Penske, Ganassi drought highlight stats out of Long Beach

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We mentioned earlier today that top 10s in either qualifying or the race in the IZOD IndyCar Series have been spread around the grid fairly evenly. Here are some other stats of note beyond the top 10 disparity numbers:

  • Entrants from Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing (right) have been shut out of victory lane since Sonoma last year, when Ryan Briscoe won. That’s only a stretch of five races in between, but is the longest such streak since open wheel unification in 2008 (four in a row last year from Texas through Toronto was the longest).
  • Tristan Vautier took the first 10-spot grid penalty of the year. Coincidentally, his teammate Simon Pagenaud was the first victim of it last year at St. Petersburg. Long Beach last year had 12 grid penalty victims as all Chevrolet teams and a handful of Lotus runners performed unapproved engine changes.
  • Long Beach’s podium finishers from A.J. Foyt Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing and Dale Coyne Racing represented the first race under IndyCar sanction to not have a driver from Penske, Ganassi or Andretti since Motegi 2003. The last Champ Car race, Will Power’s Long Beach win in 2008, featured a podium made up of entrants from KV Racing Technology and the now-defunct Forsythe Pettit and Pacific Coast Motorsports teams (Franck Montagny and Mario Dominguez).
  • And, lastly, Brazil will mark the one-year anniversary of Power’s last win. Who would have thought that was possible last April?

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

Audi Sport
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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”