IndyCars - The off-season: Series news and comment until the March 2014 kick-off


#318

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A Happy Thanksgiving to all the readers of the thread!

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#319

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Let’s do another Speedy Award…

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The Speedy Awards are the unofficial recognition from IndyCar’s merry band of statisticians, in acknowledgement of special performances that only the numbers crunchers might notice, but which always play a significant role in every race and every season. The last one we did was in post # 276, when we acknowledged Simon Pagenaud’s ability to restart better than anyone else, following a race slowing or stopping.

This week, it’s time to trumpet the Pit Crew of the Year for the 2018 season. This one is a bit easier for those who paid attention, because Firestone awarded the best pit crew at every race with their Firerstone Pit Performance Award and they certainly let us know who they were. The WINNING crew was always the crew with the shortest time count for each stop for the entire race, getting their driver out the quickest. It didn’t matter how many stops you made. What mattered was how long you were stopped for each one. Firestone also gives the crew a $10,000 check for each race they win! Sweet!

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With four Firestone Pit Performance Awards, Alexander Rossi’s pit crew for the # 27 Andretti Autosport Honda was among the best of 2018 and a big reason why the young Californian was so productive in 2018.
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Here, his guys collect their check at Phoenix for their performance at St. Pete

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Collecting 5 Pit Stop Performance Awards were the guys crewing Will Power’s car for Team Penske. They clearly helped the Aussie to pick up his first Indy 500 WIN and took him all the way to Sonoma, contesting the title.

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Here, Will’s boys get their check for their performance at the Iowa Corn 300.

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Also nabbing 5 Pit Stop Performance Awards were the guys from “the Wolf Pack” - Scott Dixon’s crew on the # 9 Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing. Even though they tied with Power’s guys, they get the 2018 Speedy Award, because they helped Scott WIN the championship and they were also the best performers at the 2018 Indy 500.

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The 2018 Best Pit Crew - Scott Dixon’s "Wolf Pack"

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More awards to come. Stay tuned!

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#320

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Pipo Derani has a productive Sunday!..

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…as the Pro Mazda alum and his co-drivers Alexander West and Come Ledogar took the # 8 Ligier JS P2 Nissan for Spirit of Race from dead last to the WIN at the Agile 4 Hours of Shanghai - the first race of the 2018-2019 season of the Asian Le Mans Series.

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left to right, Alexander West, Come Ledogar and IndyCar guy Luis Felipe Derani

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Thanks to Pipo’s quallifying effort, the guys started on pole, but West, at the wheel of the car, came in contact with Philip Hanson in the # 22 United Autosport Nissan in Turn 1 and spun out, sending him to the rear. For the next 3 hours West and Ledogar valiantly came back through the pack to hand the car to Pipo for the closing stint in P3.

Another IndyCar guy, former Pro Mazda driver Weiron Tan, was leading at one point in the # 1 ORECA 05 Nissan for Jackie Chan Racing when he lost his left rear wheel and DNF’d - It was not to be for the former Andretti Autosport and Team Pelfrey driver.

Weiron Tan - what might have been

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Following the 3rd hour pit stop Pipo took the lead and sailed off to finish the race a healthy 47 seconds ahead of Paul di Resta in the same # 22 Nissan that bumped into West on that opening lap.

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Here are some race highlights:

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Pipo’s next outing in the series will be at Fuji, Japan, Decdember 7-9. We will next see Pipo Stateside at the 24 Hours of Daytona, where he will co-drive the # 31 Cadillac DPi with Felipe Nasr for Action Express - That’s the 2018 Champion car in IMSA’s WeatherTech P class.

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#321

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Pro Mazda alum Will Owen is coming back to Juncos Racing in 2019…

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Following the 2014 season in USF2000 as one of Pabst Racing’s “speed boys,” American Will Owen drove In 2015 and 2016 in Pro Mazda for Ricardo Juncos, teaming at times with Nicolas Dapero, Jake Parsons and Garett Grist. In 2017 Owen took all that racing experience and made the leap to the top class of the European Le Mans series, driving a Ligier JS P217 Gibson for United Autosport on the squad with Hugo de Sadeleer and Filipe Albuquerque. The trio became the series Vice Champions in that rookie year.

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Will Owen

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Since then, Owen has stayed with United Autosport and also made a podium appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and had a few IMSA races, including the 24 hours of Daytona, maintaining his bonefides as a SportsCar racer and an endurance racer.

But today, Will has severed his ties to UA and will rejoin Juncos Racing to be their first CONFIRMED driver in their new Cadillac DPi V.R. program in the P class of the 2019 season of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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Will with Ricardo Juncos (right)


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Said the 23-year-old from Plano, Texas, “I have been dreaming of getting into a DPi car since I first saw them hit the track. The Cadillac DPi-V.R is one of the strongest race cars ever built, so it is an honor to have the opportunity to race it with Juncos against the best teams in the world."

Said Ricardo Juncos, after touting Owen’s valuable experience, “We built a great relationship with him during his time with us in the Pro Mazda Championship, so we are looking forward to continuing our work with him for the 2019 season.”

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Additional drivers on the squad MAY BE former TC2000 champion and GM Argentina factory driver Agustín Canapino and Juncos Racing’s Indy Lights driver Victor Franzoni. Time will tell.

Agustin Canapino (left) and Victor Franzoni

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#322

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The SONS on the rise in USF2000…

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Earlier this year we learned that 14-year-old Jack William Miller, the son of former IndyCar driver Dr. Jack Miller - the racing dentist - would be one of two drivers on the new USF2000 team of Miller Vinatieri Motorsports. Today were have learned who his teammate will be and it’s 17-year-old Eduardo Barrichello – the son of former Formula One and INDYCAR driver Rubens Barrichello.

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Racing fathers and sons - left to right, Dr. Jack Miller, Jack William Miller, Rubens Barrichello and Eduardo Barrichello:

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Eduardo - like Jack William Miller - cut his teeth in karting and then drove in F4 United States to get formula car experience. The two battled each other in F4 in 2018 and that’s where Rubens met Dr. Jack. Both shared the common experience of any proud and hopeful father and they became friends, leading to this turn of events.

Said Rubens, “I met Jack during the F4 season and we had an instant connection. Jack has a love and passion for the sport, similar as I do, and combined that with the love for our kids, it made perfect sense.’’

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#323

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Let’s meet another Shootout participant for 2018…

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We’re getting to know who is going to be at the 2018 Mazda Road to Indy Shootout in Chandler, Arizona in December, where someone is going to walk away with $200,000 to be applied to a 2019 season of USF2000. Our last entrant was Brazilian karter Allan Croce in post # 281. Now, meet…

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Kellen Ritter, the 2018 Toyo Tires F1600 Class A Champion, Canada. Kellen beat out American Jake Craig 423 to 378 points, by WINNING 9 races and getting 16 podiums in 18 races. Ritter, in fact, was the 2018 Champion of 3 series - the Toyo series, the Quebec-based Formula 1600 Canada series and the combined Formula 1600 Super Series, but it’s the Toyo series that got him the coveted entry ticket.
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Kellen Ritter

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The 17-year-old from North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada was in his first year of formula car driving in 2018, with only karting on his resume before that, making these titles even more impressive.

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Ritter in his Spectrum 014 Honda

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Said Kellen, “This season was incredible. My goal was to win one of the championships, but to win all three was something else!’

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Ritter also made his debut in USF2000 at the season finale event at Portland International Raceway on the Labor Day weekend, driving a USF-17 for Canadian powerhouse team Exclusive Autosport, for which he hopes to drive in USF2000 in 2019 - maybe with the aid of the MRTI Shootout scholarship.

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#324

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As long as we mentioned Jake Craig in the post above…

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…let’s see how he got into the 2018 Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. Since Kellen Ritter beat out Jake for the ToyoTires F1600 title Jake had to find another path and he did it. American Jake Craig was nominated this Fall as one of ten possible WINNERS of the annual Team USA Scholarship. He then made the cut of the final six and was eventually declared as one of the two WINNERS of the Team USA Scholarship and with it, an automatic entry ticket to the MRTI Shootout in December - his 2nd MRTI Shootout, following his first in 2017.

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Jake Craig - half of Team USA

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21-year-old Jake Craig from Mission Viejo, California is one of the best karters in America, with literally dozens of regional and national karting titles. It was his prowess in a kart that got him into the 2017 MRTI Shootout as the at-large nominee for E-karting News. At the 2017 Shootout Jake made it all the way to one of the five finalists.

For 2018 Jake made the leap to formula cars with the Toyo Tires F1600 series and the F1600 Super Series and began winning races right away. It was that ability to adapt that got him noticed by the Team USA committee. In England, representing the USA at both the Formula Ford Festival and the Walter Hayes Trophy - Two of the most prestigious Formula Ford events in the world - Craig again astounded everyone with his constant Top Five performances in both practices and heats, despite his being one of the lesser experienced drivers in the very crowded fields. Racing luck kept Jake off the podiums in the big finals but he sure proved he belonged.

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Jake Craig at Donington in a practice race - a P2 that day

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Despite failing to get the race results he wanted in the finals Craig was highly enthused about what he took away from England: “I’m overall so happy with this entire trip. I’ve learned so much from racecraft to car setup, it’s been tremendous. I’m looking forward to applying everything I learned to my future."

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So, what was the first thing he did on return to the United States? Get ready for the karting Super Nationals in Las Vegas, of course. Once a karter, always a karter.

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#325

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And, as long as we’re talking Team USA as a path to the Shootout…

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…we might as well look at the OTHER 2018 Team USA Scholarship WINNER, and the guy who will as such join Jake Craig and the others at the 2018 Mazda Road to Indy Shootout, this December:

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Meet Colin Mullan. The 16-year-old from Danville, California actually has a lot more time racing in cars than his much older Team USA teammate, Jake Craig.

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Colin Mullan, Team USA Scholarship

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Instead of starting in karting Colin started in 2008 in quarter midgets at the age of 6, where he set a world record for the fastest lap by a Jr. Novice and also WON the Jr. Novice Monza Championship. In 2009 he graduated to Junior Stock Cars, finishing 3rd in points. In 2010 Colin WON the Junior Stock Championship and finished 2nd in the Junior Honda Division. In 2011, the 9-year-old moved to Mini-Cups and by 2013 had 4 Trophy Dash wins and 2 Main Event victories.

In 2013 Colin finally transitioned from cars to karts and started winning races and titles in them, too. By 2016 young Mullan was again transitioning - this time to formula cars. By 2017 he was the Formula Speed-class Vice-Champion in the Formula Car Challenge series, with 4 WINS and 11 podiums in 14 races.

In 2018 he began the season in the American F1600 Championship series and took two WINS in 3 races. Then, he got the call to join the Mini JCW Team in the ST class of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series, becoming the youngest competitor. He teamed with veteran Mark Pombo in the # 52 Mini and the pair pulled down 3 podiums - a P3, a P2 and the WIN at Watkins Glen - in his shortened season.

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Colin for the WIN at Watkins Glen

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Near the end of the IMSA season Colin was nominated to the Team USA Scholarship and along with Jake Craig WON the prize and the trip to England to represent the USA. Much like Jake, Colin had bad racing luck in England but he never failed to do anything but advance in every race, making multiple passes on the fields and substantially bettering his starts.

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Colin Mullan at the Walter Hayes Trophy for Team USA

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Said Colin recently, "To be honest I didn’t think I would be able to race formula cars at a national level but the Team USA Scholarship and MRTI Shootout have provided me with an opportunity that I didn’t have before. "

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#326

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Great news for Townsend Bell - He’s got a full season of driving for 2019…

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Announced today, the TV broadcaster and IndyCar driver has been tapped by the new IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship team, AIM Vasser Sullivan, to drive one of their two Lexus RCF GT3 cars in the GTD class for the full season of 2019. He will team with Frankie Montecalvo, with whom he has just driven for Scuderia Corsa Ferrari in the four 2018 Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races, in addition to a swing at Laguna Seca.

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Townsend Bell

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We detailed the creation of AIM Vasser SUllivan in post #253, where we also mentioned that the new team, helmed by IndyCar Champion Jimmy Vasser, his partner James Sullivan and AIM’s Ian Willis, had chosen IndyCar driver Jack Hawksworth as their first of four drivers for 2019. Now, Bell and Montecalvo are added in to the mix. Townsend actually has great history with his new bosses, as he drove for Vasser in IndyCars in 2014 to his best Indy 500 finish and drove for Willis to his 2014 IMSA TPNAEC Championship and his 2014 Daytona 24 Hours WIN.

Jack Hawksworth (left) and Frankie Montecalvo

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Bell had already been scheduled to broadcast all the IMSA WeatherTech races for 2019 for NBC so a replacement broadcaster will need to be found and AIM Vasser Sullivan will still need a 4th driver to pair with Hawksworth for the season.Good Luck in 2019, Towny!

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By the way, here is the car that Jack, Frankie and Townsend will be piloting in 2019 - the latest iteration of the Lexus RCF GT3:

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If your heart just skipped a beat, have no fear. You’re perfectly normal.

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#327

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The Shift Up Now gals are at Thunderhill Park, California, tonight…

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In post # 279 we spoke of the 9 ladies who will compete in two different cars, driving for Shift Up Now at the 2018 iteration of the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Well, they are all there and ready to begin testing and practice on Thursday for the great endurance event, this weekend.

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The Shift Up Now squads wait out the rainy weather in the team motor home, and begin to discuss tactics and strategies:

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We now have a look at the cars the gals will campaign and the make-up of the squads for each. First, the pros will drive the Mazda MX-5 that is normally campaigned by Sarah Montgomery for Sick Sideways in the Mazda Global MX-5 series:

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The # 7 squad - left to right, IndyCar driver Pippa Mann, Ashley Freiberg, Shea Holbrook, Sarah Montgomery and Amy Dilks:

Pippa Ashley Shea

Sarah Amy

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The 2nd car, the # 05, will be a BMW E30 that will primarily be driven by amateurs, with a bit of help from the pros, when needed:

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The # 05 squad - left to right, Kristina Esposito, Lynn Kehoe, Mandy McGee and Karen Salvaggio, with help from the pros Ashley Freiberg and Amy Dilks:

Kristina Lynn Mandy

Karen Ashley Amy

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We’re following this adventure because of the participation of IndyCar driver Pippa Mann, but as champions of women in motorsports, we’d be keeping an eye on it, anyway. While Thursday was largely rained out, Friday will be a day of practice and qualifying, rain or shine.

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#328

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It’s tine for another Shootout ticket holder…

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We’re introducing the 20 or so entrants to the 2018 Mazda Road to Indy Shootout, held in December, where one talented young champion will WIN a $200,000 scholarship to be applied to a full season of USF2000 in 2019. The entrants are all champions or vice-champions in one junior racing series or another, from all over the world. We left off with Colin Mullan in post # 289. Next, here is…

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Matthew Round-Garrido, the 2018 Champion of the Northern Ireland Formula Ford 1600 Championship.

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The 18-year-old former karting champion from Stourbridge in England moved into cars in 2016 because at 6’2" he was finding it increasingly harder to pilot the little karts. The move proved fortuitous, as Round-Garrido started WINNING races in various series all over Great Britain, eventually becoming a Star of Anglesey champion.

But this year Matthew has really stepped it up with the aid of his driver coach, Niall Murray, perhaps the greatest Formula Ford driver of this or any generation. Matthew took his Northern Ireland title with 5 WINS and 8 podiums in 10 rounds, but he also competed in England’s BRSCC Formula Ford and Scottish Formula Ford and WON races in both those series, too.

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Matthew with coach and BRSCC competitor Niall Murray (right)

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Matthew Round-Garrido in his Medina JL17 Formula Ford for Team Dolan

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#329

A few F1 drivers have lost rides so a few of them will be looking. Ericson already alluded to it. Alonso will do some as well I believe.


#330

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Let’s do yet another 2018 “Speedy Award”…

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We’ve been following the statistical gurus who inhabit every IndyCar race control hut, taking down the numbers and making the calculations that undeniably prove how good many of the racers are, despite the fact that every race only has one celebrated winner. These stats folks always KNOW what they very seldom tell, but they’re telling us now with their 2018 Speedy Awards - the recognition of some outstanding performance through the whole season.

We last looked at the 2018 Speedies in post # 283, where the Best Pit Crew of 2018 turned out to be the guys in Champion Scott Dixon’s pit - color us un-surprised! This week we’re doing the “Excuse Me, Coming Through” Award - the award for the most laps where a driver improved his position. DON’T confuse this with the "Alex Zanardi “Overtaker of the Year” award. (post # 251) That was for passing but you don’t always improve your position with a pass.

This one is calculated by a driver getting credited for each race lap in which he advanced at least one grid position, but was deducted for each lap in which he lost one or more spots.

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Tony Kannan for AJ Foyt had 290 laps in 2018 where he gained a position. Only two other guys did better than that, but he also had 107 laps where he lost one, so he netted a total of 183 laps gaining a position. Kanaan was the top driver in most laps improving his position at Detroit Race 2 and at St. Pete. His 183 puts him in a tie for 2nd place on the year.

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Tony Kanann

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Tying Tony was Graham Rahal, who got 280 laps where he gained but only 97 laps where he lost, netting him the same 183 as the Brazilian. Only his teammate, Takuma Sato, lost FEWER positions than Graham.

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Graham Rahal - doesn’t like to lose spots, once he gains them.

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Two guys TIED for the most laps where a position was gained - Rookie Zach Veach for Andretti Autosport and Charlie Kimball for Carlin. Both got 298 such laps - outstanding. But Zach’s losing laps put him out of the Top Three for his net, whereas Charlie had only 105 laps where he lost a position, giving him a net total of 193 laps when he gained a position in 2018. That means that every 17 and a half laps, on average, Kimball was gaining a position - the best of 2018.

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Charlie Kimball - consistently the best gainer of the year

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More Speedy Awards to come…Stay tuned!

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#331

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It’s finally dark in Northern California, as we write…

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…and the NASA 25 Hours of Thunderhill has been on-going since 11:00am Pacific time. We’re following the exploits of IndyCar driver Pippa Mann and her teammates, the 9-driver-strong all-female squad for Shift Up Now, driving an E1-class Mazda MX-5 and an E2 class BMW E30 - essentially a Bimmer 325i.

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The start of the race. The car on pole is the blue and white # 10 Radical SR3 for Turn 3 Motorsports, driven here by Indy Lights driver Victor Franzoni, who took pole in the ESR class and overall:

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Victor Franzoni

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On Friday Shea Holbrook put the # 7 Mazda in P8 in class during qualifying, while Ashley Freiberg put the # 05 Bimmer in P2 in class for the start of the 25 Hours. As of now, about 7 hours in, the # 7 is in P7 in class and the # 05 is still in P2 in class…
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Just finishing her 2nd stint in the # 7 Mazda for Sick Sideways / Shift Up Now was Pippa Mann. She handed off to Sarah Montgomery. Here is Pippa during her first stint:

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Pippa Mann (left) and Sarah Montgomery
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Just getting into the Shift Up Now BMW is Mandy McGee, topped off with a full load of fuel:

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Mandy McGee
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There are some 18 hours of racing still to come…stay tuned!

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#332

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Let’s do another Mazda Road to Indy Shootout contestant…

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We’re introducing the 20 or so junior racing champions from all over the world who have earned the right to compete for the coveted $200,000 scholarship from Mazda to run a full season of USF2000 in the Road to Indy - the IndyCar ladder system that trains young talent to one day drive in the IndyCar series.

We left off with the Northern Ireland F1600 Champion, Matthew Round-Garrido, in post # 292. next, here is…

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Canadian Guillaume Archambault is the 2018 Champion of Formula Tour 1600, the French-Canadian series for Quebec and Montreal, racing at circuits like Mont-Tremblant, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Trois-Rivieres and Circuit Giles Villeneuve.

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Guillaume Archembault, in black, with fellow Canadian and fellow Shootout participant Kellen Ritter (post # 287):

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At 24 years old, Archambault makes the cut-off age of 25 for the Shootout, but he’s only been in cars for the last two years, graduating from a long career in the Canadian karting scene, where he collected his fair share of regional and national titles. For the Formula Tour 1600 title Guillaume actually won no races but he was P2 in 8 of the 14 races and P3 in another and that was enough points to beat Kellen Ritter for the title. He then came in Vice-Champion in the Canadian combined Super Series to Ritter, who took that title.

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Guillaume leads two other F1600s at Mont-Tremblant in his Kent-engined 2012 CMV

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Following his Championship, Archambault was named to the Team Canada Scholarship to appear at the 2018 Formula Ford Festival, driving a Cliff Dempsey Racing-prepared Ray GR8 Formula Ford - just like the Team USA guys. Guillaume posted a terrific P7 in his first-ever Festival Final.

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Guillaume at Brands Hatch for Team Canada

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#333

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Let’s change continents for another 2018 Shootout entrant…

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In the post above we met North American Guillaume Archambault, but now let’s go to Asia and meet another 2018 Shootout junior champion. Meet…

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Raghul Rangasamy is the 2018 Champion of India’s highly-competitive MRF F1600 series. The 25-year-old from Chennai, India, just makes the age cut-off for the Mazda Road to Indy Shootout entry ticket, but he has spent much of his career poised to do something just like this.

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Raghul Rangasamy

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One of India’s better known racer’s, Raghul is a former F1300 National Champion, a former Super Stock National Champion, A former Vice-Champion in MRF F1600 and now the Indian National Champion in MRF F1600. In the very tight title race, Rangasamy took the title with 2 WINS and 7 podiums, just beating rival Goutham Parekh by 8 points in the 12-round series. The MRF-series F1600s are much different from most “wingless wonder” F1600 cars, as they are fully winged and run on racing slicks, making them much closer to USF2000 cars and the Bob Bondurant school car that will be used in the Shootout.

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Raghul in his MRF Van Diemen F1600 at Madras Motor RaceTrack

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#334

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Monday, the Road to Indy will hold their final test of 2018…

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Homestead- Miami will be the venue for the last Mazda-sponsored test of the Road to Indy ladder system that trains young talent to be open-wheel racers. Homestead-Miami Speedway will host all three series that make up the Road to Indy - USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. The test will include returning veterans and new drivers, returning teams and new teams. We have some, though not all, of the participants. Let’s see who they are, starting with Indy Lights;

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Zachary Claman DeMelo drove in 9 IndyCar races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2018 but will return to his Indy Lights roots for the test, driving an IL-15 for Belardi Auto Racing. Claman DeMelo has driven Lights in the past for both Carlin and Juncos Racing.

ZCD in for Belardi

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Ryan Norman is already CONFIRMED for his 3rd season of Indy Lights for Andretti Autosport and he will test for them at H-MS.

Ryan Norman

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Frenchman Julien Falchero comes from GP3 in Europe, with a season for Campos and a season for Arden International. He will also test for Andretti Autosport.

Julien Falchero

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Rinus VeeKay, the 2018 Pro Mazda Champion, will test in the Lights for his Pro Mazda team, Junco Racing. At the last test, the Chris Griffis Memorial test in October, VeeKay tested for Andretti Autosport.

Rinus VeeKay

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David Malukas drove a Lights car for Belardi Auto Racing at the Chris Griffis, but will drive for BN Racing - his USF2000 and Pro Mazda team - at H-MS. Malukas is already CONFIRMED for 2019 for BN Racing in the Lights.

David Malukas

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We have 5 names to give you for the Pro Mazda class to be testing at Homestead-Miami:

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2018 USF2000 Champion Kyle Kirkwood will test for new Pro Mazda team Abel Mortorsports. Kyle was also the 2018 F3 Americas Champion and he did that driving for Abel Motorsports.

Kyle Kirkwood

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Jacob Abel will also be testing a Tattus PM-18 for Abel Motorsports, his home for two seasons of F4 United States and five outings in USF2000 in 2018.

Jacob Abel

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Young Canadian Antonio Serravalle drove 10 races for Exclusive Autosport in 2018 in Pro Mazda. For the test Antonio will drive for new team Jay Howard Driver Development.

Antonio Serravalle

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Sweden’s Rasmus Lindh, the 2018 Vice-Champion of USF2000, will drive for Pabst Racing for the test, following his ride with them in 2018 as one of their famous “speed boys”. Lindh helped Pabst secure the USF2000 Team Championship in 2018.

Rasmus Lindh

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Veteran Nikita Lastochkin has CONFIRMED that he will be driving for Exclusive Autosport for 2018 and the enigmatic 3rd-year Pro Mazda driver from Moscow will test for them at Homestead-Miami.

Nikita Lastochkin

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American Parker Locke, a 2-year veteran of F4 United States, will also test a PM-18 for Canadian powerhouse team Exclusive Autosport.

Parker Locke

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continued…

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#335

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Monday, the Road to Indy will hold their final test of 2018…(part 2)…

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We’ve got a bunch of names to be testing USF2000 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Monday and Tuesday:

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Cameron Shields has in the past been Vice-Champion of Formula Ford Australia and also Australia Formula 3 Premier series. The lad from Toowoomba, Australia, will test for the 12-time championship-makers at Cape Motorsports.

Cameron Shields

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Julian van der Watt, who drove for Team Pelfrey in USF2000 in 2018 will test for Cape Motorsports on Tuesday. Julian was the 2017 South African F1600 Champion.

Julian van der Watt

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Nikko Reger is the 2018 Global MX-5 Champion. The young Hustonian will also test for the Capes on Tuesday

Nikko Reger

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Braden Eves was actually chosen as one of two Team USA Scholarship WINNERS in 2018 but was unable to go to England to represent the United States due to surgery. He will still get to go to the Mazda Road to Indy Shootout in a a little more than a week and will test for Cape Motorsports on Monday and for BN Racing on Tuesday.

Braden Eves

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Alexandre Baron will test for new team Legacy Autosport after WINNING two of the first 4 races of the 2018 USF2000 season, before retiring due to budget woes. Baron is already CONFIRMED for Legacy for 2019. Hopefully, he’ll get a full season from them. He’s certainly worthy of one.

Alex Baron

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American Yuven Sundaramoorthy drove three USF2000 races for Pabst Racing in 2018 after a number of WINS in F1600. The Wisconsinite will test for Pabst at Homestead-Miami.

Yuven Sundaramoorthy

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New Zealander Hunter McElrea is the 2018 Australia Formula Ford Champion and as such is going to the Road to Indy Shootout, but first he will test a Tatuus USF-17 for Pabst Racing at H-MS.

Hunter McElrea

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2-year veteran Colin Kaminsky will also test for the “speed Boys” at Pabst Racing after terms with DEForce Racing and Kaminsky Racing.

Colin Kaminsky

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Canadian Kellen Ritter is the Champion of THREE F1600 titles in 2018 alone, and will be going to the Road to Indy Shootout as such, but will first test for Exclusive Autosport at H-MS.

Kellen Ritter

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Kyle Dupell had 12 starts for Team Pelfrey in 2018 in USF2000 and will test for BN Racing at Hoemstead-Miami.

Kyle Dupell

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The tests will consist of three 40-minute sessions for each series on Monday and three more session for each on Tuesday. Monday should be dry but cloudy, while Tuesday may have rain, but they test, rain or shine.

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There will likely be more drivers at the test. We’ll let you know who they are when we get that info.

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#336

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Great drives by the ladies of Sick Sideways and Shift Up Now at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill…

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The racing is over at Thunderhill Raceway and the two cars we were following in the longest endurance event in North America did great, all things considered.

The # 7 Sick Sideways / Shift Up Now MX-5 started the race P8 in class and advanced as far as P5 when the transmission shredded. The Sick Sideways mechanics who normally service the car in the Global MX-5 Cup for Sarah Montgomery replaced the broken crash-box in record time and got the car back out, still in P5 in class, but now out of the Top 20, overall. As Montgomery completed the race the clutch gave out, but she managed to get the car home without one.

Qualifier Shea Holbrook took the 1st stint but had to leave after that for another commitment. That left the rest of the all-female squad to do about 7 hours apiece of driving - easily the most endurance racing any one of them have ever done.

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The valiant crew and driver squad of the # 7 Mazda MX-5 - 5th place in class

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The Shift Up Now # 05 BMW E30 was qualified P2 in class by pro driver Ashley Freiberg but was largely driven by the amateur squad for the rest of the race and they did great! The old Bimmer held up beautifully and they came home in P2 - a podium for the amateurs!

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The # 05 squad celebrate their podium in their first endurance race.

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A BIG congrats to the ladies from Shift Up Now and to all the crew that kept therm going. Start making plans for next year!
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#337

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Monday at Homestead-Miami Speedway - the first of two days of Road to Indy testing…

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The road course of H-MS was both hot and muggy today for the last Mazda-sponsored test of the Road to Indy - the ladder system that trains young drivers to one day drive in IndyCars. The weather had the effect of keeping the times well below the track’s records for all three classes - USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights - but the weather was there for everyone, so we still have TOP TIMES for each series on the day.

Each series got three 40-minute sessions of testing. We have the combined results and will give you the TOP THREE drivers of each class for the day, starting with Indy Lights:
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P1 for the day - Rookie David Malukas for BN Racing turned in the TOP time of the day for the Lights - and for all cars - in the T-3 test session with a time of 01:15.3556s for a speed of 105.579mph. David was also tops in the T-1 session and P4 in the T-2 session. This is David’s 2nd test this year, as he drove for Belardi Auto Racing at the Chris Griffis Memorial Test in October, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. David is CONFIRMED for BN Racing for 2019 in the Lights.

David Malukas

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P2 for the day - Ryan Norman turned in the P-2 time of the day for Andretti Autisport in the T-3 session with a time of 01:15.3781s for a speed of 105.548mph - just 0.0225 seconds off of Malukas. Ryan topped the T-2 session and was P3 in the T-1 session. Ryan is a veteran of the Lights, going into his 3rd season with Andretti in 2019. He is already a race WINNER in the series.

Ryan Norman

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P3 for the day - Rookie Julien Falchero turned in the 3rd best time of the day - also posted in the T-3 session. The Frenchman drove to a time of 01:15.5894s for a speed of 105.253mph for Andretti Autosport. Julien is a product of the European racing scene, as a two-year veteran of GP3. He was also P-3 in T-2 and was P5- in T-1 - obviously just getting used to the car.

Julien Falchero

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In Pro Mazda, the TOP TIME for the day was posted by Sweden’s Rasmus Lindh for Pabst Racing. The rookie posted a time of 01:20.1464s for a speed of 99.268mph in the T-3 session. Ras also topped T-2 and was P2 in the first session, so he’s on the gas. Rasmus is the 2018 Vice-Champion of USF2000 and helped to give Pabst Racing their 2nd Team Championship in a row. Today was only the 2nd time Lindh has driven this Tatuus PM-18 car, so he was understandably pleased.

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Rasmus Lindh

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P2 for the day was young Canadian Antonio Serravalle, making new team Jay Howard Driver Development look very good. The 16-year-old is actually starting his 2nd year of Pro Mazda, having driven for Exclusive Autosport in 2018. Antonio’s T-3 session time of 01:20.7447s for a speed of 98.533mph was 0.5983 seconds off Lindh, which actually makes Lindh’s time even more impressive. Antonio got better with each session, as he was P5 in the T-1 session and P3 in the T-2 session.

Antonio Serravalle

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P3 on the day was Kyle Kirkwood for Abel Motorsports, based on his T-2 session time of 01:20.9018s for a speed of 98.341mph. This was the 2nd fastest time of the T-2 session and Kyle TOPPED the T-1 session. He sat out the T-3 session because of a broken wheel, so there is no telling how well he would have done on the day, had he run in T-3. Kyle is the 2018 USF2000 Champion and the 2018 F3 Americas Champion, so we figure he would have done very well. Tomorrow he will get the chance to prove that.

Kyle Kirkwood

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continued…

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