Archive for May 13, 2018

Sneva

 — Indianapolis 500 Insights

By: Jeff Majeske — Jeff’s Indy Talk

30 Days in MayDay 8

No. 8 — Tom Sneva – 1977 Norton Spirit McLaren/Cosworth

Sneva was the first to officially lap the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at over 200 mph, with a speed of 200.401 on the first lap of his qualifying run, then broke his record on the next lap at 200.535 mph.

The four-lap average of 198.884 mph fell a bit short of 200, but was more than enough for Sneva to secure the first of three poles at Indianapolis.

Interestingly, each time Sneva won the pole, he set the track record.

In 1977, Sneva was second to A.J. Foyt, who won his historic fourth 500.

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 — Indianapolis 500 Insights

By: Jeff Majeske — Jeff’s Indy Talk

30 Days in May Day 6

No. 7 — Johnny Rutherford, 1973 Gulf McLaren/Offy

Rutherford, after some lean years, joined McLaren for the 1973 season and rewarded their faith by becoming the closest to achieving the magic 200 mph lap in qualifying.

The third lap of his run, 199.071 mph, was just 21/100ths of a second short.

Dogged by mechanical trouble, Rutherford finished a disappointing ninth in the race.

Better days were ahead for both Rutherford and McLaren, with two Indianapolis 500 wins in the next three years.

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Day six

Indianapolis 500 Insights

By: Jeff Majeske — Jeff’s Indy Talk

30 Days in MayDay 6

No. 6 — Roger McCluskey 1971 Sprite Kuzma/Ford

An underrated but respected veteran, Roger McCluskey didn’t have a lot of luck at Indianapolis.

His ninth-place finish in 1971 was his first top 10 in 11 tries. His sponsor, Sprite, was quite active in the 500 during this era. In addition to backing cars, it also awarded a trophy and $6,000 to the pole winner.

This was known as the “Sprite and Six” award.

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Penske 200 Wins

Will Power streaks down the frontstretch during the final warmup for the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — IndyCar Image by Joe Skibinski

INDIANAPOLIS (Saturday, May 12, 2018) – Will Power etched his name further into the INDYCAR Grand Prix record books while extending the legacy of team owner Roger Penske in Indy car history.

Power won the Verizon IndyCar Series race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for the second straight year and third time overall – each victory coming from the pole position. Power’s triumph by 2.2443 seconds over Scott Dixon also marked Indy car win No. 200 for Team Penske, nearly double that of any other team.

“It’s amazing,” said Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. “It just shows what sort of team that Penske is, and it’s a real honor to drive for Roger. We’re given the equipment week in and week out to win, so I can’t thank him enough for the opportunity he’s given me.”

Power led 56 of 85 laps on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile permanent road course to collect his 33rd career victory (ninth all time). Thirty of those triumphs have come since joining Team Penske in 2009, tying the 37-year-old Australian with Helio Castroneves for the most with the team.

Power chased down race leader Robert Wickens, who started second in the No. 6 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda, and made a daring outside pass heading into Turn 1 on Lap 51 to take first place. Seven laps later, Power’s crew barely got him out of the pits in front when nearly the entire field made final stops for fuel and tires under the second and last full-course caution of the race.

From there, Power kept Wickens and then Dixon in his mirrors to the finish – all the while stretching his tank of Sunoco E85 ethanol to the checkered flag.

“I had to save a lot of fuel at the end and go fast because I knew how good Dixon is at saving fuel and going fast. The Chevy had great fuel mileage,” said Power, the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series champion. “Man, I’ve never driven so hard for an entire race. I was 100 percent the whole time. Yeah, I’m exhausted. Every lap was like a qualifying lap.”

Team Penske made its Indy car debut on June 15, 1968, at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, with driver Mark Donohue. Three years later, Donohue delivered the team’s first win at Pocono Raceway. In 1972, Donohue drove to the first of what is now a record 16 Indianapolis 500 wins for Team Penske. Adding the four INDYCAR Grand Prix victories, 10 percent of Team Penske’s Indy car wins (20 of 200) have come at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Penske, the 81-year-old mastermind of the team, downplayed the achievement of the 200th win. He gave credit to Power and his crew while also looking ahead to the prize he craves most – another Indianapolis 500 win.

“What a great day for the team,” Penske said. “The greatest drivers have performed for us. IMS is the most special place to secure our 200th win. I could not think of a better setting. The most important win now is No. 201.”

Dixon, bidding to pick up a 42nd career victory that would tie him for third all-time with Michael Andretti, was satisfied to finish runner-up for the 39th time in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda – particularly after a disappointing qualifying effort on Friday locked him into the 18th starting position.

“It was a great result today for the PNC Bank car and the whole team,” the four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion said. “Everyone on the Ganassi team never quits, never gives up and we were able to make up a lot of spots and finish second.

“I think that was the worst I’ve ever qualified without crashing or having a technical issue. Good day in the points for the No. 9 team. I love having this race open up the month for us here at Indy.”

Wickens continued to impress in his rookie season, collecting a second podium and third top-four finish in five races. The 29-year-old Canadian admitted that trying to race hard while conserving fuel in the final stint was a learning experience.

“It was the first time in my career I’ve had to save fuel like that, but in the end, happy with the podium,” Wickens said. “Would have liked to be a bit further up, but hard to complain.”

Sebastien Bourdais finished fourth in the No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda, using his push-to-pass overtake boost on the final lap to zip past Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) for the position. Helio Castroneves, making his Verizon IndyCar Series return following a full-time switch this season to Team Penske’s sports-car program, placed sixth in the No. 3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

The race tied an INDYCAR Grand Prix record with seven different leaders and featured 214 on-track passes with the 2018 car’s universal aero kit – an increase of 96 passes from a year ago.

There were two full-course caution periods for eight laps. The first came on the opening lap when Castroneves and teammate Simon Pagenaud touched, and Jordan King ran into the back of Pagenaud. The second caution waved on Lap 56 when Josef Newgarden spun trying to pass Bourdais.

Newgarden finished the race in 11th place, but continues leading the standings. The reigning series champion is two points ahead of Rossi, 26 up on Bourdais and 31 ahead of Dixon.

Following two days off to convert the cars and IMS to superspeedway oval configuration, practice for the 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil begins Tuesday. Qualifying to set the 33-car field takes place May 19-20. Coverage of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” begins at 11am ET Sunday, May 27 on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

Mazda Road to Indy Results

Colton Herta (Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing) outdueled Santi Urrutia (Belardi Auto Racing) to the win the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires race on the IMS road course for the second straight day. After six races, Herta trails Andretti Autosport teammate Pato O’Ward by one point in the standings.

Parker Thompson (Exclusive Autosport) drove to his second win of the season in the second Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires race of the weekend. Thompson opened a 22-point advantage in the standings over Rinus VeeKay (Juncos Racing) after six races.

In the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda Kyle Kirkwood (Cape Motorsports) held off Alex Baron (Swan-RJB Motorsports) in the second race of the weekend, in a reversal of the first race finishing order. Kirkwood leads Baron by 13 points in the championship after four races.

 

Information, Grapics and Video courtesy of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The podium of Will Power, Scott Dixon, and Robert Wickens hoist their trophies in Victory Circle following the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — Photo by Joe Skibinski