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Archive for June, 2018

IndyCar Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix quotes from Friday’s practice

RACE REPORT WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR MEDIA RELATIONS & COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

‘What They’re Saying’ from Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear practice

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “Solid first day here in Detroit. We’ve got some great pace and I feel confident we’ll be able to challenge for the Verizon P1 award tomorrow in qualifying. It’s a jam-packed weekend with not a lot of time for adjustments, so I’m very pleased the crew at Team Penske put together a car for me that was this comfortable out of the gate.”

MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “The day went OK, I think. It is my first time here in Detroit, so the first couple laps in Practice 1, we just concentrated on learning the track and getting some laps in. It’s a pretty tricky track, very bumpy, probably the bumpiest track I’ve ever been to, but it is OK. We still have some work to do for tomorrow – we are struggling a little bit with the red (Firestone alternate) tires; on the blacks (Firestone primary tires), we seem OK. Happy to be here, I think it’s a nice street course. Looking forward to both races this weekend.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Electronics SPM Honda):
“Up and down first day. In the first session, we had some issues with the brakes and we were really struggling to get the car to feel the way I wanted. Huge credit to the Arrow Electronics guys… this seems to be a trend of ours in 2018: turning around from a bad session and making it a good one. Even on the blacks (Firestone primary tires) before I went to the reds (alternate Firestone tires), the car got miles better, really just sorted it out and the track came alive. Then we put the reds on and managed to get a solid time out of it. It’s still early. It sucks to get so little practice here in Detroit, but it’s the same for everyone. We just have to make the best of it and try and put a good show on tomorrow.”

ROBERT WICKENS (No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda): “A pretty good day here in Detroit with the No. 6 Lucas Oil guys. On the red (Firestone alternate tires) in Practice 2, I made a mistake and lost about four-tenths (of a second) and we’re still in the top 10, so we’ve got a strong car. We just have to minimize our mistakes tomorrow to get a good qualifying spot and try to score some good points in the race. Everything is looking pretty great here at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports with both of our cars in the top 10 again.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda):
“I think, overall, we had a really good day and I was very happy with our PNC Bank car out there. The speed on the black Firestone (primary) tires was really good and the car felt quite good on the reds (Firestone alternate tires) after that when we improved the times. I got into the wall around Turn 13 and lost some time, but the car just has a ton of speed and hopefully we can translate that into two good points-paying (races) here in Detroit.”

ED JONES (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda):
“It was a tough day. This track is always difficult. In the first session, we tried some things that we weren’t happy with in the NTT DATA car, but made some progress in the second session. We were the only car not on sticker blacks (new Firestone primary tires) in the beginning, and we looked pretty competitive at that point. When we went to the reds (Firestone alternate tires), we missed something pretty fundamental where we were bottoming out, which made it difficult to get the tires up to temp. But we made a big jump after Practice 1 and I’m excited to see what we can do tomorrow.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Today’s practices were not bad. We kind of made a mistake when we were doing pretty well in that last session. We still have a bit of pace to find compared to the other cars, but the No. 12 Verizon Chevy team is working to find it.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet):
“It was a good first session and then we got a little bit messed up in the second. We hadn’t changed much from the morning. I think we were closer in the first session than the second. I think the other guys made a big jump, so we’ve got a little bit of work to do overnight. With the red flags, and my red flag, we didn’t have a lot of time to do anything, so we’ll think about it and come back in qualifying tomorrow.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 United Rentals Honda):
“In the end, the United Rentals car was not bad. We certainly weren’t great, but our pace is close. We struggled with the car being very, very loose compared to last year. We made a big change mid-session, before we had even done any real running. We just took a big swing at it, just because we felt that with the red flag, we were going to lose time if we didn’t just try it. It was probably the wrong way to go, so now we know that and we will go back and adjust for qualifying and hopefully we will be OK.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda): “Overall, a good day for the SealMaster Honda No. 18 team. We started pretty good this morning after we made a change. The car was not really in the zone to begin with, then we made one change and it brought things to life. I did a decent lap and it held up for the rest of the session. This afternoon the track gripped up, the temperature went up and it seemed to be tough on the tires. We are not quite where we should be on the speed report, maybe three tenths (of a second) off, so we’ll see if we can fine-tune things and optimize for tomorrow. It is going to be a bit of a challenge tomorrow because it is going to cool off and it is very likely to rain tonight. We’ll see what happens.”

SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 19 Paysafe Honda): “My first official day in the No. 19 Paysafe car was really good. To end up P6 in the first session was very nice. We’re obviously still working on the car. We struggled a bit more with the understeer in the second practice session, but I’m confident we’ll get it sorted out. The track is ridiculously bumpy and very fast. It’s a little ‘icy’ too, so it’s a little bit like a skating rink for race cars, but I’m very much enjoying my time here, enjoying the track and driving the car.”

JORDAN KING (No. 20 Allegiant International Chevrolet): “We had a good feel of the circuit today and we got up to speed quite quickly. At the beginning of the second session, coming into the last corner, I lost the rear and got a bit of a snap. It wasn’t a big thing, but by the time I caught the car, I was in too wide and then, obviously, the wall was right there. When we touched the wall, it broke the left rear which caused me to go across the circuit and hit the right side of the car. It’s really annoying because it was a tiny error, but it was quite costly.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “We made some good improvements today. The second session was definitely a lot better, especially on blacks (Firestone primary tires). We didn’t get a good run in on reds (Firestone alternate tires) because of traffic and the red flag periods, but we are still encouraged. I am looking forward to qualifying in the morning and having the first race of the weekend tomorrow afternoon.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was a good day. I think the No. 22 DXC Technology Chevy is getting to where I want to be. This weekend we’re in a Chevy town, so we want to do well for them. We have strong competition from the Hondas. It’s going to be tough, but I feel like we’ve done a great job from Practice 1 to Practice 2, so we’re improving the car. Tomorrow, we’re going to try and get into the Firestone Fast Six.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet):
“It was kind of a scattered session. Every time we were getting ready to do a quick lap, it went red or yellow or we got held up in traffic. I’m a little disappointed with where we are on the timing sheets – I know there’s more in the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet. We found a couple of things in the setup that were much improved toward the end of that last session. I think we did our fastest lap time with old tires and a lot of fuel in the car, so that’s not bad at all. We’re not happy with 20th, but the Carlin team has done a great job preparing for this race. We rolled off the truck looking really good, so we’ll continue to make improvements tonight and hopefully have a solid qualifying session tomorrow morning and a good race result.”

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Relay Group 1001 Honda):
“Day 1 in Detroit is done and I’m happy with it. I’ve never raced here, so it’s been a little bit of a learning experience. To be seventh quick in the morning, 10th quick in the afternoon and only a tenth (of a second) out of the top five – I have a lot to feel good about. I think the Relay car is a lot stronger than it showed in the second session. I’m really excited. I’ve never felt more confident that I can start in the top six, and I’ve never felt more confident that I have a car that can run in the top five and put me in a position to win. We just have to make sure we make small changes and make good decisions tomorrow because it’s going to be a busy day.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda): “It was a good day, the Ruoff Home Mortgage car is a fast race car. We had a bit of a disjointed session with going opposite of some people on tire strategy. With that being said, we’re really happy and looking forward to tomorrow. Hopefully, there are no curveballs with the weather and we can carry on with where we are.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “It’s a lot of fun around here. You really have to wheel the car to get it done, but hats off to the Andretti Autosport team. We came here with a much better car this year. I was really happy with the balance on the DHL car, even to start out with. The car was basically doing the fundamentals that I needed it to do, the front was working well and from there we just kept chipping away at it. It was a good first practice today, but a lot is riding on tomorrow with qualifying and Race 1.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Fifth Third Bank Honda): “The day was a little bit of a mixture of results. We found some positives, but mostly we were struggling with an issue with the brakes and other things, so and never really solved them. It never felt comfortable, unfortunately, and with the short sessions, that’s what we’ve got. At least we have been competitive here most of the time, so we will see how it turns out in qualifying.”

RENE BINDER (No. 32 Binderholz tiptop Timber Chevrolet): “It’s been a difficult first day in Detroit – the first time I have been to this circuit. It’s really tricky and the most difficult track I have ever drove on. I’m trying to get used to the bumps and the circuit. The more laps we are able to do, the better I will get. I am looking forward to tomorrow and will do my best.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet):
“It wasn’t bad for us today. Outside of the Penske cars, we were the fastest Chevrolet car out there – I think that’s the first time we’ve done that this season. We’ve been right up there all day in the timing sheets, but we dropped down at the end of the session because a lot of the other cars went to reds (Firestone alternate tires) toward the end. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the balance and hopefully we can get a clean day ahead of us tomorrow.”

GABBY CHAVES (No. 88 Harding Group Chevrolet):
“Just finished the first day of practice in Detroit. We found a lot that we could improve on in between practice sessions, so we’re really happy with that. We still need to work on a few things, but for the most part, it was good to use the second session to get some laps in and work out the kinks on some things. Overall, I’m very happy with the direction we’ve taken. The results don’t show it yet, but I think we’ll keep improving this weekend.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 AutoNation / Curb Honda):
“It was a pretty good Day 1. We know where the time is, so that’s good. From here we just have small changes, and then hopefully we’re able to execute in qualifying and we can have a really good race for the AutoNation team.”

 

NASCAR Monster Cup, Xfinity Series heads to Pocono this weekend; Camping World Series off this week

RACE PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF NASCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

 

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Pocono 400

The Place: Pocono Raceway

The Date: Sunday, June 3

The Time: 2 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, 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)

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Pocono Green 250

The Place: Pocono Raceway

The Date: Saturday, June 2

The Time: 1 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 250 miles (100 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 25),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 50), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 100)

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: Rattlesnake 400

The Place: Texas Motor Speedway

The Date: Friday, June 8

The Time: 9 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 8 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 250.5 miles (167 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 40),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 80), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 167)

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

 

Kyle Busch Looking for Another Win Streak

Fresh off a career day at Charlotte Motor Speedway, last week’s race winner Kyle Busch returns to Pocono Raceway for the Pocono 400 (on Sunday, June 3 at 2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) hoping to ride the wave of success.

 

As his did in Charlotte on Sunday night, Busch picked up his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win at the Pocono 2.5-miler last July – his only win in 26 starts at the track. It was a strong showing, however, with Busch winning from the Busch Pole position – a place he started at both Pocono races in 2017.

 

The driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota has been finishing nearly as well as he starts at Pocono. He has three Busch pole awards (August 2015 was the other) and four top-10 finishes in the last six Pocono races, including the last three-straight. He led 100 laps in this race last year and finished ninth. He led 74 laps in the second Pocono race later in the summer en route to his first victory at the track.

 

Harvick Is Right Back At It

Although Kevin Harvick’s two-race winning streak was rather abruptly halted Sunday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a last-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600, he can arrive at Pocono Raceway feeling hopeful.

 

Harvick has yet to visit Victory Lane at the 2.5-mile “Tricky Triangle” and is 0-for-34 there.  He has led laps in only five of the last 15 races (63 total laps). However, last season was a sign that his fortune may be changing.

 

He was runner-up in both races (to Ryan Blaney and to Kyle Busch) and has posted four second-place finishes among six top-10s in the last seven races at Pocono. His overall average finish since 2005 – despite not visiting Victory Lane – is 10.5, trailing only Erik Jones’ 5.5 average finish.

 

Quiet Success for Logano

Penske Racing’s Joey Logano is keeping a stealth eye on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings. He is second to Charlotte winner Kyle Busch by 67 points, which isn’t too shabby considering Busch has four wins to Logano’s one. And Logano’s 10 top-10 finishes equals the outstanding top-10 production of both Busch and five-time season winner Kevin Harvick.

 

He has three top-five finishes in the last five races, including the Talladega victory, and he’s led laps in all but three of the season’s 13 races.

 

It all should make an encouraging outlook at Pocono for Logano, who won this race in 2012 from the Busch Pole position. But, he’ll have to turn around a recent string of poor finishes at Pocono to come out on top. Despite five top-10s in the last eight races there, his most recent three starts netted finishes of 37th, 23rd and 27th.

 

Fond Memories for Hamlin

The “Tricky Triangle” as Pocono is lovingly known, has been one of the most productive venues for Denny Hamlin, who won the first two Pocono starts of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career, sweeping the 2006 season races as a 25-year-old rookie. And of note – both of those wins came from the Busch Pole position.

 

He scored another set of back-to-back victories while winning the second Pocono race of 2009 and the first of 2010. More recently, he has five top-10s in his last eight starts at the track.

 

It bodes well for Hamlin, who is one of five drivers ranked among the top 10 in points without a victory in 2018. Third place is the best showing for Hamlin this season and he’s done it three times (Daytona, Richmond, and this past Sunday night at Charlotte). He has four top-10 finishes in the last five races and has led laps in 10 of the season’s 13 races to date. His eight top-five finishes are second only to Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick who all have 10.

 

“We’re just third or fourth best every week,’’ the driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota said Sunday night after his third-place finish at Charlotte. “That’s frustrating, but it could be 35 spots worse.”

 

“We’re either really good or we’re average at best. We need to get a little bit better. I think the 78 (Truex), the 4 (Harvick) and the 18 (Kyle Busch) are all a little bit faster than us and we’re just kind of right there next in line.’’

 

Kurt Busch is Heating Up

Pocono may just be the venue that Kurt Busch uses to automatically punch his ticket to NASCAR’s Playoffs. The former series champion has three wins and two Busch Pole Awards there. And he has three top-five finishes — including a 2016 victory – in his last six Pocono races.

 

Busch has looked impressive this year in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Ford and takes a streak of four consecutive top-10 finishes into Pocono this weekend. He has seven top-10s through the season’s 13 races and is ranked sixth in the points standings – and his three Stewart-Haas teammates join him in the championship top-10. Kevin Harvick is third, Clint Bowyer is eighth and Aric Almirola in 10th.

Pocono Could Be the One for Erik Jones

Granted it’s based on only two starts, but second-year Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Erik Jones has already put up impressive numbers at Pocono Raceway – enough to statistically make him the top-rated driver in several key loop data categories (which includes races since 2005).

 

Jones finished third in his Monster Energy Series debut at this race last June – his first career Cup top five – and answered with an eighth-place finish later in the summer. So, his 5.5 average finish and 8.312 average running position help boost his driver rating to a 106.5, the series-best.

 

And while two races are not enough of a sample size to properly compare with those who have been racing at Pocono for a dozen years, it does provide plenty of optimism for his visit this weekend.

 

He ran 290 of the two races’ 320 laps in the top-15 and led laps in both races. His 20 laps out front in this race last year was his second-highest total of laps led his rookie season, second to an impressive 260 laps out front and a runner-up finish at Bristol in the fall.

 

Jones has five top 10s through the first 13 races of 2018 in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota and led a season-high 64 laps before posting a season-best finish of fourth at Texas Motor Speedway last month. He’s ranked 13th in the points standings – well within the early-look top-16 threshold for qualifying for the Playoffs.

 

Sunoco Rookie Runs

Pocono Raceway is a significant venue for one of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ high-profile Sunoco rookies, Bubba Wallace. This is where Wallace made his series debut last year (finishing 26th), filling in for the injured Aric Almirola in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports car he now drives full-time.

 

Wallace is in a tight Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle with Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron, whose tough-luck day at Charlotte (he finished 39th after being involved in an incident) helped significantly tighten the points standings between them.

 

Wallace, who finished 16th at Charlotte, has one top-five effort – a runner-up finish in the season-opening Daytona 500 – and is ranked 23rd in the standings. Byron, who has one top-10 and three DNFs in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, is ranked 22nd – a slim two points ahead of Wallace.

 

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

 

Aero Package Highlights Return To Pocono Raceway

Pocono Raceway has been a 2.5-mile track since 1971, but it wasn’t until recently (2016) that the NASCAR Xfinity Series started competing at the famous triangular-shaped facility. In the series’ third trip to the “Tricky Triangle” this weekend, fans and media alike will have the opportunity to see some action-packed, close racing as the aero package that incorporates the enlarged splitter and spoiler, specially designed air ducts and restrictor plates will be used in the Pocono Green “250″ Recycled by JP Mascaro & Sons on June 2 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

This specific aero package hasn’t been used in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since last season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where it set track records in green flag passes for the lead (29) and lead changes (16).

 

Kyle Larson took home the checkered flag in the inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Pocono Raceway in 2016, a race that saw three green flag passes for the lead and six total lead changes. Then last season, Brad Keselowski grabbed the win in an event with 10 green flag passes for the lead and 12 lead changes.

 

With 10 different drivers winning the first 11 races of this season, another new winner could again be on the horizon. Three drivers in the top five of the series championship driver points – standings leader Elliott Sadler, fourth place Daniel Hemric and fifth place Cole Custer – are all still looking for their first win of 2018. Of the top five in championship points, the same three are the only ones with previous experience at Pocono – average finishes: Sadler (5.0), Custer (7.0), Hemric (9.0). Sunoco Rookies Christopher Bell (second in the driver standings) and Tyler Reddick (third in the driver standings) will be making their series debuts at Pocono this weekend.

 

A Look At The Top Five In Points Nearing Halfway Of The Regular Season

Nearing the halfway point of the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season, the top five drivers in the title hunt are all still within 62 points of the standings lead, making the regular season championship and the 15 Playoff points that go with it still anyone’s to win. Here is a quick look at the top five in points and their accomplishments this season:

 

  1. Elliott Sadler – No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro – is the current standings leader with a 48-point lead over second place Christopher Bell. Sadler has held the points lead following all but two races thus far this season. In 11 starts in 2018, Sadler has posted nine top fives and 11 top 10s.  He also has produced a series-leading 4.6 average finish this season and won three stages, accumulating three Playoff points. Coming into this weekend, Sadler has made both previous series starts at Pocono, posting one top five, two top 10s and an average finish of 5.0. Sadler is looking to end a winless streak that has reached 51 consecutive races, dating back to Kentucky in 2016.

 

  1. Christopher Bell – No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry – resides in second in the series driver standings, 48 points behind Elliott Sadler in the points lead, and a mere seven points ahead of third-place Tyler Reddick. Bell and the No. 20 JGR team were dinged with a 10-point penalty following Charlotte, but were able to hold onto second in the standings. In 11 starts this season, Bell has amassed three poles, one win (Richmond), seven top fives and an average finish of 10.9. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender has also accumulated seven Playoff points this season – five from his win at Richmond and two more from stage wins. This weekend will be a challenge for Bell, as it will be his debut in this aero package and his series track debut at Pocono Raceway.

 

  1. Tyler Reddick – No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro – currently hangs on to third in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver championship standings, just seven points behind second-place Christopher Bell and just two points ahead of fourth-place Daniel Hemric. Reddick kicked the season off with a big win at Daytona and since has been trying to navigate the steep learning curve a title hunt in your rookie season can throw at you. In 11 starts this season, Reddick has posted one win (Daytona), two top fives, seven top 10s and an average finish of 11.1. This weekend will be Reddick’s series track debut at Pocono Raceway, but he is not a stranger to the new aero package as he competed at Indianapolis last season for Chip Ganassi Racing – he started 18th but finished 37th after being caught in an incident.

 

  1. Daniel Hemric – No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Camaro – sits fourth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings two points back from Tyler Reddick in third and five points ahead of fifth-place Cole Custer. After a slow start to the season, Hemric has found his stride in the title hunt. In 11 starts this season, Hemric has produced two poles, four top fives, seven top 10s and an average finish of 11.1. Hemric has also won two stages, accumulating two Playoff points. He made series track debut at Pocono last season, starting second and finishing ninth. He also competed at Indianapolis last season in the aero package that will be run this weekend, posting an eighth-place finish.

 

  1. Cole Custer – No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang – rounds out the top five in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings, five points behind fourth-place Daniel Hemric and 15 points ahead of sixth-place Justin Allgaier. Custer’s talent is continuing to blossom before our eyes. In 11 starts this season, he has posted two poles, two top fives and eight top 10s (second-most this season behind Elliott Sadler’s 11). His average finish this season is 10.7. Custer made his series track debut at Pocono last season; starting third and finishing seventh. He also competed at Indianapolis last season, posting a top five in the aero package that will be run this weekend at Pocono.

Paul Menard To Debut In The Team Penske No. 22

Paul Menard will race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this weekend at Pocono riding in the No. 22 Ford for Team Penske. He last drove in a Xfinity contest in 2017 and registered three top-10 finishes in seven starts, including a second-place showing at Indianapolis.

 

Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford is currently second in the Xfinity Series owner standings. It trails first-place Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota team by 67 points through the first 11 races of the season.

 

The No. 22 has reached Victory Lane four times this season with three different drivers: Brad Keselowski (Phoenix, Charlotte), Joey Logano (Auto Club) and Ryan Blaney (Texas).

 

Menard claims three career Xfinity Series victories.  His last win came at Road America in 2015.

Fast And Furious: Grala Places 10th In Debut With Fury Race Cars

Eleven days ago, promising 19-year-old NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Kaz Grala was left without a ride after his JGL Racing Team shut down operations.

 

Luckily for Grala, Fury Race Cars stepped in. Prior to last weekend, Fury Race Cars had only competed in the Late Model and Modified divisions of NASCAR in its first two years of existence.

 

Grala didn’t disappoint the upstart organization in its series debut, placing 10th in Saturday’s Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was the second top-10 finish of the season for the Massachusetts native, who sits 16th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings.

 

“Our debut performance at Charlotte is going to be hard to follow up, but that’s not stopping anyone here at Fury Race Cars from working hard to get even better. I can’t wait to see how it goes,” said Grala.

 

The Sunoco Rookie of Year contender is scheduled to run the next three series contests for Fury Race Cars, and this weekend will be his series track debut at Pocono Raceway.

 

“I love going to Pocono because it’s one of the quirkiest tracks on the circuit. I’ve done two races there before in ARCA and Trucks, with a pole in the ARCA race,” said Grala. “With our aero package this weekend, however, I’m not sure how much prior experience is going to matter. Nobody knows exactly what to expect or what kind of racing style we will see on Saturday, so I have to be prepared for anything.”

 

Playoff Bubble Update: Cindric Clutches On To Final Spot

Nearing the halfway point of the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season the competitive intensity is rising as several drivers need to better position themselves if they want a shot at the postseason. Currently Austin Cindric, who has split seat time between Roush Fenway Racing and Team Penske this season, holds the 12th and final Playoff spot in the series; just 19 points ahead of 13th-place Michael Annett and 21 points ahead of 14th-place Ross Chastain – both of whom made the Playoffs last season.

 

This season Austin Cindric has made 11 starts posting one top five, four top 10s and average finish of 18.7. This weekend will be Cindric’s series track debut at Pocono Raceway.

 

Xfinity Series Quick Facts: Pocono Raceway

Below are some quick statistics to get you in the know for this weekend’s Pocono Green “250″ Recycled by JP Mascaro & Sons at Pocono Raceway on June 2 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

  • Races: 2
  • Race Winners: Kyle Larson (2016), Brad Keselowski (2017)
  • Youngest Race Winner: Kyle Larson (June 4, 2016 – 23 years, 6 months, 4 days)
  • Oldest Race Winner: Brad Keselowski (June 10, 2017 – 33 years, 3 months, 29 days)
  • Poles: 2
  • Pole Winners:  Erik Jones (2016), Kyle Benjamin (2017)
  • Youngest Pole Winner: Kyle Benjamin (June 10, 2017 – 19 years, 7 months, 7 days)
  • Oldest Pole Winner: Erik Jones (June 4, 2016 – 20 years, 0 Months, 5 days)
  • 2017 Stage Winners: Brad Keselowski (Stage 1 and Stage 2)
  • Kyle Larson is the only driver to finish in the top-five in each of the two NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Pocono Raceway.
  • Four drivers have posted two top-10 finishes in the two series starts at Pocono Raceway – Ty Dillon, Kyle Larson, Elliott Sadler and Daniel Suarez.
  • A total of 10 different series drivers have led laps at Pocono, led by Kyle Larson with 42.

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series, Etc.

Monsters Invade Pocono – This weekend just three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers will be competing at Pocono Raceway – Kyle Busch (No. 18 Toyota), Paul Menard (No. 22 Ford) and Chase Elliott (No. 23 Chevrolet). Busch, the series leader in wins (91), is looking to add to his record total with a win this weekend; he finished fourth in this event in 2016.

Lots Of Series Track Debuts This Weekend – Experience will be at a premium come Saturday in the Pocono Green “250″ Recycled by JP Mascaro & Sons at Pocono Raceway on June 2 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio as 15 of 41 drivers entered will be making their NASCAR Xfinity Series track debut.

Pocono Inks Multi-Year Deal With JP Mascaro & Sons -  Pocono Raceway announced this month a multi-year partnership with J. P. Mascaro & Sons under which the June 2 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at ‘The Tricky Triangle’ has been named the Pocono Green 250 Recycled by J. P. Mascaro & Sons. Also, as part of this partnership, J.P. Mascaro & Sons will serve as at the ‘Official Waste Services and Recycling Provider of Pocono Raceway.’

 

“Being a family business ourselves, we welcome the opportunity to partner with J. P. Mascaro & Sons, a third-generation family-owned and operated business that is an industry leader in waste service and recycling solutions,” said Pocono Raceway’s President, Ben May.

 

Tickets to the Pocono Green 250 Recycled by J. P. Mascaro & Sons are available starting at $25.00 for adults and free for kids, ages 12 and under. For tickets and more information, visit www.poconoraceway.com/tickets.

 

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Johnny Sauter Seeks Fourth Victory in Texas

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has another weekend off before they hit the road to Texas Motor Speedway for the Rattlesnake 400 on Friday, June 8 (at 9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Johnny Sauter is having a career-season with three wins so far in 2018 (Daytona, Dover and Charlotte). Sauter’s victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway marked his first at the track and 20th career series win. It was also his 10th win with GMS Racing since joining the team in 2016.

Sauter now has 20 consecutive top-10 finishes at 1.5-mile tracks.

 

The last time the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series went to Texas, Sauter took home the victory. He’s been a strong contender at the speedway, having visited it 19 times. He has four wins at the track, nine top fives, 15 top 10s and three poles.

 

Could Sauter go back-to-back and win not only two races in a row but two in a row at Texas? Quite possibly. Sauter has won two races in a consecutively three times in his career – 2013, 2016 and 2017.

 

It should be noted that of his 20 career wins, Sauter has won the most at Texas with four followed by three each at Martinsville and Daytona.

Sauter Racing to History

Sauter has become the sixth different driver in series history to post three or more wins (Daytona, Dover and Charlotte) in the first seven races of the season; joining Kyle Busch (four wins: 2014, 2011), Matt Crafton (three wins: 2015), Mike Skinner (three wins: 2007, 1996, 1995), Ron Hornaday Jr. (three wins: 1995) and Ted Musgrave (three wins: 2001).

 

If Sauter wins at Texas, he will be the third driver in series history to post four or more wins in the first eight races of the season. Kyle Busch and Mike Skinner are the only other drivers to ever do that.

 

In 1995, Mike Skinner won eight of the 20 series races and captured the championship. Like Sauter, he won three of the first seven races (and went on to win four of the first eight races). None of the other drivers went on to win the championship after posting three or more wins in the first seven races of the season.

 

Looking ahead to Texas, Sauter has visited Fort Worth 19 times in his career and has been very successful. Matt Crafton is the only driver who has visited the track more than Sauter with 34 trips to the 1.5-mile oval.

 

So far this season, Sauter hasn’t started outside of the top ten and has finished in the top five in every race except for Martinsville, where he finished 19th.

 

Since the second race at Martinsville last year, Sauter has run in ten races total and hasn’t finished outside of the top-five in any of them except Martinsville this spring. Of those ten races, he won five of them.

 

In 2017, Sauter had his career-best tally with four wins. Only seven races into the 2018 season and he is one win away from tying that record and then he aims to pass it.

 

Year         Wins
2014            1
2015            0
2016            3
2017            4
2018            3

Texas Motor Speedway Trends

Looking back at some of the interesting trends coming out of Texas Motor Speedway, from 2014 to 2017 the eventual series champion won at the track each year. Matt Crafton won at Texas in 2014 and went ahead to win the championship. In 2015 Erik Jones did the same, followed by Johnny Sauter in 2016 and Christopher Bell in 2017.

 

Before 2014, this happened four times. In 2010 and 2006 for Todd Bodine, in 2001 for Jack Sprague and in 2000 for Greg Biffle.

 

Could this track be a helpful hint when foreshadowing the next champion?

There are only four active drivers in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series who have won a race at Texas Motor Speedway – Kyle Busch, Matt Crafton, Travis Kvapil and Johnny Sauter.

Crafton Craves a Win

Matt Crafton is still struggling to get his first win of the year. His most recent win was last season at Eldora, which was also his only win of the season. The veteran rules on 1.5-mile tracks in the past but has not had any success so far this year.

 

He has visited Texas 34 times, the most of any driver in the series, but only has two wins at the track.

 

However, he has 13 top fives and 23 top 10s under his belt to go with those two wins (2014 and 2015). Crafton has only finished outside of the top-10 in 11 of his 34 starts at Texas. Since the second race at Texas in 2013, he has placed in the top five eight times.

 

He led the most laps of his career at Texas in 2016 with 133, a race in which he finished second.

 

The last time Crafton finished a season without winning a race was in 2012, although there are still 16 races left in the season for him to fight back.

 

Right now, Crafton sits in sixth place in the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings down 92 points from the standings lead.

OEM Battle

Ford has yet to win a race yet this season. So far, Chevrolet leads with four wins and 263 points and Toyota is behind them with 3 wins and 253 points. Ford has accumulated 228 points, putting the manufacturer in third place.

 

Heading into Texas Motor Speedway, a Ford has only three victories at the track and the last one was in 2000. Since then, Chevrolet and Toyota have dominated the track.

 

From 2014 to the first race at Texas in 2016, a Toyota has won five times. The second race at Texas in 2016 was won by a Chevrolet and the same thing happened in 2017.

Texas Motor Speedway Quick Facts

Oval: 1.5 miles

Width: 58 feet (minimum)

Turns: 750-foot radius

Banking: 20 degrees in Turns 1 and 2, 24 degrees in Turns 3 and 4, five degrees in straightaways

Frontstretch: 2,250 feet long

Backstretch: 1,330 feet long

Fastest Race: 158.002 mph/1 hr., 23 mins., 44 sec. – Erik Jones (2015)

Slowest Race: 109.988 mph/2 hr., 20 min., 44 sec. – Ron Hornaday Jr. (2008)

Qualifying Record: 185.134 mph/29.168 sec. – Noah Gragson (2017)

Closest Winning Margin: 0.116 of a second (Tom Bodine over Mike Skinner, 2006)

Largest Winning Margin: 13.302 seconds (Matt Crafton over Justin Lofton, 2014)

Winner’s Best Starting Position: 1st – Jay Sauter (1999), Greg Biffle (2000), Bryan Reffner (2000), Clint Bowyer (2006), Todd Bodine (2007)

Winner’s Furthest Starting Position: 22nd – Todd Bodine (2004)

Most Laps Led by Winner: 140 – Ron Hornaday Jr. (2008)

Most Laps Led by Non-Race Winner: 133 – Matt Crafton (2016)

Fewest Laps Led by Winner: 1 – Todd Bodine (2006)

Youngest Winner: William Byron, 18 years, 6 months, 13 days (2016)

Oldest Winner: Ron Hornaday Jr., 52 years, 11 months, 21 days (2011)

Most Lead Changes: 19 (2011, 2015)

Most Leaders: 11 (2011)

Fewest Lead Changes: 1 (1997)

Fewest Leaders: 2 (1997, 2006)

Most Cautions: 10 (2011, 2017)

Most Caution Laps: 46 (1998, 2011)

Fewest Cautions: 1 (2015)

Fewest Caution Laps: 5 (2015)

Most Cars Finishing on Lead Lap: 24 (2005)

Fewest Cars Finishing on Lead Lap: 6 (2000, 2002, 2007)

 

IndyCar heads to Detroit for dual races

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR MEDIA RELATIONS & COMMUNICATIONS

 

Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear Fast Facts

 

Race weekend: Friday, June 1 – Sunday, June 3

Track: Raceway at Belle Isle Park, a 2.35-mile, 14-turn temporary street course (clockwise)

Race distance: 70 laps / 164.5 miles (both races)

Entry List: Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear (PDF)

Push-to-pass parameters: 150 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 15 seconds per activation. (for each race)

Firestone tire allotment: Nine sets primary, four sets alternate (weekend). Teams must use one new set of primary and alternate tires in each race.

Twitter: @DetroitGP @IndyCar, #DetroitGP, #IndyCar

Event website: http://www.DetroitGP.com

INDYCAR website: www.IndyCar.com

2017 race winner: Race 1: Graham Rahal (No. 15 SoldierStrong / TurnsForTroops.com Honda); Race 2: Graham Rahal (No. 15 SoldierStrong / TurnsForTroops.com Honda)

2017 Verizon P1 Award winners: Race 1: Graham Rahal (No. 15 SoldierStrong / TurnsForTroops.com Honda) 1:13.9681, 114.374 mph; Race 2: Takuma Sato, (No. 26 Andretti Autosport Honda) 1:13.6732, 114.831 mph.

Qualifying lap record: Takuma Sato, 1:13.6732, 114.831 mph, June 4, 2017

ABC race broadcasts: Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3 (3:30 p.m. ET)

Allen Bestwick is the lead announcer for ABC broadcasts alongside analysts Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever Jr. Rick DeBruhl and Jon Beekhuis are the pit reporters.

Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts: Mark Jaynes is the chief announcer alongside analyst Anders Krohn with Jake Query and Nick Yeoman in the turns. All Verizon IndyCar Series races are broadcast live on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, Sirius 214, XM 209, IndyCar.comindycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app. All Verizon IndyCar Series practice and qualifying sessions are available on IndyCar.comindycarradio.com and on the INDYCAR Mobile app.

Video streaming: All practice sessions and qualifying for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will stream live on RaceControl.IndyCar.com and on the INDYCAR YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/indycar)

At-track schedule (all times local):

Friday, June 1

11:20 a.m. -12:05 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #1

3:10 – 3:55 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series practice #2

4 – 4:20 p.m. – Verizon IndyCar Series pit stop practice

Saturday, June 2

10:55-11:25 a.m. – Race 1 qualifying for Verizon P1 Award (two groups/12 minutes each), IndyCar.com (live)

3:03 p.m. – Driver introductions

3:43 p.m. – Command to start engines

3:50 p.m. – Chevrolet Dual in Detroit #1 (70 laps/164.5 miles), ABC (live)

Sunday, June 3

10:45-11:15 a.m. – Race 2 qualifying for Verizon P1 Award (two groups/12 minutes each), IndyCar.com (live)

2:59 p.m. – Driver introductions

3:43 p.m. – Command to start engines

3:50 p.m. – Chevrolet Dual in Detroit #2 (70 laps/164.5 miles), ABC (live)

Race notes:

* The Chevrolet Dual in Detroit will be the 24th and 25th Indy car races conducted at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park and the 27th and 28th Indy car races held in Detroit. A 2.5-mile street circuit in downtown Detroit hosted CART events from 1989-1991.

* Sebastien Bourdais, Will Power and Graham Rahal have each won twice at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park, the most by an active Indy car driver at the track. Helio Castroneves won three times at Belle Isle, the most of any driver. In addition to Bourdais, Power and Rahal, other previous Belle Isle winners entered include Tony Kanaan (2007), Scott Dixon (2012) and Simon Pagenaud (2013, Race #2).

* There have been 16 different pole winners in the previous 23 races. Pole winners entered in this year’s race are: Graham Rahal (2017, Race 1), Takuma Sato (2014, Race 2; 2017, Race 2), Simon Pagenaud (2016 – both races), Will Power (2015, Race 1) and Scott Dixon (2008 and 2012).

* Four drivers have won the race from the pole: Graham Rahal (2017, Race 1), Scott Dixon (2012), Helio Castroneves (2001) and Robby Gordon (1995).

* The driver who has gone on to win the championship has won at Detroit four times. Will Power won Race 2 in 2014, Alex Zanardi won on Belle Isle in 1998, Bobby Rahal won at Belle Isle in 1992 and Emerson Fittipaldi won in downtown Detroit in 1989.

* Since 1995, seven drivers have won the seventh race of the season and won the championship. They are: Dario Franchitti (2009, Iowa), Scott Dixon (2008, Texas, and 2003, Richmond), Sebastien Bourdais (2005, Edmonton), Sam Hornish Jr. (2006, Richmond), Cristiano da Matta (2002, Chicago), Greg Ray (1999, Dover), Kenny Brack (1998, Charlotte) and Tony Stewart (1997, Charlotte). Ten drivers have won the eighth race of the season and won the championship. They are: Franchitti (2011, Milwaukee; 2007, Iowa), Bourdais (2007, Edmonton; 2005, San Jose), Hornish (2006, Kansas; 2002, Richmond), Tony Kanaan (2004, Nashville), da Matta (2002, Toronto), Buddy Lazier (2000, Kentucky), Gil de Ferran (2000, Portland), Ray (1999, Pikes Peak), Alex Zanardi (1998, Detroit) and Brack (1998, Pikes Peak).

* Tony Kanaan has competed in 15 previous races at Belle Isle, most of any driver. Thirteen drivers entered have led laps at the track (Graham Rahal 107, Simon Pagenaud 93, Scott Dixon 83, Will Power 47, Takuma Sato 44, Sebastien Bourdais 38, Kanaan 30, Marco Andretti 24, Ryan Hunter-Reay 20, James Hinchcliffe 11, Josef Newgarden 7, Charlie Kimball 3 and Alexander Rossi 1.)

* There have been four different winners in six Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2018. Sebastien Bourdais (Streets of St. Petersburg), Alexander Rossi (Streets of Long Beach), Josef Newgarden (ISM Raceway and Barber Motorsports Park) and Will Power (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course and Indianapolis Motor Speedway) have won races in 2018.

* There have been six different Verizon P1 Award winners in 2018. Robert Wickens (Streets of St. Petersburg), Sebastien Bourdais (ISM Raceway), Alexander Rossi (Streets of Long Beach), Josef Newgarden (Barber Motorsports Park), Will Power (Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course) and Ed Carpenter (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) have won poles in 2018. The record for most pole winners in a season is 12 set in the 1999 CART season.

* The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will be the fifth and sixth races on a road/street course in 2018. The first four races were won by Sebastien Bourdais (St. Petersburg), Alexander Rossi (Long Beach), Josef Newgarden (Barber) and Will Power (INDYCAR Grand Prix).

* Six drivers will race Verizon IndyCar Series cars at the Raceway at Belle Isle for the first time: Rene Binder, Santino Ferrucci, Jordan King, Matheus Leist, Zach Veach and Robert Wickens. Ferrucci will be making his series debut.

* Tony Kanaan seeks to start his 290th consecutive race this weekend, which would extend his Indy car record streak that began in June 2001 at Portland. Scott Dixon has made 230 consecutive starts heading into the weekend which is the second-longest streak in Indy car racing.

*  Drivers may engage their “push-to-pass” for a total of 150 seconds during each race, with a maximum duration of 15 seconds for any one activation. The push-to-pass is not available on the initial race start or any restart unless it occurs in the final two laps or three minutes of a timed race. The feature increases the power of the engine by approximately 60 horsepower.

CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX PRE-EVENT QUOTES:

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “There are some years that you kind of wish the weekend after Indianapolis was off because it’s such a long time away from home, but this year is a bit different. There seems to be a lot of buzz and excitement around Will’s Indy 500 win, so why not keep that going with a great weekend of racing in Detroit with the No. 1 Hitachi Chevrolet. The Indy 500 is a big deal to everyone in the field, but Detroit is a huge deal to Team Penske as well. You know the effort Roger (Penske) has put into this race and this city, with the help of Chevrolet. I’m really looking forward to seeing what new things have been done to the island since last year. It’s really a unique place.”

MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “First of all, I’ve never been there so we are going to do the sim tomorrow to do some preparation for the race and I think we’ve been pretty strong on the street courses so far so I think the team might have a pretty good setup for Detroit too. It looks like a pretty tricky track, pretty bumpy. I think everyone is starting to get a little bit closer to each other after all the races that we’ve been done so I’m looking forward to a great race and finishing in the top 10.” (About racing a doubleheader): “I think it’s going to be just the same as Indy Lights, of course, the races are longer but it’s still pretty much the same format as the Indy Lights races. Since I started racing single-seaters, it’s been like this, two races a weekend, sometimes three races, so I think it’s going to be okay and I’m excited.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Electronics SPM Honda): “I don’t think anyone is looking as forward to getting to Detroit as I am. We are obviously pretty keen to put May behind us and look forward to the rest of the championship. We were on the podium here last year and have had decent pace on the street circuits, so fingers crossed we can have a strong weekend in the Arrow Electronics car and get our season back on track.”

ROBERT WICKENS (No. 6 Lucas Oil SPM Honda): “The ‘month of May’ is done and I’m ready to get back to normal life. I’m really excited for Detroit – a doubleheader weekend. It’s actually going to be something I’m pretty used to because, for the last handful of years racing in DTM, we always did doubleheaders: a race on Saturday and a race on Sunday. It’s going to be a fun one, it’s going to be challenging, and a new track for me. I think everyone on the No. 6 Lucas Oil car and everyone at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports is going to do a great job. I’m sure James [Hinchcliffe] is going to be hungrier than ever to come back, and I’m going to be feeding off of that energy.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “Detroit is always a big challenge. It’s physical, it’s mentally tough on the drivers, and you have to get everything right to get your car handling correctly there. You focus on the month of May for over three weeks in Indianapolis and then you have to get back to the championship mindset immediately facing you at Detroit. And on top of that, it’s the only doubleheader of the season. We’ll be ready to go in the PNC Bank car this weekend and hopefully have another good points weekend with the No. 9 team.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “This has been an amazing week so far. When you want something so much and it finally comes true, that your hard work has paid off, it is a great feeling. Now we have to focus on Detroit with the No. 12 Verizon team because I don’t want to experience a hangover from the win when we are leading the points. And this is such an important weekend for Roger (Penske) and Chevrolet. It’s great to come here as the Indy 500 Champion, but we want to win here too because this race means a lot to a lot of people. It’s such a tough circuit that you have to be in the game from the drop of the green flag or you can have a bad day pretty quick.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Good memories from Detroit, I won my first race there in the Indy Lights Series, actually won two races in Indy Lights [1996-97] and won the IndyCar race there [2007]. Bumpy track, a doubleheader, very difficult weekend physically and especially so after a stressful month in Indy. I’m looking forward to it. We’re coming with a great momentum in the team so we’ll work to keep it going.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 United Rentals Honda): “Last year at Detroit was a great weekend for the United Rentals team, no doubt about that. Everything went according to plan; it was perfect.  We really need to try to replicate the performance.  This year has been really solid with top-10s every single race, completing every single lap but I would like to go to Detroit and find a way to win both of the races just like last year.  It was a dream weekend. We were fastest or second in every single practice or qualifying session and then in the race; it was just a perfect weekend. We need to find a way to make magic happen again. Looking at the long-range forecast, it looks like it will be in the low 70′s so it will be a nice and a good change from what we had in Indy. From a physicality standing point for me, it’s one of my strengths compared to others so we’ve just got to try to take advantage of that. I think our street course car is our best package that we have currently so I definitely feel really good about our situation.  I really feel Detroit should suit us extremely well. Clearly, coming off of last year, everybody in our team has a lot of confidence that we can go there and have a great weekend.  We’re going to try our best.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 Team SealMaster Honda): “Roger (Penske) and his staff do a great job putting on the Belle Isle races. The atmosphere, the facility, every year it just gets better and better. The weekend is unique with two races, which is tough on the team, but it’s the same for everyone. Obviously, I have had some success there winning a race the last two times we were there (missed 2017 due to injury), but I haven’t really qualified well. That is something we have to work on because qualifying is so important on that circuit. Unfortunately, Indy didn’t go the way we wanted, but the SealMaster Honda No. 18 team has been pretty strong on the street circuits this year. We just need to keep working hard, keep digging and have two strong performances this weekend if we’re going to get back in the championship race.”

SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 19 Paysafe Honda): “It’s a fantastic opportunity to be able to race the No. 19 Paysafe car with Dale Coyne Racing at Detroit, especially that I’ll be coming off an F2 race in Monaco. The goal is still to be a Formula 1 driver but to be racing in INDYCAR is going to be something special. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s just unfortunate that it’s under the circumstances of Pietro (Fittipaldi)’s injuries, I hope he has a speedy recovery and can come back very soon.”

JORDAN KING (No. 20 Allegiant International Chevrolet): “It’s going to be a very tough weekend physically and mentally as it’s a doubleheader. This will be the first time I have raced a full race distance twice over the course of a weekend, so that is something new I need to prepare for and get my head around. Obviously, all of the circuits I am going to this year are new, but I have driven Detroit on the simulator so hopefully, I can get up to speed quite quickly. There’s always been a bit of a steep learning curve going into a weekend, but overall, it’s been quite good. I am looking forward to another challenge!”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet): “Detroit was my first race with Ed Carpenter Racing back in 2016, so it’s almost an anniversary to go back there! I enjoy the challenges of Belle Isle and I’m excited to have the chance to race there again, especially as it’s Chevrolet’s home track. No doubt it’s going to be a tough weekend with two races coming off a busy month of May, but I know the Fuzzy’s Vodka crew is up for it. Our Indianapolis 500 did not finish quite as we were hoping for, so it’s good to be back in the car this weekend and get back after it!”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet): “After such a bad start to the season – through no fault of our own most of the time – it feels like we are turning a bit of a corner over the last three races. A lot of that has to do with our luck finally changing, but we’ve been fast as well. Detroit is a place that I’ve always enjoyed going to race. I actually got my first Verizon IndyCar Series win there in 2013, but that was prior to my time with Team Penske. I really want to win here for Roger (Penske), Chevrolet and DXC because of all the efforts that have gone into making this a very important stop on the schedule, especially coming after the Indy 500.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet): “Back-to-back races after a long month of May is always tough, but we’re really looking forward to going up to Detroit next weekend for two chances for a podium finish. The entire Carlin team has had the drive and work ethic since day one, but I think our time at the Speedway showed the paddock that we belong and we’re here to be competitive. Between weather, the track conditions and the occasional wildlife on track, Belle Isle always throws a curveball at us. I’ll be working hard to adapt quickly and get a good result for the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet Carlin team.”

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Relay Group 1001 Honda): “Detroit is the first race on the calendar that I’ve never had the opportunity to compete at. I’m really excited to get out on track and learn the course as it’s always put on a great show. It’ll be my first IndyCar double-header as well. We know it’s going to be a tough weekend but my Relay crew and I are ready for the challenge!”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda): “The Verizon IndyCar Series certainly keeps us on our toes. From eight days on -rack in Indianapolis to the streets of Detroit just five days later, we certainly need a different mindset. I have come to really enjoy driving around Belle Isle and it’s an equally important weekend as the Indy 500 in terms of points so we will be looking to capitalize. We’ll have Ruoff Home Mortgage on board this weekend, so hopefully, we can get them another win or two.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We’re heading to Detroit fifth in points, so we’re looking to keep the momentum rolling. There are as many points up for grabs in Detroit as in Indy – it’s a great opportunity for us to continue to build and move forward in the standings. We finished on the podium in Belle Isle a couple times, and we’re really looking to get the DHL team onto the top step.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Fifth Third Bank Honda): “Last year it was an unbelievable journey arriving to Detroit after winning the Indy 500 only having a couple of hours of sleep every day since that moment. Wednesday evening, I got to Detroit and the one thing I made sure of was that I was 100 percent physically prepared because I have seen great, past champions from the 500 struggle in Detroit and I just didn’t want that to be the case for myself so I focused hard on that. We pulled off quite a competitive weekend so I personally have great memories from last year in Detroit.  I think I have a great environment with the team who the last few seasons have been incredibly competitive there so I’m really looking forward to going to Detroit. It’s a very challenging track, very bumpy which is opposite from IMS and I think it is a good contrast.  The fans are enthusiastic there as well so I am looking forward to it. It’s unfortunate that in both street course events this year we couldn’t achieve the final results but I think we showed great speed and I am sure that we can continue to show the competitiveness. I’m looking forward to the Detroit races.”

RENE BINDER (No. 32 Binderholz tiptop timber Chevrolet): “I am so excited to be back in the car after five weeks away. It’s a very important race for Chevrolet as this is their home base. I am thrilled to have their support and to run with their strong engines. We will do our best as a team to make sure we put on a good show and get a good result. I have been training a lot these past few weeks and I feel I am well prepared for this week at Belle Isle.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet): “Even though we’re just coming off of a long month at IMS and a race that didn’t go our way, we’re looking forward to getting the No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet back out on-track on the streets of Belle Isle. Since I started racing here a few years ago, I’ve loved seeing how the city of Detroit gets behind the race and really turns the doubleheader into a huge city-wide event. It’s no secret that these two races make for a long, physical weekend for us as drivers, but with 100 points up for grabs we’ll be laser-focused on making sure we’re as competitive as possible.”

GABBY CHAVES (No. 88 Harding Group Chevrolet): “Excited to get going for Detroit weekend here. It’s a very challenging track physically, mentally and technically, so I’m excited to get going there and do a great job to maximize our efforts. This is especially important with it being a doubleheader weekend there’s double points on the line. So we’ll see if we can do a really good job and have a nice result for both races that will really help us get some momentum going after May.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 AutoNation / Curb Honda): “Now that Indy is done, it’s time to switch our focus and get the race win we know we have in the No. 98 machine and we have two good chances to put the AutoNation car up front in Detroit. It will be a physical race after the IMS oval, but we are prepared in every way possible. I love driving the Belle Isle circuit.”

 

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