News for the Week of July 25, 2016 – July 31, 2016

Pagenaud returns to his winning ways at Mid-Ohio – Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud won The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Sunday with an aggressive pass on teammate Will Power on the last restart. The full Top 5 was Pagenaud, Power, Munoz, Rahal, and Hinchcliffe. Dixon finished last after early contact with Castroneves. Aleshin was poised to win his first career Verizon IndyCar Series race until a yellow erased his big lead and he suffered contact leaving his pit box in the last round of pit stops under caution. Here are the race highlights. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (7/31/2016)

Urrutia completes Mid-Ohio sweep with Lights Race 2 win – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Santiago Urrutia dominated Indy Lights Race 2 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course just as he did in Race 1 to complete the weekend sweep. The rest of the Top 5 was Stoneman, Negrao, Veach, and Blackstock. Full results here. – Indy Lights – (7/31/2016)

Dixon crashes but still fastest in final Mid-Ohio warmup – Chip Ganassi Racing Team’s Scott Dixon’s lap of 1:04.4039 was the fastest time of the race day morning warmup for The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. The rest of the Top 5 was Newgarden, Rahal, Pagenaud, and Aleshin. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (7/31/2016)

Urrutia dominates in Lights Race 1 win at Mid-Ohio – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Santiago Urrutia dominated Indy Lights Race 1 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for an easy win on Saturday. The rest of the Top 5 was Negrao, Stoneman, Serralles, and Veach. Full results here. – Indy Lights – (7/30/2016)

Pagenaud wins the pole and sets new track record at Mid-Ohio – Team Penske’s championship leader Simon Pagenaud won the pole and set a new track record with a lap of 1:03.8700 in qualifying for The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. The rest of the Firestone Fast 6 finishing order was Power, Newgarden, Hunter-Reay, Kimball, and Rahal. Scott Dixon surprisingly only managed P11 in the session. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (7/30/2016)

Dixon leads the way in Practice 3 at Mid-Ohio – Chip Ganassi Racing Team’s Scott Dixon’s lap of 1:03.7244 was the fastest time of Practice 3 for The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. The rest of the Top 5 was Pagenaud, Power, Newgarden, and Kanaan. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (7/30/2016)

Urrutia wins Lights pole at Mid-Ohio – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Santiago Urrutia set a new Indy Lights track record at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and won the pole for Lights Race 1 with a lap of 1:10.9428. The rest of the Top 5 was Serralles, Negrao, Stoneman, and Jones. Full qualifying results at the link. – The Open Wheel – (7/30/2016)

Rahal visor cam from Mid-Ohio – INDYCAR’s excellent visor cam feature continues with Graham Rahal on his home track at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Check out the video at the link. – INDYCAR – (7/30/2016)

Lights Practice 2 at Mid-Ohio scrapped due to rain – Practice 2 for Indy Lights at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course was cancelled due to heavy rain on Friday afternoon. Santiago Urrutia led the morning session. – Indy Lights – (7/29/2016)

Power quickest in wet Practice 2 at Mid-Ohio – Team Penske’s Will Power posted the fastest time of Practice 2 for The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio with an unofficial track record lap of 1:04.1962. The rest of the Top 5 was Kanaan, Pagenaud, Rahal, and Newgarden. Rain interrupted the session about halfway through and there was not much activity after that. However, Sebastien Bourdais did go out to the track and produced some nice visuals. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (7/29/2016)

Dixon tops the charts in Practice 1 at Mid-Ohio – Chip Ganassi Racing Team’s Scott Dixon’s lap of 1:04.4491 was fastest in Practice 1 for The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio. The rest of the Top 5 was Power, Montoya, Kanaan, and Castroneves. Rookie RC Enerson finished the session in P21 in his Verizon IndyCar Series debut for Dale Coyne Racing. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (7/29/2016)

Daly could be a hot commodity for ’17 – RACER’s Marshall Pruett has a nice piece on Conor Daly as he inches closer to his first offseason with full-time experience in the Verizon IndyCar Series as a potential free agent. Daly says Dale Coyne Racing has an option on him for 2017 through 10/31/16 but other teams are inquiring about his plans. “I like the group I’m with, and it would be hard to leave that after one year,” Daly told RACER. “But then you also have the fact that some people have reached out and asked what I’m doing next year and if I could be available, which is also cool. My first option is Dale and reuniting with the team because I know we can achieve a lot more together. For where I’m at right now, I know I need to perform to the best of my abilities and the rest will take care of itself.” – RACER – (7/29/2016)

Urrutia fastest in Lights Practice 1 at Mid-Ohio – Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Santiago Urruita had the fastest time in Indy Lights Practice 1 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a lap of 1:11.9530. The rest of the Top 5 was Blackstock, Serralles, Kaiser, and Negrao. Full results at the link. – Indy Lights – (7/29/2016)

Rahal unveils new OSU themed uniform for Mid-Ohio – Graham Rahal has unveiled his new Ohio State University-themed helmet and racing suit for Mid-Ohio this weekend. See the helmet and suit at the link. – RLL – (7/28/2016)

SPM expects Hinch and Aleshin back in ’17 – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports that Sam Schmidt expects both James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin to be back with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2017. “It’s common knowledge James has another year left with his contract with us,” Schmidt told RACER. “On Mikhail, he says he’s coming back next year, and he will only get better. We expected to be higher up in the points than we are with James, and had a couple of hiccups in Detroit and Road America, but we want to keep building momentum in each race we have left going into next year.” – RACER – (7/28/2016)

The Open Wheel’s Mid-Ohio preview – The Open Wheel’s Dylan Reynolds’ preview of the INDYCAR weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is posted at the link. Includes all of the relevant weekend information, historical stats, predictions, fantasy advice, and more. – The Open Wheel – (7/28/2016)

Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio spotter guide posted – The spotter guide for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio has been posted. The only new livery for the season is a revamped version of the Hawk Performance livery Juan Pablo Montoya has driven in the past. Full spotter guide at the link. – INDYCAR – (7/27/2016)

Andretti Autosport to test 3 Lights drivers at WGI – “The Andretti Autosport Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires trio will take the opportunity to climb inside the cockpit of an Indy car for a Verizon IndyCar Series test at Watkins Glen International in two weeks. The August 11 test will serve as the next step to reaching a career goal for these young drivers as all three aspire to race in the Verizon IndyCar Series within the next few years.” Shelby Blackstock will drive Marco Andretti’s No. 27 machine, Dalton Kellett will drive Carlos Munoz’s No. 26 car, and Dean Stoneman will pilot the No. 28 car of Ryan Hunter-Reay. – Andretti Autosport – (7/27/2016)

Dixon/Ganassi still committed to No. 9 car after Target departure – NBC Sports’ Tony DiZinno has posted a great recap of Chip Ganassi and Scott Dixon’s public reaction to the news that Target will depart the Ganassi INDYCAR program after this year (see below). Ganassi: ““It’s the greatest sponsor in racing, ever. They’ve been nothing but good to me…It is unfortunate they will be leaving the IndyCar Series but rest assured that the No. 9 Chevrolet and the reigning IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon will still be in the IndyCar Series next year and beyond, the car will just have different colors on it.” Dixon: “They have been with the INDYCAR team for an amazing 27 years, which is unheard of in professional sports, and on the car I’ve driven for the past 15 seasons. I have nothing but great memories and much thanks for Target being great partners for so long. I’m looking forward to being in the 9 car for years to come and fighting for more wins and championships with Chip and the team.” – NBC Sports – (7/27/2016)

Target to leave Ganassi INDYCAR program after ’16 – The AP’s Jenna Fryer reports that Target will leave Chip Ganassi Racing Team’s Verizon IndyCar Series program at the end of the 2016 season. “It was a really difficult decision that we made — we’ve been with Chip Ganassi Racing for 27 years and we are ridiculously proud of the success,” Target senior vice president Scott Nygaard told the AP. “But the Target brand is about being fresh and new, so we felt like this was the time to make the difficult decision and expand our sports marketing platform.” Target will remain the primary sponsor for Kyle Larson in NASCAR for the 2017 season. – AP – (7/27/2016)

Miller’s Mailbag 7/27/16 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (7/27/2016)

Trackside podcast 7/26/16 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 7/26/16 is a great listen as always. The pair previews the INDYCAR weekend and talk to RC Enerson as he prepares for his Verizon IndyCar Series debut. – 1070 The Fan – (7/27/2016)

Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio entry list posted – The entry list for the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio has been posted. It features 22 entries now with RC Enerson included in the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing entry. Full entry list at the link. – INDYCAR – (7/26/2016)

Lights Mid-Ohio entry list posted – The entry list for the Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio has been posted. It features 12 entries. Noteworthy absences are Juan Piedrahita in the No. 2 Team Pelfrey entry and Felix Rosenqvist in the No. 14 Belardi Auto Racing entry. Full entry list at the link. – Indy Lights – (7/26/2016)

Cooper Tires expands MRTI role – “As official tire for all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy, Cooper Tires plays a key role in developing the next generation of open-wheel talent. Beyond providing high-quality, dependable performance tires for Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda, Cooper Tires today announced it will increase its support by becoming the presenting sponsor of INDYCAR’s driver development ladder, now known as the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires.” – INDYCAR – (7/26/2016)

SPM files lawsuit against Enerson – David Malsher of Motorsport.com reports that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports has filed a lawsuit against Team E, their former Indy Lights driver RC Enerson’s father’s company, due to not fulfilling the financial obligations of their contract after Enerson pulled out of Indy Lights to focus his remaining 2016 funding on a Verizon IndyCar Series opportunity. While that plan “worked”, Enerson is scheduled to make his Verizon IndyCar Series debut this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with Dale Coyne Racing, SPM claims the team is still owed money that Team E doesn’t plan to pay. “As is common in the motorsports industry, the parties’ relationship is governed by a contract,” SPM owner Sam Schmidt told Motorsport.com. “Unfortunately, RC Enerson and Team E Racing have communicated to the team that they will not be honoring their contractual obligations, and further conveyed that they were not interested in pursuing a negotiated resolution to the matter.” More details at the link. – Motorsport.com – (7/26/2016)

Kyle Busch and crew chief interested in “The Double” – NBC Sports’ Nate Ryan reports that both Kyle Busch and his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief Adam Stevens are interested in a Indianapolis 500-Coca-Cola 600 doubleheader. “I would like to do the crew chief ‘Double,’ ” Adam Stevens, Busch’s crew chief, told NBC Sports after the No. 18 Toyota won Sunday at the Brickyard. “Is there such a thing? That’s great. If he wants to do that, I’m all for it.” “It’s on my radar,” Busch told NBC Sports. “I’m just not sure how to get it all accomplished and get it all done with the focus and everything being here in the Sprint Cup Series and trying to go race for a championship each year.” Much more at the link. – NBC Sports – (7/26/2016)

Newgarden talks INDYCAR’s tech future – Gordon Kirby has posted an excellent piece on his conversation with Josef Newgarden about the present and future of downforce levels, tire technology, and more in the Verizon IndyCar Series. A must read piece as INDYCAR ponders possibilities for the future of their cars. “The first thing I would want is huge power,” Newgarden told Kirby. “I think there’s a limit to that too, but I think 1,000 horsepower would be really nice to have. Of course, that has to be properly mated with the car but it would be really nice to have between 900-1,000 horsepower and build that on a robust chassis with huge ground effects. Your primary source of aerodynamic grip should come from the ground effects and the underbody.” Much more at the link. – Gordon Kirby – (7/26/2016)

Snetterton names corner after Justin Wilson – “Snetterton’s Montreal hairpin will be renamed in honour of Justin Wilson, starting from this weekend’s (30/31 July) round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. Wilson, who was tragically killed in an IndyCar race last August, was a protégé of circuit owner MSV’s Chief Executive, Jonathan Palmer, who guided him through much of his junior single-seater career towards Formula One.” – Snetterton – (7/25/2016)

RACER’s Aleshin Q&A – RACER’s Robin Miller posted a fun Q&A with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Mikhail Aleshin. – RACER – (7/25/2016)

George now Chairman of the Board at Hulman & Company – Tony George served as grand marshal of the NASCAR Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday and was introduced as “Chairman of the Board” when he gave the starting command. This got the attention of everyone listening and eventually IMS had to clarify the situation. Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, told Motorsport.com: “Mari Hulman has for very many years been the chairman of the board. But the board members felt like it was appropriate to create a transition. So they made her chairman emeritus, and elected Tony as chairman. Where the confusion arises is that he was never chairman before – that was Mari – but he was in my job, CEO of the company. Then he stepped down. So it doesn’t change the members of the board, it doesn’t change the management.” – Motorsport.com – (7/25/2016)

Harvey hoping for debut at WGI with SPM – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports that Jack Harvey believes he has a chance at a Verizon IndyCar Series debut in a third car with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports at Watkins Glen International in September. Harvey tested for the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Thursday but a spin and contact ended his day early. “It hasn’t affected what I’ve been working towards, and that’s being in the car with SPM for Watkins [Glen],” Harvey told RACER. “If anything, the team said they felt bad we couldn’t continue testing, but I’m confident leaving Mid-Ohio that we could have a very effective race in a third car if we can make everything come together.” – NBC Sports – (7/22/2016)

DiZinno’s Mid-Ohio test summary – NBC Sports’ Tony DiZinno has posted an excellent recap of the Verizon IndyCar Series test at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. His piece includes quotes from the Lights and other test drivers, INDYCAR’s aero testing with Kanaan and Newgarden, and much more. Check it out at the link. – NBC Sports – (7/22/2016)

Report: Enerson to drive for DCR at Mid-Ohio – RACER’s Robin Miller reports that RC Enerson will drive the Dale Coyne Racing No. 19 car in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course next weekend. Enerson tested the car at Mid-Ohio on Thursday. “I’m in for Mid-Ohio with Dale, and we’re trying to make Watkins Glen and Sonoma happen, but those aren’t confirmed yet,” the 19-year-old Floridian told RACER. “I thought it would take a little while to come up to speed, but we came up to speed a lot quicker than I expected to. Once I was comfortable, it was about turning laps, running behind people to see what they were doing, and I got to spend a lot of time around the Penske cars and the Ganassi cars, so it was great.” – RACER – (7/21/2016)

Mid-Ohio campers invited to celebrate Christmas in July – “Honda Racing and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course invite fans to get festive during The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio weekend by camping and participating in Christmas in July themed activities for the return of the #CampingWithHonda initiative…Santa will choose the preliminary finalists, followed by Honda Racing Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Graham Rahal and Conor Daly visiting the sites Saturday afternoon to judge decor and choose their favorites. Grand Prize winners will experience a Pace Car ride around the track, while runners-up will receive great Honda camping gear.” – Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – (7/21/2016)

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