IndyCars - Portland: Redux 2 in the Northwest

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Last year saw the return of IndyCars to Portland International Raceway after an absence of 11 years from the little natural road course nestled in the flats on the Columbia River north of Portland, Oregon. That was a big success, so why not do it again, as we do another…

Grand Prix of Portland

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Portland is a 12-turn, 1.964-mile natural road course with a very long and speedy front straight funneling down to the “Festival Curves” at Turns 1, 2 and 3, creating a danger zone for a huge pile-up that has bitten many over-exuberant drivers in the past. Last year, everyone seemed to get through them, only to pile up just right past them.

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This weekend, area fans will be treated to no less than 11 races and they will get to watch them in what is predicted to be splendid weather. They include:

  • Global Mazda MX-5 Cup, 2 races on Saturday and Sunday
  • Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Trucks, 2 races on Saturday and Sunday
  • USF2000, 2 races on Saturday and Sunday
  • Indy Pro 2000, 2 races on Saturday and Sunday
  • Indy Lights, 2 races on Saturday and Sunday

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

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Let’s take a look at that support racing…

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Global Mazda MX-5 Cup - This is an IndyCar-sanctioned series but is the first step for SportsCar drivers from all over the world to learn their craft. The cars are race versions of the venerable Miata sports car, inexpensive but fast and competitive in the one-make spec series. The fields are always HUGE because of the low cost to run a season. No IndyCar folks are in this series, however, so we will wish them safe and happy racing and concentrate on the rest.

Global MX5 Cup cars in action

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Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Trucks - Take a 600 horsepower off-road truck meant for racing in stadiums on made-made dirt tracks and put them instead on paved road courses, using metal ramps to jump off and you have one of the most popular support series in racing. The SST’s are a big fan favorite wherever they go, and why not? They are very loud and powerful, and can get up to 25 feet of air under them for as much as 200 feet of distance off some ramps. The racing is as hard as in any series in the world and banging off each other is pretty much mandatory.

The current points leader in Super Trucks is Road to Indy ace driver Matthew Brabham, but series founder and former IndyCar driver Robby Gordon is always lurking for the kill.

Stadium Super Trucks

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contnued…

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Support series (part 2)…

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USF2000 - This is the first step on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system that develops IndyCar drivers and the cars will often be the first winged car with slicks that these young drivers will try. Despite their size, the racing is fast and furious with typically huge, international fields. Such will be the case at Portland. The cars were replaced with an entirely new version in 2017, the Tatuus USF-17, and it has been a wonder, breaking records at all the series venues. Gifted with 175 hp from its 2.0 liter Mazda MZR inline 4 cylinder, the transmissions are paddle-shifted 6-speed sequential boxes and the brakes are Performance Friction Brakes ZR24 4-piston calipers, front and rear, with a driver-adjustable bias - It’s all great stuff to learn to race with.

The battle for the championship will be affected greatly by Portland, because the two top contenders are so close. The current points leader is Braden Eves, who was able to string together four consecutive victories for the Cape Motorsports team at the season’s start and added a 5th WIN at Road America, later. but coming on strong lately has been Hunter McElrea for Pabst Racing, and the American-born Kiwi is now only 9 points behind with 4 races to go - two of them here.

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Braden Eves

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Indy Pro 2000 - This is the middle car on the ladder. Entirely new last year, it uses the same chassis as the Tatuus-USF17 but comes equipped with a much more powerful engine, much bigger tires and brakes and more wings, creating more downforce. In this iteration the car is the Tatuus PM-18. Even MORE than the USF2000 car, the PM-18 is heads and tails above the car it replaced and it too is shattering track records - sometimes by more than 4 seconds! The field is FULL of very talented kids from all over the globe, wanting to get in on the new car. These kids are more sophisticated and with better race craft than the kids from USF2000, and it shows. Most of the series drivers are capable of a WIN on any given weekend.

The current points leader is Swedish rookie Rasmus Lindh, driving for Juncos Racing, but coming on strong lately after a slow start is 2018 USF2000 Champion Kyle Kirkwood for Italian team RP Motorsport USA, winning 5 of the last 6 races. The two are now separated by only 6 points, with 132 points still up for grabs in the four remaining races.

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Rasmus Lindh - still leading

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Indy Lights - The Lights are the top step on the ladder and a fitting stepping stone to the big cars. The Dallara IL-15 was new in 2015, replacing a decades-old chassis. It has a 450 hp AER-developed 2.0 liter turbo-charged engine that is equipped with “push-to-pass” - the button on the steering wheel that releases additional turbo boost for a limited time, adding 50 extra ponies to the engine - just like on the big cars. The tires, wheels, brakes and downforce are all bigger and more than Indy Pro 2000, as are all the electronics, making the IL-15 a great place to not only train drivers but also their race engineers. The series drivers are superb talents and the proof of that is that so many current IndyCar drivers are very recent Indy Lights drivers.

The current points leader is Oliver Askew driving for Andretti Autosport. Oliver’s rise in the sport has been nothing short of meteoric. Coming out of karting in 2016, he WON a Team USA Scholarship, then WON the 2016 Mazda Road to Indy Shootout, then went on the WIN the 2017 USF2000 Championship, placed 3rd in the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 title and is now headed to a title in the Lights.

Trying to spoil that great record is Nederlander Rinus VeeKay driving for Juncos Racing. VeeKay has himself done greatly, with the Vice-Championship of USF2000 in 2017, the Championship of Indy Pro 2000 in 2018 and another title in the F3 Asian Winter series, just before the Light’s season start. Oliver has a commanding 52 point lead, however, and he can sew up the title in Portland.

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Oliver Askew - the Champ this weekend?

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NOTE: USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 both tested at Portland on Thursday, three session each, in anticipation of this weekend. The results of those tests can be seen in the “Off-Season” thread, posts # 710 and 711.

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Friday will be a day of practice for all series running this weekend. All three Road to Indy series will also qualify for their first races of the weekend, as will the Stadium Super Trucks.
LET’S GO!!

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Friday at Portland - USF2000 holds practice and qualifying for Race 1…

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The first kids on the track today were from US2000 for their one and only practice before qualifying for Race 1 later in the day.

TOPS in practice was Hunter McElrea for Pabst Racing, followed by Braden Eves for Cape Motorsports. 3rd fastest was Manuel Sulaiman for DEForce Racing. When it cane time to qualify for their first race of the weekend McElrea and Eves proved themselves to be worthy of their status as the TOP TWO in the points chase.

Here is the way USF200 will grid for Season Round 12, with times for the TOP SIX: [R] denotes rookie; the driver’s shift from their P-1 practice position is in ( )

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Row 1

Pole - Hunter McElrea [R], Pabst Racing - time of 01:11.5643s for a speed of 98.798mph (0)

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P2 - Braden Eves [R], Cape Motorsports - time of 01:11.7045s for a speed of 98.605mph (0)

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Row 2

P3 - Christian Rasmussen [R], Jay Howard Driver Development - time of 01:11.9042s for a speed of 98.331mph (+2)

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P4 - Jak Crawford [R], DEForce Racing - time of 01:12.0043s for a speed of 98.194mph (+5)

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Row 3

P5 - Colin Kaminsky, Pabst Racing - time of 01:12.1365s for a speed of 98.014mph (+3)

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P6 - Manuel Sulaiman [R], DEForce Racing - time of 01:12.1512s for a speed of 97.994mph (-3)

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Row 4

P7 - Darren Keane, Cape Motorsports (-1)
P8 - Yuven Sundaramoorthy [R], Pabst Racing (+5)

Row 5

P9 - Eduardo Barrichello [R], DEForce Racing (+1)
P10 - Zach Holden, Legacy Autosport (-6)

Row 6

P11 - Reece Gold [R], Cape Motorsports (+1)
P12 - Bruna Tomaselli, Pabst Racing (-5)

Row 7

P13 - Jack William Miller [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports (+5)
P14 - Nolan Siegel [R], Newman Wachs Racing (0)

Row 8

P15 - Josh Green [R], Jay Howard Driver Development (-4)
P16 - Kyle Dupell, Newman Wachs Racing (-1)

Row 9

P17 - Ayrton Ori [R], Legacy Autosport (+1)
P18 - Christian Bogle [R], Jay Howard Driver Development (-1)

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Notable:

  • Stepping up in qualifying was Christian Rasmussen for Jay Howard who jumped from P6 in practice to 3rd on the grid, while Manuel Sulaiman went from 3rd in practice to P6 for the race.

  • Big movers were Jak Crawfoird who will start P4 and Colin Kaminsky, who will start P5.

  • Yuven Sundaramoorthy made a big leap between practice and qualifying, as did young Jack William Miller, while losing ground were Zach Holden and Bruna Tomaselli.
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Nice pic of the TOP FIVE in points, coming to Portland - left to right, Colin Kaminsky (4th), Hunter McElrea (2nd), Braden Eves (1st), Darren Keane (3rd), and Christian Rassmussen (5th):

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TopFive600

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Race 1 is scheduled for 4:30pm Pacific time on Saturday.

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Friday morning at Portland - Indy Pro 2000 hold practice and then qualify…

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…for Race 1 of the weekend. The TOP SPOT in the only practice went to veteran Sting Ray Robb for Juncos Racing, who considers Portland to be his home track, even though home is in Payette, Idaho. Sting Ray backed that up by securing his first series pole position for Race 1.

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Here is the way Indy Pro 2000 will grid for Season Round 13, with times for the TOP SIX: [R] denotes rookie; the driver’s shift from their P-1 practice position is in ( )

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Row 1

Pole - Sting Ray Robb, Juncos Racing - time of 01:06.4749s for a time of 106.362mph (0)

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P2 - Kyle Kirkwood [R], RP Motorsport USA - time of 01:06.5420s for a time of 106.255mph (0)

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Row 2

P3 - Artem Petrov [R], RP Motorsport USA - time of 01:06.6362s for a time of 106.104mph (+3)

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P4 - Parker Thompson, Abel Motorsports - time of 01:06.8318s for a time of 105.794mph (-1)

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Row 3

P5 - Danial Frost [R], Exclusive Autosport - time of 01:06.850s for a time of 9 105.764mph (0)

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P6 - Antonio Serravalle, Pserra Racing w/RP Motorsport USA - time of 01:07.0916s for a time of 105.384mph (+6)

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Row 4

P7 - Rasmus Lindh [R], Juncos Racing (-3)
P8 - Moises de la Vara [R], DEForce Racing (+1)

Row 5

P9 - Nikita Lastochkin, Exclusive Autosport (-2)
P10 - Kory Enders [R], DEForce Racing (-2)

Row 6

P11 - Jacob Abel [R], Abel Motorsports (-1)
P12 - Matthew Round-Garrido [R], Jay Howard Driver Development / BN Racing (-1)

Row 7

P13 - Antoine Comeau [R], Turn 3 Motorsport (0)

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Notable:

  • Sting Ray is 5th in the points and is one of the series top contenders. This weekend he is at the top of his game, for sure.

  • Sting Ray’s teammate Rasmus Lindh, currently leading the points, picked a bad weekend to fall on his face, due to a faltering engine. Luckily, Sting Ray made sure that nemesis Kyle Kirkwood did not earn the valuable series point for getting pole, but Ras will have to dig hard to get to the front with these guys in front of him.

  • Antonio Serravalle would be a big surprise for P6 if we had not seen how well he tested yesterday on the Portland track. He seems to very much have the measure of PIR, thanks to his new partnership with RP Motorsport USA.

  • A big surprise is Artem Petrov for P3. The young Russian is just the latest in a long line of great young talents that RP Motorsport Racing have brought to Indy Pro 2000 in the last two years. This is his first drive in the Tatuus PM-18 on a road course, (he was at Gateway, last weekend), but he is looking very comfortable in the car.

Rasmus LIndh - engine woes in qualifying

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Friday morning at Portland - Indy Lights practice and then qualify for Race 1…

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The Lights took to the track mid-morning for their only practice and then qualified late in the afternoon for their first race of the weekend, to be run on Saturday. The two points leaders were the TOP drivers of the day, of course.

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Here is the way Indy Lights will grid for Season Round 15, with times for the TOP SIX: [R] denotes rookie; the driver’s shift from their P-1 practice position is in ( )

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Row 1

Pole - Rinus VeeKay [R], Juncos Racing - time of 01:03.9952s for a speed of 110.483mph (+3)

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P2 - Oliver Askew [R], Andretti Autosport - time of 01:04.1148s for a speed of 110.277mph (-1)

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Row 2

P3 - Robert Megennis [R], Andretti Autosport - time of 01:04.1909s for a speed of 110.146mph (+4)

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P4 - Dalton Kellett, Juncos Racing - time of 01:04.4391s for a speed of 109.722mph (+2)

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Row 3

P5 - David Malukas [R], HMD Motorsports - time of 01:04.4517s for a speed of 109.701mph (-3)

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P6 - Toby Sowery [R], HMD Motorsport Motorsports / Team Pelfrey - time of 01:04.7345s for a speed of 109.222mph (-1)

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Row 4

P7 - Lucas Kohl [R], Belardi Auto Racing (+1)
P8 - Ryan Norman, Andretti Autosport (-5)

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Notable:

  • Rinus had to pull it all together to eclipse title rival and points-leader Oliver Askew and he did it, very late in the session, after a less than stellar practice. He earned a valuable series point for the pole position.

  • Also stepping up for qualifying was Rob Megennis who improved greatly between the two sessions to take P3 on the grid.

  • Falling off were David Malukas and especially 3rd-in-the-points Ryan Norman, who went off track during qualifying, and it cost him greatly.

  • Dalton Kellett is one of the guys with experience here and it helped him to improve in qualifying. He finished the race in P3 in 2018.

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Ryan Norman - off course, off-song

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This race will be run in the early afternoon on Saturday.

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Friday morning at Portland - the IndyCars hold their first practice…

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The big cars got to do one of two practices they will hold today following the Road to Indy series. The weather for the P-1 session was cool and that helped collect good times for the field.

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Here was the order of speed for the IndyCar P-1 session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie

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1 - Colton Herta [R], Harding Steinbrenner Racing - time of 00:57.4293s

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2 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport - time of 00:57.5538s

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3 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 00:57.7922s

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4 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske - time of 00:57.8504s

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5 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport - time of 00:57.9006s

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6 - James Hinchcliffe, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
7 - Zach Veach, Andretti Autosport
8 - Felix Rosenqvist [R], Chip Ganassi Racing
9 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport
10 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan

11 - Will Power, Team Penske
12 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske
13 - Matheus Leist, A.J. Foyt Enterprises
14 - Max Chilton, Carlin
15 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser Sullivan
16 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
17 - Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing w/ Arrow SPM
18 - Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter Racing
19 - Santino Ferrucci [R], Dale Coyne Racing
20 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises

21 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing
22 - Charlie Kimball, Carlin
23 - Conor Daly, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsport

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Notable:

  • The Andretti family of cars are looking great, with Colton Herta leading in the satellite team, while all four of Michael Andretti’s cars are in the TOP NINE.

  • Three of the TOP FIVE in points are in the TOP FOUR here. Missing are Simon Pagenaud and Will Power, who are 12th and 11th.

  • Josef is in the only Chevy in the TOP TEN.

  • Conor Daly is subbing for Marcus Ericsson in the # 7 Arrow SPM car, as Marcus is at Spa for the Belgian Grand Prix for Alfa Romeo as a reserve driver. Expect Daly to improve over the weekend, as he gets back in the swing of Arrow SPM, for which he has driven in the past.

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Colton Herta (left) and Conor Daly

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Friday at Portland - the Stadium Super Trucks hold a practice and qualify…

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The Trucks slotted in between the two IndyCar practice sessions. Sheldon Creed, who will be racing this weekend, drove his own # 20 truck and also practiced in Greg Biffle’s # 16, while Greg was away for the session.

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Here was the order of speed for the Stadium Super Trucks in their qualifying session, with times for all:

1 - Sheldon Creed # 16 - 01:38.429s
2 - Robby Gordon # 7 - 01:38.698s
3 - Cole Potts # 60 - 01:38.705s
4 - Matt Brabham # 83 - 01:38.840s
5 - Sheldon Creed # 20 - 01:39.279s
6 - Gavin Harlien # 55 - 01:39.438s
7 - Casey Mears # 21 - 01:40.152s
8 - Jeff Hoffman # 47 - 01:40.261
9 - Bill Hynes # 57 - 01:43.136s

As always, the qualifying order is reversed to grid the race. That is, Bill Hynes will be on the pole and starting last will be Greg Biffle in the # 16.
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Sheldon Creed gets some hang time for Greg Biffle today
Sheldon

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Friday afternoon at Portland - the IndyCars hold a second practice session…

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…and a few of the guys who were fast this morning remained on top, while a few other fell off and a few more came on hard. Overall, the session was a tiny bit slower than the morning, as the day got progressively warmer.

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Here was the order of speed for the IndyCars P2 Practice, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie; the driver’s shift from their P-1 practice position is in ( )

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1 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser Sullivan - time of 00:57.9213s (+14)
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2 - Will Power, Team Penske - time of 00:57.9502s (+9)

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3 - Felix Rosenqvist [R], Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 00:58.0602s (+5)

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4 - Colton Herta [R], Harding Steinbrenner Racing - time of 00:58.0848s (-3)

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5 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske - time of 00:58.0969s (-1)

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6 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport (-4)
7 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske (+5)
8 - Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing w/ Arrow SPM (+9)
9 - James Hinchcliffe, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (-3)
10 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan (0)

11 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing (-8)
12 - Santino Ferrucci [R], Dale Coyne Racing (+7)
13 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport (-8)
14 - Zach Veach, Andretti Autosport (-7)
15 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing (+6)
16 - Matheus Leist, A.J. Foyt Enterprises (-3)
17 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport (-8)
18 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan (-2)
19 - Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter Racing (-1)
20 - Max Chilton, Carlin (-6)

21 - Conor Daly, Andretti Autosport (+2)
22 - Charlie Kimball, Carlin (0)
23 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises (-3)

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Notable:

  • Struggling in the P-1 session, the car for Sebastien Bourdais came alive in P-2 and the situation also improved for teammate Santino Ferrucci. But right after putting in the fastest lap of the session, Bourdais stuffed it in the tires in Turns 11-12. Not too badly, it was just a bloody nose for the car.

  • As has been noted before, Penske starts to push in the second practice and the advancement of Will Power over P-1 is evidence. Conversely, Andretti Autosport fell off in P-2, except for Alexander Rossi.

  • Now, three cars in the TOP TEN, it’s getting better for Chevrolet.

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Sebastien Bourdais

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Friday afternoon at Portland - The IndyCars put in the “morning warm-up”…

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Following the P-2, 45-minute session, the IndyCars had a 15-minute break and then went into Pit-Stop practice, including the warm-up that typically happens on the morning of the race. This is typically a race set-up session, rather than going for flat-out qualifying speeds.

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Here was the order of speed for the Pit-Stop / Warm-up session, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie; the driver’s shift from their P-1 practice position is in ( )

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1 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport - time of 00:58.273s for a speed of 121.333mph (+8)

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2 - Zach Veach, Andretti Autosport - time of 00:58.643s for a speed of 120.567mph (+5)

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3 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 00:58.718s for a speed of 120.412mph (0)

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4 - James Hinchcliffe, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports - time of 00:58.764s for a speed of 120.319mph (+2)

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5 - Colton Herta [R], Harding Steinbrenner Racing - time of 00:58.833s for a speed of 120.177mph (-4)

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6 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport (-4)
7 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan (+9)
8 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing (+13)
9 - Conor Daly, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsport (+14)
10 - Felix Rosenqvist [R], Chip Ganassi Racing (-2)

11 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske (-7)
12 - Will Power, Team Penske (-1)
13 - Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing w/ Arrow SPM (+4)
14 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske (-2)
15 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises (+5)
16 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport (-11)
17 - Charlie Kimball, Carlin (+5)
18 - Matheus Leist, A.J. Foyt Enterprises (-5)
19 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser Sullivan (-4)
20 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan (-10)

21 - Max Chilton, Carlin (-7)
22 - Santino Ferrucci [R], Dale Coyne Racing (-3)
23 - Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter Racing (-5)

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Notable:

  • The Andrettis cars have returned to top spots in the order, and that bodes well for the race.

  • Conor Daly has made big gains since the morning and now look competitive.

  • Spencer Pigot is the only Chevy in the TOP TEN and he has also made big gains for Ed Carpenter Racing, while teammate Ed Jones is deep in the hole.

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Spencer Pigot (left) and Ed Jones and Ryan Hunter-Reay (right)

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Racer magazine’s Marshall Pruett and Sebastien Bourdais speak of Day 1 at Portland…

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Saturday morning at Portland - USF2000 hold their 2nd qually of the weekend…

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In the Road to Indy, each race of a two-race weekend gets its own separate qualifying, instead of using the 2nd fastest lap of one session. It takes more time and effort, but it also gives the teams a chance to make big adjustments to their cars before the second race qualifying. This morning, before running Race 1 later today, USF2000 came out to qualify for Race 2, to be run on Sunday

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Here is the way USF2000 will grid for Season Round 13, with times for the TOP SIX: [R] denotes rookie

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Row 1

Pole - Hunter McElrea [R], Pabst Racing - time of 01:10.9164s for a speed of 99.700mph

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P2 - Braden Eves [R], Cape Motorsports - time of 01:11.1018s for a speed of 99.441mph

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Row 2

P3 - Christian Rasmussen [R], Jay Howard Driver Development - time of 01:11.2292s for a speed of 99.263mph

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P4 - Colin Kaminsky, Pabst Racing - time of 01:11.3275s for a speed of 99.126mph

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Row 3

P5 - Jak Crawford [R], DEForce Racing - time of 01:11.3662s for a speed of 99.072mph

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P6 - Darren Keane, Cape Motorsports - time of 01:11.4494s for a speed of 98.957mph

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Row 4

P7 - Zach Holden, Legacy Autosport
P8 - Eduardo Barrichello [R], DEForce Racing

Row 5

P9 - Yuven Sundaramoorthy [R], Pabst Racing
P10 - Reece Gold [R], Cape Motorsports

Row 6

P11 - Bruna Tomaselli, Pabst Racing
P12 - Manuel Sulaiman [R], DEForce Racing

Row 7

P13 - Josh Green [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
P14 - Nolan Siegel [R], Newman Wachs Racing

Row 8

P15 - Jack William Miller [R], Miller Vinatieri Motorsports
P16 - Ayrton Ori [R], Legacy Autosport

Row 9

P17 - Kyle Dupell, Newman Wachs Racing
P18 - Christian Bogle [R], Jay Howard Driver Development
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Notable:

  • This is Hunter’s 4th pole in a row and comes at a great time. The two valuable points he has already earned this weekend for qualifying gets him to only 7 points behind points-leader Braden Eves

  • All the guys in the TOP TEN are consistently good series performers, with the exception of Eduardo Barrichello, who is showing that his move to DEForce Racing was the right choice to make.

  • 14-year-old Jak Crawford continues to impress everyone in the paddock with his out-sized abilities.

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Group photo of the Pabst Racing team, aka “the Speed Boys”. Left to right, Yuven Sundaramoorthy, Colin Kaminsky, Hunter McElrea and Bruna Tomaselli - All in the TOP ELEVEN in the Q2 qually:

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SpeedBoys

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Saturday morning at Portland - Indy Pro 2000 hold their 2nd qually of the weekend…

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As with USF2000, the guys in Indy Pro 2000 came out early to qualify for Sunday’s Race 2.

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Here is the way Indy Pro 2000 will grid for Season Round 14, with times for the TOP SIX: [R] denotes rookie

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Row 1

Pole - Kyle Kirkwood [R], RP Motorsport USA - time of 01:06.2491s for a speed of 106.724mph

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P2 - Sting Ray Robb, Juncos Racing - time of 01:06.4440s for a speed of 106.411mph

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Row 2

P3 - Rasmus Lindh [R], Juncos Racing - time of 01:06.5532s for a speed of 106.237mph

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P4 - Artem Petrov [R], RP Motorsport USA - time of 01:06.6142s for a speed of 106.140mph

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Row 3

P5 - Parker Thompson, Abel Motorsports - time of 01:06.6416s for a speed of 106.096mph

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P6 - Danial Frost [R], Exclusive Autosport - time of 01:06.6904s for a speed of 106.018mph

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Row 4

P7 - Antonio Serravalle, Pserra Racing w/RP Motorsport USA
P8 - Jacob Abel [R], Abel Motorsports

Row 5

P9 - Nikita Lastochkin, Exclusive Autosport
P10 - Matthew Round-Garrido [R], Jay Howard Driver Development / BN Racing

Row 6

P11 - Kory Enders [R], DEForce Racing
P12 - Moises de la Vara [R], DEForce Racing

Row 7

P13 - Antoine Comeau [R], Turn 3 Motorsport

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Notable:

  • Yesterday it was veteran Robb besting rookie Kirkwood, but today they flipped the script. At least points-leader Rasmus Lindh stayed in contact with those two today, but he lost one more point to Kyle with this qually.

  • This is Artem Petrov’s second Indy Pro 2000 race weekend, but he is but one more impressive European talent that RP Motorsport USA have introduced to North American racing.

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Mutual respect - Sting Ray Robb congratulates Kyle Kirkwood on his pole
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Saturday morning at Portland - The Indy Lights hold their 2nd qualifications of the weekend…

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Following the junior series in the Road to Indy, it was the Indy Lights turn to hold a 2nd qually for their Race 2, to be held on Sunday.

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Here is the way Indy Lights will grid for Season Round 16, with times for the TOP SIX: [R] denotes rookie

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Row 1

Pole - Rinus VeeKay [R], Juncos Racing - time of 01:03.2629s for a speed of 111.762mph

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P2 - Oliver Askew [R], Andretti Autosport - time of 01:03.2630s for a speed of 111.762mph

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Row 2

P3 - Toby Sowery [R], HMD Motorsport Motorsports / Team Pelfrey - time of 01:03.3639s for a speed of 111.584mph

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P4 - David Malukas [R], HMD Motorsports - time of 01:03.5272s for a speed of 111.297mph

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Row 3

P5 - Ryan Norman, Andretti Autosport - time of 01:03.6381s for a speed of 111.103mph

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P6 - Dalton Kellett, Juncos Racing - time of 01:03.6490s for a speed of 111.084mph

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Row 4

P7 - Lucas Kohl [R], Belardi Auto Racing
P8 - Robert Megennis [R], Andretti Autosport

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Notable:

  • Wow! What a qually. Rinus gets the pole by 0.0001 seconds. It simply doesn’t get any better than that.

  • VeeKay is benefitting from having tested an IndyCar here for Ed Carpenter Racing just a week ago, but so is Oliver, who tested a big car for Chip Ganassi Racing on the same day.

  • Nice qually for newly-named team HMD Motorsport which used to be BN Racing, putting both cars in the TOP FOUR.

  • Rob Megennis was penalized two grid positions for running an extra lap beyond the checkered flag, signifying the end of qualifying, but he was P7 at the time and thus only loses one spot.

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It just doesn’t get any closer than this!
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Saturday, mid-day at Portland - The IndyCars hold final practice before qualifying…

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The big cars held a P-3 session that allowed the secure teams to work on race set-up while other teams still searching for speed worked on their qualifying set-up, and yet others tried to fit in both. We can’t know which teams are which, but as is usually the case, the fast guys are still the fast guys.

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Here was the order of speed for the IndyCars P-3 practice, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie; the driver’s shift from their Warm-up position on Friday is in ( )

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1 - Colton Herta [R], Harding Steinbrenner Racing - time of 00:57.9939s for a speed of 121.916mph (+4)
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2 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske - time of 00:58.1022s for a speed of 121.689mph (+9)

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3 - Will Power, Team Penske - time of 00:58.1732s for a speed of 121.541mph (+9)

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4 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 00:58.1821s for a speed of 121.522mph (-1)

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5 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport - time of 00:58.2137s for a speed of 121.456mph (+1)

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6 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport (-5)
7 - Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing w/ Arrow SPM (+6)
8 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan (-1)
9 - Felix Rosenqvist [R], Chip Ganassi Racing (+1)
10 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser Sullivan (+9)

11 - Max Chilton, Carlin (+10)
12 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan (+8)
13 - Santino Ferrucci [R], Dale Coyne Racing (+9)
14 - James Hinchcliffe, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (-10)
15 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport (+1)
16 - Zach Veach, Andretti Autosport (-14)
17 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske (-3)
18 - Conor Daly, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (-9)
19 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing (-11)
20 - Matheus Leist, A.J. Foyt Enterprises (-2)

21 - Charlie Kimball, Carlin (-4)
22 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises (-7)
23 - Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter Racing (0)

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Notable:

  • Jack Harvey and Meyer Shank Racing will be looking for new partners in 2020, as they are a Honda team and Arrow McLaren Schmidt Peterson will be a Chevy team in 2020. The great performance by the team here at Portland is assurance that picking them up as a satellite team is a good idea.

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Colton Herta (left) and Jack Harvey

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Saturday afternoon at Portland - The SSTs race…

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…for the first time at Portland, and the fans loved it. WINNING the race was two-time former champion Sheldon “The Show-Stopper” Creed, while P2 was Gavin Harlien and NASCAR great Greg Biffle took P3

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Here is the link to the race on Facebook:

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The SSTs will race again on Sunday

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Saturday afternoon at Portland - The Indy Lights hold Race 1 of their weekend…

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…and Nederlander Rinus VeeKay did everything he needed to do to collect maximum points, leading the most laps and taking the WIN from pole for Juncos Racing. P2 was points-leader Oliver Askew for Andretti Autosport, doing all he could to keep the points gain for VeeKay to a minimum. P3 was Askew’s Andretti teammate, New Yorker Rob Megennis.

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Rinus got a good start but Askew immediately began to use his Push-to-Pass to try to pass the teen. Each time VeeKay was able to keep the Floridian behind him, as Askew used 8 P-to-P stabs to try to pass. At one time he almost pulled it off on the long, front straight but Rinus faded to the right in a move that Race Control deemed a block, for which he was warned.

Within a few more laps VeeKay’s tires came in full and he was able to gap Askew until by lap10 he was more than the 1.5 second gap where Push to Pass works for following cars. Askew then held station, hoping that VeeKay’s tires degraded enough to give hima chance to catch him. They never did.

The big mover in the race was Toby Sowery for BN Racing / Team Pelfrey who started his march with a pass on Lucas Kohl for Belardi Auto Racing, taking P5. He then took P4 from Dalton Kellett for Juncos Racing and went after Megennis. As the race wound down Sowery began to use his P-to-P to catch Rob, reeling him in, lap after lap, but ran out of time, as the two crossed the finish line aside each other, with Rob mere inches to the better.

VeeKay WON by 3.5 seconds over Askew.

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Notable:

  • While Rinus did everything right, as long as Askew finishes this close to him, he will WIN the title due to his prodigious lead in points, either here or at the finales at Laguna Seca. Oliver needs to have bad luck, at this point, for VeeKay to have any hope.

  • VeeKay dedicated the race to Frenchman Anthoine Hubert, a member of the Renault Sport Academy, who tragically lost his life today in an FIA Formula 2 Championship race at Circuit Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

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Here is your happy podium - That’s Oliver Askew on the left in P2, Rinus VeeKay in the middle in P1 and Rob Megennis in P3 on the right:

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Saturday afternoon at Portland - The IndyCars are qualified!..

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As is almost always the case, qualifying for the IndyCar race was as exciting as watching a race, with all kinds of drama through all three qualifying segments, and some big names in the championship hunt going down early. Capping it off was the last lap heroics of Colton Herta for Harding Steinbrenner, who stole the pole from Will Power for Team Penske in the final seconds of qualifying on his last lap dash.

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Here is the way the IndyCars will grid for the Portland Grand Prix, with times for the FIRESTONE FAST SIX: [R] denotes rookie

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Row 1

Pole - Colton Herta [R], Harding Steinbrenner Racing - time of 00:57.8111s for a speed of 122.302mph
ColtonCar

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P2 - Will Power, Team Penske - time of 00:57.8303s for a speed of 122.261mph

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Row 2

P3 - Scott Dixon, Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 00:57.8355s for a speed of 122.250mph

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P4 - Jack Harvey, Meyer Shank Racing w/ Arrow SPM - time of 00:58.1008s for a speed of 121.692mph

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Row 3

P5 - Felix Rosenqvist [R], Chip Ganassi Racing - time of 00:58.1620s for a speed of 121.564mph

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P6 - Ryan Hunter-Reay, Andretti Autosport - time of 00:58.1823s for a speed of 121.521mph

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Row 4

P7 - Alexander Rossi, Andretti Autosport
P8 - James Hinchcliffe, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports

Row 5

P9 - Conor Daly, Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
P10 - Spencer Pigot, Ed Carpenter Racing

Row 6

P11 - Zach Veach, Andretti Autosport
P12 - Sebastien Bourdais, Dale Coyne Racing w/ Vasser Sullivan

Row 7

P13 - Josef Newgarden, Team Penske
P14 - Santino Ferrucci [R], Dale Coyne Racing

Row 8

P15 - Graham Rahal, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
P16 - Marco Andretti, Andretti Autosport

Row 9

P17 - Takuma Sato, Rahal Letterman Lanigan
P18 - Simon Pagenaud, Team Penske

Row 10

P19 - Tony Kanaan, A.J. Foyt Enterprises
P20 - Max Chilton, Carlin

Row 11

P21 - Matheus Leist, A.J. Foyt Enterprises
P22 - Charlie Kimball, Carlin

Row 12

P23 - Ed Jones, Ed Carpenter Racing

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Notable:

  • Will Power was very upset with himself for missing the pole, but even more upset was points-leader Josef Newgarden, who was bumped out in the first round by a stellar last-second lap from Zach Veach for Andretti Autosport. Newgarden had put a wheel off in his last run and it cost him just enough time to fail to advance.

  • Also bumped out in the first round was 2nd-in-points Simon Pagenaud, while 3rd in points Alexander Rossi almost made the FAST SIX, slotting in P7.

  • Getting a great qually was super-sub Conor Daly for Arrow Schmidt Peterson in his first ever visit to Portland.

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Colton with proud papa Bryan Herta - “Hertamania 1.0” and "Hertamania 2.0"
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The race is scheduled for broadcast on NBC, starting at 3:00pm EASTERN time and 12:00pm PACIFIC time on Sunday.

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IndyCar has released qualifying highlights from Saturday…

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Saturday afternoon at Portland - USF2000 hold Race 1 of their weekend…

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…and taking his 3rd WIN of the season, and with it the series provisional points lead was Hunter McElrea for Pabst Racing. P2 was former points-leader Braden Eves for Cape Motorsports while P3 went to Christian Rasmussen for Jay Howard Driver Development, who now takes over 4th in the points.

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HunterWIN

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Lap 1 saw both McElrea from pole and Eves from P2 get through Turns 1, 2 and 3 - the Festival Curves - cleanly, while Christian Rasmussen jumped from P5 to P3, as P3 starter Jak Crawford for Cape Motorsports dropped to P5, behind Colin Kaminsky for Pabst Racing in P4. Hunter and Braden remained close and were edging away from the pack until lap 8, when McElrea started to get some distance away from Eves, while Christian started to get closer to Braden.

On lap 11 Jak Crawford retook P4 from Colin Kaminsky but on lap 18 Colin took it back again, putting Jak in P5. Darren Keane for Cape Motorsports took the P6 spot from Manuel Sulaiman for DEForce Racing on lap 20 and then went after Crawford, whom he took for the P5 spot on lap 23.

As the race wound down Hunter put almost 5 seconds on Braden while Christian was only half a second behind Braden at the line.

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Notable:

  • With the WIN Hunter takes a 1 point lead over Braden, with three races left to go. This is going to be very exciting.

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Here is your happy podium - That’s Braden Eves on the left in P2, Hunter McElrea in the middle in P1 and Christian Rassmussen in P3 on the right:

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Saturday afternoon at Portland - Indy Pro 2000 hold Race 1 of their weekend…

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…and taking his 7th WIN in the last 8 outings was Kyle Kirkwood for RP Motorsport USA, and with it the points lead for the first time in 2019. Singapore’s Danial Frost finished second for Exclusive Autosport, while Canadian Parker Thompson for Abel Motorsports was gifted third after Antonio Serravalle for Pserra Racing w/RP Motorsport USA lost his first series podium due to a post-race penalty.

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The race opened with a bang as pole-sitter Sting Ray Robb for Juncos Racing was punted from behind by P3-starting rookie Artem Petrov for RP Motorsport USA as the field entered the Festival Curves at high speed. The resulting spin had many cars going in all directions but remarkably, Kirkwood, who had taken the extreme right entering the Curves, survived to go from P2 to the lead, followed by Danial Frost who had started P5 and points-leader Rasmus Lindh for Juncos, who had started P7. Serravalle was in P4 from his P6 start, while Jacob Abel for Abel Motorsports went from P11 to P5. Nikita Lastochkin for Exclusive Autosport went from P9 to P6. The losers were Parker Thompson who dropped from P4 to P7 and Sting Ray Robb, who ended up in P8.

Video of the first lap incident:

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Parker now had the blood in his eyes and went aggressively after the field. He knocked off Nikita for P6 on lap 3. On lap 8 Antonio got by Rasmus to take over P3. On lap 12 Parker was by Jacob Abel to take P5. On lap 16 Parker then secured P4 from Rasmus Lindh. For the rest of the race the TOP THREE held station, but after the race it was judged that Antonio had re-entered the track after the 1st lap shunt incorrectly and he was assessed a 10 second penalty, relegating him to P4.

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Notable:

  • Rasmus Lindh had damage from the 1st lap incident which prevented him from defending or advancing and ended the day in P5. He now trails Kirkwood by 9 points, while 3rd in the points is Parker Thompson, but 68 points in arrears. This is down to Lindh and Kirkwood.

  • Kirkwood will start from pole on Sunday for Race 2, while Sting Ray Robb gets another chance for victory with a P2 start. Rasmus Lindh, who suffered a faltering engine during Race 1 qualifying, will start much better in Race 2, at P3.

  • Artem Petrov was assessed a drive-through penalty for punting Robb on the opening lap and finished in P10 from his P3 start.

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Here is your happy podium - That’s Danial Frost in P2 on the left, Kyle Kirkwood in P1 in the middle and Parker Thompson in P3 on the right:

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IP2Kpodium

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This was the last on-track activity of the day
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