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News from INDYCAR: ‘What They’re Saying’ from ABC Supply 500 Practice

‘What They’re Saying’ from ABC Supply 500 Practice

Top 10 in Practice:

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Decent day. Obviously, not being able to qualify hurt us a bit but we can’t control the weather, so I think we have a pretty decent car. Our biggest challenge is that we will be starting in the back and this track is not an easy track to overtake on, especially in traffic. I’m excited, it was a good day, the boys are happy. We needed that today. So we’ll take it one day at a time.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I think losing qualifying today due to weather definitely simplifies it. Everybody was just focused on race running. We have some different changes this year with the tires, then also the aero package a little bit, too. That changes it up. I think everyone was just keen to get out there, and to see if the track has evolved much from last year with bumps and things like that. We came here with a pretty different kind of outlook and approach than we had last year in the PNC Bank car just because it was not so good. But it is what it is. You have to go with it. I think for us, it’s probably a little bit better maybe with qualifying out of the books, just because we just focused on trying to get a better race car, whereas last year it was really just qualifying, then nobody really did any long running. I think we have a good car for tomorrow but it’s a long 500 miles.”

SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda): “It’s always good. Ovals have been super new to me and I’ve gotten along with them pretty well since Indy. I think that helped me go into Iowa a little more confident and I think this track, I didn’t know beforehand. We’re ending the year with two tracks I don’t know, so being able to come here and be quick right off the back is really confidence inspiring.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 MilitaryToMotorsports.com Honda): “These types of days are always difficult when you lose sessions to weather. Obviously, we’re starting in a good spot on the front row because these cars do not perform well in traffic in superspeedway trim. It’s really the same for everyone but it’s a shame that a track such as Pocono has become one of our more predominant track position races. That’s all the more reason why it’s positive we’re starting on the front row. I think we’ve made some good progress and have made a lot of good changes. I’m reasonably happy, but it’s just too hard to follow cars in front of you closely and overtake them.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet): “It was a long day of waiting, but in the end we got some good runs in and it was a great session for the No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Chevrolet. It felt very strong out there. We will fine-tune it tonight, but quite frankly I think we are in really good shape. It should be an exciting race tomorrow with all of the contenders starting up front, but I feel very confident and it is time to be aggressive. We’ll see what tomorrow brings but I certainly feel very good about our race car and our chances for tomorrow.”

COLTON HERTA (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda): “Productive day at Pocono Raceway today. The car was quick as we ended the day in sixth position. It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to qualify due to weather today, but with the race being 500 miles I know we’ll be able to make up quite a bit of spots and be competitive. Tomorrow should be a lot of fun!”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 SealMaster Honda): “Clearly, the No. 18 SealMaster car is quick and it’s okay in traffic. I think we had a good chance to qualify well (wet conditions canceled qualifying) and track position is very important here. I think everybody saw it during the two-hour practice session. It’s very much the same scenario as last year. You washout in traffic, so it’s hard to build any momentum and make any moves. We are going to start 11th, which is not ideal, but it’s a 500-mile race. We’ll see if we can improve the car overnight, give it all we have and see how things shake out in the race tomorrow.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 Tresiba Carlin Chevrolet): “It feels really good to be back in the No. 23 Tresiba Chevrolet with Novo Nordisk. Overall it was a good day despite the weather throwing a wrench in the schedule. I’m disappointed that we didn’t get to qualify this afternoon, because I think the No. 23 has a lot of speed in it and we could’ve had a solid qualifying effort. I think we’ve got a good plan and a good baseline setup going into tomorrow’s race. Starting at the back because of entrant points is going to make our job harder, but we relish a challenge and the Tricky Triangle always throws challenges at us whether it’s the weather, track conditions, balance or wind – we’ll just be ready to make the most of it.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “The session went alright. We need to make the DHL car a little bit better in race trim. I think we need to make some changes overnight to get us in the window or tomorrow. Without qualifying today, we’re starting from sixth and it’s a long race so a lot can happen.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 TOTAL Honda): “We only got two hours of practice today. It was a bit of a struggle to get going, but in the end I think our TOTAL car feels pretty strong. I expect us to be competitive. Both Takuma and I start seventh and eighth tomorrow, so Row 4 is a good place to start, a lot of great guys to be around. Our car seems fast so I’m cautiously optimistic. Who knows what 500 miles is going to bring and what the conditions will be versus tomorrow versus today, but hopefully we’ll have a good strong day, gain some points and get closer to our goal of a top-five finish this season.”

Remainder of Drivers (alphabetical):

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda): “It was a decent day. We got through a lot of stuff. We were in traffic on the last set of tires, but I think we were competitive up until then. We didn’t really get to ring it out because of traffic, but the race car is about a change away. I think a couple of our teammates made the change that we think will help, so we’ll see what comes up tonight. It was a long session today, which is unique and helps after having missed the morning session. It hurts me in qualifying, but I think the series did the right thing.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 SONAX Chevrolet): “It was an interesting practice session. Obviously, I would have liked to have had the SONAX Chevrolet higher up on the time sheets. I actually feel pretty good about the car – the way it’s driving, the way it handles and the pace over a long run. A session like this, it’s really hard to know what everyone was doing. We were on full tanks the whole time – was everyone running full tanks? – we don’t know. We’ll find out tomorrow. I feel better here than I have in past seasons heading into the race. I would have liked to have qualified. I think we do have more pace in the car than what the timesheets say if we were actually trying to qualify. But we’ll start on entrant points and work our way through the field.”

CONOR DALY (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “I think it was a pretty strong session for us. It’s tough only having one practice session for a 500-mile race, but we were actually able to work through a lot. I was really happy with how we were able to get through a lot of changes, which is exactly what we needed to do. We’re still just learning a lot about each other and how we can make the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet faster here at Pocono Raceway. We’re in a decent spot with the car and the setup, but it’s really a shame that we didn’t get to qualify because we showed that we had some raw pace compared to others. Regardless, we’re feeling good about the race tomorrow, so we’ll just roll the dice and see what happens.”

MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “First experience on “The Tricky Triangle” and thought it was a good day. Obviously it’s unfortunate that we didn’t get the first practice or qualifying in because now we’re starting by championship position. We were thinking we could qualify the Arrow car higher than that for sure, so that’s disappointing. Of course for me, coming here for the first time, every lap we can do helps us, so that loss of track time is a bit of a shame. I think the session we got we had a really productive session, got a lot of laps in, tried different things with the setup, so I think we did a good job there. We had some good pit stop sequence as well – the Arrow SPM guys had some really good pit stops, so I think we have everything covered ahead of tomorrow. Tomorrow is a long race, so we’ll see what we can do.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “I think it was a productive session for us. The No. 5 Arrow car had a lot of speed off the truck, and the balance is the best we’ve had here for a couple of years. It’s really unfortunate we didn’t get to qualify because I think our single-car pace was actually pretty solid and certainly better than 10th. It’s a 500-mile race, we’ve got a long way to go. I think the changes INDYCAR made to the rules from last year is going to make it a much better race and a lot more passing on track. We just have to keep our heads clean tomorrow, make the car a little bit better in traffic and no reason we can’t move forward.”

MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Solid session here at Pocono. I think we managed to go through the program very well. Of course, we didn’t have qualifying so we will have to start from the back tomorrow. I think we had a pretty good baseline car, which is good, and from thereon we worked on little issues the car had, and after that we started working on traffic. Overall, I think it was a very nice session. I think it was one of the best sessions I had the whole year. It will be a hard race tomorrow, 500 miles. This race is not easy so we just have to concentrate on the right moves to move up on the grid.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was an okay day. We got through a lot. Obviously, not qualifying helps us on our starting position, but I think we got through enough where we feel comfortable with our race car. It’s nice to have Hitachi and the whole gang here and on our Chevy. And Chevrolet has done a really nice job with everything. Now we just need to try and put it together for tomorrow now.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet): “We worked through a lot of changes today which was positive. The general feeling of the Autogeek Chevy in traffic isn’t too bad so we’ll look to make some small improvements for tomorrow. It’s unfortunate the rain caused the schedule to change so much, but we’re starting 12th so it could have been worse. Hopefully, we can find some more speed and work our way up throughout the race.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “We have a lot to think about tonight. With having three cars you get a lot of information to cover. I think we got to a reasonable spot. The Verizon Chevy feels pretty comfortable, so now we just need to make the right decisions on downforce levels.”

FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “We did some good running there for the two-hour practice session, without any big interruptions. Turn 2 seems pretty bumpy, which made it pretty difficult in traffic. I think my biggest thing to work on was Turn 3 in traffic. Turn 1 felt kind of good. Overall it’s pretty sensitive on a superspeedway with the setup. We just need to try to find the right window for race conditions with the NTT DATA car and predict what it’s going to be like tomorrow. Overall, a good run for the first time on this track.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): “It was a tough session. Usually after the practice, we have time to analyze the data and try to come up with a different setup or whatever might be needed. Today we couldn’t, but of course, everyone is in the same boat. The car was unbalanced today and we needed to do a lot of work to get to a point where we could start working on the setup. Unfortunately, we got to that point at the very last part of the session.  If the session started from that point we would have probably been much better. Hopefully, we can look over the data tonight and make the car better for the race.”

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): “We just really focused on race work with the two hours that we had. It’s a bummer that qualifying was canceled because we’re going to have to roll off 18th when I think we have a car good enough for the top 10. It makes for an exciting day tomorrow – it also makes for a long day. It’s a race we have to be very smart in. A lot can happen, as we saw last year. You just have to have a little bit of luck on your side and do the best job that you can, and you’ll come home where you need to be.”

“5 Things To Look For…” heading into the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway

INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019) – The NTT IndyCar Series, fresh off a two-week break, will culminate the oval portion of the season with back-to-back races, beginning with this weekend’s ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 on the 2.5-mile “Tricky Triangle” in Long Pond, Pa., will be the fourth of five scheduled…

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Mid-Ohio Race Report and Quotes

Dixon holds off teammate, wins Mid-Ohio again LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sunday, July 28, 2019) – Five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon made sure his name remains in consideration for the 2019 season title by winning Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. But career victory No. 46 required a dramatic last-lap battle…

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After 57th pole, Power eager to capture first Mid-Ohio win

After 57th pole, Power eager to capture first Mid-Ohio win

LEXINGTON, Ohio – Will Power scored the 57th pole of his NTT IndyCar Series career Saturday, drawing him another step closer to Mario Andretti’s record of 67. But what the Team Penske driver wants more than anything is his first win of the season.

Power has won Indy car races in 12 consecutive seasons, second only to five-time series champion Scott Dixon’s 16. Power’s last win came last year – 14 races ago – at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, the short oval located in Madison, Ill.

Power won Saturday’s NTT P1 Award with a lap of 1 minute, 5.1569 seconds (124.757 mph), and he followed that with a primal scream from the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet.

RESULTS: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio qualifying

“Take that,” he said to his difficult season. “That’s sticking it to them.”

Power went on to say he was happier than he could explain. The pole was his first since the opening two races of the season, earning the top qualifying spot at the season opener in St. Petersburg, Fla. and then at the Circuit Of The Americas in Austin, Texas.

“Just after the year we’ve had – even the past couple of weeks – it’s been bloody terrible,” Power said in referencing the street race in Toronto and the oval race at Iowa Speedway. “It’s been a couple of mistakes by me. I was determined to get pole here and equally so to win the race.

“It beats you down a bit when you have constant bad runs and things just don’t flow your way. There’s always a turning point; that’s the good news. When you have a bad race there’s a good chance the next one will be good. If 10 of them like mine haven’t been good, well, the next one will definitely be good.”

Power believes a breakthrough is inevitable if not divine.

“There’s going to have to be, with the speed we’ve got, a point where God just says, ‘Let him have it.'”

Hours after being confirmed to a multi-year extension with Andretti Autosport, 2018 NTT IndyCar Series championship runner-up Alexander Rossi qualified second in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda. Rossi earned his sixth front-row start of the season, but he was nearly four-tenths of a second slower than Power after “a pretty big slide” through Turns 4 and 5.

“I think we just ran out of tire,” he said of the lap of 1:05.5317 (124.044 mph). “You’re always disappointed if you miss (pole) by one or two hundredths because there’s a lot of things you can look back on over the lap to see things you could have done differently. But when it’s a gap of that size it’s OK.”

Team Penske driver Josef Newgarden, the series leader by 29 points over Rossi, will start Sunday’s 90-lap race in the third position after posting a lap of 1:05.7885 (123.560 mph) in the No. 2 Verizon Chevrolet. Teammate Simon Pagenaud will join Newgarden on the second row after a lap of 1:05.8958 (123.358 mph)in the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet.

Sebastien Bourdais, who ran 1:06.2040 (122.784 mph) in the No. 18 SealMaster Honda of Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan, also reached the Firestone Fast Six along with Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Felix Rosenqvist, who qualified his No. 10 Clover Chip Ganassi Racing Honda at 1:06.4914 (122.253 mph) and in the sixth and final position among the final group.

As part of Rossi’s contract renewal, Andretti Autosport announced it will continue to partner with Honda Performance Development, which the organization has worked with since the beginning of the 2014 season. Andretti Autosport has won five Indianapolis 500s with HPD, the most by any team in Honda’s history.

Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 will air on NBC at 4 p.m. ET. Radio broadcasts of the race will be available on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network and SiriusXM on Sirius 98, XM 209 and SXM 970.

News from INDYCAR: ‘What They’re Saying’ from Honda Indy 200 practice

What They’re Saying’ from Honda Indy 200 practice

Top 10 Drivers (combined practice results):

COLTON HERTA (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda): “We had a great end to the first day of practice at Mid-Ohio for the Honda 200. The No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda was so quick in Practice 2, so being able to finish quickest of the day feels great. Hopefully, we can keep that pace for qualifying tomorrow. The No. 88 boys continue to work so hard, so I’m hoping we can get that great result this weekend.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “Great first day here at Mid-Ohio for the Menards Chevrolet team. Today was hopefully a good snapshot of how the car is going to be in qualifying tomorrow. We feel competitive and confident, whether we are running on Firestone black tires or the reds (alternate tires), so we are in good shape. We’ll go back and look at all the little details tonight, so we are fully prepared for another good day tomorrow.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “The Verizon Chevy is definitely getting there. We made some improvements from the morning session to where we wound up in the afternoon. We are still doing better on the (Firestone) black tires than we are on the reds (Firestone alternate tires), so we’ll keep working on that. We are headed in the right direction for qualifying tomorrow, and hopefully, we can earn a good starting spot for Sunday’s race.”

FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 Clover Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “This is one of the few tracks I’ve been on in an Indy car before. After testing Scott’s (Dixon) car with the team twice here, it’s a different mindset in that you have an idea of what to expect. I think we had a good start in the Clover car. It was a good day and we’re making progress with the car, for sure. We just need to really focus on what the alternate tires are going to do tomorrow, as I think that will play a big role.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “I think it was a somewhat productive first day. It went by pretty quickly due to the limited amount of laps we wanted to put on these tires – we wanted to save them for qualifying tomorrow. All-in-all, I think we’re in the top five to seven right now. We need to make some big gains in the car tonight. We’re not going to be on pole with the current balance and qualifying is very important here, so we need to put our heads down and make some of the right setup changes tonight.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “Solid first day for us in the No. 5 Arrow car. We rolled off the truck pretty strong, which we were hoping to do after a strong showing here last year. The setup seems to have carried over pretty well. Obviously, the times are super close, a tenth (of a second) puts you into P2 this afternoon. We don’t need big changes, we just need to kind of tune it and put it all together over a lap and see where we shake out tomorrow. This is definitely a track position kind of race and qualifying is going to be very important, so that’s the focus overnight.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I think we need to do better than we’ve done here lately in terms of results. We need to get back to our winning ways. We’ve had success at Mid-Ohio as a team, as well as me personally, but that isn’t good enough right now. The track really evolves here and you really need to keep up with changes to understand what you need here to go fast. I think we made some gains here from last year and hope we get to continue to show that this weekend after a fast start in the PNC Bank car this morning. The second session wasn’t terrible. I spun early in one run and then the red (flag) came out when we were on our run on the alternate tires, so we didn’t get to post a time that reflected what we have.”

MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Overall, I think it was a good day here in Mid-Ohio. The first practice was decent. We did a pretty good setup when we came here to test for the Chevy day. We didn’t quite change the car for the afternoon because we knew the car was decent, so we just worked on the basics. Finishing the day in P7 was overall a pretty good day. The car is feeling good.  It’s a tough track, everybody is so close to each other. Two-tenths from seventh, you can be either third or you can be 15th. It’s just so close. We just have to focus on tomorrow’s qualifying.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet): “We made good gains with the Autogeek Chevrolet and it’s in a good spot. It’s a shame not to have been able to get a run in on the red (Firestone alternate) tires with that red flag coming out, but we have a good baseline for tomorrow. We’ll make a few more adjustments in the morning session, then be ready to go for qualifying.”

JACK HARVEY (No. 60 AutoNation SiriusXM Honda): “It’s the home race for Mike (Shank) and Mid-Ohio has been good to me in the past, but we are trying to execute a normal race weekend. We had a really positive day today and in the past when we have this kind of day, we continue to improve throughout the weekend. We found some areas that we wanted to work on after the first practice and once we changed those things, we were able to leapfrog up a couple of positions in Practice 2. This series is so competitive that it doesn’t matter how good you feel on Friday – it could completely flip on its head. I want to do a solid job for the entire Meyer Shank Racing team, as well as for our AutoNation and SiriusXM partners. It has been a great day and I hope we keep this momentum going.”

Remainder of Field (alphabetical):

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 UniFirst / Curb Honda): “It was a horrible day, to be honest. We were jumping all over the place with setups trying to find something we liked and then the red flag came out at the end there, so we didn’t get a lap on the reds (Firestone alternate tires) that we were looking for, so we really don’t know where we stand. We’ll put our heads together tonight, and hopefully, redeem ourselves tomorrow before qualifying.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 SealMaster Honda): “The SealMaster Honda No. 18 is very anchored. We’re pretty happy with the balance. There is still a little gain to make, but the car is good. We were three or four tenths off Will (Power) on blacks (Firestone primary tires) and right up there on reds (Firestone alternate tires). I lost a lap because of the red flag, but overall, pretty happy. We’ll see what we have tomorrow. Honestly, I was dreading a little bit about this weekend after such a strong performance last year in the race. It wasn’t completely fair because we had three sets of brand new red tires, and clearly, they were the better tire in the conditions on race day. So, I feel good about the fact that we found some performance today.”

MAX CHILTON (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “It was a solid day in Mid-Ohio today and I believe that we have top-10 pace in the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet. We showed it this morning with a 10th and again this afternoon, but unfortunately, we didn’t get a time on the reds (Firestone alternate tires) with that late red flag. We had a one-lap wonder at the end of that second practice where we were third-fastest overall and it was my fastest lap of the session with sort of stone-cold tires. I think we definitely have the potential to get another good qualifying result for the team similar to last year’s.”

RC ENERSON (No. 31 Lucas Oil School Carlin Chevrolet): “It’s my first time back with Carlin since Spring Training (February 2019) and my first INDYCAR race this season here at Mid-Ohio this weekend. It’s been awhile since I’ve been in a car, so both practice sessions were really just about taking baby steps back to getting comfortable with the No. 31 Lucas Oil School Carlin Chevrolet. The second practice session was even better than the first, and we were able to finally throw the reds (Firestone alternate tires) on and see the grip level there. I haven’t been on red tires in a very, very long time, so it was a bit of a surprise. We’re still working forward and every lap I’m starting to feel more and more comfortable in the car, so I think we’re making big steps forward already.”

MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “Like always, another new track for me to learn. I really like Mid-Ohio, it has a proper old school feel to it. Nice sweeping corners, a lot of elevation changes, so it’s definitely a driver’s type of track. It was fun to learn that. I think the day has been pretty good. We had quite a good first session getting used to the track; I think the Arrow SPM team rolled out with a good car straightaway. We finetuned for Practice 2, trying to get more laps in. I think we took some steps in the right direction. Still a bit more to find, but we’re making progress, and hopefully tomorrow, if we put everything together, we can be right up there.”

SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda): “In the first practice session this morning, I was still learning the track a little bit aboard the Indy car, as it’s completely different from what I’ve raced here in the past, and I struggled a lot with the car. Then going into the second session this afternoon, we changed a lot on our No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda. Everything felt a lot better. On the black (Firestone primary) tire run, we got caught up in traffic, and then when we put on the red Firestone (alternate) tires, the red flag came out. Unfortunately, we were not really able to show our pace because of that, but we know we have it. We’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”

ED JONES (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet): “We weren’t able to get a good lap in on the red (Firestone alternate) tires, so the results don’t show the true speed of the car. We definitely need to make some improvements heading into tomorrow, but we have a good idea on what we need to do, so I am feeling confident.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “We tried a different direction than the No. 4 (teammate Matheus Leist), and obviously, I think they found a better way. So, that’s we planned to do this weekend, to try to find something that works, so now we’re going to what they have and be up there with them.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet): “Unfortunately, I just got loose and went off track late in the afternoon session today. Thankfully, the damage isn’t too bad and the PPG Team Penske guys are the best, so they’ll get everything fixed up for tomorrow. We were just a little off with the car in the second practice, so we will get that fixed as well and be ready to go with the PPG Chevy on Saturday.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Honda): “We tried a lot today and made a big swing in the second session after struggling in Practice 1. Everyone puts a lot into this program, so I know it’s not a lack of effort, but we’re not in the ballpark right now. We still have tomorrow to figure it out so we’re going to dig in and come back out here fighting tomorrow.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): “Obviously, we’re not where we’d like to be at the end of the day. We tried a few different things, so we know what doesn’t work, but we need to find what does. We were hoping to get a good run in just before the red flag came out, so we can’t really gauge how we ended, we just know we need to work overnight to figure out what it is we’re missing. Luckily, Ryan (Hunter-Reay, teammate) found something that was a little beneficial, so hopefully, we can take that and build off of it.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): “It was a little bit of a tough day. The session was interrupted by a red lap and we never got a timed lap with the red (Firestone alternate) tire, which was a shame, and I believe a lot of people are in the same boat. However, we are still on the bottom of the timesheets, so we need to find the speed. Last year, we came back quite strong in Practice 3, so hopefully, overnight we will analyze and come back better tomorrow.  We are struggling with a little bit of everything. Struggling on rotation, snap oversteer and the stability on power.”

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): “Trying to get the car right has been the biggest struggle of today. We made good progress from 20th to 14th in Practice 2, so hopefully, we can do the same tomorrow in Practice 3 and be where we need to contend for the (Firestone) Fast Six like we did last year. We just need some help in some places and I think we’ll be well on our way to do that.”

News from INDYCAR: Herta tops opening day of practice at Mid-Ohio

Herta tops opening day of practice at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio (Friday, July 26, 2019) – The NTT IndyCar Series has one of the most competitive rookie classes in recent memory, and one of those in the four-man battle set the pace Friday for the Honda Indy 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Colton Herta, who drives for Harding Steinbrenner Racing, ran a lap of 1 minute, 5.7292 seconds in the No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda to edge Team Penske veterans Simon Pagenaud and Will Power. Pagenaud was second Friday on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course in the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet (1:05.9313) with Power third driving the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet (1:05.9935).

Results: Combined Session Report

Herta trails Felix Rosenqvist of Chip Ganassi Racing by 34 points for top first-year honors. Santino Ferrucci of Dale Coyne Racing is second, trailing Rosenqvist by 14 points. Marcus Ericsson of Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports is the other full-time driver in the rookie battle. The separation between the four is just 43 points through 12 races.

“It’s really close right now,” Herta said.

Winning the NTT P1 Award as Saturday’s top qualifier would give one of them another point toward capturing Rookie of the Year honors. Should Herta or Rosenqvist win the pole, they would become the first rookie to win multiple Indy car poles since Danica Patrick won three poles in 2005. Saturday’s qualifying is at 2:35 p.m. ET (TV: NBCSN, Radio: Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, SiriusXM Channel 209).

Herta initially said he doesn’t pay attention to the rookie standings, but then he noted that Rosenqvist leads, a sign that he indeed cares. Pagenaud noticed the contradiction.

“You don’t know (the order), but you know,” Pagenaud said, drawing a smile from Herta.

“Exactly,” Herta said. “(Being Rookie of the Year) would be great, but honestly I’m just focused on not running with the rookies but running with everyone, trying to be the best with everyone.”

Herta has been successful at the latter, winning the race at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, qualifying fifth for the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge and winning the pole at Road America. Herta, 19, is the youngest winner of a pole and a race in the history of the sport.

“Colton has been a breath of fresh air, quite frankly,” Pagenaud said. “He (has) showed tremendous speed on the road course, certainly pushed the old guys. That’s what we need.”

Pagenaud also complimented Rosenqvist on his season – the Swede was fourth on Friday’s speed chart – and called the foursome “a great rookie class.”

“At the end of the day, it’s about being complete,” said Pagenaud, who added this year’s Indianapolis 500 victory to his 2016 NTT IndyCar Series championship. “That’s what (the rookies) are trying to do. It’s fun to watch from my seat, for sure.”

Carpenter named event’s Grand Marshal

Former Ohio State football standout Bobby Carpenter, a former first-round NFL draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys, was named Grand Marshal of the Honda Indy 200. He will offer the command to start engines for Sunday’s 90-lap race (4 p.m. ET, TV: NBC, Radio: Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, SiriusXM Channel 209).

The Lancaster, Ohio, native co-hosts the popular “Carpenter & Rothman Show” radio show airing weekdays in Columbus.

Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Fast Facts

Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Fast Facts Race weekend: Friday, July 26 – Sunday, July 28 Track: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, a 13-turn, a 2.258-mile road course in Lexington, Ohio Race distance: 90 laps / 203.22 miles Entry List: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (PDF) Push-to-pass parameters: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation….

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Iowa 300 Race Report and Quotes

Newgarden scores another dominant win at Iowa Speedway NEWTON, Iowa (Sunday, July 21, 2019) – The hour of day at Iowa Speedway was different, but the domination by Josef Newgarden was not. And this time, he won the Iowa 300. For the fourth time in five years, Newgarden led the most laps in the race…

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News from INDYCAR: ‘What They’re Saying’ from Iowa 300 qualifying

‘What They’re Saying’ from Iowa 300 qualifying

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): “Yeah, just not enough today, so we will go tomorrow. I think it will be fine, it just wasn’t enough there. The Hitachi car, it feels good. Chevy, I think, has done a great job for us, so now we will work on the race.”

MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Tough qualifying here at Iowa, to be honest. I thought we were going to be a little bit better, but it is what it is. The track was really dirty on the outside and I’ve been running the outside all practice long. I never tried the inside, and on my warmup lap, I had a moment because the track was so slippery, so I had to change the line and try the inside. Everybody has to adapt, but I don’t know, didn’t quite do a great job today. Just looking forward to the race now.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “A good run for No. 5 Arrow car. These track conditions are so tough right now with the temperatures the way they are, the wind the way it is. I have to thank (teammate) Marcus (Ericsson) for giving me good advice from his run. We’re starting better than we did last year and we won from 11th last year. The race car was really good in practice, so thanks to the Arrow SPM boys for giving us a strong car. We’ll see where we can go from here.”

MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): “I think that was a decent qualifying. Obviously, top 10 is a good result. I’m still learning a lot on the ovals and this is a very different type of oval compared to Texas and Indianapolis. I think we made some good setup changes from practice where I wasn’t 100 percent happy with the car, but the Arrow car is in a much better place for me now. I still feel like it was not the perfect run on the driving side; there is still time there to find, but the result is good. We know we have a strong car. I think we should be very pleased with our starting position for tomorrow. We can have a really great result and a great race from P10.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “We tried a few different things today for qualifying and might have missed a little there. I think the PNC Bank car felt good on long runs though. Hopefully, that means we’ll be good for the race. Obviously, conditions will change and you need to keep up with that. It doesn’t really matter where you start here unless you’re dead last. We’ll keep working on it, and hopefully, have a car to compete with tomorrow night.”

FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “I think it definitely helped for us to have the test here. It helped getting up to speed here in practice this morning, for sure. I didn’t feel great with my qualifying run. The balance didn’t seem quite right, and so that’s something we need to go back and work on with the PNC Bank car.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “Is it any surprise that I’m second? Is it any surprise (laughter)? It isn’t for me. That’s just this year. No, (the run) was actually pretty good. The car was good. All three (Penske) cars were good.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Frustrating. I think I could have been a little bit better. Obviously, the track had some oil dry and that’s the price we pay when we qualify early. The track is only going to get better. The way you do the qualifying draw is by championship points and we didn’t do ourselves any favors by being in the back. This is a track where I led over 500 laps in the course of my career and have a lot of podium finishes, so I’m hopeful this will be our turnaround weekend for sure.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 One Cure Honda): “Practice didn’t go great and you could see that by the lap times. Qualifying was good, I thought we did a good, solid job. The car had a lot of understeer, but compared to practice, I’ll take it. The One Cure car seemed to have pace; we’ve just got to refine that. And in 175-degree temps, it’s hard to refine. Now we move on to final practice in race time conditions and we’ll see what we’ve got.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 SealMaster Honda): “The No. 18 SealMaster Honda car was OK this morning. Then for the qualifying run, I had no grip. I’m not sure what happened between the morning practice and qualifying. We’ll take a look at the data and see what we can come up with.”

SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda): “It’s difficult getting adjusted to the short oval. It’s tough, to say the least. I was loose my whole run. The car was moving out of Turn 2 and I had a massive moment out of Turn 4, so I just kept my foot in it. That said, I’m happy with our qualifying run today. It’s our best start on an oval. Now we have to keep it going tomorrow. Hopefully, we can move up the field during the race and get another top 10 finish on an oval.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “We expected the track to be a little more free than what it was. We tightened up our car for qualifying having expected the conditions and the rubber from the previous series to free us up. It was the wrong way; we were way too tight and had way too much understeer, so it was hard to attack like you want to in qualifying. A little frustrating because I was happy with the Autogeek Chevrolet in practice, especially on race runs. I thought we had better pace than what we showed. Our qual sim in practice wasn’t that good, so I thought we were going to have a lot better showing in qualifying. The beauty of this racetrack is it has multiple lanes, so you can get to the front if you have a good car. We’ll just have to get it right tonight in this next practice and have a strong first stint tomorrow to protect ourselves and stay on the lead lap.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet): “We definitely need to see where we can improve. The car has been a bit of a handful so far. We had a great race here last year, so we know what we need from the car. We just have to try and find it. Hopefully, we can have a good session this evening and get the Autogeek Chevy back up front.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet): “(The qualifying session) was very intense, with the temperature being so high. The tarmac (track temperature) was 135 degrees Fahrenheit. In these conditions, the car slides around quite a bit. It’s all about having the right balance on the race car. We had a good snapshot this morning of how the car was. We ran quite a bit in traffic. We knew we had to make some adjustments to be really strong on long runs. At the end, we did a qualifying run. (it was) pretty good. Ben (Bretzman) is really good at this stuff, my engineer. We just worked on the little details and made sure we would have enough balance and grip to go through the corner.”

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): “We just missed the mark by a mile. We had really good pace in the first practice session, ending P10. We thought we had a lot more in the car and the changes we made between sessions was just not the way to go. I had too much understeer and couldn’t carry the speed we need. It is embarrassing to be starting 20th, but we will find a way to make our way to the front, like we usually do.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda): “It has been a tough day, for sure. We can’t really focus on one end of the car; we are fighting both of them. That (sixth place) was our potential, maybe fourth. The Penske cars have looked really strong, which is unfortunate. We have one more (practice) session this afternoon to really dial in that No. 27 NAPA Andretti Honda.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We were a bit handcuffed during our run, meaning I couldn’t really shift the balance one way or the other with the tools. I was too loose mid-corner and then (had) big understeer really late. The rear of the car would straighten up, then after that, the front would really take off coming up the hill. There wasn’t much I could do with it. I just had to ride it out. We just missed the balance. It’s unfortunate, but if you have a good race car here you can make it all up. That’s what we’ll be looking to do – try to get this DHL 28 car up to the front.”

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda): “The first lap was pretty good, but unfortunately, on the second lap I had a huge wash out in Turn 2 and had to lift. Considering we had a difficult practice this morning, I think the team did a great job. Iowa is always special for me since I got my first pole position here. There is no rest here. The whole way, all 300 laps, is just very exciting and a hard battle. We had a good race last year and there is no reason why we can repeat that this year.”

SAGE KARAM (No. 31 SmartStop Self Storage Carlin Chevrolet): “I’m really pleased with our qualifying effort this afternoon here at Iowa. The track was a bit different than it was this morning with the ARCA cars running around this afternoon. They put their rubber down and I think it took a few runs from a few of us up front in the qualifying line to get the Firestone rubber laid back down. I’d say that definitely threw a curve ball in our plan, but we had a really good run and the No. 31 SmartStop Self Storage Carlin Chevrolet felt really good. The car is nice and smooth and feels really consistent, so I was happy to bring it home and get a 14th-place starting position for Carlin and Smart Stop Self Storage.”

CONOR DALY (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “The conditions were really tough out there, especially being the first car out after the ARCA cars ran right before qualifying. There was junk rubber and oil all over the outside, which made it tough to run up high. I love lane two in Turns 3 and 4, which is where I was really comfortable all morning in practice, but I just couldn’t run it. I had to be pretty dedicated to the low line and I just didn’t like it down there. It’s just a shame, because I think the No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet had a little more speed in it than that. We’re going to put our focus now on tonight’s practice and get our race car a bit more fine-tuned before green flag tomorrow night.”

COLTON HERTA (No. 88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda): “We had a really great turnaround from what we had in Practice 1. We struggled this morning and finished 18th, so to recover from that to qualify 11th is great. Looking forward to tomorrow’s race at Iowa Speedway. I’ve always loved racing here. The No. 88 Harding Steinbrenner boys have been working so hard and strong. We’re looking for a good result.

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda): “The car caught me out. It was pretty different end to end from practice. The car was really loose in Turns 3 and 4, then we had understeer in Turns 1 and 2. The lap is a short one, making it hard to switch back and forth with the tools. We need to find that balance during practice tonight. We have to get the car working over the bumps. This team was pretty good here when it was smooth and now it feels almost like a different racetrack.”

News from INDYCAR: Track big or small, Pagenaud fastest in NTT P1 Award qualifying

Track big or small, Pagenaud fastest in NTT P1 Award qualifying

NEWTON, Iowa (Friday, July 19, 2019) – Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud is on a drive to win his second NTT IndyCar Series championship, and he is doing so with excellence at various types of tracks.

A week after winning the Toronto street race from the pole, the winner of the large-oval Indianapolis 500 captured Friday’s NTT P1 Award at Iowa Speedway, the season’s smallest track. Pagenaud will lead a field of 22 cars to the green flag of Saturday’s Iowa 300 (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network and SiriusXM Channel 209).

The number of laps in Friday’s qualifying is half of what is required at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but it’s no less intense. The laps are quick and busy, a 17-second blur over 7/8th of a mile. Only Pagenaud completed the two laps at an average speed in excess of 180 mph.

The ability to excel in different disciplines is what Pagenaud is most proud of.

“We do superspeedways, one-and-a-half-mile speedways, short ovals, street courses, road courses,” he said. “To win a championship here, you need to be really complete. It takes a lifetime to be a complete driver, let me tell you.

“But that’s what I enjoy about INDYCAR – the diversity in skills, in tracks. I think for the fans, they get everything they want to see throughout the season.”

RESULTS: Iowa 300 qualifying

Pagenaud’s 180.073 mph run produced his third pole of the season and second in four years at this venue. He will receive a bonus point for the effort, drawing him to 38 points of the series lead with six remaining races. As competitive as the series is, each point matters.

Pagenaud still trails teammate Josef Newgarden, the series points leader, and Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi, who is four points behind Newgarden. Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing is 86 points out of the top spot.

Team Penske drivers swept the top three qualifying positions with Will Power second (179.589 mph) and Newgarden third (179.449). It is the fifth consecutive year one of Roger Penske’s drivers have won the pole, with Power securing the previous two. But nothing will be a given during Saturday’s race, especially with the traffic typically created by short-oval racing. Last year there were 234 passes for position and 955 overall.

Team Penske’s only race win at Iowa came in 2017 with Helio Castroneves. Last year, Newgarden led 229 of the 300 laps, but was forced to settle for a fourth-place finish when three other drivers passed on a late chance to pit for new tires. No pole winner has won the Iowa race.

“You make one mistake (and) you can find yourself a lap behind (the leader),” Pagenaud said. “It’s important to stay on top of your game the whole time. It’s also important not to freak out. When the (car’s) balance goes away, sometimes you tend to get stressed out and gain a sense of urgency. That’s when you make more mistakes.

“Very important to keep your emotions in check, but also you have to be aggressive. You can’t go through traffic without being aggressive. It’s a very fine line. It’s very difficult to find that (proper) rhythm.”

Friday’s qualifying was held amid searing heat, with track temperatures pushing 135 degrees. Conditions figure to be better for the race, which should end a half-hour after official sunset. How competitors manage tires will help determine the outcome.

Takuma Sato of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing qualified fourth (177.646 mph) with James Hinchcliffe of Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports fifth (176.200 mph) and Rossi sixth (176.057 mph). Dixon of qualified eighth at 175.725 mph.

Among the top title contenders, only Newgarden is a former race winner here.

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