Racing News (10308)
Racing News from around the World
Corse Clienti Formula 1 Cars Captivate Ferrari Racing Days Audience at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca11 May 2019 Written by Adam Sinclair
Attendees were treated to the music generated by the V10 engines of F2004 Formula One cars with racing pedigree. The actual cars in which Michael Schumacher drove to wins in the first five races of 2004 (Car No. 234) and Rubens Barrichello triumphed at the 2004 Chinese Grand Prix (Car No. 240) were driven around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca road course by drivers in the Corse Clienti F1 program. Owners get the opportunity to drive the machines with Ferrari’s guidance and support.
"I made a big mistake – I had never driven the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca track, and my first time is in a Formula One car!" said Rick Yan, immediately after driving car 240. "The guys who work on this car do an amazing job. It feels so great to go down the iconic Corkscrew in an F1 car. I can't believe it."
The Ferrari Challenge North America feature race was dominated from start to finish by Cooper MacNeil, who scored the overall victory in the 20-lap sprint. Championship rival Benjamin Hites finished second, and Chilean driver Martin Burrowes captured the final spot on the podium. It was something of a home win for MacNeil, son of WeatherTech founder David MacNeil whose company is the naming rights sponsor of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The second-generation driver signaled the victory with his hand extended from the driver’s side window as he crossed the finish line. MacNeil, who also drives for Scuderia Corsa in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, did celebratory donuts in front of the bleachers to commemorate the win.
“It was a good race from flag to flag,” said MacNeil. “The WeatherTech Scuderia Corsa guys worked their butts off to give me a great car during qualifying and the race. If I’m not mistaken, we got max points today. That’s good for the championship.”
Neil Gahani, who finished fifth overall, took the victory in the Pro-Am category. On a separate grid, Mark Issa won the overall Coppa Shell race, and Jay Schreibman won the Coppa Shell Amateur class.
The turbocharged Ferrari 488 cars will return for Race 2 on Sunday with the Pro and Pro-Am drivers competing at 1:40-2:10 p.m. and the Coppa Shell drivers taking the spotlight at 12:45-1:15 p.m. The Clienti Formula One cars will be on track at 11:10-11-40 a.m.
Tickets to tomorrow’s Ferrari Racing Days finale are available at the gate for only $20 with children 15 and under granted complimentary admission. Join us for one last day of the Ferrari celebration. Information is available on www.WeatherTechRaceway.com.
What a difference a day makes. On Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, talented Dutchman Rinus VeeKay couldn’t hold a candle to the Andretti Autosport pair of Robert Megennis and Oliver Askew. But this afternoon, in cool and breezy conditions, VeeKay seemed almost in a class of his own. The teenager from Hoofddorp, Netherlands, qualified his Juncos Racing car on the pole and never looked back. His final victory margin after 35 laps was an emphatic 6.8849 seconds.
Zachary Claman, from Montreal, Que., Canada, finished a relatively lonely second for Belardi Auto Racing, earning the Tilton Hard Charger Award after starting sixth, while yesterday’s top two, Askew and Megennis, finished in that order following an entertaining scrap for the final podium position.
Some judicious tweaks to the setup for VeeKay’s Dallara-AER IL-15 proved decisive in the curtain-raising qualifying session this morning, and VeeKay responded by securing the pole position.
Megennis, from New York, N.Y., continued his impressive weekend by challenging for the lead on the long run to Turn One, then running side by side with VeeKay through the first couple of corners. VeeKay was just about able to keep him at bay, then quite rightly defended the inside line vigorously along Hulman Boulevard. Moments later he most likely heaved a sigh of relief when he glimpsed Megennis running wide onto the grass and falling all the way to sixth.
In fact, Megennis might have lost several more positions had not Ryan Norman (Andretti Autosport) and David Malukas (BN Racing) clashed wheels while attempting to go three-wide with a fast-starting Claman while disputing third place at Turn One. Consequently, Claman found himself all the way up in second at the completion of the first lap, chased by Askew, Englishman Toby Sowery, who also made a strong start for BN Racing-Team Pelfrey, and Canadian Dalton Kellett (Juncos Racing).
Claman and Sowery, in fourth, exchanged fastest laps through the opening few stages but VeeKay remained out front and before too long was able to put some distance between himself and the combative Claman. VeeKay then proceeded to turn a series of fast, consistent laps to gradually extend his advantage.
Behind, Askew had his mirrors filled by the distinctive bright yellow BN/Pelfrey car of Sowery for the first 10 laps before Askew, the points leader, was able to inch away.
Megennis, meanwhile, made short work of Kellett, then used his AER turbo motor’s push-to-pass feature to effect a clean pass of Sowery for fourth place at Turn One on lap 18. Next in his sights was Askew. The two teammates were together with seven laps remaining, and it didn’t take long for Megennis to make his move on the front straight. Askew attempted to defend the inside line entering the braking area for Turn One, but video reviews clearly showed the move was an instinctive reaction to Megennis’ feint to the inside, and soon afterward Race Control made the call for Askew to relinquish the position.
Askew did so along Hulman Boulevard on lap 33, but fought back almost immediately, taking advantage of his own P2P activation to draw up behind Megennis and then squeeze down the inside under braking for Turn One. It was a fine riposte.
Sowery had to be content with fifth, well clear of Malukas, who profited when Kellett spun in Turn 13 on lap eight.
Instead of easing home to the victory, VeeKay stamped his mark on the proceedings by setting the fastest race lap on the very last lap. His second win of the season moves him back into the championship lead by one point over Askew as the teams now prepare for their biggest race of the season, the Freedom 100 Presented by Cooper Tires, on the series’ biggest stage, the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval on Carb Day, May 24.
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series put up another thrilling show in Italy and it was Lasse Sorensen who came out the winner on his #66 Chevrolet Camaro by Dexwet-df1 Racing in what was his very first NWES race. The Dane took advantage of Florian Venturi and Andre Castro’s problems to grab his first ever NWES win with an outstanding performance.
ELITE 2 Round 3 Results
“That’s amazing, first of all thanks to the whole team. They gave me a car which was just amazing,” said 22-year-old Sorensen, who brought Dexwet-df1 Racing to Victory Lane for the first time in ELITE 2. “As they say, to finish first, first you have to finish. I had a bit luck with Florian retiring early, but I overtook Andre right before his car had problems.”
Sorensen, who started second, fell back to third when the green flag waved. Poleman Venturi was able to build a gap on the chasing group, but on lap 5 drama struck for the first time: Venturi slowed down on the back straight and was forced to retire.
“I had a very good start,” said a disappointed Venturi, who will lead the field again in Sunday’s race. “The car suddenly stopped working and I didn’t understand why.”
Castro took over the lead, but was always kept under pressure by Sorensen. Valencia winner Giorgio Maggi, who was third, closed the gap to the duo out front. Castro defended first place on a restart with six laps to go, but drama struck again within the penultimate lap, when the PK Carsport driver had issues to his Camaro and saw the first NWES win vanish once again. Sorensen took over the lead, while the American was forced to retire and the Dane went on to grab his maiden NASCAR win.
“We actually haven't figured out what exactly happened,” said Castro. “When I took the lead from Florian I was able to manage the gap. I’m really sad right now, that’s all I can say. I will start second tomorrow, so I will go for it again.”
Myatt Snider ended up second with a strong run at the Autodromo di Franciacorta and Maggi grabbed the last spot on the ELITE 2 Division podium making an all-rookie top-3 in the first race of the NASCAR GP Italy and consolidating his points lead.
“In the beginning I didn’t have the handling in the car, but in the end it really came to me,” said Snider. “The Ford Performance Mustang was great thanks to the good work of the Racing Engineering team. It was a lot of fun to bring my American stock car family in here. I’m pretty happy with today.”
Maggi said: “It was a really busy race for me as my start was not that good. I was battling a lot during the whole race. I had to keep a quick pace to get the fastest lap for tomorrow. I had to get my position back after losing one due to a bad restart.”
Sorensen’s teammate Justin Kunz was fourth ahead of Advait Deodhar, who scored another top-5 in his rookie season. Ian Eric Waden, who finished eleventh, won the Legend Trophy ahead of Braxx Racing driver Jerry de Weerdt. Arianna Casoli won the Lady Trophy.
The ELITE 2 Round 4 will take place on Sunday at 10:45 am CEST at the Autodromo di Franciacorta in Italy. The race will be streamed live on Fanschoice.tv, the Euro NASCAR Youtube channel and Facebook page, on Motorsport.tv and on a vast network of websites and social media profiles.
Simon Pagenaud overcame the elements and the competition to win the INDYCAR Grand Prix in thrilling fashion.
Pagenaud passed five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon for the lead on the next-to-last lap on a rain-soaked Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and pulled away to collect the 12th victory of his Indy car career and first in a 23-race span. Three of those wins have come in the INDYCAR Grand Prix.
"What a way to start May!" said Pagenaud, who won by 2.0469 seconds. "The car was fantastic; the car was awesome all day. We had something for everybody."
INDYCAR GRAND PRIX: Official results
Starting eighth in the 85-lap race that ran from start to finish in varying levels of rain, Pagenaud charged from sixth place in the final 18 laps in treacherous conditions to collect his first win since the 2017 season finale.
With all running cars on rain tires for the final stint, Pagenaud passed Matheus Leist of AJ Foyt Racing for third place with 10 laps to go and Meyer Shank Racing's Jack Harvey for second position five laps later. The 2016 NTT IndyCar Series champion then set his sights on Dixon.
When Dixon, the reigning series champion, slid a little wide exiting Turn 7 on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn circuit, Pagenaud dove his No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet inside Dixon's No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. The two cars made light side-to-side contact in the series of corners before Pagenaud exited Turn 9 in front.
"It was a matter of being in the right position," Pagenaud said. "I pushed all race. When the rain came, I wasn't sure it was going to work. Surprisingly, it was just the best out there. When Dixon was really struggling with his tires, you could see that.
"I was just braking as deep as I could to catch him. I wasn't really planning on passing him there. He made a slight mistake."
The win was No. 205 for Team Penske in its 51-year Indy car history. It was also the team's 24th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that includes 17 in the Indianapolis 500, five in the INDYCAR Grand Prix and two in NASCAR competition. Pagenaud and teammate Will Power own every win in the INDYCAR Grand Prix's six-year history, though Pagenaud's first win in 2014 came with Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Dixon finished second in the race for the third straight year. It was also the reigning champion's 43rd career runner-up result, ranking second only to the 56 of Mario Andretti.
"It was tough," Dixon said of the conditions beginning in a light rain that grew stronger as the day wore on. Despite the slick track, no team opted to change from Firestone's dry-condition tires to the wets until past the halfway point.
"I knew kind of from the get-go that I was going to be struggling with the front end, and I don't know why it was balanced that way, but it just felt like I needed about six turns of front wing," added Dixon, who led a race-high 39 laps. "I thought we could maybe hold the gap (over Pagenaud), but the harder I pushed, the worse it got.
"All in all, a solid effort. It was a tricky race. It sucks to obviously lead that many laps and come up short, but again, congrats to Simon. He drove a hell of a race and it's nice to see him back in victory lane."
Harvey finished a career-best third in the No. 60 AutoNation/Sirius XM Honda for the Meyer Shank Racing with Arrow SPM team that's scheduled to run 10 races this season as it builds toward a full-time NTT IndyCar Series program in the future.
"I will remember this day for a long time," said Harvey, who reached the podium for the first time in his 14th series race. "It was just so awesome that we finally got this podium. I feel like we've been right on the edge of having something like this for a while.
"Great race today in the wet and the dry. Hopefully, it's just the first of many for this Meyer Shank Racing team. ... It's such a great day for the whole team."
Leist finished a career-best fourth in the No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet. Ed Carpenter Racing teammates Ed Jones and Spencer Pigot completed an impressive weekend by finishing fifth and sixth, respectively. Power, the two-time defending race winner, placed seventh.
Points leader Josef Newgarden struggled to a 15th-place finish in the No. 2 Fitzgerald USA Team Penske Chevrolet but retains the points lead by six over Dixon after five of 17 races.
NTT IndyCar Series teams are busy the next two days preparing superspeedway cars for the opening of Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge practice on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval on Tuesday. Qualifying for the 103rd running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" takes place May 18 and 19.
Live coverage of the Indy 500 begins at 11 a.m. ET Sunday, May 26 on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network. Power is the defending race champion.
Road to Indy recap
Pole sitter Rinus VeeKay (Juncos Racing) led all 35 laps and grabbed a flawless victory in the second race of the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires weekend. Rasmus Lindh (Juncos Racing) completed a weekend sweep by winning the second race of the Indy Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires. Pole sitter Braden Eves (Cape Motorsports) went flag-to-flag to win the second race of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship weekend. Eves has won all four USF2000 races to start the season.
Robert Megennis picked perhaps the perfect place to claim an emphatic first Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires victory: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He did so in style too. Megennis, from New York, N.Y., began his day by securing the pole position for the Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis this morning, and even though he was briefly headed in the 30-lap race by Andretti Autosport teammate – and championship leader – Oliver Askew, Megennis fought back with a decisive maneuver in Turn One, then edged clear of Askew to secure a hard-earned and thoroughly well-deserved victory.
Askew found some extra pace in the closing stages to set the fastest race lap at 1:15.6953, an average speed of 115.997 mph, narrowly beating the old track record set by current NTT IndyCar Series driver Felix Rosenqvist in 2016. Askew, from Jupiter, Fla., thereby cemented second place ahead of his closest championship rival, Rinus VeeKay (Juncos Racing), from Hoofddorp, Netherlands.
Cool, crisp conditions ensured the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course was in good shape for this afternoon’s fifth race of the season, and Megennis made good use of his pole position to make a jump on the field. By contrast, outside front row qualifier VeeKay encountered heavy wheelspin and instantly slipped back into the pack.
Askew put the pressure on Megennis through the first couple of laps before using the extra horsepower offered by the push-to-pass feature on his AER turbo engine to accentuate the draft heading down the long front straight and then slip through into the lead at Turn One. But Megennis wasn’t about to throw in the towel. Not by any means. Two laps later, he pulled off a very similar maneuver at Turn Four to regain the lead.
Megennis then inched away from his rival, setting a string of fastest race laps to extend his margin to as much as 2.7 seconds. Askew discovered a little more speed in the closing stages but it was too little, too late as Megennis crossed the finishing stripe just over two seconds to the good. Askew instead had to settle for second, a new lap record, a slightly increased championship lead and the Tilton Hard Charger Award.
VeeKay, after slipping from second to fourth at the first corner, fought his way back past Ryan Norman (Andretti Autosport), from Aurora, Ohio, to reclaim third on lap 6. David Malukas (BN Racing), from Chicago, Ill., also snuck past Norman but began to struggle for speed in the late stages and fell behind Zachary Claman (Belardi Auto Racing), from Montreal, Que., Canada, to finish sixth.
A second qualifying session will take place tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. EDT, with the green flag for Round Six slated for 1:25 p.m., immediately before the INDYCAR Grand Prix headline event.
Provisional championship points after 5 of 18 races:
A thrilling USF2000 Grand Prix of Indianapolis at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this afternoon saw Braden Eves claim his third straight victory for Cape Motorsports following a race-long duel with Mazda Road to Indy Scholarship winner Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing). The pair exchanged the lead several times over the last couple of laps before Eves, from New Albany, Ohio, edged out McElrea, from Gold Coast, Australia, by just under three-tenths of a second.
Manuel Sulaiman, from Puebla, Mexico, maintained his impressive start to the season by finishing third for DEForce Racing.
The excitement began early as the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship resumed following a lengthy hiatus since the opening two rounds of the season on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., with Indianapolis Colts star Adam Vinatieri – co-owner of two USF2000 race cars – waving the green flag to commence Round Three. After edging out Cape Motorsports teammate Darren Keane to the pole this morning, Eves made an excellent start to head the immensely competitive 21-car field toward Turn One.
McElrea, after starting third, tucked in behind the race leader, but there was chaos in their wake as 14-year-old debutant Jak Crawford (DEForce Racing), from Houston, Texas, ran out of racing room and tagged the rear of Keane’s Tatuus USF-17 at the apex of Turn One. Mexico’s Manuel Cabrera (Exclusive Autosport) was among several other potential contenders to be caught up in the incident.
The fracas enabled Eves and McElrea to pull well clear of the chasing pack. Sulaiman, after qualifying eighth, somehow emerged in third, chased by local youngster Jack William Miller, who started ninth for Miller Vinatieri Motorsports, and Australian Cameron Shields (Newman Wachs Racing), up from 13th on the grid.
McElrea shadowed Eves in the opening laps and was clearly in a mood to challenge. On lap 8, McElrea glimpsed the tiniest of openings at Turn One and grasped his opportunity with both hands. Eves, meanwhile, was intent upon regaining his early advantage. The pair continued to circulate in close company before the battle intensified dramatically over the last couple of laps. Eves regained the point on lap 13, only for McElrea to snatch back the lead as the two leaders began the final lap. And yet still it wasn’t over. An excellent exit from Turn Seven enabled Eves to draw alongside McElrea through the right-left flicks at Turns Eight and Nine before hanging on around the outside to take the lead for one final time around the outside line at Turn 10 to secure a magnificent victory.
The in-fighting allowed Sulaiman to finish right behind McElrea in third, while Colin Kaminsky (Pabst Racing), from Homer Glen, Ill., worked his way from seventh in the opening stages to finish fourth ahead of the impressive Shields, whose fine effort was rewarded with the Tilton Hard Charger Award.
Brazilian Eduardo Barrichello (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports) also took advantage of the first corner melee to rise from 15th to sixth, and looked set to finish in the same position until encountering gearbox problems on the penultimate lap, causing him to slide off the road in Turn Seven. Unfortunately, teammate Miller, who inherited the position, also hit trouble on the final lap when he tangled with the recovering Crawford in between Turns One and Two. Their incident allowed Keane to inherit sixth place at the finish after a brilliant drive from the back of the field during which he established a new USF2000 lap record of 1:14.8876 (103.436 mph).
After claiming yet another PFC Award as the winning car owners, brothers Dominic and Nicholas Cape can look forward to the possibility of another one tomorrow as Eves and Keane once again will start alongside each other on the front row of the grid following a second qualifying session this morning. McElrea, too, can be expected to offer another serious challenge as all three qualified faster than the old lap record.
Teen-aged Swedish rising star Rasmus Lindh displayed his ability during a fine run to second place as a rookie in last year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship but was never quite able to make the breakthrough into Victory Lane. After stepping up one step on the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel development ladder to the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, Lindh set that record straight this afternoon at a very chilly Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix circuit, holding off a late challenge from his nemesis from 2018, Kyle Kirkwood, to claim a well-earned victory.
Kirkwood, from Jupiter, Fla., overcame a penalty at the start to rise all the way from last to second, posting a new lap record along the way for RP Motorsports USA, while Singapore’s Danial Frost maintained his strong start to the season for Exclusive Autosport by finishing third.
Lindh laid down a marker this morning by breaking Oliver Askew’s year-old lap record in qualifying to claim the pole position. He was then granted a gift when Kirkwood, who started second, was penalized by Race Director Johnny Unser for jumping the first attempt at a start and sent to the back of the field.
Frost, who had himself been penalized two positions on the starting grid for failing to slow sufficiently for waving flags in qualifying, made full use of the open position ahead of him to chase Lindh into Turn One at the next attempt at a start. Sting Ray Robb (Juncos Racing), from Payette, Idaho, slotted into third as a fine qualifying effort for FatBoy Racing!’s Phillippe Denes, from Carmel, Calif., was sadly annulled when he was hit from behind by Mexico’s Moises de la Vara (DEForce Racing). Several other cars also were delayed, which allowed Nikita Lastochkin (Exclusive Autosport) to vault all the way from ninth on the grid to fourth ahead of championship leader Parker Thompson, from Red Deer, Alb., Canada, who had qualified his Abel Motorsports Tatuus PM-18 a dismal 12th.
Kirkwood was the other major beneficiary of the first-corner fracas as last year’s dominant USF2000 champion picked his way through the carnage to emerge in sixth. A lap later, incredibly, Kirkwood was up to third after slipping past both Lastochkin and Thompson, and benefitting also when Robb locked up his brakes at Turn Seven, costing himself three positions.
The two leaders by then were already three seconds up the road, but it wasn’t long before Kirkwood began to whittle away at the deficit. Frost had been keeping the leader, Lindh, firmly in his sights, and was able to loom a little closer on lap 13 when Lindh locked up his brakes on the approach to Turn One. Three laps later, the leaders were virtually together after Kirkwood set a new Indy Pro 2000 lap record by circulating the 2.439-mile road course in 1:19.3332, an average speed of 110.677 mph.
Frost tried his hardest to keep Kirkwood behind, and succeeded in doing so until lap 20, when Kirkwood drafted alongside him on the high-speed approach to Turn One, then braved it out around the outside to emerge in second at Turn Two. It was an impressive maneuver but it also cost him some valuable time to Lindh, who maintained an admirably consistent pace to ensure himself of a hard-earned victory.
A disappointed Robb finished fourth, over 13 seconds further in arrears of Frost, while Thompson, after his travails in qualifying, was happy to finish fifth, well clear of teammate Jacob Abel, from Louisville, Ky., and secure himself the Tilton Hard Charger Award.
Ricardo Juncos, whose eponymous team is based within earshot of the Speedway, took home the PFC Award as the winning team owner, and tomorrow will see Lindh once again start from the pole, after establishing yet another new lap record during a separate qualifying session this morning. Teammate Robb will start alongside on the front row of the grid.
Rookie Felix Rosenqvist won his first pole in the NTT IndyCar Series on Friday by outpacing Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon in the Firestone Fast Six qualifying session for the INDYCAR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The 27-year-old Swede posted a lap of 1 minute, 8.2785 seconds (128.597 mph) in the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda. Dixon, a five-time series champion, ran 1:08.2979 (128.560) in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda.
INDYCAR GRAND PRIX: Qualifying results
Team Penske has dominated this event over the years, winning the past four races from the pole. But Will Power, who captured the past two races on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, was the lone Penske driver to reach this Firestone Fast Six. The reigning Indianapolis 500 winner will start the No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet in sixth position on Saturday. Teammate Simon Pagenaud, the only other winner of the INDYCAR Grand Prix in the event's history, starts eighth in the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet.
Rosenqvist wasn't sure he would be the pole winner until Dixon completed his final lap.
"The first two laps I didn't really feel like I had (tire) grip, and then the final lap there was something switching on, and I was like, 'OK, this could be good," Rosenqvist said. "But honestly, I didn't think it was going to be (fast enough). It's so tight. I looked up at the screen and we were P1. I just prayed it was going to hold 'til the end."
Rosenqvist wasn't the only driver celebrating. Jack Harvey, who earned the third starting position, participated in his first Firestone Fast Six in Meyer Shank Racing's No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda. Harvey has only 13 career starts in the NTT IndyCar Series, but has had success at IMS. He won the Freedom 100, the Indy Lights race on the superspeedway oval, and an Indy Lights race on the road course in 2015.
Rookie Colton Herta, who drives the No. 88 GESS International Honda for Harding Steinbrenner Racing, had been the fastest driver in Friday's second practice and actually posted the fastest lap in qualifying at 1:07.8887 (Round 2). The second-generation Indy car driver's Firestone Fast Six performance was good for a fourth-place starting position, tying his best qualifying session of the season at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, which he went on to win. In 2018, Herta swept all three Indy Lights races at IMS - two on the road course, one on the oval.
Ed Jones, driver of the No. 20 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet of Ed Carpenter Scuderia Corsa, will start fifth in Saturday's race, easily his best of the season (his previous best this year was 15th in St. Petersburg, Florida, in March).
Dixon has never won an INDYCAR Grand Prix, but he has had strong races. He finished second last year after starting 18th.
The first round of qualifying was interesting as three drivers - series points leader Josef Newgarden, three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and 2018 championship runner-up Alexander Rossi - failed to advance out of the first group. Team Penske drivers Newgarden, Castroneves and Power took turns bumping each other out of the transfer line in the closing seconds of the session.
Newgarden was surprised to be nearly six-tenths of a second off the session's best lap, which means the driver of the No. 2 Fitzgerald USA Chevrolet will have work to do starting 13th on Saturday.
"That's a big deal," he said of the time discrepancy. "I'm not sure where that (improvement) is at."
Changing weather conditions open up the possibility of a wet race. In that case, the action could be especially thrilling as teams manage the conditions and drivers put their skills to the test in the rain.
"If it rains, it rains, (and) it's the same for everybody," Pagenaud said.
Coverage of the 85-lap INDYCAR Grand Prix, the fifth race of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season, begins at 3 p.m. Saturday on NBC, NBCSsports.com, the NBC Sports app and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.
Road to Indy: New Yorker wins his first Indy Lights race
Robert Megennis won his first Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race Friday, taking the victory at the Indy Lights Grand Prix of Indianapolis. The 19-year-old rookie started on the pole and led 28 of the 30 laps.
Megennis was so thrilled with his first Indy Lights win that he kissed the front of his No. 27 car after removing his helmet.
"This is insane," he said. "I can't believe it; it's out of control."
Andretti Autosport won for the fifth time in six Indy Lights races at this track and the 53rd time in series history. The Indianapolis-based team also delivered the second-place finisher in series points leader Oliver Askew. Rinus Veekay finished third for Juncos Racing.
The second Indy Lights race of the weekend is Saturday at 1:15 p.m., with coverage on NBC Sports Gold's INDYCAR Pass.
Pole winner Rasmus Lindh (Juncos Racing) led all 25 of laps of the Indy Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires race. The win was the first in the series for the rookie Swedish driver, who drew within four points of series leader Parker Thompson (Abel Motorsports), the fifth-place finisher.
Braden Eves (Cape Motorsports) passed Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing) on the 15th and final lap to win the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship race. The Ohio product has now won all three races this season - the first two were in St. Petersburg, Florida in March - and will go for a fourth consecutive win Saturday in the cap to the doubleheader at 9:15 a.m.
Sixteen drivers have earned their first ARCA Menards Series victory at the series’ home track, Toledo Speedway. Of those, three of them earned their way into victory lane in their series debut, including current NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship contender and recent ARCA winner at Talladega Superspeedway Todd Gilliland.
Hailie Deegan, from Temecula, California, will be making her series debut on May 19 in the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 looking to become the fourth driver to win at Toledo in their first series start. Should she do it, she’d also become the first female to win an ARCA Menards Series race in the series’ 67-year history.
Deegan is the daughter of X Games superstar Brian Deegan. That alone is enough to generate buzz and excitement wherever she goes. But Deegan is also the first female driver to win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series in more than 30 years. Deegan earned her first win last year at Meridian Speedway in Idaho and backed it up with her second victory this past February at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Just like virtually every other second-generation athlete, Deegan is happy to have had doors opened by a recognizable last name but also wants to build a name of her own. While she enjoys many of the same activities that made her father an X Games superstar, she’s also happy to have found success in a field that’s completely different than freestyle motocross.
“My Dad has definitely taught me a lot when it comes to my training and my determination towards my goals,” said Deegan. “He’s always reminding me how hard you have to work in order to be successful and he’s right there by my side at the gym, at the race track, at test sessions and I know I’ll be leaning on him a lot as I start this next chapter of my racing career.”
With two K&N Pro Series wins on her resume, Deegan is on the radar screen of virtually every race team and sponsor in NASCAR’s national touring series. Her future is seemingly wide open, but the next step on the ladder is a partial schedule in the ARCA Menards Series.
A part of the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) driver development program, Deegan has aligned with Venturini Motorsports for six starts in the ARCA Menards Series in 2019. The team started the season with three consecutive wins, at Daytona with Harrison Burton, and at Five Flags and Salem with Michael Self. Signing with one of the most successful teams in the series, with 53 wins since 1983, is reason enough to be excited but Deegan stands to benefit from the organization’s long record of success developing young drivers as well.
Current NASCAR drivers Alex Bowman, who replaced Dale Earnhardt, Jr. when he retired in 2018, and Erik Jones, who won his first Cup Series race at Daytona last July, got their start with Venturini Motorsports. Others like defending Cup Series champion Joey Logano and William Byron, ran limited schedules with the team but had success before moving on.
Developing young drivers and then seeing them go on to success in their career is a skill that team co-owner Billy Venturini takes tremendous pride in.
“Working alongside a group like TRD on driver development is incredible,” said Venturini. “Our team has had the opportunity to work with so many talented young drivers over the years, but to now be a part of the system to evaluate drivers in the TRD system as they move up the ranks is a great privilege for our whole team. Hailie has shown a lot of success thus far in her career and more importantly, she shows the determination and willingness to work hard that it takes to succeed in motorsports.”
Perhaps success at the ARCA level will allow Deegan to follow in the footsteps of others who have gone on to NASCAR success, like Bowman, Jones, Logano, and previous ARCA champions Chris Buescher and Ty Dillon, all of whom race on Sundays in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. But Deegan wants to blaze her own trail.
Practice for the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 at Toledo Speedway is scheduled for 12:30 pm ET on Saturday, May 18, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 4 pm ET. A 35-lap ARCA late model sportsman feature event will close Saturday’s activities at the track. The Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 will go green shortly after 2 pm ET on Sunday, May 19. The race will be televised live on MAVTV. ARCA for Me members can access live timing & scoring, live track updates, and live user chat throughout all on-track sessions at ARCARacing.com. New users can register for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login. Tickets are available by calling the Toledo Speedway ticket office at (419) 727-1100. Discounted tickets are available at Northwest Ohio Menards locations for $15, a savings of $10 from the raceday ticket price.
ARCA Menard Series PR
Austin Brown led all 30 laps in winning the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League “Knepper Memorial” at Belle-Clair Speedway, with Jesse Colwell placing second in a Toyota one-two finish Friday night.
The victory was the fifth national midget feature win for Brown and marked the 12th for a Toyota-powered car in 2019.
Brown’s dominating night began with him earning the pole after charging from sixth to first in his heat race. He would start next to fellow Toyota driver Cannon McIntosh, who won his heat after starting fifth.
At the green flag, Brown went straight to the lead as Zach Daum moved into second, followed by Tucker Klaasmeyer, Tanner Carrick and McIntosh. The front of the field stayed largely intact through the first 10 laps as Daum and Klaasmeyer began to challenge for the lead in lapped traffic only to see the caution wave.
After the restart, Brown resumed the point position with the action heating up behind him. The 16-year-old McIntosh started to climb back through the field after falling as far back as sixth. By lap 14, he had moved into third and then overtook Daum for second on lap 15, only to see Daum take the spot back one lap later. As the two battled for second, fellow Toyota driver Brown was pulling away from the field.
A lap 24 caution would close the field up once again and would lead to a wild six-lap dash for a top-five finishing position. Brown led the field back to green followed by Daum, McIntosh, Colwell, Klasmeyer, Carrick and Logan Seavey.
As Brown closed in on the victory on the final lap, Keith Kunz Motorsports teammates Klaasmeyer, Carrick and Seavey all got together in turn one while battling running fourth, fifth and six bringing out a yellow flag. That would set up a one-lap dash to the finish.
The late yellow wouldn’t deter Brown, though, as he pulled away from the field once more to take the checkered flag, but behind him, things heated up once more as Daum and McIntosh collided in turn four, both coming to a stop and eventually being scored in 15th and 16th as Colwell drove by for a career-best second.
McIntosh’s Dav Mac Motorsports teammate Kaylee Bryson also registered her top national midget feature finish with a fourth-place. Fourteen-year old Daison Pursley finished seventh, while Presley Truedson made if five Toyotas in the top-10 with a ninth-place showing.
The POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League is back in action Saturday night at the Macon Speedway.