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


#165

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Thursday at Portland International Raceway - Pro Mazda and USF2000 test…(part 2)…

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Like USF2000, Pro Mazda had 2 test sessions, but unlike them, the speeds varied from session to session, depending on the driver, so we will give you the COMBINED sessions.

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Here was the order of speed with T-1 and T-2 COMBINED, with times for the TOP FIVE: [R] denotes rookie; the driver’s best session is in ( )

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1 - Rinus VeeKay [R]), Juncos Racing - time of 01:06.8480s for a speed of 104.745mph (1)

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2 - Oliver Askew [R], Cape Motorsports - time of 01:06.9522s for a speed of 104.582mph (1)

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3 - David Malukas [R], BN Racing - time of 01:07.0377s for a speed of 104.449mph (1)

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4 - Sting Ray Robb, Team Pelfrey - time of 01:07.0937s for a speed of 104.362mph (1)

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5 - Rob Megennis [R], Juncos Racing - time of 01:07.3016s for a speed of 104.039mph (2)

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6 - Parker Thompson [R], Exclusive Autosport (1)
7 - Aaron Telitz, Team Pelfrey (1)
8 - Nikita Lastochkin, Cape Motorsports (2)
9 - Moises de la Vara [R], DEForce Racing (2)

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Notable:

  • This is the smallest field of any race this year and it may be due to the fact that the championship is now down to just two guys - Rinus VeeKay and Parker Thompson. We don’t yet know if this constitutes the full field that will race at Portland.

  • 2017 USF2000 Champion Oliver Askew destroyed the competition on his way to that title but has struggled to come close to that competence in Pro Mazda. Lately, however, he has been a regular visitor to the TOP FIVE.

  • Aaron Telitz in P7 is an Indy Lights driver for Belardi Auto Racing, but he has lately also been a driver coach for Team Pelfrey in Pro Mazda. Today he was shaking down Andres Gutierrez’ # 81 car. We don’t yet know if Andres will be in the car for the Portland races.

Left to right, Rinus Veekay, Aaron Telitz and Andres Gutierrez

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#166

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A new team member has been added to Tony Kanaan’s crew…

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6 hours ago, Tony’s wife, Lauren Bohlander, gave birth to Nina Bohlander Kanaan, 7lbs. 11oz
20.5 inches. She joins her three brothers on the Kanaan squad.

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Nina, Dad is working this weekend, but he says he will meet you this Sunday. Cograts, Kanaans!

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#167

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"Fred" is coming to Barber on Wednesday…

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Formula One two-time Champion Fernando Alonso, who picked up the nickname “Fred” during his 2017 try at the Indy 500, is coming to Barber Motorsports Park on Wednesday to run the day in an Andretti Autosport IndyCar - his first stab at a road course in an IndyCar.
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Fernando Alonso

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Andretti will also provide the track team and an engineer, Ray Gosselin, who is usually the engineer for IndyCar driver Ryan Hunter-Reay. Accompanying Alonso will be Zak Brown, the CEO of McLaren and Michael Andretti’s partner in the Walkinshaw United Andretti Supercars team.

All involved have made it clear this is NOT confirmation of an IndyCar partnership between Andretti Autosport and McLaren or even a bid to get Alonso, by himself. It is just an opportunity between friends and a courtesy to Alonso and Brown.

Zak Brown

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Unfortunately, the test will be closed to the press and the public, so we are going to have to rely on rumor and 2nd-hand information to find out how it went. Alonso has NO Formula One plans for 2019 but he does plan on running in certain WEC events. Beyond that…who now knows?

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In any case, we hope Fred has a lot of fun!

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#169

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It’s OUT! - Mazda Road to Indy TV does Gateway…

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The guys from MRTI-TV report on the just-completed racing at Gateway Motorsports Park, where both Pro Mazda and Indy Lights competed on the 1.25-mile oval.

Host Tony Laporta starts things off with an episode of “False Grid, True Talk” featuring Nikita Lastochkin, Rob Megennis, Rinus VeeKay, Moises de la Varas, Dalton Kellett, Victor Franzoni, Colton Herta and Ryan Norman.

Tony then gives us a race report on each of the series races. That is followed up by co-host Rob Howden’s “MRTI Insider” segment, where the USF2000 debuts of Braden Eves and Kellen Ritter at Portland are discussed, as well as a few new teams and venues for 2019.

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#170

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BIG NEWS! - Harding Racing will field TWO cars at Sonoma…

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…in two weeks at the IndyCar season finale, and the drivers will be Indy Lights phenoms 2018 Champion Patricio O’Ward and 2018 Vice-Champion Colton Herta.

Pato O’Ward

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Colton Herta

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Herta tested for Harding in early August at Portland and O’Ward will test for them this coming week - probably Thursday - at Sonoma, so both teens, who this season raced for Andretti Autosport in the Lights, will have been tested in the Chevy-powered cars before the IndyCar race weekend.

This will push the number of very recent Indy Lights drivers to a season high of 6, with Zach Veach, Matheus Leist, Jack Harvey and probably 2017 Champion Kyle Kaiser also in the race.

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The youth movement carries on!

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#172

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The 2018 season of the Mazda Road to Indy is over…

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…and all the championships have finally been settled with the races at Portland this last weekend for USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. Let’s see how they all settled out:

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USF2000 - This championship was actually settled at Mid-Ohio in late July, when rookie Kyle Kirkwood for Cape Motorsports WON the 1st of three races that weekend. He by then amassed enough points to be unassailable for the rest of the season - That’s how good his season was, up to then… He would go on to WIN the other two races that weekend and then go on to WIN both races at the finales at Portland - his 11th WIN in a row, by the way. He ended the season with a record-tying 12 WINS in 14 races, with 13 podiums, 6 poles and 6 Fastest Laps.

Kyle Kirkwood

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Kirkwood has a history of winning races. He started his career in karting in his home state of Florida and quickly started winning. He WON several regional and national karting titles by 2016, when he was chosen to be one of two Team USA Scholarship members, going to England to represent the USA, where he produced a WIN and 2 podiums in the Walter Hayes Trophy. He was then nominated to participate in the 2016 Road to Indy Shootout where he became one of 6 finalists. He spent 2017 in the FIA F4 US Championship, where he became Champion - again, well before the end of the season - by WINNING 9 races, with 15 podiums, 6 poles and 10 Fastest Laps.

His stellar 2018 season in USF2000 has earned the 19-year-old the last $325,000 scholarship sponsored by Mazda, to be used in a full season of Pro Mazda in 2019. The Vice-Champion for 2018 is Sweden’s rookie Rasmus Lindh for Pabst Racing and Pabst Racing were the Team Champions for the season.

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Pro Mazda - By the time the series got to Portland all that 2018 Champion Rinus VeeKay needed to do to get the title was START Race 1 of the weekend. By then, Rinus had 7 WINS - five of them in a row - and was unassailable, as long has he started one more race. He would run P2 in both races at Portland, ending the season with 7 WINS, 10 podiums, 6 poles and 3 Fastest Laps.

Rinus VeeKay

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The 17-year-old from the Netherlands acquired his pseudonym “VeeKey” (his real name is Van Kalmthout) from his adoring fans from his karting days in Europe where he collected multiple national and European titles between 2010 and 2016. In 2017 he started driving formula cars with his full season in USF2000 where he became Vice-Champion, driving for Pabst Racing and collecting 3 WINS, 12 podiums, 1 pole and 3 Fastest Laps. Between that rookie season and his Pro Mazda rookie/Championship season Rinus ran in the 2017-2018 MRF Challenge series - a rookie again - where he collected 3 WINS, 11 podiums, 3 poles and 7 Fastest Laps on the way to 3rd in points.

His outstanding 2018 season in Pro Mazda has earned Rinus the last $780,000 scholarship sponsored by Mazda to be applied to a full season of Indy Lights in 2019. The Vice-Champion for 2018 is Canadian Parker Thompson who drove for Exclusive Autosport while the Team Championship title went to Juncos Racing - the team that fielded Rinus VeeKay.

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continued…

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#173

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The 2018 season of the Mazda Road to Indy is over…(part 2)…

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Indy Lights - This was the only one of the 3 MRTI series that needed Portland to settle the title and it was settled in Race 1 of the weekend when 2018 Champion Patricio O’Ward WON. He would go on to sweep the weekend, dominating the last race, to put the cherry on top of a great season, where he collected 9 WINS, 13 podiums, a record 9 poles and 4 Fastest Laps.

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Pato O’Ward

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Like his fellow champions, Pato O’Ward started his career in karting in his native Monterrey, Mexico where he WON several regional and Mexican titles. With a move to San Antonio, he started to WIN what would be 6 American national titles with several Vice-Championships, as well. In 2013 young Pato started folding in formula cars with his karting and started winning, right away. By 2016 he was also driving in SportsCars, as well. His first full season in the Road to Indy was his 2016 rookie season of Pro Mazda, where he was Vice-Champion with 7 WINS, 9 podiums, 5 poles and 8 Fastest Laps. Following that, he drove in the 2015-2016 NACAM F4 series, with 6 WINS and 11 podiums, finishing 3rd in a partial season.

He then tried to do Indy Lights in 2017 but ran out of funds after 4 starts. He turned instead to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and ran the final season of the PC class, taking the 2017 title with 7 WINS and 8 podiums in 8 starts, driving for Performance Tech. He then ran one LMP3 race in IMSA in 2018, which he WON. Then, he got the life-changing-but-well-earned call to drive for Andretti Autosport in the Lights for his full rookie season.

Pato’s remarkable 2018 season of Indy Lights has earned the 19-year-old the last $1,000,000 scholarship sponsored by Mazda, to be used to start an IndyCar career, including a stab at the 2019 Indy 500. The 2018 Vice-Champion is Colton Herta, the son of IndyCar great Bryan Herta. Andretti Autosport, who was also the team for Herta, as well as O’Ward, took the Team Championship for 2018.

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Lastly, Mazda Motorsports announced late this season that this is going to be the LAST season that they will sponsor the Road to Indy ladder system, after 10 great years. During those years Mazda put more young drivers in great cars than any other company in the history of racing, doling out tens of millions of dollars. They fundamentally changed the sport and changed lives for the better. MOST IndyCar drivers have a connection to Mazda in one way or another and FAR more drivers who never made it into IndyCars did find careers in racing, due to their time in the Mazda Road to Indy.

Mazda has decided to end their association with open wheel and concentrate instead on SportsCars alone, where they actually race cars themselves. Their final open-wheel gift will be the 2018 Mazda Road to Indy Shootout, which will be this December. That scholarship will enable some young driver to have his or her first full season of USF2000 in 2019.

IndyCar is currently looking for a replacement sponsor for the Road to Indy, but whomever they find it will be very hard to match Mazda’s wonderful commitment to racing over the last 10 years.

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Mazda, thank you, so very much.

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#174

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The IndyCar 2019 Schedule is out!..

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…and the rumor we spoke of in post # 138 is reality, as Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas becomes the 2nd race of the 17-race schedule, essentially replacing Phoenix. Here is the IndyCar promo reel for the schedule:

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Here is the schedule:

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Key facts:

  • There are 17 races in all, with 7 natural road courses, 5 street courses and 5 ovals.

  • The spread between the opener at St. Pete and the 2nd race at COTA has been reduced from 1 month to two weeks - much tidier.

  • 3 of the five ovals are night races on Saturday night - Texas Motor Speedway, Iowa and Gateway, with Iowa shifting to Saturday night for 2019.

  • 3 of the 5 ovals are SuperSpeedways - Indy, Pocono and Texas.

  • Detroit Belle Isle remains the only double-header on the schedule and remains the first races after the Indy 500.

  • Laguna Seca has been added as the season finale venue for 2019, replacing Sonoma. Laguna Seca has a 3-year deal, but not necessarily as the finale all 3 years.

  • All races will be broadcast either on NBC (8 races) or on NBC-SN (9 races).

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IndyCar CEO Mark Milkes says that 17 races is about right, but that may change for 2020, with the possible addition of one or two races to start the season in February in Mexico and/or South America or even down under, in Australia. IndyCar has had many great races in all three possible locations in the past, and the weather for them in February would be ideal. In addition, another small oval would be a nice addition to the schedule and that too is being looked at.

Mark Miles

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#175

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While we were watching the IndyCars return to Portland the PWC was closing out their season…

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Over the weekend the Pirelli World Challenge SportsCar series closed out their season at Watkins Glen International. We’ve been watching the GT class of the series this season, because Mazda Road to Indy ace driver Scott Hargrove has been in his rookie season of GT class, driving a Porsche 911 GT3 R for Pfaff Motorsports.

Scott Hargrove

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Scott had a great season and finished it with a P6 in Season Round 8 and a P2 in Season Round 9 and that was enough for Scott to WIN the GT Sprint Championship. The 23-year-old Canadian can now add this title to his impressive resume, which includes a USF2000 Championship, a Pro Mazda Vice-Championship, 2 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Championships and a Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Vice-Championship.

Finland’s Toni Vilander in the R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 488 GT3 ended the season the GT Sprint X Champion (Sprint X - two guys in the car for longer-duration races, as opposed to only one in GT Sprint) with co-driver Miguel Molina and did so well in the GT Sprint category battling alone against Scott that he was also the overall GT class Champion.

Toni Vilander for R. Ferri Motorsports

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A big CONGRATS to Toni and a big CONGRATS to Scott for his latest championship! Way to go, and PROUD of you!

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#176

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The Driven2SaveLives BC39 weekend starts today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway…

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IMS is paying tribute to IndyCar’s USAC Sprints and Midgets roots by holding a huge weekend event on a newly-constructed 1/4-mile clay oval track within the big IMS oval in the Turn 3 area. A record 118 entries for the inaugural event will fill the field with some of the best Midget drivers in recent USAC history. The two-day event will culminate on Thursday, when the 39-lap finale honors the late, great USAC driver Bryan Clauson, hence the “BC39,” and will be the richest in Midget racing, with more than $70,000 in purse and incentives, including a $15,000 winner’s purse.

Kyle O’Gara in his Midget

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The best connection to IndyCar in the event will be Kyle O’Gara, the brother-in-law of IndyCar driver Sarah Fisher. O’Gara is a highly-accomplished Midget driver in his own right who easily stands a chance to be a finalist in the event.

Kyle O’Gara

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The IMS Turn 3 dirt track

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Also entered at the last minute in the event is IndyCar driver Conor Daly, who will be making his Midget debut. The only current IndyCar driver in the event, Conor does NOT expect to do anything but have some fun. The competitors are going to be the best of the best and his expectations are very realistic.

Conor Day

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Today, eliminations begin with the heat races.

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#177

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On Wednesday, Fernando Alonso got a taste of Barber Motorsports Park…

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…as the two-time Formula One world champion was given an IndyCar to play with, provided by Andretti Autosport. (see post # 144) This was Alonso’s first experience with an IndyCar in something OTHER than Speedway trim, which he sampled at the Indy 500 in 2017. Here were his comments:

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What happens next is anyone’s guess!

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#178

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IMSA heads out to WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca this weekend…

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…for the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix, which will feature all three classes of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series, all three classes of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series and the full slate of Lamborghini Super Trofeo…

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…and a lot of IndyCar folks will be there. Let’s see who they are, starting with the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship gang, P class:

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Two-time Indy 500 WINNER Juan Pablo Montoya will drive the # 6 Acura ARX-05 DPi for Acura Team Penske with former IMSA Champ Dane Cameron.

Juan Pablo Montoya

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Three-time Indy 500 WINNER Helio Castroneves will drive the Team Penske sister car, the # 7 Acura DPi, with former IMSA Champ Ricky Taylor co-driving.

Helio Castroneves

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Pro Mazda alum Pipo Derani will be in the # 22 Nissan DPi for Extreme Speed Motorsports with Johannes van Overbeek.

Luis Felipe Derani

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Former IndyCar driver Sebastian Saavedra and former Indy Lights driver Gustavo Yacaman make up the squad for the # 52 ORECA 07 for AFS / PR1-Mathiasen Motorsports. Up to now, the team has fielded a Ligier JS P2 but the ORECA chassis has WON three races this year and the team is giving it a try.

Sebastian Saavedra (left) and Gustavo Yacaman

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Former USF2000 pilot and PC-class Vice-Champion Robert Alon and co-driver Simon Trummer will be in the # 85 ORECA 07 LMP2 for JDC-Miller Motorsports.

Robert Alon

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In the GTLM class we will have Pro Mazda alum Connor de Phillippe in the # 25 BMW M8 GTE for BMW Rahal Letterman Lanigan along with co-driver Alexander Sims. Therse guys are coming off a WIN at VIRginia Ingternational Raceway, two weeks ago - the first ever for the BMW M8 GTE.

Connor de Phillippe

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Also in GTLM class will be IndyCar driver Ryan Briscoe in the # 67 Ford GT for Ford Chip Ganassi, with co-drover Richard Westbrook. Ryan and Richard are in 2nd place in the points, 4 points out to Corvette guys Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen.

Ryan Briscoe

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continued…

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#179

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IMSA heads out to WeatherTech Raceway at Laguna Seca this weekend… (part 2)…

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In the GTD class IndyCar driver Jack Hawksworth will be in the # 15 Lexus RC-F GT3 with David Heinemeier Hansson. They drive for 3GT racing.

Jack Hawksworth

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IndyCar driver and broadcaster Townsend Bell returns to action in the # 64 Ferrari 488 GT3 that he shares with Frank Montecalvo for Scuderia Corsa

Townsend Bell

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IndyCar driver Katherine Legge is 2nd in the points - 13 points out - in the GTD class, driving the # 86 Acura NSX GT3 with co-driver Alvaro Parente for Meyer Shank Racing. She is chasing Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers in the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 for Paul Miller Racing.

Katherine Legge

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There are two IndyCar guys in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series. They are:

In the Grand Sport class USF2000 alum and Porsche Cup Champion Jesse Lazare will co-pilot the # 69 McLaren GT4 with Porsche Cup Vice-Champion Corey Fergus for Motorsports in Action.

Jesse Lazare

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In the Touring Car Class Pro Mazda alum and paraplegic Michael Johnson will drive the # 54 Audi RS3 LMS TCR for JDC-Miller Motorsports by using hand controls. His co-driver is Stephen Simpson.

Michael Johnson

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Finally, in Lamborghini Super Trofeo IndyCar driver Pippa Mann returns to battle in the Pro Am class, driving a Huracan Evo with Mike Hedlund, making his Lambo debut. They will drive the # 63 for US RaceTronics. In her two other LST starts this year Pippa has 2 podiums - both P2s - already racked up.

Pippa Mann

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On Friday, all three series will have 2 practices for all classes and the Lambos will qualify.

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#180

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Update on injured IndyCar driver Robert Wickens…

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Since returning to the Indianapolis area for his treatment for injuries sustained at the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono in mid-August, Robert Wickens’ team, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, and his family have elected to release a statement that details the full extent of his injuries, that says in part:

“Robert Wickens is expected to be transferred to a rehabilitation center in the coming days to begin the recovery process. The severity of the spinal cord injury he sustained in the incident remains indeterminate and under evaluation. Physicians stress it could take weeks or months for the full effects of the injury to be known.”

They listed the injuries he sustained in the crash with Ryan Hunter-Reay for Andretti Autosport, who was uninjured:

  • Thoracic spinal fracture
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Neck fracture
  • Tibia and fibula fractures to both legs
  • Fractures in both hands
  • Fractured right forearm
  • Fractured elbow
  • Four fractured ribs
  • Pulmonary contusion
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Robert Wickens

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The Wickens family also thanked everyone for their concern and support:

“We want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love, prayers and positive energy that has been sent our way since Robert’s accident. We are blown away by the strength of this IndyCar community and the support within it.

“While Robert’s recovery and rehabilitation continue over the coming weeks and months, your loving messages will certainly be a source of encouragement for him.”

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On Wednesday Wickens was awarded the Rookie of the Year honors, due to his series points accumulation that was massive, despite essentially scoring no points at Pocono, Gateway, Portland and the upcoming race at Sonoma.

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#181

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The BC39 on the 1/4-mile dirt track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is over!..

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Despite bad weather that threatened to end the proceedings USAC was able to get in the Driven2SaveLives BC39 Midget race (see post # 151) at the Speedway on Thursday night, and while we know who WON the event, we’re not saying, because NBC-SN is going to broadcast a one-hour recap on Friday, September 7 at 6pm EASTERN time, with complete coverage of the two-day event.

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Catch it and see the roots of open-wheel racing!

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#182

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IndyCars test at Sonoma on Thursday…

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In anticipation of the season finale, to be held in a week from now, 6 IndyCar drivers tested at Sonoma Raceway, including the newest addition to the grid, 2018 Indy Lights Champion Patricio O’Ward who, along with 2018 Indy Lights Vice-Champion Colton Herta, will make his IndyCar series debut, driving a Chevy for Harding Racing at the finale event.

Here Racer magazine’s Marshall Pruett interviews the young Mexican talent, right after a number of laps completed:
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Here are 8 minutes of visor cam from Pato’s helmet:
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Also on track with Pato were the three drivers for Team Penske - Will Power, Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud - and Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato from Rahal Letterman Lanigan. Power and Newgarden are still in the title hunt and Sato is coming off the WIN at Portland, in the series return there.

Next Thursday Harding will return for another test with both O’Ward and Herta, and will be joined by cars from Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing and Carlin.

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Still unannounced are Harding’s plans for 2019, but it is looking more and more like they are going to run rookies O’Ward and Herta in a satellite team for Andretti Autosport, despite being a Chevy team to Andretti’s Honda team. Both O’WArd and Herta drove for Andretti in the Lights and both have great history and connections, there.

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#183

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Saturday at Laguna Seca - The CTSC hold final practice and qualify…

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The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge guys held their P-3 session in the morning and then qualified for this afternoon’s race. Here’s how it went:

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In the GS class the rabbit in the final practice was USF2000 alum Jesse Lazare in the # 69 McLaren GT4 for Motorsports in Action and Jesse then later backed that up by securing pole with a time of 01:32.803s for a speed of 86.815mph. He beat out Spencer Pumpelly in the # 28 Porsche Cayman GT4 MR for RS1 by 0.054 seconds. P3 on the grid will be the # 39 Audi R8 for Carbahn Motorsports, thanks to Tyler McQuarrie. Jesse’s co-driver is Corey Fergus while Spencer’s is Dillon MacHavern. Tyler shares the Audi with Jeff Westphal.

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Our guy Jesse Lazare on the pole for Motorsports in Action

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In the TCR class the fastest guy in the P-3 session was Tom O’Gorman in the # 12 Audi RS3 LMS TCR for eEuropartsDotCom Racing and that speed translated into pole when it came to qualifying, with a time of 01:34.044s for a speed of 85.670mph, besting Britt Casey Jr in the # 77 Audi for Compass Racing by a healthy 0.562 seconds. Tom’s co-driver is Kenton Koch and Britt shares his Audi with Tom Long. P3 will be the # 54 Audi for JDC-Miller Motorsports, with Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson with Pro Mazda alum Michael getting the grid position.

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Another pole for Tom O’Gorman and eEuroparts

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In the Street Tuner class the speedy guy in the P-3 session was Devin Jones in the # 81 BMW 328i for BimmerWorld Racing and then co-driver Nick Galante later took the Bimmer to pole with a time of 01:39.831 seconds for a speed of 80.704mph. He beat out young Colin Mullan in the # 52 Mini JCW that he shares with Mark Pombo by 0.446 seconds. P3 on the grid will be Nate Norenberg and Derek Jones in the # 37 Mini for Mini JCW Team, thanks to Nate’s efforts.

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locally-grown Nick Galante takes pole for BimmerWorld

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The race, dubbed the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120, will be the last on-track activity of the day.

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#185

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Saturday at Laguna Seca - the CTSC race!..

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The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series held their 70-lapper today and they made it exciting right to the end, as the race for the overall WIN and the Grand Sport class WIN - and likely the title - was decided on the final lap. The final 10 minutes of the two-hour-plus race featured the top four GS-class cars running within two seconds of each other.

On that final lap the leading car, the # 28 RS1 Porsche Cayman GT4 MR of Dillon Machavern, pulled a lead on the P2 car of Christian Hohenadel, the # 57 Winward Racing / HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4, as Christian ran out of fuel. But then Dillon ran out of fuel, too! There to take the lead and the WIN - and with it a 28-point lead the GS-class championship - was Hugh Plumb in the # 46 Team TGM Mercedes-AMG GT4 that he shares with Owen Trinkler. Crossing the line P2 was the # 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 of Scott Maxwell, who co-drives with Ty Majeski. The last podium spot was taken by the # 39 Carbahn Motorsports Audi R8 of Tyler McQuarrie and Jeff Westphal with their best finish of the season.

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GS class and overall WINNERS Owen Trinkler (left) and Hugh Plumb

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In the Touring Car class the WINNERS were Tom Long and Britt Casey, Jr, as # 77 Compass Racing Audi RS3 LMS returned to the top spot on the podium, leading 56 of 69 laps to take their 4th WIN of the season. P2 at the end was the # 54 Audi of Pro Mazda alum and paraplegic driver Michael Johnson and his co-driver Stephen Simpson for JDC-Miller Motosports - their 5th podium of the year. It was the # 12 of pole-sitter Tom O’Gorman and Kenton Koch rounding out the podium in third. With their WIN, Long and Casey Jr. vault into the title lead in TCR class.

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Tom Long and Britt Casey take the title lead for Compass Racing

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In the Street Tuner class the WINNERS were Nick Galante – the Motul Pole Award winner – and Devin Jones in the # 81 BMW 328i for BimmerWorld Racing - their fourth win of the season. Devin took the lead from Mat Pombo in the # 73 Mini with 11 laps to go and then ran the Bimmer down to an ounce of fuel remaining as he crossed the finish line. Pombo and co-driver Mike LaMarra would finish in P2. Finishing third was the # 21 Bodymotion Racing Porsche of Max Faulkner and Jason Rabe. Galante and Jones now head to the season finale at Atlanta with a 16-point lead on Pombo and LaMarra.

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Nick Galante and Devin Jones take the series points lead to Road Atlanta

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The next outing for the CTSC is the season finale on the same weekend as the Petit Le Mans in Atlanta, Oct 10-13.

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#186

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Sunday at Laguna Seca - The WeatherTech gang hold a whale of a race…

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…and in the end all three classes were WON by IndyCar alums! Taking the P class and overall was Pro Mazda alum Pipo Derani with co-driver Johannes Van Overbeek in the # 22 Nissan DPi for Extreme Speed Motorsports, with a commanding final stint that had the young Brazilian take the WIN by almost 11 seconds. It’s the first WIN for the car since Sebring, earlier this season. P2 was Colin Braun in another great drive with co-driver Jon Bennett in the # 54 ORECA 07 for CORE Autosport. P3 was the # 6 Acura DPi with Dane Cameron driving at the end, after taking over for IndyCar driver Juan Pablo Montoya. The P2 puts Braun and Bennett 2nd in the points heading to Petit Le Mans, only 4 points out from Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran in the # 31 Cadillac DPi for Action Express. Those boys finished in P5 today.

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Pipo cruises in for ESM

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Notable:

  • The # 5 Caddy DPi was taken out in a 1st lap accident that also took out the # 66 Ford GT for Ford Chip Ganassi and the # 911 Porsche RSR for Porsche GT Team.

  • The # 55 Mazda RT24P led much of the race but Harry Tincknell driving clipped the # 52 AFS / PR1 ORECA driven by Gustavo Yacaman, spinning out with a half hour left to go and would end the day in P4 instead, as Mazda Team Joest continues to be snake-bit.

  • The # 7 Acura DPi of Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor fell from P2 to P10 in the closing minutes when Ricky made contact and damaged his right rear, elevating Braun and Bennett to P2.

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In the GTLM class the WINNERS were Alexander Sims and Pro Mazda alum Connor de Phillippe in their 2nd class WIN in a row, driving the # 25 BMW M8 GTE for BMW Team RLL. It was de Phillippe who was credited with a great fuel-saving drive that made the WIN possible, while also keeping Laurens Vanthoor in the # 912 Porsche he shares with Earl Bamber in P2. Vanthoor also had to save fuel to get to the end, and the # 3 Corvette with Antonio Garcia driving was counting on both de Phillippe and Vanthoor to need to stop. As they made it to the end, Garcia and co-driver Jan Magnussen had to take P3.

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Connor milks every ounce out of the big Bimmer

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Notable:

  • Ford Chip Ganassi had a bad day. First the # 66 car was taken out on lap 1. Then, mid-race Richard Westbrook in the # 67 banged wheels and broke his steering rack, putting him and his IndyCar co-driver Ryan Briscoe many laps down for repairs. The car ended up P6 in a race they needed to finish ahead of the # 3 Corvette.

  • Briscoe and Westbrook lost ground in their points chase with Garcia and Magnussen and go to Petit Le Mans still 2nd in the points, but 9 points out, now.

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The GTD class was the closest finish with the TOP FOUR cars running almost nose to tail to the checkered flag. In the end the WINNER was Alvaro Parente driving the # 86 Acura NSX GT3 that he shares with IndyCar driver Katherine Legge for Meyer Shank Racing. Parente had to pass the other three cars in the late stages to go from P4 to P1 in the end. P2 was the last guy he passed, Joerg Bergmieister in the # 73 Porsche 911 GT3 R for Park Place Motorsports - the leader for much of the last quarter of the event. Joerg shares the car with Patrick Lindsay. P3 was the # 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 for Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports, with a start by Jeroen Bleekemolen and the finish by Ben Keating.

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Alvaro Parente and Kat Legge each pass four cars for the WIN

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Notable:

  • Katherine was on pole for the start but dropped to P4 in the big lap 1 shunt that took out 3 cars. She was able to retake all three lost positions before handing the car off to Alvaro.

  • A mediocre pit stop and an ill-timed yellow dropped Parente to P4 behind Bergmieister, Keating and Bryan Sellers in the points-leading # 48 Lamboghini Huracan for Paul Miller Racing. He then ticked off all three cars in the closing stages to take the WIN, aiding Katherine in her fight with Sellers and co-driver Madison Snow for the championship.

  • With the WIN for her and the P4 showing for Snow and Sellers, Katherine is now only 6 points out of 1st place heading to Petit Le Mans. This is Kat’s 2nd WIN of the season, as she and then co-driver Mario Farnbacher also took Belle Isle.

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The season finale and the last of the four Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races, the Petit Le Mans 10-hour at Road Atlanta is coming up on Oct 10-13, and with all three classes the points are too close to call. This will be a great finish to the season!
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#187

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IndyCar driver Pippa Mann on the podium again…

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Co-driving with Mike Hedlund in the # 63 Lamborghini Huracan Evo for US RaceTronics, IndyCar driver Pippa Mann pulled in P2 in BOTH races in the Pro Am class of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo at Laguna Seca, this weekend.

The US RaceTronics # 63 Evo in the Corkscrew

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Hedlund qualified the car and started Race 1 on Saturday with Mann finishing up, while Pippa qualified and started on Sunday with Mike driving it out. These are Pippa’s 3rd and 4th P2 of the year.
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Pippa gets sprayed

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Way to go, Pippa!

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