The first of three scheduled doubleheaders on the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series calendar is planned for this weekend at Road America.
The third and fourth races apart of the 14-race IndyCar Series schedule are scheduled to be contested this Saturday and Sunday from Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin around the 4.048-mile circuit known as Road America.
The REV Group Grand Prix, which is traditionally run in June, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, and other races being forced to be scrapped, the Wisconsin race was moved to July 11th, with an additional race held on the 12th.
Alexander Rossi, the defending winner, won by an incredible 28-seconds last June from the outside pole position. The race, which went caution-free, saw Rossi lead 54 of the 55 laps. The lone lap Rossi failed to lead was in the midst of pit stop cycles on the 42nd lap. Entering the two-race weekend, Rossi sits 23rd in the IndyCar standings after mechanical gremlins forced Rossi laps down in the season-opening race at Texas Motor Speedway and a retirement in the GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course. He trails point leader Scott Dixon by 84-points.
Dixon, who has gone undefeated in IndyCar races so far this season, put on an as-equally impressive show as Rossi last June. Dixon, the five-time champion and forty eight-time race winner, was spun on the opening lap, and without the help of a caution flag, marched to a fifth-place finish throughout the 220-miler. So far this season, Dixon has captured the checkered flag in both events. He dominated the season-opening race from Texas and won with a strategy call in Saturday’s GMR Grand Prix thanks to a well-timed caution flag. Dixon has won at Road America once, 2017, in four starts.
Will Power won the first IndyCar Series sanctioned race at Road America in 2016. His start to 2020 has been great on paper, but poor in execution. Power struggled overall at Texas last month, despite running inside the top ten for a majority of the 300-miler, he ultimately finished 13th. In Saturday’s Grand Prix at Indianapolis, Power qualified on pole position and led the most laps, but the caution that gave the lead to Dixon, stuck Power in the back. He finished 20th, being the last car on the lead lap. As a result, he sits 15th in the standings, 73 points back.
The first race of the REV Group Grand Prix is scheduled for Saturday, July 11th at 5pm ET on NBCSN, with the second race Sunday, July 12th at 12:30pm ET on local NBC stations. The races will be covered by IMS Radio and SiriusXM.
The one-day show began at Noon local time with a two-hour practice session. The first official session saw a series of incidents. The first involving rookie Rinus VeeKay in turn 4, who had just set a 206mph lap around the 1.5-mile circuit in Fort Worth. VeeKay lost it, clipping the apron with his Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) Chevrolet. The next crash saw his boss losing it down the front straightway. Minimal damage was sustained to the bossan’s Dallara.
As soon as the safety crew cleaned up the scene from Carpenter’s incident, a train of cars left the pit lane. Ryan Hunter-Reay caught the wall exiting the second turn during the high-draft session around the track. His DHL Andretti Honda bounced off the wall several times before coming to a rest on the apron of turn 3.
The lone practice ended with Scott Dixon on top of the leaderboard, setting a lap averaging 215.995mph around Texas Motor Speedway. His lap was an entire mile and a half quicker than second-place Colton Herta.
The tight one-day show at Texas forced the ECR and DHL Andretti teams to repair their cars in just a two-hour window before qualifications took place at 4pm local time.
During the qualifying session, Takuma Sato suffered a crash entering turn 1. His Rahal Letterman Lanigan (RLL) No. 30 lost grip heading to the wide first corner. Sato walked out of the RLL Honda under his own power, despite his Dallara chassis being crashed.
Josef Newgarden sat on the pole, averaging 215.74mph around the Texas Motor Speedway. Scott Dixon qualified in second, saying on NBCSN that he felt he like he could push the car more.
Dixon quickly became the most dominant car once the 300-miler got underway just past 8pm EST on NBC. He would go on to lead 157 of 200 laps Saturday night, securing his fourth win from Texas and 47th overall in Indy cars.
Dixon held off his sophomore teammate late in the race, Felix Rosenqvist, when Rosenqvist lost control of his No. 10 NTT Data Honda, spinning into the outside wall in turn 2.
The race ended just before 10pm EST with Scott Dixon in victory lane with a handful of lapped cars between him and Simon Pagenaud on the final restart with three laps remaining.
The race ended under yellow when Charlie Kimball wrecked off the second turn on the final lap. Dixon was able to cruise to the flag.
Team Penske drivers Simon Pagenaud and Josef Newgarden stood on the podium positions when the checkered and yellow flew on lap 200.
American drivers. Zach Beach, Ed Carpenter, Conor Daly, Colton Herta, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Oliver Askew and the Brazilian Tony Kanaan rounded out the top ten.
Japanese driver for RLL, Takuma Sato, was unable to start the race after his qualifying crash. The Panasonic team wasn’t quick enough to repair the car and get through the inspection line before the green flag flew.
A pair of Andretti Honda’s, Alexander Rossi and Hunter-Reay, were penalized to the rear of the grid and forced to drive through pit lane after an issue with their Honda starters. Graham Rahal, who also used a Honda engine, missed the start because of an ECU issue.
Rookies of Rinus VeeKay and Alex Palou crashed out in their IndyCar debuts after just 36 laps. VeeKay caught the wall in turn two, went spinning and clipped the Palou machine.
Once again the annual NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Talladega showed excitement all the way down the to the final second. And in Saturday’s Sugarland Shine 250, there was excitement after the flag.
Johnny Sauter blocked Riley Herbst through the tri-oval on the final lap, hooking the two together, sending Herbst’s No. 51 Tundra onto the flat. Sauter was able to hold off Spencer Boyd and Todd Gilliland coming to the checkered flag, but after Sauter’s burnouts NASCAR had decided his move on Herbst was illegal.
Boyd was declared the winner, leading only that one lap from the 25th starting position.
The highest ranked Playoff driver was Brett Moffitt, who led a string of them from 4th through 8th. Stewart Friesen was 5th, Austin Hill 6th, Tyler Ankrum 7th and Matt Crafton 8th. Ross Chastain led 7 laps and on lap 87, turned himself off of Sheldon Creed from the lead, ending his day early. Chastain finished 22nd.
The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series heads to Martinsville Speedway for their next race in a couple weeks. The NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 is Oct. 26 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern on FS1.
Stage 1 Winner: Sheldon Creed
Stage 2 Winner: Stewart Friesen
Race Winner: Spencer Boyd
The 300-miler started with Austin Cindric and Christopher Bell making up the front row. Cindric would lead the field into turn 1, but Bell’s Toyota Supra was able to take the lead away early. The start was criticized by many drivers thinking someone jumped the start. No penalty was made.
Bell dominated the opening stage, leading the entire 45-lap stage. Behind him, Gragson, Reddick, Custer, Cindric and others battled for stage points while Bell won by 3 seconds.
On the lap 47 pit stops, Christopher Bell lost several spots while Justin Haley took only two tires on the stop. On the ensuing restart, Brandon Jones took the lead spot while Haley slowly faded through the field. Bell was digging back up to the front of the field when Cindric got loose under Haley, sending both cars into the turn 3 wall.
Haley’s Kaulig Camaro wasn’t terribly damaged while Cindric lost a lap for repairs.
Noah Gragson took over the lead spot on the lap 60 restart with Bell taking 2nd-place. Bell followed Gragson for a handful of laps and got around Gragson’s JR Motorsports Camaro just before Ronnie Bassett Jr. spun the No. 90 out in turn 1 on lap 69 after losing a tire. On the restart, Bell was unchallenged and pulled away to score the win in the second stage from Kentucky.
Once again, Bell’s Joe Gibbs Racing crew failed to send off of pit road in the top spot, this time handing the race lead over to Chase Briscoe. Bell would restart 5th with 104 laps to go. Brandon Jones, who changed all four tires, passed Briscoe who only changed two on the restart, however, Briscoe was able to run Jones down after reporting the Menards Supra had smoke entering the cockpit. Briscoe was able to take the lead shortly after.
The engine for Jones was failing fast and after losing 10 spots, Jones pitted the Gibbs Supra but there was no solution to fix the expired engine. His JGR teammate, Christopher Bell was now third behind two Stewart-Haas Mustangs of Briscoe and Cole Custer. On lap 111, the two Ford’s swapped positions but Bell was there. The Ruud Supra was able to get around Briscoe in turn 2 but Custer pulled away.
Unable to catch Custer again, Bell started off the green flag pit stops, bringing his Toyota down with 52 laps remaining.
John Hunter Nemechek, Justin Allgaier and Riley Herbst were penalized for pit violations.
Christopher Bell was all the way up to speed when he caught Custer and a string of lapped traffic. In a mess of lapped cars, Bell moved up a lane in turn 1 and got a huge run down the back straight, but couldn’t make a pass in turn 3. Custer was able to pull back away despite reporting a tight car.
Reddick moved up to third with 40 laps to go, but he was 10-seconds back running the fastest laps of the race.
Custer was able to hold off any threat from Bell and pick up his fifth win of the 2019 Xfinity Series season. Custer led 88 of the 200-laps with Bell only 1.6-seconds back. The win for Bell makes him the winningest NXS driver so far this year, just one more than Bell.
Tim Cindric called a great strategy to help Josef Newgarden pick up his third win of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season. The 2017 series champ extended his point lead with the win and a series of issues behind him.
The race began with pole-sitter, Takuma Sato, leading the entire first stint. The championship contender looked strong until the Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver missed his pit stall on the first sequence of pit stops. Sato struck his crew member sliding his way in. The crew man got up and helped the team bring Taku back to his pit stall and was checked and released from the infield care center with no major injuries.
Ryan Hunter-Reay was able to take over the lead after the incident, but the Andretti Autosport crew was worried about RHR’s fuel mileage.
The first caution of the night came out when Zach Veach got the outside wall exiting turn 2, drifted down to the inside wall, spun 360 degrees down the straight, and came to rest in the third turn. The Gainbridge got no damage after the initial contact, and came back into the race 40 laps later.
During this yellow, Tim Cindric called Josef Newgarden to pit, changing the strategy entirely for the Fitzgerald Penske Chevrolet.
With about thirty laps to go, Newgarden held the lead, but James Hinchliffe spun just like Zach Veach, but his Arrow Schmidt Peterson Honda spun into the inside wall. The caution helped Ryan Hunter-Reay, as the DHL Honda took the opportunity to pit during the yellow flag. On the ensuing restart, Colton Herta made a big move on Alexander Rossi for third and set his sights on five-time champion, Scott Dixon for second. Dixon, who was closing in on a struggling Josef Newgarden, backed out of the throttle too much entering turn one on a fake pass on Newgarden. Herta made his move on the back straight diving down to the white line, but Dixon forced Herta’s GESS Honda below the white line, getting the young 19-year-old out of shape in the entrance of the corner, taking out both cars.
Dixon later took blame for the incident.
Alexander Rossi narrowly escaped the carnage, nearly spinning on the track’s apron in turn four, and was set in second for the restart, while his Andretti teammate in Ryan Hunter-Reay was still carving through the field.
On the final restart, Rossi peeked high to pass Newgarden several times, but his Andretti Honda couldn’t stick on the top of turns one and two. After several aborted attempts on the top, Newgarden was able to pull away from the 2016 Indy 500 champ, and pick up his first NTT IndyCar Series superspeedway win.
Newgarden’s win the DXC Technology 600 helps him extend his point lead on Rossi to 25 points.
Santino Ferrucci’s fourth-place result saw him take over the Rookie of the Year standings in just his second oval race.
Scott Dixon and Colton Herta ended their nights outside of the infield care center finishing 17th and 18th, respectively. Graham Rahal finished a quiet night in third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay in fifth.
In the new qualifying format for the 2019 Indianapolis 500, the bottom six drivers after Saturday’s qualifying session were to duke for the final three positions on Sunday, with only one attempt.
Fernando Alonso’s final 4-lap average was 227.353mph, putting him third out of the five drivers to take time. Alonso was in. Provisionally, but in. After all, the only driver left to qualify was the unsponsored Juncos Racing No. 32, which nearly flipped two days prior with California’s Kyle Kaiser behind the wheel. Alonso is a two-time F1 Champ, defending 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, defending 24 Hours of Daytona winner, 32-time F1 winner, and current FIA WEC Point Leader. No way Juncos’ backup car could bump the McLaren-Carlin Chevrolet, right?
Kyle Kaiser set the world on fire. Not everyone knew his name Sunday morning. The world was either cursing or singing his name Sunday evening. Kaiser’s four-lap average was 227.372mph. Just .019mph quicker than Alonso’s speed. The unsponsored, white, green and orange Chevrolet was in. When the Juncos Racing team began celebrating, Alonso walked past the cameras, media, fans, straight to a golf cart. He hopped on the cart, and was driven out of sight. No talk to the media for the Spaniard. He had failed to qualify for his second Indianapolis 500.
The excitement of bump day is high every year, and unfortunately for the McLaren team, they had lived it. And even more unfortunate for Zak Brown, they had lived the wrong end.
Will McLaren buy a ride from a qualified car? Will Alonso return to the brickyard next year? Only time will tell. And that’s why we love motorsports. The unpredictable. The drama. The excitement. And ofcourse, the speed.
Thank you, IMS. Until next week.
Kyle Busch picked up his 52nd career NASCAR Truck victory Saturday evening from Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia.
Busch dominated the Ultimate Tailgating 200 after leading 92 of the 130 laps, including all three stage victories. The owner-driver had to overcome a vibration from a loose wheel early in the race, which set Busch’s Cessna Tundra back in the pack on a restart. It took Busch only 24 laps to regain the lead on lap 78. From there, Busch only gave it away once, Johnny Sauter passed Busch on the lap 88 restart and led for five laps.
The historic 52nd win for Kyle Busch makes him the all-time win leader in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS), breaking a tie with four-time NGOTS Champ and NASCAR Hall of Famer, Ron Hornaday Jr.
The David Gilliland and Bo LeMastus owned team will head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next weekend with three trucks to race.
Early in the week, Ryan Reed confirmed a return to NASCAR in DGR-Crosley’s No. 17 Tundra at Las Vegas with sponsorship from Dexcom. The second entry will be the team’s flagship No. 54 Tundra with Natalie Decker behind the wheel. Sponsorship will be from her longtime partner, N29 Technologies, LLC. Decker will make her intermediate track debut tomorrow [Feb. 23] at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
FOX Sports’ Phil Parsons confirmed during final NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) practice on FS1 that the team’s third entry will be the No. 15 Tundra. The driver will be Anthony Alfredo who is driving the team’s No. 17 at Atlanta. His series debut is in Atlanta, but the 19-year-old from Connecticut has one NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory coming at the historic South Boston Speedway last season. His only campaign in the series resulted a 5th-place position in standings and ended inside the top 10, nine times in the fourteen-race tour,
DGR-Crosley searches for their first win at Atlanta with Alfredo and Decker.
Texas Motor Speedway’s (TMS) track president Eddie Gossage announced Wednesday that the Stadium Super Trucks would return to the Fort Worth, Texas speedway’s schedule. However, the trip’s date would change.
Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Trucks Series (SST) will join the NASCAR tripleheader in March on the 1.5-miler that includes Monster Energy Cup, Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck races. The first SST race of the O’Reilly 500 is on Saturday, March 30th after the NASCAR Xfinity Series event. On Sunday, March 31st action will be packed for fans at the Great American Speedway, with a SST race before the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, and a second race following the 500-miler.
The SST have visited the Speedway since 2017, but visited during the INDYCAR weekend in June, which also hosts a NASCAR Truck event. “The past two years we have been at the track with IndyCar and now to have the organizers believe that we can add real value to the NASCAR weekend I'm extremely excited about it. Most of all, I'm extremely confident that the NASCAR fans will love what we bring to motorsport.” said founder, owner and competitor, Robby Gordon about the exciting news
The course is run on the frontstretch of the 1.5-oval, and turns into the infield using the south infield road course which runs across the paddock and pit lane. The course features several jumps, some of which go over other parts of the circuit.
Brett Moffitt clinched his first NASCAR Truck Series Championship, Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The Iowa native had fought Noah Gragson all race long to clinch the title, but the race and the championship looked to have different contenders through Stage 1.
Pole-sitter Grant Enfinger led the entirety of a caution free Stage 1 ahead of Noah Gragson who was second for a majority of the 30-lap stint. Gragson ended up in second position with Championship 4 contender, Brett Moffitt in third. The other two Championship contenders, both from GMS Racing struggled throughout the entire race, with Haley ending Stage 1 in 6th and 2016 Champion, Johnny Sauter in 13th.
Stage 2 saw a battle between Noah Gragson, Matt Crafton and Brett Moffitt battle for the lead, with Moffitt out on top. Moffitt cruised to victory in Stage 2, with Gragson in second. Once again, GMS contenders struggled in this stage, with Haley in 8th and Sauter in 10th.
In the final stage, it was Sheldon Creed mixing it up with the two Toyota contenders, but Creed's Silverado quickly fell off. The stage once again saw no yellow flags, and with green flag pit stops approaching, Gragson and Moffitt battled hard for the race lead. Unfortunately for Gragson, the Las Vegas driver noticed an issue with his Tundra. He believed he had a tire going soft, and lost second to Grant Enfinger when missing pit lane. Gragson pitted on lap 101, and with tires gaining such an advantage on the worn out Homestead-Miami Speedway, many of the top contenders pit on lap 102.
Moffitt exited pit road with no mistakes and had nearly a 5 second lead on Gragson who ran third. The race saw only two cautions, all for the stage breaks which was good news to Brett Moffitt who cruised to victory to earn his sixth victory of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season and clinch the 2018 CWTS title. Moffitt's victory makes Shigeki Hattori the first team owner from Japan to win a NASCAR National Series championship, along with their six wins. Moffitt and crew chief, Scott Zipadelli celebrated the underdog achievement in victory lane, but their future is uncertain.
Moffitt told the media during the Championship 4 press conference on Thursday "[he] has no job," despite his incredible performance all season long. The entire Hattori Racing crew didn't know their future for a majority of the season, however. Sponsorship woes through the Summer months and at the start of the NASCAR Playoffs put a question on if the team could even afford a trip to Homestead. The team, driver and crew all excelled in all 23 races this season and took the flag.
Gragson finished third in the race, and second in the championship. GMS Racing's struggles were never resolved with Haley's third place championship run ending in an 8th-place race finish, and Sauter's fourth place championship result in a 12th-place race finish.