News for the Week of September 11 – 17, 2017

The Open Wheel’s Sunday Sonoma photo gallery – The Open Wheel’s Christy Reynolds’ photo gallery of Sunday activity for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway is available at the link. – The Open Wheel – (9/17/2017)

Pagenaud wins race at Sonoma but Newgarden takes the championship – Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud won the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway but Josef Newgarden finished second to seal the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series championship. Newgarden is an IndyCar Champion in his first year with Team Penske. The full Top 5 was Pagenaud, Newgarden, Power, Dixon, and Castroneves. Full race results here. – INDYCAR – (9/17/2017)

Sonoma starting lineup with tire designations – The official INDYCAR starting lineup with tire designations for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway is available at the link. – INDYCAR – (9/17/2017)

Rahal tops morning warmup at Sonoma, Dixon fastest of title contenders – Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal’s lap of 1:16.9608 topped the charts in the morning warmup for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway. The rest of the Top 5 was Pigot, Dixon, Castroneves, and Newgarden. Pagenaud was P16 in the session. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (9/17/2017)

Grand Marshal Klay Thompson rides in two-seater with Mario – GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Grand Marshal and two-time NBA Champion Klay Thompson rode in the two-seater with Mario Andretti on Sunday morning at Sonoma Raceway. Picture at the link. – Sonoma Raceway – (9/17/2017)

The Open Wheel’s Saturday Sonoma photo gallery – The Open Wheel’s Christy Reynolds’ photo gallery of Saturday activity for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway is available at the link. – The Open Wheel – (9/16/2017)

Newgarden wins first pole of ’17 and sets new track record at Sonoma – Team Penske’s championship leader Josef Newgarden won his first Verizon P1 award of 2017 as he won pole for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway with a new track record lap of 1:15.5205. The rest of the Firestone Fast Six qualifying order was Power, Pagenaud, Castroneves, Sato, and Dixon. Full qualifying results here. – INDYCAR – (9/16/2017)

Chevy named manufacturer championship winner with race to spare – Chevrolet was awarded its sixth consecutive manufacturer championship on Saturday. Chevy has clenched the title regardless of what happens in the series finale at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday. “Although we were outnumbered on the track in quantity, we had the quality needed to win the races and poles required to win the championship,” said Mark Kent, Chevrolet’s director of motorsports competition. “It’s an accomplishment we’re very proud of.” Full story and picture at the link. – INDYCAR – (9/16/2017)

ZCD explains why he loves No. 13 – 13 is usually considered an unlucky number in racing, INDYCAR specifically, but Zachary Claman DeMelo told INDYCAR.com why he loves the number. “My grandmother got freed from the Holocaust on Friday the 13th and the (concentration camp tattoo) numbers on her arm all added up to 13, so it’s always been a lucky number for me my whole life,” said Claman DeMelo. “I’ve always worn it all throughout karting and all the series I’ve raced.” – INDYCAR – (9/16/2017)

Sonoma qualifying groups – The qualifying groups for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma are available at the link. The five championship contenders finished in the Top 5 in Practice 3 so they’re as evenly split in the groups as they can be. – INDYCAR – (9/16/2017)

Pagenaud leads the way in Practice 3 at Sonoma – Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud was fastest in Practice 3 for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway with a lap of 1:16.0329. The rest of the Top 5 were the main championship contenders Dixon, Power, Newgarden, and Castroneves. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (9/16/2017)

The Open Wheel’s Friday Sonoma photo gallery – The Open Wheel’s Christy Reynolds’ photo gallery of Friday activity for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway is available at the link. – The Open Wheel – (9/15/2017)

Report: Jones closing in on deal to remain at DCR – David Malsher reports for Motorsport.com that Dale Coyne Racing is on the verge of resigning Verizon IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year Ed Jones to a new contract for 2018. “Yeah, I’d say we’re close to confirming with Ed,” DCR owner Dale Coyne told Motorsport.com. “It’s certainly what we want – continuity.” Full story at the link. – Motorsport.com – (9/15/2017)

Newgarden visor cam from Sonoma – INDYCAR’s excellent visor cam feature continues with Josef Newgarden at Sonoma Raceway. Check it out at the link. – INDYCAR – (9/15/2017)

Newgarden fastest again in Practice 2 at Sonoma – Team Penske’s championship leader Josef Newgarden topped Practice 2 for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma with a lap of 1:16.2485 after leading the first practice in the morning. The rest of the Top 5 was Pagenaud, Castroneves, Power, and Hunter-Reay. Dixon was P6 for the second consecutive session. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (9/15/2017)

Group One Thousand One named as Veach’s primary sponsor for ’18 – “Starting in 2018, Zach Veach will take the wheel of the No. 26 Group One Thousand One Honda Indy car as the fourth entry in Andretti Autosport’s Verizon IndyCar Series effort. Veach has raced in every step of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder with Andretti Autosport, including a career-best Indy Lights championship finish of third in 2014. The U.S.-based insurance holding company Group One Thousand One will serve as Veach’s primary sponsor, building on the support that Dan Towriss, CEO, gave Veach in his first Indianapolis 500 race, earlier this year.” Full release at the link. – Andretti Autosport – (9/15/2017)

Pagenaud and Bretzman featured on The Players’ Tribune – Simon Pagenaud and his engineer Ben Bretzman have a great piece on their relationship on The Players’ Tribune. Check it out at the link. – The Players’ Tribune – (9/15/2017)

IndyCar drivers to race with fans at Sonoma – Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Conor Daly, JR Hildebrand, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Graham Rahal will race against fans over the weekend at Sonoma Raceway in a Forza Motorsport 7 preview in the INDYCAR Fan Village. Full story at the link. – INDYCAR – (9/15/2017)

Newgarden fastest in Practice 1 at Sonoma – Team Penske’s championship leader Josef Newgarden was fastest in Practice 1 for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma with a lap of 1:16.3950. The rest of the Top 5 was Power, Pagenaud, Rossi, and Bourdais. Championship contenders outside of the Top 5 were Dixon (P6) and Castroneves (P8). Full results here. – INDYCAR – (9/15/2017)

Power to drive with injured knee at Sonoma – Team Penske championship contender Will Power will drive with an injured knee this weekend at Sonoma “after hyperextending his left knee earlier this week when a strong wave took him by surprise while swimming at Half Moon Bay in Northern California.” “No problem, didn’t feel anything,” Power said after the first of two test sessions on Thursday. “As long as (the knee) is bent, it’s no problem. It’s just straightening it is the issue. Good news in the car is you’re always bent knee.” Full story at the link. – INDYCAR – (9/15/2017)

Report: ECR to move shops after this season – NBC Sports’ Tony DiZinno reports Ed Carpenter Racing will be moving from their shop on Main Street in Speedway, IN to the old Forsythe Racing shop on Georgetown Road in Indianapolis. Former CFH Racing owner Wink Hartman owns the building in Speedway and it’s rumored that a new team will move in next year. Full story at the link. – NBC Sports – (9/15/2017)

Pagenaud tops the charts in Thursday Sonoma test – Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud was fastest in a full-field Verizon IndyCar Series test at Sonoma Raceway on Thursday with a lap of 1:16.6511. The rest of the Top 5 was Castroneves, Power, Bourdais, and Rossi. Full results here. – INDYCAR – (9/14/2017)

Sonoma test 9/14/17 – The entire Verizon IndyCar Series field is testing at Sonoma Raceway on Thursday, September 14th from 10AM-12PM and 2PM-6PM PT. – INDYCAR – (9/14/2017)

The Open Wheel’s Sonoma preview – The Open Wheel’s Dylan Reynolds’ preview of the Verizon IndyCar Series weekend at Sonoma Raceway for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma is available at the link. – The Open Wheel – (9/14/2017)

Kahne interested in running IndyCar “race or two” in ’18 – RACER’s Mark Glendenning reports out of contract NASCAR star Kasey Kahne might be interested in driving part-time in the Verizon IndyCar Series if he doesn’t work out a full-time role in NASCAR. “Three or four days ago I had a great plan to do sprint cars, and see if I could do an IndyCar race or two, do a couple of NASCAR races like the [Daytona] 500, the Brickyard, things like that,” Kahne told members of the media. Full story at the link. – RACER – (9/14/2017)

Andretti confirms Veach for No. 26 car in ’18 – “Starting in 2018, Zach Veach will take the wheel of the No. 26 Honda Indy car as the fourth entry in Andretti Autosport’s Verizon IndyCar Series effort. Veach has raced in every step of the Mazda Road to Indy ladder with Andretti Autosport, including a career-best Indy Lights championship finish of third in 2014…Veach is the final driver confirmed to an all-American, four-car Verizon IndyCar Series field for Andretti as he joins Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda), Alexander Rossi (No. 98 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) and Marco Andretti (No. 27 Honda). The 2018 season goes green on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, March 11. ” Full release at the link. – Andretti Autosport – (9/13/2017)

ECR confirms Pigot for full-time in No. 21 for ’18 – “After two seasons as the road and street course driver of Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 20, Spencer Pigot will move to the No. 21 in 2018 and race full-time in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The 23-year-old’s first full season of Indy car competition is the next step in a career which has seen him collect multiple championships along the Mazda Road to Indy prior to joinin­­­g ECR during the 2016 season. In 2017, Pigot became the first driver to retain the road and street course seat of the No. 20 for a second year and will continue with ECR as the driver of the No. 21 for the entirety of the 2018 season.” Full release at the link. – ECR – (9/13/2017)

Pricing set for new ’18 components – RACER’s Marshall Pruett has an excellent report on the pricing for the new bodywork and electronics Verizon IndyCar Series teams will have to buy for 2018. Check it out at the link. – RACER – (9/13/2017)

Miller’s Mailbag 9/13/17 – RACER’s Robin Miller’s weekly fan Q&A is a great read as always. – RACER – (9/13/2017)

Report: Hartley to race for Ganassi in ’18 – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports New Zealand’s Brendon Hartley is expected to drive for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2018. Full story at the link. – RACER – (9/12/2017)

Trackside podcast 9/12/17 – 1070 The Fan’s Trackside with Curt Cavin and Kevin Lee radio show from 9/12/17 is a great listen as always. Townsend Bell is a guest on the show. – 1070 The Fan – (9/12/2017)

Sonoma spotter guide – The spotter guide for the Verizon IndyCar Series GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway is available at the link. – INDYCAR – (9/12/2017)

Sonoma entry list – The entry list for the Verizon IndyCar Series GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway is available at the link. – INDYCAR – (9/12/2017)

Gateway announces ’18 date and ticket renewal plans – “Gateway Motorsports Park’s 2018 Bommarito Automotive 500 Verizon IndyCar Series race is scheduled for Saturday, August 25, 2018. The race is in its second year of a multi-year agreement with INDYCAR. The 2018 edition of the INDYCAR race at GMP promises to be bigger and better — with more entertainment for the fans — and will start one hour earlier (7 p.m. CDT). Coors Light Pole Night qualifying is slated for August 24, 2018.” Full release at the link. – Gateway Motorsports Park – (9/12/2017)

ZCD unveils his RLL No. 16 livery for Sonoma – Zachary Claman DeMelo posted the livery he’ll drive for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing in their No. 16 car this weekend at Sonoma Raceway. See the livery on our No. 16 livery page here. – Zachary Claman DeMelo – (9/12/2017)

Report: Veach to race for Andretti in ’18 on three-year deal – Motorsport.com’s David Malsher reports Zach Veach will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2018 as part of a three-year deal. Malsher reports the driver and sponsor announcement is expected on Friday at Sonoma. Full story at the link. – Motorsport.com – (9/11/2017)

Gommendy to drive third car for SPM at ’18 Indy 500 – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports former Champ Car and current WEC driver Tristan Gommendy will drive the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports No. 77 in the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 in a partnership with former Formula 1 entrant Didier Calmels. “Didier has a long history in racing in Europe, just sold his company, and we’ve had some meetings in Indy,” said SPM co-owner Sam Schmidt told RACER. “He has high hopes, and it’s going to be huge in France. He’s got a couple of large companies behind him, [and] the car will be in the French red, white and blue colors. French TV is going to broadcast live every day. It’s fantastic, and it’s a very patriotic entry, bottom line.” Full story at the link. – RACER – (9/11/2017)

Dickinson to feature on new livery for Andretti No. 26 at Sonoma – “Indianapolis-based fleet maintenance and repair company, Dickinson Fleet Services has solidified a multi-year renewal with Andretti Autosport and will continue to build on the established relationship throughout the upcoming INDYCAR seasons. To kick off this expanded relationship, the No. 26 Honda of reigning Indianapolis 500 Champion Takuma Sato will carry black and yellow for the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season finale at Sonoma Raceway Sunday.” See the livery on our No. 26 livery page here. Full release at the link. – Andretti Autosport – (9/11/2017)

Report: TK expected to join Foyt for ’18 – RACER’s Robin Miller reports Tony Kanaan is expected to drive the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Enterprises entry in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2018. Neither party has confirmed the report. Full story at the link. – RACER – (9/9/2017)

Entire field to test at Sonoma on Thursday before race weekend – “The full field of Verizon IndyCar Series drivers, including the drivers in contention for the series championship, are scheduled to participate in a series-sanctioned open test at Sonoma Raceway on Thursday, Sept. 14, the day before the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma race weekend, Sept. 15-17. The six-hour session on the 2.385-mile, 12-turn road course is open to ticket holders for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma and spectators who purchase a race ticket at the gate. Verizon IndyCar Series teams are slated to be on track from 10 a.m.-noon and 2-6 p.m.; Formula Car Challenge will also hit the track that day.” Full release at the link. – Sonoma Raceway – (9/8/2017)

SPM announces extension and “increased level of partnership” with HPD through ’20 – “Schmidt Peterson Motorsports along with Honda and Honda Performance Development announced today an increased level of partnership between the two parties. The Verizon IndyCar Series team and the engine manufacturer also noted the extended contract is intact through the 2020 season.” Full release at the link. – SPM – (9/8/2017)

RaeLynn to perform national anthem at Sonoma – “Chart-topping Warner Bros. Records/Warner Music Nashville recording artist RaeLynn will perform the national anthem for the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma Verizon IndyCar Series season finale at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, Sept. 17.” Full release at the link. – Sonoma Raceway – (9/7/2017)

New aero kit could lead removal of P2P – The Indianapolis Star’s Jim Ayello reports push-to-pass could be rendered obsolete in the Verizon IndyCar Series with the universal aero kit coming in 2018. “If you have more horsepower and different braking zones and the car was faster down the straightaways, you might have the same type of opportunity to pass as you do now,” INDYCAR president of competition Jay Frye told the Indianapolis Star. “But it wouldn’t be a push-to-defend type thing (where the race leader uses it to keep from being passed). It would be who drives it further into the corner and makes it stick when it’s in the corner.” Full story at the link. – Indianapolis Star – (9/7/2017)

Third car possible for RLL in ’18 – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports Zachary Claman DeMelo could be in line for a full-time ride with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing after his Verizon IndyCar Series debut with the team at the finale at Sonoma Raceway. “This opportunity marks an incredible moment for my career,” Claman DeMelo told RACER, “and I’m getting that much closer to securing a full-time position with RLLR for next season.” RLL co-owner Bobby Rahal had this to say in the report: “It’s highly likely we’ll have two cars, and this event for Zach and us is a one-off; let’s see what happens, have a good, solid weekend, and then let’s talk,” Rahal told RACER. Full story at the link. – RACER – (9/7/2017)

Harvey encouraged by IndyCar progress – Jack Harvey is optimistic about his Verizon IndyCar Series future after his solid showing at Watkins Glen last weekend with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports. “I don’t have anything to announce yet, and we’re still talking to two or three teams about where it would be, but my sponsors were quite pleased with how everything has gone this year, and were fired up after we did well at Watkins Glen,” Harvey told RACER. “They’re more engaged in working together for something bigger next season that I’ve ever experienced.” Full story at the link. – RACER – (9/7/2017)

Upgrades coming to Lights engines in ’18 – RACER’s Marshall Pruett reports “important engine upgrades” are coming for Indy Lights in 2018. “There were some peripheral problems we’ve dealt with in the past like replacing the alternator vendors to fix issues there, and together with AER, we’re changing wastegate vendors and they’ve readily agreed to upgrade all of the cars before the end of the year,” Dan Andersen told RACER. “In addition, we’re upgrading the turbocharger, going to a different manufacturer with a greater product. Those will all be changed before next season. We also had two electronic boost management box issues, so we’ve implemented a more frequent service and inspection schedule and we’ll be relocating them in the car to a position that’s cooler in the engine compartment.” Full story at the link. – RACER – (9/7/2017)

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