice…

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Friday afternoon at Barber - F3 Americas come out for their final practice…

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…before qualifying on Saturday. Everyone went appreciably faster on the dry track, compared to the wet run in the morning. The Global Racing Group crew celebrated the fact that IndyCar rookie Dakota Dickerson is still the fastest guy out there. Dakota posted a time of 01:21.318 seconds, again beating out his veteran teammate, Benjamin Pedersen, but this time by only 0.040 seconds. 3rd fastest was rookie Kent Vaccaro, driving the # 16 for Momentum Motorsports.

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Dakota Dickerson has it going on.
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Left to right, Dakota Dickerson, Benjamin Pedersen and Kent Vaccaro

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F3 Americas will qualify for both weekend races in the morning on Saturday. Next up, Porsche GT3 Cup comes out for the 2nd and final practice before qualifying on Saturday…

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Friday afternoon at Barber - The Porsche Cup boys hold their 2nd practice…

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…and this time it was a young veteran who took the top spot, as 19-year-old Maxwell Root took the top spot in the # 7 Porsche for his 2018 team, Wright Motorsports. Max posted a time of 001:27.648 seconds, besting another veteran, Roman De Angelis, by 0.116 seconds. Roman drives the # 79 for Kelly-Moss Road & Race and is a favorite to take the 2019 title. 3rd fastest was IndyCar driver and rookie Parker Thompson in the # 3 for JDX Racing.

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Maxwell Root - the 2018 Hurley Haywood Scholarship WINNER
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Left to right, Maxwell Root, Roman De Angelis and Parker Thompson

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Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA will qualify for both weekend races on Saturday morning. Next, The IndyCars hold their 2nd practice session for the day…

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Friday afternoon at Barber - the IndyCars come out for the 2nd practice of the day…

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…and it was a veteran who took the top spot for the session and the day, as James Hinchcliffe proved why he has been on the podium here in the past. Everyone went faster in this session than in the P-1 session, understandably, as everyone got in a lot of laps and the weather was superb, with a dry track and temps in the 70s. It’s just that some improved a lot more than others.

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Here was the order of speed for the IndyCar P-2 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - James Hinchcliffe, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports - time of 01:08.9994s for a speed of 120.001 mph
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2 - Colton Herta [R], Harding Steinbrenner Racing - time of 01:09.0084s for a speed of 119.985mph

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3 - Santino Ferrucci [R], Dale Coyne Racing - time of 01:09.0461s for a speed of 119.920mph

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4 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w / Vasser Sullivan - time of 01:09.0968s for a speed of 119.832mph

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5 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:09.1140s for a speed of 119.802mph

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6 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport
7 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing
8 - Felix Rosenqvist [R], Chip Ganassi Racing
9 - Pato O’Ward [R], Carlin
10 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport

11 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing
12 - Will Power, Team Penske
13 - Zach Veach, Andretti Autosport
14 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
15 - Marcus Ericsson [R], Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
16 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske
17 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
18 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske
19 - Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing with Arrow SPM
20 - Matheus Leist, A.J. Foyt Enterprises

21 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises
22 - Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter Racing
23 - Max Chilton, Carlin
24 - Ben Hanley [R], DragonSpeed Racing

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Notable:

  • Hinchcliffe was also fast in the P-1 session but went off in Turn 16. In this session he kept the car on the island and took the fastest lap of the day - the only guy to bust the 1:08s and go over 120 miles per hour. Among those going off in P-2 were Santino Ferrucci and Zach Veach but both recovered.

  • Dale Coyne Racing has to be thrilled to have both cars in the TOP FIVE for the day, and Santino joins the other exceptional rookies of 2019 to best his more-experienced teammate.

  • So far, Honda is dominating, with the first six cars and eight of the TOP TEN.

  • Not at all happy are the guys from Team Penske, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden, who have dominated this race for most of the IndyCar years. Especially off his game is Newgarden, who has WON here in three of the last four years. Expect them all to improve.

  • Everyone commented on the fact that the red alternate tires were markedly inferior to the primary blacks, but that might change as the track seasons in over the weekend.
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left to right, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden - lost boys

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The IndyCars will have a third practice on Saturday morning and then qualify on Saturday Afternoon. Next up, the Lamborghinis hold their 2nd practice of the day…

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Friday afternoon at Barber - The Lambos hold a final practice…

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This afternoon all four classes of Lamborghini Super Trofeo held their final practice before qualifying on Saturday. The TOP SPOT was taken by veteran Richy Antinucci in the # 29 Change Racing Huracan Evo with a time of 01:24.544 seconds, besting the # 34 Evo of Patrick Liddy for US RaceTronics by 0.587 seconds. 3rd fastest was Sandy Mitchell in the # 1 car for Prestige Performance. All three cars are Pro class.

The co-driver for Richy Antinucci is Corey Lewis. Co-driving with Patrick Liddy is D. Bryce Miller and sharing the car with Sandy Mitchell is Andrea Amici. Damon Ockey’s P-1 session time in the # 09 for US RaceTronics ends up the quickest of the day.

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Richard Antinucci guns it in P-2

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IndyCar guys - The two IndyCar drivers are doing well. IndyCar driver Jake Eidson posted the 4th fastest time of the day in the P-2 session as Ockey’s co-driver and IndyCar driver Conor Daly posted the 5th fastest time of the day in the P-1 session in the # 46 Precision Performance car he shares with Brandon Gdovic.

Conor Daly

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Lamborghini Super Trofeo will qualify for both weekend races on Saturday morning. This was the last on-track activity of the day.

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IndyCar has released a highlights reel for the two practice sessions on the day…

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Saturday morning at Baber - The F3 Americas kids qualify…

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First on the track today were all the drivers in the SCCA’s Formula 3 Americas series, out to qualify for the two races they will do this weekend. Unlike in the Road to Indy, the SCCA uses a single qualifying to set the grid for both races of a weekend. The drivers will use either their second-best qually lap or their best Race 1 lap to set the grid for Race 2.

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The pole for Race 1 was taken by veteran Benjamin Pedersen for Global Racing Group, as the Copenhagen native posted a lap at 01:21.221 seconds, besting young Bogata native Mathias Soler-Obel - one of the IndyCar drivers in the contests. Mathias, who dirves for Velocity Racing Development, was 0.393 seconds in arrears. P3 on the grid will be another IndyCar guy, Dakota Dickerson for Global Racing Group.

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Benjamin Pedersen ahead of James Roe Jr.

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Left to right, Benjamin Pedersen, Mathias Soler-Obel and Dakota Dickerson

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Notable:

  • Benjamin is one of the guys who contested the innaugural season in 2018, so he has the experience over most of the field.

  • Mathias is young, at 16 years old, but he is quick. What he isn’t is consistent, yet. IF he gets that consistancy he will be a regular threat.

  • Dakota Dickerson will be fighting for the lead immediately when the flag drops. We have seen him literally pass 14 cars in one lap in USF2000 so he is equal to the task of getting up front fast. Dickerson is an animal.

  • 4th and 5th on the grid are Jacob Abel and James Roe Jr. - two more IndyCar guys, so Benjamin is going to be hounded by IndyCar guys right away.
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    The race is scheduled for a start just before Noon. Next up, the Lamborghini Super Trofeo guys qualify…

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Saturday morning at Barber - the Lambos come out to qualify. …

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All four classes of Lamborghini Super Trofeo qualified for Race 1 and quickly followed that with another qually session for Race 2. We have the TOP THREE, including the pole sitter, for both sessions.

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In Race 1 the pole was taken by Richard Antinucci in the Pro class # 29 Evo for Change Racing, with a time of 01:23.697 seconds. Richy was able to beat out Indycar driver Jake Eidson in the Pro/Am class # 09 for US RaceTronics by just 0.073 seconds. 3rd on the grid will be the # 1 Pro class car for Prestige Performance , thanks to Andrea Amici.

Antinucci’s co-driver is Corey Lewis. Jake shares the # 09 with Damon Ockey and Andrea’s co-driver is Sandy Mitchell.

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The # 29 Lambo for Change Racing - on pole for Race 1

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left to right, Richard Antinucci, Jake Eidson and Andrea Amici

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The Race 2 pole was set by Sandy Mitchell in the Pro class # 1 for Prestige Performance with a time of 01:23.742 seconds. He bested Corey Lewis in the Pro class # 29 for Change Racing by a decent 0.787 seconds. 3rd on the grid will be the Pro/Am class # 94 for P1 Motorsports, thanks to the efforts of Dennis Lind. Dennis shares the # 94 with Brett Meredith.

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The Race 2 pole-sitting Prestige Performance # 1 car

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left to right, Sandy Mitchell, Corey Lewis and Dennis Lind

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The Lambos will hold their first race later this afternoon. Next up, the Porsche Cup gang qualify…

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Saturday morning at Barber - the Porsche gang qualify…

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Just like F3 Americas, IMSA will qualify both their weekend Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA races with this one session. Race 1 is based on top times of each driver, whereas RZace 2 willbe either the 2nd best qually time of each or the fastest Race 1 lap time of each - which ever is better.

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On pole for Race 1 of the weekend is teenage veteran Roman De Angelis inthe # 79 car for Kelly-Moss Road & Race, with a time of 01:26.314 seconds for a speed of 95.928mph. Roman bested young rookie Riley Dickinson in the # 53 for Moorespeed by a slim 0.150 seconds. 3rd on the grid will be fellow rookie and IndyCar driver Parker Thompson in his SportsCar debut race. Parker is in the # 3 for JDX Racing.

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The # 79 Porsche 991 Cup car for Kelly-Moss Road & Race

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Left to right, Roman De Angelis, Riley Dickinson and Parker Thompson

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The Porsche Cup gang will hold Race 1 later this afternoon. Next,the IndyCarhold their 3rd and final practice before qualifying, later today…

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Saturday morning at Barber - The IndyCar hold a wild 3rd practice session…

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The 3rd session is usually an attempt to get a car ready for qualifying, and if secure in that, to get it ready for a race run, so ut us hard to guage whether the teams are going for outright speed or not. Today’s 3rd practice was a wild one, with cars spinning off all over the place, but veteran James Hinchcliffe tiopped his second session of the weekend. The session did not produce marginally better times than previous sessions so we are combining all sessions here.

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Here is the order of speed for the IndyCars, with all 3 sessions COMBINED and times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie and the driver’s best session is in ( )

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1 - James Hinchcliffe, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports - time of 01:08.7351s for a speed of 120.462mph (3)

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2 - Colton Herta [R], Harding Steinbrenner Racing - time of 01:09.0084s for a speed of 119.985moph (2)

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3 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w / Vasser Sullivan - time of 01:09.0351s for a speed of 119.939mph (3)

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4 - Santino Ferrucci [R], Dale Coyne Racing - time of 01:09.0461s for a speed of 119.920mph (2)

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5 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:09.1140s for a speed of 119.802mph (2)

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6 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport (2)
7 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing (2)
8 - Felix Rosenqvist [R], Chip Ganassi Racing (1)
9 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing (3)
10 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan (3)

11 - Pato O’Ward [R], Carlin (2)
12 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske (3)
13 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport (2)
14 - Max Chilton, Carlin (3)
15 - Will Power, Team Penske (2)
16 - Zach Veach, Andretti Autosport (2)
17 - Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter Racing (3)
18 - Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing with Arrow SPM (3)
19 - Marcus Ericsson [R], Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (3)
20 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan (2)

21 - Matheus Leist, A.J. Foyt Enterprises (3)
22 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske (2)
23 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises (3)
24 - Ben Hanley [R], DragonSpeed Racing (2)

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Notable:

  • Hinchcliffe set the fastest lap of the weekend so far in the P-3 session. He was once again the only guy to break into the 1:08s on time and 120 miles per hour on speed.

  • No less than 7 guys went off in the P-3 session, including Zach Veach, Will Power, (twice), Graham Rahal, Jack Harvey, Colton Herta, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marcus Ericcson. Only Ericsson did damage to his car, although Zach had to remove a ton of gravel.

  • Spencer Pigot has been the top Chevy and remains so, in P7. The three Team Penske cars are still struggling, with Simon Pagenaud the best in P-3 and Josef Newgarden in trouble.

  • Graham Rahal has been on the podium twice here so he is also struggling
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James Hinchcliffe (left) Spencer Pigot and Graham Rahal (right)

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The IndyCars will qualify later this afternoon. That will be carried LIVE on NBC-SN starting at 4:00pm EASTERN time. next up, the F3 Americas gang hold Race 1 of the weekend…

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Saturday mid-day at Barber - The Formula 3 Americas cars race…

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The first race of the weekend was the SCCA’s F3 Americas gang with sophomore Benjamin Pedersen on pole for Global Racing Group and Benjamin would stay in front all day to take the checkers. P2 at the end was Benjamin’s teammate, IndyCar driver and rookie Dakota Dickerson, while P3 went to sophomore Jacob Abel for Abel Motorsports.

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Copenhagen’s Benjamin Pedersen gets first WIN of the season

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At the start of the race Dakota quickly moved from P3 to P2 and Mathias Soler-Obel for Velocity Racing Development dropped from P2 to P6. Shea Holbrook for Momentum Motorsports went from P11 to P10 by passing Parker Locke for Velocity Racing Development but within 3 laps Holbrook spun off course and out of the race while attempting another pass, bringing out a full-course caution.

On the lap 3 restart Benjamin held onto P1 and Dakota kept P2. On lap 4 Jacob Abel was able to take P3 from James Roe Jr for Global Racing Group and that was the last significant pass of the race. Benjamin would pull away and take the WIN with over 7 seconds in hand.

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Benjamin gets congrats in Parc Ferme
Congrats

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F3 Americas will hold Race 2 on Sunday morning. The grid hasn’t been set yet, based on Race 1 times and qualifying 2nd-fastest times. Next, Lamborghini Suoer Trofeo hold their first race of the season…

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Saturday afternoon at Barber - the Lamborghinis race for the first time this weekend…

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…and in his Lamborghini Super Trofeo debut, IndyCar driver Conor Daly WINS the Pro class and overall with co-driver Brandon Gdovic in the # 46 Huracan for Precision Performance Motorsports. P2 in Pro class and over-all was # 29 for Change Racing driven at the start by Richy Antinucci and at the end by Corey Lewis. P3 was the Pro class # 1 for Prestige Performance driven by Sandy Mitchell and Andrea Amici.

Making the day even better for us, the Pro/AM class WINNERS and 4th overall were Damon Ockey and IndyCar driver Jake Eidson in the # 09 for US RaceTronics.

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The # 46 for PPM takes the first WIN of the season
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At the start of the race Brandon Gdovic went from P5 overall to P2 while Richard Antinucci had contact with another car that earned him a drive-through penalty, handing the lead to Gdovic. At the pit stop Daly went into the car and came out of the pits in the lead in class and P3 overall, with Corey Lewis now in for Antinucci and right behind Daly.

Leading the race was Damon Ockey in the Pro/Am # 09, after Jake Eidson had wrested it away for the car prior to the pit stops. After several laps with Ockey defending from Daly and Daly defending from Corey Lewis, Ockey decided to let the two Pro class cars by in order to keep the lead of the Pro/Am class.

Lewis spent several laps nose-to-tail with Daly, trying to grab the lead, but soon had a worry himself when Sandy Mitchell began to close on him, making it a three-way battle. Conor eventually put a gap on Lewis sufficient to keep to the end and WON by 1.7 seconds with Lewis another 1.7 seconds ahead of Mitchell at the line.

A very exciting race!

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Daly and Gdovic to the podium:

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The next race for Lambo Super Trofeo will be on Sunday in the early afternoon, with Sandy Mitchell on pole, Corey Lewis in P2 and Dennis Lind in P3 for P1 Motorsports. Daly will start the race from P5 for PPM. Next up, the IndyCars qualify!

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It’s time for the IndyCars to qualify!..

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…and that means it’s time for the IndyCar qualifying explanation page. We offer this to newbies who will otherwise be extremely confused at what is going on, should they watch qualifying on TV. There is no guarantee, written or implied, that this will do any good and we are already lawyered up, so no lawsuits, please. Your headache is your own fault, as you have been forewarned. So if you know this stufff, MOVE ON!. If not take a pre-aspirin and follow along…

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So, how does this work? Around ovals qualifying is simple: One car at a time runs the fastest they can for 2 hot laps (after a warm-up lap) and the fastest average speed is the pole sitter, but…

On road and street courses it gets complicated…

The Firestone Fast Six


Qualifying is done in three segments of TEN MINUTES for the first two and SIX MINUTES for the last. Today, there are 24 cars attempting to qualify. In Segment One, the first 12 cars will be sent out for ten minutes. During that time they will run as fast as they can, being timed. The fastest SIX advance to Segment Two. Then, the 12 remaining cars are sent out for ten minutes to do the same. The fastest SIX from that group also advance to Segment Two. The 12 cars that did NOT advance line up in grid spots P13 through P24, based on their times.

In Segment Two, the 12 that advanced once again run as fast as possible for ten minutes. The fastest 6 of this group advance to Segment Three. The other 6 line up on the grid on spots P7 through P12, based on their times.

Segment Three is also known as The Firestone Fast Six. These cars go out and run as fast as they can for only six minutes and then line up P1 through P6 on the grid, based on their times, and that is how pole is set.

Don’t screw it up! - You have to go as fast as you can but you CANNOT afford to over-cook it: If a car causes a red or full course yellow condition in any segment, the car’s best two timed laps of the segment will be disallowed and that car will not be allowed to advance to the next segment. If a car causes two red or full course yellow conditions in any segment, all segment times shall be voided and the car shall not be permitted to participate in the remainder of qualifying.

Qualifying can be very exciting to watch, as it looks like a very fast race going on, but the cars try to stay separated from each other, so as to get the best possible time without someone mucking up their hot laps. You will see the pole switch SEVERAL TIMES from car to car, as the time runs down.

The pole winner not only gets to start on pole but wins the NTT P1 Award and the valuable series point that goes with it.

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Last year pole was taken by Josef Newgarden for Team Penske with a time of 01:07.4413 seconds for a speed of 122.773 miles per hour. Josef would go on to WIN the race.

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"Newgie" on the pole

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The IndyCars are qualified!

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…and what a different group made it to the Firestone Fast Six! - not a Team Penske driver among them and not one of the fabulous rookies we have been used to seeing, this year. Locking out the front row was unexpectedly team Rahal Letterman Lanigan with Takuma Sato on pole.

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Here is the way the IndyCars will grid for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama for 2019, with times for the TOP SIX: [R] denotes rookie

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Row 1

Pole - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan - time of 01:08.5934s for a speed of 120.711mph

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P2 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan - time of 01:08.6971s for a speed of 120.529mph

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Row 2

P3 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 01:08.8081s for a speed of 120.335mph

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P4 - James Hinchcliffe, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports - time of 01:08.8476s for a speed of 120.266 mph

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Row 3

P5 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w / Vasser Sullivan - time of 01:09.0189s for a speed of 119.967mph

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P6 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing - tme of 01:09.6074s for a speed of 118.953mph

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Row 4

P7 - Will Power, Team Penske
P8 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport

Row 5

P9 - Colton Herta [R], Harding Steinbrenner Racing
P10 - Santino Ferrucci [R], Dale Coyne Racing

Row 6

P11 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport
P12 - Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing with Arrow SPM

Row 7

P13 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport
P14 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske

Row 8

P15 - Matheus Leist, A.J. Foyt Enterprises
P16 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske

Row 9

P17 - Felix Rosenqvist [R], Chip Ganassi Racing
P18 - Pato O’Ward [R], Carlin

Row 10

P19 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises
P20 - Marcus Ericsson [R], Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Row 11

P21 - Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter Racing
P22 - Max Chilton, Carlin

Row 12

P23 - Zach Veach, Andretti Autosport
P24 - Ben Hanley [R], DragonSpeed Racing

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Notable:

  • The RLL boys have been struggling all weekend, but pulled it together at the last moment. Graham held pole for almost the entire Q3 session but Takuma took it away on his last lap in the final seconds of the session, completing the sweep for the team. Very exciting!

  • Scott Dixon has been on the podium at Barber SEVEN TIMES, but never as a WINNER. This could finally be his weekend.

  • Spencer Pigot has been the best Chevy all weekend and that continued through qualifying. Spencer turned in the fastest lap time of the entire weekend during qualifying, at 01:08.3548s, but unfortunately for him it was during his Q1 session and not in Q3.

  • Colton Herta, Santino Ferrucci and Jack Harvey all made the Fast 12. Jack will have his best start ever as a result. He will be trying to keep a string of TOP TEN finishes alive and this can’t hurt.
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Fast, but not fast enough for TOP SIX - (left to right), Herta, Ferrucci and Harvey

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The race is scheduled for broadcast on NBC-SN starting at 4:00pm EASTERN time on Sunday, rain or shine, and it is increasingly looking like the rain will hold off. Next, the Porsche GT3 Cup guys hold Race 1 of the weekend…

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Saturday afternoon at Barber - The Porsche GT3 Cup guys hold Race 1…

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…and the 18-year-old 2018 Vice-Champion of the series, Roman De Angelis, ran away and hid from the field to take the first race of the season in the # 79 Porsche for Kelly-Moss Road & Race. Taking P2 was another teen - even younger, at 16 - as SportsCar rookie Riley Dickinson secured the spot by a mid-race pass in the # 53 for Moorespeed. It was IndyCar driver Parker Thompson who Riley passed and Thompson, himself a SportsCar rookie making his debut, went on to P3 in the # 3 Porsche for JDX Racing.

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De Angelis leading the pack. He would soon be out of sight.
RomanWin

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The race started with Roman on the pole. P3 starter Parker Thompson got the jump on P2 Riley Dickinson in Turn 1 and took over the spot. As the rest of the cars entered Turn 1 a whole mid-pack gaggle got caught up in a spin into the turn. All would recover without the track going yellow. Roman began to take off.

Within a few laps Roman was several seconds up the road and nearly out of sight. Dickinson and Thompson, however, were nose to tail, contesting the P2 spot, but they too began to lose the rest of the field. By lap 15 they were encountering lapped traffic and the two split going around a number of cars, until finally Riley got the better pick and got past Thompson to regain P2. The podium was then set.

For the rest of the race De Angelis streaked away from everyone else and Parker and Riley kept battling each other. Roman would cross the finish line a full 17 seconds ahead of them. Riley beat Parker to the line by only about 0.70 seconds.

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Roman De Angelis in Parc Ferme
RomanWin2

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Notable:

  • Canadian Roman De Angelis was not only Vice-Champion of this series in 2018 but he was also Vice-Champion of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada last year, too. This year he is once again contesting both series and he intends to be champion in both. He stands a good chance of doing it, too.
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    Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA will hold Race 2 on Sunday. The grid for that race has yet to be determined, utilizing the 2nd fastest qually lap of each driver or their best Race 1 lap to determine position. This was the last ontrack activity of the day.

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