Indiana city backs Newgarden for Indy 500

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Josef Newgarden and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing will receive associate backing for the Indianapolis 500 from the Indiana city of New Castle (44 miles east of Indianapolis), which raised sponsorship funding through private investors.

Newgarden raced go-karts early in his career in New Castle, which is home to New Castle Motorsports Park, one of the top karting facilities in the country.

“I learned my race craft at NCMP and go back there every year I can for the Robopong 200 kart race,” Newgarden said in a team statement. “It will mean a lot to me to carry a decal of the city where I started my racing career on my livery at the Indianapolis 500.”

“With help from private investors in New Castle, this has become a reality for our community,” said New Castle mayor Greg York. “This will allow us to promote New Castle on the largest advertising stage in the world.”

For the “500,” Newgarden’s car will change numbers from its regular No. 67 to No. 21 for the team’s Indy-only primary sponsor, Century 21. The decision to change numbers has proven fruitful in the not-too-distant past, as Dario Franchitti won last year’s “500” after flipping from his regular No. 10 to No. 50 for the race in honor of Target’s 50th anniversary.

Hartley to make F1 debut from back of grid after penalty

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Brendon Hartley’s hopes of a points finish on his Formula 1 debut took a hit on Friday after the FIA confirmed the Toro Rosso driver will start the United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.

Porsche factory driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso as a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly in Austin, with the Frenchman tied up with Super Formula duties at Suzuka this weekend.

Hartley took to the track in an official grand prix session for the first time on Friday in Austin, marking his first run-out in an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 20120.

However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed in his pre-race report that changes had been made to the power unit on Hartley’s Toro Rosso car since the last race in Japan, triggering a grid penalty.

Toro Rosso elected to take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, energy store and control electronics on Hartley’s Renault power unit, totaling a 25-place grid drop that will be applied after qualifying. Confirmation of the penalty is set to follow later today.

The penalty comes as a setback for Hartley, but was necessary as Toro Rosso found itself short on engine elements to get to the end of the season.

Hartley is not the only driver to have a penalty confirmed, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also taking new engine elements, also confirmed in Bauer’s report.

A new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for Hulkenberg will see him drop 20 places on the grid, while an eighth ICE of the year for Vandoorne will trigger a five-place drop.