News for the Week of March 7, 2016 – March 13, 2016

FOLLOW THE ACTION AT ST PETE WITH OUR LIVE BLOG HERE

Montoya wins opening race at St. Pete – Juan Pablo Montoya won the season opener at St. Pete for the second year in row as part of a dominant performance from Team Penske. The rest of the Top 5 was Pagenaud, Hunter-Reay, Castroneves, and Aleshin. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (3/13/2016)

INDYCAR announces Power diagnosed with mild concussion – During the race on Sunday, INDYCAR announced that Will Power was re-evaluated after being cleared following his incident on Friday and was diagnosed with a mild concussion. He will need to be cleared before he can return to driving. Oriol Servia subbed for Power on Sunday at the Firestone GP of St. Petersburg. See the official INDYCAR statement at the link. – INDYCAR – (3/13/2016)

Wheldon family announces Dan Wheldon book – From Dan Wheldon’s sister Holly: “We are thrilled to announce the Lionheart – Remembering Dan Wheldon book. Great stories about a great guy. #Lionheart” – Holly Wheldon – (3/13/2016)

Servia to sub for Power in race at St. Pete – Oriol Servia will race for the ill Will Power in the Firestone GP of St. Pete on Sunday. Power had qualified on pole and now will get no points for the race. Servia will start at the back of the field. – Brant James – (3/13/2016)

Rosenqvist dominates in Lights Race 2 win at St. Pete – Belardi Auto Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist grabbed his first career win in Indy Lights in Race 2 at St. Pete in dominant fashion. Rosenqvist led from start to finish and had the fastest lap of 1:06.9544. The rest of the Top 5 was Kaiser, Veach, Serralles, and Negrao. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (3/13/2016)

Sato fastest in morning warmup at St. Pete – Takuma Sato topped the charts in the morning warmup before the Firestone GP of St. Pete on Sunday. Oriol Servia subbed for Will Power in the session as the pole sitter is still suffering from the illness that almost made him miss qualifying on Saturday. The rest of the Top 5 was Rahal, Newgarden, Andretti, and Dixon. Full results at the link. – INDYCAR – (3/13/2016)

Rosenqvist to start on pole for Lights Race 2 – Belardi Auto Racing rookie Felix Rosenqvist will start from the pole for Indy Lights Race 2 at St. Pete. The rest of the Top 5 will be Veach, Kaiser, Serralles, and Negrao. Full lineup at the link. – Indy Lights – (3/13/2016)

Servia to sub for Power in morning warmup – From Dave Furst: “@OriolServia to fill in for Will Power (flu) during the morning warmup. He’s quickly getting settled now.” So far it’s only confirmed for the morning warmup as of 8:45am. Picture at the link. – Dave Furst – (3/13/2016)

Power wins the pole again at St. Pete – Will Power won the Verizon P1 award and the pole for the Firestone GP of St. Pete with a lap of 1:00.2450. Power set a new track record in Round 2 of qualifying with a lap of 1:00.0658. The rest of the Firestone Fast 6 finishing order was Pagenaud, Castroneves, Montoya, Dixon, and Hunter-Reay. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (3/12/2016)

Aleshin/Bourdais post-practice argument – INDYCAR has posted a nice #INDYRIVALS video of Mikhail Aleshin and Sebastien Bourdais getting in each others faces on pit road after the pair made contact late in Saturday’s practice session. – INDYCAR – (3/12/2016)

Serralles wins Lights Race 1 at St. Pete – Carlin’s Felix Serralles won Indy Lights Race 1 at St. Pete after Zach Veach experienced a loss of power from the lead in the middle portion of the race. The rest of the Top 5 was Hargrove, Kaiser, Urrutia, and Enerson. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (3/12/2016)

Power fastest again in Practice 3 at St. Pete – Will Power’s lap of 1:00.8965 topped the charts in the final Verizon IndyCar Series practice of the weekend at St. Pete. The rest of the Top 5 was Hawksworth, Montoya, Rahal, and Castroneves. Full results at the link. – The Open Wheel – (3/12/2016)

Tannehill to start St. Pete race in two-seater – Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill will start the Firestone GP of St. Petersburg from the Honda’s Fastest Seat in Sports two-seater driven by Mario Andretti. – NBC Sports – (3/12/2016)

Kaiser wins the pole in Lights qualifying – Juncos Racing’s Kyle Kaiser won the pole for Indy Lights Race 1 at St. Pete with a lap of 1:05.8728. The rest of the Top 5 was Rosenqvist, Veach, Blackstock, and Hargrove. The session was ended a couple minutes early when Dean Stoneman ended up in the tire barrier. Full results at the link. – Indy Lights – (3/12/2016)

Power tops the charts in Practice 2 at St. Pete – A Team Penske car topped the charts again in Practice 2 at St. Pete as Will Power grabbed P1 with a lap of 1:00.9431. The rest of the Top 5 was Dixon, Pagenaud, Rahal, and Sato. The session was red flagged for a repair of the racing surface but the practice time was extended to give everyone ample time to prepare for the rest of the weekend. Full results here. – NBC Sports – (3/11/2016)

Rosenqvist fastest again in Lights Practice 2 at St. Pete – Belardi Auto Racing rookie Felix Rosenqvist was once again fastest in Indy Lights’ second practice at St. Pete on Friday with a lap of 1:07.0470. The rest of the Top 5 was Scott Hargrove, Felix Serralles, Dean Stoneman, and Kyle Kaiser. Full results at the link. – Indy Lights – (3/11/2016)

Pagenaud takes P1 in Practice 1 at St. Pete – Simon Pagenaud’s lap of 1:01.7246 was the fastest of the first Verizon IndyCar Series practice session of the year at St. Pete. The rest of the Top 5 was Jack Hawksworth, Helio Castroneves, Takuma Sato, and Ryan Hunter-Reay. Will Power crashed in the practice session (see note below). Rookies Rossi, Pigot, Daly, and Chilton finished in four of the last five spots. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (3/11/2016)

Power crashes in Practice 1 at St. Pete – Will Power hit the wall hard in Practice 1 at St. Pete. Power did walk away from the incident. Eric Smith reports “Cindric says Power was “adjusting the brake bias” and lost control of his car”. See the video here. See images of the crash here and here. – Eric Smith – (3/11/2016)

Rosenqvist fastest in Lights Practice 1 at St. Pete – Belardi Auto Racing rookie Felix Rosenqvist topped the charts in Indy Lights’ first practice at St. Pete on Friday with a lap of 1:07.1892. The rest of the Top 5 was Scott Hargrove, Dean Stoneman, Ed Jones, and Zach Veach. Full results at the link. – Indy Lights – (3/11/2016)

Boston tickets officially for sale – From the event’s official Twitter account: “Advance tickets on sale today–email at Noon for GPB Fans who signed up at http://www.indycarboston.com , General Public tickets sales March 15” – IndyCar Boston – (3/11/2016)

INDYCAR releases “enhanced” television schedule – “ABC’s enhanced coverage of the epic 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race presented by PennGrade Motor Oil and increased programming on NBCSN, including 10 hours of live practice telecasts, highlight the Verizon IndyCar Series television programming schedule for 2016. Total on-air programming from INDYCAR’s network partners is more than 110 hours, up from 2015. It includes live coverage of all 16 races on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule, qualifying shows for all NBCSN events and Indianapolis 500 time trials on ABC, practice sessions from seven NBCSN events and recap shows on NBCSN for Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race weekends.” “Viewership of INDYCAR programming has surged the past two years and that is directly related to the incredible on-track competition, the quality of programming produced by our partners at ABC and NBCSN, and the careful selection of the best race time slots available,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. – INDYCAR – (3/10/2016)

Toyota ends partnership enabling celebrity race at LBGP – “Organizers for the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg are pleased to announce that Firestone, the Official Tire of the Verizon IndyCar® Series, has entered into a multi-year extension, reaffirming the tire brand as title sponsor of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Firestone first began its naming rights agreement with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in 2014.” “Firestone has been a valued and key sponsor for many years, and together we have been able to bring this event to new heights, ” said Kim Green, owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Racing Promotions, organizers of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. “They are a fundamental part of the race weekend and we are thrilled to continue our partnership and growing the event with their support.” Update: Per this tweet it looks like the deal is through 2018 with confirmed dates for the event. – Firestone GP – (3/10/2016)

Toyota ends partnership enabling celebrity race at LBGP – Toyota is ending its partnership with the Long Beach Grand Prix that enables the popular celebrity race to take place. This does not effect the sponsorship of the Verizon IndyCar Series race which has a contract through 2017. “Toyota told us they weren’t able to commit to providing the support that’s required for the (pro/celebrity) race,” said Grand Prix of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian. “The cars, the mechanics, the training for drivers. It’s huge, and they felt that now that they’re in Texas, they were no longer able to keep the race going at a functional level.” – Long Beach Press Telegram – (3/10/2016)

Fisher to serve as pace car driver in ’16 – “Former team owner and driver Sarah Fisher will serve as a pace car driver during the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season beginning with the March 13 opener, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Fisher, who made 81 Verizon IndyCar Series starts from 1999-2010, will share duties with three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford, who has served as a series pace car driver since 1996 but has scaled down his schedule in recent seasons. Rutherford will drive the pace car for two oval races, the Phoenix Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway on April 2 and the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 29. Fisher will handle pace car duties at the remaining 14 races.” – INDYCAR – (3/9/2016)

Rossi named F1 reserve driver at Manor – Alexander Rossi was announced as the reserve driver at Manor F1 on Wednesday but will continue as a full-season drive for what’s being called Andretti Herta Autosport. “IndyCar Series is the premier category of open-wheel racing in North America and extremely competitive,” said Rossi. “I also have the privilege of racing with a championship winning team, Andretti Autosport. I’m confident this experience will add to my role as a very important cog in an F1 team’s wheel.” – Motorsport.com – (3/9/2016)

Miller’s Mailbag 3/9/16 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (3/9/2016)

Hildebrand confident of landing 500 ride – RACER’s Robin Miller reports that Californian JR Hildebrand is confident that he’ll land a seat for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and is working on a seat for the GP of Indy as well. “I was chasing a full season deal but that’s not going to come to fruition,” said Hildebrand. “So my focus is getting to Indy, with hopefully the grand prix as part of the package, and I’m in discussions with some good teams where I can show up and help. And, be in a position to win the race with good engineering.” Miller goes on to report that Hildebrand does not need the $250,000 Gabby Chaves needs to raise in order to get a ride for the 500. – RACER – (3/9/2016)

Trackside podcast 3/8/16 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee show from 3/8/16 is available at the link. There are a LOT of guests on the show as it was recorded live from the first annual Kevin Lee Grand Prix karting event in Indianapolis. – 1070 The Fan – (3/9/2016)

Firestone GP of St. Pete spotter guide is posted – The official INDYCAR spotter guide for the Firestone GP of St. Pete has been posted and the only new liveries relative to offseason testing look to be the No. 2 and No. 12 Verizon cars of Juan Pablo Montoya and Will Power. The spotter guide can be viewed at the link. – St. Pete Entry List – (3/8/2016)

INDYCAR confirms the return of its fantasy game – “The Verizon IndyCar Series’ official fantasy game will once again allow fans to become team manager by selecting a four-driver team for each Verizon IndyCar Series race…Sign up today and learn more, by visiting fantasy.indycar.com and make your selections for the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.” – INDYCAR – (3/8/2016)

Firestone GP of St. Pete entry list is posted – Luca Filippi being named the driver of the Dale Coyne Racing No. 19 is the highlight of the release of the entry list for the Verizon IndyCar Series Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete. Outside of that there are no surprises as ECR had already declared they wouldn’t be running their No. 20 machine this weekend. The entry list can be viewed at the link. – St. Pete Entry List – (3/8/2016)

ECR confirms only No. 21 will run at St. Pete – Amid speculation that the team was in talks with Pastor Maldonado to run the No. 20 on road and street courses Ed Carpenter Racing has confirmed that only the No. 21 to be driven by Josef Newgarden will run at St. Pete. “ECR will shift their focus to one car for St. Petersburg, the No. 21 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet of Josef Newgarden. Newgarden will compete in all 16 Verizon IndyCar Series events in 2016 while team owner Ed Carpenter will run the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka Chevrolet in the five oval races.” – Ed Carpenter Racing – (3/8/2016)

Andretti Autosport announces hhgregg sponsorship deal – “The partnership portfolio at Andretti Autosport continues to grow with the addition of Indianapolis-based hhgregg, a home appliance, electronics, and furniture retailer that operates stores across 20 states. The first appearance for the brand will come through primary sponsorship of Marco Andretti and the No. 27 hhgregg/Snapple car for the April 24 Grand Prix of Alabama and continues throughout the historic month of May…The new partnership puts hhgregg in the spotlight in May at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as the No. 28 DHL Honda and No. 26 Honda will join Andretti’s entry in carrying the hhgregg brand into history during the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. Additionally, the chain’s 226 stores will be represented through primary sponsorship on the Honda-powered machine of Carlos Muñoz at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.” See the No. 26 livery here and the No. 27 livery here. – Andretti Autosport – (3/8/2016)

Dixon excited by progress in drivers’ head protection – In a piece on Motorsport.com, Scott Dixon professes that he’s encouraged by the progress being made in increasing drivers’ head protection after a halo design was used in Formula 1 testing. “I’m not biased either way between halos or canopies – whichever works best. But the Halo shows something’s actually moving forward at last and that will trigger others into being proactive, hopefully. They’ll start refining the idea – like, ‘Why don’t you do this or this modification?’ and we’ll gradually get to where we want it to be.” More at the link. – Motorsport.com – (3/8/2016)

Report: Maldonado in talks with ECR – Diário Motorsport reports that former Formula 1 driver Pastor Maldonado has been in talks with Ed Carpenter Racing to drive for the team on road and street courses in the No. 20 car. The heavily backed driver would certainly make financial sense for ECR and would bring plenty of curious international viewers who would be intrigued to see how the accident-prone driver would fare outside of F1. – Diário Motorsport – (3/7/2016)

Chevy/Honda ready for additional 500 entires – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports that both Chevy and Honda are prepared to provide additional equipment to teams in the event that there are more than the typical 34 or 35 teams attempting to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in recent years. “We’re definitely in a position to support our fair share of the field, so that’s not really a concern,” GM Racing director Mark Kent told RACER. “Like you, we would like to see well over 33 cars as well with this being the 100th running of the Indy 500. It is very important to both IndyCar and it is also important to Chevrolet. We are in a position to support as many as it takes to make sure we have a full field, and hopefully much more than that.” More at the link. – RACER – (3/7/2016)

Inside Rising Star Racing – NBC Sport’s Tony DiZinno has an excellent story on Art Wilmes’ Rising Star Racing, the organization who has supported Josef Newgarden, Spencer Pigot, and Neil Alberico’s rise through MRTI. Too good to shorten. – NBC Sports – (3/7/2016)

Jalopnik Will Power fan Q&A – Will Power joined the folks at Jalopnik for a fan Q&A on Monday and it makes for an interesting read. Here’s a highlight after being asked if he races the track or the driver when following close behind someone: “I think you start working on them, working on their weakness, looking at their weakness, trying to understand where they make a move, so you are focused on that. Sometimes it’s a bit like a “tell” in poker and you don’t want to give it away, like a guy is braking early, and you don’t want to show you have a run on him with your nose, so you just stay back until you can take him by surprise. I’ve done that before. There are some guys that probably don’t think of that, will always show what they got, show their nose in certain corners, it’s about being patient.” – Jalopnik – (3/7/2016)

Urrutia fastest in final Lights preseason test – Santiago Urrutia’s lap of 1:12.4479 was the fastest lap of Indy Lights testing at Barber Motorsports Park over the weekend. The rest of the Top 5 was Rosenqvist, Hargrove, Enerson, and Jones. Full results at the link. – Indy Lights – (3/7/2016)

Busch still considering 500 attempt – Kurt Busch told reports this weekend that while there’s no definitive update he is still interested in an attempt at racing in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. “Nothing new on Indy. Part of the reason for staying here in Vegas extra is a few different meetings have popped up,” said Busch. “We are going to go through some of the meetings, even bumped into (Verizon IndyCar Series team owner) Sam Schmidt today. There is definitely the interest, the intrigue, but nothing to announce right now.” – FOX Sports – (3/5/2016)

Dome skid mandate causing concerns – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports that INDYCAR’s mandate of the use of “dome skids” on superspeedways will be a major controversy by the time the series heads to Indianapolis. While the intention for their use is to reduce flight risk in the event of a high speed crash some drivers and teams feel they will actually increase both the likelihood of a crash and the dramatic results afterwards. “Listening to one driver who sampled a Dallara DW12 fitted with dome skids on a superspeedway, the problems created by the units might outweigh the intended safety benefits. With chassis adjustments made to fit the dome skids, he described the handling characteristics at 215 mph as less than safe and said it felt like the steering wheel wasn’t connected to the tires. He also said when he turned into the corners and waited for the front of the car to react, it felt like the front tires weren’t touching the ground once the chassis changed direction.” Check out the full report at the link. – RACER – (3/5/2016)

Aleshin tweets newly approved visa – Mikhail Aleshin tweeted a picture of his recently approved visa on Friday morning seemingly clearing the way for him to return to the No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda/Dallara next weekend in St. Pete. Gabby Chaves had filled in for the team while Aleshin awaited clearance for his visa. The tweet referenced has since been removed from Aleshin’s account but that’s likely due to it being a picture of his actual visa. – NBC Sports – (3/4/2016)

News From Last Week

Advertisements