POWER, NEWGARDEN IN TOP 5: Team Penske’s Will Power led 15 laps en route to a fourth-place finish this afternoon, his third Top-5 of 2013. “It was a good day and a good finish for the Verizon team,” Power said. “The boys gave me some great pit stops today, and it was really important for us to score some good points and continue to make up ground in the championship.” Right behind him in fifth was Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing’s Josef Newgarden, who tied his career-best result in IndyCar (Sao Paulo, 2013). “I’m really pleased for the whole team,” he said. “It’s good to get representative results, and today, we got a great one.”
JEFF GORDON, SON DROP BY: Fresh off racing in last night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, four-time Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon and his young son, Leo, visited Pocono today to see IndyCar’s return to the 2.5-mile oval. “I’m so excited to be here for Leo – he’s the one who saw the cars on TV and said to my wife, Ingrid, ‘Race car, race car,'” said Gordon. “So we were in New York and said, ‘Heck, let’s go!’ To be back here in Pocono with the IndyCars, how could we miss that? It’s so cool. I’m being here as a race fan and enjoying it.”
MOVIN’ ON UP: Five drivers were able to make up at least 10 positions during Sunday’s 400-miler. Tying for the biggest charge up the grid were Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon (winner) and Dario Franchitti (third), who each climbed 17 spots. Dale Coyne Racing’s Justin Wilson (seventh) moved up 15 spots, followed by Charlie Kimball (second) and Newgarden (fifth) each gaining 10 spots.
OTHER COOL STUFF: Chip Ganassi Racing’s 1-2-3 finish today was the first time that happened for a team in the IZOD IndyCar Series since Team Penske did it at Sonoma Raceway in 2011, when Power, Helio Castroneves and Briscoe finished first, second and third respectively…KV Racing Technology’s Simona de Silvestro moved up four spots in the final 20 laps to finish 11th for a career-best result on an oval…One day after taking the P2 class win in the American Le Mans Series race at Lime Rock Park, Panther Racing’s Ryan Briscoe was bidding for a Top-10 finish until he had to pit late for a splash of fuel; he wound up 13th…Today’s race was the fastest IndyCar event ever held at Pocono, with a stout average speed of 192.864 miles per hour. The previous record was 170.720 mph, set during Danny Sullivan’s 1989 win. That race, a 500-miler, was the last open-wheel event at Pocono until today.
Valtteri Bottas is confident of scoring a good result in tomorrow’s Russian Grand Prix after qualifying third at the Sochi Autodrom on Saturday.
Bottas finished as the ‘best of the rest’ in Q3 behind the leading Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, beating the Ferrari drivers to secure P3 for the start of tomorrow’s race.
After a difficult run of form, Bottas believes that he can capitalize on this good qualifying result and make the most of the Williams car’s suitability to the track in Sochi.
“It was a strong job by the team today,” Bottas said. “We managed to set-up the car well and maximize our performance.
“I felt very good in the car all day and managed to get in a rhythm quickly and put in consistent lap times despite the limited number of laps we had completed in practice.
“Tomorrow is where it really matters but I have put myself in a very good position to capitalize.”
Bottas’ teammate, Felipe Massa, was less impressive in qualifying as a mistake and traffic caused him to drop out in Q2, finishing P15.
“I made a mistake at turn eight in my first timed lap in Q2, and then in my final two attempts I came up against a lot of traffic which lost me a lot of time,” Massa explained.
“On my final run my tires were gone at the rear and that was the end of my chances. It’s a shame and I’m very disappointed, but I have a quick car around here so we need to have a good strategy and use our pace to move up into the points tomorrow.”
The Russian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 6:30am ET on Sunday.
Alexander Rossi claimed his third win in as many GP2 Series rounds in Saturday’s feature race at the Sochi Autodrom.
Since winning the last feature race at Monza in Italy, Rossi has made his Formula 1 debut with Manor and also raced for the team at the iconic Suzuka Circuit in Japan.
As part of his deal with Manor, Rossi has returned to GP2 for this weekend’s round in Russia as he bids to finish as runner-up to impending series champion Stoffel Vandoorne.
Vandoorne was expected to be crowned champion on Saturday, but Rossi managed to delay the Belgian’s celebrations by storming to victory as darkness forced officials to shorten the race.
Carnage on the first lap saw four drivers retire from the race, with damage caused to the barrier at turn 3 by Jordan King resulted in a 30 minute red flag delay.
Once the race restarted, a shortened distance of 15 laps was confirmed, but full points were still to be awarded.
Pole-sitter Alex Lynn managed to pull clear through the first stint, and after falling behind Rossi in the first round of pit stops, the DAMS driver regained the advantage soon after.
However, when Lynn crashed out, Rossi was able to pull clear of the chasing Pierre Gasly and Vandoorne just behind to record his third win in as many race weekends by three seconds.
Rossi will start tomorrow’s sprint race from eighth place on the grid which is reversed, handing pole to Frenchman Arthur Pic who finished P8 on Saturday.
You will be able to read all about Alexander’s success in his exclusive NBC Sports blog on Wednesday. To read his pre-Sochi thoughts, click here.