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.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”