Motorsport Week - IndyCar News http://www.motorsportweek.com Catch up on all IndyCar news, here at Motorsport Week RSS Feed! http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15416http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15416IndyCar drivers impressed with 2018 car after debut testWed, 26 Jul 2017 13:10:12 GMT<p>Juan Pablo Montoya and Oriol Servia were both left with a positive impression of the new 2018 IndyCar following its first test this week at the&nbsp;Indianapolis Motor Speedway.</p> <p>The duo completed more than 100 laps apiece in the two chassis fitted with the new universal oval aero kit, with one supplied by Honda and the other by Chevrolet.</p> <p>&quot;From Lap 1, it just felt at home,&quot; said the 43-year-old Servia, who has driven Indy cars since 2000. &quot;The car felt great. I was flat on it out of the pits, which just says how good the car felt right away.</p> <p>&quot;I think it&#39;s going to be a fast, good racer.&quot;</p> <p>Montoya believes the decision to have one universal aero kit will have a positive impact on the racing and was impressed with the new car.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s exciting because, for the first time in the car, it drives really, really well,&quot; added the two-time Indy 500 winner.</p> <p>&quot;I think they addressed a lot of the things and the car looks great. I think having one aero kit for everybody is great for the sport. The car looks good and it drives really good.&quot;</p> <p>IndyCar had originally scheduled two days of testing, but with everything ticked off on Tuesday&nbsp;they didn&#39;t feel it was necessary to run a second day.</p> <p>&quot;Everything we had planned to do in two days, we already accomplished in the first day,&quot; Servia added. &quot;We did lots of laps, long runs, and the car feels good. The car feels very benign.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;It just feels right and we&#39;re not having any issues or moments out there. Very consistent. My second long run, I think, was one of my most consistent runs I&#39;ve done at this track in all of my years.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15408http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15408IndyCar unveils new-for-2018 universal aero kitMon, 24 Jul 2017 21:00:44 GMT<p>IndyCar has published the first official photos of its new-for-2018 universal aero kit, previously only seen in computer generated renders.</p> <p>The new look has been described as &quot;bolder, safer and more thrilling&quot; but remains based on the&nbsp;Dallara IR-12 introduced in 2012.</p> <p>Although the new kits, an oval-specific kit and a road and temporary street circuit kit, are less complex in terms of aerodynamics, the amount of downforce generated by the underside of the car has been increased by 19 per cent, meaning&nbsp;66 per cent of the cars downforce comes from the floor.</p> <p>It&#39;s hoped that will allow for closer racing without impacting cornerning and top speeds. In fact, a simulation done by IndyCar expects an increase in the top speed at many ovals due to the cars being lighter than before.</p> <p>A number of safety improvements have also been included.&nbsp;The car features reduced front and rear-wing main planes as well as a reduction in winglets and the such, decreasing the potential for debris.</p> <p>Increased side-impact protection has been added, which is now eight to ten inches wider at the driver&#39;s hips. The design has also allowed for a cockpit windscreen application, when one has been developed.</p> <p>The kits will be standard amongst all Honda and Chevrolet-powered cars.</p> <p>&quot;The [design] process started a year ago in April, and we took the input of our fans, drivers, teams, manufacturers, partners &ndash; everyone shares in this,&quot; said Jay Frye, president, INDYCAR competition and operations.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;There is a historical component to this design, and it comes with a very forward look and all the latest components. Although the design looked good on paper it looks even better in person. We couldn&rsquo;t be more excited to get this car on the track.&quot;</p> <p>The kits will undergo testing on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week at the&nbsp;Indianapolis Motor Speedway, followed by two further tests in August (Mid-Ohio and Iowa) and then one in September (Sebring).</p> <p><img alt="" height="520" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/IndyCar/16C_8934-11.png" width="800" /></p> <p><img alt="" height="520" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/IndyCar/16C_8925-1.png" width="800" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/IndyCar/16C_8893-1.png" /></p> <p><img alt="" height="520" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/IndyCar/16C_8661-1.png" width="800" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/IndyCar/16C_8632-1.png" /></p> <p><img alt="" height="520" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/IndyCar/16C_8842-1.png" width="800" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/IndyCar/16C_8669-1.png" /></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15360http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15360Josef Newgarden hails Penske strategy after Toronto IndyCar winTue, 18 Jul 2017 15:05:11 GMT<p>Josef Newgarden has praised his Penske team&rsquo;s strategy call during the Toronto IndyCar race, after winning it for the second time in his career.</p> <p>His team-mate Helio Castroneves took early control of the race, but a well-timed caution promoted Newgarden to the lead.</p> <p>Penske pitted Newgarden one lap before the caution, a strategy that also helped fellow podium finishers Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe.</p> <p>From there, he was able to control the race, feeling his car was &ldquo;very fast&rdquo;. Newgarden stayed out of trouble to take his second win of the 2017 IndyCar season.</p> <p>&quot;I think that is twice I have had good calls and got into the pits at the right time,&rdquo; he explained afterwards.</p> <p>&ldquo;Thank you to the guys and thank you to Tim (Cindric) for making that call. We got it right, but it was all about managing the race after that. I thought we had a very fast car.</p> <p>&ldquo;We got a pretty good start, and stayed out of the mayhem. Very, very happy for all of Penske, and this DeVilbiss Chevy was pretty bright, but it was pretty fast too.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am pumped for all the No. 2 car guys, they did an amazing job for Penske.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15346http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15346Josef Newgarden cruises to second Toronto IndyCar victoryMon, 17 Jul 2017 09:54:27 GMT<p>Penske driver Josef Newgarden claimed his second IndyCar victory in Toronto with a controlled performance, finishing ahead of Andretti&rsquo;s Alexander Rossi.</p> <p>Having previously won the Canadian race back in 2015, Newgarden has a good track record and was quick throughout the race, and benefitted from a well-timed caution to take the lead.</p> <p>He pitted just one lap before the caution came out, with Rossi and home favourite James Hinchcliffe &ndash; who finished third on home soil &ndash; also pulling off similar strategies.</p> <p>The yellow was for Tony Kanaan, who locked up his Chip Ganassi car and crashed into the barrier at Turn 1 around a quarter of the way through the race.</p> <p>Newgarden&rsquo;s team-mate Helio Castroneves was leading at the time after a strong opening lap, but his grip on the race loosened when he had to pit under yellow and dropped back.</p> <p>Taking over the lead, Newgarden was able to keep a consistent gap to those chasing him for the remainder of the race, and finished 1.8 seconds clear of Rossi.</p> <p>Hinchcliffe was third at his home event, while Marco Andretti showed improved form in fourth, ahead of reigning champion Simon Pagenaud and Ryan Hunter-Reay.</p> <p>Former F1 driver Max Chilton sustained a late challenge from Castroneves to secure seventh, with Graham Rahal ninth and championship leader Scott Dixon in 10th.</p> <p>He recovered from a collision with Penske&rsquo;s Will Power on the opening lap, which required Dixon to pit for repairs (before he was then awarded a drive-through) and fall to the back of the pack.</p> <p>Dixon retains his title advantage over Castroneves, but the gap has been cut to just three points.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15326http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15326Simon Pagenaud claims Honda Indy Toronto pole and lap recordSat, 15 Jul 2017 21:52:47 GMT<p>Team Penske driver Simon Pagenaud claimed his first pole position of the year, taking top honours on Saturday for the Honda Indy Toronto race, setting a new lap record in the process.</p> <p>Pagenaud&#39;s 58.9124 second lap with an average speed of 109.138mph bettered the previous lap record around the temporary 11-turn street circuit by just over eight-tenths, which was set by&nbsp;Will Power in 2016.</p> <p>It&#39;s&nbsp;Pagenaud&#39;s tenth career pole and&nbsp;Team Penske&#39;s eighth this season.</p> <p>Graham Rahal qualified second for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing with a lap of 59.2245 seconds (108.563 mph), three-tenths adrift of pole.</p> <p>A pair of Pagenaud&rsquo;s team-mates at Team Penske, Helio Castroneves and Power, locked up the second row in qualifying. Castroneves was third fastest in the #3 car with defending race winner Power fourth in the #12.</p> <p>Championship leader Scott Dixon was fifth with a time of 59.7970 seconds. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has advanced to the Firestone Fast Six, the third and final round of knockout qualifying, at every road- and street-course race where it has been contested this season.</p> <p>The final spot in the Firestone Fast Six went to hometown favorite James Hinchcliffe, who equaled his best Toronto qualifying effort of sixth with a lap of 1:00.14145&nbsp;in the #5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda.</p> <p>Two incidents in earlier qualifying rounds affected drivers Esteban Gutierrez and JR Hildebrand.</p> <p>Rookie Gutierrez will start last in the 21-car field after he made hard contact with the wall at the exit of Turn 11 at the conclusion of Segment 1, Group 1 qualifying. The Dale Coyne Racing entry sustained significant right-side and rear damage in the incident.</p> <p>Hildebrand slid into the wall at the exit of Turn 8 in Segment 2 qualifying, when his car jumped the curb on the inside of the corner and slid straight into the barrier. The Ed Carpenter Racing driver will start 12th in Sunday&rsquo;s race.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.imscdn.com/indycar_media/documents/2017-07-15/07-15-17%20Toronto%20unofficial%20qual.pdf">Click here</a> for full qualifying results.</em></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15282http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15282Sebastian Saavedra replaces Mikhail Aleshin at Schmidt Peterson for TorontoThu, 13 Jul 2017 22:37:39 GMT<p>IndyCar Series veteran Sebastian Saavedra will return to the wheel with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports this weekend, driving the team&rsquo;s No. 7 car at the Honda Indy Toronto race.</p> <p>Saavedra&#39;s career stretches back to 2010 with 62 appearances in the series, including this year&rsquo;s Indianapolis 500, where he finished 15th for Juncos Racing.</p> <p>Saavedra replaces Mikhail Aleshin, who will sit out the race for an unspecified reason. It follows the Russian&#39;s visa issues last month which stopped him from taking part in the opening day of practice for the Kohler GP.</p> <p>The 27-year-old will be reunited this weekend with Blair Perschbacher, who was Saavedra&#39;s race engineer in Indy Lights. The duo teamed up to win the Indy Lights race at Toronto in 2010 with Andretti Autosport. Saavedra also finished second in the 2012 Indy Lights race at Toronto.</p> <p>Saavedra&rsquo;s last Verizon IndyCar Series race on a temporary street course came at Toronto in 2015 when he drove for Chip Ganassi Racing and finished 16th. The Colombian&#39;s best finish on a street course was eighth place at Baltimore in 2013, when he drove for Dragon Racing.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15239http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15239Helio Castroneves returns to victory lane at IowaMon, 10 Jul 2017 00:15:49 GMT<p><strong>Helio Castroneves has returned to victory lane for the first time in three years at the Iowa Corn 300, after the Brazilian veteran led 217 of the 300-lap race around the short oval to end his victory drought and pick up Penske&rsquo;s first win at Iowa.</strong></p> <p>After starting on the second row of the grid Castroneves wasted no time in rising to the front, overtaking J.R. Hildebrand and team-mate Will Power to take the lead during the early stages of the race.</p> <p>Despite the early lead Castroneves endured a race long battle with Hildebrand and Power, eventually pulling away during the final few laps to convincingly pick up his 30th career victory.</p> <p>Hildebrand was forced to settle for P2 despite a strong display at the front of the pack, equalling his best career result.</p> <p>Iowa expert Ryan Hunter-Reay managed to scythe through the order from P15 on the grid to finish third for Andretti Autosport, with the 2012 champion picking up considerable ground during the pit-stops under caution in particular.</p> <p>Initial pole sitter Will Power was forced to settle for P4, after being overshadowed by team-mate Castroneves throughout the majority of the race.</p> <p>Graham Rahal also enjoyed a competitive race for RLL Racing, rising up from P10 on the grid to come home a respectable fifth ahead of Josef Newgarden.</p> <p>Reigning champion Simon Pagenaud was P7 for Penske, ahead of four-time champion Scott Dixon who also managed to make ground after a poor qualifying performance.</p> <p>Dixon managed to maintain his championship lead despite a far from perfect race weekend, with Castroneves now only eighth points adrift in second in the drivers&rsquo; championship.</p> <p>Tony Kanaan and James Hinchcliffe rounded out the top ten, with Kanaan in particular struggling somewhat during the early stages of the race with the handling of his Ganassi car.</p> <p>Ed Carpenter could only manage P12, despite a competitive qualifying performance and a strong start to the race.</p> <p>Former Formula 1 racer Esteban Gutierrez was impressive on his oval debut, avoiding any on-track skirmishes and coming home a respectable P13 for Dale Coyne Racing,</p> <p>The race was interrupted by four full course cautions and even a short red flag delay after a brief and very light sprinkle of rain fell over the Iowa Speedway.</p> <p>Mikhail Aleshin brought out the first full course caution of the afternoon, after the Russian racer spun into the barrier to become the first retirement.</p> <p>Carlos Munoz and Conor Daly suffered identical issues on their way to retirement, with both drivers grazing the wall in separate incidents and then limping back to the pits.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15225http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15225Simon Pagenaud ends final practice fastest at IowaSun, 09 Jul 2017 00:13:10 GMT<p><strong>Simon Pagenaud has ended final practice fastest ahead of the Iowa Corn 300, with Chevrolet power once again dominating at the sharp end of the order around the Iowa Speedway.</strong></p> <p>The reigning champion was closely followed by Ed Carpenter, with the team owner enjoying a thoroughly productive day after ending each session within the top four.</p> <p>Pole sitter Will Power was P3 for Penske, as the attention of the teams and drivers turned to race simulations during the final 30 minutes of track action before the 300-lap race on Sunday.</p> <p>Championship leader Scott Dixon was fourth for Chip Ganassi Racing, with the four-time champion finally finding some pace after a rather lacklustre start to the weekend.</p> <p>During practice one and the all-important qualifying session Dixon was unable to even break into the top ten, eventually qualifying a lowly P17 for the race.</p> <p>Josef Newgarden was P5 for Penske, with the Barber race winner also enduring a tough qualifying session in P16, despite ending the first practice session fastest overall.</p> <p>Tony Kanaan and Graham Rahal were sixth and seventh respectively, with many drivers running in close proximity of each other in a bid to simulate racing conditions around the tricky short oval.</p> <p>Helio Castroneves was P8 for Penske, with rumours circulating within the paddock that this may well be the Brazilian veteran&rsquo;s final IndyCar season.</p> <p>Mikhail Aleshin and Alexander Rossi rounded out the top ten, in a session which ran incident-free despite a short caution delay for a track inspection.</p> <p>Esteban Gutierrez ended proceedings P14 for Dale Coyne Racing, just ahead of team-mate Ed Jones as the former Formula 1 racer continues to acclimatise to oval racing.</p> <p>Further down the order Ryan Hunter-Reay was a disappointing P16, with the three-time Iowa race winner unable to find any pace behind the wheel of his Andretti Autosport machine.</p> <p>Meanwhile Carlos Munoz managed to return to the track after his minor incident during qualifying, with the Columbian racer ending the session P17 for A.J. Foyt Racing.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15224http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15224Will Power pips J.R. Hildebrand to Iowa poleSat, 08 Jul 2017 20:19:46 GMT<p><b>Will Power has pipped J.R. Hildebrand to pole position for the Iowa Corn 300, with the Penske racer rising to the top in dominant style towards the end of the session.</b></p> <p>The Penske racer was the last driver to take to the Iowa Speedway during the all-important qualifying session, and eased to the top with a 185.210mph two-lap average.</p> <p>Hildebrand, who masterfully managed to move on from his shunt in practice earlier in the day, was forced to settle for P2 for Ed Carpenter Racing.</p> <p>Initially it looked as though Hildebrand was on course to secure his maiden pole position, after producing a very impressive 183.811mph two-lap average.</p> <p>Helio Castroneves qualified an impressive P3 for Penske, with the Brazilian racer still hunting for his first victory since 2014.</p> <p>Ed Carpenter was P4 for Ed Carpenter Racing, concluding a very productive session for the team owner with both cars inside the top four.</p> <p>Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Takuma Sato was the fastest Honda-powered driver in P5 for Andretti Autosport, with the Japanese racer displaying his fondness for the short oval with a competitive qualifying performance.</p> <p>Mikhail Aleshin and Tony Kanaan were sixth and seventh respectively, ahead of rookie Ed Jones who once again shone for Dale Coyne Racing.</p> <p>The Dubai-born British racer momentarily sat on provisional pole position during the early stages of the session, before falling down the order as the track conditions improved.</p> <p>James Hinchcliffe and reigning champion Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top ten, with the Frenchman in particular the first driver to take to the track at the start of the session.</p> <p>Iowa expert Ryan Hunter-Reay was unable to trouble the sharp end of the order with Andretti Autosport, with the 2012 champion only managing P15.</p> <p>Meanwhile championship leader Scott Dixon qualified way down in P17, with the Ganassi racer struggling somewhat with a 180.302mph average at the start of the session.</p> <p>Carlos Munoz was the only driver unable to set a time, with the Columbian racer spinning at Turn 2 on his first lap and making very light contact with the barrier.</p> <p>Although Munoz managed to safely return to the pits with only minor rear-wing damage, he was unable to return to the track and will therefore start the race from last position.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15222http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15222Josef Newgarden leads Penske 1-2-3 after opening practice at IowaSat, 08 Jul 2017 16:54:31 GMT<p>Josef Newgarden has topped the opening practice session ahead of the Iowa Corn 300, leading a Penske 1-2-3 with a 185.609mph lap after an eventful start to the weekend around the Iowa Speedway.</p> <p>The drivers were naturally eager to take to the short 0.894-mile oval at the start of the session, with only a limited amount of track action available before qualifying and the all-important 300-lap race.</p> <p>Will Power was a close second for Penske, as Chevrolet power enjoyed a productive start to proceedings at the sharp end of the order.</p> <p>Reigning champion Simon Pagenaud was P3 for Penske, with the Frenchman moving up the order during the latter stages of the session, along with team-mates Newgarden and Power.</p> <p>Ed Carpenter was fourth fastest for Ed Carpenter Racing, with the team owner sitting at the top of proceedings throughout the majority of the session, only to be usurped by the Penskes during the final few minutes of track action.</p> <p>Marco Andretti was the fastest Honda-powered racer for Andretti Autosport in P5, ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing&rsquo;s Tony Kanaan.</p> <p>Mikhail Aleshin was seventh for SPM Racing, with the Russian racer enjoying a productive start to the day towards the top of the time sheets behind Carpenter.</p> <p>Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe were P8 and P9 respectively, ahead of Graham Rahal who rounded out the top ten for RLL Racing.</p> <p>The session was plagued by three caution periods, the first two for track inspections, before J.R. Hildebrand spun on the exit of Turn 2 and made contact with the barrier.</p> <p>Upon contact with the barrier Hildebrand&rsquo;s steering wheel was thrown into the air, bouncing down the track adjacent to the car.</p> <p>Despite the relatively heavy impact Hildebrand gingerly extracted himself from the car, with the ever-efficient Holmatro Safety Team at his side.</p> <p>Meanwhile Scott Dixon was way down the order in P16, with the championship leader penalised for several misdemeanours last time out at Road America during the warm-up session and therefore prevented from taking part in the final 20 minutes of practice one at Iowa.</p> <p>Esteban Gutierrez could only manage P19 for Dale Coyne Racing, with the former Formula 1 racer making his official oval race weekend debut in the #18 car in place of Sebastien Bourdais who is still recovering from injuries sustained during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15143http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15143Honda identifies cause of several IndyCar engine failuresSat, 01 Jul 2017 21:44:56 GMT<p>Honda says it has identified the cause of several IndyCar engine failures and will put a fix in place to ensure it doesn&#39;t remain a recurring issue this season.</p> <p>Honda has suffered a spate of failures this season, including three during the Indianapolis 500 which cost Formula 1&#39;s Fernando Alonso a shot at victory.</p> <p>Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development, said on Saturday that they had pinpointed the problem, but refused to specify exactly what had failed, but said a fix was in place and it would be rolled out gradually.</p> <p>&quot;There is no plan right now to do a wholesale change of our engines,&quot; he told the official IndyCar website. &quot;Right now, it looks like [the failure] happens in about one out of every eight engines. If it does fail, it usually fails early, so when that problem arises, it shows up pretty quick.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Our expectations are that once we get the engines in the spares pool, we will continue using the engines that are in the car throughout the remainder of their mileage. Then those will be replaced with new engines.&quot;</p> <p>A number of engines will be replaced for this weekend&#39;s&nbsp;Iowa Speedway race with the majority of drivers having the fix in place at the following race weekend.</p> <p>Speaking about the Indy 500 failures in particular, St. Cyr said they took a risk in running the engines when they knew an issue existed &ndash; although not specifically which part &ndash;&nbsp;and said it was a tradeoff they had to make.</p> <p>&quot;When you make more horsepower, you do expose parts to more stresses. That&#39;s the fundamental thing about it. In this particular case, what it did is it reduced our safety factor on that particular part.</p> <p>&quot;In general, our main goal is to win the Indy 500. We knew that even if we ran the engines at full power, the majority of our engines were going to make it. In that case, we were willing to make that tradeoff. If it was going to fail every engine, then maybe not.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Every circumstance is different, but in this case, we were willing to make that call. You&#39;re at risk every year.&quot;</p> <p>Honda did still win the event with Japanese driver Takuma Sato and the Andretti Autosport team.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15098http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15098Scott Dixon grabs his first Road America victoryMon, 26 Jun 2017 09:13:12 GMT<p>Seven different drivers had taken victory in 2017, but no-one could deny that the eighth different driver to enter Victory Lane was unworthy of their place on that hallowed strip of Tarmac. Scott Dixon took to the Turn 5 run-off after 55 frenetic laps at Road America to complete donuts in the #9 CGR machine, displaying his delight at bringing his and Chip Ganassi Racing&rsquo;s lengthy win drought to an end, brilliantly defeating the Penske steamroller, who had previously dominated at the verdant venue.</p> <p>And it was no less than he deserved, after a run of misfortune, near-misses, and of course, that horrifying aerial accident at the Indianapolis 500. Plus for Dixon, a flawless drive at Road America enabled him to extend his lead in the championship, as the title race enters the business phase of the season.&nbsp;</p> <p>From the start this had been Penske&rsquo;s race to lose, and lose it they did. H&eacute;lio Castroneves brought the field up the hill to the green flag, with stable mates Will Power, Josef Newgarden, and Simon Pagenaud following him in the variously liveried Dallara DW12s.&nbsp;</p> <p>Dixon immediately leapt ahead of Pagenaud and tried his hand at demoting Power, who had by now lost out on second position to Newgarden, as pole man Castroneves streaked clear up front. The Kiwi remained glued to the rear of the Aussie and then attempted to get by a few laps later, but found his path was blocked. So his team extended his first stint which enabled him to jump clear.</p> <p>Third place was now his, while Castroneves and Newgarden continued to circulate at the head of the field, the young American having briefly taken the lead through dint of stopping a lap later. Castroneves, though, on warmed-up tyres, duly swept back to the front.&nbsp;</p> <p>But Newgarden was not to be denied and a few laps later he was almost attached to the rear of his team-mate&rsquo;s car as they glided around the picturesque venue, cheered on by a near full house of screaming fans. The on lap 20, Newgarden had a run along the main straight and boldly chose the outside line, around the corner to snatch the lead, as he quickly put air between himself and his opponent. &nbsp;</p> <p>Castroneves, as with the first round of stops, came in before his rivals during the second phase, while leader Newgarden and third-placed Dixon, who had closed in on Castroneves, came in one lap later. Shortly after they made their respective stops, the first caution period was activated after Takuma Sato drifted wide through Turn 11 and hit the wall. Fortunately for the Indianapolis 500 winner, the contact was minor, and he bounced across the grass before coming to a halt. The Holmatro Safety Crew were quickly with the stricken Sato and fired him up, ready to go again.</p> <p>But crucially, the caution period had eradicated Newgarden&rsquo;s advantage, his predicament now exacerbated by running the slower Black tyres as opposed to Dixon&rsquo;s Reds, as is mandatory for one phase of the race. And at the restart, Dixon got a cool and calculated run on Newgarden and drew level along the main straight, before boldly sticking&nbsp; to the outside of the turn to sweep around the Penske racer and into the lead. Newgarden saved an oversteer moment through Turn 1 but on slower tyres he was compromised, and Castroneves eventually demoted him into Turn 5.&nbsp;</p> <p>Dixon moved clear of the chasing pack before coming in for his final stop on lap 42, with Castroneves following suit, albeit by mistake. Penske had intended for him to run a lap longer. Newgarden duly inherited the lead for a lap before slotting back into second when he was serviced next time around, fending off Castroneves into Turn 5. Just as Castroneves himself turned on the defensive against Pagenaud, Tony Kanaan speared hard into the Turn 11 wall after battling with the similarly four-stopping Alexander Rossi.&nbsp;</p> <p>Kanaan carried more speed through Turn 10 and dived to the inside on the short straight, though Rossi moved across and the pair made minor contact, with the Ganassi driver losing small parts from his front wing. Kanaan held the inside for Turn 11 but in running a tighter approach he compromised his entry and slammed into the wall, his trajectory accentuated by the loss of front downforce and the array of marbles off-line.&nbsp;</p> <p>Naturally a caution period was called for Kanaan&rsquo;s car to be cleared, while the TK gathered his thoughts after a sizeable crash.&nbsp;</p> <p>The caution period bunched the field but Dixon shot off like a man possessed when the Safety Car disappeared, as Newgarden tried to get up to speed. Newgarden had more push-to-pass time available and utilised it effectively, closing the deficit to under a second, but Dixon didn&rsquo;t put a foot wrong up front, as Newgarden became increasingly ragged in pursuit. No matter how hard Newgarden tried, he was unable to displace Dixon, and the four-time champion crossed the line 0.57s clear for his 41st career victory, extending his series lead to 34 points. &nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;A lot of it was strategy, being on the right tyres at the right time, so happy, this is not a track that should be suited to us but everything went well,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not what I expected! But I&rsquo;m so pumped for the whole team.&rdquo;</p> <p>Newgarden admitted disappointment at the defeat, with his mandatory spell on the slower, black tyres coming at the wrong time.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;You can&rsquo;t predict that stuff,&rdquo; Newgarden said of the timing of the Sato-induced yellow. &ldquo;The strategy was spot on, doing what we needed to do, sometimes they fall your way, sometimes they don&rsquo;t. Dixon did a great job and they deserved their win, [but] it stings a bit.&rdquo;</p> <p>Castroneves held off Pagenaud for the final podium spot while Power completed a 2-3-4-5 for Penske.&nbsp; A good result, but frustrating after the 1-2-3-4 qualifying effort.&nbsp;</p> <p>Charlie Kimball went off-strategy to record sixth position for Ganassi, while Ed Jones and Graham Rahal both snuck past Ryan Hunter-Reay along the back stretch late on to take seventh and eighth. Rahal almost struck the rear of Hunter-Reay&rsquo;s car as he made his move but quick reactions enabled him to dive to the inside into Canada Corner, with the Andretti Autosport racer compromised by lost front wing elements. &nbsp;</p> <p>Rahal was the lead driver on a four-stop strategy, with the bulk of the pack having favoured a three-stopper, while Max Chilton&rsquo;s encouraging form continued as he took ninth position, leaving Mikhail Aleshin, who had run through the gravel at Turn 5 prior to the last caution period, completing the top 10. It was a strong recovery for Aleshin, who had missed Friday&rsquo;s practice sessions after immigration issues delayed his entry into the country.&nbsp;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15070http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15070Video: Scott Dixon meets concerned IndyCar fan LucySat, 24 Jun 2017 08:54:35 GMT<p id="eow-description">Scott Dixon visits a young fan who wrote him a letter after his accident at Indianapolis.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15054http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15054Robert Wickens called-up to replace Mikhail Aleshin after visa issuesFri, 23 Jun 2017 08:37:01 GMT<p>Mercedes DTM racer Robert Wickens has been drafted in to replace&nbsp;Schmidt Peterson&#39;s Mikhail Aleshin for Friday&#39;s practice sessions at Road America following visa issues for the Russian.</p> <p>Aleshin is currently stuck in France after competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the&nbsp;SMP Racing LMP2 team. Due to immigration problems, he has been prevented from travelling back to the United States and will miss Friday&#39;s track activity.</p> <p>The team is hopeful that the problem will be resolved swiftly and Aleshin can travel back on Friday in order to take up his seat for&nbsp;the remainder of the race weekend.</p> <p>&quot;Since competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with SMP Racing last weekend, Mikhail Aleshin, driver of the No. 7 Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda in the Verizon IndyCar Series, has been unable to leave France due to immigration issues preventing him from returning to the United States,&quot; Aleshin&#39;s team said in a statement.</p> <p>&quot;The executive team at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has been working diligently on Aleshin&rsquo;s return to America to compete in this weekend&rsquo;s KOHLER Grand Prix. However, at this time, the Russian driver will not arrive to Road America in time for any on-track sessions scheduled for Friday, June 23.</p> <p>&quot;The team have elected for Canadian Robert Wickens to pilot the No. 7 car until the immigration issue is resolved.</p> <p>&quot;No further comments about Aleshin&rsquo;s immigration status will be given at this time. The team will send further communication when an update is available.&quot;</p> <p>Wickens has limited IndyCar experience having tested for the same team back in February as part of a &#39;car swap&#39; with fellow Canadian&nbsp;James Hinchcliffe.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15046http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/15046Esteban Gutierrez to complete IndyCar season with Dale CoyneThu, 22 Jun 2017 13:20:45 GMT<p>Dale Coyne Racing has confirmed that Esteban Guti&eacute;rrez will drive for the team across the rest of the 2017 IndyCar season, in place of the injured S&eacute;bastien Bourdais.</p> <p>Bourdais sustained hip and pelvic fractures in a high-speed crash during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, with James Davison piloting the No. 18 car in race trim.</p> <p>Guti&eacute;rrez made his IndyCar debut in Detroit but was side-lined for the following round in Texas due to his lack of oval experience, with time constraints and regulations denying him the opportunity to test.</p> <p>Guti&eacute;rrez has now concluded a deal to race for Dale Coyne at the remaining eight rounds, starting at Road America this weekend.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m very happy to finally announce my racing program for the rest of the season,&rdquo; expressed Gutierrez.</p> <p>&ldquo;To represent Mexico in the IndyCar Series has a huge significance to all the fans that have been following the series through history and I&#39;m very grateful to fill in this position.</p> <p>&quot;IndyCar has highly competitive teams and drivers and the challenge for me will be great, but I will use all my experience from Formula 1 with Sauber, Haas and Ferrari in order to adapt quickly to the car and the tracks.</p> <p>&ldquo;I look forward to continue working with Dale Coyne Racing and Honda, I put my trust in them to achieve great results together.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14941http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14941Will Power takes victory in crazy Rainguard Water Sealers 600Sun, 11 Jun 2017 04:23:05 GMT<p><strong>Will Power has taken victory after a crazy Rainguard Water Sealers 600 around the Texas Motor Speedway, in a race of attrition which featured nine full course cautions and one red flag delay.</strong></p> <p>Such was the incident-filled nature of the race that only nine&nbsp;of the 22 cars finished the race, with Max Chilton ending the race in the pit-lane after being involved in the last shunt between Scott Dixon and Takuma Sato.</p> <p>Tony Kanaan ended the race second for Chip Ganassi Racing, despite being struck with a stop-and-go penalty for causing a multi-car incident after making contact with James Hinchcliffe earlier in the race.</p> <p>The resulting contact with Hinchcliffe saw carnage ensue further back, as Hinchcliffe slammed into the wall and Mikhail Aleshin collected Tristan Vautier. Hildebrand, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ed Jones, Carlos Munoz and Ed Carpenter were all involved, with race officials red flagging the race to allow the track to be cleared.</p> <p>Simon Pagenaud escaped any contact to come home a respectable third for Penske, who put aside their lack of pace in qualifying to enjoy a relatively successful 248-lap race.</p> <p>Detroit double-header race winner Graham Rahal also survived the many skirmishes throughout the race to finish P4 for RLL Racing, ahead of Gabby Chaves who crossed the line a very respectable fifth for Harding Racing in only their second race.</p> <p>Marco Andretti was P6, with the Andretti Autosport racer making numerous setup changes during the closing stages of the race.</p> <p>After the red flag delay Firestone and INDYCAR officials declared that after every 30 laps a competition caution would be called to allow the drivers to complete mandatory pit-stops, after severe tyre wear was experienced by several drivers.</p> <p>Helio Castroneves suffered a front-right tyre failure during the early stages of the race, running straight on at Turn 2 and making heavy contact with the SAFER barrier.</p> <p>Conor Daly was P7 for A.J. Foyt Racing despite spinning while trying to avoid Sato, Chilton and Dixon up ahead, with Chilton officially classified in eighth yet stuck in the pit-lane after sustaining heavy damage to the front of his car.</p> <p>With only a handful of laps remaining Sato dipped a wheel on the grass at Turn 1 while fighting for P2 with four-time champion Dixon.</p> <p>The reigning Indianapolis 500 champion lost control of his car after touching the grass verge and collected Dixon, taking both drivers out of the race.</p> <p>Meanwhile Chilton ploughed into the side of Sato and Daly spun in avoidance, forcing the race to conclude under caution.</p> <p>Josef Newgarden was one of the many retirements,&nbsp;after the Penske racer tried to run three-wide earlier in the race before losing control of his car and slamming into the wall.</p> <p>Meanwhile initial pole sitter Charlie Kimball&rsquo;s race ended in misery after the first round of pit-stops, with the Chip Ganassi racer suffering a mechanical issue and joining the long list of retirements.</p> <p>Despite retiring Dixon maintains a 13-point lead in the drivers&rsquo; championship to reigning champion Pagenaud, with Sato only one point adrift of the Frenchman.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14917http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14917Charlie Kimball secures maiden IndyCar pole at TexasFri, 09 Jun 2017 21:31:08 GMT<p>Chip Ganassi Racing&rsquo;s Charlie Kimball scored his first IndyCar pole position in qualifying for Saturday&rsquo;s race at the Texas Motor Speedway.</p> <p>The American driver beat his team-mate Scott Dixon with an average speed of 222.556mph and aggregate two-lap run of 46.586 seconds.</p> <p>His run broke the Texas lap record previously held by Will Power since 2013. Dixon set the pace in practice and was second fastest in qualifying, keeping up his impressive form.</p> <p>Andretti&rsquo;s Alexander Rossi was third, with Tony Kanaan and Tristan Vautier &ndash; replacing Esteban Gutierrez in the No.18 Dale Coyne Racing car &ndash; completing the top five.</p> <p>Max Chilton, Mikhail Aleshin and Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato were next up, meaning the top eight was dominated by Honda power.</p> <p>Penske&rsquo;s Power and Helio Castroneves were the lead Chevrolet cars in ninth and 10th, ahead of Detroit double-header race winner Graham Rahal.</p> <p>Early running orders saw Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Josef Newgarden finish down in 13th, 15th and 17th.</p> <p>Carlos Munoz failed to set a time and he will start last for the race, which takes place at the recently-resurfaced and reprofiled Texas track.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14911http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14911Scott Dixon on top after delayed opening practice at TexasFri, 09 Jun 2017 19:28:14 GMT<p><strong>Scott Dixon has ended the opening practice session ahead of the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 around the Texas Motor Speedway fastest, after a delayed start to proceedings due to a rain delay.</strong></p> <p>The start of the first practice session endured a significant delay after heavy rain struck the oval, forcing drivers to wait for the inclement weather to pass and the track to dry out before beginning their weekend.</p> <p>Once the track had dried out the 22 drivers were naturally keen to begin preparing for the qualifying session later in the day, with many drivers immediately taking to the track once the green flag was out.</p> <p>Charlie Kimball was second for Chip Ganassi Racing, after a competitive start to the weekend which saw him even going momentarily fastest towards the end of the session.</p> <p>Alexander Rossi was P3 for Andretti Herta Autosport, with the 2016 Indianapolis 500 champion also sharing the top spot throughout the session.</p> <p>Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti were fourth and fifth respectively, after a session which was interrupted by two caution periods, both for track inspections.</p> <p>Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Takuma Sato was P6 for Andretti Autosport, as Honda once again showed their renewed supremacy over Chevrolet with the top six positions all occupied by Honda-powered drivers.</p> <p>Ed Carpenter was the fastest Chevrolet-powered driver in P7, as the team owner returns to the cockpit for the first time since the Indianapolis 500, replacing Spencer Pigot.</p> <p>Will Power could only manage eighth for Penske, as the outfit struggled to trouble the sharp end of the order.</p> <p>Tony Kanaan and Josef Newgarden rounded out the top ten, with only three Chevrolet-powered drivers managing to break into the top ten.</p> <p>Further down the order Penske team-mates Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves could only manage P12 and P13 respectively.</p> <p>Tristan Vautier was P16 for Dale Coyne Racing, as the Frenchman prepares to start his first IndyCar race since 2015 in place of the injured Sebastien Bourdais.</p> <p>Meanwhile Gabby Chaves could only manage P21 for rookie outfit Harding Racing, who are preparing for their second IndyCar race after making their debut at the Indianapolis 500 earlier in the year.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14900http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14900Tristan Vautier to drive for Dale Coyne Racing at TexasThu, 08 Jun 2017 11:24:34 GMT<p>Tristan Vautier will return to the IndyCar series for this weekend&rsquo;s round at the Texas Motor Speedway, taking over the No.18 Dale Coyne Racing car.</p> <p>The team&rsquo;s regular driver, Sebastien Bourdais, is currently recovering from injuries sustained in a crash during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.</p> <p>James Davison replaced him for the famous race, with ex-F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez then making his IndyCar debut in the No.18 car at the Detroit double-header least weekend.</p> <p>However, he was <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14884">ruled out of competing at Texas</a> due to his lack of oval experience, with Vautier being called up to replace him for the next round.</p> <p>Vautier won the 2012 Indy Lights championship before stepping up to IndyCar for a full season in 2013. He put in a part-season in 2015 with Dale Coyne and has since moved into sportscars.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m really looking forward to getting back in an Indy car and race for Dale again,&rdquo; he said on his IndyCar return.</p> <p>&ldquo;I really can&#39;t wait to be in the car on Friday and see how it feels that first lap around.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&#39;s not the easiest place to step back in and practice is going to be very limited, but the team has been competitive everywhere, and I trust we&#39;ll be good.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14899http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14899Dallara chosen by IndyCar as 2018 aerokit manufacturerThu, 08 Jun 2017 11:12:23 GMT<p>IndyCar has announced that Dallara has been chosen as the sole manufacturer of its new bodywork kit for the 2018 season.</p> <p>Currently, engine suppliers Honda and Chevrolet produce their own aerokits, but from next season onwards all cars will run with the same bodywork.</p> <p>Last month, new renders of the superspeedway and road/street course aerokit configurations were <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14763">officially revealed</a> by the single-seater series.</p> <p>Long-time partner Dallara has now been named as the bodywork manufacturer, alongside being the sole provider of the DW12 chassis IndyCar has used since 2012.</p> <p>IndyCar&rsquo;s new aerokits are designed to &ldquo;reduce the turbulence a leading car produces&rdquo; to &ldquo;improve the chances of a trailing car making a pass&rdquo;.</p> <p>The superspeedway oval configuration will make its test debut from July 25-26 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.</p> <p>The road course/street course version will be tried out for the first time on August 1 at the Mid-Ohio track.</p> <p>Other tests are scheduled to take place on August 28 at Iowa Speedway and September 26 at Sebring.</p> <p>&quot;This has been a collaborative effort from multiple parties, including input from our paddock and fans,&quot; Jay Frye, IndyCar president of competition and operations, said.</p> <p>&ldquo;Dallara has been a great partner, and we couldn&#39;t be more enthused with the look, the safety enhancements and the performance objectives of the 2018 car.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14884http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14884Gutierrez won't run IndyCar Texas roundTue, 06 Jun 2017 11:19:24 GMT<p>Dale Coyne Racing will need to search for another driver for the No. 18 machine, with Esteban Guti&eacute;rrez unable to participate in this weekend&rsquo;s round at the Texas Motor Speedway.</p> <p>Regular racer S&eacute;bastien Bourdais, victor of the opening 2017 race at St. Petersburg, sustained hip and pelvic injuries in a high-speed crash during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, ruling him out of competition.</p> <p>Bourdais, who has targeted a return before the end of the season, was replaced for the prestigious event by James Davison, before ex-F1 racer Esteban Guti&eacute;rrez stepped in for the double-header in Detroit.</p> <p>Guti&eacute;rrez, having never driven in IndyCar before, claimed 19th in the opening race and 14th in the second encounter around the streets of Belle Isle.</p> <p>The Mexican entered Detroit facing clashing Formula E commitments across June and July, but Techeetah confirmed that St&eacute;phane Sarrazin would replace him in the electric single-seater series for the remainder of the 2016/17 campaign.</p> <p>However, as a rookie, Guti&eacute;rrez is required to conduct private running on an oval before he is permitted to take part in such an event.</p> <p>Due to time limitations, and IndyCar&rsquo;s testing restrictions, this is not possible prior to the upcoming round at the Texas Motor Speedway.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not out of the question that he will do other races, [he] just can&#39;t do Texas,&rdquo; his Dale Coyne team confirmed on social media.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14871http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14871Graham Rahal silences opposition with Race 2 victory at DetroitSun, 04 Jun 2017 22:12:14 GMT<p><strong>Graham Rahal has silenced the opposition after yet another utterly dominant drive to victory in Race 2 at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, rising up from third on the grid to become the first driver to win both races at the doubleheader around the Raceway at Belle Isle Park.</strong></p> <p>Despite starting from the second row of the grid Rahal perfected another two-stop strategy, using his first pit-stop to gain significant track position.</p> <p>The race ran caution free until the final handful of laps, when James Hinchcliffe suffered a mechanical failure and stopped on the track.&nbsp;</p> <p>Moments later Spencer Pigot suffered a monumental turbo failure, dropping oil onto the track amid a massive plume of thick white smoke.</p> <p>With only four laps remaining the race officials elected to red flag the race, thus enabling the Holmatro Safety Team to clear Pigot and Hinchcliffe&rsquo;s car as well as clearing any fluid deposited onto the track.</p> <p>This destroyed Rahal&rsquo;s lead, and put all the emphasis on the restart when there would be only two green flag racing laps left.</p> <p>But Rahal was supreme on the restart, opening up an impressive lead to Josef Newgarden and storming across the line to become the first repeat winner of the season.</p> <p>Despite catching Rahal before the red flag delay Newgarden was unable to challenge for the lead on the restart, instead finding himself defending heavily to Penske team-mate Will Power.</p> <p>Newgarden was certainly impressive throughout the 70-lap race, with the Barber race winner committing to a three-stop strategy in comparison to Rahal, Power and Takuma Sato&rsquo;s two-stop strategy to finish second.</p> <p>Power was forced to settle for P3 after a feisty restart from the 2014 champion, including several impressive on-track overtakes throughout the race on the likes of Mikhail Aleshin and Ryan Hunter-Reay.</p> <p>Pole sitter Sato could only manage P4 for Andretti Autosport, after losing the lead to Rahal during the first round of pit-stops and then a further position to Power during the second round of pit-stops.</p> <p>Reigning champion Simon Pagenaud enjoyed a much more productive Race 2, coming home fifth after a much stronger day for Penske in comparison to Race 1.</p> <p>Scott Dixon ended the race P6 for Chip Ganassi Racing, after his three-stop strategy failed to work in comparison to that of Newgarden&rsquo;s.</p> <p>Alexander Rossi and Charlie Kimball were P7 and P8 respectively, with Rossi in particular finding himself stuck in several key battles throughout the race with the likes of Dixon and team-mate Marco Andretti.</p> <p>Helio Castroneves could only manage P9 for Penske, once again failing to capitalise on a strong grid position.</p> <p>The Brazilian veteran made contact with Hunter-Reay during the early stages of the race, sustaining a left-rear puncture which ultimately scuppered any hope of a strong result.</p> <p>Tony Kanaan rounded out the top ten for Chip Ganassi, despite incurring drive-through penalty for a pit-lane infraction after running over an air hose during his final stop.</p> <p>Former Formula 1 racer Esteban Gutierrez was the last driver on the lead lap for Dale Coyne Racing in P14, after a tough introduction to IndyCar around the bumpy streets of Detroit.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14866http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14866Takuma Sato takes pole for Race 2 in DetroitSun, 04 Jun 2017 15:40:27 GMT<p><strong>Takuma Sato has stormed to pole position for Race 2 at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, only a week after romping to victory at the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.</strong></p> <p>The Japanese racer, who hasn&rsquo;t started from pole since Race 2 in Detroit back in 2014, topped the second segment of qualifying and therefore procured the odd-numbered grid slots for the drivers in his group.</p> <p>Ryan Hunter-Reay will start alongside team-mate Sato on the front-row of the grid, after the Andretti Autosport racer topped the first qualifying segment, which was interrupted by a red flag delay after Carlos Munoz made contact with the wall on the exit of Turn 2.&nbsp;</p> <p>Race 1 winner Graham Rahal will start from row two in P3, with his eyes firmly set on becoming the first driver to win both races during the Detroit doubleheader weekend.</p> <p>However, Rahal will have strong opposition in the form of Brazilian veteran Helio Castroneves, who will start the race from P4 on the second row of the grid.</p> <p>SPM Racing team-mates James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin lock-out the third row of the grid, with Hinchcliffe in particular chasing another strong result, albeit without any mistakes like Race 1.</p> <p>Will Power and Scott Dixon will start P7 and P8 respectively, with Power forced to take to the escape road at Turn 7 during the final moments of the second segment.</p> <p>The 2014 champion initially started the second segment in competitive form, becoming the first driver to set a time faster than Hunter-Reay&rsquo;s initial benchmark from the first segment.&nbsp;</p> <p>However, the Penske racer&rsquo;s rhythm was soon disrupted after light contact with the wall at Turn 6, before the likes of Rahal and Sato rose above him.</p> <p>Marco Andretti and Conor Daly rounded out the top ten, with Daly looking for another superb start to the race after gaining nine positions during the opening laps of Race 1 before a mechanical issue forced him into retirement.</p> <p>Further down the order reigning champion Pagenaud failed to trouble the sharp end of the order once again in P11, with Penske team-mate Josef Newgarden P13.</p> <p>Former Formula 1 racer Esteban Gutierrez will start P19 for his second IndyCar race, after out-qualifying Oriol Servia and Spencer Pigot.</p> <p>Meanwhile Munoz will start P22 and last, with the Columbian racer failing to set a timed lap before making contact with the barrier in the first segment.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14863http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14863Graham Rahal takes dominant Race 1 victory at DetroitSat, 03 Jun 2017 21:50:36 GMT<p><strong>Graham Rahal has successfully managed to translate pole position into victory after a dominant display during Race 1 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix around the tricky Raceway at Belle Isle Park road course.</strong></p> <p>The 70-lap race was only interrupted by two full course cautions after a relatively clean race, with Rahal leading 55 laps on his way to becoming the seventh different winner in seven races, showing just how competitive the IndyCar field has become.</p> <p>Four-time champion Scott Dixon was second for Chip Ganassi Racing, expertly handling his car around the treacherously bumpy street course only six days after his horrific accident at the Indianapolis 500.</p> <p>James Hinchcliffe was a highly respectable P3 for SPM Racing, after the Canadian racer spun at Turn 2 on the first lap after losing the rear of his car without any contact, causing the first caution period.</p> <p>Luckily Hinchcliffe managed to avoid contact with another driver and the wall, with the Holmatro Safety Team restarting his car and enabling him to return to the pits for a fresh set of Firestone tyres.</p> <p>From there Hinchcliffe scythed back through the field with a combination of on-track overtaking manoeuvres and pit-lane passes, working his way majestically back to the sharp end of the order.</p> <p>Josef Newgarden was fourth for Penske, ending the race as the highest placed Penske and Chevrolet-powered car.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Barber race winner completed a late overtake on Alexander Rossi, with the Andretti Autosport racer forced to settle for P5.</p> <p>Mikhail Aleshin was another driver who managed to rise up through the order during the race, opting to pit under the first caution period on the opening lap.&nbsp;</p> <p>Just like Hinchcliffe, Aleshin even managed to lead a lap of the race during the pit-stop period, eventually coming home P6.</p> <p>Helio Castroneves was forced to settle for P7, despite starting from P2 and even leading several laps.&nbsp;</p> <p>Initially Castroneves perfected the undercut on Rahal during the first round of pit-stops, however he was committed to a three-stop strategy and therefore was required to make a final splash-and-dash during the latter stages of the race which demoted him down the order.</p> <p>Takuma Sato also required a final stop during the final handful of laps, with the reigning Indianapolis 500 champion losing several key positions due to the stop and ending the race P8.</p> <p>Rookie Ed Jones rounded out the top ten ahead of Spencer Pigot, with the Dubai-born British racer in particular starting from a lowly P21 on the grid and rising steadily through the order.&nbsp;</p> <p>Reigning champion Simon Pagenaud endured an uninspiring race, eventually coming home way down in P16.</p> <p>Meanwhile fellow Penske racer Will Power was equally unimpressive, ending the race a lowly P18 and even a lap off the leaders.</p> <p>Conor Daly was the only official retirement of the race, after being involved in an altercation with Charlie Kimball which caused the second and final full course caution.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14861http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14861Graham Rahal secures Race 1 pole amid confusion at DetroitSat, 03 Jun 2017 15:25:12 GMT<p><strong>Graham Rahal will start Race 1 of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix from pole position around the Raceway at Belle Isle Park, after a confusing conclusion to the qualifying session.</strong></p> <p>Initially Penske&rsquo;s Helio Castroneves had secured pole position after a blistering lap during the final minutes of qualifying, however it was later deleted after the Brazilian veteran was deemed not to have slowed down during a local yellow flag caused by Mikhail Aleshin.</p> <p>As per the qualifying regulations Aleshin&rsquo;s time was also deleted for causing the yellow flag, after the Russian racer made light contact with the wall and took to an escape road.</p> <p>Unlike the other road and street courses throughout the year, qualifying around the streets of Detroit is rather unique, with the field split into two segments and the overall fastest driver securing pole position, with that driver&rsquo;s group forming the grid in the odd-numbered positions.</p> <p>Meanwhile the drivers from the other group form the grid in the even-numbered grid slots.</p> <p>Although Castroneves had his fastest lap deleted for failing to slow during the local yellow flag, the Brazilian&rsquo;s other lap time was still enough to secure him P2 on the grid alongside Rahal.</p> <p>Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Takuma Sato will start on the second row of the grid for Andretti Autosport, alongside 2016 Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi.</p> <p>James Hinchcliffe will start P5, with Honda taking the fight to Chevrolet around the tight and twisty confines of the Belle Isle street circuit.</p> <p>Scott Dixon will accompany Hinchcliffe on the third row of the grid in P6, with the four-time&nbsp;champion enjoying a very competitive qualifying performance in the second group of the session.</p> <p>Reigning champion Simon Pagenaud will line-up only P7 for Race 1, after a frustrating qualifying session for the Penske racer.&nbsp;</p> <p>Immediately after the first group had completed their qualifying runs an incident between Pagenaud and Sato was investigated by the race stewards, with Pagenaud in particular unhappy with Sato for slowing during the session.</p> <p>However, the race officials decided to take no action on either driver, much to the surprise of Pagenaud.</p> <p>The Frenchman will start alongside British racer Max Chilton, who managed to secure P8 on the grid for Chip Ganassi.&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile Josef Newgarden and Charlie Kimball&nbsp;rounded out the top ten after a short and sweet qualifying session around the streets of Detroit.</p> <p>Former Formula 1 racer Esteban Gutierrez could only manage P19&nbsp;for his debut race in IndyCar, with the Mexican subbing for Sebastien Bourdais after the Frenchman sustained hip and pelvic injuries during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14846http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14846Ex-F1 racer Esteban Gutierrez to make IndyCar debut in DetroitThu, 01 Jun 2017 14:16:59 GMT<p>Former Formula 1 driver Esteban Gutierrez will make his IndyCar Series debut in place of the injured S&eacute;bastien Bourdais at Dale Coyne Racing in Detroit this weekend.</p> <p>Bourdais, winner of the opening round of the season at St. Petersburg, sustained hip and pelvic injuries in a high-speed crash during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, and has been sidelined for an unknown period of time.</p> <p>Gutierrez competed in Formula 1 with Sauber in 2013/14 and returned to a race seat with the new Haas squad for 2016, though was unable to retain his drive for 2017 after he failed to score a point, with Kevin Magnussen signed to partner Romain Grosjean.</p> <p>Gutierrez has since raced in Formula E for Techeetah and will now climb aboard the No. 18 car for this weekend&#39;s double-header around the streets of Belle Isle.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m very grateful to join Dale Coyne Racing, a highly competitive team,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;When Dale Coyne called me, I had no doubt that this would be a great opportunity for me to get experience in the IndyCar Series. My target is to learn as quickly as possible. IndyCar is a very challenging series for drivers, but I feel ready to take this chance.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m excited about my debut races at the Detroit Grand Prix and I cannot wait to start working with the team, engineers and Honda, as well as driving a Dallara car again.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14829http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14829Takuma Sato earns $2,458,129 for Indy 500 victoryTue, 30 May 2017 22:13:40 GMT<p>Takuma Sato pocketed a prize of $2,458,129 (&pound;1.9m) for winning the 101st running of the&nbsp;Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.</p> <p>Sato was crowned Indy&#39;s first Japanese winner when he took the lead of the 500-mile race with just six laps remaining, to finish just 0.2011s ahead of three-time winner&nbsp;Helio Castroneves.</p> <p>Castroneves earned&nbsp;$770,629 (&pound;601,000) for finishing second, whilst third-placed rookie Ed Jones took home a total of&nbsp;$535,629 (&pound;685,000).</p> <p>The total prize fund of&nbsp;$13,178,359 (&pound;10.2m) was split between all 33 drivers, with the amount depending on qualifying and race position.</p> <p>Jay Howard, last,&nbsp;retired after a <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14811">massive crash with&nbsp;Scott Dixon</a> and earned just over $200,000&nbsp;(&pound;156,000).</p> <p><strong>Full Prize Breakdown:</strong><br /> (Position, Qualifying, Driver, Condition, Prize)</p> <p>1. (4) Takuma Sato, Running, $2,458,129<br /> 2. (19) Helio Castroneves, Running, $770,629<br /> 3. (11) Ed Jones, Running, $535,629<br /> 4. (15) Max Chilton, Running, $484,129<br /> 5. (7) Tony Kanaan, Running, $438,129<br /> 6. (18) Juan Pablo Montoya, Running, $255,805<br /> 7. (3) Alexander Rossi, Running, $420,629<br /> 8. (8) Marco Andretti, Running, $384,629<br /> 9. (25) Gabby Chaves, Running, $235,305<br /> 10. (24) Carlos Munoz, Running, $364,129<br /> 11. (2) Ed Carpenter, Running, $395,129<br /> 12. (14) Graham Rahal, Running, $361,129<br /> 13. (13) Mikhail Aleshin, Running, $355,629<br /> 14. (23) Simon Pagenaud, Running, $349,129<br /> 15. (31) Sebastian Saavedra, Running, $210,305<br /> 16. (6) JR Hildebrand, Running, $345,129<br /> 17. (28) Pippa Mann, Running, $200,305<br /> 18. (29) Spencer Pigot, Running, $200,305<br /> 19. (22) Josef Newgarden, Running, $334,129<br /> 20. (33) James Davison, Contact, $355,129<br /> 21. (12) Oriol Servia,&nbsp;Contact, $200,305<br /> 22. (17) James Hinchcliffe, Contact, $349,129<br /> 23. (9) Will Power, Contact, $388,129<br /> 24. (5) Fernando Alonso, Mechanical, $305,805<br /> 25. (16) Charlie Kimball, Mechanical, $339,129<br /> 26. (32) Zach Veach, Mechanical, $200,805<br /> 27. (10) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Mechanical, $351,629<br /> 28. (21) Sage Karam, Mechanical, $202,805<br /> 29. (30) Buddy Lazier, Contact, $200,305<br /> 30. (26) Conor Daly, Contact, $334,129<br /> 31. (27) Jack Harvey, Contact, $205,805<br /> 32. (1) Scott Dixon, Contact, $446,629<br /> 33. (20) Jay Howard, Contact, $200,305</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14826http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14826Video: Race highlights from the 101st Indianapolis 500Tue, 30 May 2017 13:50:09 GMT<p>Watch highlights from the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14814http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14814Takuma Sato holds off Helio Castroneves to claim first Indianapolis 500 victorySun, 28 May 2017 20:09:01 GMT<p>Takuma Sato has claimed his first Indy 500 victory and the first for a Japanese driver, redemption for his almost victory in 2012 when he crashed out of the race whilst challenging Dario Franchitti for the lead.</p> <p>In an event filled with so much drama, Sato came through from fourth on the grid to claim the win for Andretti in the 101st running of the famous race.</p> <p>The former Formula 1 racer claimed the lead of the race with five laps to go and didn&#39;t look back as he held off a challenge from Helio&nbsp;Castroneves to finish just 0.201 seconds ahead, denying the Brazilian racer a fourth Indy crown.</p> <p>Max Chilton, another former F1 driver, had been in contention until Castroneves made a pass for the lead, followed by Sato and eventually Ed Jones, pushing the Briton down to fourth place. Tony Kanaan completed the top five.</p> <p>The race began with a clean start and the lead changed hands a number of times, with rookie Fernando Alonso taking to the front on Lap 37, where he would remain until trading places with team-mate Alexander Rossi.</p> <p>Alonso took the lead back before a scary incident involving Scott Dixon and Jay Howard saw the former go airborne as he was launched over the rear of Howard&#39;s car. Both escaped unharmed and the race was red flagged.</p> <p>During the restart Alonso dropped back to fourth with Rossi taking the lead in an Andretti 1-2-3-4.</p> <p>A&nbsp;second caution for AJ Foyt&#39;s Conor Daly shuffled the order again. Daly hit the wall after contact with Charlie Kimball and the resultant debris forced Jack Harvey to retire after he ran over a large piece and span into the inside wall, narrowly missing a safety vehicle.</p> <p>Buddy Lazier was the next retirement after spinning into the outside wall, with Sage Karam experiencing issues during the caution.</p> <p>Honda had a nightmare race as Ryan Hunter-Reay and Alonso both retired with engine failures, the latter running seventh with just 20 laps remaining.</p> <p>A pile-up consisting of five cars, Oriol Servia, James Davison, Will Power, Josef Newgarden and James Hinchcliffe reduced the field with just a handful of laps remaining.</p> <p>Chilton held the lead at the final restart, but couldn&#39;t hold on, which allowed Sato to become the&nbsp;71st Indy 500 winner.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14813http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14813Fernando Alonso retires from Indy 500 with Honda engine failureSun, 28 May 2017 19:55:38 GMT<p>Fernando Alonso it seems can&#39;t escape Honda&#39;s reliability troubles as he retired from the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 with an engine failure with just 20 laps remaining.</p> <p>The McLaren driver, who missed the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend to race in his first IndyCar event, was running seventh on lap 180 of 200 when he slowed on the main straight with smoke pouring from his McLaren-Andretti.</p> <p>The Spaniard led 25 laps&nbsp;throughout the opening 100 laps, but dropped back during a restart, falling back to tenth before he started to climb back up the order.</p> <p>As he exited his IndyCar, the crowd rose to their feet and aplauded the two-time Formula 1 World Champion.</p> <p>Speaking after his retirement, Alonso said he would be back in the future: &quot;Yeah, obviously. It&#39;s very early. I feel competitive, but I will come back. It will be easier the second time.</p> <p>&quot;Really good fun, thanks to IndyCar, thanks to the fans. One of the best experiences of my career.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14811http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14811Scott Dixon escapes injury in massive Indianapolis 500 shuntSun, 28 May 2017 17:56:16 GMT<p>Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter Scott Dixon escaped injury after a massive accident on Lap 53 of the 200-lap race.</p> <p>Dixon became airborne when he struck the rear of Jay Howard&#39;s #77 car, which moments before struck the wall after running wide at Turn 1 and ran across the track into Dixon&#39;s path.</p> <p>Dixon then landed on the SAFER barrier on the inside wall, tearing down part of the catch fencing which required a lengthy repair under red flag conditions&nbsp;before the race could be restarted.</p> <p>Both Dixon and Howard&nbsp;walked away from the crash, whilst a photographer nearby was taken to the medical centre for checks.</p> <p>Helio Castroneves was almost collected, but managed to avoid the crash by dipping to the inside, where he drove under the airborne Dixon.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4Fd1LoN3IBw" width="560"></iframe></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14777http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14777Sebastien Bourdais discharged from hospital following Indy 500 qualifying crashThu, 25 May 2017 20:33:29 GMT<p>Sebastien Bourdais has been discharged from the&nbsp;IU Health Methodist Hospital where he was being treated following a high-speed crash during qualifying for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 last Saturday.</p> <p>The Frenchman suffered multiple pelvic fractures and a fractured right hip when he struck the Turn 2 wall, resulting in immediate surgery.</p> <p>On Thursday, Bourdais was discharged and will now undergo rehabilitation for several weeks before he can walk unaided again.</p> <p>&quot;Sebastien is progressing amazingly fast for having pelvis and hip fractures, and considering the severity of the crash,&quot; said orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kevin Scheid. &quot;He is walking with crutches, in good spirits and feeling good.</p> <p>&quot;We expect the fractures to heal in around eight weeks and he should be able to start putting weight on the right leg then. Until that time, he can work on rehabilitating his upper body, core strength and range of motion in the hip.&quot;</p> <p>Bourdais added: &quot;I&#39;m obviously really happy to be up on my feet and feeling pretty good about being able to walk on crutches. I&#39;m really thankful to all the people at IU Health Methodist and the Holmatro Safety Team, everybody at IndyCar and my team, Dale Coyne Racing, for helping me achieve that so early after the crash.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s going to be a bit of a long road ahead. I still have six weeks before I can put weight on my right leg and put my foot on the ground, but after that it should be pretty smooth sailing,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m really looking forward to the day I can get back in the car, and hopefully that will be before the end of the season. I look forward to seeing you guys at the track.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14776http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14776McLaren's sponsors aren't being charged for IndyCar exposureThu, 25 May 2017 20:20:42 GMT<p>McLaren is not charging its sponsors any extra for having their logos on Fernando Alonso&#39;s IndyCar, despite the massive exposure&nbsp;they will receive this weekend, as well as the coverage they have already had during practice and qualifying.</p> <p>Alonso&#39;s car is bedecked in McLaren&#39;s Formula 1 sponsors, such as Hilton, SAP, Chandon and Richard Mille amongst others, but they haven&#39;t been charged for the additional sponsorship according to McLaren boss Zak Brown, who says it&#39;s McLaren&#39;s way of saying thank you and apologising for their current dip in performance which has led to less positive media coverage than their sponsors would like.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s something we&#39;re doing as part of our larger motor racing programme to deliver for our partners,&quot; he is quoted as saying by <em>Motorsport</em>. &quot;It isn&#39;t anything we have charged them incrementally for.</p> <p>&quot;As good partners, you need to recognise when you&#39;re delivering and when you are not and we&#39;re not delivering on track, which directly impacts their exposure.</p> <p>&quot;So this is a great way to offset that loss of exposure that we are generating now with a tremendous amount of exposure. We felt that was the right thing to do.&quot;</p> <p>Alonso will take part in his first Indianapolis 500 on Sunday after qualifying fifth, whilst Jenson Button will stand-in for him at the Monaco Grand Prix.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14763http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14763IndyCar reveals new images of 2018 aerokitsWed, 24 May 2017 19:31:41 GMT<p>The IndyCar series has shared the most revealing look yet at the aerokits it will use during the 2018 season.</p> <p>Initial concept designs were first revealed at the start of the year, with more detailed images being released last month.</p> <p>IndyCar has now unveiled a full set of official renders, showing the 2018 kits in both superspeedway and road/street course configurations.</p> <p>The kits will replace the current Chevrolet and Honda ones, with all drivers and teams running the same aero specs on their Dallara DW12s next season.</p> <p>A supplier has yet to be finalised and there is no firm date of when testing will begin, but IndyCar hopes to start trying the new kits out by mid-summer.</p> <p>The series says the new kits have &ldquo;been reverse-designed to start with a look of past Indycar favourites while also incorporating the latest technological and safety advancements.</p> <p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/IndyCar/IndyCarRoad.jpg" /></p> <p>A look at the road/street course and short oval configuration can be seen above, with the superspeedway kit below.</p> <p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/IndyCar/IndyCarSuper.jpg" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14747http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14747Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti robbed at gunpoint at Taco Bell after Indy 500 qualifyingTue, 23 May 2017 22:08:36 GMT<p>Indianapolis&nbsp;500 pole sitter Scott Dixon and fellow IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti were both robbed at gunpoint on Sunday during a visit to a Taco Bell.</p> <p>The pair left the circuit following the conclusion of qualifying and headed to an Italian restaurant for dinner. However upon arrival, the restaurant had closed for the&nbsp;night, forcing the pair to eat at Taco Bell were they were held at gunpoint whilst in the drive-thru.</p> <p>&quot;It was definitely shocking, disbelief for the most part,&quot; Dixon told <em>AP, </em>who just four hours earlier had secured pole for the 101st running of the Indy 500.</p> <p>&quot;It will make you feel really small again,&quot; he added.</p> <p>Whilst their team, Chip Ganassi Racing, confirmed the incident occured, they refused to comment.</p> <p>Nobody was harmed during the incident and it&#39;s not known what or if any items were taken during the robbery.</p> <p>Two gunmen, aged 14 and 15, fled on foot, but were later arrested.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14740http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14740Max Chilton quickest in Indy 500 final full practice on MondayMon, 22 May 2017 21:19:09 GMT<p>Chip Ganassi&#39;s Max Chilton was fastest during practice eight on Monday for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, with a best lap speed of&nbsp;228.592mph during the three-and-a-half-hour&nbsp;session.</p> <p>Chilton, 15th on the grid, completed 108 laps and was 0.4mph&nbsp;quicker than Dale Coyne Racing&#39;s Ed Jones.</p> <p>Polesitter Scott Dixon (Chip&nbsp;Ganassi)&nbsp;was a further 1mph slower to complete an all-Honda top three ahead of the Chevrolet-powered Team Penske Simon Pagenaud.</p> <p>Monday&#39;s running marks the final full practice session before Sunday&#39;s race, with only Friday&#39;s hour-long session on &#39;Carb Day&#39; the final chance for drivers to get some practice in before the big event.</p> <p>McLaren&#39;s Fernando Alonso was the slowest Andretti car in P12, 2.5mph off the lead pace, though times aren&#39;t all-important as drivers focussed on running in traffic, rather than outright pace.</p> <p>Alonso&#39;s Andretti team-mate Takuma Sato was fifth, with&nbsp;Ryan Hunter-Reay seventh, Alexander Rossi ninth&nbsp;and&nbsp;Marco Andretti 10th.</p> <p>The&nbsp;Michael Shank Racing run Andretti car of Jack Harvey was 21st, but set the highest non-tow aided top speed of 224.036mph and completed the most laps at 124.</p> <p>Sebastien Bourdais stand-in James Davidson was 28th quickest in his first practice session since being confirmed as the Frenchman&#39;s replacement.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14733http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14733Scott Dixon storms to Indy 500 pole, Fernando Alonso to start from row twoSun, 21 May 2017 22:06:13 GMT<p><strong>Scott Dixon has stormed to pole position for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, his third pole at The Brickyard after a thoroughly entering Sunday qualifying session.</strong></p> <p>The session was split into two segments, with the first part consisting of the drivers who ended Saturday qualifying outside the top nine. These drivers filled the positions from P10 to P32, before the all-important &lsquo;Fast 9 Shootout&rsquo; got underway shortly afterwards.</p> <p>Ed Carpenter was the last driver to take to the track during the &lsquo;Fast 9 Shootout&rsquo; after ending Saturday qualifying fastest, however the team owner was ultimately unable to challenge Dixon&rsquo;s scintillating four lap average of 232.164mph - the only driver to end the day in the 232mph bracket.</p> <p>Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi was a strong third for Andretti Autosport, ahead of team-mate and former Formula 1 racer Takuma Sato.</p> <p>Sato ended Saturday qualifying second fastest, and was therefore the penultimate driver to take to the track during the &lsquo;Fast 9 Shootout&rsquo;.</p> <p>Double F1 champion Fernando Alonso was a very impressive P5 for McLaren-Honda-Andretti, sending many fans into rapturous applause as he initially flew to the top with a 231.300mph average.</p> <p>During his four lap run Alonso&rsquo;s laps got progressively quicker, however after the improvements from the likes of Dixon and Carpenter, the Spaniard will be forced to start from the second row of the grid next Sunday.</p> <p>J.R. Hildebrand could only manage sixth for Ed Carpenter Racing, ahead of IndyCar veteran Tony Kanaan.</p> <p>Marco Andretti was the first driver to take to the track during the &lsquo;Fast 9 Shootout&rsquo;, however he was unable to set the timing sheets alight and eventually only qualified P8 ahead of Will Power.</p> <p>Although Power is the highest Penske on the grid for the Indianapolis 500, he was the only Penske racer to make it into the &lsquo;Fast 9 Shootout&rsquo; and will start way ahead of team-mates Juan Pablo Montoya, Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden and reigning champion Simon Pagenaud.</p> <p>Ed Jones stood out as one of the highlights of the first segment of qualifying earlier in the day, with the rookie only just missing out on a spot in the &lsquo;Fast 9 Shootout&rsquo; after Saturday qualifying.</p> <p>The Dubai-born British racer will line-up P11 on the grid for Dale Coyne Racing, after ending the first segment of Sunday qualifying behind only former champion Ryan Hunter-Reay.</p> <p>Further down the order rookie Zach Veach finally managed to qualify, after missing Saturday&rsquo;s session after damaging his car substantially during &lsquo;Fast Friday&rsquo; practice.</p> <p>James Davison will complete the grid in P33 for Dale Coyne Racing, despite not partaking in either qualifying sessions.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Australian racer will substitute for the injured Sebastien Bourdais at Dale Coyne Racing, and will eventually take to the track later in the week once Bourdais&rsquo; road course spare car has been reconfigured for oval competition.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14732http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14732Ed Jones quickest in practice seven ahead of Indy 500 Sunday qualifyingSun, 21 May 2017 18:21:33 GMT<p><strong>Rookie Ed Jones has ended practice seven fastest ahead of Sunday qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, continuing to impress many within the paddock for Dale Coyne Racing.</strong></p> <p>The session was initially delayed by 30 minutes to allow the track to fully dry out, with wet patches lingering around the 2.5-mile oval.</p> <p>The seventh practice session was the last chance for the teams and drivers to finalise their preparations for the main qualifying session later in the day, with the session split into two segments.</p> <p>The first 35 minutes of track action was reserved for drivers who ended Saturday qualifying in positions P10 to P33, with the drivers who managed to qualify for the &lsquo;Fast 9&rsquo; partaking in their own 35 minute practice session shortly afterwards.</p> <p>Drivers from the second segment of qualifying were ultimately unable to trouble the drivers from the first group, with Ryan Hunter-Reay ending proceedings P2 behind pace-setter Jones.</p> <p>Graham Rahal was P3 for RLL Racing, ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya who was the fastest Chevrolet-powered driver for Penske.</p> <p>Rookie Jack Harvey once again made the most of his track time, completing the most amount of laps and ending proceedings P5.</p> <p>Meanwhile double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso was the fastest driver from the second segment, finishing P6 for McLaren-Honda-Andretti.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Spaniard will battle for pole position later in the day during qualifying, after impressively booking his place in the all-important &lsquo;Fast 9&rsquo; during Saturday qualifying yesterday.</p> <p>Josef Newgarden was seventh for Penske, ending the session ahead of team-mate and reigning champion Simon Pagenaud.</p> <p>IndyCar returnee Oriol Servia and Will Power rounded out the top ten, with many big names failing to trouble the top ten throughout the session.</p> <p>Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves was P12, ahead of reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi.</p> <p>Meanwhile Takuma Sato was a lowly P16, after ending Saturday qualifying P2 yesterday with a highly competitive performance for Andretti Autosport.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14729http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14729James Davison to replace Sebastien Bourdais in Indy 500Sun, 21 May 2017 17:37:29 GMT<p><strong>James Davison has been confirmed as Dale Coyne Racing&rsquo;s substitute for Sebastien Bourdais for the remainder of the Indianapolis 500, following the Frenchman&rsquo;s violent incident during Saturday qualifying.</strong></p> <p>During the third lap of his qualifying attempt Bourdais speared into the SAFER barrier at Turn 2, utterly destroying his car and even momentarily going upside down.</p> <p>The Holmatro Safety Team were immediately on the scene and successfully extracted Bourdais from his car, transferring him via ambulance to the IU Methodist Hospital where he was diagnosed with multiple fractures to his pelvis and a fracture to his right hip.</p> <p>Davison will be making his third start at the Indianapolis 500 and fifth overall start in the IndyCar Series, after initially making his debut with Dale Coyne Racing in 2013 at Mid-Ohio.</p> <p>&quot;First off my thoughts are with Sebastien and Claire Bourdais in this unfortunate time,&quot; explained Davison to <i>RACER</i>.</p> <p>&quot;This is the last way a driver wants to secure an opportunity.</p> <p>&quot;We&#39;re certainly going to do the best we can with the time and equipment we have.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We only have the road course car to build from, so we&#39;ll be starting last and Dale has the best mechanics and crew guys here, so I&#39;ll be ready to go as soon as they tell me it&#39;s time.&rdquo;</p> <p>With Bourdais&rsquo; original race car a complete write-off after his monumental shunt, Dale Coyne Racing has no other option than to take the road course car used for the INDYCAR GP last week and completely reconfigure it to oval specification for the rest of the week.</p> <p>Davison will likely take to the track for his first practice session later in the week, once the car has been fully altered for oval racing and the team&rsquo;s other drivers Ed Jones and Pippa Mann have successfully qualified.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14727http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14727Sebastien Bourdais undergoes surgery after Indy 500 shuntSun, 21 May 2017 16:17:38 GMT<p><strong>Sebastien Bourdais has undergone successful surgery for multiple fractures sustained in a horrific incident during his qualifying attempt for the Indianapolis 500.</strong></p> <p>The four-time champion was on his third lap during Saturday qualifying when he speared violently into the SAFER barrier at Turn 2, obliterating the right-side of his car and even tipping him momentarily upside down.</p> <p>Once his car had come to a halt the ever-efficient Holmatro Safety Team arrived on the scene and transported him to the IU Methodist Hospital by ambulance where he was diagnosed with multiple fractures to his pelvis and a fracture to his right hip.</p> <p>&quot;Surgery went well,&quot; explained INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Geoffrey Billows.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;I&#39;ve met with Sebastien this morning and he was doing even better than I expected.&rdquo;</p> <p>Moments before his incident Bourdais posted consecutively quick laps at over 231mph, which would&rsquo;ve likely seen him end the first stage of qualifying towards the top of the order.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14721http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14721Sebastien Bourdais suffers pelvis, hip fractures in Indy 500 qualifying crashSun, 21 May 2017 10:01:13 GMT<p>Dale Coyne Racing driver Sebastien Bourdais has suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis and a fracture to his right hip after his Indianapolis 500 qualifying crash.</p> <p>The French driver was mid-way through his qualifying run during Saturday&rsquo;s session when a small slide caused him to crash into the barrier at Turn 2.</p> <p>His car flipped upside down briefly before coming to rest the right way up, with the qualifying session being red flagged.</p> <p>An initial IndyCar statement said he was &ldquo;awake and alert&rdquo; and &ldquo;did not lose consciousness&rdquo; in the crash, before releasing a further update overnight.</p> <p>It read:</p> <p>&ldquo;Verizon IndyCar Series driver Sebastien Bourdais was diagnosed with multiple fractures to his pelvis and a fracture to his right hip following an incident today while attempting to qualify for the 101st Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.</p> <p>&ldquo;According to INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Geoffrey Billows, Bourdais will undergo surgery on his pelvis this evening at IU Health Methodist Hospital. Bourdais was on the third lap of his qualification run at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when his Dale Coyne Racing No. 18 GEICO Honda made hard contact with the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier.&rdquo;</p> <p>A statement from team owner Dale Coyne added: &ldquo;Sebastien is in good hands here at IU Methodist Hospital with the staff and now we just wait for him to recover.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14719http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14719Ed Carpenter tops first Indy 500 qualifying, Fernando Alonso P7Sat, 20 May 2017 23:38:24 GMT<p><strong>Ed Carpenter has topped the first day of qualifying for the Indianapolis 500, after a delayed start to proceedings due to torrential rain throughout the day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.</strong></p> <p>Eventually qualifying was able to get underway after roughly a five hour delay, with each driver being allowed one chance to qualify.</p> <p>As ever the aim of first qualifying was to end the session within the top nine, with Sunday&rsquo;s second qualifying session being split into two segments.</p> <p>The top nine will be eligible to battle for pole in the &lsquo;Fast 9&rsquo;, whereas the rest of the field will be forced to settle for the rest of the positions from P10 to P33.</p> <p>Sebastien Bourdais was the only driver to make contact with the barrier during his qualifying attempt, with the Frenchman slamming violently into the wall and even going momentarily upside down.</p> <p>After the incident Bourdais was seen moving in the cockpit, before being extracted from his car by the ever-efficient Holmatro safety team and transferred via ambulance to the IU Methodist Hospital.&nbsp;</p> <p>Once the session was resumed former Formula 1 racer Takuma Sato momentarily assumed the top spot, eventually being forced to settle for P2 after Carpenter&rsquo;s run.</p> <p>Four-time champion Scott Dixon was P3 for Chip Ganassi Racing, following a strong effort during the early stages of the session.</p> <p>Dixon immediately went fastest after his qualifying attempt, holding the top spot until Sato usurped him later in the session.</p> <p>J.R. Hildebrand ended a perfect day for Ed Carpenter Racing, comfortably qualifying for the &lsquo;Fast 9&rsquo; in P4.</p> <p>Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi displayed sheer composure, completing the first lap after Bourdais&rsquo; horrifying incident.</p> <p>Rossi eventually ended the session P5, ahead of Penske&rsquo;s Will Power.</p> <p>The 2014 champion will be Penske&rsquo;s only driver in the &lsquo;Fast 9&rsquo; during Sunday qualifying, such was the team&rsquo;s lack of competitiveness after the majority of their drivers drew early runs in the random ballot on Friday.</p> <p>Fernando Alonso was by far the driver of the day for many, as the double F1 champion and IndyCar rookie was impressively quick.</p> <p>The McLaren-Honda-Andretti racer ended Saturday qualifying P7, making it into the all-important &lsquo;Fast 9&rsquo; on his first attempt.</p> <p>Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti rounded out the top nine, with Kanaan&rsquo;s effort in particular standing out after completing his qualifying attempt early in the session.</p> <p>Ed Jones enjoyed a thoroughly impressive performance for Dale Coyne Racing, only just missing out on a &lsquo;Fast 9&rsquo; slot in P10.</p> <p>Despite this the rookie will undoubtedly remain content, after ending the session ahead of big names such as three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and reigning champion Simon Pagenaud.</p> <p>Meanwhile rookie Zach Veach was the only driver not to take to the track during Saturday qualifying, with the A.J. Foyt Racing outfit forced to complete their only qualifying run on Sunday after Veach suffered an incident in practice the previous day.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14718http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14718Sébastien Bourdais rushed to hospital after violent Indy 500 qualifying crashSat, 20 May 2017 23:36:06 GMT<p>Four times ChampCar Champion S&eacute;bastien Bourdais, has had a major crash during qualifying for next weekend&rsquo;s Indianapolis 500 and has been taken to hospital.</p> <p>A statement from INDYCAR said Bourdais was &quot;awake and alert,&rdquo; after the accident and that &ldquo;he did not lose consciousness and has been transported by ground to IU Health Methodist Hospital,&quot; following the impact.</p> <p>After setting an average of 231.534mph across his first two laps (the fastest of the day so far), the Frenchman lost control exiting Turn 2 on his third lap. Bourdais was seen on television trying to correct the slide but ended up hitting the SAFER barrier almost head-on.</p> <p>The car burst into flames on impact and was briefly upside down before coming to rest back on its wheels.</p> <p>The Holmatro IndyCar Safety Team was on the scene almost immediately and put Bourdais on to a backboard for transportation to the Indiana University Hospital.</p> <p>A spokeswoman for his Dale Coyne Racing team said that Bourdais was complaining of pain in his right leg. Bourdais won the season-opening IndyCar race in St Petersburg and had set the fastest time of the Indy 500 build-up in the &#39;Fast Friday&#39; practice session.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14714http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14714Gabby Chaves ends practice six quickest for Harding RacingSat, 20 May 2017 13:57:43 GMT<p><strong>Gabby Chaves has ended practice six fastest for IndyCar rookie team Harding Racing, ahead of the first qualifying session for the Indianapolis 500.</strong></p> <p>Although the sixth practice session was the last chance for drivers to finalise their preparations for the first part of qualifying later in the day, there was a limited amount of running due to far from perfect weather conditions.</p> <p>The start of the session was initially delayed slightly due to lingering mist around the 2.5-mile oval, before a brief caution period was caused due to moisture on the track later on.</p> <p>Rahal was second quickest for RLL Racing, trading the top spot with Chaves during the final few minutes of the session.</p> <p>Conor Daly was P3 for A.J. Foyt Racing, ending the session just ahead of team-mate Carlos Munoz.&nbsp;</p> <p>Jack Harvey enjoyed a productive session, as the British racer completed seven laps in a bid to make up for lost time.</p> <p>The former GP3 and IndyLights racer has endured a far from perfect month of May, making contact with the SAFER barrier on the first day of track action before being plagued with an engine issue yesterday.</p> <p>Ryan Hunter-Reay was sixth for Andretti Autosport, ahead of 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Lazier.&nbsp;</p> <p>Lazier, who made his Indianapolis 500 debut back in 1989, ended the session just ahead of IndyCar returnee Sage Karam.</p> <p>Karam produced the initial benchmark during the early stages of the session, before falling down the order once other drivers took to the track.</p> <p>Big names such as Fernando Alonso, Helio Castroneves and reigning champion Simon Pagenaud elected not to take to the track during the session, for fear of damaging their cars ahead of the all-important first part of qualifying later in the day.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14707http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14707Sebastien Bourdais ends rain-hit ‘Fast Friday’ fastestFri, 19 May 2017 22:30:23 GMT<p><strong>Sebastian Bourdais has ended a rain-hit &lsquo;Fast Friday&rsquo; fastest for Dale Coyne Racing, as preparations ahead of qualifying for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 intensified.</strong></p> <p>The fifth consecutive practice session of the week enabled the teams and drivers to begin thoroughly dialling their cars up ahead of the two days of qualifying, with each car receiving an extra turbocharger boost.</p> <p>This naturally saw the speeds increase dramatically, with Bourdais producing a 233.116mph lap during the early stages of the session to end the day fastest overall.</p> <p>Despite a frenetic start, a length delay due to rain plagued proceedings for three hours and 33 minutes as the storm swept across the 2.5-mile oval.</p> <p>Ryan Hunter-Reay was P2 for Andretti Autosport, after initially rising to the top during a busy opening 15 minutes to the day which saw the likes of Simon Pagenaud, Helio Castroneves and even Pippa Mann momentarily rise to the top.</p> <p>Andretti Autosport enjoyed a very productive day, with Takuma Sato and Fernando Alonso ending proceedings third and fourth respectively in a session which was favourable to Honda-powered cars.</p> <p>Alonso in particular was once again the focal point of the session, with the double Formula 1 world champion impressing many straight away by slotting into P2 during the early stages of the session with a lap completely unaided by a tow from a driver in front.</p> <p>Shortly after that Alonso then stormed to the top of proceedings for a short while, before gradually falling down the order as the times began to improve.</p> <p>Juan Pablo Montoya was P4 for Penske, ending the day as the only Chevrolet-powered driver in the top ten.</p> <p>James Hinchcliffe was fifth, finishing just ahead of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team-mates Mikhail Aleshin and Jay Howard.</p> <p>Rookie Ed Jones was impressive for Dale Coyne Racing, rounding out the top ten ahead of reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi.</p> <p>Along with the lengthy rain delay there were a handful of cautions throughout the day, with one prior to the rainfall due to an engine issue for rookie Jack Harvey.</p> <p>The British racer limped back to the pits with smoke ominously wafting from the rear of his car, greatly hindering what has already been a tough week for the former GP3 and IndyLights racer.</p> <p>After the rain delay there were two caution periods due to heavy incidents, the first from Spencer Pigot who lost control of his car at Turn 2.</p> <p>Shortly afterwards rookie Zach Veach over-corrected his car at Turn 1 and slammed into the wall, with his car sliding out of control down the track and making a second impact with the wall at Turn 2.</p> <p>Both drivers were released from the infield medical centre and cleared to continue competing.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14706http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14706Video: Fast Friday – Fernando Alonso, Alexander Rossi and Tony Kanaan preview the Indy 500Fri, 19 May 2017 15:29:17 GMT<p>Widely regarded as the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the Indianapolis 500 is truly an event like no other. And for this year&#39;s 101st running, global interest is higher than ever before as two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso makes his bid to drink the famous milk in Victory Lane. IndyCar drivers Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan, Helio Castoneves, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Scott Dixon and Fernando Alonso himself all share their thoughts as the excitement builds ahead of the main event next weekend.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14700http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14700Jay Howard quickest at Indianapolis, Fernando Alonso fourthThu, 18 May 2017 22:14:50 GMT<p>Schmidt Peterson Motorsports&#39; Jay Howard set the fastest time of the week to finish atop the timesheets on the fourth day of practice for the Indianapolis 500.</p> <p>Howard used the draft available to him and clocked a lap at 226.744mph to finish comfortably quickest, almost one mile per hour faster than Andretti Autosport&rsquo;s Ryan Hunter-Reay, who posted a 225.825.</p> <p>Hunter-Reay was followed by team-mates Marco Andretti and Fernando Alonso, the McLaren-associated debutant maintaining strong form by placing fourth, racking up 96 laps of the oval, his best a 225.619.</p> <p>In the &lsquo;No Tow Rankings&rsquo;, Alonso finished a creditable ninth &ndash; setting a 223.687, within one mph of team-mate Takuma Sato, who led the NTR, as Howard placed down in 24th position.</p> <p>Penske&rsquo;s Josef Newgarden finished in fifth place overall but suffered a sizeable accident, slamming into the wall exiting Turn 1, the crash prematurely ending his running.</p> <p>Sage Karam finished sixth, in front of Charlie Kimball, Oriol Servi&agrave;, Sato and S&eacute;bastien Bourdais.</p> <p>Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi placed 13th, surrounded by the Penskes of Will Power, Juan Pablo Montoya and H&eacute;lio Castroneves, the three-time winner the most productive runner, completing 117 laps.</p> <p>Current IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud was a low-key 23rd, with last year&rsquo;s pole sitter James Hinchcliffe further back in 26th spot.</p> <p>Buddy Lazier, the 33rd entrant for this year&rsquo;s event, finally appeared for the first time all week, completing a slow installation lap during the closing stages.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14690http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14690Ed Carpenter fastest after wind-affected Indy 500 third practice, Fernando Alonso P4Wed, 17 May 2017 22:19:14 GMT<p><strong>Ed Carpenter has ended a wind-affected&nbsp;third practice session fastest at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, after a day with limited running due to the unfavourable weather conditions.</strong></p> <p>A wind advisory had been issued for the circuit throughout the day, with some gusts as high as 35mph and greatly hindering the teams and drivers as preparations continued around the 2.5-mile oval.</p> <p>Scott Dixon was P2 for Chip Ganassi Racing, after trading the top spot throughout the day with Carpenter.</p> <p>The four-time champion sat atop the classification for the majority of the day, before Carpenter lowered the benchmark during the final hour of track action.</p> <p>J.R. Hildebrand was third fastest for Ed Carpenter Racing, completing the most mileage during the day along with team-mate and team owner Carpenter.&nbsp;</p> <p>Hildebrand was the first driver to complete a lap when the session initially got underway, producing the initial benchmark along with James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin.</p> <p>Double Formula 1 racer Fernando Alonso impressed many during the final hour in particular, as the McLaren-Honda-Andretti racer opted to return to the track despite the blustery conditions.</p> <p>During the final hour Alonso improved massively, handling the windy conditions admirably to end the day fourth fastest overall with 39 laps completed.</p> <p>Conor Daly was P5 for A.J. Foyt Racing, improving to the sharp end of the order during the latter stages of the day.</p> <p>Former F1 racer Max Chilton managed to end proceedings sixth for Chip Ganassi Racing, running as high as P2 at one stage before gradually falling down the order.</p> <p>Carlos Munoz was seventh ahead of rookie Zach Veach, the latter completing 46 laps overall and ending the day as the last driver out on the race track.</p> <p>Meanwhile Charlie Kimball and Jay Howard rounded out the top ten, with Howard in particular producing the fastest lap during the early stages of the day before Dixon and Carpenter took to the circuit.</p> <p>With the wind causing headaches up and down the paddock, many teams elected to focus their attention on pit-stop practice.&nbsp;</p> <p>Some drivers failed to even complete a lap throughout the whole day, including reigning champion Simon Pagenaud and Penske team-mates Helio Castroneves and Will Power.</p> <p>As ever there were a handful of caution periods due to debris, with no incidents during the entirety of the practice session.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14684http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14684Jack Harvey interview: Andretti’s other Indy 500 rookieWed, 17 May 2017 12:24:25 GMT<p>Fernando Alonso may be stealing a lot of focus ahead of his Indianapolis 500 debut, but there&rsquo;s another rookie within the Andretti squad who is looking to make an impression: British driver Jack Harvey.</p> <p>Following on from impressive stints in Formula BMW, British Formula 3 &ndash; he was crowned champion in 2012 &ndash; and GP3, Harvey decided to make the move over to America for the 2014 season and joined the Indy Lights grid.</p> <p>Harvey stayed in the IndyCar feeder category for two seasons and finished runner-up both times, but couldn&rsquo;t secure a drive for 2016 &ndash; although there was a slim chance of an IndyCar seat. However, a lot of hard work and determination has rewarded Harvey with an Indy 500 drive this year.</p> <p>The 24-year-old has joined frontrunners and reigning Indy 500 champions Andretti Autosport, in collaboration with Michael Shank Racing. A steering column failure resulted in a far from ideal start to his Month of May but Harvey feels confident and comfortable ahead of his debut.</p> <p>He caught up with <em>Motorsport Week&rsquo;s</em> Jack Leslie ahead of second practice for the Indy 500 to discuss his switch to America and aims for the iconic oval race.</p> <p><img alt="" height="440" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/IndyCar/04CJ0634A.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p><strong>Jack Leslie: People in Europe will be familiar with your racing over there, what sparked the switch to the US?</strong></p> <p>Jack Harvey: &ldquo;I think, honestly, the reason for coming to America was that Formula 1 was bottlenecking, the junior formulas were bottlenecking. People were, sort of, plateauing and stagnating. I came to America at the end of 2013 to check it out and felt there were some good opportunities out here, still for a lot of money but certainly a lot less [than in Europe]. The way the Mazda Road to Indy works is, if you win the championship it can promote you into the next category. Although I was unfortunate to be second both years in Indy Lights I think the system works. I certainly felt as a career move it could lead to something more long-term and I still believe that now.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>JL: How was the transition from racing in Europe compared to the US?</strong></p> <p>JH: &ldquo;Good, actually. I feel like Europe prepared me pretty well for coming out here, honestly. I have quite a bit of experience now in the lower formulas, obviously working to try and race at IndyCar level full-time or at least a lot more regularly. I feel the transition and things I was used to in Europe fared me well here, there are some differences obviously &ndash; the circuits are a little more tight and twisty, bumpier, a wider variety with ovals, street circuits and road courses. The variety is higher and it still feels pure. In F1, there are such massive differences between cars with engines and whatnot. Over here, in IndyCar, it is somewhat of a spec series &ndash; everyone gets the same Dallara chassis and the only difference is whether you run a Chevrolet or Honda engine, and the bodykit to match each engine. I feel like if you hit your day well, everybody has an opportunity to win and that&rsquo;s something you can&rsquo;t say about F1.</p> <p><strong>Of course, you&rsquo;ve got the Indy 500 coming up, which is pretty big&hellip; how did that deal come about?</strong></p> <p>JH: &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been working on this for 18 months or so, there was a slight chance to get in a car last year. We just couldn&rsquo;t quite make it happen in time, so after that we looked at what we could do and what we had, in the end we made the decision to not do any single event races other than the Indy 500. It is something we could sell to sponsors and it&rsquo;s the biggest race of the year. I don&rsquo;t know what we are going to do post-Indy, we will work with our sponsors and see what they want to do. Honestly, it came about through a lot of hard work in what was difficult circumstances. When we got the deal signed it was a sense of excitement, relief, a weight off my shoulders. On the flip side, you feel like because it&rsquo;s happening there&rsquo;s more pressure. Because it&rsquo;s not something you&rsquo;re dreaming about anymore, it&rsquo;s actually happening. It&rsquo;s difficult to really sum up.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" height="440" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/IndyCar/16C_9112-1.png" width="800" /></p> <p><strong>JL: What are your thoughts on Alonso being your team-mate?</strong></p> <p>JH: &ldquo;So random and crazy, and awesome. It&rsquo;s a situation I never expected myself to be in, especially as he was a childhood hero of mine. It&rsquo;s pretty bizarre and it&rsquo;s been a pretty cool experience so far. He&rsquo;s been a super nice guy and I&rsquo;m just excited to keep learning from him.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>JL: We&rsquo;ve seen a lot about the Rookie Orientation Programme recently, for people not familiar, what does that include?</strong></p> <p>JH: &ldquo;Basically, it&rsquo;s to be able to show the Speedway you can control the car at different speeds. The first phase is 205mph to 210, second is 210mph to 215 and phase three is 215mph upwards. It&rsquo;s more to show them you can control the car, we are trying to get our phase finished. We had a couple of issues yesterday [Monday]. <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14677">One scary one</a> [the crash], which the team has taken full responsibility failure for. We had the steering column come apart, which was pretty nerve-wracking. But the amount of people on my car trying to fix everything is a good sign that it is going to be as safe as it can be and ready to go today [Tuesday].</p> <p><strong>JL: Are you all OK, no aches or pains?</strong></p> <p>JH: &ldquo;No, nothing like that. I was only coming out of the pits so it happened at a relatively slow speed. But I don&rsquo;t want anything like that to happen again, that&rsquo;s for sure.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>JL: You&rsquo;ve already been on track for Indy 500 practice, how did the car feel?</strong></p> <p>JH: &ldquo;I felt super comfortable, I was pretty happy with everything. I was just looking forward to getting out and getting in a few more laps than we did, but we have time today [Tuesday] and the rest of the week to make up for it. I did feel comfortable which I was happy about and hopefully we have got rid of some of those teething problems to try again.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" height="440" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/IndyCar/_JHH4927.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p><strong>JL: As you&rsquo;ve raced at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway before&hellip;</strong></p> <p>JH: &ldquo;Yeah, I did the Indy Lights and won the Freedom 100 on Carb Day. I know I can get around here OK and it&rsquo;s a track I feel I have gone well at before. I&rsquo;m optimistic we can have a good month.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>JL: With that experience and there being such a long period of practice, do you think that makes the race more accessible for rookie drivers?</strong></p> <p>JH: &ldquo;For sure, you get so much more track time. You can never beat time just purely on track and that was another reason for doing the Indy 500, as opposed to other races where you may get an hour on track before qualifying. Here, you get six hours available every day for&hellip; I can&rsquo;t remember how many days. It&rsquo;s 30 hours of track time before qualifying and then another full day after that, so there&rsquo;s plenty of time on track and I think that&rsquo;s why you see a lot of rookies doing the Indy 500.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>JL: What are your aims for your first Indy 500?</strong></p> <p>&ldquo;I think we&rsquo;d like to be Rookie of the Year, that&rsquo;s the goal for all rookies I think. If we were in the top 10 at the end of the day that would be a fantastic result. If you aare in the top 10, other things could happen and somewhere in that region could would be a really strong day in the office.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>JL: The Indy 500 can be so unpredictable too&hellip;</strong></p> <p>JH: &ldquo;It definitely can be and that&rsquo;s what is exciting about it. You never know what is going to happen and if you are on the lead lap with 30 or 40 laps to go, anything is possible. As long as we are still there by the end of the race we should be fine.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>JL: Looking beyond that, what are your hopes for racing in the next few seasons?</strong></p> <p>JH: &ldquo;It totally depends on sponsorship, would I like a to [be in IndyCar]? Yes, of course. Do I think it is possible? I think it&rsquo;s possible, but I just want to be back in a car full time really. Whatever that is, the single event weekends are tough, I know Indy is not just over a weekend but a month but I&rsquo;d like to be back in a full-time drive. Hopefully it could be in IndyCar but if not, I just want to be sure I am getting to drive something.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14682http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14682Video: Watch Fernando Alonso's double overtake during Indy 500 practiceWed, 17 May 2017 10:52:52 GMT<p>Watch Fernando Alonso&#39;s double overtake during practice for the 101st Indy 500.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14680http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14680Will Power fastest in Indy 500 second practiceTue, 16 May 2017 22:36:28 GMT<p><strong>Will Power has topped the second practice session ahead of the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, after a day focused on race simulations by many teams and drivers.</strong></p> <p>The 2014 champion sat atop the classification for the majority of the session, with a 224.656mph lap which was considerably slower than the benchmark produced by Marco Andretti during the opening practice session yesterday.</p> <p>At the start of the day rookies Jack Harvey and Zach Veach were allowed 15 minutes of track action to themselves to try and finalise their rookie orientation programmes after both drivers suffered an interrupted opening day of practice.</p> <p>Once Harvey and Veach had completed their 15 minutes of private track time the rest of the field joined the action, with many teams focusing mainly on running all of their cars at once nose-to-tail out on track to try and prepare their drivers for race day.</p> <p>Helio Castroneves joined team-mate Power at the top as the day wore on, with the veteran racer eventually ending proceedings P2 overall.</p> <p>Gabby Chaves made a late improvement during the final hour of the session for rookie outfit Harding Racing, completing a 223.991mph lap.</p> <p>The 2014 IndyLights champion is competing in his third Indianapolis 500 race for a third different team, and will be looking to use as much of his experience as possible to assist one of the newest IndyCar teams throughout the month of May.</p> <p>Ryan Hunter-Reay was fourth fastest for Andretti Autosport, ahead of returnee Sage Karam.</p> <p>Karam started the day in competitive form, trading the top spot with the likes of Ed Carpenter and Josef Newgarden.&nbsp;</p> <p>Takuma Sato was P6 after a productive day, with the Andretti Autosport drivers completing lots of laps together on track throughout the session.</p> <p>Mikhail Aleshin was seventh, with the Russian racer even rising to the top at one stage during the day.</p> <p>Despite Aleshin&rsquo;s pace, his day ended after a very light tap against the SAFER barrier which forced him to return to the pits.</p> <p>Reigning champion Simon Pagenaud was P8 ahead of J.R. Hildebrand, with Newgarden rounding out the top ten as Penske also completed considerable laps together on track.</p> <p>Although the day ran incident-free there were 11 caution periods for debris and various track inspections.</p> <p>Further down the order double Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso could only manage P24 for McLaren-Honda-Andretti, with a 221.029mph lap.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Spaniard completed 117 laps altogether, gaining valuable experience handling an Indycar in traffic, particularly towards the end of the day.</p> <p>Meanwhile James Hinchcliffe&rsquo;s team managed to finally rectify his electrical issue, with the Canadian racer returning to the track with two hours and 44 minutes left.</p> <p>This enabled him to complete 60 laps and end the day a respectable P29 considering his delayed start.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14679http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14679James Hinchcliffe hindered by electrical fault in Indy 500 practiceTue, 16 May 2017 18:03:10 GMT<p><strong>James Hinchcliffe has been struck with a recurring electrical fault, as preparations continue for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at the iconic 2.5-mile oval.</strong></p> <p>Towards the end of the opening practice session Hinchcliffe was initially plagued by the electrical fault, which forced him to return to the pits and prematurely conclude his running, preventing him from completing vital group running with team-mates Mikhail Aleshin and Jay Howard.</p> <p>Between first and second practice Hinchcliffe&rsquo;s mechanics worked on the car to rectify the issue, however during his first lap in second practice Hinchcliffe was forced to slow and limp back to the pits with the issue still plaguing his #5 machine.</p> <p>&ldquo;I have to admit we had some electrical problems at the end of the day yesterday that stopped us from our group run,&rdquo; explained Hinchcliffe to <a href="http://indycar.com">IndyCar.com</a> during second practice.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Unfortunately on our first run today they snuck back in, so gremlins on the car and we&rsquo;re going to go and change out everything electronic that we haven&rsquo;t changed out yet and hopefully that fixes the problem.&rdquo;</p> <p>Despite the ongoing electrical issues Hinchcliffe is remaining confident ahead of Indianapolis 500, a race in which the 30-year-old Canadian racer has experienced both extreme highs and lows.</p> <p>Last season Hinchcliffe stormed to pole position at The Brickyard, eventually finishing the race P7.</p> <p>The year before the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports racer was involved in a life-threatening incident during practice, when he made contact with the barrier and a piece of the suspension penetrated his right leg and upper left thigh.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve got a lot of confidence obviously coming into the month of May after last year,&rdquo; continued Hinchcliffe.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The technical regulations are pretty similar so not a whole lot should&rsquo;ve changed but you know what it&rsquo;s like in the IndyCar Series, it&rsquo;s so competitive.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Everybody would&rsquo;ve been pushing hard over the winter and we&rsquo;ll just have to see where we shake out.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14677http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14677Jack Harvey: Broken steering column caused Indy 500 practice crashTue, 16 May 2017 14:52:07 GMT<p>British IndyCar driver Jack Harvey says a broken steering column caused his crash on the first day of Indianapolis 500 practice.</p> <p>Two-time Indy Lights runner-up Harvey is making his IndyCar and Indy 500 debut with Andretti and Michael Shank Racing this year.</p> <p>He was driving in first practice for the 101st running of the Indy 500 when his car hit the Turn 2 barrier with two hours of the session remaining.</p> <p>&ldquo;We had a couple of issues yesterday,&rdquo; he told <em>MotorsportWeek.com</em>. &ldquo;One scary one [the crash], which the team has taken full responsibility for.</p> <p>&ldquo;We had the steering column come apart, which was pretty nerve-wracking.</p> <p>&ldquo;But the amount of people on my car trying to fix everything last night is a good sign that it is going to be as safe as it can be and ready to go today.&rdquo;</p> <p>It was a slow-speed impact with the wall and he felt no ill effects, adding: &ldquo;I was only coming out of the pits so it happened at a relatively slow speed. But I don&rsquo;t want anything like that to happen again, that&rsquo;s for sure.&rdquo;</p> <p>Harvey&rsquo;s first impressions of the car were positive and he quickly settled in. &ldquo;I felt super comfortable, I was pretty happy with everything,&rdquo; he explained.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was just looking forward to getting out and getting in a few more laps than we did, but we have time today and the rest of the week to make up for it. Hopefully today we have got rid of some of those teething problems to try again.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14676http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14676Video: Indy Dreams – Simon Pagenaud on ambition & Ayrton SennaTue, 16 May 2017 14:12:22 GMT<p>2016 was a year to remember for IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud. Having secured the series title, the Frenchman now has his sights set on a repeat performance this year, starting with the much-coveted Indy 500 &ndash; a race he considers to be a &lsquo;dream&rsquo; to win. Mobil 1 The Grid caught up with the Penske driver to find out more about his hopes for 2017 and why Brazil&rsquo;s Ayrton Senna remains an inspiration to his racing career.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14674http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14674Fernando Alonso 'happier' after first Indy 500 practiceTue, 16 May 2017 12:59:25 GMT<p><strong>Fernando Alonso has explained that he felt &ldquo;happier&rdquo; in his Honda-powered McLaren-Andretti car during the opening day of practice ahead of the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 in comparison to his first IndyCar experience earlier in the month.</strong></p> <p>The double Formula 1 champion immediately set the pace during the two-hour rookie orientation/refresher programme at the start of the day, setting a 221.634mph lap to end the session fastest overall ahead of fellow countryman Oriol Servia.</p> <p>Despite receiving a private rookie orientation programme of his own earlier in the month, Alonso was still slightly wary of returning to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as temperatures were much higher than experienced during his earlier test day.</p> <p>&quot;I was a little bit concerned (heading in) about the conditions, about the temperature, as it was much hotter today than at the test we did here on May 3rd,&rdquo; explained Alonso, who was P19 overall in the first official practice session later in the day.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;But no, the car felt as good as it did at the test, and I was able to make some setup changes without losing the confidence in the car.&rdquo;</p> <p>Although Alonso managed to complete a considerable amount of running in the ROP earlier in the day, the Spaniard could only manage 20 laps during the first official practice session after his running was curtailed due to a mechanical issue.</p> <p>&ldquo;The last half an hour maybe we had some issues with the rear suspension, and we could not complete the program that we had planned to run a little bit in traffic at the end of the day, so we missed that part, but overall it was an amazing day.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m happier than the first day with the car because I was able to feel some of the setup changes that we were planning in the morning. &nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We did not do much running in traffic, so that&#39;s still the thing that I need to go through in the next couple of days.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;But I did two or three laps behind some cars that were going out of pit lane, and it was good fun.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14665http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14665Marco Andretti ends Indy 500 opening practice fastest, Fernando Alonso P19Mon, 15 May 2017 22:32:55 GMT<p><strong>Marco Andretti has ended the opening practice session for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 fastest, after a busy day of track action around the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.</strong></p> <p>Andretti&rsquo;s best lap was 226.338mph and was completed during the final hour of track action.</p> <p>The drivers were treated to over four hours of track action as preparations began for the coveted event, with the rookie orientation/refresher programme also taking place earlier in the day.</p> <p>Despite receiving a private rookie orientation programme several weeks ago double Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso ended the first two hour ROP fastest for McLaren Honda Andretti with a 221.634mph lap, as he was joined by fellow rookies Ed Jones and Jack Harvey amongst others.</p> <p>Once the two hour ROP session was complete the remainder of the field joined the action, as the official opening practice session got underway.</p> <p>Four-time champion Scott Dixon completed several late improvements to end the day second overall for Chip Ganassi Racing, after a productive day for Honda power and the Ganassi team as a whole.</p> <p>Ed Carpenter was a competitive P3, after spending the majority of the day towards the sharp end of the order.</p> <p>At the start of the session Carpenter was one of the first drivers to take to the track along with team-mate J.R. Hildebrand, completing 48 laps throughout the day.</p> <p>Sebastien Bourdais was P4 ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay, with Graham Rahal sixth for RLL Racing.</p> <p>Despite finishing well within the top ten Rahal&rsquo;s day was brought to a premature conclusion when a mechanical issue struck his car, forcing him to return to the pits with smoke intermittently wafting from the rear of his #15 machine.</p> <p>Will Power was the highest Penske driver in P7, with the team slowly building up to speed after an utterly dominant weekend last time out around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.</p> <p>Tony Kanaan was forced to settle for P8 despite trading the top spot with Carpenter, eventually ending the session ahead of Mikhail Aleshin.</p> <p>Takuma Sato rounded out the top ten for Andretti Autosport, just ahead of returnees Oriol Servia and Juan Pablo Montoya.</p> <p>Meanwhile further down the order F1 star Alonso could only manage P19 with a 223.025mph lap, albeit only +0.5907s from the benchmark produced by full-time racer Andretti.</p> <p>During the official practice session Alonso only completed 20 laps, yet still managed to end the day ahead of full-time racers Josef Newgarden, Helio Castroneves and James Hinchcliffe.</p> <p>Although there were many caution periods due to debris and subsequent track inspections, British rookie Jack Harvey was the only driver to suffer an incident throughout the day.</p> <p>The former GP3 and IndyLights driver exited the pit-lane and ran straight into the retaining SAFER barrier, sustaining light damage to his car and ending his continuation in the session.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14644http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14644Mixed emotions within Penske despite INDYCAR GP winSun, 14 May 2017 11:41:58 GMT<p><strong>Despite Will Power&rsquo;s dominant display for Penske during the INDYCAR Grand Prix weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, with the 2014 champion finally securing victory, there was a sense of mixed emotions within the Penske camp.</strong></p> <p>Power was the only Penske driver to eventually finish in the top three during the 85-lap race, despite trading the lead of the race with team-mate Helio Castroneves.</p> <p>The three-time Indianapolis 500 race winner led 24 laps of the race, however he was forced to complete his last stint of the race on the harder and slower black primary tyres.</p> <p>Throughout the race Castroneves opted for a completely different strategy to that of team-mate Power and the Chip Ganassi of Scott Dixon, however the plan backfired when he plummeted down the order during the final few laps and eventually finished P5.</p> <p>&quot;I thought we had figured something out with some strategy there at the end, but the car was a handful,&rdquo; explained Castroneves.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We decided to take a gamble and get off on tyre strategy and it just didn&#39;t work like we had hoped.</p> <p>&ldquo;We have five good cars that can all win the race, so someone had to take a chance.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We probably shouldn&#39;t have done it that way knowing we finished fifth, but if we would have won everyone would be looking at us saying wow.&rdquo;</p> <p>During the final few laps when Castroneves was dropping down the order, team-mate and reigning champion Simon Pagenaud was one of the drivers who overtook the Brazilian.</p> <p>Despite finishing a respectable P4 and maintaining his lead in the drivers&rsquo; championship by ten points to Dixon, the Frenchman still struggled for speed throughout the weekend.</p> <p>&quot;It was a difficult weekend for us,&rdquo; admitted Pagenaud.</p> <p>&ldquo;I didn&#39;t have the speed this weekend.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I couldn&#39;t find how to feel more comfortable with the tyres; the new Firestone tyres they brought this weekend.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I didn&#39;t have the speed Will had.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Overall, bringing home a fourth-place finish is good.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We&#39;re still in the lead for the championship which is what I want.&rdquo;</p> <p>Further down the order Josef Newgarden endured an embarrassing end to his race, being struck with a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pits during his final stop.</p> <p>However, Newgarden&rsquo;s woes intensified when he was caught speeding once again while serving his initial drive-through penalty, with the Penske racer being issued yet another drive-through penalty on his way to an unlucky P13.</p> <p>&quot;I don&#39;t know what happened,&rdquo; explained Newgarden.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think we ran into some sort of glitch and they dinged us two times for speeding on pit road.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It was a tough day for us.&nbsp;</p> <p>We had a really fast car. We really didn&#39;t struggle with much today.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We started a little slower than we had hoped, but at the end the car was a rocket.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m disappointed for our guys because we did everything right and we had great stops, we just had a little glitch there.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14637http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14637Will Power completes perfect weekend with INDYCAR GP victory Sat, 13 May 2017 22:00:12 GMT<p><strong>Will Power completed a perfect race weekend with victory at the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, after topping every session across the course of the event.</strong></p> <p>The 85-lap race ran completely caution free, with only two retirements, both due to mechanical issues.</p> <p>Power started the race from pole position alongside Penske team-mate Helio Castroneves, trading the lead with the Brazilian on his way to his first victory of the season.</p> <p>Four-time champion Scott Dixon ended the race second for Chip Ganassi Racing, after starting from fourth on the grid.&nbsp;</p> <p>Ryan Hunter-Reay enjoyed a competitive race for Andretti Autosport, rising up from eight to finish a strong third, after a late overtaking manoeuvre on the struggling Penske of Castroneves.</p> <p>Reigning champion Simon Pagenaud lacked pace during the early stages of the race, before gradually rising through the order order to end the race fourth.</p> <p>Veteran Castroneves led for several laps after perfecting the undercut during the first round of pit stops, though he was forced to complete the final stint of the race on the slower black primary Firestone tyres.</p> <p>This left Castroneves at a disadvantage compared to his rivals and he slipped down the order from second, eventually crossing the line fifth.</p> <p>Graham Rahal was another driver who enjoyed a productive race after struggling in qualifying, rising up from a lowly 20th on the grid to come home a very respectable sixth.</p> <p>Former Formula 1 racer Max Chilton finally managed to secure his first top ten finish of the season in P7, while reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi was eighth for Andretti Herta Autosport, ahead of Spencer Pigot, who unquestionably enjoyed the best start to the race.</p> <p>Pigot, who is only competing on the road and street courses for Ed Carpenter Racing, scythed through the order from from 16th to eighth during the opening few laps, pulling off moves on the likes of Rossi and Juan Pablo Montoya.</p> <p>Despite stalling in the pits during his first stop Pigot persevered and managed to battle his way back through the order to finish ninth.</p> <p>Montoya rounded out the top ten for Penske, struggling to capitalise on his relatively competitive qualifying during throughout the race.</p> <p>Josef Newgarden was on course for a strong finish for Penske, but the Barber race winner was issued with a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pits during the final round of stops.</p> <p>To add insult to injury Newgarden was then caught speeding while serving his original penalty, and was therefore penalised with a second drive-through penalty on his way to an unlucky 13th.</p> <p>Sebastien Bourdais and Charlie Kimball were the only retirements of the race, with both drivers suffering mechanical failures.</p> <p>Meanwhile the only major contact throughout the race occurred on the opening lap, when Marco Andretti tapped Tony Kanaan&rsquo;s Ganassi, causing a puncture for the Brazilian and a drive-through penalty for Andretti.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14620http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14620Will Power leads Penske 1-2-3 to secure INDYCAR GP poleFri, 12 May 2017 21:43:22 GMT<p><strong>Will Power has led a Penske 1-2-3 to secure pole position for the INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, after a day utterly dominated by Penske and Chevrolet-power.</strong></p> <p>The Australian racer will start the 85-lap race alongside team-mate Helio Castroneves, the only other driver to have secured a pole position apart from Power so far this season.</p> <p>Josef Newgarden will start P3 for Penske, alongside Scott Dixon who ended qualifying as the most competitive Honda-powered driver in P4.</p> <p>Juan Pablo Montoya was a respectable fifth in his return to IndyCar, with the 1999 champion only competing in the two races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year.</p> <p>Four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais was the only other Honda-powered driver to progress to the Firestone Fast Six for Dale Coyne Racing.</p> <p>The St. Petersburg race winner only just snuck in to the final part of qualifying, demoting fellow countryman and reigning champion Simon Pagenaud in the process during the second round of qualifying.</p> <p>Pagenaud, who won this event last season, was forced to settle for P7 on the grid and was the only Penske racer unable to progress into the Firestone Fast Six.</p> <p>The Frenchman will start alongside 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, as the Honda-powered contingent were visibly thwarted by the Penske/Chevrolet partnership.</p> <p>Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe rounded out the top ten, ahead of Marco Andretti and Tony Kanaan who were also able to progress to the second round of qualifying.</p> <p>Further down the order rookie Ed Jones once again shone for Dale Coyne Racing, qualifying P13 and ahead of Max Chilton, Conor Daly and Charlie Kimball.</p> <p>Graham Rahal endured a qualifying session to forget, only managing P20 on the grid ahead of J.R. Hildebrand and former Formula 1 racer Takuma Sato.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14616http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14616Will Power remains fastest in interrupted final INDYCAR GP practiceFri, 12 May 2017 17:39:47 GMT<p><strong>Will Power has remained fastest after an interrupted final practice session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course ahead of the INDYCAR Grand Prix.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>The 2014 champion was immediately on the pace at the start of the session, producing the initial benchmark as the 22-car field continued their preparations for the 85-lap race.</p> <p>Once again Chevrolet showed that they still hold an advantage over Honda on one-lap pace, with Penske ending the 45-minute session locking-out the top three positions.&nbsp;</p> <p>Josef Newgarden ended proceedings in P2 after yet another competitive session, ahead of 1999 champion Juan Pablo Montoya.</p> <p>The Columbian racer, who is only competing in the two races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2017, improved greatly from the opening session of the day where he was seventh overall.</p> <p>Reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi was fourth fastest for Andretti Herta Autosport, ending the session as the fastest Honda-powered driver overall despite struggling with handling issues throughout the session.</p> <p>Veteran Helio Castroneves enjoyed a much more competitive final practice session for Penske, ending the session P5 despite finishing outside the top ten in the opening session of the weekend.</p> <p>During practice two the field began opting for Firestone&rsquo;s softer and faster red sticker tyres, enabling the times to improve drastically and offering the drivers and teams an opportunity to run qualifying simulations for the all-important qualifying session later in the day.</p> <p>James Hinchcliffe was P6 for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, ahead of former Formula 1 racer Max Chilton.</p> <p>The Briton was once again competitive, even rising to the top of the timings during the latter stages of the session on the Firestone red sticker tyres.</p> <p>Reigning champion Simon Pagenaud could only manage seventh for Penske, despite trading the top spot with team-mate&rsquo;s Power and Montoya earlier in the session.</p> <p>Sebastien Bourdais was just behind his fellow countryman in P9, ahead of a much improved Conor Daly who rounded out the top ten.</p> <p>Daly ended the opening session 22nd and last for A.J. Foyt Racing, but will feel encouraged after a productive final practice session.</p> <p>The session was interrupted by two red flag delays, the first caused by 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay who slowed and was forced to stop on the back straight with a suspected mechanical issue.</p> <p>After being towed back to the pits the session was briefly resumed, before Carlos Munoz spun on the exit of Turn 7 and stalled in the grass run-off area.</p> <p>The resulting delay saw the session end under red flag conditions, scuppering the teams and drivers chances of further preparing for the all-important qualifying session later in the day.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14609http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14609Will Power pips Scott Dixon in opening INDYCAR GP practiceFri, 12 May 2017 14:23:57 GMT<p><strong>Will Power has ended the opening practice session of the INDYCAR Grand Prix fastest at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, only just ahead of four-time champion Scott Dixon.</strong></p> <p>The Penske racer produced his benchmark in the final second of the session, which had been dominated by Dixon in the Honda-powered Ganassi car during the final few minutes.</p> <p>Barber race winner Josef Newgarden ended the session P3 for Penske, after a competitive start to the weekend.</p> <p>Newgarden was one of the first drivers to complete a timed lap in the opening practice session, which was initially interrupted by a red flag delay due to debris on the back straight.</p> <p>Once the debris had been cleared a frenetic session ensued, with the benchmark at the top quickly tumbling as more and more drivers began pushing to the limit and beyond.</p> <p>Reigning champion and 2016 INDYCAR Grand Prix race winner Simon Pagenaud was fourth fastest for Penske, despite running off track on several occasions throughout the session.</p> <p>Spencer Pigot was P5 after a somewhat surprisingly competitive session, which saw him even briefly rise to the top of the order during the early stages.</p> <p>Graham Rahal was one of four Honda-powered drivers to end the session within the top ten in sixth, only just ahead of the Penske of Juan Pablo Montoya.</p> <p>The 1999 champion, who is competing in his first IndyCar race since the Grand Prix of Sonoma last September, was only just ahead of former Formula 1 racer Max Chilton.</p> <p>The Briton enjoyed a competitive start to the 45-minute session but soon fell down the order when the Penske racers began producing their lap times.</p> <p>Carlos Munoz and James Hinchcliffe rounded out the top ten, ahead of reining Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi who could only manage P11.</p> <p>Veterans Helio Castroneves and Tony Kanaan were unable to break into the top ten, with the Chip Ganassi racer in particular enduring a scruffy session, locking-up into Turn 1 and running wide at Turn 12 on the same lap.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14598http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14598Graham Rahal expecting 'breakthrough of the season' at INDYCAR Grand PrixThu, 11 May 2017 14:12:23 GMT<p><strong>Graham Rahal is expecting a &ldquo;breakthrough&rdquo; at the INDYCAR Grand Prix around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, after a slightly uncompetitive start to the 2017 season.</strong></p> <p>After the first four races of the season Rahal has only managed to finish in the top ten once, as well as being involved in the multi-car incident at the start of the Phoenix Grand Prix last time out.</p> <p>Despite the far from perfect start to the season, Rahal is adamant that a &ldquo;breakthrough&rdquo; is on the horizon at the INDYCAR Grand Prix.</p> <p>&ldquo;We feel like this is a place that we&#39;ve had a lot of success,&rdquo; explained Rahal.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&#39;s a track that I really love and it&#39;s an environment that I love and feed off of, so I feel like the grand prix is going to be our breakthrough of the season, so far.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We&#39;ve worked very hard for this, worked hard focusing on the month of May in particular.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The guys deserve a good result.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We have focused a lot of energy on making sure we have a good one.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We feel like the car should be pretty competitive.</p> <p>Last season Rahal qualified exceptionally well for the INDYCAR Grand Prix, before having his time disallowed for failing to meet the minimum car weight regulations during the post-qualifying inspections.</p> <p>This forced to Rahal to start from the back of the grid, however he persevered and finished a respectable P4.</p> <p>&quot;Last year was obviously disappointing because we got the qualifying penalty,&rdquo; continued Rahal.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It was our best road course qualifying in years.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It would have been nice to start third, be right up front, be able to attack Simon Pagenaud, as even he said before the race his main concern going into race day was me.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We have struggled at times this year, but I feel like, out of the box, we should be there, competitive-wise, at the grand prix and be able to attack pretty good.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14595http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14595Ed Jones feeling confident ahead of INDYCAR GPThu, 11 May 2017 13:20:42 GMT<p><strong>Rookie Ed Jones believes the INDYCAR Grand Prix around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course could be his best chance to get a good result this year, due largely to the infield circuit&rsquo;s European-style.</strong></p> <p>The reigning IndyLights champion has enjoyed a competitive start to his IndyCar career with Dale Coyne Racing, finishing in the top ten during the first two races of the season at St. Petersburg and Long Beach.</p> <p>Despite dropping out of the top ten in the last two races at Barber and Phoenix, and also being slightly overshadowed by team-mate Sebastien Bourdais&rsquo;s superb start to the season, Jones is remaining confident of further success during the month of May.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s been a good track for me in the past,&rdquo; explained Jones about the infield road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s quite a European-style circuit so I think that&#39;s one of the reasons why I feel so comfortable there.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m looking forward to getting out there in an Indy car.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I think it&#39;s probably one of our best chances to get a good result so far this year.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Hopefully we can make some more progress.&rdquo;</p> <p>The infield road course originally hosted Formula 1&rsquo;s United States Grand Prix between 2000 and 2007, but has since held MotoGP races and most recently an IndyCar event since 2014 which has become incorporated in the month of May leading up to the coveted Indianapolis 500.</p> <p>Mikhail Aleshin also believes the infield road course has a distinct European-style to it, as the Russian racer gears up for his third month of May as an IndyCar driver.</p> <p>&quot;I think it&#39;s great that we&#39;re coming back to the Indy GP track,&rdquo; enthused Aleshin.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I really enjoy every time I get to be in a race car on the IMS road course.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The track is very smooth. It has a very European style and it has a lot of great corners.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m really looking forward to getting the month of May started.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14586http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14586Sebastian Saavedra secures Indy 500 return with Juncos RacingWed, 10 May 2017 18:05:22 GMT<p><strong>Sebastian Saavedra has secured a return to the Indianapolis 500, with the Colombian racer linking up with Juncos Racing as team-mate to Spencer Pigot at the Brickyard.</strong></p> <p>The 101st Indianapolis 500 will be Juncos Racing&rsquo;s first venture into the IndyCar series, after success in the lower categories such as the Pro Mazda Championship and Indy Lights.&nbsp;</p> <p>Saavedra made his IndyCar debut back in 2010 with Bryan Herta Autosport at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and has since competed in 60 races with the likes of KV Racing Technology and Chip Ganassi Racing.</p> <p>Despite limited success Saavedra did manage to secure pole position for the inaugural INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2014, however he stalled and was immediately taken out of the race.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m incredibly blessed and incredibly grateful to Ricardo Juncos,&rdquo; explained Saavedra about the team owner.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re into an amazing program with amazing personnel with a real shot at being competitive, which we knew we weren&rsquo;t going to be last year.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We put all the effort that we didn&rsquo;t put in last year into this year and it&rsquo;s showing.&rdquo;</p> <p>Saavedra has insisted that he has matured somewhat since his last race in the series, when the 26-year-old Colombian finished 13th at the 2015 Grand Prix of Sonoma.</p> <p>&ldquo;From the first time I did it when I was 19, I&rsquo;ve matured a lot,&rdquo; continued Saavedra with a laugh.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I had no idea. I did not get what the Indy 500 was. I accept that. I have no shame.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;With Ganassi, it really hit home. I was there and it was kind of like, &lsquo;I need to understand how big this event is.&rsquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve learned a lot. I&rsquo;m an engineering maniac. I want to know absolutely everything that has to do with the car.</p> <p>&ldquo;So, I&rsquo;m really trying to develop a car and develop a great relationship with engineering and the staff.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s something that has evolved as well. I pinpointed every single component I wanted on this car and very few racers can say that.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14584http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14584Juan Pablo Montoya doesn’t feel behind ahead of IndyCar returnWed, 10 May 2017 14:50:43 GMT<p><strong>Juan Pablo Montoya has explained how he does not feel behind ahead of his return to IndyCar at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, despite not competing in a race since the season-ending Grand Prix of Sonoma last September.</strong></p> <p>Despite a relatively successful return to IndyCar in 2014 following an extensive period in Formula 1 and NASCAR, Montoya was replaced for the 2017 season at Penske by Josef Newgarden.</p> <p>The 1999 champion managed to procure a deal before being replaced at Penske to return in May for the IndyCar Grand Prix and 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.</p> <p>Since the final race of last season at Sonoma Montoya has competed in only several official test days for Penske, however the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner does not feel behind in any way.</p> <p>&ldquo;I guess I should feel a little behind, but I don&rsquo;t,&rdquo; explained Montoya ahead of the IndyCar Grand Prix.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The guys on the team have been in tune and mixed in with the other teams all season, so we have all the data and those tests went really well.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m so excited to get back on track.&rdquo;</p> <p>For the IndyCar Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500 Montoya will team-up with Penske full-time racers Will Power, Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden and reigning champion Simon Pagenaud.</p> <p>It will be the fourth IndyCar event on the infield road course, which initially hosted F1&rsquo;s United States Grand Prix between 2000 and 2007.</p> <p>So far two of the three races at the road course have been won from pole, adding a great emphasis on grid position and the all-important qualifying session altogether.</p> <p>&ldquo;Qualifying is really important and we have been working on a few things we learned at Barber that could apply to getting a good starting spot at Indy,&rdquo; said Josef Newgarden. &nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Our team has been really strong this year and we have proved that we can win on a road course.&rdquo;</p> <p>Penske has been exceptionally strong in qualifying so far this season, with Power and Castroneves alternating pole position.</p> <p>However, both Power and Castroneves have been unable to translate those pole positions into race victories, despite a Penske driver winning the last two races at Phoenix and Barber.</p> <p>&ldquo;With road courses, qualifying is so important and we&rsquo;re ready for that,&rdquo; said three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We feel so strong and ready to head into not only the IndyCar Grand Prix but also just the month of May in general.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14583http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14583Spencer Pigot reunited with Juncos Racing for Indy 500Wed, 10 May 2017 13:43:03 GMT<p>Spencer Pigot will be reunited with Juncos Racing for the 101st Indianapolis 500, as the team prepares to make the leap from IndyLights to IndyCar at the coveted 200-lap race.</p> <p>So far in 2017 Pigot has been competing with Ed Carpenter Racing on street and road course events, with team owner Ed Carpenter replacing him for oval races alongside full-time racer J.R. Hildebrand.</p> <p>Therefore for the Indianapolis 500 Pigot was initially without a drive, before team owner and good friend Ricardo Juncos purchased three chassis and aero kits from the now defunct KV Racing Technology outfit.</p> <p>Pigot won the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship and the 2015 IndyLights series with Juncos Racing, before making his debut in IndyCar with RLL Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve known Ricardo and everyone at the team since I was 10 or 11 years old,&rdquo; explained Pigot.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I started racing for Ricardo back when it was Juncos Competition, the very first iteration of the team, back driving go-karts around Florida.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;To now be reunited with them for their first Indy 500 and my second Indy 500, it&rsquo;s something that if you would have told us back in the early 2000s when we were racing go-karts, I&rsquo;m sure nobody would have believed.&rdquo;</p> <p>Last season Pigot finished 25th in his debut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, five laps off the leaders.&nbsp;</p> <p>This year Pigot is not expecting any miracles, but is hoping his experience from a year in the series will assist him and the team.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re just going to focus on finishing the race because we&rsquo;re a rookie team,&rdquo; continued Pigot.</p> <p>&ldquo;Two months ago, we had only one person here. Today, we have 40. We&rsquo;re all new.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I kind of know what to expect. I know what it&rsquo;s like to drive around Indy at 220, 230 (mph).&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I know what it kind of feels like in traffic.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s stuff I won&rsquo;t totally have to learn from scratch, I&rsquo;ll just have to refresh a little bit.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14578http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14578Johnny Rutherford back to McLaren as Indy 500 ambassadorTue, 09 May 2017 17:34:57 GMT<p>Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford will act as a McLaren ambassador during this year&rsquo;s running of the event.</p> <p>McLaren is returning to the race for the first time in several decades, with a one-car team run by Andretti, and powered by Honda, driven by Fernando Alonso.</p> <p>Rutherford was present at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week when Alonso carried out a private test, in which he passed the mandatory Rookie Orientation Programme.</p> <p>Rutherford, 79, claimed victories with McLaren at the event in 1972 and 1974, and went on to add a third triumph to his name in 1980.</p> <p>&ldquo;The McLaren name still means a lot to me &ndash; it has a very special place in my heart, in fact, for obvious reasons,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;So when I heard that not only was McLaren heading back to Indianapolis &ndash; after a near 40-year absence, and with Fernando behind the wheel, and that they would also be reviving the same, famous orange livery that was made famous by Bruce McLaren himself in the 1960s and &rsquo;70s &ndash; well, I was blown away. That&rsquo;s just neat, real neat.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m thrilled and excited about &lsquo;coming home&rsquo; to McLaren for the famous month of May, and I want to do everything I can to help make the team&rsquo;s return to Indy as enjoyable and successful as possible.</p> <p>&ldquo;Make no mistake, this is a fantastic story for IndyCar, for Formula 1 and for motor racing in general, so to be able to help play a small part in it is just fantastic.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14532http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14532Gallery: Alonso makes his IndyCar debut with McLaren/AndrettiThu, 04 May 2017 09:25:11 GMT<p>Check out our photo gallery of Fernando Alonso&#39;s first IndyCar test with&nbsp;McLaren/Andretti. <a href="https://www.motorsportweek.com/indycar/gallery/id/00025">Click here if you&#39;re not redirected automatically.</a></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14530http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14530My right foot had its own brain during first IndyCar laps - Fernando AlonsoThu, 04 May 2017 08:09:03 GMT<p>Fernando Alonso completed his first IndyCar test on Wednesday and passed the rookie orientation programme with no problems, however the Spaniard says he struggled to go flat-out during the opening laps as no matter what he brain told his right foot to do, it had its own mind.</p> <p>Alonso, who will miss the Monaco Grand Prix in favour of racing in the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 with a single-car entry from McLaren, run by Andretti Autosport, spent the afternoon getting to grips with the 2.5-mile oval &ndash; his first such experience.</p> <p>&quot;At the beginning, to be honest, [my]&nbsp;right foot was having its own brain, its own power!&rdquo; Alonso said after the test.&nbsp;&quot;It was not connected with my brain. So I wanted to be flat out but the right foot had&nbsp;its own life!</p> <p>&quot;Right now I&rsquo;m more in control with my body and in control with the car so I&rsquo;m able to be flat-out.&quot;</p> <p>The McLaren driver managed a best average speed of 222.548mph on his 73rd lap, but admitted the conditions weren&#39;t ideal and he is confident he will be quicker now he has some experience under his belt.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s a little bit gusty, and the wind picked up in the last couple of runs, but it&rsquo;s good information to have some difficulties out there. But everything went fine so far,&quot; he added.</p> <p>&quot;I was getting up to speed, but the circuit looks so narrow when you are at that speed. When you watch on television or you are on the simulator, everything seems bigger and easier but when you are in the real car, it is very, very narrow.</p> <p>&quot;So I was trying different lines but really not as comfortable as I will be probably in a couple of weeks&rsquo; time.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14526http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14526Fernando Alonso hits 222mph in maiden IndyCar testWed, 03 May 2017 18:46:59 GMT<p><strong>Fernando Alonso has completed his maiden IndyCar test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, hitting a personal best of 222mph around the iconic 2.5-mile oval.</strong></p> <p>The double Formula 1 world champion sent the motorsport world into a frenzy by deciding to miss the Monaco Grand Prix and instead compete in the 101st Indianapolis 500 with McLaren, with the Woking-based outfit joining up with engine supplier Honda and full-time IndyCar outfit Andretti Autosport.</p> <p>Because Alonso had never completed a lap on an oval, the Spaniard was allowed to complete the rookie orientation programme in a private test.&nbsp;</p> <p>This particular programme, designed to prepare drivers for month of May at the Indianapolis 500, requires a driver to complete three phases of track running.&nbsp;</p> <p>The first phase is ten laps between 205-210 mph, before moving up to 15 laps at 210-215mph.</p> <p>The third and final phase requires the driver to run 15 laps at over 215mph, but not above 220mph.</p> <p>Before Alonso jumped into his No. 29 McLaren Andretti Autosport machine, team-mate and full-time IndyCar racer Marco Andretti completed several shakedown laps.</p> <p>Shortly afterwards the motorsport world watched on as Alonso climbed into his orange car and left the pit-lane to complete his first laps in an Indy car and around an oval course.</p> <p>The Spaniard was immediately up to speed and produced a lap at 208.569mph, before briefly returning to the pits.</p> <p>Alonso quickly progressed through the phases, producing a personal best lap speed of 219.654mph in the third and final phase.</p> <p>With the third phase complete Alonso was officially eligible to compete in the Indianapolis 500, however the track action did not stop there.</p> <p>After returning to the pits for more fuel and tyres, the team began to look toward pushing even harder as they removed the aerodynamic wickers from the car as focused switched to &ldquo;trimming out&rdquo; the car.</p> <p>With the rookie orientation programme now complete Alonso was officially able to push the car over 220mph and begin properly preparing for more serious running later in the month.&nbsp;</p> <p>Soon Alonso had produced a lap speed of 221.721mph, showing that he had taken to IndyCar racing like a duck to water.&nbsp;</p> <p>After returning to the pits to completely remove the rear wicker and change his tyres, Alonso produced his personal best speed of 222.548mph.</p> <p>&ldquo;So far it has been a good experience, but now I think the real deal starts,&rdquo; explained Alonso after completing his first 88 laps.</p> <p>&ldquo;The circuit looks so narrow when you are at that speed, when you watch on television or when you are in the simulator it seems bigger and easier,&rdquo; continued Alonso when asked how comfortable he felt during his first few laps.</p> <p>&ldquo;When you are in the real car it&rsquo;s very narrow so I was trying different lines, something like that.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I was really not as comfortable as I probably will be in a couple of weeks time.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14525http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14525Conor Daly fastest in productive Gateway open test Wed, 03 May 2017 14:20:20 GMT<p><strong>Conor Daly ended the open test at the Gateway Motorsports Park fastest for A.J. Foyt Enterprises, as 21 drivers took to the 1.25-mile oval for a vital test day ahead of IndyCar&rsquo;s return to Gateway for the first time since 2003.</strong></p> <p>As ever the test day was split into two sessions, with Daly ending both sessions fastest.</p> <p>Helio Castroneves was second fastest for Penske, three tenths shy of Daly&rsquo;s benchmark in the second session.</p> <p>Castroneves won the last IndyCar race at Gateway back in 2003.</p> <p>Former champion Juan Pablo Montoya was third fastest overall for Penske, as the Columbian racer&rsquo;s preparations continued for his return to the sport at the IndyCar Grand Prix and Indianapolis 500 later this month.</p> <p>Barber race winner Josef Newgarden was P4, ahead of championship leader Simon Pagenaud.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Frenchman assumed the top spot in the championship after victory last time out in Phoenix, usurping fellow countryman Sebastien Bourdais.</p> <p>Scott Dixon was the fastest Honda-powered racer in sixth, completing just 24 combined laps throughout the day.</p> <p>Will Power was the slowest of the five Penske drivers in P7, with the Australian racer still hunting for his first victory of the season, despite starting from pole on two occasions.</p> <p>Carlos Munoz could only manage eighth for A.J. Foyt Enterprises, ahead of Tony Kanaan who was one of only two Honda-powered drivers to end the test in the top ten overall.</p> <p>Ed Carpenter rounded out the top ten, with the team owner only competing on ovals in 2017. Meanwhile Spencer Pigot will return to Ed Carpenter Racing for the IndyCar Grand Prix.</p> <p>Only one driver suffered an incident throughout the day, with J.R. Hildebrand making contact with the wall at Turn 2 and therefore prematurely ending his day.&nbsp;</p> <p>During one of the intervals throughout the day the drivers made their way out onto the start/finish line to interact with the surprisingly high amount of fans in attendance, signing autographs through the catch-fencing.</p> <p>IndyCar will return to the Gateway Motorsports Park for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Valvoline on August 26.</p> <p><a href="http://www.imscdn.com/indycar_media/documents/2017-05-02/05-02-17%20Gateway%20combined.pdf"><strong>Gateway Open Test Combined Classification</strong></a></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14518http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14518Simon Pagenaud hails 'perfect' Phoenix oval victory 'his best'Tue, 02 May 2017 09:01:58 GMT<p>IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud has hailed Phoenix &quot;his best win&quot; after he clinched his very first victory on an oval at the weekend.</p> <p>The Frenchman started from fifth but made gains by staying out a lap longer when Takuma Sato crashed out, putting him in the lead shortly after the race resumed where he remained until the chequered flag fell.</p> <p>Pagenaud said the final 50 laps of the race were &quot;stressful&quot; but described the day as &quot;perfect&quot;.</p> <p>&quot;Those were the longest 50 laps of my life,&quot; he said.&nbsp;&quot;I have a button on my wheel that tells me how many laps were left. I kept pressing it. It was stressful.</p> <p>&quot;The car was phenomenal. It was an incredible day for the Menards Chevrolet. It&rsquo;s been a fun day. This is incredible.</p> <p>&quot;The car was so strong at the beginning of the race we were able to save fuel in traffic and it paid off with that lucky yellow but we&#39;ve had our fair share of bad luck too this year so it doesn&#39;t hurt sometimes to have a little break.</p> <p>&quot;This is my best win. You need to be so strategic to win on an oval and today was the perfect day. I couldn&rsquo;t be any happier.&quot;</p> <p>All of Pagenaud&#39;s previous wins have come on road a street courses, so he was pleased to finally break his oval duck at the weekend.</p> <p>&quot;I can&#39;t explain how excited I am,&quot; he added.&nbsp;&quot;Ovals are not my specialty. I grew up in Europe racing go-karts.</p> <p>&quot;I learned about ovals when I was 26-years-old, so I had to learn the skill and the technique that I didn&#39;t know.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14510http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14510Video: Race highlights from IndyCar’s trip to PhoenixMon, 01 May 2017 09:05:10 GMT<p>IndyCar presents race highlights from the Phoenix Grand Prix, with Penske&rsquo;s Simon Pagenaud taking his first ever oval victory.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14495http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14495Video: Onboard visor cam at Phoenix with Marco AndrettiSun, 30 Apr 2017 08:03:38 GMT<p>Ride onboard with visor cam for some hot laps of the Phoenix International Raceway with Marco Andretti.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14494http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14494Simon Pagenaud dominates at Phoenix to clinch first oval winSun, 30 Apr 2017 07:56:27 GMT<p>Penske driver and reigning IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud took a controlled victory at the Phoenix International Raceway, his first win at an oval track.</p> <p>The French driver took advantage of a caution to take the lead, staying out a lap longer than rivals at the second round of stops.</p> <p>That decision put him a lap ahead of the field when the caution came out for Takuma Sato&rsquo;s crash, which gave him a free pitstop.</p> <p>He stormed to the win at the first oval race of the 2017 season, taking over the top spot in the standings &ndash; making the most of erstwhile title leader S&eacute;bastien Bourdais&#39; troubles early on.</p> <p>The start featured high drama, with Mikhail Aleshin losing control and sliding up track into the barrier. Ryan Hunter-Reay managed to emerge relatively unscathed.</p> <p>However, Bourdais collided with Aleshin&rsquo;s car and hit the barrier, with several other cars &ndash; including Graham Rahal, Max Chilton and Marco Andretti &ndash; also getting involved.</p> <p>It meant the first 22 of 250 laps were run under caution to sort the incident out, with polesitter H&eacute;lio Castroneves leading the way on the restart before losing ground in the first round of stops.</p> <p>Will Power emerged ahead, with Pagenaud up to third, and he moved to the lead at the next pitstop phase and holding on to take victory ahead of Power and the returning JR Hildebrand.</p> <p>Castroneves was fourth, with Ganassi&rsquo;s Scott Dixon fifth, ahead of team-mate Tony Kanaan. Ed Carpenter and Charlie Kimball were next up.</p> <p>Josef Newgarden lost ground late on after contact with Hunter-Reay and finished ninth, ahead of Carlos Mu&ntilde;oz.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14474http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14474Helio Castroneves bags Phoenix pole as Penske dominates qualifyingSat, 29 Apr 2017 07:12:54 GMT<p>Penske maintained its perfect qualifying record in 2017 as H&eacute;lio Castroneves claimed pole position for the second straight season at Phoenix, with the team collecting four of the leading five positions.</p> <p>Castroneves set new one-and two-lap records around the oval to lead the way and take his 49th career pole &ndash;&nbsp;joint third in the all-time list &ndash;&nbsp;his average speed of 194.905mph almost one mph faster than team-mate Will Power.</p> <p>&quot;It was a great team effort, the REV Chevy was really fast,&quot;&nbsp;said Castroneves after his 49th career pole.</p> <p>&quot;I always say because of my team-mates, these guys are the toughest ones, everybody&rsquo;s pushing each other. But I&rsquo;m really glad the No. 3 prevailed this time.&quot;</p> <p>Ed Carpenter Racing&rsquo;s J. R. Hildebrand was the only driver to break Penske&rsquo;s hegemony to take third place, as reigning champion Simon Pagenaud took fourth, with Grand Prix of Alabama victor Josef Newgarden fifth.</p> <p>Tony Kanaan led Ganassi&rsquo;s charge in sixth place, with Mikhail Aleshin seven, in front of defending race winner Scott Dixon.</p> <p>Ninth-placed Marco Andretti was the sole Andretti Autosport representative inside the top 10 while early championship leader S&eacute;bastien Bourdais will line up from 10th place for Dale Coyne.</p> <p>Bringing up the rear of the 21-car field is Ed Carpenter. The team owner/driver completed just 17 laps in practice and qualified almost two seconds adrift&nbsp;of&nbsp;Castroneves.</p> <p><a href="http://www.imscdn.com/indycar_media/documents/2017-04-29/DDWV%20Phoenix%20Grand%20Prix%20%20Qual%20Results.pdf">Full qualifying times and results can be found here.</a></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14439http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14439J.R. Hildebrand cleared to make IndyCar return at PhoenixWed, 26 Apr 2017 12:36:57 GMT<p><strong>J.R. Hildebrand has been cleared to return to the IndyCar series for the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix, after he broke a bone in his hand during the closing laps of the second round at Long Beach.</strong></p> <p>During the final lap at Long Beach Hildebrand made light contact with the rear of Mikhail Aleshin at Turn 1, with the sudden jolt from the steering wheel resulting in the injury which sidelined him for the Alabama GP.</p> <p>Therefore rookie Zach Veach was called up to replace Hildebrand at Ed Carpenter Racing to race alongside Spencer Pigot.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s been a tricky couple of weeks working through this injury,&rdquo; admitted Hildebrand.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m certainly anxious to get back in the car.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I feel like I&#39;m far enough along to be able to go for it this weekend in Phoenix.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I know we&#39;ve got a good program.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I want to be able to come through for the team at an event where we should be strong.</p> <p>&ldquo;Everyone has been super helpful, and I appreciate the hard work that everyone has put in to be able to get me back in.&rdquo;</p> <p>Meanwhile team owner Ed Carpenter will make his first appearance of the season behind the wheel, replacing street and road course regular Spencer Pigot</p> <p>The 36-year-old has three wins to his name - all of them on ovals - and is itching to get back into the car.</p> <p>&quot;I am super excited to get back to Phoenix and start my driving season,&rdquo; enthused Carpenter.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We have had several tests since my last race in Pocono, but it will be good to get back to a race weekend as a driver.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We had a great open test at Phoenix in February and I feel very confident heading into this weekend.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14431http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14431Andretti Autosport held back by further technical woes in BarberTue, 25 Apr 2017 12:49:13 GMT<p><strong>Andretti Autosport were held back by further technical issues during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, with Marco Andretti and Takuma Sato both being plagued by differing gremlins throughout the 90-lap race.</strong></p> <p>As the rest of the field completed the formation laps prior to the start of the race around the Barber Motorsports Park, Andretti was forced to return to the pits with an electrical issue once again striking his car for the second race in succession.</p> <p>Although the Andretti Autosport mechanics were able to rectify the issue, Andretti finally joined the race three laps down on the leaders and was therefore completely unable to make a serious impact on proceedings.</p> <p>Meanwhile team-mate Takuma Sato struggled significantly during the opening stint of the race with brake issues, forcing the former Formula 1 racer to adjust the brake bias and in doing so impeding his progress despite a relatively competitive start.</p> <p>&quot;During the first stint, I had issues braking,&rdquo; explained Sato, who eventually persevered to finish P9.</p> <p>&ldquo;So, first I had to move the bias all the way on the front.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Then later on we lost one brake, so it felt like three-wheel braking - that was a shame.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Over the course of the stint, I think I was getting better and better over time because we kept making the right adjustments.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Ninth is not perfect, but I think where we are it was a good result for us.&rdquo;</p> <p>These issues come after all four Andretti Autosport racers retired from the second race of the season at Long Beach with a combination of electrical, engine and sensor issues plaguing the cars.</p> <p>&quot;Disappointing day for the team,&rdquo; said Andretti after the race in Alabama.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We were fast Friday and fast this morning in the warm-up, but issues set us back on the start of the race and there was just no way to get the laps back.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14430http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14430Zach Veach thrilled with IndyCar debut at BarberTue, 25 Apr 2017 12:48:57 GMT<p><strong>Zach Veach has expressed delight in reaching the chequered flag on his debut race weekend in IndyCar, with the former Indy Lights race winner standing in for the injured J.R. Hildebrand.</strong></p> <p>After Hildebrand broke a bone in his hand during a final lap incident at Long Beach, Veach was called upon as a late substitute for Ed Carpenter Racing ahead of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the Barber Motorsports Park.</p> <p>Despite the late call up and relative lack of time behind the wheel of the car, Veach certainly did not embarrass himself or the team throughout the gruelling race weekend.</p> <p>Although Veach was unable to progress any further than the first round of qualifying, the 22-year-old Ohio-born racer still managed to out-qualify series regulars Conor Daly and Graham Rahal.</p> <p>During the 90-lap race Veach not only managed to reach the chequered flag but also remained on the lead lap, while team-mate and 2015 Indy Lights champion Spencer Pigot spun during the latter stages of the race.</p> <p>Veach will compete in the Indianapolis 500 next month for Ed Carpenter Racing and has thanked the entire team, including Hildebrand, for his support throughout his debut weekend at Barber.</p> <p>&quot;Overall, I&#39;m pretty happy with our first IndyCar weekend,&rdquo; enthused Veach.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;For what it was coming in here on short notice and a limited amount of time to get familiar with the car, I&#39;m really happy with the progress that we made.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I couldn&#39;t have done it without the help of J.R. Hildebrand and the entire crew at Ed Carpenter Racing.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Everyone here was so open to helping get me up to speed.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;They helped me from Lap 1 all the way to the end of the race.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;This was the longest race I&#39;ve ever done in my life and part of that was learning how to save fuel and doing my first real race pit stops.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m pretty happy with how it went.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Granted, I think we would have loved to have a little more speed, but with the amount of time I had in the car, to come home where we did I think says a lot.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14424http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14424Will Power remaining positive despite further bad luck at BarberMon, 24 Apr 2017 18:00:46 GMT<p><strong>Will Power is remaining positive despite further bad luck at the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, which saw the 2013 champion struck with a left-rear puncture during the closing stages of the race.</strong></p> <p>The Penske racer had lead 60 laps of the 90-lap race and looked utterly dominant in the lead, with only team-mate and eventual race winner Josef Newgarden and Scott Dixon keeping him company up front.</p> <p>Only several laps after the final full course caution Power was informed of a slow puncture on his left-rear tyre, and despite electing to remain out for as long as possible the Australian racer was eventually forced to pit and give up his lead.</p> <p>Despite rejoining way down in P17 Power persevered and fought back to finish P14, however it was certainly a bitter pill to swallow in what was his third consecutive race this season featuring poor luck.</p> <p>At the season opener at St. Petersburg Power was forced to pit with a puncture while chasing James Hinchcliffe for the lead of the race, before then running over an air hose which saw him incur a drive-through penalty which ruined his chances of a competitive result.</p> <p>To add insult to injury Power was then hit with a fuel-feed issue, which forced him to slow drastically before being black flagged for running too slowly.</p> <p>Meanwhile in Long Beach Power was involved in an opening lap shunt with Charlie Kimball, once again taking him out of contention for a strong result.</p> <p>&quot;It was such a great effort all around,&rdquo; explained Power after the race in Alabama.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;But the car was awesome. It was so fast.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I feel bad. I could feel it starting to bottom and then I started having issues in some fast corners.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I held on as long as I could but I knew (the tyre) was going down - you could feel it.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We&#39;ll move on to the next one. I&#39;m thankful to my crew, the whole team - they put a great effort in and that&#39;s how racing goes sometimes.&rdquo;</p> <p>Eventual race winner Newgarden was extremely sympathetic towards his Penske team-mate after the race, insisting that a thrilling three-way battle for victory was brewing between himself, Power and the Ganassi of Dixon.</p> <p>&quot;That was an awesome day,&rdquo; enthused Newgarden, who took his second victory at the Barber Motorsports Park.</p> <p>&ldquo;For Will Power, I feel so bad for those boys on the 12 car - they were on it today and I feel like it would have been a great battle between Will, myself and Scott.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;But it ended up just being Scott and myself.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It&#39;s a group effort here - all four of these guys work together.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Whoever is in victory lane - we just want to get someone there with Team Penske.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14423http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14423Double IndyCar champion Gil de Ferran to coach Fernando AlonsoMon, 24 Apr 2017 16:45:19 GMT<p><strong>Double IndyCar champion Gil de Ferran has been called upon to coach Fernando Alonso throughout the month of May at the Indianapolis 500, as the double Formula 1 champion prepares to make his IndyCar debut at the iconic event.</strong></p> <p>In a decision which has left the sporting world in a state of shock, Alonso has elected to miss the Monaco Grand Prix at the end of May to compete at the Brickyard with a historic McLaren, Andretti Autosport and Honda partnership.</p> <p>With Alonso a complete rookie on super speedway ovals and Indy cars, the Spanish racer will be calling upon all of his vast skill set to instantly get up to speed alongside IndyCar regulars such as reigning champion Simon Pagenaud and four-time champion Scott Dixon.</p> <p>When asked what would be the biggest learning curve throughout the Indianapolis 500, Alonso was typically nonchalant in his response.</p> <p>&ldquo;Everything,&rdquo; enthused Alonso, during his highly anticipated visit to the IndyCar paddock in Alabama.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;The traffic I think, the level of downforce, feeling with the car, running with a car that&#39;s not symmetric on the straights, on braking.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Traffic is a big thing from what I&#39;m hearing.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Let&#39;s see if I can learn as quick as I can.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m with the best team possible for this type of lessons.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Also with coach Gil de Ferran, which I&#39;m sure will be very useful for all these new things.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We will be prepared.&rdquo;</p> <p>During de Ferran&rsquo;s competitive IndyCar career he racked up 12 victories, including the 2000 and 2001 championship crowns with Penske.&nbsp;</p> <p>After his career de Ferran became an ambassador for Honda, even becoming the manufacturer&rsquo;s F1 sporting director between 2005 and 2007.</p> <p>&quot;I will try to mentor him through his introduction to the speedway and its nuances,&rdquo; explained the 2003 Indianapolis 500 champion to <i>BBC Sport</i>.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14417http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14417Video: Race highlights from the Grand Prix of AlabamaMon, 24 Apr 2017 13:06:26 GMT<p>Watch race highlights from Sunday&rsquo;s Grand Prix of Alabama at the Barber Motorsports Park, with Penske&rsquo;s Josef Newgarden storming to his first victory with the team.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14412http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14412Josef Newgarden takes victory as Will Power hits trouble at BarberSun, 23 Apr 2017 22:03:04 GMT<p><strong>Josef Newgarden has taken victory in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, after team-mate Will Power suffered a puncture in the latter stages of the race despite leading 60 laps from the start.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Power comfortably led from the start and utterly dominated the majority of the race, before yet another bout of bad luck scuppered his chances of returning to victory lane.&nbsp;</p> <p>During the second and final caution period of the race Power was sat in second position behind Charlie Kimball who had elected not to pit under caution, with Power only a few laps away from resuming his lead.</p> <p>However, as Kimball pitted and Power assumed the lead his team suddenly noticed a loss in pressure on his left-rear tyre.&nbsp;</p> <p>Despite being instructed to pit Power initially stayed out, before pressure began to mount from team-mate Newgarden.</p> <p>While the 2013 champion begrudgingly pitted and resumed way down in P17, Newgarden was left fending off the Ganassi of Scott Dixon who had been the only real threat to Penske and Chevrolet all race long.</p> <p>Eventually Newgarden crossed the line a second ahead of Dixon, with reigning champion Simon Pagenaud a further second down the road in third after a rather lonely race for the Frenchman.</p> <p>Helio Castroneves was once again unable to translate a front-row start into a podium visit, with the veteran losing ground steadily throughout the race and eventually coming home a very distant P4.</p> <p>Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi enjoyed a tremendous race for Andretti Autosport, putting aside his frustrations from qualifying after starting P18 to rise through the order in an almost Bourdais-esque fashion to finish a well-deserved fifth.</p> <p>James Hinchcliffe was unable to repeat his successes from Long Beach, reaching the chequered flag in P6 after a frenetic start to the race.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Canadian racer banged wheels with Ryan Hunter-Reay on the opening lap, causing light damage to Hunter-Reay&rsquo;s front-wing which resulted in the first full course caution for debris at Turn 4.</p> <p>Tony Kanaan&rsquo;s weekend steadily improved with P7, ending the race only just ahead of Sebastien Bourdais.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Frenchman, who has managed to maintain his lead in the championship by only six points to Dixon and seven points to Newgarden, was lucky to avoid the debris from Hinchcliffe&rsquo;s car during the opening lap of the race.</p> <p>Takuma Sato and Mikhail Aleshin rounded out the top ten, with Hunter-Reay eventually finishing in P11 following a disrupted conclusion to his race.&nbsp;</p> <p>Andretti Autosport&rsquo;s woes started early when Marco Andretti was prevented from lining up for the green flag at the start.&nbsp;</p> <p>As the field completed their formation laps Andretti peeled off into the pits with an electrical issue striking his car, placing him three laps down before the issue was rectified to allow him to finally start the race.</p> <p>Meanwhile Spencer Pigot caused the second and final caution period of the race, after spinning on the exit of Turn 5 as very light and intermittent rain briefly fell over the Barber Motorsports Park.&nbsp;</p> <p>The ECR racer luckily avoided contact with the wall and eventually finished the race P20 and a lap off the leaders.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14410http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14410Sebastien Bourdais surprised with qualifying result at BarberSun, 23 Apr 2017 14:39:46 GMT<p><strong>Sebastien Bourdais has explained how he was surprised to even progress to the second round of qualifying for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, with the Frenchman continuing to struggle around the Barber Motorsports Park.</strong></p> <p>Despite leading the championship after a productive start to the 2017 season, Bourdais has failed to trouble the top of the order throughout the weekend so far.</p> <p>After progressing to the second round of qualifying Bourdais continued to struggle and eventually elected to conserve his alternate red sticker Firestone tyres for the race, as he was out-qualified by rookie team-mate Ed Jones.</p> <p>&quot;We made some major changes to the car but they didn&#39;t work,&rdquo; explained Bourdais, who won the season-opener at St. Petersburg.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;There&#39;s something missing and we&#39;re just not quite understanding what it is.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Quite truthfully to make it into the fast 12 was a big surprise with the understeer we had.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Using another set of reds didn&#39;t feel like the right thing to do to maybe get a better lap time, so we kept a new set for tomorrow and used the same reds we ran in round one.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We figured it was best to swallow the pill today and hope for a better day tomorrow with two brand new sets of Firestone reds.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We&#39;re scratching our heads but we&#39;ll keep working and see what we can do.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p>Prior to the weekend Bourdais stipulated that he would not let his lead in the championship detract from his preparations for the race weekend.</p> <p>Due to his success at St. Petersburg and Long Beach the four-time champion is 19 points clear of James Hinchcliffe.</p> <p>&ldquo;As I&#39;ve said before, some weekends we&#39;ll get it and some weekends we won&#39;t, but we&#39;ll keep on trying and not give up,&rdquo; concluded Bourdais.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14406http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14406Will Power secures Barber pole as Penske dominates qualifyingSat, 22 Apr 2017 21:43:27 GMT<p><strong>Will Power has secured pole position for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, as Penske once again dominated proceedings to create a 1-2-3 lock-out at the top.</strong></p> <p>Despite ominous cloud cover throughout the day the rain managed to hold off for the all-important qualifying session, allowing a dry session to be completed around the Barber Motorsports Park.</p> <p>Although Honda-powered cars ended their respective groups fastest in the first round of qualifying, it was Penske who shone during round two and the all-important Firestone Fast Six as Chevrolet-power once again shone in qualifying.</p> <p>Power will start the 90-lap race alongside team-mate and Long Beach pole winner Helio Castroneves, after the Brazilian racer completed a late improvement to rise ahead of reigning champion Simon Pagenaud.</p> <p>The Frenchman will still start the race from P3, after making a slight mistake on his final lap and running wide on the exit of Turn 5.</p> <p>Scott Dixon ended qualifying as the fastest Honda-powered driver in fourth, with the four-time champion unable to question Penske&rsquo;s authority at the top despite ending his group fastest in round one.</p> <p>Ryan Hunter-Reay and Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe complete the third row of the grid, with all three Honda-powered cars opting to complete just one flying lap in the Firestone Fast Six.</p> <p>Josef Newgarden was the only Penske driver unable to progress into the Firestone Fast Six, with the 2015 Barber race winner forced to settle for seventh.</p> <p>Mikhail Aleshin&rsquo;s competitiveness continued throughout qualifying, with the Russian racer set to start from P8, alongside Chip Ganassi Racing&rsquo;s Max Chilton.</p> <p>The former Formula 1 racer steadily improved throughout the day, after a troubled start to the weekend which resulted in a spin in practice two on Friday.</p> <p>Ganassi team-mate Tony Kanaan rounded out the top ten, just ahead of Dale Coyne Racing&rsquo;s Ed Jones.</p> <p>The rookie, who has finished the opening two races in the top ten, has continued to look impressive and managed to out-qualify championship leader Sebastian Bourdais who was forced to settle for a lowly P12.</p> <p>However, the four-time champion is no stranger to rising through the order.&nbsp;</p> <p>Both in St. Petersburg and Long Beach Bourdais rose through the order to finish in the top two, and will be looking at such silver linings after qualifying at Barber.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14404http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14404Will Power leads Penske 1-2-3 in final practice at BarberSat, 22 Apr 2017 17:02:15 GMT<p><strong>Will Power has led a Penske 1-2-3 in practice for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, as preparations intensify ahead of qualifying later in the day.</strong></p> <p>Despite the threat of rain lingering over the picturesque Barber Motorsports Park, the final session got underway in dry and overcast conditions.</p> <p>Chevrolet&rsquo;s competitive start to the weekend continued with renewed gusto during the 45-minute session, with Power ending proceedings ahead of Penske team-mate&rsquo;s Josef Newgarden and Helio Castroneves.</p> <p>Mikhail Aleshin prevented the final Penske of Simon Pagenaud from creating a top four lock-out, with the Russian racer ending the session P4 ahead of the reigning champion.</p> <p>Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe enjoyed an improved session in comparison to practice on Friday, initially running as high as P2 during the middle of the session before settling for P6 once the Penske drivers began improving.</p> <p>Four-time champion Scott Dixon was seventh fastest for Chip Ganassi Racing, despite producing the initial benchmark at the start of the session.</p> <p>Marco Andretti managed to remain relatively competitive throughout the final session, coming home only just behind Dixon in P8.</p> <p>Graham Rahal and Max Chilton rounded out the top ten, with both drivers seeking improvements following a tough start to their respective weekends.</p> <p>The session ran relatively incident-free with no red flag delays, however Ryan Hunter-Reay managed a minor spin at Turn 14 after running rather wide onto the dirt and subsequently losing control of his Andretti Autosport machine.</p> <p>Further down the order rookie Zach Veach managed to lift himself off the bottom of the classification for the first time, eventually ending the session P20 ahead of Conor Daly who suffered a mechanical issue during the early stages of the session.</p> <p>Although Penske look strong at the top of the order, lower temperatures in comparison to Friday and the chance of rain later in the day could potentially ruin their fun around the Barber Motorsports Park.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14403http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14403Will Power ‘excited’ ahead of qualifying for Alabama GPSat, 22 Apr 2017 12:55:58 GMT<p><strong>Will Power has expressed excitement ahead of qualifying for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, after Penske enjoyed a productive day of practice.</strong></p> <p>While many drivers struggled significantly with setup and balance issues, including championship leader Sebastien Bourdais and Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe, the Penske drivers wasted no time in rising to the top of the classification.&nbsp;</p> <p>In the opening practice session reigning champion Simon Pagenaud managed to end proceedings fastest as the Chevrolet-powered Penske team locked-out the top four positions.</p> <p>Although Marco Andretti managed to disrupt Penske&rsquo;s dominance in the second practice session, the outfit were still extremely competitive will Power, Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves all just behind Andretti.</p> <p>&quot;I&#39;m pretty excited about qualifying at Barber after the two practice sessions,&rdquo; enthused Power, who has won the race on two occasions.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We had podium finishes in both sessions and we&#39;re feeling strong.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The Chevy has performed really well and we think we have the machine to help us make a strong showing in qualifying.&rdquo;</p> <p>Despite Chevrolet&rsquo;s recent lack of success on race day this season, the manufacturer has still secured pole position with Penske at the opening two race weekends at St. Petersburg and Long Beach.</p> <p>With Chevrolet and Penske in particular looking likely to be a strong contender for pole position once again, the big question is whether they can translate such one-lap dominance into race victory.</p> <p>Although Penske were the fastest Chevrolet-powered team during practice, other Chevrolet-powered teams such as A.J. Foyt Racing were also encouraged after the two sessions.</p> <p>&quot;We made a lot of progress compared to the test,&rdquo; explained Carlos Munoz, who ended both sessions just outside the top ten.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We are much more competitive.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Everyone is really close to each other in the lap times but I feel really competitive.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14401http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14401Warm conditions result in setup issues during Barber practiceSat, 22 Apr 2017 11:41:23 GMT<p><strong>A number of drivers were held back with their setup during the opening two practice sessions for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama around the Barber Motorsports Park.</strong></p> <p>Although the entire field took part in an open test at the venue back in March, the warmer conditions experienced during practice created many headaches up and down the paddock.</p> <p>During the two sessions there were three red flag delays, all for minor mistakes. However, almost half of the field reported issues with regards to grip levels and their setup after the day&rsquo;s action.</p> <p>Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe could only manage P8 and P16 respectively in the first two practice sessions of the weekend, reporting balance issues in particular during the second session.</p> <p>&quot;Pretty rough day for us to be honest,&rdquo; explained Hinchcliffe.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We just seemed to miss the balance, especially in the afternoon as the track got hotter.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I don&#39;t think we maximised our new tyre runs, but the balance was never exactly where the crew wanted it.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We certainly have our work cut out for us because the field is very close, as it always is, and being a couple tenths off is going to put you a few rows back.&rdquo;</p> <p>Even Chip Ganassi Racing struggled somewhat throughout the day, with four-time champion Scott Dixon ending practice one off the pace in P10.</p> <p>Meanwhile Ganassi team-mate Tony Kanaan seemed to struggle even more, ending the two sessions P18 and P11 respectively.</p> <p>&quot;We really struggled out there to find grip,&rdquo; said Kanaan.</p> <p>&ldquo;It didn&#39;t help that it was so much hotter today than it was when we tested here a month ago.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m definitely not happy with where we were, but I&#39;m feeling good about the direction we need to go to get the car quick for qualifying.&rdquo;</p> <p>Championship leader Sebastien Bourdais was one of the many drivers who also struggled during practice, causing one of the three red flag delays across the two sessions.</p> <p>In practice one the Frenchman ran wide at Turn 1 and collected an advertising board, before stopping at Turn 5 to allow the Holmatro safety team to remove it from the front of the car.</p> <p>&quot;It was a tough day,&rdquo; lamented Bourdais, who sits 19 points clear at the top of the championship.</p> <p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s something I&#39;m not putting my finger on and I&#39;m struggling to understand and explain what the car is doing.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I just seem to have a tough time to make sense of everything.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been a weird day.&rdquo;</p> <p>Ominously the Chevrolet-powered Penske cars enjoyed a productive day of track action, with Simon Pagenaud ending the first session fastest overall.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14399http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14399Marco Andretti fastest in action-packed second practice at BarberFri, 21 Apr 2017 21:30:04 GMT<p><strong>Marco Andretti has ended the second practice session ahead of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama fastest, after an action-packed afternoon at the Barber Motorsports Park.</strong></p> <p>Despite the threat of showers later in the day, the session took place in dry and overcast conditions, with the drivers once again wasting no time in taking to the scenic track.</p> <p>Andretti&rsquo;s overall fastest lap time was completed during the latter stages of the session, enabling the Honda-powered racer to end proceedings just ahead of Penske&rsquo;s Will Power.</p> <p>The Australian racer spent the majority of the session at the sharp end of the order, trading places at the top with Penske team-mate Simon Pagenaud who eventually ended the session P3.</p> <p>The reigning champion finished practice one earlier in the day fastest overall, and was eager to continue with his preparations for the weekend ahead.</p> <p>Helio Castroneves was fourth for Penske, with the Chevrolet-powered cars looking extremely competitive after the first two practice sessions.</p> <p>After the opening two races of the season Honda has had the initial advantage, with the Chevrolet-powered teams understandably keen for a change of fortune at Barber.</p> <p>Four-time champion Scott Dixon managed to improve on his pace from practice one, ending the session P5 after initially sitting at the top during the early stages.</p> <p>Charlie Kimball and Mikhail Aleshin were sixth and seventh respectively, ahead of Josef Newgarden in the Penske.</p> <p>Championship leader Sebastien Bourdais could only manage P9 for Dale Coyne Racing, ahead of Ryan Hunter-Reay who rounded out the top ten.</p> <p>The 2012 champion was lucky to escape with minimal front-wing damage during the latter stages of the session, after he ran extensively wide at Turn 2 and lightly tapped the barrier.</p> <p>However, Hunter-Reay&rsquo;s mistake did not result in a red flag delay. The same cannot be said for Max Chilton and rookie Ed Jones.</p> <p>Only several minutes into the session Chilton spun at Turn 14, importantly avoiding the barrier but stalling and therefore requiring assistance.</p> <p>Meanwhile Jones was involved in a similar mishap at Turn 5, spinning and stalling to create a momentary red flag delay.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14398http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14398Simon Pagenaud sets the pace at Barber in FP1Fri, 21 Apr 2017 17:55:56 GMT<p><strong>Simon Pagenaud has set the pace after the opening practice session ahead of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the Barber Motorsports Park.</strong></p> <p>After proceedings at the picturesque circuit were delayed by an hour due to necessary repairs to an ARMCO barrier, the entire field were understandably quick to begin their preparations for the weekend ahead.</p> <p>Pagenaud eventually ended the session ahead of Penske team-mate&rsquo;s Josef Newgarden and Will Power, the latter completing his fastest time in the final seconds of the session.&nbsp;</p> <p>Helio Castroneves was forced to settle for P4 after Power&rsquo;s late improvement, with Chevrolet locking out the top four positions.</p> <p>After a strong start to the season for Honda, the Chevrolet-powered teams will be naturally eager to return to the top come race day.</p> <p>Reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Alexander Rossi was the highest classified Honda-powered driver in fifth position, with the former Formula 1 racer still hunting for his second race victory in IndyCar.</p> <p>Ryan Hunter-Reay came home P6 for Andretti Autosport, just ahead of Graham Rahal.&nbsp;</p> <p>Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe was eighth for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, ending the session ahead of championship leader Sebastien Bourdais.</p> <p>The Frenchman, who sits 19 points clear of Hinchcliffe in the drivers&rsquo; championship, created the only red flag delay in comical fashion after he ran wide at Turn 1 and collected an advertising board.</p> <p>After stopping to allow the Holmatro safety team to remove the advertising board, Bourdais managed to limp back to the pits.</p> <p>Four-time champion Scott Dixon rounded out the top ten for Chip Ganassi Racing, after a quiet start to the weekend.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Barber Motorsports Park is one of the few circuits Dixon is yet to win at on the IndyCar calendar, and he will be looking to improve as the weekend continues in a bid to be able to fight for victory.</p> <p>Mikhail Aleshin finished just outside the top ten in P11, after initially producing the benchmark during the early stages of the session before a spin at Turn 2.</p> <p>Meanwhile rookie Zach Veach ended the session 21st and last, over a second behind Max Chilton in P20.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14394http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14394Fernando Alonso to make IndyCar test debut on May 3Fri, 21 Apr 2017 12:08:27 GMT<p><strong>Fernando Alonso will get his Indy 500 preparations underway on May 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, only three days after the Russian Grand Prix.</strong></p> <p>Although practice for the coveted event does not officially start until the May 15 with the rookie orientation programme, Alonso has been offered a chance to acclimatise to oval racing.</p> <p>Unlike fellow Indianapolis 500 rookies Zach Veach, Ed Jones and Jack Harvey, the double Formula 1 world champion has never competed on ovals or been behind the wheel of an Indy car.</p> <p>Alonso will have a very busy month of May, as he will need to return to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix on May 12-14, before then immediately flying back to Indianapolis for the first official practice session.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14383http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14383Sebastien Bourdais remaining focused ahead of Alabama GPWed, 19 Apr 2017 14:14:15 GMT<p><strong>Championship leader Sebastien Bourdais is remaining focused ahead of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, with the Frenchman currently sat 19 points ahead of Long Beach race winner James Hinchcliffe in the drivers&rsquo; championship.</strong></p> <p>The four-time champion started his 2017 campaign in fine form by securing victory at the season-opener at St. Petersburg, before rising up through the order once again to finish on the podium at Long Beach.</p> <p>&quot;I think being in the championship lead is a great story more than anything else, but it doesn&#39;t change anything in our preparation,&rdquo; explained Bourdais, who has never finished higher than eighth at Barber.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We&#39;re preparing like any other race, at a track that I very much enjoy driving at and where the gap between the cars is like at Long Beach - very, very, very close.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;We had a bit of a difficult test at Barber last month where we weren&#39;t very happy with the car and what we tried didn&#39;t quite work.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;However, we then had a great test at Sonoma that allowed us to try some items for Barber, and we can&#39;t wait to finally try those and see how they work out.&quot;</p> <p>Meanwhile Dale Coyne Racing team-mate Ed Jones is expecting a tough weekend around the Barber Motorsports Park, with the rookie hoping to call upon his Indy Lights knowledge to assist him.</p> <p>So far Jones has impressed many within the IndyCar paddock, finishing within the top ten at both St. Petersburg and Long Beach.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s a perfect start to the season with two top-10 finishes,&rdquo; explained the Dubai-born British racer.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&#39;s good to have a lot of momentum for the team and myself going forward.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Barber will be the first track that we go to that we&#39;ve actually tested at recently. Obviously, everyone else has also done that, but it gives us more knowledge going in.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I think it&#39;s going to be tough. The circuit is one of the hardest on the calendar both physically and technically. There&#39;s a lot of long-duration corners and corners that require a lot of confidence.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I think my Indy Lights experience should help a lot, at least for track knowledge in certain places like Barber and just in general.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14377http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14377Zach Veach to replace injured J. R. Hildebrand at BarberTue, 18 Apr 2017 19:01:41 GMT<p>Zach Veach will make his IndyCar debut at this weekend&rsquo;s third round of the season at the Barber Motorsports Park, after J. R. Hildebrand was ruled out through injury.</p> <p>Indy Lights graduate Veach was set to make his debut with Foyt at next month&rsquo;s Indianapolis 500, but has now been drafted in by Ed Carpenter Racing to deputise for Hildebrand.</p> <p>Hildebrand sustained a broken bone in his left hand in a last-lap collision with Mikhail Aleshin at the preceding Long Beach round, and has been advised to rest in order to prevent potential further damage.</p> <p>Veach previously tested for ECR at Sonoma last summer and will now link up with Spencer Pigot for this weekend&rsquo;s event at Barber.</p> <p>&ldquo;My heart goes out to him as I suffered a broken hand a couple years ago and I wouldn&rsquo;t wish that upon anyone,&rdquo; Veach said of Hildebrand.</p> <p>&ldquo;This isn&rsquo;t how any driver wants to get his first race but with that said, I&rsquo;m extremely thankful for the opportunity to sub for JR.</p> <p>&ldquo;Ed (Carpenter) gave me my first chance to test an Indy car a few months ago. It&rsquo;s going to be very special for me to be back in that same car representing Fuzzy&rsquo;s Vodka at Barber.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to be a lot to take in in a short amount of time, but I&rsquo;m really excited to do the best I can for the team.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14338http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14338Mario Andretti expects Fernando Alonso to easily adapt to oval racingSat, 15 Apr 2017 13:44:55 GMT<p><strong>Motorsport legend Mario Andretti firmly believes double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso will easily adapt to oval racing when the Spaniard begins preparing for the 101st Indianapolis 500 in May.</strong></p> <p>In a decision which shocked the motorsport community, Alonso has decided to miss the Monaco Grand Prix in favour of competing in the Indianapolis 500.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Spaniard will join forces with current F1 team McLaren, engine supplier Honda and full-time IndyCar outfit Andretti Autosport.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think he&rsquo;s going to adapt to this style of racing, I suspect he&rsquo;s going to be right there, top 10 or top 12 for most of the race and then toward the end he&rsquo;ll be really finding his way,&rdquo; explained Andretti in an interview with <i>Motorsport.com</i>.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think he&rsquo;s got a great opportunity to go home very happy.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s face it, it&rsquo;s adapting to ovals, not the cars themselves, that we&nbsp;need to think about here.</p> <p>&ldquo;A driver in a race car is looking for a feel, and the best drivers &ndash; and Fernando is one of the very, very best &ndash; will always find it.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It may not be his regular environment, but a top driver will find a way to relate to any true race car.&rdquo;</p> <p>Oval racing in America is a distinctly different form of motorsport in comparison to conventional circuit racing in Europe and the rest of the world.</p> <p>On ovals drivers compete at constant high speeds in excess of 220mph, therefore greatly exacerbating any mistakes made during races which usually consist of 200 laps or more.</p> <p>&ldquo;At Indianapolis like nowhere else he&rsquo;s ever raced, it&rsquo;s going to be constant high speed, and that can be brutal,&rdquo; continued Andretti.</p> <p>&ldquo;The slightest mistake is magnified at 225mph.</p> <p>&ldquo;And the other thing to remind him is not to overcorrect.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Road-racing specialists have a tendency to overcorrect on ovals &ndash; we&rsquo;ve seen many examples in IndyCar in the past.</p> <p>&ldquo;If you feel yourself losing the back end, you almost have to let it go.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;If you put on too much opposite lock and the car then grips and follows its front wheels, you&rsquo;re going head-on into the wall.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14316http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14316Scott Dixon tops open test at newly configured Texas Motor SpeedwayThu, 13 Apr 2017 18:26:12 GMT<p><strong>Scott Dixon has ended the open test at the newly configured Texas Motor Speedway fastest, amid preparations for the Rainguard Water Sealers 600 race in June.</strong></p> <p>During the off-season the 1.5-mile oval underwent an extensive multi-million dollar refit, with the entire track surface repaved and Turns 1 and 2 both widened and re-profiled down to 20 degrees from 24 degrees.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the banking at Turns 3 and 4 remains at 24 degrees.</p> <p>The main aim of the open test was to allow teams to acquire a perfect aero configuration for the race in June, with drivers purposefully running side-by-side and on high fuel levels to simulate race conditions.</p> <p>Four-time champion Dixon ended both sessions fastest throughout the day, ending the combined classification ahead of 2016 race winner Graham Rahal with a speed of 221.974mph.</p> <p>Dixon completed the test in Charlie Kimball&rsquo;s No. 83 Chip Ganassi car after seven Honda-powered cars, including Dixon&rsquo;s No. 9 car, were withdrawn from the event as a precaution after arriving at the track with a higher mileage to their engines.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is hard coming to a place for the first time,&rdquo; explained Dixon, who won at Texas in 2008 and 2015.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It is probably 20 degrees cooler than when we come back down the road, so you try to take in a lot of information and make the best decisions for something that will work for everyone.&rdquo;</p> <p>Reigning champion Simon Pagenaud was impressed with the changes to the track, ending the day third overall in the combined classification.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a different layout, for sure,&rdquo; said Pagenaud.&quot;The radius of Turn 1 is different, the exit of Turn 2 is as well. It definitely helps promote the side-by-side racing.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The tarmac is really smooth. The bumps are all gone. It&rsquo;s just about us learning how to make the tyres work best with the race track.&rdquo;</p> <p><a href="http://www.imscdn.com/indycar_media/documents/2017-04-12/indycar-results-pcomb.pdf"><strong>Texas Open Test Combined Classification</strong></a></p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14305http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14305McLaren not ruling out further IndyCar involvementWed, 12 Apr 2017 14:49:55 GMT<p><strong>McLaren is not ruling out further involvement in the Verizon IndyCar Series, following the surprise announcement that double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso would compete in the 101st Indianapolis 500 with the team.</strong></p> <p>It will mark McLaren&rsquo;s return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time in 38 years, with the Woking-based outfit set to work alongside engine supplier Honda and full-time IndyCar outfit Andretti Autosport.</p> <p>This will mean Alonso will miss the coveted Monaco Grand Prix, a race the Spaniard has won on two occasions.</p> <p>Although Alonso is only scheduled to compete in one IndyCar race this season, McLaren&rsquo;s Executive Committee Principal Mansour Ojjeh has hinted that the team could well return once again in the near future.</p> <p>&ldquo;The Indy 500 is the only IndyCar race we&rsquo;ll be entering this year, but we may possibly repeat that in years to come and it&rsquo;s just possible that we may even run a full-works McLaren IndyCar operation at some point in the future.&nbsp;We&rsquo;ll see,&rdquo;&nbsp;explained Ojjeh.</p> <p>McLaren made their Indianapolis 500 debut way back in 1970, securing pole position the following year before eventually winning the race in 1974 and 1975 with Johnny Rutherford.</p> <p>&ldquo;Equally, we may potentially enter the Le Mans 24 Hours again some time &ndash; we won it outright in 1995 with our iconic McLaren F1 GTR &ndash; but to be clear we have absolutely no definite plans to do so at this stage,&rdquo; continued Ojjeh.</p> <p>Should McLaren opt to return to Le Mans, Alonso could certainly be considered a likely candidate for the drive.</p> <p>The Spaniard is undoubtedly aiming to become only the second driver in the history of motor sport to win the Triple Crown, a feat currently only ever achieved by Graham Hill&nbsp;</p> <p>It includes winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500 and Le Mans 24 Hours.</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14304http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14304Andretti: Alonso/McLaren tie-up a 'tremendous opportunity'Wed, 12 Apr 2017 11:57:39 GMT<p>Andretti Autosport boss Michael Andretti has labelled its tie-up with McLaren and Honda as a &quot;tremendous opportunity,&quot; following the news that Fernando Alonso will race at this year&#39;s Indianapolis 500.</p> <p>Alonso will compete in a one-car McLaren team during next month&#39;s event, which will be run by Andretti and powered by Honda.</p> <p>It brings Andretti&#39;s IndyCar operation to six cars, fielding Alonso alongside regulars Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Takuma Sato, the Herta-affiliated Alexander Rossi, last year&#39;s winner, and newcomer Jack Harvey.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s a great honour to partner with McLaren for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 and to bring Fernando into one of our Andretti Autosport Hondas,&quot; said Andretti.</p> <p>&quot;I want to thank Zak [Brown], Honda and McLaren for this tremendous opportunity. We&#39;ve been working very closely in the planning of this new partnership and I believe we&#39;ve laid the foundation for a successful month of May.</p> <p>&quot;We&#39;re looking forward to giving Fernando an effort in reaching one of his biggest career goals of winning the Indy 500.&quot;</p> <p>Andretti also believes that Alonso will also quickly get up to speed in his new surroundings.</p> <p>&ldquo;Fernando&rsquo;s lack of experience on super-speedways is not of concern to me,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;I do believe that the Indianapolis 500 is one of the best places for a rookie to start because there is the opportunity for so much practice time on the track - and, as we have demonstrated, it can be won by a rookie.</p> <p>&quot;Fernando is a great talent and I have full confidence that he will represent very strongly for McLaren, Honda and Andretti Autosport.</p> <p>&ldquo;Fernando&rsquo;s addition to the team takes our stable of entries to six, working in a cooperative effort. This sharing of experience and knowledge is what makes Andretti Autosport stand out and gives us that extra competitive edge.&quot;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14299http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14299Sebastien Bourdais already looking ahead to championship battleTue, 11 Apr 2017 17:49:29 GMT<p><strong>Four-time IndyCar champion Sebastien Bourdais has admitted he is already looking ahead to a potential championship battle in 2017, after a sensational start to the season for the Frenchman.</strong></p> <p>Despite starting from last position at the season opener at St. Petersburg, Bourdais took advantage of a full course caution to scythe through the order and secure a famous victory.</p> <p>Next time out around the iconic Long Beach street course Bourdais enjoyed further success, crossing the finish line second behind eventual race winner James Hinchcliffe and only just ahead of the Penske of Josef Newgarden.</p> <p>After the first two rounds of the season Bourdais sits atop the drivers&rsquo; championship on 93 points, a whole 19 points ahead of Hinchcliffe.&nbsp;</p> <p>This season Bourdais rejoined Dale Coyne Racing, a team which started out in IndyCar racing back in 1984 but had to wait until 2009 for their first victory with the late Justin Wilson at Watkins Glen.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was kind of thinking about the championship a little bit out there!&rdquo; admitted Bourdais after the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I don&#39;t know that we&#39;re a contender but we&#39;ll find out.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We&#39;ll have stayed up there for two races so that&#39;s not too bad.&rdquo;</p> <p>Although Bourdais was ultimately unable to replicate the successes of St. Petersburg at Long Beach and was forced to settle for second position, the Frenchman thoroughly enjoyed the race and offered full congratulations to race winner Hinchcliffe.</p> <p>It was Hinchcliffe&rsquo;s first victory since his life-threatening accident during practice for the 2015 Indianapolis 500.</p> <p>&quot;That was an incredible race,&rdquo; continued Bourdais.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;At the beginning, somebody lost an end-plate or something.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It flew by, I dodged it in the car, it went really close and it ripped off the whole left side off the rear wing and rear pod and that&#39;s why we came in so early.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It gave us a couple of laps to save fuel, but we played to our strengths.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;James (Hinchcliffe) really deserved that one.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;He looked very comfortable and quick up front and I didn&#39;t really have the balance at the end to go challenge him so I just managed for second place.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14298http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14298Josef Newgarden praises varying strategies at Long BeachTue, 11 Apr 2017 16:20:48 GMT<p>Josef Newgarden has praised the varying strategies used during the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, stating that the mixed up nature of the race made it much more fun than last year&rsquo;s event.</p> <p>This year the race was extended by five laps in a bid to make drivers opt for different strategies from one another, after last season&rsquo;s event went caution-free for only the fourth time in history with practically the entire field on identical strategies.</p> <p>Eventual race winner James Hinchcliffe completed a two-stop strategy along with Ryan Hunter-Reay, while initial race leader Scott Dixon and Newgarden committed to three-stop strategies which ultimately failed to pay off.</p> <p>However, Newgarden thoroughly enjoyed the 85-lap race and still managed to reach the chequered flag in third position, only just behind championship leader and St. Petersburg race winner Sebastien Bourdais.</p> <p>&quot;I think it got a lot more mixed up with the strategy,&rdquo; enthused Newgarden, who has moved to Penske for 2017.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Dixon and me were on something different than the front guys.</p> <p>&ldquo;I thought that added a dynamic that was more fun than last year.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Everyone was on the same strategy last year, which let the race play out to not much action, unfortunately.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;This year was a lot more mixed up. I did way more passing than I&#39;ve done in the past couple years.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I thought it was an exciting race.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;For us on Team Penske, it was a good day. We had a strong car underneath us all day.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Our strategy didn&#39;t play out with that last yellow. It just allowed everyone to catch up on fuel a little bit.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;We were on the same strategy at the end fuel-wise.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Our strategy of trying to run those guys down at the end and be fast wasn&#39;t really able to play out, which is unfortunate, but that&#39;s how racing goes.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;You have to choose one strategy and hope it plays out for you.&rdquo;</p> http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14296http://www.motorsportweek.com/news/id/14296Charlie Kimball blames Will Power for opening lap shunt at Long BeachTue, 11 Apr 2017 15:41:56 GMT<p>Charlie Kimball has blamed Will Power for their opening lap shunt at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.</p> <p>Despite a relatively competitive qualifying session which saw Kimball start the race from seventh, the Chip Ganassi racer immediately failed to capitalise after making light contact with Tony Kanaan on the run down to Turn 1.</p> <p>Kimball&rsquo;s poor start to the race continued through Turns 2 and 3 as he found himself under strong pressure from the Penske of Power.</p> <p>Eventually the duo&rsquo;s battle ended with contact as they tried to negotiate Turn 4 side-by-side, with Kimball leaving Power absolutely no room.&nbsp;</p> <p>The resulting contact shunted Kimball heavily into the wall, forcing him into retirement despite being able to limp back to the pits.</p> <p>&quot;To say I am frustrated with how today&#39;s race went is an understatement,&rdquo; explained Kimball after the race.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I thought I was clear of the 12 [Power] but I obviously wasn&#39;t. He turned me and put me in the wall pretty heavy.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I am really disappointed for the guys - they worked so hard to get the car to a good place.</p> <p>&ldquo;The No. 83 Honda was fast and I thought we had a lot of potential for a solid result.&rdquo;</p> <p>While Kimball was forced to retire from the race with significant damage to rear of his car, Power miraculously managed to return to the pits for a new front-wing before continuing to eventually finish a respectable P13.</p> <p>&quot;It was a tough day for the No. 12 Chevy,&rdquo; said Power, who struggled in qualifying and started from P9.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were caught up in an incident early in the race and I feel like it really ruined my day.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was an awful situation to be put in since we had nowhere to go when we made contact with the wall.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;Still, we battled. I&#39;m really proud of my guys for working as hard as they did to try and come back from the incident.&rdquo;</p>