James Hinchcliffe leads Tony Kanaan and Graham Rahal across the start-finish line during the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway -- IndyCar Image by Chris Owens

James Hinchcliffe leads Tony Kanaan and Graham Rahal across the start-finish line during the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway — IndyCar Image by Chris Owens

FORT WORTH, Texas (Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016) – Verizon IndyCar Series fans waited 76 days for the Firestone 600 to be completed at Texas Motor Speedway. It was definitely worth the wait.

Graham Rahal passed James Hinchcliffe coming out of the last turn of the last lap and held on for the win by 0.0080 of a second – the closest finish in the 20-year history of the 1.455-mile oval and the fifth-closest finish of any Indy car race in history.

“I didn’t want to go through this year without a win,” Rahal said. “On that last yellow, I was telling myself this could be my chance, you’d better get it done. We’re just lucky it all worked out.”

The nail-biting finish climaxed an evening of thrilling Verizon IndyCar Series racing as the event suspended by rain after 71 laps June 12 was completed under the lights at TMS. Eight drivers swapped the lead 14 times throughout the 248 laps (including the June portion), with Hinchcliffe setting the pace for 188 laps in the No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda.

TexasMotorSpeedway1 (1)

Hinchcliffe and Rahal led the field to the green flag on the final restart on Lap 240, with Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and Simon Pagenaud the only other lead-lap cars giving chase. On fresher tires after making pit stops during the last caution period, championship leader Pagenaud and Kanaan each made bids for the lead that Hinchcliffe denied – often with the help of a push from behind by fellow Honda driver Rahal. At one point on Lap 244, the top four cars ran side by side.

On the final lap, Rahal ducked inside of Hinchcliffe in Turns 3 and 4 and pulled enough of an advantage to hold on by the narrowest of margins for his fourth career victory and first since winning at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in August 2015.

“I knew I was going to have to try to fake Hinch to the top side because there was only one way to actually clear him, which was to the bottom,” said Rahal, the 14th driver to win an Indy car race by leading only the last lap and the first to do it since Hinchcliffe at Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2013. “I was just very lucky it worked and I have to thank Hinch a lot because he gave me some good room at the bottom and it didn’t end up in tears.”

Hinchcliffe wasn’t consoled by his best finish of the season and best since he won at NOLA Motorsports Park in April 2015.

“When we cleared Tony and it was just me and Graham coming down to the checkered, I thought the momentum is on the outside. I feel like I’ve kind of seen it here 10 times before in races in years past, and I thought we were still going to be able to do it.

“But, man, he rolled through the center of (Turns) 3 and 4 with a whole lot of speed. I hadn’t been next to a car all night that cleared me that quickly. That was the time to make that move. It’s just tough having a car like that and leading that many laps, but not the one that counted.”

Kanaan wound up third, the 76th podium finish of his 19-year Indy car career (11th on the all-time list). Pagenaud finished fourth, upping his points advantage to 28 over teammate Will Power, who finished eighth, with two races remaining.

“Wow, that was exciting!” Pagenaud said. “I don’t think I have any breath left. I thought we were going to get it, but when it went four wide I got touched and pushed me into (Hinchcliffe) and I had to back out of it or there was going to be a big wreck.”

The race restarted with 20 of the 22 cars competing. Josef Newgarden and Conor Daly crashed on Lap 42 in June and were ruled ineligible for the completion because their cars could not have been repaired that day.

Firestone 600 completed box score

With the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen (Sept. 4) and the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Sept. 18) remaining on the schedule, nine drivers remain mathematically alive for the 2016 championship: Pagenaud, Power, Kanaan, Castroneves, Newgarden, Scott Dixon, Rahal, Hinchcliffe and Carlos Munoz.

Coverage of the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen begins at 2 p.m. ET Sept. 4 on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

08252016-TuneIn-Saturday-TEXRestart

 James Hinchcliffe pulls on the track for his Pole winning run for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 - Photo by Chris Owens.jpg

James Hinchcliffe pulls on the track for his Pole winning run for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 – Photo by Chris Owens.jpg

2017 IndyCar Schedule

• The 2017 schedule positions INDYCAR for continued growth

in attendance, television ratings and viewership

• Multi-year agreements put in place for a new event

at Gateway Motorsports Park and Watkins Glen International

• The 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race set for May 28

• All venues where INDYCAR competed in 2016 return to the 2017 calendar,

features races on six ovals, six permanent road courses and five temporary street circuits

INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016) – INDYCAR announced the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule today, a 17-race season that provides continuity, adds a new event at Gateway Motorsports Park and confirms a multi-year agreement with Watkins Glen International. The series calendar features the return of all venues on the 2016 schedule and consists of a total of six events on ovals, six on permanent road courses and five on temporary street circuits.

INDYCAR experienced a 38 percent growth in both television ratings and viewership from 2013 to 2015 and the same numbers are up this season by a total of 7 percent compared to this time last year. Attendance at INDYCAR events is also on the rise, with six events this season drawing crowds at or near record highs.

“The release of the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule continues to build upon the success INDYCAR has experienced the last three years and establishes continuity and consistency in our event calendar,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “As a series we are working diligently to create long-term relationships with our promoters to establish date equity and to provide them with the opportunity to initiate ticket renewals and event promotions earlier, which is pivotal to continuing the increase in attendance at our events.”

For the sixth consecutive season, the INDYCAR schedule will open on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. (March 12), in 2017 and conclude at Sonoma Raceway (Sept. 17) – the third straight year the Verizon IndyCar Series championship will be crowned on the scenic 12-turn, 2.385-mile road course in California.

All events on the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule will be broadcast by longstanding television partners ABC and NBCSN. The final TV schedule will be released later this year.

The addition of Gateway Motorsports Park (Aug. 26) marks a return for the Verizon IndyCar Series, which last competed at the venue outside St. Louis in 2003. The track has hosted seven Indy car races, in CART from 1997-2000 and the Verizon IndyCar Series from 2001-03.

“Today is a monumental day for the people of the St. Louis region,” said Curtis Francois, owner of Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill. “I am proud of the progress we’ve made at my hometown track. I knew someday we would be making an announcement like this because I have such confidence in the people of this region and their commitment to great sporting events. More than a dozen track operators around the country sought this INDYCAR race for their communities. I firmly believe we came out on top because of the energy, loyalty and commitment to great sports that sports fans of all kinds demonstrate each day in this community.”

Current Verizon IndyCar Series driver Helio Castroneves won the event in 2003 and his Team Penske teammate Juan Pablo Montoya won in 2000. Two other current drivers – Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon – have also competed at the 1.25-mile oval.

“I think it’s great that we’re going back to Gateway,” Castroneves said. “Personally, I like it because I’ve had success there but also that I used to race for Hogan (a St. Louis-based Indy car team in 1999), which makes it a special place to me. I won there with Team Penske in 2003 and there was an all-Brazilian podium with Tony (Kanaan) and Gil (de Ferran). I remember that we had a really good car. I think we started from the pole and led a lot of laps. I know that the people of St. Louis will get a heck of a show. The track isn’t a typical oval with the irregular shape, which makes it challenging. It’s a track well suited for INDYCAR. I’m looking forward to it.”

Watkins Glen International, a replacement venue for the canceled Boston race this year, will host the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Glen this season on Sept. 4. The permanent road course, steeped in open-wheel racing history, will return on Labor Day weekend again in 2017 under a new multi-year agreement with INDYCAR.

“The addition of Gateway Motorsports Park and the return of Watkins Glen International are integral to the continued growth of INDYCAR,” Miles said. “Gateway officials have been enthusiastic about the prospect of hosting a Verizon IndyCar Series event for some time and we’re excited to bring the series to the St. Louis market. Watkins Glen is an iconic American road course that is revered by our fans, drivers and teams. Our goal from the beginning was to establish a long-term agreement and we’re thrilled that we’ve been able to extend this relationship for the future.”

In addition to coverage from ABC and NBCSN, all Verizon IndyCar Series races can be heard on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, available through network affiliates, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, the INDYCAR Mobile app and IndyCar.com

2017 Verizon IndyCar Series Schedule*:

08-25-2017Schedule-Bottom

*Schedule subject to change.

Mikhail Aleshin leads the field into Turn 1 at the start of the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway -- IndyCar Image by Bret Kelley

Mikhail Aleshin leads the field into Turn 1 at the start of the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono – IndyCar Image by Bret Kelley

LONG POND, Pa. (Monday, Aug. 22, 2016) – It’s a whole new race for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series championship. By winning today’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway, Team Penske’s Will Power claimed his fourth victory of the season and closed within 20 points of the top of the standings.

Power held off Verizon P1 Award pole winner Mikhail Aleshin by 1.1459 seconds on the 2.5-mile “Tricky Triangle” oval to also collect the 29th win of his Indy car career. It tied him with a pair of Team Penske greats for 11th on the all-time victory list – Rick Mears and Helio Castroneves.

“I love winning 500-mile races and this is one of the toughest ovals that we race on,” said Power, whose other 500-mile victory came in the 2013 season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

The 200-lap race was delayed a day after heavy rain Sunday forced its postponement. Starting eighth, Power gradually moved his No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to the front, not taking his first lead until Lap 64.

“The car started off really, really difficult to drive,” said the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion, who led 55 laps on the day, including the last 36. “We adjusted on it all day and, for the second half of the race, the car was just awesome.”

Meanwhile, points leader Simon Pagenaud crashed out of the race on Lap 158 in the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet, finishing 18th, and saw his cushion trimmed by 38 points with three races remaining on the 2016 schedule – the completion of the rain-suspended Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on Aug. 27, the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen on Sept. 4 and the double-points GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sept. 18.

“We are chipping away at it and obviously there is still a lot to go,” said Power, who sat out the season opener at St. Petersburg with an inner-ear infection but ran his string of finishing first or second to the last six completed races. “Now we will give it everything. We will give it everything because we really want to win this championship.”

The podium of Will Power, Mikhail Aleshin, and Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrate in Victory Circle following the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway -- IndyCar Image by Chris Jones

The podium of Will Power, Mikhail Aleshin, and Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrate in Victory Circle following the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway – IndyCar Image by Chris Jones

Runner-up Aleshin led a race-high and career-high 87 laps in equaling his career-best finish. The driver of the No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Honda shadowed Power over the closing 18 laps but couldn’t make the pass for the lead.

“I’m very proud of my team and everyone who works on the SMP Racing car No. 7,” said Aleshin, the first Russian driver to win an Indy car pole position. “They did a fantastic job today and it paid off. Will was just faster in the end and I couldn’t do anything with him.

“When I was catching him, I almost put my car into the wall a couple of times but I still couldn’t overtake him. He has a fair win, for sure, but I’m happy to be in second place because we had some difficult moments this race and this year, so this is a good position to move forward.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay, winner of the 2015 ABC Supply 500, charged from last place on the starting grid to finish 3rd. Hunter-Reay moved into the lead by Lap 49 and ran up front until an electronics malfunction in his No. 28 DHL Honda on Lap 163 dropped him a lap down. The Andretti Autosport driver got back on the lead lap during the last caution period and raced from 12th place to 3rd over the final 20 laps.

“I had to come through the field twice and that is heartbreaking for us,” Hunter-Reay said. “This is the type of year it has been, really heartbreaking. The No. 28 DHL Honda really deserved to be in contention for the win there at the end.

Ryan Hunter-Reay comes in for tires and fuel on pit lane during the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway -- IndyCar Image by Bret Kelley

Ryan Hunter-Reay comes in for tires and fuel on pit lane during the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway – IndyCar Image by Bret Kelley

“I was going through Turn 2 and (the car) just shut off. I power-cycled the car once, nothing happened, then I came into the pits, power-cycled it again – turned it off, on – and then it refired. We were a lap down. I had to come through the field twice, but the car was a rocket ship. It’s a shame.”

2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi, three-time Indy 500 winner Castroneves and Charlie Kimball were involved in a pit-lane incident on Lap 64. As Rossi was exiting his pit, his car made contact with Kimball, who was entering his pit. Rossi’s car was launched over the top of Castroneves.

None of the drivers was injured. Kimball continued and finished 15th, while the contact ended the day for Castroneves and Rossi in 18th and 19th, respectively. Also uninjured was Takuma Sato, who crashed in Turn 1 on the opening lap and finished 22nd.

The Firestone 600 will pick up on Lap 72 of a scheduled 248 at Texas Motor Speedway on Aug. 27. Live race coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

Pocono Raceway Box Score

08-18-Cara-Adams-Chief-Engineer

Bridgestone Americas announced that the company is reorganizing the Race Tire Development (RTD) arm of its Firestone Racing program, adding manufacturing expertise while reaffirming the brand’s commitment to innovation and the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Changes to the team include the following:

• Dale Harrigle, currently chief engineer and manager of race tire development, has accepted a management position within Bridgestone’s Consumer Tire Trade Group, effective at the conclusion of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season.

• Cara Adams (pictured above), currently senior project engineer, race tire development, will succeed Harrigle as chief engineer, Bridgestone Americas Motorsports and manager, race tire development.

• Dan Peterman, currently plant engineer at Bridgestone’s Passenger Radial Tire (PSR) plant in Aiken, S.C., was named manager of race tire development/production and building services and will move to Akron, Ohio, effective immediately.

“Dale is an innovator in the world of race tire design and he has been instrumental in the success of Firestone Racing for more than two decades,” said Lisa Boggs, director of Bridgestone Americas Motorsports. “The program would not be where it is today without his expertise, leadership and sacrifice. Dan and Cara have demonstrated the knowledge, experience and leadership necessary to ensure a seamless transition and to continue our tradition of excellence.”

Adams, who will take over the role of chief Engineer and manager of race tire development at the end of the season, began her career with Bridgestone in 2003 as an engineer in the Tire/Vehicle Dynamics department.

She joined the Race Tire Development team in 2007, where she developed road and street course tires, and currently oversees the brand’s superspeedway tire development, including those used in the Indianapolis 500. She also manages the race team’s Force and Moment testing program, working with teams and manufacturers to develop tire models used in race simulations.

“I’m honored to lead our engineering team in the future development of tires for Indy car racing and into the next chapter of Firestone Racing’s storied history,” Adams said. “Perhaps one of Dale’s biggest contributions to our sport is the expert team of engineers and chemists developed during his tenure. Dan, our entire team of engineers, chemists and technicians and I look forward to applying those teachings as we continue to provide world-class tires to our racing family.”

Harrigle, who joined Race Tire Development when the Firestone brand returned to open-wheel racing in 1994, will lead a team responsible for developing light truck, SUV and winter tires for the consumer tire replacement market. In this role, Harrigle will continue to exemplify the brand’s tradition of transferring technology between its race tires and passenger tires.

“I am extremely proud of my accomplishments as chief engineer and manager of race tire development, and throughout my entire career with Firestone Racing,” Harrigle said. “I’ve had the privilege of working with many talented, dedicated and inspiring people in the world of motorsport, and I am honored to have been chosen to lead the great team at Firestone Race Tire Development for the past four years. I am excited for a new challenge and to use my expertise in leading a team in the Consumer Tire Trade Group. I wish Firestone Racing and INDYCAR continued success in their tremendous partnership, and I congratulate Dan and Cara on their new roles.”

from IndyCar.com