This could be Josef Newgarden’s month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The six-year-old Team Penske driver and two-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion won his first Pit Stop Challenge from Ruoff Mortgage on Friday, and he hopes to add his first Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge to his tally on Sunday.
Newgarden and the No. 2 Chevrolet Shell Team Penske, led by chief mechanic Travis Law, beat NTT P1 Award winner Scott Dixon (No. 9 Chip Ganassi Racing Honda PNC Bank) in the final of the annual 12-team Miller Lite Carb Day competition, before a cheering crowd in Tower Terrace.
The Newgarden team was perfect in its three passages. His slowest time was 11.569 seconds and his fastest time was 10.948 seconds, the latter being the only time under 11 seconds in the event.
The winners eliminated Dixon’s team, 2-0, in the best-of-three final, the first sweep of the finals since the format was adopted in 2017. They successively beat the crews of Alex Palou (NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing’s #10 Honda), Pato O’Ward (#5 Arrow McLaren SP) and Dixon.
The victory brought Team Penske’s Pit Stop Challenge record to 18 wins, the same number the team achieved in the “500” – also a record. 50 years ago, Roger Penske’s organization won its first 500 with Mark Donohue at the wheel.
Law led Helio Castroneves’ crew to victory in this event in 2015 and 2016. Crew #2 won $50,000 in rewards today out of a $100,000 prize pool.
The Pit Stop Challenge was first held in 1977. Dixon’s crew have won three times.
Newgarden said the crowd’s energy in support of the event reminded him of the good old days at IMS.
“The energy is great to feel again,” he said. “Not only the whole month before, but also the day of the race… I can’t even wait for the day of the race. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like, and I’ll feel so good. »
Malukas and Herta have crashes at turn 1
The crews of Colton Herta (#26 Gainbridge Honda of Andretti Herta Autosport w/Curb-Agajanian) and rookie David Malukas (#18 HMD Honda of Dale Coyne Racing with HMD) have some work to do in preparation for the race Sunday due to crashes at Turn 1 during Carb Day practice.
The session was limited to 90 minutes due to late morning rain. Herta had the more serious of the two crashes, with the rear of the car smashing and hitting the wall and the incident ending with Herta upside down. He was uninjured and subsequently withdrew from the Pit Stop Challenge.
“I feel a bit of sadness for this race car,” Herta told NBC. “We were cowards throughout the session. I went too fast in the corner and the air got under the car. I’m doing well. It looks like a big shunt. »
Herta credits the aeroscreen with helping him stay safe.
Malukas was attempting an inside pass on Santino Ferrucci (Palermo’s #23 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Screamin Sicilian DRR Chevrolet) when they made wheel-to-wheel contact, flattening Malukas’ right rear tire. Ferrucci was penalized for avoidable contact. The penalty was a 20-minute stop and hold during practice.
Malukas said he had a small bruise on his left foot, but was unhurt.
“It was a really big blow, one of the biggest I’ve felt,” he said. “For some reason (Ferrucci) gave up. My tire punctured; there’s not much you can do with a flat tire at those speeds. ”
Malukas said he had done a similar maneuver on Dalton Kellett (#4 K-LINE/AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet) two laps earlier without incident. Ferrucci accepted responsibility.
“I’m glad he’s okay, first of all,” he said. “Big hit. He was coming, from what the observers told me. It was a late blast, past the turning point for me. I checked ; I thought I had timed it well.
“Clearly (I) didn’t. It’s my mistake. It is what it is. »
Coincidentally, Ferrucci drove Dale Coyne’s car for two years and was in the #18 car in 2020. Additionally, Pancho Carter, former INDYCAR Series driver and Indianapolis 500 pole position holder, is the watcher of Malukas; Carter’s son, Dane, is Ferrucci’s. Both Carters work from Turn 1.
McLaren invests in the INDYCAR team
McLaren Racing will have a larger footprint in central Indiana with the construction later this year of a new facility for Arrow McLaren SP, which will grow to three full-time teams in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES in 2023. The facilities will be located north of IMS in Whitestown.
The new building will more than double the size of the current facility, with over 97,000 square feet and a “meaningful number” of high-quality jobs.
Sustainability will be central to the design and construction, with green features. It is scheduled to open in 2023. McLaren’s facility in Woking, England is a Formula 1 gem.
Pato O’Ward, who was confirmed on Friday in a contract that will keep him with the organization until the 2025 season, has seen plenty of upside at the facility.
“I have my own parking spot,” he laughed. “It will be a perfect and beautiful mini-McLaren (headquarters). I am really proud to be part of this organization. »
Rahal hopes 33 is the winning number
Bobby Rahal was 33 when he won the 1986 500. His son, Graham, is… 33.
Numerology is not lost on the driver of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s #15 Honda United Rentals.
“My dad and I have had a lot of strange similarities in our careers,” said Rahal, who starts his 15th race from outside row 7. “It’s been very weird.
“I have to look at the superstitious nature (of this) and leave. »
Rahal reckons his first 500 win should have come last year, when he and his team worked the fuel strategy perfectly to put him ahead on lap 79, and he was leading when he crashed. stopped on lap 119. But that’s when the rear wheel came off and he crashed in Turn 2.
“I knew we were in a good position,” said Rahal, who said the pain of the loss would last for years. “It’s bad, and I constantly try not to think about it, but ask me in 10 years when (my career) will be over. … If I never win the Indy 500, this 2021 race is going to hurt me for a long, long time.
“The single worst day of my life was the day after the loss to Michigan. »
Rahal has been a lifelong Ohio football fan.
Three people inducted into the IMS Hall of Fame
Danny Sullivan, the driver who achieved one of the most defining moments in ‘500’ history when he spun and won the race in 1985, was one of three inductees at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in a ceremony downtown Thursday night.
Sullivan won the INDYCAR SERIES championship in 1988, the season the Penske team held the front row with pole-winning Rick Mears and Al Unser.
Also inducted were 13-time ‘500’ starter Wally Dallenbach, who later served as the series’ chief curator, and legendary presenter Paul Page. Dallenbach qualified on the front row twice at IMS and finished in the top five three consecutive years (1976-78).
Page called the induction “the greatest reward of my life.”
odds and ends
- Callum Ilott (No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet) completed the most laps in the practice session, with 68. Newgarden did 62, and four more 61.
- Judy Dominick, the Chevrolet publicist who has represented numerous racers including Tony Stewart, and TE McHale, who has represented Honda in recent years, received the Robin Miller Award for their quiet, passionate and tireless contributions to the sport. Miller and McHale have been deceased since the “500” last year.
- Kevin Diamond, who represented many racing teams competing in the “500”, received the Russo-Marvel Founders Award for his longtime dedication to motor racing.
- Amy Walsh-Stock, who works with seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and started the ‘500’ for the first time, and Steve Shunck, who represents BorgWarner, were co-winners of the annual Jim Chapman for excellence in motorsports public relations. Johnson was there to support Walsh-Stock.
We want to say thanks to the author of this short article for this outstanding material
Newgarden is feeling good vibes after his pit win. – AutoMoto-GP.com
Our social media profiles here and other pages related to them here.https://nimblespirit.com/related-pages/