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‘Motor Sports’ Articles

Quotes from Saturday’s IndyCar practice at Mid-Ohio

“What They’re Saying” from Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio qualifying

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “Honestly, I’m a little surprised we didn’t make the (Firestone) Fast Six. It felt like a good lap in the Menards Chevy, but we came up a little short. I put everything I had in it. That’s racing. That’s INDYCAR racing. We’re all fighting for hundredths of a second. I think we have a good car for the race. We’ll line up tomorrow and see what happens.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet):“Starting second tomorrow is awesome. The No. 2 PPG Chevrolet is really strong for tomorrow’s race at Mid-Ohio. The team has been really working hard this weekend and it’s paying off. We can’t wait for tomorrow’s race to put on a great show for the crowd here.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “That was a lot of fun. Everything was so close. INDYCAR racing is down to the centimeters now. We calculated about three laps would be perfect. But because of those 15 seconds that we stayed in the pits, it basically cost us a third lap on the second set of tires, so we didn’t have enough time to complete that. And I got caught in (Turns) 4, 5 and 6, which is a fast area. We lost a bunch of lap time. Regardless of that, thought the Hitachi Chevy was really strong. Congrats to Will (Power). We’ll just keep digging.”

CONOR DALY (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Obviously it’s really good for us. I think it’s just a nice thing after the year that we’ve had, it’s nice to have a good qualifying session. The car has been improving, you know. We haven’t had the results to show it yet, but I think this is at least a good step forward for us. We need a race like this where we just sit in the top 10, top 11, top 12, whatever, the whole time so hopefully we can fight from there tomorrow and make up some ground.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “A bit of a disappointing day to be honest. The Arrow car has been top six pretty much every single session when you put all the pieces together, and the challenge here in qualifying is getting that lap and putting all the pieces together. Unfortunately we ran into some guys that were gapping pretty disrespectfully and not giving everybody the room that was needed; when there are only 12 cars on track, it’s pretty crazy that we can’t all find a gap. We got caught out by that today. It happens, it’s part of racing. No doubt we had the speed to be in the Firestone Fast Six. Hopefully that bodes well for tomorrow, and we can move up and put the Arrow Electronics car in victory lane.”

MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda):
“Qualifying last was definitely not what we were expecting. I think part of it is me getting back into my rhythm after missing the last race weekend in Toronto. Of course it would be nice to qualify at the top, but the most important thing is to finish the race. We all know what can happen here at Mid-Ohio. The people who have seen last year’s race will know what I mean. We just need to continue to push forward and do well, and I’m pretty sure we are going to have a competitive race car for tomorrow.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Honda): “Practice session one was really good for the Gallagher team, but we started chasing the setup like a wild goose after that for some reason. I think we’re struggling as a team a bit too. Three of us didn’t get through, and Scott (Dixon) wasn’t exactly blistering out there, but he did make it. It’s strange because this is my kind of track. I hope we can sort something out or it’s going to be a bit of a long day tomorrow.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 NTT Data Honda): “It wasn’t the best day for us. We’ve been chasing the same issue since the test here last week. The car is really loose on entry and really has understeer. Hopefully we can figure out what’s going on. It was a good day for Honda overall with the qualifying results.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Honda): “I was overcompensating for the grip we don’t have and pushing it too hard out there. We need to do a better job of setting the car up – it just wasn’t there today. I shouldn’t be pushing the car to the max to make up for what’s not there in the setup. It’s going to be really difficult starting in the back here with how hard it is to pass, but we’re going to do everything we can to get up to the front.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet):
“I’m really excited for this pole. The No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet crew has really been on it all weekend here at Mid-Ohio. I’m ready for tomorrow’s race with what we feel is a really strong car.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “It was a tough one. On the blacks (Firestone primary tires) we were looking pretty strong, but then on the reds (Firestone alternate tires) we didn’t gain where we should gain on the red tires. It was hard to qualify in the top 12 for my group. I think my group was quite tough. It is what it is. Tomorrow I think we have to go strategy-wise really aggressive. Here at this track it’s hard to pass. We have to go aggressive on the strategy and see if it pays off. Last year, I did an aggressive strategy and it paid off, so we will see this year.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda)
: “To have the Steak ‘n Shake Honda be the fastest overall in qualifying is special, but we would have liked to be on pole. I messed up on my best lap in Segment 3, and obviously the two rounds before I put it all together, but when it counted we lost a lot in the last turn, in Turn 12, on the very start of the final lap. I don’t know if we had enough on used reds (Firestone alternate tires). Power was on used reds too, but I don’t think I had that sort of time in me. But we were definitely better than fourth, so I’m a little disappointed in fourth place. I lost four-tenths in one corner alone, and then on the last lap I almost lost it. It’s great for our team and program to be up front once again. We’ve got a good starting spot and hopefully can battle from there. Last year you saw with the three-stopper that a lot of guys were on reds, even if they were used, they were preferred. This year it’s a new tire, so we haven’t run them a full stint yet. We’re in a really good spot in terms of tires. We didn’t use any new blacks (Firestone primary tires), and Helio (Castroneves) used two sets in qualifying. So I thinking tomorrow morning we can use a set and then we can have a heyday in the race and run whatever we want.”

ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ (No. 18 UNIFIN Honda): “It was very exciting to try to explore and to keep experimenting with the car. Obviously, this is a new track for me. It was challenging to find the right set up. We’ve been working hard as a team to find the sweet spot. I think we managed a good balance until we got to the last run when the track changed. The track is evolving very quickly and you need to keep up with that balance. It was the first time we were in that session, so we missed something to anticipate and to keep up with the balance, but I think it was a good experience. It’s my first time into the fast 12 and it was very interesting. The team did a good job and it’s our best qualifying so far, so we’re making progress and that makes me happy.”

ED JONES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda):
“It was a tough qualifying session overall. We got slowed down a bit by a car in front of us on my last laps, and then the car just got loose and I wasn’t able to improve my lap time at the end to move up the charts.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet):
“We knew going into qualifying that we were in a really hard group. There’s so many good guys up and down pit lane. I feel like it was a pretty good lap on my part, we just ended up missing a little bit in the end. We closed the gap to the fastest cars yet again, but there were just a bunch of people super close as usual. We’ve been looking for a bit more front grip all weekend. We’ve been getting better and better, but that’s one thing that if we can fix it, it will raise our speeds quite a bit. The Fuzzy’s Vodka car is really good though, especially on the longer runs, so we’re looking forward to racing tomorrow.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet):
“The Fuzzy’s Vodka guys are doing a good job. The car doesn’t feel that bad to drive, we just don’t seem to have a lot of speed in it. It’s frustrating because this is a track I really like and the team’s been good here in the past. We just can’t manage to get much better lap times out of it. It’s disappointing, but we’ll continue plugging away at it for the rest of the weekend.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda): “[Qualifying was] very good. The team work extremely well with the four cars and we were very competitive for all the practice sessions. I’m extremely happy with the performance of the Ruoff Home Mortgage car. I think the team has reached a good setup. I think a P3 is very happy place for us and a good position for the race tomorrow.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda): “(Group 2) was definitely a tough group, but we needed to beat everybody anyway – that was the goal. The car just didn’t turn enough for us to get there. We basically qualified our race car, I think, and were a bit too conservative (for qualifying). We started the weekend really good – within a couple hundredths of the quick time in Practice 1, but we’ve gone back a bit which is obviously not the goal.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We just lost some grip in the car this afternoon. Things were obviously promising after yesterday’s session and leading the way, but coming into today and the morning session we had promise in the DHL car. We lost a little bit of where we were and tried to retrace our steps. In the end, we had an imbalance in the car and just missed it a bit. We didn’t quite have what I needed to get into the (Firestone) Fast Six. Here in the Verizon IndyCar Series, it all adds up. If you’re off just a little bit in the car it can make a big difference.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Tresiba Honda): “Pretty disappointed honestly. We made some big improvements this morning and then we seemed to lose our way a little bit this afternoon. We were within like three-hundredths of transferring through to the top 12, which would’ve given us another shot to make the car better. I know there’s more in it for tomorrow, but we missed it a little bit, I missed it a little bit. The nice thing is that we have two sets of Firestone alternates (tires), sticker alternates, plus the scrubbed set from qualifying to use tomorrow. We just need a little bit of strategy and I think we have every opportunity to finish up front.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 Andretti Autosport/Curb Honda): “I’m pretty disappointed to miss the (Firestone) Fast Six after running so well this morning. We just went the wrong direction with a change in session and it hurt us in the end. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but we have a fast race car so we’ll work to get up front tomorrow.”

 

Saturday’s IndyCar practice results from Mid-Ohio: Power, Newgarden and Sato on top

 

Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio qualifying results

Click HERE to view and download the official qualifying results of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

LEXINGTON, Ohio – Qualifying Saturday for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, chassis-engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:04.1720 (126.672)
2. (2) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:04.3067 (126.407)
3. (26) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:04.6792 (125.679)
4. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:04.7959 (125.452)
5. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 01:04.8485 (125.351)
6. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:05.1927 (124.689)
7. (1) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:04.3008 (126.418)
8. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 01:04.3784 (126.266)
9. (98) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:04.4906 (126.046)
10. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:04.4928 (126.042)
11. (4) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:04.8745 (125.300)
12. (18) Esteban Gutierrez, Honda, 01:05.0368 (124.988)
13. (83) Charlie Kimball, Honda, 01:04.9930 (125.072)
14. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 01:04.5929 (125.847)
15. (19) Ed Jones, Honda, 01:05.0337 (124.994)
16. (20) Spencer Pigot, Chevrolet, 01:04.6186 (125.797)
17. (10) Tony Kanaan, Honda, 01:05.3200 (124.446)
18. (8) Max Chilton, Honda, 01:04.8603 (125.328)
19. (21) JR Hildebrand, Chevrolet, 01:05.3382 (124.411)
20. (14) Carlos Munoz, Chevrolet, 01:04.9440 (125.166)
21. (7) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 01:05.2441 (124.591)

 

PRACTICE RESULTS WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

IndyCar’s Ryan Hunter-Reay continues recent hot streak by leading Friday practice at Mid-Ohio

Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio (Friday, July 28, 2017) – Ryan Hunter-Reay continued his recent surge, setting the pace on the first day of practice for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.

The Andretti Autosport driver was fastest in the second of two 45-minute sessions on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a lap of 1 minute, 4.2961 seconds (126.428 mph) in the No. 28 DHL Honda. Hunter-Reay is hopeful it bodes well for a strong showing in Sunday’s race.

“Today, it was a good run. Car was good,” said the 36-year-old Floridian, whose best finish in 11 previous races at Mid-Ohio was third place on two occasions, including 2003 when he logged the first of what are now 37 career podium finishes.

HONDA INDY 200 AT MID-OHIO: Practice 1Practice 2 Combined practice results

“We just made some improvements on it, made the right steps through the session, some (changes) session to session,” said Hunter-Reay, who has finished third (Iowa Speedway) and sixth (streets of Toronto) in the past two races. “We didn’t test here a week ago, so it’s nice to see we have the pace from last year, that we were able to roll in and improve from last year.”

Three Verizon IndyCar Series championship contenders trailed Hunter-Reay on the day’s time sheet. Josef Newgarden was second at 1:04.4375 (126.150 mph) in the No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet. Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing was third in the No. 9 NTT Data Honda (1:04.4910, 126.045 mph) and Simon Pagenaud fourth in the No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet (1:04.5625, 125.906 mph).

Dixon leads the standings after 12 of 17 races. The four-time series champion is three points ahead of Helio Castroneves, 19 in front of reigning series champion and 2016 Mid-Ohio winner Pagenaud and 23 up on Newgarden.

“I think it’s a good start for the No. 9 NTT Data car,” Dixon said. “Finishing P3 overall today isn’t bad, but you always want to be at the top at the end of the day. I love racing here, I love Mid-Ohio and all its challenges. I hope we can continue to improve tomorrow and put on a good show Sunday.”

Both practice sessions ran issue-free other than light rain that brought all cars to pit lane for 15 minutes in the afternoon practice. A final pre-qualifying practice is scheduled for 9:55 a.m. ET Saturday (live stream on RaceControl.IndyCar.com), ahead of Verizon P1 Award knockout qualifying to determine the pole winner at 2 p.m. (live on NBCSN).

Sunday’s race will be the 33rd for Indy cars on the scenic, undulating permanent road course since 1980. Live coverage begins at 3 p.m. on CNBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, with an encore re-air at 7 p.m. on NBCSN.

Sato named recipient of prestigious Prime Minister’s Award in Japan

The honors keep coming for Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato.

Today in his native Japan, the Andretti Autosport driver was named the recipient of the prestigious Prime Minister’s Award for his groundbreaking victory May 28 in the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

Sato became the first Japanese driver to win the Indy 500, outlasting three-time winner Helio Castroneves in a thrilling battle to the finish. The 40-year-old will return home to officially be presented with the award by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Aug. 4.

“It means a lot personally but I think it’s great for the sport,” Sato said. “I really appreciate the support I am getting and this award is certainly an absolute honor to have it. I just couldn’t be happier.”

Sato is just the 33rd recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award, an appropriate number since 33 cars traditionally compete in the Indianapolis 500.

Season champion to be honored in NBCSN prime-time telecast

INDYCAR is helping its loyal fans share in the celebration crowning the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champion with an hour-long program airing in prime time Sept. 28 on NBCSN.

The show will honor the driver and team who win this year’s title, as well as other award winners, and include a recap of this riveting season that has already seen nine different drivers win in the first 12 races. It is part of an extensive INDYCAR plan to properly fete the 2017 champion.

INDYCAR and NBCSN are also increasing promotion of the championship battle – which currently sees the top four drivers in the standings separated by a mere 23 points – in the races leading to the season finale, the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Sept. 18.

“The battle for the Verizon IndyCar Series championship has been decided in the final laps of the season for the past 11 years running, and we expect that to be the case again in 2017,” said C.J. O’Donnell, chief marketing officer for INDYCAR. “We have a comprehensive promotional plan that will heighten the excitement and anticipation in the remaining few races. Our broadcast and communications strategy provides a solid platform to champion our heroes and thrill our fans.”

The Astor Cup, the century-old trophy that has been presented to the Verizon IndyCar Series champion annually since 2011, will travel to the three races before the finale – the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 20, the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline at Gateway Motorsports Park on Aug. 26, and the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on Sept. 3. The Astor Cup will be on display at those events for fans to see and to serve as an inspiration for the contending drivers.

The 2017 champion will also embark on a national media tour at the conclusion of the season. The INDYCAR community will honor this year’s champion driver and team in a March 2018 event at St. Petersburg, Florida, that will serve to commemorate the 2017 award winners while at the same time ringing in the beginning of the exciting new season at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Mazda Road to Indy recap

Oliver Askew led every lap to win the first of two Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda races this weekend at Mid-Ohio and extend his points lead. Askew, driving for Cape Motorsports, won by 1.3282 seconds over Parker Thompson (Exclusive Autosport) and 1.9339 seconds over Rinus VeeKay (Pabst Racing). Askew leads VeeKay by 29 points with two races remaining this season.

Anthony Martin grabbed the lead on the opening lap and drove on to victory in the first of three Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires races this weekend. Martin (Cape Motorsports) edged Victor Franzoni (Juncos Racing) by 0.3847 of a second at the finish, moving five points ahead of Franzoni for the championship lead in the procress.

Santi Urrutia (Belardi Auto Racing) won the pole position for the first of two Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires races this weekend with a lap of 1:11.3694 (113.898 mph). Colton Herta (Andretti-Steinbrenner Racing) qualified second for Saturday morning’s race (1:12.0283).

 

PRACTICE RECAP WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

Quotes from Friday’s IndyCar practice at Mid-Ohio

“What They’re Saying” from Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio practice

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 1 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “The Menards Chevy was good today. We were able to fine tune a few things throughout the day. We had good speed in the car, but it’s a matter of getting the balance right. Our knowledge base is good for the track. We had good success a year ago. It’s nice for me to feel better physically this year. I had a little tweak of my back here last year that made it a pretty difficult weekend, but this year all is well. I’m looking forward to qualifying tomorrow. It’s such a chess match here and that’s a fun challenge.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 PPG Automotive Refinish Team Penske Chevrolet): “I think we had a pretty good session. It’s fun driving the PPG car. It’s my first time driving it. Simon (Pagenaud) had a lot of good luck in it last year. I think he won three races in this car. I’m excited to drive it – looks good, feels fast. We were quick in the first session, too. We ended up seventh. But this track is such a game of when you run, you know, where in the tire life you are at what stage of the session. The track just keeps getting quicker and quicker as you run. You got to be the last man standing here almost. I think that’s going to be the case tomorrow in qualifying. You got to try and time everything as best you can, be the last person across the line. For us, I think we’ve had some good success this year on road courses. We probably could have had even more success at a couple other places that didn’t fully materialize. But I think we’re there, thereabouts. I think the whole group at Team Penske is fast. We have to make sure to stay on top of it as always and not let something good slip away. We have good cars this weekend. We have to try to capitalize on that.”

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet):
“We accomplished a lot today with the Hitachi Chevy – lots of good data to help us make the car even better. It’s important in this series to keep working at it. If you don’t, then you get passed by. I feel good about how the car was today and how it will be tomorrow. Qualifying is extremely important here, so we’ll have to be on top of our game.”

CONOR DALY (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “I think we found a few things that we need, but we also weren’t able to take advantage of our (Firestone alternate) red tires as well as we would have liked. I think the car’s balance is a little bit different on the reds than on the (Firestone primary) blacks, so hopefully we can try and sort that out. But I think it’s a positive day for us. It’s close, it’s very, very close. We need two-tenths to be in the top 10, so that’s very typical of Mid-Ohio, so hopefully, we can get some of that out of it.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 8 Gallagher Honda): “Typical day in INDYCAR today really for the team. We were right up there today in the first practice this morning after unloading fast, and then made some changes and weren’t up there in the afternoon. That’s how close the racing is here. One change can send you back. I do like this track as it’s very challenging. The Gallagher team will be up for qualifying tomorrow.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 NTT Data Honda):
“I think it’s a good start for the No. 9 NTT Data car. Finishing P3 overall today isn’t bad, but you always want to be at the top at the end of the day. I love racing here. I love Mid-Ohio and all its challenges. I hope we can continue to improve tomorrow and put on a good show Sunday.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Data Honda): “Honestly, we didn’t have near as bad of a day as it looks in the practice results. We still have some work to do with the No. 10 NTT Data Honda on (Firestone alternate) red tires, but on the (Firestone primary) blacks we were as fast as the leaders. We just couldn’t ever get a clean, fast lap on black tires to show the No. 10 NTT Data Honda’s real speed.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was a good day for the Verizon Chevrolet team. We felt like we’re in a good place in terms of spend and balance. Mid-Ohio is a track that is on my list. I’ve not gotten a win here and I really want to change that. We’ve been on the pole here, been up front and led laps, but haven’t gotten the win. We’ll see what qualifying brings tomorrow, but you don’t want to be too far back here or it becomes very difficult to get into position to win.”

CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet):
“The second session was a little bit of a mess. I think we did just one run because we had some electrical issues in the car, so the first part of the session we were just figuring out what happened there. Then we put (Firestone alternate) red tires on and it started raining, and then the last few laps, the tires weren’t the same. So we have to look to tomorrow to still improve.” (About his overall day): “It’s hard to judge. When the session didn’t go nice and smooth, the thing is we’re still missing a little bit to be in the top 10.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak ‘n Shake Honda) : “We are lacking some performance. Even this morning that was the case.” (About setting the second fastest lap time in Practice 1): “We ran new tires at the very end of the session and certain guys didn’t. While we were up there on the lap times, perhaps we were putting a Band-Aid on the situation a little bit. With that being said, I don’t think we are far off. I have got to somehow figure out how to get the rear of the car under control. It’s been biting us on a lot of road courses. We just can’t seem to figure it out. We have to work hard tonight and improve the Steak ‘n Shake car for tomorrow.”

ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ (No. 18 UNIFIN Honda): “It was a bit tricky in Practice 1 this morning. We struggled to find some speed. We then made some changes for Practice 2 and that was a positive change. We did a pretty fast time on the primary tires, but then on the Firestone red (alternate) tires, I got traffic on the optimum lap so we couldn’t really put the lap together there. I think we have a good baseline and we’ll work tonight to try and find some more speed for tomorrow.”

ED JONES (No. 19 Boy Scouts of America Honda): “It was a bit frustrating. I think there’s a lot more potential than our result on the time charts today. We tried a few things and they didn’t go the way we wanted. There was also some traffic and the bit of rain that delayed the session that didn’t help. I think we need to make some changes to the car for tomorrow, and if we get things right, we can be right up in the top 10.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “We definitely made some changes that were positive and had a solid morning practice session. We also tried some things that just didn’t work out as well as we hoped, especially on the (Firestone alternate) red tires in the afternoon. I didn’t get quite the feel of the car I was looking for, so we’ll see if we can revert back to what we had and get back into the top 10. I’m excited to see what the rest of the weekend brings.”

JR HILDEBRAND (No. 21 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet):
“We definitely didn’t have the speed we were looking for today, so it was a bit frustrating. We understand where we need to improve and we’ve got a lot of data to look through. We’ll put our heads together tonight to figure out how to make as much use out of the practice session tomorrow morning before we qualify.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda): “I think it was a productive day. As typical at Mid-Ohio, we started off around five seconds off the pace, and then through the session it dramatically improved for the track evolution. We need to understand the balances better, but I think we made some good progress today for the Ruoff Home Mortgage team. Hopefully, we carry on this momentum and have a good day tomorrow.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Andretti Autosport Honda): “Today was a good start for the No. 27 team, but we need to make some fine adjustments if we want to qualify in the (Firestone) Fast Six tomorrow. Overall, the whole team showed good pace, so I think we are on the right track.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “Today, it was a good run. Car was good. We just made some improvements on it, made the right steps through the session, some session-to-session. We didn’t test here a week ago, so it’s nice to see we have the pace from last year, that we were able to roll in and improve from last year. All in all, pretty good day. I have a lot of work to do tomorrow. We know everybody else is going to be improving. It’s amazing if you look at the Practice 1 session times, just how close everything is. There’s no margin for error. So it’s going to be that way again tomorrow. Just happy to have a nice, productive day. Look forward to another one of those tomorrow hopefully.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Tresiba Honda): “Overall it wasn’t a good day at all for the No. 83 car. We missed the setup a little bit and we missed the timing. We really could’ve used that little bit of track time we lost this afternoon with the rain to get the car a little better. The nice thing is that the No. 9 car is quick, so we’ll have their data to learn from. I’m really encouraged by the stops in pit stop practice – the guys really crushed it today. We’ll carry that momentum forward to figure out what we need to do to qualify well tomorrow and finish up front on Sunday.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 98 Andretti Autosport/Curb Honda):
“It was a good day today. I think we made a pretty good step forward each session in terms of car setup. I’m missing a little bit of speed compared to Ryan (Hunter-Reay), but I think we know where that is. Overall, I think it was a pretty positive day for the whole team and we will have a strong showing tomorrow for qualifying.”

 

PRACTICE QUOTES WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

Kasey Kahne ends 102-race dryspell, wins wildest Brickyard 400 in double-overtime as darkness sets in

 

POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE WITH KASEY KAHNE

61,973 Kasey Kahne 2017 Brickyard 400 winner On how special to win at Indy came to live there in 1999 dream come true 7 23 2017

61,974 Kasey Kahne 2017 Brickyard winner If you are the leader going into overtime, should you and have to win that race 7 23 2017

61,975 Kasey Kahne 2017 Brickyard 400 winner His team had not won for 2 years did he think he could win again 7 23 2014

61,976 Kasey Kahne He said three weeks ago he still had wins in you but did you think it would be at IMS 7 23 2017

61,980 Kasey Kahne His approach to the upcoming NASCAR Playoffs for the #5 car going forward 7 23 2017

61,983 Kasey Kahne Qwner Rick Hendrick is non committal on plans for the #5 car for 2018 His thoughts on it 7 23 2017

61,985 Kasey Kahne Being at Hendrick Motorsports you have to perform Who has he leaned on during the tough times while there 7 23 2017

61,986 Kasey Kahne He has had bad luck all season but the good luck was on him and his car all day coming from 19th to win 7 23 2017

 

Kasey Kahne #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet leading the race (photo credit Sean Gardner of Getty Images, courtesy NASCARmedia.com)

Kasey Kahne passing finish line to win (photo credit Daniel Shirey of Getty Images, courtesy NASCARmedia.com)

Kasey Kahne & his crew kissing the bricks (photo credit Brian Lawdermilk of Getty Images courtesy NASCARmedia.com)

 

Speedway, Indiana — In NASCAR or any of the professional motorsports series, it does not matter if you are popular with the fans, media or sponsors. The bottom line is you win or at least put your car consistently in the Top 5-10 spots every week and a driver should be fine.

But if your team goes 2 years without a win and are constantly having bad luck, not qualifying, not running up front and not finishing in the Top 5-10 spots, you are going to hear rumors that the car owner wants to dump you.

The case I just stated in this case pertains to NASCAR Monster Cup driver Kasey Kahne. One of the Hendrick Motorsports drivers, the 37-year-old Kahne has not won a race since Atlanta in 2014, a span of 102 races. He often wondered if he could win, would win a race ever again.

That stretch ended in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 race as Kahne took advantage of several restarts, accidents and key pit stops go from his starting spot of 19th to win the 24th edition of the event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He edged out Brad Keselowski in a key restart to kiss the bricks. That was the wildest Brickyard 400 ever with its double overtime finish and the race ending up just after sundown. Matter-of-fact, the race ended in almost total darkness as IMS does not have lights.

Early on in one of NASCAR’s jewel races, Kyle Busch looked like he would dominate and win again, building up big advantage leading 87 of the first 110 laps.

But he and Martin Truex Jr. got into an accident on a restart with 49 laps remaining.

Truex and Busch hit each other and crashed hard in Turn 1. With both leaders out of the race, it became anyone’s trophy to take home.

From there, the race became a collection of cautions, red flags and complete utter chaos.

Which set up the double-overtime finish.

In the second overtime restart, Keselowski was the leader and Kahne was running second. Kahne took control by blowing out front and down the backstretch before a multi-car crash caused a caution. However, Kahne had already passed the overtime marker before NASCAR threw out the caution flag. The 3-hour, 39-minute race had finally ended.

The chaotic, wacky, weird but exciting race had a little of everything — 14 cautions and 55 caution laps, both race records, three red flags and a 1-hour, 47-minute rain delay. Nineteen of the 40 cars did not see the finish line.

The 2018 edition of the Brickyard 400 will be moved to the month of September. Some ask why the change? To change things up a bit, to get more fan interest, to get the race away from the heat of the summer, et. al.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400

 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

 

Speedway, Indiana

 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Final finishing order from the race

 

1. (19) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 167.

2. (11) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 167.

3. (8) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 167.

4. (7) Joey Logano, Ford, 167.

5. (14) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 167.

6. (2) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 167.

7. (15) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, 167.

8. (27) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 167.

9. (26) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 167.

10. (39) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 167.

11. (23) Danica Patrick, Ford, 167.

12. (34) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 167.

13. (29) Aric Almirola, Ford, 167.

14. (37) * Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, 167.

15. (3) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 167.

16. (17) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 167.

17. (5) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 166.

18. (24) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 166.

19. (28) Ty Dillon #, Chevrolet, 165.

20. (22) Trevor Bayne, Ford, Accident, 162.

21. (20) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, Accident, 162.

22. (31) Landon Cassill, Ford, Parked, 162.

23. (10) Ryan Blaney, Ford, Accident, 162.

24. (35) * Gray Gaulding #, Chevrolet, Accident, 162.

25. (38) Joey Gase(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 162.

26. (36) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 162.

27. (4) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, Accident, 158.

28. (25) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Accident, 154.

29. (12) Kurt Busch, Ford, Accident, 149.

30. (18) Clint Bowyer, Ford, Accident, 148.

31. (9) Erik Jones #, Toyota, Accident, 148.

32. (40) * BJ McLeod(i), Chevrolet, 135.

33. (6) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, Accident, 110.

34. (1) Kyle Busch, Toyota, Accident, 110.

35. (21) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, Accident, 106.

36. (13) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, Accident, 76.

37. (33) * JJ Yeley(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 70.

38. (30) David Ragan, Ford, Accident, 56.

39. (16) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, Engine, 43.

40. (32) Corey LaJoie #, Toyota, Accident, 9.

 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  114.384 mph.

Time of Race:  03 Hrs, 39 Mins, 00 Secs. Margin of Victory:  Caution.

Caution Flags:  14 for 55 laps.

Lead Changes:  10 among 7 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   Kyle Busch 1-71; E. Jones # 72-80; R. Blaney 81-86; Kyle Busch 87-102; M. Truex Jr. 103-110; M. Kenseth 111-131; E. Jones # 132; B. Keselowski 133-151; K. Kahne 152-161; B. Keselowski 162-165; K. Kahne 166-167.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kyle Busch 2 times for 87 laps; B. Keselowski 2 times for 23 laps; M. Kenseth 1 time for 21 laps; K. Kahne 2 times for 12 laps; E. Jones # 2 times for 10 laps; M. Truex Jr. 1 time for 8 laps; R. Blaney 1 time for 6 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 18,78,21,4,22,20,1,42,48,88

Stage #2 Top Ten: 18,78,21,77,4,20,22,11,2,1

 

 

RACE NOTES:

 

* Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400

The Place: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The Date: Sunday, July 23

The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBC, 2 p.m. ET

Radio: IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400 miles (160 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 50),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 100), Final Stage (Ends on lap 160)

*

Denny Delivers: Hamlin Sends Joe Gibbs Racing To Victory Lane For First Time This Season

Denny Hamlin led 54 laps in his backup car, beating second-place Kyle Larson to the start/finish line by .509 seconds to deliver Joe Gibbs Racing its first visit to Victory Lane this season in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

 

The win was the 30th of Hamlin’s career and his third at New Hampshire. He had not won a race in 28 starts since taking the checkered flag in last year’s season finale at Richmond International Raceway. The No. 11 Toyota driver becomes the 25th driver to win 30 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. Of note: All non-active drivers with more than 30 Monster Energy Series wins who have been eligible for enshrinement are in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

 

JGR’s struggle to get a win was perplexing considering the organization racked up a series-best 12 victories in 2016, and Martin Truex Jr. from JGR technical partner Furniture Row Racing has tallied three checkered flags and 14 stage wins this season.

 

Hamlin will attempt to continue the momentum for JGR in Sunday’s Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, IMS and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). In 11 starts at Indy, Hamlin has four top fives, six top 10s and a 13.4 average finish. He placed fourth at The Brickyard last year and claims three consecutive top-five finishes there.

*

Triple Threat: Kyle Busch Tries For Third Straight Brickyard Win

Kyle Busch will try to capture the second straight win for Joe Gibbs Racing when he goes for his third consecutive victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday.

 

In addition to winning the last two races at the Brickyard, Busch has placed in the top-two there in four of the last five races. In 12 career Indy starts, Busch has two wins, five top fives, 10 top 10s and a 9.0 average finish (second-best).

 

Among active drivers at Indianapolis, Busch has the second-best average running position (10.8) and driver rating (105.5).

Busch has won at least one race every season since he began running in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series full-time in 2005.

*

Hometown Hoosier: South Bend’s Ryan Newman Hopes For Another Indy Win

South Bend, Indiana’s own Ryan Newman returns to his home track for Sunday’s Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400. In 16 starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Newman has one win, two top fives and three top 10s.

 

The No. 31 Richard Childress Racing driver virtually secured a spot in the Monster Energy Series playoffs by winning at Phoenix earlier this season.

*

Larson Dazzles With Ability To Mow Through The Field

Starting from the back the last two races hasn’t been a problem for Kyle Larson. At Kentucky, he began the race 40th and finished runner-up. A week later, Larson placed runner-up again after starting 39th. In the two races, he completed a combined 177 green flag passes (90, Kentucky; 87, New Hampshire).

 

The No. 42 Chevrolet driver is enjoying a breakout fourth full-time season. Through 20 races, he boasts two wins, seven runner-ups, nine top fives and 12 top 10s. Larson sits second in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings, 38 markers behind leader Martin Truex Jr. He also ranks second in average running position (8.8), driver rating (106.2).

 

Larson has finished in the top 10 in all three of his starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including a career track-best fifth-place showing last season.

*

Johnson Hopes To Pick Up Another Indy Win

Not many drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series are better than Jimmie Johnson, period. Not many drivers are better than Johnson at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, either.

 

The No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet pilot leads active competitors at the 2.5-mile track with four wins. He also has six top fives, seven top 10s and a 14.6 average finish in 15 career starts at The Brickyard.

 

Johnson’s performance has trailed off lately with only two top-10 finishes (both 10th) since winning at Dover six races ago, but he still is tied for the series lead with three wins and ranks second with 16 playoff points.

 

He is one win away from tying Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for fourth on the all-time list with 84 victories.

*

7 Races Left Until Playoffs

Seven races remain for drivers to earn berths in NASCAR’s playoffs.

 

The following drivers would get in if the season ended today: Martin Truex Jr. (three wins, 28 playoff points), Jimmie Johnson (three, 16), Kyle Larson (two, 13), Brad Keselowski (two, 13), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (two, 10), Kevin Harvick (one, eight), Ryan Blaney (one, eight), Denny Hamlin (one, seven), Kurt Busch (one, five), Ryan Newman (one, five), Austin Dillon (one, five), Kyle Busch (178 points above Joey Logano on the cutoff line, five playoff points), Chase Elliott (+115, two), Jamie McMurray (+100), Clint Bowyer (+54), Matt Kenseth (+42, two).

 

The first four out would be: Logano (42 below Matt Kenseth on the cutoff line), Erik Jones (-97), Daniel Suarez (-120) and Trevor Bayne (-155).

 

Remember, a win gets a driver into the playoffs. Below is a list of winless drivers who have visited Victory Lane at upcoming tracks:

Indianapolis: Ky. Busch, McMurray, Paul Menard

Pocono: Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Chris Buescher

Watkins Glen: Ky. Busch, AJ Allmendinger

Michigan: Ky. Busch, Earnhardt Jr., Kenseth, Kahne

Bristol: Ky. Busch, Kenseth, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne

Darlington: Ky. Busch, Kenseth

Richmond: Ky. Busch, Kenseth, Bowyer, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne

Jeff Gordon To Drive Pace Car For Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400: Four-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will serve as the honorary pace car driver for Sunday’s Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon is third on the all-time Monster Energy Series wins list with 93 victories.

Kyle Busch won the pole for the race photo taken April 19, 2010 by Raniel Diaz . Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

*Kyle Busch won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 24th Annual Brickyard 400 with a lap of 48.051 seconds, 187.301 mph.

* This is the 23rd pole in 446 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series races for him.

* This is his fourth pole  and 17th Top-10 start in 2017.

* This is his second pole in 13 races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

* Race started at 2:46 pm.

* The race was halted by a red flag at 3:00 pm due to threatening weather and lightning from the Northwest area of Brownsburg, Indiana. Rain finally fell at 3:21 pm.

* The race had 3 stages where a winner is named. Laps 50, 100, 160.

* The competition Lap to pit is #20.

* Three infractions before the race which put these cars to the end of the starting row: 48 Jimmie Johnson and 12 or 23 ? for a gear chance. #15 Joey Gase for an engine change.

 

 

 

Kasey Kahne celebrating on top of his car at (photo by Matt Sullivan of Getty Images courtesy NASCARmedia.com)

 

Kasey Kahne's pit crew before the race looking over his car (megasportsnews.com photo)

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