Image  —  Posted: July 14, 2020 in Uncategorized

Felix Rosenqvist wins the REV Group Grand Prix Race 2 at Road America Sunday, July 12, 2020 — IndyCar Image by Chris Owens

ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin – Felix Rosenqvist outdueled Pato O’Ward in a thrilling late-race battle to score his first career NTT INDYCAR SERIES victory in the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR Doubleheader Race 2 on Sunday, July 12 at Road America.

Rosenqvist’s drive in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda ended the undefeated start to the 2020 season by his teammate, Scott Dixon. But the 28-year-old continued the dominating start for Chip Ganassi Racing, which has won all four NTT INDYCAR SERIES races this season.

“It feels so good,” Rosenqvist said. “It’s been a long time. We’ve been close so many times. This race was for my 10 car crew, the NTT DATA crew. Also Honda. I’m really proud to be powered by NTT and Honda this year. It’s been really good. Every race just hasn’t had a lock, just hasn’t come together until now. Today we went all for it. Super pace, the car was fantastic. It’s four out of four for Ganassi, which is huge.”

2019 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Rookie of the Year Rosenqvist completed a stirring comeback to pass O’Ward on the second-to-last of the 55 laps of the race, pulling away to win by 2.8699 seconds at the checkered flag. His previous-best finish was second last year at Mid-Ohio and Portland.

O’Ward dominated the day in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, winning the NTT P1 Award for pole in qualifying this morning and leading 43 of the 55 laps. But as the end of the race neared, O’Ward’s used Firestone red tires, the alternate compound option, began to fall off and allowed Rosenqvist to close the gap quickly. Still, 2018 Indy Lights champion O’Ward, who is racing in his first full-time season, scored his best career finish in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

“I gave it everything, every little bit I had,” O’Ward said. “I was pushing, pushing, pushing, but I just couldn’t keep Felix behind me. I really want to thank Arrow McLaren SP, Team Chevy. The car was really, really good. We just missed that little extra in keeping the rear tires under us. But we’re here.

“We got some good points this weekend, and we’re looking forward to Iowa. We like running up front. I think we showed that we have everything to do it. I’m excited for the rest of the season.”

Following Rosenqvist and O’Ward on the podium was Alexander Rossi in the No. 27 AutoNation / NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda with his best finish of the season after a rough start to the year. Rossi’s previous best finish this season was 15th at the season opener June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Marcus Ericsson finished fourth for his third straight top-10 finish and his best result of the season in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Colton Herta rounded out the top five in the No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda. Herta is the only driver to score a top-10 finish in every race this season. The consistent start to the year leaves him second in the series standings, 54 points behind Dixon, whose three-race win streak ended with a 12th-place finish in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

Rosenqvist proved to have one of the fastest cars all day long. He started seventh and found himself in the top five quickly. He spent most of the afternoon hunting down O’Ward, who jumped out to a lead as large as nine seconds at one point.

A problem during a pit stop hindered Rosenqvist’s drive to the front. The jack dropped while the left front tire was not secured. The crew had to jack the car again to fasten the tire, and Swedish native Rosenqvist lost all progress he had made on Mexican driver O’Ward.

Rosenqvist’s chase resumed after the pit road mishap with a 7.5-second gap to O’Ward. He closed the gap to around five seconds when he made his final pit stop on Lap 43, two laps later than O’Ward’s last stop. Rosenqvist exited pit road with a 5.4-second gap to O’Ward with 12 laps to go.

But Rosenqvist continued to chip away at O’Ward’s lead, helped by more durable Firestone black (primary) tires and a joust between O’Ward and the lapped No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet of Conor Daly over the final stint, which put O’Ward in turbulent air and cost him time.

Rosenqvist caught O’Ward on Lap 54 and made a thrilling pass for the lead exiting Turn 5.

Rosenqvist looked to the outside of O’Ward but then backed out and went low, pulling a crossover move on O’Ward. The two raced side-by-side toward Turn 6 just inches apart from each other. With the momentum, Rosenqvist cleared O’Ward in the next corner and sailed to the checkered flag for his first career victory in North America’s top level of open-wheel racing.

“It was a lot of hard-earned seconds there that we lost in the pit a couple of times,” Rosenqvist said. “But we had so much pace. We kept closing in half a second every lap. And then when they said Pato was on the used reds, you obviously get a lot of faith that he might drop off in the end, and that’s what happened.

“Just stay cool, and then we went for it, really. Used all my push-to-pass on one lap and got him. So, it was a really good fight with him there. Got a little squirrelly coming out of Turn 5 there, but good show and good fun.”

The scintillating finish between Rosenqvist and O’Ward capped a race that was eventful and exciting from the start. In Turn 1 on the first lap, multiple veteran drivers saw trouble and had their days ended.

Heading into the first corner, Will Power in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet made contact with Ryan Hunter-Reay and the No. 28 DHL Honda. The contact sent Hunter-Reay spinning into the corner, ending the 2012 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion’s day and resulting in a 22nd-place finish.

The contact had a ripple effect as Santino Ferrucci, driving the No. 18 SealMaster Honda, made contact with Jack Harvey in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXMHonda. Ferrucci was assessed a penalty for avoidable contact but rebounded to finish sixth. Harvey finished 17th.

Then, in Turn 3 just as the caution flag flew, Power made contact with Graham Rahal’s No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Honda. Rahal attempted to correct the car, but instead he went spinning into the grass and made heavy contact with the wall. He was checked and released from the infield care center and finished 23rd. Power also was assessed a penalty for avoidable contact.

The race was restarted on Lap 3, but it went back under yellow flag conditions at the end of the lap with more trouble from Power. The 2014 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion went off course in Turn 13 and spun into the grass. Power rebounded to finish 11th after bringing out the final full-course caution flag of the race.

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will be back in action this Friday, July 17 at Iowa Speedway for another doubleheader weekend at the .875-mile tri-oval. The first race begins at 8:30 p.m. (ET, NBCSN) Friday, with Race 2 of the Iowa INDYCAR 250s scheduled for 8:30 p.m. (ET, NBCSN) Saturday.

ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin – If Race 1 of the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR Doubleheader was any indication, it’s going to take more than an action-packed race and a series of late-race cautions to beat Scott Dixon in 2020.

Five-time series champion Dixon continued his undefeated start to the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda by winning the REV Group Grand Prix Race 1 on Saturday, July 11 at Road America.

Dixon’s win Saturday follows victories June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway and July 4 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With the win, Dixon became the first driver to win three-straight NTT INDYCAR SERIES races since Simon Pagenaud completed the feat in 2016 by winning the Grand Prix of Long Beach, the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama and the GMR Grand Prix.

“I don’t know how that happened, man,” Dixon said. “We came out of the pits (on Lap 28), and they said, ‘You and Power are first and second.’ I was like: ‘How? How?’ I know we had huge out laps and a big in lap, as well. Definitely proud to be powered by Honda here.

“The car is difficult to drive. Huge thanks to everyone on the PNC crew. We dialed it in a bit during the race but still really tricky on the rears. Hard to keep them under you. But it looked like a lot of other people were struggling, as well. That was awesome, man.”

2014 series champion Will Power finished second in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, 2.5386 seconds behind Dixon. Rookie Alex Palou rounded out the podium with the best finish of his young career in the No. 55 Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda. 2012 series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay finished fourth in the No. 28 DHL Honda, and Colton Herta rounded out the top-five in the No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda.

The win was Dixon’s 49th career INDYCAR victory, inching him closer to Mario Andretti, who sits second on the all-time series wins list with 52 victories.

Dixon’s win at Road America broke the streak of nine different winners in the last nine races at the 4.014-mile, 14-turn permanent road course. Dixon won this race in 2017.

However, this win didn’t feature the dominant Dixon performance that the Chip Ganassi Racing team displayed in the first two races of the season. Dixon qualified ninth, his lowest starting spot of 2020.

A thrilling first lap that featured three- and four-wide racing and bold passes by Hunter-Reay, Rinus VeeKay in the No. 21 Direct Supply Chevrolet and Santino Ferrucci in the No. 18 SealMaster Honda set the tone for an action-packed day in Elkhart Lake.

Shortly thereafter, the track proved to be a tall challenge even for the most seasoned drivers, as all three previous winners at Road America entered in the field had trouble on the track and on pit lane.

Defending race winner Alexander Rossi continued his string of bad luck this season and was the first veteran to have issues near the beginning of the race. He went off course and hit signage placed in the grass along the track. Rossi had to pit to remove signage from his front wing but continued.

Then, on Lap 51, contact with Max Chilton’s No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet forced Rossi off track with more issues and resulted in a 19th-place finish in the No. 27 AutoNation/NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda.

Pit lane proved to be a tough place, too, especially for the Team Penske teammates of Josef Newgarden and Power.

On Lap 28, NTT P1 Award winner Newgarden stalled on pit road, and his crew had trouble restarting the engine. The incident dropped Newgarden from the lead to 12th position when the green flag pit stops cycled through. Newgarden, who 25 of the first 27 laps from pole, settled for a 14th-place finish in his No. 1 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet.

Newgarden’s pit lane incident allowed Power to inherit the lead under green after pit stops cycled through, with Dixon close behind. But a Lap 40 pit stop under caution proved troublesome for Power when the crew had trouble dropping the jack. The issue gave Dixon the lead for good exiting the pits and helped cement his victory.

“I don’t know what happened on the pit stop there,” Power said. “I think we had Dixon covered. He was pretty good, but I don’t think he would have got by us.”

The pit stop that gave Dixon the lead came under the first full-course yellow this racetrack has seen in three years when the 2017 edition of the race had two cautions and featured Dixon as the winner.

The caution flag flew for the first time on Lap 38 when Jack Harvey found himself stuck in the gravel pit, ending what was shaping up to be a solid day for the driver of the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda.

And as the saying goes, cautions breeds cautions.

On the restart on Lap 42, contact between Pato O’Ward’s No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet and Conor Daly’s No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet in Turn 5 brought out the second caution. The two entered the corner side-by-side, and contact sent Daly hard into the tire barriers, ending his day and resulting in a 21st-place finish. O’Ward continued and finished eighth.

Then, the caution flag flew once again on the Lap 45 restart. Dalton Kellett had issues in Turn 14 coming to the green flag and found himself stuck in the sand trap in his No. 14 K-Line USA/AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet.

The race restarted with eight laps to go, and Dixon pulled away from Power cruised home to victory. He averaged 116.027 mph in the 55-lap race that featured five lead changes and five different leaders.

Dixon will look to make it four-straight wins to start the NTT INDYCAR SERIES tomorrow in Race 2 of the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR Doubleheader at noon (ET, NBC) from Road America. Qualifying starts at 9 a.m. (ET, INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold).

Image  —  Posted: July 11, 2020 in Uncategorized

IndyCar is Back …

Posted: July 10, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

— ARCA Menards Series 150 will open NASCAR-INDYCAR Weekend on August 29 —

July 8, 2020, St. Louis Region – World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, today announced a significant change to the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 Weekend following schedule alterations for the NTT Data IndyCar Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. Under this new format, the INDYCAR and NASCAR races both will take place on Sunday, August 30. Originally, the two groups were scheduled to compete one week earlier on separate dates. WWTR officials were able to combine both races  for one action-packed day.

“Pulling it all together has taken three months of work with our sponsors, sanctioning bodies, local officials and staff,” said Curtis Francois, President and CEO of World Wide Technology Raceway. “We know that we will still be working lots of pieces of this logistical puzzle as we prepare for the event. We are blessed with a huge outdoor grandstand capacity and open-air midways that will enable us to social distance and provide a safe, responsible and comfortable event experience for the fans who are able to attend. Every possible effort will be made to ensure that our fans will enjoy another great racing experience at WWTR.”

The race weekend now will offer a full schedule of activity on Saturday, August 29, including INDYCAR practice and pole qualifying. The ARCA Menards Series race, originally scheduled for August 2, has moved to INDYCAR-NASCAR Weekend and will feature practice, qualifying and then the 150-mile race at 6 p.m. Both the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Vintage Indy Registry cars are on tap throughout the day.

Sunday, August 30, will kick off with early morning racing activity for the Indy Pro 2000 Series. The Gateway 200 powered by CK Power NASCAR Truck Series event will take place at noon. Following a brief intermission,  the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 INDYCAR race will begin at 2 p.m.

“Our loyal race fans are well aware that our goal is to provide the best racing action, and value, for their entertainment dollar,” Francois added. “Despite the challenges we’ve all faced, we want to make sure that those fans who are able to attend will get the best race day experience possible in a safe environment. As technology, screening practices and sanitation to mitigate the spread continues to evolve, we will be leaders in the reopening process.  Clearly, there will be fewer fans in the stands due to social distancing, but those that are able to attend will see the greatest day of racing in WWTR history.”

World Wide Technology Raceway has been actively involved with some of motorsports’ leading sanctioning groups to develop standards for conducting live spectator events during the pandemic. In addition, track officials have worked with local, regional and state officials to coordinate reopening plans that have benefitted tracks throughout the industry.

A few items to note regarding the event:

  1. Due to limited seating capacity – which may change leading up to the event – fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance. Most likely the venue will utilize most available seating based on the adjusted seat-distancing diagrams.
  2. The Wallace Grandstand in Turns 1 and 2 will be open on Sunday, August 30, to provide additional distancing and comfort for fans. The Wallace Grandstand features additional, permanent restroom facilities and a separate entry point from other seating areas.
  3. WWTR ticket staff has undertaken extensive seat model research and will be working with same-household/family groups to provide safe distancing between parties.
  4. Fans will be required to have masks for entry into the venue. Attendees are strongly recommended to practice proper health recommendations prescribed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Masks will be required while in common areas such as restrooms, midways and concession areas or anytime six (6) feet of distancing cannot be maintained.
  5. Track personnel will conduct temperature screening at all entry points.  Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be asked to visit with on-site medical staff prior to entry into the venue.
  6. All food service locations will follow State of Illinois recommendations for outdoor dining. The concession area footprint will be changed to provide more distance between point-of-sale locations to enable attendees to spread out and avoid lines. Remote ordering and pick-up of food items will be available on race day.
  7. Increased sanitation practices will be implemented before, during and after each event. Areas that will be cleaned throughout the event include restrooms, handrails, all entrances to permanent structures, public furniture and seating areas, all rooms prior to and immediately after use, offices and kitchen areas. Our janitorial team adheres to the recommendations set forth in the U.S. EPA’s Emerging Pathogen Policy regarding cleaning disinfectants.
  8. Print-at-home, paperless ticket transactions are preferred. This will eliminate the need to stand in line to purchase tickets and it enables us to offer contact-free entry, which will be as simple as point-and- click.
  9. Clearly marked entry and exit pathways will be in place to maintain a clearer flow in and out of the venue.  Grandstand walkways will feature directional arrows.
  10. Permanent restrooms will have contact-free entry. All permanent restrooms will be well stocked with soap and a restroom attendant to ensure maximum cleanliness.
  11. Temporary restrooms will be placed throughout the venue with hand washing and/or sanitizing stations adjacent to each bank of restrooms.
  12. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the facility. These stations are mobile, which will allow us to deploy them based on event schedules and traffic patterns.
  13. Our team has been working on ways to host events properly and safely during this pandemic. All WWTR security, fire and safety, EMT and paramedic personnel have guidelines from local, regional and state public health agencies on how to recognize possible symptoms and the necessary steps to mitigate exposure to others.
  14. We are asking our customers who feel ill or believe they may be at risk to please stay home. Our track services staff will work with you on the proper steps to make sure you can come back and visit us when you are ready.
  15. Similar to the other sports and entertainment venues in the area – coupled with efforts to not rummage through personal belongings – we are moving to clear (transparent) bags (aside from coolers) for this event. It will be the fan’s responsibility to open their own coolers for inspection, but the transparent bags will help expedite entry and limit exposure during bag check.

In an effort to accommodate fans who previously purchased tickets and need seating adjustments, the following ticketing schedule will take place:

• July 6-12: Ticket staff will contact existing ticketholders to re-arrange seating locations and offer credits for those unable to attend.

• July 13-26: Checkered Flag, Red Reserved and Wallace Grandstand Weekend ticket packages will go on sale at early-bird pricing.

• July 27-August 2: Single-day Checkered Flag, Red Reserved and Wallace Grandstand tickets at early-bird pricing.

• August 3-28: Checkered Flag, Red Reserved, Wallace Grandstand and Gray Level seating (weekend or single) on sale at advance price.

• August 29-30: Gate pricing on all remaining available tickets.

For additional information on World Wide Technology Raceway, please call (618) 215-8888 or visit www.WWTRaceway.com. Follow WWTR on Facebook, Parler, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.

FAST FACTS: REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR Doubleheader

REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR Doubleheader Fast Facts
Race weekend: Saturday, July 11 – Sunday, July 12

Track: Road America, a 4.014-mile, 14-turn permanent road course (clockwise), in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

Race distance: 55 laps / 220.77 miles (each race)

Media links: Race 1 Entry List | Race 2 Entry List

Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.

Firestone tire allotment: Nine sets primary, five sets alternate for use during the race weekend. Teams must use one set of primary and one set of alternate tires for at least two laps in the race.

Twitter: @RoadAmerica @IndyCar, #REVGROUPGP, #IndyCar

Event website: www.roadamerica.com

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2019 race winner: Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda)

2019 pole winner Colton Herta (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda), 1 minute, 42.9920 seconds, 140.306 mph

Qualifying record: Dario Franchitti, 1:39.866, 145.924 mph, Aug. 19, 2000

NBC/NBCSN telecasts: Race 1 Qualifying: 2:15 p.m. ET Saturday, NBCSN (live); Race 1: 5 p.m. ET Saturday, NBCSN (live). Race 2: Noon ET Sunday, NBC (live). Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for NBC broadcasts alongside analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.

NBC Sports Gold livestreaming: All NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice sessions and qualifying will stream live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports’ direct-to-consumer livestreaming product.

INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Davey Hamilton with Jake Query, Michael Young and Nick Yeoman in the turns. All NTT INDYCAR SERIES races are broadcast live on the INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 211, XM 205, IndyCar.com and on the INDYCAR MOBILE APP powered by NTT DATA. Live coverage of NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying is available on Sirius 211, XM 205, IndyCar.com, and the INDYCAR MOBILE APP.

At-track schedule (all times Eastern Time):

Saturday, July 11

11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. – NTT INDYCAR SERIES practice, NBC Sports Gold
2:15 p.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (two groups), NBCSN (Live)
5 p.m. – NBCSN on air
5:08 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines”
5:15 p.m. – REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR Race 1 (55 laps/220.77 miles), NBCSN (Live)

Sunday, July 12

9-9:30 a.m. – Qualifying for the NTT P1 Award (two groups), NBC Sports Gold
Noon – NBC on air
12:35 p.m. – “Drivers, start your engines”
12:42 p.m. – REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR Race 2 (55 laps/220.77 miles), NBC (Live)

Race Notes:

Scott Dixon has won the first two races of the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season. He will try to become the first driver to win the first three races of an INDYCAR season since Sebastien Bourdais won the first four races of the 2006 Champ Car World Series season. Two other INDYCAR drivers have had at least a three-race win streak to start the season. A.J. Foyt won the first seven races in 1964, and Al Unser won the first three races in 1971.

The REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR Doubleheader will be the 30th and 31st INDYCAR events conducted at Road America since it hosted its first INDYCAR event in 1982.

Scott Dixon, Josef Newgarden, Will Power and Alexander Rossi are the only entered drivers who have won an INDYCAR race at Road America. They also are the four most recent winners at the track. Rossi won in 2019, Newgarden won in 2018, Dixon won in 2017 and Power won in INDYCAR’s return in 2016 – the first race at the track since 2007. Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti and Emerson Fittipaldi have the most wins by an INDYCAR driver at the track (three).

Nineteen drivers entered this weekend have previously raced Indy cars at Road America. Six of those drivers have led laps at the track (Josef Newgarden 66, Alexander Rossi 54, Will Power 46, Scott Dixon 26, Graham Rahal 3 and Simon Pagenaud 2).

Eight drivers have won the Road America race from the pole: Mario Andretti (1983, 1984 and 1987), Danny Sullivan (1989), Paul Tracy (1993), Jacques Villeneuve (1995), Bruno Junqueira (2003), Sebastien Bourdais (2007), Will Power (2016) and Josef Newgarden (2018).

Drivers who have won at Road America have gone on to win the INDYCAR championship six times in the same season: Mario Andretti (1984), Michael Andretti (1991), Jacques Villeneuve (1995), Alex Zanardi (1997), Cristiano da Matta (2002) and Sebastien Bourdais (2007).

Team Penske has won five times at Road America (1989, 1992, 1993, 2016 and 2018) and is one of three current teams with wins at the track. Chip Ganassi Racing has won three times at Road America (1997, 2001 and 2017), while Andretti Autosport won its first race in 2019. Newman/Haas Racing won a record 10 times at Road America.

Rookies Oliver Askew, Dalton Kellett, Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay will race an NTT INDYCAR SERIES car at Road America for the first time this weekend.

Scott Dixon, the longest-tenured driver for Chip Ganassi Racing, is third on the all-time Indy car victory list with 48 wins. Dixon has made 260 consecutive starts, the best among active drivers and second on the all-time list. Tony Kanaan set the record of 318. Kanaan’s streak, which started in 2001, ended July 4 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


%d bloggers like this: