2012 WRAP: Andretti struggled mightily for much of last season, and especially so on the road/street circuits that make up the bulk of the schedule. His best finish on the twisty tracks was a middling 11th, achieved twice at both Barber Motorsports Park and Detroit’s Belle Isle Park. But the most grueling moment for him had to be at Indianapolis, where he led the most laps of any driver (59 laps) but ended his day with a crash on Lap 188.
2013 OUTLOOK: In addition to his car number, Andretti has changed his race craft over the winter (“Essentially, I was trying to make the front tires do two things at once,” he told IndyCar.com of his previous style in January). He’ll also have a new engineer on his No. 25 car – Blair Perschbacher, who moves up to IndyCar from Firestone Indy Lights. Altogether, it would appear to be a fresh start for the third-generation driver, and we’ll see if it makes for a more competitive run for him in 2013.
Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy
Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.
Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.
Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.
A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.
A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.
Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.
Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.