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Hunter-Reay seeking more magic at the mile

August 12th, 2014

8.12.14 (via indycar.com) – Of Ryan Hunter-Reay’s eight Indy car starts at Milwaukee, he has three victories, has led 399 of the 1,260 laps and has one pole among his five top-10 starts.

“I have some great memories of the Milwaukee Mile and it’s been great to me,” he says with a nod to understatement.

Naturally, Hunter-Reay is looking forward to returning to the Mile this week for the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest. He is third in the Verizon IndyCar Series championship standings – 63 points behind front-runner Will Power of Team Penske with three races left. Eleven drivers enter the 250-lap race Aug. 17 mathematically eligible for the title.

A third consecutive victory on the historic oval — which would match a feat accomplished by Tom Sneva from August 1982 to June 1984 — would greatly assist Hunter-Reay’s prospects of securing his second series title just as the June 2012 Milwaukee race. The eighth of 16 rounds on the schedule, Hunter-Reay overtook Helio Castroneves and led the final 84 of 225 laps for his first victory of the season. He exited the event fourth in the standings (41 points behind Power), and went on to also win at Iowa and Toronto in a three-week span.

The streak led Hunter-Reay to the top of the standings (34 points ahead of Power), and results of the intervening four races set up a title showdown in the finale at Auto Club Speedway. Hunter-Reay finished fourth while Power placed 24th after an early incident in the 250-lap race on the 2-mile oval to earn the championship by three points.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Formula E completes full event simulation ahead of first ever race

August 11th, 2014

8.11.14 (via FIA Formula E) – Formula E has completed two full event simulations as the world’s first all-electric single-seater championship gears up for its first race in Beijing on September 13.

Both events took place at Leicestershire’s Donington Park, where a temporary pitlane and pitboxes were assembled to mimic those that will be in place at the street circuits the series will visit. Accreditation procedures, operational and IT infrastructures and even television broadcasts were also meticulously tested.

During the second simulation, for the first time the 10 teams ran all four of their cars as the two non-qualifying sessions, qualifying and an endurance test were completed to the schedule that will take place at the races.

This meant that all of the teams and drivers had the opportunity to simulate the unique car change pitstops – and at the second simulation – a full standing start.

While a number of issues were encountered, which was the reason for running the simulation, overall the events were considered to be a success.

Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, said: “Putting on a major sporting event in the heart of cities around the world is a massive undertaking and requires careful preparation. We want the Formula E Beijing ePrix to a fantastic spectacle, which is why we’re leaving nothing to chance by rigorously testing all the systems beforehand. Overall we’re very pleased with how things went.”

Organisers have also revealed the raceday timetable for each Formula E event, which takes place all in one day. The 10 teams and 20 drivers will have two non-qualifying sessions in the morning – lasting 45 minutes and 30 minutes – followed by a qualifying session split into four groups of five cars with the order selected at random beforehand. The race itself will last approximately 60 minutes with the race distance (exact number of laps) determined on the day.

The final Formula E pre-season test takes place at Donington Park on August 19 with free admission to the public. Some 4000 fans have already pre-registered their interest for the last opportunity to see the cars and drivers before the season opener.

For more information on Formula E visit www.fiaformulae.com. To register for the final Formula E test click here: http://www.donington-park.co.uk/events/formula-e-testing/2014/08/19/fia-formula-e-official-test/

 

 

Hinchcliffe threads the needle, then sews up first podium of year

August 4th, 2014

8.3.14 (via motorsportstalk.com) - Today’s Honda 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course could have ended right after it had begun for James Hinchcliffe.
 
When Tony Kanaan spun out in the middle of the track on the opening corner, the field behind the Brazilian scattered everywhere in a bid to avoid his car.
 
One of them was Hinchcliffe, who started 17th on the grid and had to “thread the needle” between multiple cars, then avoid Kanaan to his outside at the exit of the turn.
 
Needless to say, things were pretty tight…
 
But Hinchcliffe made it out in one piece and even better, he had improved all the way to sixth. The Andretti Autosport driver would rise even further before coming home third in today’s race to claim his first podium finish of the 2014 IndyCar season.
 
“Obviously, it was nice to finally get a break in the United Fiber and Data car and get on the podium,” he told NBCSN afterwards. “This start was manic, man. I kinda went down into [Turn] 4 there and the seas kind of part before me.
 
“I feel bad for the guys that got involved in that wreck, but obviously it opened a door for us and we were able to take advantage.”
 
Hinchcliffe hovered around that sixth place position for the middle stages of the race, but on his final stop at Lap 67, Hinchcliffe was able to come out ahead of pole sitter Sebastien Bourdais in second place.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Grist pounces at Mid-Ohio to take second win for Andretti Autosport

August 4th, 2014

8.3.14 (via RACER.com) – Garett Grist lined up third on the grid for Sunday morning's Cooper Tires Pro Mazda Grand Prix at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Round 11 of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, but he didn't stay there for long. The 19-year-old from Grimsby, Ont., Canada pounced at the rolling start, moving alongside front row starters Nicolas Costa and Kyle Kaiser on the drag race toward Turn Four before taking the lead with a bold maneuver to secure the inside line – and the lead – into Turn Six.
 
Grist remained under pressure for the entire 20-lap race from Costa, who ensured a fine weekend for Team Pelfrey after winning yesterday's race and claiming the additional bonus point this morning for setting fastest race lap by a scant 0.001 seconds over Grist. The Canadian's second victory of the season with Andretti Autosport's #27 DaVinci Foods/Lander Property Management entry moved him up one place in the season standings to fifth, just two points behind teammate Shelby Blackstock who was unfortunately involved in an incident even before the green flag had been waved.
 
"We were able to get into second in corner one and hold the outside in corner two to get the lead. From there, we never looked back," related Grist. "The car was great. I never had to touch the bar or anything. I just set sail, and set consistent laps. At the end, I had to turn it up a bit because Nicolas [Costa] was catching up but I was able to do that relatively easily, and from there we just pulled away even more at the end. It's my second win this year and it feels good. Hopefully, we can get another at Milwaukee in two weeks."
 
 
 
 
 
 

Munoz making waves as top rookie

July 30th, 2014

7.30.14 (via RACER.com) – Andretti Autosport's Carlos Munoz has been shot out of a cannon since making his debut at the 2013 Indy 500. Qualifying and finishing second at the Speedway, Munoz has gone on to score three podiums this year and holds seventh in the championship.
 
And now, as he looks to close his first full season of Verizon IndyCar Series competition, the young Colombian is trying to match the best rookie season in recent history as he jockeys for position with open-wheel champions Juan M​ontoya, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan for a top-5 finish in the standings.
 
The 23-year-old will need to place fifth if he wants to equal Simon Pagenaud's impressive rookie campaign in 2012, and among his Andretti teammates, Marco Andretti's run to seventh in the championship as a rookie in 2006 ranks as the best in-house goal to pursue, but it won't be easy to achieve fifth or seventh.
 
The drivers he needs to get in front of have been gaining momentum, and with Kanaan, Andretti and Sebastien Bourdais breathing down his neck, Munoz will need to drive like a veteran over the final four rounds if he wants to hold onto his current position.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Don’t Miss Out: Driver Appearances for Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

July 29th, 2014

7.29.14 - Don't miss out on your opportunity to visit with all our Pro Mazda, Indy Lights and IndyCar drivers! Check out the list of appearances for our weekend at Mid-Ohio! 

 

 

Thursday, July 31

Marco Andretti

Wal-Mart

2485 Possum Run Rd. Mansfield, OH 44903 

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

 

 

Friday, August 1

Shelby Blackstock & Garett Grist

Pro Mazda Autograph Session

INDYCAR Fan Village 

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

 

 

Saturday, August 2

Zach Veach & Matthew Brabham

Indy Lights Autograph Session

INDYCAR Fan Village 

11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

 

Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Carlos Munoz & James Hinchcliffe

Verizon IndyCar Series Autograph Session

INDYCAR Fan Village

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 a.m.

 

 

Third-generation racer visits with Andretti Formula E

July 25th, 2014

7.25.14 – While Andretti Formula E continues to evaluate candidates for its second full-time driver in the new global FIA, all-electric racing series, the American team recently called up one of its own from its stateside outfit. Reigning Pro Mazda champion and Indy Lights rookie Matthew Brabham made his way across the pond to visit with the team at its headquarters in the UK where the 20-year-old took a tour of the brand spanking new facilities at Donington Park, met with team members and had the opportunity to have a look at the innovative electric cars up close and personal, including an opportunity to take the Spark Renault SRT-01E for a few test laps.
 
“It’s an amazing opportunity for me, and I’m very grateful to Andretti Autosport; they have a fantastic operation going here in the UK,” the third-generation racer said. “The Formula E car is very interesting and complex and I think it has a great future ahead. I believe we got some valuable data from my time in the car, and it was a lot of fun, so a big thank you to the team. The series is also littered with accomplished engineers and drivers, and in meeting them, I think it’s great for building my experience as well.”
 
Brabham, son of four-time IMSA Champion Geoff Brabham and grandson to the late three-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham, is no stranger to the UK. The Indianapolis resident’s cousin, Sam Brabham, currently competes in British Formula Ford and is based north of London, while uncle David Brabham will be competing at Road Atlanta for Petit Le Mans in October. Matthew’s trip to the Andretti Formula E headquarters is a testament to the confidence team owner Michael Andretti has in the rising star.
 
“Matty has a bright racing future ahead of him,” said Andretti. “He’s done a great job for us in Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. As one of our drivers, we were happy to have him visit Donington and learn more about Formula E. We’re very much enjoying having him as a part of the Andretti team and look forward to being a part of his developing career. ”
 
Next up for the United Fiber & Data/MAZDASPEED driver, who currently lies fourth in the Indy Lights championship points fight, is a doubleheader race weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course the final week of July. Fans can watch the race on NBC Sports Network at 6:00 p.m. ET on 3 August.
 
 
 

Tanner Foust wins New York Rallycross

July 24th, 2014

7.24.14 (via Motorsport.com) – Rockstar Energy Drink driver Tanner Foust scored his first Global Rallycross win of the season on Sunday at Volkswagen Rallycross New York.
 
It was all about the starts for the two-time champion, who blazed off the line to use the sub- two-second 0-60 launches of the Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Polo to maximum effect.
 
"The starts were the critical factor for me here," said Foust. "It can be very difficult to make a pass on a tight rallycross course and getting out front early and staying out of trouble is key to winning."
 
Foust also credits the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team with nailing the car set-up to handle the New York course. The six-turn, half-mile track layout featured five right-handers and only one left. Foust and Volkswagen teammate Scott Speed were fast and confident while many other drivers struggled to get the most out of their competition cars as uneven tire wear became a factor.
 
"We were fastest in opening practices and stayed up front all weekend long," said Foust. "Having a car that was ready to win from the moment we hit the ground here in New York shows the advantage of working with a team like Andretti."
 
Foust opened the weekend as one of only four drivers to break through the 30-second mark in qualifying and achieve a lap time in the 20s. In heat racing, he found his stride in the second round, blazing off the line to lead wire-to-wire in his Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Polo. He took another lights-to-flag victory in the Semifinal round to earn a front-row starting position in the 10-car Final. 
 
Starting from the middle of the front row, Foust kept his cool through two red-flag restarts as other drivers tangled on the course. When the abbreviated six-lap Final got underway, he was off the line first and never looked back as drivers jostled for position behind him. Although teammate Speed passed nearly half the field on the way to a second-place finish, he was demoted to ninth on a penalty assessed during the first red-flagged race. Nelson Piquet Jr. and Ken Block claimed second and third.
 
A regular top finisher, Foust has earned a podium in more than half of his Global Rallycross Championship starts since the series began in 2011. 
 
"This year, the speed has been there but the results haven't," said Foust. "It's nice to get this monkey off my back this season and earn a win in GRC. It feels like I'm headed in the right direction now."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ryan Hunter-Reay voted second quarter Driver of the Year

July 23rd, 2014

7.23.14 (via Driver of the Year Foundation) – Indy 500 winner, Ryan Hunter-Reay, was named winner of the second quarter Driver of the Year Award 2014.
 
The 2012 Verizon IndyCar series champion won the voting by an elite panel of American broadcasters and journalists. 
 
Hunter-Reay, 33, won the iconic race in his seventh attempt. The Florida resident also won the Honda Indy Grand Prix in Alabama and was runner-up in the inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix in the second quarter which ended at the at Pocono IndyCar 500 on July 6th.
 
“Seems like the good news keeps rolling in after winning the Indy 500,” said a delighted Hunter-Reay just a few days after winning his second-straight ESPY.  “It is a tremendous honor to be named the 2nd quarter Driver Of The Year.  I want to thank the panel members made up of the top journalists in motorsports who voted for me.  I believe this is a testament to IndyCar’s continued growth and momentum.  This also speaks volumes as to what a phenomenal race this year’s Indy 500 really was.  It is being called one of the best finishes in history, and from the driver’s seat, I couldn’t agree more.”
 
Barry Schmoyer, President of the DRIVER OF THE YEAR Foundation, said “Ryan’s story of a driver who never gives up is the prototypical American success story. Watching his career and his triumphs makes him a great role model.”
 
In the voting, Hunter-Reay, who drives the No. 28 DHL Dallara-Honda for Andretti Autosport, had eight first-place ballots and totaled 102 points according to the DRIVER OF THE YEAR points system.  Jimmie Johnson, who drives the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS in NASCAR, garnered six first-place votes and totaled 84 points.  Antron Brown, who drives the Matco Tools Top Fuel dragster in the NHRA, was third in the balloting with 45 points.
 
NASCAR’s Brad Keselowski, who finished fourth in the voting, also received one first place vote.
 
Coincidentally, Hunter-Reay’s team owner, Michael Andretti, won the overall DRIVER OF THE YEAR title in 1991 in an Indy car. Michael’s father, Mario, was the inaugural DRIVER OF THE YEAR in 1967 (and in 1978 and 1984).
 
A total of 20 drivers scored points in the second quarter voting. 
 
In its’ 48th year, the DRIVER OF THE YEAR title is unique. A panel of 17 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. determines the winner.  Two panelists didn’t vote this time. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. Hunter-Reay will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented later. 
 
President of the DRIVER OF THE YEAR Foundation is Barry Schmoyer, businessman and sportsman of Sarasota, Florida.
 
 

Speed looking for success at the Dirt Track at Charlotte when Global Rallycross returns

July 19th, 2014

7.19.14 (via Motorsport.com) - In just one short week, Red Bull Global Rallycross returns to The Dirt Track at Charlotte, July 25-26, and Scott Speed, the defending champion of the event, is looking to pick up where he left off, with another victory.

The Mt. Holly, N.C., resident captured the win last year in front of a hometown crowd after tackling what was considered one of the toughest courses on the circuit.

“It’s a great course because you get to go out of the race track and back into the track again, so it’s quite fun to drive,” said Speed. “Overall it was one of the best events we had last year so definitely looking forward to coming back. Obviously the track is something that worked out well for us and we expect to still be able to be fast again this year.”

While Speed seems like a seasoned rallycross pro, he is still somewhat new to the fast-growing sport. Coming from a diverse racing background, including Formula 1 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Speed was looking to master a new style in 2013 and set his sights on rallycross. His career jumpstarted after he took home a gold medal at the X Games in Brazil during his very first race.

“It all started with an invite to the X Games in Brazil as sort of like a star car. It was supposed to be switched between a lot of different guys throughout the year,” said Speed. “That was my first race in rallycross. When we ended up winning the X Games we were able to put together a program throughout the whole year.”

Speed ran the entire Global Rallycross season, racking up two wins in nine starts, including his victory at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. The successful season landed him a 2014 ride with Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, a prestigious team that also fields a car for Tanner Foust.

 

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