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Verizon IndyCar Series 2018 Season Recap

INDYCAR SEASON RECAP CHECKERED FLAG. The 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series has come and gone, and the numbers say this has been one of our best seasons of the decade. With five trips to victory lane, five Verizon P1 Awards and 24 top-five finishes the Andretti Autosport team lit a fire of determination to push to the top….

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Race Report: Verizon IndyCar Series

INDYCAR GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA PRACTICE REPORT

09.14.18 The first official on-track day from Sonoma Raceway is in the books as the series nears the season’s end and the crowning of a champion. The filed of 25 will return to the 2.385-mile track Saturday for one round of practice and an afternoon qualifying session. Qualifying will be a delayed broadcast at 8…

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INDYCAR GRAND PRIX OF SONOMA

  Verizon IndyCar Series   OF NOTE: Local favorite, Alexander Rossi, heads into the season finale just 29 points behind leader Scott Dixon. Rossi has remained inside the top three in championship standings the entirety of the 2018 season. Rossi has completed the most laps of any driver this season (2281 of 2283 laps), has earned eight…

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Fernando Alonso takes on Indy car road course test

Q&A WITH FERNANDO ALONSO:
Question: Tell me a little bit about your experience today – you kind of got experience with two things in the car: wet, a little bit wet and dry, right?
ALO: “Yeah, it was a good day, a fun day. I love to test new cars and to test the INDYCAR on a road course is something special. I’ve been lucky enough to test it in wet conditions, in intermediate conditions and in dry conditions, so overall I had a good feeling on every type of track. The weather was good for us today – a little bit of wind in the afternoon but overall a positive day.” 
Question: You’ve now driven on a superspeedway and a road course – which one do you prefer?
ALO: “Probably my instinct will tell me road course, because it’s what I’ve been used to doing all my life, but the Indy 500 was an amazing experience, so 50/50. I think I love the way the car feels on a road course, but I love the way you compete on ovals, timing the tows, traffic and all the overtaking manoeuvres I think are a little bit easy on the ovals, so in terms of track action I loved the Indy 500.” 
Question: Do you call this kind of a bucket list item for you just getting to drive different things and new experiences?
ALO: “Yeah, definitely. It was something that I was looking for last year already. I had some options to test the car on a road course after the INDY 500. We didn’t find the time but this year it’s definitely happened now and I’m happy for this. I love being behind a steering wheel, and definitely a new car, a new experience, learning a lot of things from the team, the engineers, everyone, so a happy day.”

OVER THE WALL: OUTSIDE REAR

Follow along with the crews of Andretti Autosport as they break down their pitstop positions in a new video series titled “Over The Wall”. The fifth episode focuses on the outside rear where Kyle and Ryan teach us that smooth is fast during a Verizon IndyCar Series pit stop.  Tune in as the last position will…

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GRAND PRIX OF PORTLAND RACE REPORT

VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES
GRAND PRIX OF PORTLAND
RACE REPORT
09.02.18

The team collected a 14th-podium finish of the season today as DHL driver Ryan Hunter-Reay grabbed a second-place finish at the Grand Prix of Portland. Deep in the championship hunt, Alexander Rossi slid to 29 points behind Scott Dixon with one race – a double-points event – remaining.

With all eyes on the championship fight, the Verizon IndyCar Series heads to Sonoma Raceway for the 2018 finale event. Live broadcast of the INDYCAR Gand Prix of Sonoma kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 16.

RYAN HUNTER-REAY, No. 28 DHL HONDA

  • STARTED 5th // FINISHED 2nd
  • CHAMPIONSHIP: 5th (462 pts.)
  • OF NOTE: Led a total of 19 laps on his way to a 44th career podium in second place // Committed early and executed a two-stop pit strategy, leaving Hunter-Reay in fuel-save mode for a majority of the race and battling untimely yellow flags // Missed the opportunity to attack from P2 during a delay in the race’s last yellow-flag period being called

“We gave that one away. The DHL car was the car to beat today – we had the right fuel but we had some miscommunication on pit lane. I was saving fuel as Takuma came out of the pit lane and so I didn’t attack. That miscommunication probably cost us the race. I’m pretty bummed right now. I know we had a car to win and all day long I tried really hard to save that fuel and made the fuel mileage the stand was requesting, but couldn’t pay off for it in the end.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI, No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS HONDA

  • STARTED 3rd // FINISHED 8th
  • CHAMPIONSHIP: 2nd (569 pts.)
  • OF NOTE: Led 32 laps, the most in the field earning two bonus points, on his way to an eighth-place finish // An untimely yellow played with the 27 team’s strategy, pushing the car to mid-pack, falling behind points leader Scott Dixon // The championship gap rose three points ahed of the double-point season finale Sept. 16 in Sonoma

“It’s one of those days. We had a fast car – the NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda was really quick out front and we were able to build a seven-second gap. Our tire strategy was going to plan and everything was good until the yellow came on Lap 56. It hurts a lot and hopefully it’s not something that costs us the championship. We just have to rebound and move on from it and know that it’s something that’s out of our control. Now it’s time to refocus and be ready to attack for Sonoma.”

ZACH VEACH, No. 26 GROUP 1001 HONDA

  • STARTED: 6th // FINISHED 19th
  • CHAMPIONSHIP: 15th (281 pts.)
  • ROOKIE OF THE YEAR RANK: 2nd
  • OF NOTE: Ran solidly inside the top four for the first stint after making a career best start from sixth // With 55 laps complete while running in sixth – after giving up a position for a blocking penalty – Veach ran off course and finishing one lap down in 19th

“It was a really tough race. We made contact on the start as we made our way up to fourth and that damaged our undertray quite a bit. Because of that, we were running around with a few hundred pounds less downforce – and that made the car very difficult to drive. We were trying to make up for that damage and just pushed a little too hard and made a mistake and that ended our race putting us a lap down. I’m frustrated in myself – I should’ve been a little more patient in what we had.”

MARCO ANDRETTI, No. 98 MILITARYTOMOTORSPORTS.COM / CURB HONDA

  • STARTED 9th // FINISHED 25th [out, contact]
  • CHAMPIONSHIP: 12th (332 pts)
  • OF NOTE: Was collected in a multi-car incident on the opening lap leaving the No. 98 upside down on track // Andretti emerged from the incident without assistance and was checked, cleared and released by IndyCar medical // With damage to the 98 not allowing the car to return to competition, Andretti was scored at a 25th-place result

“I’m really lucky that when [I was upside down] nobody else hit me – that would’ve been bad, but it looked like the seas were about to part for me. As soon as I backed off for Hinch’s spin, I think Graham got into the back of me – at least that’s what he and I discussed. [Graham] didn’t see Hinch spin and I did so when I backed off he got into me. I almost thought we were going to make it through Portland Turn 1 – which we did. It was Turn 2 that got us though.”

GRAND PRIX OF PORTLAND QUALIFYING REPORT

VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES
GRAND PRIX OF PORTLAND
QUALIFYING REPORT
09.01.18

The field is set for IndyCar’s first race at Portland International Raceway since 2007, and all four Andretti drivers worked their way into Segment 2 of qualifying to roll off from inside the top nine.

The 105 lap Grand Prix of Portland will go green at 3:09 p.m. ET with live broadcast starting at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS HONDA
STARTING POSITION: 3rd
QUALIFYING TIME: 57.7361 seconds
OF NOTE:  Starting eight spots ahead of championship leader Scott Dixon // Trailing in the points lead by 26 points entering the penultimate race of the season
“I think at the end of the day you have to take the good with the bad and it’s unfortunate to not get Pole. It’s disappointing because I don’t think our car had the pace that Will [Power] did and he’s been kind of the car to beat all weekend and we’re struggling to find that extra little bit. The positive is obviously we are ahead of Scott [Dixon] so we have to maximize that tomorrow as best we can. Hopefully, being on the inside for Turn 1 is a good thing because I know it’s definitely tight down there and it’s a long run down. On the outside you are exposed and that’s not a good thing. Third is better than second but definitely worse than first, so we’ll put our heads together and try to come up with a car to run up front.”

No. 28 DHL HONDA
  • STARTING POSITION: 5th
  • QUALIFYING TIME: 57.9699 seconds
  • OF NOTE: Made his fourth Firestone Fast Six appearance of the season to secure a ninth top-six start this year
“It’s been a pretty rough weekend just on rhythm. Trying to get a rhythm, trying to get laps in with traffic and everything else, but we had a nice little turn around from yesterday. The DHL Honda really wasn’t doing what I needed it to do. I don’t think we’re out of the ballpark completely, but we made some good changes, and really worked with the teammates. Marco [Andretti] has been fast all weekend, so we worked with him a bit trying to get the right setup on the car for today and it definitely gave me what I needed and that was nice. We just need to put our heads together now and try to figure out what we are going to do for the race. It’s going to be completely different. All in all it was a pretty good turnaround today and we’ll look forward to tomorrow. Zach Veach did a really great job. I’m really proud of the kid. If you got to see some of the data traces and what he is doing, he’s really committed, super committed. Some of the sessions that are really, really hairy and could have huge consequences, he’s sometimes the best – it’s cool to see that. He’s done a really good job and he’s a great teammate.”

No. 26 GROUP 1001 HONDA
  • STARTING POSITION: 6th
  • QUALIFYING TIME: 58.1057 seconds
  • OF NOTE: Made his first career Firestone Fast Six appearance
“I think [securing a best career starting position] is a little bit of confidence, understanding the car, knowing where the speed is at and I’m very lucky to have the teammates I do. Every weekend they set the bar insanely high, I’m trying to close the gap. Each weekend it gets easier and easier. You see where that level is going to be, that’s what you strive to get to. I’m lucky. The past three places that we ran at, I think lot of it’s an experience gap between rookies and guys that have been doing this, lucky to test at Gateway, Pocono, here about a month ago. That really helps you get up to speed a little quicker and have a better understanding how to get towards the top of the charts.”

No. 98 MilitaryToMotorsports.com / CURB HONDA
STARTING POSITION: 9th
QUALIFYING TIME: 57.7277 seconds
OF NOTE: Despite finishing in the top four on the combined practice charts, will roll off from ninth for Sunday’s 105-lap race // Earned his eighth top-10 start of the season
“The car today didn’t have the potential that it had yesterday. We were battling with both ends of the car and I’m bummed we didn’t stay with the track because we went from running the best all weekend to the worst on the team when it counts – so I’m pretty disappointed but we’ll come back fighting tomorrow.”

GRAND PRIX OF PORTLAND PRACTICE REPORT

VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES
GRAND PRIX OF PORTLAND
PRACTICE REPORT
08.31.18

The first official day of track activity at Portland International Raceway has concluded after seeing two practice sessions for this weekend’s Grand Prix of Portland.

Tomorrow the field of 25 will see one last practice session before they qualify on the 1.967-mile road course. NBC Sports Network will cover the qualifying session at 7:30 p.m. ET.

MARCO ANDRETTI, No. 98 MILITARYTOMOTORSPORTS.COM/CURB HONDA

  • Ended the day fourth quickest overall with a fast lap time of 57.4668 seconds
  • Finished each session the top Andretti driver and ended the second session in P2

“We’ve been in the top four all weekend and the car is particularly good on [Firestone] Reds. I think we can still make a small improvement, but I think we have enough to make it into the Firestone Fast Six tomorrow. We’ve been guessing correctly with the balance between the [Firestone] Blacks and Reds and that makes it fun for me because we’re kind of hitting it on both compounds, and I think if we follow the track correctly, we can have a shot at pole.”

ZACH VEACH, No. 26 GROUP 1001 HONDA

  • Ended the day ninth quickest overall with a fast lap time of 57.7225 seconds
  • Finished both practice sessions in the top 10

“Overall today was pretty good. I’m a little upset that we didn’t get the most out of our Firestone [Reds] at the end of the day. I made a small mistake that put us P8 instead of probably in the top three. I think we have a pretty good car and a pretty good chance this weekend but I need to put it altogether.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI, No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS HONDA

  • Ended the day 11th quickest overall with a fast lap time of 57.7892 seconds

“We made good progress from yesterday to today. We weren’t able to get our fast lap in at the end of the session when we were on [Firestone] Reds, which is unfortunate, but I think the car is pretty good. It’s very difficult to pull it all together around here with it being such a short lap. We’re going to have to keep moving forward and stay on top of the conditions, but I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY, No. 28 DHL HONDA

  • Ended the day 19th quickest overall with a fast lap time of 57.9253

“Today was just one of those days when absolutely nothing went right, especially during the second session with new [Firestone] Red tires – we weren’t able to get a good run on them. Cars kept coming out in front of us on track, and we weren’t able to get our run going or able to do anything with it. I think right now we’re about a P7 car and that’s not going to cut it. We need to go back to the drawing board tonight and make sure the DHL machine has a shot at the pole tomorrow.”

OVER THE WALL: INSIDE REAR

Follow along with the crews of Andretti Autosport as they break down their pitstop positions in a new video series titled “Over The Wall”. The fourth episode takes us to the inside rear where Brad hums a very interesting song during each Verizon IndyCar Series pit stop.  Tune in as the remaining two positions will be…

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