Indianapolis 500 - Practice

The 2013 Indianapolis 500 qualifying order is out

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Here’s your qualifying order for this year’s Indianapolis 500. Note that the No. 40, which leads off, is the second Ed Carpenter Racing entry that won’t turn a wheel, and both primary and “T” cars are entered in the draw. Scott Dixon, the 2008 500 winner, will be the first driver to make a qualifying attempt.  Each driver’s best speed of the month in that car are listed just to the right.

Other notes: Sam Schmidt’s third car (second Schmidt Peterson entry) is the No. 99/99T with driver TBA, and Townsend Bell gets spot “12A” – not 13 – in-between 12 and 14 for the No. 60T backup car at Panther Racing.

Pole Day qualifying will be airing live on the NBC Sports Network at 11 a.m. ET and 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, and also streamed live on NBC Sports Live Extra.

Qualifying Order:
1 40 TBA
2 9 Scott Dixon (W) 226.162 17-May
3 14 Takuma Sato 227.038 17-May
4 15 Graham Rahal 226.152 17-May
5 14T Takuma Sato
6 2 AJ Allmendinger (R) 227.199 17-May
7 6T Sebastian Saavedra
8 91 Buddy Lazier (W) 222.464 17-May
9 8T Ryan Briscoe 217.773 12-May
10 78 Simona de Silvestro 225.518 17-May
11 83T Charlie Kimball 220.633 11-May
12 40T TBA
12A 60T Townsend Bell
14 27 James Hinchcliffe 226.983 17-May
15 27T James Hinchcliffe
16 9T Scott Dixon (W) 218.143 11-May
17 41 Conor Daly (R) 220.780 16-May
18 3T Helio Castroneves (W)
19 16T James Jakes 219.191 14-May
20 12T Will Power
21 7 Sebastien Bourdais 226.736 17-May
22 19 Justin Wilson 226.043 17-May
23 3 Helio Castroneves (W) 226.988 17-May
24 11T Tony Kanaan
25 1T Ryan Hunter-Reay
26 78T Simona de Silvestro
27 16 James Jakes 224.632 17-May
28 99T TBA
29 5T E.J. Viso
30 22T Oriol Servia
31 18T Ana Beatriz
32 6 Sebastian Saavedra 222.127 17-May
33 63 Pippa Mann 225.077 17-May
34 60 Townsend Bell 227.160 17-May
35 20T Ed Carpenter
36 5 E.J. Viso 229.537 17-May
37 98 Alex Tagliani 226.812 17-May
38 12 Will Power 228.401 17-May
39 77T Simon Pagenaud
40 25T Marco Andretti
41 8 Ryan Briscoe 225.265 17-May
42 11 Tony Kanaan 226.822 17-May
43 21 Josef Newgarden 226.372 17-May
44 55 Tristan Vautier (R) 223.369 17-May
45 10 Dario Franchitti (W) 227.080 17-May
46 18 Ana Beatriz 224.476 17-May
47 4T JR Hildebrand
48 19T Justin Wilson
49 10T Dario Franchitti (W) 218.842 11-May
50 55T Tristan Vautier (R)
51 83 Charlie Kimball 225.616 17-May
52 20 Ed Carpenter 226.768 17-May
53 1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 226.919 17-May
54 17 Michel Jourdain Jr. 223.266 17-May
55 26T Carlos Munoz (R)
56 26 Carlos Munoz (R) 228.520 17-May
57 2T AJ Allmendinger (R)
58 4 JR Hildebrand 227.549 17-May
59 25 Marco Andretti 228.754 17-May
60 21T Josef Newgarden 222.340 15-May
61 98T Alex Tagliani
62 99 TBA
63 7T Sebastien Bourdais
64 41T Conor Daly (R)
65 77 Simon Pagenaud 225.853 17-May
66 15T Graham Rahal 220.360 13-May
67 63T Pippa Mann
68 22 Oriol Servia 227.237 17-May

Mercedes AMG Petronas tops its 2014 point total, despite fewer points available

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The end of the Formula 1 season just completed means a chance to compare stats and points standings year-on-year. So forgive the dive into nerddom, but it’s the most wonderful time of year to bust out the calculators.

We’ll start first with the double World Champions, Mercedes AMG Petronas, who have managed to top their tally in the Constructor’s Championship from 2014.

For the second consecutive year, Mercedes has won 16 of 19 races and gone 1-2 in the driver’s championship.

Where they’ve improved: they set the record for 15 front row lockouts, they took 12 1-2 race finishes after taking “only” 11 in 2014, and, perhaps most impressively, topped its overall points total despite having fewer points on offer.

The double points finale last year meant a maximum of 86 points was possible (50 and 36 for first and second rather than the 25 and 18).

Yes, Mercedes scored fewer points this year at Abu Dhabi than last… but still scored the maximum achievable (43 of 43 versus 50 of 86).

It meant Mercedes ended 2015 with two more points than it did in 2014 – 703 to 701. Lewis Hamilton’s own tally went down by three, from 384 to 381, but teammate Nico Rosberg made up the difference with a five-point gain from 317 to 322.

Percentage-wise, Mercedes scored 703 of a maximum possible 817 points – or 86.07 percent of the potential maximum number (43 points, times 19 races).

It’s an uptick from the still remarkable 81.51 percent of the potential maximum last year (701 of 860).

To put in perspective how dominant that number is by contrast to the rest of the field, Mercedes scored 703 of 1,919 total points (101 total points per race, times 19 races) on offer in 2015.

That meant as one team, Mercedes brought home 36.63 percent of all points available in 2015, which is up from 34.7 percent last year (701 of 2,020 points).

The remaining eight teams that scored were left to divide up the remaining 63 and change percent… or an average of 7.92 percent, per team, or so.

So for 2016, on top of wishing Ferrari and the rest of the field can up their game to match, one of the early story lines to watch will be whether Mercedes can sustain this incredible amount of statistical dominance from its on-track success.

Audi to test six young guns in its DTM car

Photo: Audi
Photo: Audi
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It’s not just Mercedes (and Kevin Magnussen) that’s testing young guns in one of its DTM cars this week at Jerez.

Audi announced that it would give a six-pack of youngsters a shot to test as well, from Tuesday to Thursday, at the same place in the Audi RS 5 DTM.

Those six include:

  • Matthew Brabham (21/USA)
  • Mitch Evans (21/New Zealand)
  • Antonio Giovinazzi (21/Italy)
  • Ben Hanley (30/Great Britain)
  • Alex Palou (18/Spain)
  • Arthur Pic (24/France)

Note most of these six have or had some level of open-wheel experience, with Evans having tried his hand successfully in a couple different sports cars this year. The young Kiwi finished second in his debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans after winning at Spa in his sports car debut, driving Jota Sport’s Gibson 015S Nissan.

Brabham comes over to test the DTM car after racing primarily in the Mazda Road to Indy the last four years. He won the 2012 USF2000 and 2013 Pro Mazda titles, then raced the full 2014 and partial 2015 seasons in Indy Lights; he’s also driven in Formula E for Andretti Autosport and in the Stadium Super Trucks.

Kevin Hart, Ludacris, Marco Andretti head to Abu Dhabi for F1 finale

Marco Andretti
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Marco Andretti has had a good run of attending season finale events.

Obviously, the 28-year-old grandson of Mario Andretti rounded out his 10th season in the Verizon IndyCar Series at its own season finale at Sonoma, finishing 11th and then ending the year ninth in points.

But Andretti told NASCAR Talk’s Nate Ryan, among other reporters, at Phoenix International Raceway where he’d tested his IndyCar and then made the promotional rounds that he’d have a busy next couple weeks ahead.

“I’m watching too many races. I need to be in them!” Andretti said. “(Homestead), I’m going as Jeff Gordon’s guest. Then going to Abu Dhabi Formula 1. (Our season) needs to be longer.”

Last week, he and fellow IndyCar stars Josef Newgarden and James Hinchcliffe made the trip to Homestead-Miami Speedway – incidentally, as did Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton – to witness Jeff Gordon’s final drive before hanging up his helmet after 23 incredible years at NASCAR’s top level.

This week, it was Marco’s turn to hit Hamilton’s usual turf, as he and his friends Ludacris and Kevin Hart made the trip to Abu Dhabi to witness the F1 finale.

Marco, who had a Honda Racing F1 test in the late 2000s but never was able to make the move to emulate both Mario and Michael, each of whom raced in F1, appeared wowed by the Yas Marina Circuit once he arrived from Chicago.

Abu Dhabi F1 quals!! @kevinhart4real @ludacris

A photo posted by Marco Andretti (@marcoandretti) on

Yas is hands down the most insane facility ! #AbuDhabi. Wish I was driving !!

A photo posted by Marco Andretti (@marcoandretti) on

Andretti, Luda, Hart and crew met up with Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo at the weekend.

Andretti is continuing the trip into this week, with further posts via his Instagram page.

Hart – one of this country’s most talented and recognizable comedians at the moment – also appeared to enjoy the atmosphere.

As did Ludacris, who posted this view from a yacht.

The only way to watch the F1 Race in Abu Dhabi. #yachtlife

A photo posted by @ludacris on

The vacation crew found Hamilton after the race on Sunday night.

Hamilton’s friend, another artist in Big Sean, who’d performed the halftime show at the Philadelphia Eagles-Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit, also made the flight out to Abu Dhabi.

Complete with other more obscure, random celebrities like Rick Astley – who apparently “Rick-rolled” free practice two coverage on the world feed – Edgar Davids and Dwight Yorke, it was a weekend of interesting folks hitting Abu Dhabi. My MotorSportsTalk colleague Luke Smith noted those three, below, in various tweets over the weekend.

Out of Thanksgiving, IndyCar’s open spots are exactly in same place as this time last year

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Now that it’s a new work week and the tryptophan has hopefully worked itself through your system, you’ve had and enjoyed your family time, it’s time for the final few full work weeks of the 2015 calendar before the next round of holidays – Christmas time.

Those who already have confirmed seats for the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season are certainly thankful for what they have.

Meanwhile if we flash back some 12 months to look at the then-available amount of talent waiting in the wings, here’s what stood as the unconfirmed seats:

  • Chip Ganassi Racing, fourth car (along with a formal confirmation of the full lineup)
  • Andretti Autosport, fourth car (plus a possible fifth)
  • Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, second car
  • KVSH Racing/KV Racing Technology, second car
  • CFH Racing, No. 20 road and street course driver alongside Ed Carpenter (ovals)
  • Dale Coyne Racing, both cars
  • Bryan Herta Autosport, first car

Flash forward 12 months later, and the situation is exactly identical. Those exact same seats have yet to be confirmed for 2016.

The only differences from above is that the first three drivers at Chip Ganassi Racing – four-time and defending champion Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan and Charlie Kimball – already have been formally confirmed for 2016, and Sage Karam has not.

Karam’s manager told a little over a week ago that his contract was not retained for 2016; that said, it’s “only” November and conceivably he could return if enough budget is found.

Sebastien Bourdais is still anticipated to return with KVSH Racing for a third season; A.J. Foyt Enterprises also hasn’t formally confirmed, but is expected to keep its same lineup of Takuma Sato and Jack Hawksworth.

Gabby Chaves is expected to return for a second season with BHA, while of the other seats listed above, the second SPM seat is the most intriguing option.

Proof then that the more things change in IndyCar, the more they stay the same. And when there’s very little news on the driver market… there’s very little news on the driver market.