Indianapolis 500 rookie Conor Daly spoke to NBC Sports Network’s Will Buxton after his accident on Thursday. Daly was primed to get back out on Friday in his rebuilt No. 41 ABC Supply A.J. Foyt Racing Honda, but rain stopped the session before he had a chance. Still, Daly was upbeat on Saturday – he is the eighth driver scheduled to qualify when the rain stops at Indy.
Ferrari Formula 1 drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel will be free to race and fight each other for victory in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix following their front row lock-out in qualifying.
Raikkonen stormed to his first F1 pole since the 2008 French Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon, edging out Vettel by just 0.043 seconds in the final stage of qualifying.
The result came at a time when Raikkonen has faced criticism for failing to match Vettel for pace through the opening five rounds of the season.
While Vettel has two wins and three second-place finishes to his name, Raikkonen has finished on the podium just once, and is yet to finish ahead of his teammate.
Vettel currently leads the F1 drivers’ championship ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who starts 13th in Monaco after a disastrous qualifying session on Saturday.
While Ferrari has history in throwing its support behind one driver for the championship early in a season, both Raikkonen and Vettel stressed there would be no team orders in play in Monaco, leaving the pair free to fight so long as it is clean and fair.
“We know what we are doing, we are racing for the team and, you know, we have certain rules and respect against each other,” Raikkonen said.
“We are allowed to fight but obviously, we have to do it as clean as we can and not take each other out.
“I don’t know why people expect that it is something different tomorrow than it’s been the last two years.
“Nothing has changed. Just try to make a stupid story out of nothing.”
Vettel added: “I think we have done enough races so we know what to do normally in the first corner. We’re here to race, we’re here to race each other.
“The start is important here, the first corner is important, the race is important! The start is the beginning of the race, but not the end so we’ll see.
“We know that pole is important in Monaco, so we’ll see what happens.”
The Monaco Grand Prix is live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 7:30am ET, with F1 Countdown starting at 7am ET on NBCSN.
INDIANAPOLIS – As is a quick tradition on MotorSportsTalk, we’ve put together some quick one-liners on the field of 33 drivers set to compete in the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Sadly some one-liners stretch to two or three lines. Because words.
Without further adieu, the 2017 edition:
9-Scott Dixon, Camping World Honda
TDZ: In a year where there’s not been a clear favorite defined or established, the polesitter, in a Honda, the greatest all-around driver in the series and one of the greatest in IndyCar history is the favorite here to win Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, and end a drought for polesitters dating to Helio Castroneves in 2009.
20-Ed Carpenter, Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet
TDZ: A potential hugely popular winner; Carpenter has looked great in both single-car running and in traffic thus far. For the first time since his accident in practice two years ago, vintage “oval master Ed” is back in search of that first ‘500 victory.
98-Alexander Rossi, NAPA Auto Parts/Curb Honda
TDZ: More relaxed, more experienced and even faster this year than last. If Rossi’s debut month of May was stellar, his sophomore year is next-level. Has a serious chance to defend his crown, but this time would understand the significance in the moment.
26-Takuma Sato, Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda
TDZ: Sato is known for his tenacious “no attack, no chance” style but he’s been far more consistent this month – and year – than in recent years. From his best Indy 500 starting position he has by far his best possible win chance, if he can avoid any pitfalls.
29-Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Honda-Andretti Honda
TDZ: You’ve heard the two-time Formula 1 World Champion is racing at Indianapolis, right? Perhaps? Maybe? Snark aside, Alonso’s been on it from day one. How he handles the Indy race craft and procedural aspects will define his day. An ideal finish for me? Fourth to eighth, to leave him close enough to the front, but wanting more.
21-JR Hildebrand, Preferred Freezer Service Chevrolet
TDZ: Imagining a JR win at Indy – after his infamous final lap in 2011 and contact with Helio Castroneves last year that cost both drivers a shot – is imagining one of the best possible story lines that could drop on Sunday.
10-Tony Kanaan, NTT Data Honda
TDZ: He hasn’t looked especially great in practice, but this is TK, he’s got his usual engineer back in Eric Cowdin and this is Indy. I picked him to win this race preseason, and I’ll be highly surprised if he isn’t in contention late again Sunday.
27-Marco Andretti, United Fiber & Data Honda
TDZ: A quiet air of confidence is there around Andretti this year that hasn’t been in recent years. This feels his best shot to break back into win contention since 2014, and with Bryan Herta on the box, he has the defending champ strategist in his corner.
12-Will Power, Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet
TDZ: Thus far Penske’s best driver results-wise in the weeks leading up to the race, Power remains in search of his first Indy 500 win. Could this be the year?
28-Ryan Hunter-Reay, DHL Honda
TDZ: His qualifying draw hurt his chances of a Fast Nine position, but “RHR” has been solid and steady all month. Motivated to get his second ‘500 win and end a long winless drought overall, I fully expect at least a top-three run here.
19-Ed Jones, Boy Scouts of America Honda
TDZ: The Dubai-based Brit has been the undoubted welcome surprise of the month. He’s been very solid on ovals. Not a likely winner, but could well eclipse Alex Lloyd (fourth in 2010) or the late Justin Wilson (fifth in 2013) as a Coyne top-five finisher.
16-Oriol Servia, Manitowoc Honda
TDZ: Would it not be surprising to once again see Servia running fourth or fifth with 20 laps to go, after not paying much attention to him all day? That’s the line of note for the popular Catalan in his 200th career start.
7-Mikhail Aleshin, SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
TDZ: Other than a hold-your-breath moment in Monday practice, and a line questioning some drivers’ anatomies, the usually “Mad Russian” has been quieter than normal this month. Expect that to change Sunday.
15-Graham Rahal, Steak ‘n Shake Honda
TDZ: Rahal wanted this to be a better month and a move forward from 26th to 14th on the grid is a good start, but it hasn’t yet looked like a winning month. Rahal’s been good in several ‘500s past and has an ability to charge forward when the car’s right.
8-Max Chilton, Gallagher Honda
TDZ: Chilton entered the oval portion of the month on a high after a strong GP and has carried the momentum through. Perhaps not a winner, but stands a very good chance of bettering his 15th place of a year ago; say maybe seventh or eighth, here.
83-Charlie Kimball, Tresiba Honda
TDZ: One of Indy’s more underrated solid drivers – Kimball has finished between third and 13th in five of his six ‘500s – now appears to have the right package at his disposal. Armed with new engineer Todd Malloy, he could surprise once again.
5-James Hinchcliffe, Arrow Electronics Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda
TDZ: Pole last year, 17th this year. It’s been baffling to see the No. 5 car this far down the order, but if the car’s better in race pace than it’s appeared in practice and qualifying, Hinchcliffe can succeed.
22-Juan Pablo Montoya, Fitzgerald Glider Kits Team Penske Chevrolet
TDZ: JPM will have the world at his disposal as a one-off entry this race. With nothing to lose, they can try a strategy play, a traffic play, or a pure pace play to move to the front from P18 on the grid.
3-Helio Castroneves, Shell Fuel Rewards Team Penske Chevrolet
TDZ: In his eternal quest for his fourth Indy 500 victory, Castroneves has downplayed the lack of single-lap pace and hailed his race pace. Having been busy all month, it wouldn’t shock to see Castroneves emerge as a winner from 19th.
77-Jay Howard, Lucas Oil/Team One Cure Honda
TDZ: Howard starts 20th for his first Indy 500 in six years, the same place he started in his 2011 debut. He’s been quietly good all month and a top-12 seems achievable with a clean race.
24-Sage Karam, DRR Mecum Auctions Chevrolet
TDZ: With a car that looks dynamic in traffic, and a driver who can make moves like nobody’s business, Karam is an excellent pick to steal the show. Of course, the big question mark here is whether his Mecum car will make it all 200 laps.
2-Josef Newgarden, hum by Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet
TDZ: This wasn’t in the script for Newgarden at Penske – his old team starts second and sixth while his new one has four of its five drivers starting 18th or worse. Is there a Newgarden or Penske magic act in store for Sunday?
1-Simon Pagenaud, Menards Team Penske Chevrolet
TDZ: Pagenaud’s weird season title defense tour rolls into Indianapolis where somehow, he’s finished top-five each of the first five races, led the points prior to qualifying, yet hasn’t looked “on it” all month. From 23rd, it’d be a surprise to see him win.
14-Carlos Munoz, ABC Supply Co. Chevrolet
TDZ: For having finished second twice, plus fourth among his four Indianapolis 500 starts, it’s weird to think of the 2016 runner-up as a longshot. But that’s what a change of scenery has done for him and in a rarity, he’s not got high expectations this year.
88-Gabby Chaves, Harding Racing Chevrolet
TDZ: New team that has a lot of Indianapolis success individually elsewhere comes together for a debut run. This car is a hard one to project, but Chaves is a clean and consistent enough driver that a top-15 run could be achievable.
4-Conor Daly, ABC Supply Co. Chevrolet
TDZ: One of Indiana’s favorite sons, Daly and the Foyt team just has not had the speed of the other Chevrolet teams this week. After coming 22nd with a pit fire, then another fire before starting and a crash last year, a quiet top-20 finish would be a welcome run for him this year.
50-Jack Harvey, Michael Shank Racing with Andretti Autosport Honda
TDZ: After a tough start to the month, both Harvey and Shank improve steadily each day. Pit stops for both in an IndyCar setting will be an adjustment but Harvey could be a good under-the-radar driver to watch in its flashy livery.
63-Pippa Mann, Susan G. Komen Honda
TDZ: Mann has not had her best month of May in the extra Dale Coyne car, but enters with having finished her last six 500-mile races started since 2014. If she does the same again in 2017, a chance to better 18th from last year beckons.
11-Spencer Pigot, Oceanfront Recovery Chevrolet
TDZ: As last year, a crash interrupted Pigot’s week of practice. The usually steady pair of hands also started 29th last year and improved to 25th; he will look to do better as he’s reunited with Ricardo Juncos for his team’s Indy 500 debut.
44-Buddy Lazier, Lazier Racing-Stalk It-Tivoli Chevrolet
TDZ: Finishing is the first and most simple goal for Indy’s favorite underdog and 1996 champ, who’ve overachieved in limited laps with the Mitch Davis-led crew.
17-Sebastian Saavedra, AFS Chevrolet
TDZ: One of several drivers who hasn’t been in IndyCar in a couple years back this year and with a new team. Saavedra will look to replicate his 32nd-to-15th drive with KV in 2014, with Juncos featuring some ex-KV personnel.
40-Zach Veach, Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim Chevrolet
TDZ: The likable young driver has had a challenging first month of May, and will look to finish first; top-20 or better will be a respectable target.
18-James Davison, GEICO Honda
TDZ: Although this is the backup car and the backup driver, Davison’s always a sure bet to be entertaining, fast, and a possible top-15 finisher if all the cards fall right.
In Formula 1, races do not come any bigger than Monaco.
The sport’s ultimate sporting challenge combines with the glitz and glamor that F1 has become so famous for throughout its 67-year history, making the Monaco Grand Prix the ultimate event.
The race comes six rounds into what is shaping up to be one of the most intriguing title fights in recent history, with Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton going toe-to-toe for Ferrari and Mercedes.
Monaco always has an extra spice – but this year, we have new cars, a reinvigorated title fight, some surprises on the grid, and even an old face making a guest appearance.
Combined, we are poised to enjoy one of the most unpredictable and perhaps significant Monaco races in recent memory.
You can watch the Monaco Grand Prix live on NBC and the NBC Sports app from 7:30am ET. CLICK HERE for NBC live stream.
F1 Countdown begins at 7am ET on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app, and runs until the NBC coverage begins. CLICK HERE for NBCSN live stream.
Here’s what to watch for in today’s race.
2017 Monaco Grand Prix – What to watch for
Can the Iceman stay cool?
Kimi Raikkonen may have ended his pole drought of almost nine years on Saturday, but the popular Finn remained as non-plussed as ever, simply saying “ah good” when informed of his success.
Raikkonen’s charge to pole came as a surprise, going some way to responding to the critics who have questioned his lack of pace compared to teammate Sebastian Vettel so far this season – yet the real challenge is to come.
With Lewis Hamilton so far back, Ferrari knows that this is a golden chance for Vettel to extend his championship lead. If Raikkonen wants to win this race, he’s going to have to do it convincingly and rekindle some of the old Kimi that has arguably been missing for a few years now.
There was a flicker of that flame in qualifying. The Iceman now needs to turn that into a fire.
Damage limitation the focus for Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton’s had a pretty rotten weekend so far. From setup troubles on Thursday to tire temperature woes in qualifying, the three-time champion is resigned to starting 13th in Monaco – a track where overtaking is nigh on impossible.
So Hamilton’s focus must be on damage limitation. A good start should help, and on raw pace along, a top six finish should be possible – but it would take a bold strategy, a slice of luck and perhaps a safety car or two to bring him into the fray at the front.
Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas can do his bit and try to cause trouble for Vettel at the front of the pack, but most probably, Hamilton is going to be having a Sunday drive through the streets he calls home.
Will tire management decide this race?
Mercedes has struggled for much of this season to manage its tires, with Hamilton’s qualifying problems being the height of that. The fact neither the driver nor the team had an answer after qualifying shows there is still plenty to be worked out overnight.
The ultra-softs seem to be lasting well in Monaco, but the hotter things get, the more difficult it could be. Expect a fine balance between this being a one and two-stopper. Safety cars will certainly alter things as well.
If things do heat up, then Ferrari should run away with this at the front. It’ll then be up to the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull to work on the fly to rein in the Prancing Horse.
Button out to make more memories
Jenson Button’s one-off comeback to F1 has been a real good news story. Despite having not tested the 2017-spec McLaren, he was rapid throughout practice and even took the team through to Q3, taking P9 on the grid.
The bittersweet part of this story is that he will start last after another Honda power unit penalty following the emergence of an issue following FP2. So don’t go thinking JB will be taking any final points to add to his career haul, although with a finish and high attrition rate, it’s certainly possible.
But points aren’t what this comeback was about for Button. No, it was about making memories. That’s what he did in qualifying, taming the MCL32 en route to Q3. And it’s what he’ll be out to do in the race.
This will most probably be goodbye to Button in F1 – but it’s an opportunity we thought had passed us by in Abu Dhabi. It’d be great if he can make it to the checkered flag this time.
2017 Monaco Grand Prix – Starting Grid
1. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
2. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari
3. Valtteri Bottas Mercedes
4. Max Verstappen Red Bull
5. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
6. Carlos Sainz Jr. Toro Rosso
7. Sergio Perez Force India
8. Romain Grosjean Haas
9. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
10. Nico Hulkenberg Renault
11. Kevin Magnussen Haas
12. Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren*
13. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
14. Felipe Massa Williams
15. Esteban Ocon Force India
16. Jolyon Palmer Renault
17. Lance Stroll Williams
18. Pascal Wehrlein Sauber
19. Marcus Ericsson Sauber
20. Jenson Button McLaren**
* Stoffel Vandoorne takes a three-place grid penalty as punishment for a crash with Felipe Massa in the Spanish Grand Prix.
** Jenson Button takes a 15-place grid penalty following power unit element changes by McLaren ahead of FP3.
F1 Countdown begins at 7am ET on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app, and runs until the NBC coverage begins. CLICK HERE for NBCSN live stream.
Earlier this year, preparation began to restore the first Champ Car Justin Wilson won in, a Lola-Ford Cosworth entry he took to victory lane for the RuSPORT team at Toronto in 2005.
The full release and details are below:
The restoration of Justin Wilson’s first Champ Car race-winning chassis is complete. Set to benefit the Wilson’s Children Fund, which was created to ensure the long-term financial security for Wilson’s daughters after he was killed in a racing accident in 2015, the immaculate, historically important Lola will be sold through auction or private acquisition in the months ahead. All proceeds will be donated to the WCF (www.wilsonchildrensfund.com).
More than a dozen key contributors made the charity project possible, starting with former PKV Champ Car team owner Dan Pettit and his wife Kelly, who owned and graciously donated the Lola B05/00 chassis Wilson used to earn his first and second Champ Car wins at Toronto and Mexico City in 2005.
The idea for the restoration, which began in January, came when Pettit and fellow PKV alumni Jimmy Vasser, who used the car as a display vehicle in one of his auto dealerships, were considering what to do with the Lola which carried a generic Champ Car livery.
On a lark, Vasser, became inspired to research the Lola’s history and soon found it was the same car that carried Wilson to his first wins in America with the RuSport team after transitioning from Formula 1 to Champ Car.
With PKV’s purchase of RuSport in 2006, Wilson’s race-winning chassis remained within Pettit’s inventory when the series folded in 2008. It eventually made its way into Vasser’s dealership where it sat until curiosity struck the 1996 CART IndyCar Series champion late last year. Once the car’s true identity was revealed, the Pettits welcomed the suggestion to restore the chassis back to its original condition and make it available for purchase to help Wilson’s family.
“It has been our dream to help Justin’s (Wilson) family in some meaningful way and to say thank you for all the joy he brought to us,” the Pettits said. “For some unknown reason we kept one of our old cars from the racing team. When Jimmy Vasser suggested we donate it with the proceeds going to the Wilson Children’s Fund, we thought it was brilliant.”
With the need to relocate the car from the west coast to Indianapolis for its restoration, Vasser and former KV Racing team manager Chris Mower began searching for a base to perform the Lola’s overhaul. Verizon IndyCar Series team Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, which fielded Wilson for two seasons, kindly invited the restoration project into its shop where a complete teardown, refurbishment of mechanical and electronic components, and painting and reassembly of the rolling chassis (minus engine) took place in recent months.
Finished in its immaculate Toronto livery, which featured CDW as the primary sponsor, the Pettits were understandably pleased with the outcome.
“As we researched the car and found out it was Justin’s (Wilson) car he won his first race in, then we knew the reason for keeping the car,” they said. “Thanks to everyone who has donated time and energy into getting the car ready for sale.”
Not only does the mint Lola B05/00 represent an important vehicle in the life of a beloved driver, it also carries many of the personal items Wilson used–the sculpted seat, seat belts, and molded steering wheel—that were used on the path to victory. Wilson’s race-used seat, left inside the car, will go to its eventual owner with the full blessing of Justin Wilson’s widow Julia, who also helped with the restoration in Indy.
Indebted to the many individuals and companies that donated time, materials, parts or equipment to bring Wilson’s Lola back to its original state, Mower expressed immense appreciation for the selfless acts that made the restoration possible.
“When Jimmy (Vasser) approached us with the idea, we felt very honored to be involved in restoring this car, and such an important part of Justin’s motor racing history,” said Mower, who served as Wilson’s team manager on two occasions. “More importantly, my wife Marianne and I, were graced with the titles of godparents to Justin’s daughters Jane and Jess, so to help on this project and aid our goddaughters’ future was an opportunity we can’t help but feel the big man himself may have steered our way!”
With a small army of volunteers and supporters to thank, the project leader revealed a list that speaks to the respect and admiration Wilson garnered during his 12 seasons in Champ Car and IndyCar.
“We had amazing mechanics and engineers who completed the tear down and rebuild on their time off, including Richard Howard, Tim Finley, Michael Cannon, Josh Junge, Ryan Stott, and my wife, Marianne,” Mower said. “We must thank TJ Eacret at Passport Transport for delivering the car at cost from Las Vegas, Dennis Reinbold and Chase Selman at DRR for giving this project a home, KV Racing for providing equipment and hardware for the rebuild, Alex Londe from Can Am Cars for providing all the original Lola parts we were missing for the rebuild, and Ken Kane from Sherwin Williams for donating all the paint.”
The community-based effort, which drew from numerous local race teams and businesses that support the industry, added further depth to the benevolent endeavor.
“With Sherwin Williams’ help, then the car went to Tod Weed at Indy Paint Shop who completed the awesome paint job,” Mower continued. “Justin’s dear friend and RuSport manager Jeremy Dale provided the original livery rendering and paint code numbers. Kathi Lauterbach chased down missing files for the graphics we needed, and Nick Ford and graphics crew from Chip Ganassi Racing produced and applied all the decals.
“Bill Lefeber at IS-Motorsports rebuilt the steering wheel back to original specifications, Mark Williamson at Performance Tire and Bridgestone donated and mounted the new set of Bridgestone tires, and at the very beginning, the genesis of the project, Jeremy Shaw researched and confirmed the history to validate this was indeed the chassis that Justin drove to his first Champ Car win. Every contribution, at every step, was so incredibly important, and now we’re finished.”
The next step for Wilson’s Lola, and whether it will be offered via auction or to a direct buyer, will be determined after Sunday’s Indy 500.